Monday, July 21, 2014

The Zesty Pentagon....

remember my dean reciting “life is mixed bag of boom and doom” on the day of our convocation. Obviously, we didn't pay heed to his testimony, we were sinking deep into the gravity of the occasion. Almost 5 years later, when we decided to play the recorded footage from the ‘recognition day’, these words seemed to be priceless.
“As engineers, you are going to the field now….you are going to experience the toughest of challenges, but I have my faith on you…you are going to shine”- His somber vocal tone resonated across the ‘derelict’ auditorium, his voice was cutting and sagacious. “They’re would be times when temporary setbacks would cast a spell…you might entertain the thoughts of stepping back, but students, remember one thing….you have to ‘extract inspiration’ out of your prosaic existence” – He elucidated.

And then came the esoteric declaration- “Congratulations everyone…you are now set free, go, explore and remember that the afflatus is always there. Your quest begins here, enjoy the ride”. Ah! Those reverberating words…

Well, then…we have come a long way in life, we have excelled in the fields of our interest…we have been bombarded with a bag full of options and it goes without saying that we have chosen judiciously. But then, when we speak of atonement, when we speak of gratification, perhaps the sense of contentment eludes us on a number of occasions. We’re mostly driven by the corporate tide, propelled by targets, tasks, goals and ‘performance driven KPI’s’….we often tend to lose out on the impetus, the drive…’the hunger’ to say the least. It’s almost imperative that a weary corporate soul, bound by the realm of ‘utilization’, seeks respite…having said that, the ‘awakening’ has to be self-driven. They call it self-assessment in the official lingo…I call it cognizance, go back to the roots…I say, go back to the source and trace the patch of illumination. Thanks to Blogadda for being the driving force, for being the cicerone in this divine retention; time to retrace to the origin & identify the 'zest-quotient'. Ahoy.

'A wise man once said….
“Your (head) start paves the way for a fine day”….
Ahoy! And off I went into the greens….
Across the banks into the streams…..!'

The Zest Factor # 1: An early morning photo-walk - Yes, it started off with a doctor’s prescription and it transpired out to be the course of my life. An early morning photo-walk is all you need to regenerate the fading zeal; the ‘ride’ that was announced through a ‘commanding’ coercion, did turn out to be quite a refreshing reprise. It was not long before I was ‘digging deep’ into the rich heritage of North Calcutta….the rugged beauty of the secluded lanes and by-lanes draped in the first rays of the morning sun. I have always been a late riser, but the spirit of an early morning accomplishment has driven me quite a lot…those unplanned ventures covering Hatibagan, Pathuriyaghata, Kumortuli, Bagbazar have almost become a ‘reason to linger’. The embedded artistry in the mundane day-to-day life that appeals to my camera certainly strike the chords, our group of 5 crazy paparazzi’s have almost creamed through the semi-lit passages of North Calcutta…yes, there’s zest in there…there’s life in there. The short-but-sweet photo-hunts have been thirst-quenching to be honest…I have explored so many obscure angles, I have rather 'grown up' in the process; wish to continue this ‘esteemed routine’ of mine till the very last day of my life, my sincere wish.
The Zest Factor # 1: An early morning photo-walk : Exploring the depths of North Calcutta
The Zest Factor # 1: An early morning photo-walk : The solitary vendor at the Maidan...
The Zest Factor # 1: An early morning photo-walk : Early morning 'business' ....
The Zest Factor # 1: An early morning photo-walk : Early morning shopping spree ;)
'When in need, switch to innocence….
Driving off the entanglement…
Rubbing off the stealing anarchy…..
Bring them close…embrace them…'

The Zest Factor # 2: The ringing bells of freedom- It’s imperative that working as a consultant is tricky at times, you need to outsmart your immediate competitor by hook or by crook…you resort to the path of honesty all the time. But then, at the end of the day, you do realize that in pursuit of material happiness, you have managed to dig a deep grave of malice….the feeling is a sinking one. You need a ray of hope that could act as the enzyme…the spur of euphoria amidst the protruding darkness. And yes, it does appear….right through the tiny crack of the otherwise reinforced wall of concrete. The ‘ringing bells of freedom’ break my trance….I could hear them from a distance, the jubilant announcement. No, I’m not talking about the historic ‘bell’ at Lords’ that kick-starts the epic battle on the 22 yards…I’m talking about the “patron of resurgence”…the tone that symbolizes effervescence…that symbolizes cheerfulness. As a kid, I used to wait for the signal…the signal that announces the end of ‘school-hours’…and the beginning of beatitude. Years have passed by, but the feeling changed…the thrill of ‘flooding the neighborhood greens’ draws me deep into the ecstasy, the sense of positive energy that it generates in me is simply phenomenal. And I rush along to catch a glimpse…the divine ‘rush’ of young feet…following the tiny footprints…’ happy feet’, the “zest” to ‘luxuriate in’...!

The Zest Factor # 2: The ringing bells of freedom - Just after the class has ended...
The Zest Factor # 2: The ringing bells of freedom - The innocent faces, embrace them...
The Zest Factor # 2: The ringing bells of freedom - Rubbing off the stealing anarchy...
The Zest Factor # 2: The ringing bells of freedom - The smile that makes your day...

'Knowledge is quite a transferable asset….
Knowledge is like a consignable felicity….
When the quantum of learning outruns….
The sense of consummation surfaces…'

The Zest Factor # 3: The gratifying 'hand-shake' -Well, I’m one of those unexampled specimens who enjoys the so-called unfamiliar challenge, yes, the implications might turn out to be unfavorable…but then there’s a sense of equanimity attached to it. When I say that their “ecstatic-shake-of-the-hand” stimulates me, yes, I’m pretty much sure of my exact role. They call it “capacity building” or “skill up-gradation” in official terminology….I call it knowledge sharing and trust building. As a promoter of e-Governance, establishing the utility of computerization from across the country…my job is not restricted to forming training modules, but to understand the current bottlenecks in the existing processes that extends right up to the Gram Panchayat levels. I have travel-led extensively into the depths of Bengal, visiting the remote clusters…thereby making an attempt to uplift their current state. I have been a keen ‘observant’ throughout my tenure and through my experience in dealing with the skilled artisans, I can conclude that the people lying at the base of the social strata have been exploited to the core. Through the extensive ‘guidance sessions’ we have tried to send in positive vibes, those skill-development interventions have been carried out for their melioration. It’s an overwhelming experience to see a batch of contended craftsmen heading out of the hall after a fruitful session of ‘structured guidance”- the sustaining smile on their face does signify eminence…it does serve as the “zest” to head out towards newer goals….the vision of a new India, the vision of an improved India. It's an enshrined pledge for sure.

The Zest Factor # 3: The gratifying 'hand-shake'- The vigilant look..esteemed to be honest...
The Zest Factor # 3: The gratifying 'hand-shake'- The eagerness in knowledge sharing...
The Zest Factor # 3: The gratifying 'hand-shake'- The venerated 'trainees' in a cluster..
The Zest Factor # 3: The passion in mundane activities..

"The drift that never engulfs….
The yacht of life that takes you along…
And splurges in a spirit of resurgence…
Befriend the gondolier and set sail…..'

The Zest Factor #4: The adventurous boat-ride- No! I’m not a poet, not a philosopher, not a lyricist….I’m a devotee, I tend to ‘dive’ into the course and I relish the moment. 15th August 2010 changed the course of my life to be honest….it was the first that I undertook an enraptured boat-ride on the Ganges. It was an exuberant move though…the weather forecast was unfavorable, it had rained considerably in the morning and plenty more was ‘scheduled ‘in the late afternoon…who cares?  The group of effervescent explorers headed out on a mission to explore the mysteries of Nature and of course, to deal with the intrinsic atrocities. We started off from the Prinsep Ghat and headed west-wards along the stream…we could sense the hidden deadlocks that could have stalled the progress, but then that’s life. Backed up by a determination of a proficient gondolier, we traversed almost 50 miles downstream in extreme windy conditions and still survived it. The vision, was almost befogged…yet the thrill of exploring the “uncharted” overpowered the abhorrence. We knew that being certified “life-savers” might not be of any use in this rapidly flowing river current but a supernatural power guided us in course. We cling-ed on to each other tightly, as if in glorious collaboration…the grasp of faith and finally we braved the storm. The first rays of the setting sun was a glowing testimonial…a tribute to our gallantry; yes we did explore an obscure part of our own virtue on that particular day. Everything was going on smoothly till date, but our unexpected crusade changed the course completely…it did rebuild the dilapidated sense of buoyancy in all of us, the sense of solace prevailed. Yes, we do undertake such audacious boat-rides frequently these days…it does lift the exasperated souls. The surge of 'fresh air' that alleviates the worldly pain does help in reconditioning the stained thought-process.

The Zest Factor #4: The adventurous boat-ride - On the ganges on a rainy afternoon
The Zest Factor #4: The adventurous boat-ride - On the ganges- The heritage boat ride...
The Zest Factor #4: The adventurous boat-ride - On the ganges, view from the deck...
The Zest Factor #4: The adventurous boat-ride - On the ganges, the vision is almost blurred..
The Zest Factor # 5: Food, food, my beloved food - Well, they have termed it as the gastronomic delight, I would say it's my source of inner peace. The "grains" talk to me, the taste-buds know their language; interpretation is the key. And I have the KEY already! It's almost impossible for me to dig out words and express my love and gratitude towards food, but I can certainly give it a lyrical touch. 'Forever bhookad' - as they call me, gorging is quite an indignation. A good lunch could set things right for me, it certainly appeases my core...and the effect is long-term. Even my boss is aware of this inbred idiosyncrasy...he calls me for a gala dinner just before the annual appraisals...gosh, now you know why I don't react to those mediocre ratings. Yes, you got me there. A nice potlock would mean a 're-kindled me', full of tenacity and valor...a multi-cuisine rollick would certainly be a 'romantic errand' ranting there-after. Alright, let me make an attempt... but as I said, I'm not not a poet, it's a zesty attempt.
“Let’s play ‘Spin the Bottle’ folks……”
The leader entailed.
The quest for 'lucidity' unfurled….
A magical night that was…..
 The bottle spun and stopped at Jim,
His "break-up" was gravely extreme….
The ‘cultivated glass’ pointed to Rich,
'The PUNK’ was never confined in a niche….
The "rotating angel" headed south-east…
“The cranky poet stepped instituted a feast”…….
And then the Devil stepped up to lift….
The half empty chalice to shift!
The forsaken ‘bottle decided to test my groove….
And I was ever-ready, on the move!
“Tell us what made you write….
Tell us what wrong and what’s NOT right….
It could be a shady tale, if not a fight!”
The start was slow,
But the "pitch well rolled"….
'I stepped onto a piece of grain'…..
And the stain didn't go in vain!

I flirted with the spices....And proposed "her" at ease.....
I adored her “oomph” there-after!
'So it is an accident'…They said!
“NO, I feel into the sticky trap....."

The trap that feasted upon me….
Like a poor little rooster on the tray….
Ready to be grilled in pride….
Ah! The essence brought me back to life!

Then those words found motion….
And those "Pixels" ruled the show;
The “fibers” whisper to me…..
And the aroma dragged me deeper….

The taste-buds said- “Enough of the grill”….
It’s all about expression and Feel!
But then… pick and to choose?
To connect & to gorge on “your” mousse….
I share thoughts in lots, not in plots….

I eat to write, I write to eat….!
And I believe that’s quite a feat :D…
I respond to my inner-call that says “gorge on …”!
It’s WIN-WIN…without a glimmer of ‘defeat’..

The savory platter that spells a joy-fest..
Would continue to lure and relive the 'zest'!
The Zest Factor # 5: Food, food, my beloved food - The alluring, delectable spread...
The Zest Factor # 5: Food, food, my beloved food - That's what I mean by 'food for thought'...
The Zest Factor # 5: Food, food, my beloved food - Exploring the charm of zesty street food...
The Zest Factor # 5: Food, food, my beloved food - The Bong connection..'Shorshe Hilsa'...
* This post is a part of the #ZestUpYourLife activity in association with TATA Zest and ...
This images used in the post are self-shot and shouldn't be copied or reproduced in any form without my permission.

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