August 31, 2007

BlogDay 2007

Some of the items that come up frequently in ARNABlog posts are school, work, travel, India, and quotes. As today is Blog Day, I would like to recommend one blog in each of these categories:

Rate Your Students
  • This blog which looks at academic life from the perspective of professors. The viewpoints of those who are supposed to teach are quite different from the ones of those who are supposed to learn.
Overheard in the Office
  • The "Voice of the Cubicle" is a collection of humorous fragments of conversations collected by colleagues, customers, and other eavesdroppers.
Brave New Traveler
  • Informative articles for the intrepid adventurer as they wander the Earth.
A Wide Angle View of India
  • Provides a thoughtful commentary on a range of pressing issues that India faces today.
A Blog Around the Clock
  • The few lines that make up a memorable quote often resonate stronger than complete novels. The "Clock Quotes" section of this blog serves up a few timeless ones.
"Take time to gather up the past so that you will be able to draw from your experience and invest them in the future." - Jim Rohn

August 30, 2007

4 High Street

Now a popular tourist attraction, during my days in Bangalore I lived at 4 High Street in an area called Cooke Town. The maroon coloured apartment complex was protected by a pair of vigilant security guards who were capable of being present at any time of the day or night. For an additional fee they would also wash the vehicles of the other tenants of the complex. On the second floor on the third story (as ground floor is zero) of the building was my flat. There was a large lobby with sofa and TV, a balcony, a kitchen, and 3 bedrooms. Two of the bedrooms held 3 paying guests each, while the more expensive bedroom had two occupants. Each bedroom contained an attached bathroom, TV, beds, and cabinets. There was also a washing machine, ironing board, malfunctioning water filter, and maid for all of us to share. I was in one of the three person rooms. The rooms were sparsely decorated save for a sign taped to the wall warning us of all that we could not do.

Over the 8 months that I lived there I met an interesting cast of characters. At any one time the flat could accommodate 8 paying guests. The average period of stay per person was a couple of months, so a great many guests rotated through High Street during my stay. By the time I left I was third in seniority. Unsurprisingly, most of my flatmates were Indians, with 10-12 whom I spent time with and around 5-7 souls who did not interact with anyone not related to them or working with them. They came from many different states - Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Punjab. The rest of my flatmates were either Dutch (4), Mexican (1), Brazilian (1), British (1), or French (1). There were dentists, lawyers, interns, and software engineers. There were Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, and some who did not believe in anything one way or another. Some were married, some had girlfriends, some were engaged, some were not interested, some were searching vigorously, and some were hoping for a miracle. Some were extras in Bollywood films or contestants on Indian Idol. Some were friends, some were acquaintances, some were strangers, but all were my flatmates.


Apart from its signature dish biryani, the other Hyderabadi delicacy that I experienced was haleem. This thick and succulent concoction is widely available during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The meat and wheat treat is available everywhere from upscale restaurants to the local mosque at this time of the year. ARNABride candidates are free to practice cooking haleem at home, with the aid of this recipe provided by NDTVCooks:

250 gm mutton/lamb
1 cup wheat-soaked overnight, drained, pounded & husked
1 tsp chili powder 1/2 tsp turmeric 1 tbsp channa dal- soaked for 1/2 hour
1 tbsp moong dal-soaked for 1/2 hour
1 tbsp masoor dal-soaked for 1/2 hour
1 tsp coriander powder
2 onions-sliced and fried crisp
4 tbsp ghee
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
salt to taste

Take a heavy-bottomed vessel and heat 8 cups of water in it. When the
water starts boiling put in the drained dal, wheat and mutton along with
the ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, turmeric, red chili powder and

Cook over slow fire till the mutton is tender then mash the mutton.

To this mixture add the crushed fried onion. Heat the ghee and pour it
over the Haleem.

Sprinkle lemon-juice before serving - serve hot.

Bengaluru Tigers

Waking up to see the sun shining through our curtains on a Sunday afternoon, two of my flatmates and I decided to go on a road trip to Bannerghata National Park. After heading to the Ulsoor Lake swimming pool and picking up a bald headed Belgian, we set off on the one hour drive to our destination. On Bannerghata Road we passed by two prominent local institutions - the Indian Institute of Management (IIM-B) and the Forum Shopping Mall - one for study and one for play. After taking a wrong turn we consulted the locals and were given directions to our destination. When we arrived at the 25,000 acre zoological park the crowds at the entrance were already large. Most were waiting to board the buses that would take them inside the popular lion and tiger enclosures.

Busy trying to identify potential ARNABombshells in the crowd, time flew by for the four of us and before we knew it our foray into the wild had begun. We boarded the bus and sat in any available seats we could find as the safari began. The Bengaluru Tiger came face to face with his counterpart in the animal kingdom. A Bengal tiger blocked the path in front, pausing momentarily to allow everyone to take a few snapshots, before slowly circling around us. The bus had metal grates across the windows for protection from the magnificent creature, so fear could give way to admiration. The same could be said for the tiger outside, with its muscular orange and black form and regal carriage. Several other tigers also appeared as our journey progressed. The lions we encountered were not as forthcoming, preferring to laze in water holes and not approach the bus as closely as the tigers had. They were also very thin and appeared to be chronically undernourished. There had been reports in the media of misappropriation of funds earmarked towards the welfare of the animals in Bannerghata. Rumour had it that some of the park staff had been taking home the tender and juicy strips of meat meant to feed the lions and having a nice feast at home with the family instead.

The park also contained a zoo within it complete with reptile park and aviary. Soon after we entered though closing time was upon us. Friendly park officials encouraged us to get out. We complied, but not before catching a glimpse of feeding time. Large snakes were given live rabbits for dinner while the smaller ones were busy swallowing rodents. It was an engrossing experience where the line between man and nature was as thin as it could be in a controlled environment.

August 20, 2007


Date: March 2007
Location: Outskirts of Bangalore
Event: Private Party

Due to my status as an international icon I generously made an appearance at a farmhouse party being thrown in Whitefield by a fellow intern, on the far eastern fringe of Bangalore city. After finding an auto, having it run out of fuel, going to the bathroom (indoors), finding another auto, arriving at what we thought were the premises only to have it be an intersection, and then sitting on a canister of gas in the rear storage compartment of a shared taxi, it was not too long before we reached the location.

Upon arrival, we followed a trail leading to a small treehouse-like complex where all the guests had congregated. With around a hundred people already in attendance, this area was quite crowded with lots of drinking and dancing going on all around me. As a devout non-dancer and frequent teetotaler, I was out of my element and frantically looked for a safe zone where I could place myself. I spotted some tables that had been left near the balcony. I gracefully glided in behind them, planning to relax and enjoy the rest of the night. I found quite a few bottles of rum and various soft drinks situated around me. By now darkness had fallen and the crowds were getting heavier. Soon people were accosting me and asking me to pour them drinks. It appeared I had taken the place of three no-show bartenders and had positioned myself as the preferred beverage provider for the party.

As I mention in my cover letters when I am applying for any jobs, I am a fast learner who can quickly pick up new skills. Soon I was simultaneously mixing drinks into many glasses at once, making small talk, and looking devastatingly gorgeous. The ARNABar was open for business. The ARNABeauties all complimented me on my newfound abilities and old world charm, while their male companions scowled at me and complained that the rum was no good. The rum in question was Super Jack Rum (from the makers of Super Jack Brandy and Super Jack Gin), and tasted better with each subsequent glass. At 6am the next morning I was finally able to go home and rest after a hard night's work.

August 17, 2007

ARNABlog Fan Club!

Never one to praise myself, the legions of ARNABoys and ARNABettes have taken it upon themselves to compliment me. My writing has been compared to that of an English Literature student and my physical appearance to a work of art. With such a groundswell of support it was only a matter of time before the collective appreciation of all things Arnab would manifest itself on a larger platform. Facebook, which has often been referred to as the Arnab of the social networking world, would prove to be just that. Rishi, ardent fan and one time coordinator of the Satyam Crossover exchange program which I was a proud participant of, created the ARNABlog Fan Club as a Facebook group and invited me to join. For those of you on Facebook, I also extend the same opportunity:

Join the ARNABlog Fan Club

"Arnablog needs no words of eulogy and praise from me. In fact I can hardly find out sufficient and suitable words which can be used either to describe it or to praise it adequately from my poor vocabulary. The notes of Arnaboss are perhaps of greater emotional appeal to his innumerable fans (Arnabelievers) than his rare speech. Arnablog could really be called " all in one", " all in all", and "all and all" as it offers everything from Arnabiology to Arnabuzz." - Rishi raves about the ARNABlog

August 05, 2007

Gmail Grievances

In the early days of Gmail's existence, I was able to obtain an email address that corresponded to my name - Arnab Sen. My namesakes were not very pleased with this turn of events although they were good sports about it, as I recently received this message in my inbox:

Hi Arnab,

I thought you are a decent person. But you let me down completely. You should have considered my welfare before blocking arnab.sen[at] for your personal use. I had a talk with other 'Arnab Sen' holding ' sen.arnab' Gmail id and he said that you deprived him of his preferred id too. Why did you do that Arnab, why? It's a crime on humanity and I have no words to despise this act. Now I have to carry the burden of a numerical one within my email id. It seems that I am thrown into eternal darkness with no way out.

Do reply,

Arnab Sen