Announcements, Family & Friends, Photographs

Meet Googool, the Chaiwallah Jr.

It’s been two-weeks since the last post on Cutting the Chai, and the reason for the pause is the arrival of Googool, the new member in the Chaiwallah family. He entered this world, and our lives, on 20.11.2011 (November 20, 2011).

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Those of you who are in touch with me via Twitter or Facebook would have already got the news. The experience of fatherhood was so overwhelming that I just couldn’t get myself to type a blog post.

Now that I have somewhat mastered the art of nappy changing and am making steady progress in deciphering baby cries thought it was about time to introduce the Chaiwallah Jr. to Cutting the Chai readers.

The name (rather nickname) of the apple of my eye is Googool, inspired by, but not to be confused with Google. We also pronounce it a little different (Goo-goo-l).

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Nicknames, I believe should not necessarily have a meaning. They are affectionate sounds where the only meaning is love. In fact, the Chaiwali and me had decided on the nickname for our expected child (irrespective of the baby’s gender) early in her pregnancy. With a technophile for a father, it was expected (or atleast this is what friends tell me).

Children have always fascinated me, and I’ve been a favourite uncle to my nephews and nieces. But having a child of my own is an altogether different experience. With Googool I am reliving my infancy days of which there are no traces in my memory. The smile on his lips is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

Now on a milk-only diet, I hope he develops a taste for chai later in life.

The biggest challenge now is choosing an ‘official’ name for Googool. The name that will appear in his school records and other places. I have been flipping through the pages Maneka Gandhi’s Book of Hindu Names, but without much success.

The reason why we are stuck is because of four self-imposed conditions: The name that we want for our son has to be not-so-common (it will therefore also easy for him to get the username of his choice on online services); the sound should have a nice ring to it; it should have a desirable meaning; and it shouldn’t be very long (the Chaiwali insists).

If you have some suggestions (origins and the initial letter are not a condition) please help us in our quest to find a name for Googool.

Till then here are some photos that I, whenever away from him, browse through numerous times a day.

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Family & Friends, Photos, Technology

Shutter Happy, All Over Again with the Nikon P100

Nikon P100 Camera

Nikon P100 Camera

Never been much of a photographer. I think my brother is. Only that nowadays with two kids (and a wife) he isn’t able to devote as much time to his hobby as he would’ve liked to. I like photography. An interest that developed seeing my brother’s interest.

But I don’t think of myself as a serious photographer. Therefore instead of a DSRL I opted for a prosumer camera – the Nikon P100 (and because my Sony CyberShot DSC-S40 was ageing). It’s been about 10 days since I got my latest toy, must say I’m quite pleased with it.

I had in fact chosen the Nikon P100 over the Olympus SP-800UZ even though the SP-800 offered a better zoom (30x compared to the P100’s 26x), more megapixels (14 megapixel vs 10 megapixel) and was also priced lower. There were other contenders from Canon, Sony, Panasonic and Fuji too.

I’ve never been a megapixel fan, but I love the super zooms, the more X the better. The reason why I chose the P100 over the SP-800 was because the Nikon had better manual control (I should be able to command the camera, not the other way around) and looked and felt much much better as a camera in my hands.

Wouldn’t post a review of the P100 yet, as I’m yet to explore it in its entirety. But would like to share some photos that I took with it.

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Advertising, Bollywood, Family & Friends, Print Ads, Shillong, Vintage Indian Ads

Salman Khan, Sangeeta Bijlani in Graviera Suitings Ad

They made a nice couple, or so we thought, back then. Both started their careers in modelling and Sangeeta Bijlini, or Bijli, was also a Miss India and both later ventured into Bollywood. If I remember right, the two didn’t work in a film together, but their affair was much talked about.

They later parted ways, Sangeeta went on to marry the wristy-Hyderabadi Mohammed Azharuddin (one of my favourite cricketers) and Salman into yet another tumultuous relationship.

This advertisement for Grasim’s Graviera Suitings is one of the rare occasions when Salman and Sangeeta appeared together professionally.
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Family & Friends, Photos, Specials

The Chaiwallah’s got a Chaiwali

It has been the longest pause on Cutting the Chai since I first began blogging almost five years back. In fact if you look at the archives, February 2010 will be the only month that has gone postless since May 2005. And there were some pretty important reasons behind my absence here (though I had been tweeting a little). I got married.

Yes, the Chaiwallah has finally got a Chaiwali (though she prefers that, at home, I make the tea).

Its been a crazy last few months, juggling between work and arrangements for the wedding, now we are somewhat settling in into the new scheme of things. After a small ceremony here in Delhi (actually Noida) we went to Shillong (my home town) and then back to Delhi and then to Indore (her home town) and didn’t even have enough leaves left to plan a honeymoon (I’ll have to pay for that).

Soumyadip Varsha WeddingThe wedding went off fine and with family and friends around, it was the best time of our lives (yet). Only I goofed up missing out on inviting some friends (my mother ensured that all relatives were). Apologies buddies.

To make things simpler we opted for a marriage according to Arya Samaj rituals but that didn’t spare me the ignominy (that Bengali bridegrooms have to suffer) of wearing the tupur, courtesy my sis-in-law (No, I’m not going to post those pictures, atleast not here).

I was also live tweeting from my marriage ceremony. Here’s what my Twitter feed read that night:

About to tie the knot in some time from now.

Wedding photographers can be real pests, but then that’s their job.

Olive Garden in Noida Sector 52 is a nice place indeed.

@thecomicproject Oh yes!

@akgoyal She will, if she realises what I’m doing.

Damn feeling sleepy already.

The dulha always ends up hungry… for food.

And kids have the most fun at weddings.

Distant relatives getting the day’s update over the phone.

Cousins think that we are SMSing each other, while I’m just twittering.

Now my neice’s daiper needs to be changed.

Everyone in splits over a funny ringtone.

Round of jokes to keep everyone awake.

From suit changed to dhoti kurta and bhabi insisting that I wear the tupur (the joker-like cap)

Waiting for the bride… girls just can’t be on time even for their own wedding.

The problem of being the groom is that you can’t slip inside the quilt.

@Thecomicproject I waited for 8 years for this day… so impatience does creep in. Minutes become longer.

Even the bored panditji is giving Bhagwat Gita sermons to the photographer and the videographer.

And kids will cry and one will copy the other leading to a wail fest.


Finally the bride is here. Shouldn’t be tweeting during the ceremony.

Just married!

The combination of Vedic shlokas and snores was pure spiritual sloth.

Now for the bidai and the accompanying tears.

Intense discussion on about my brother’s ability to sleep with his eyes and mouth open.
via mobile web Now I can even think of venturing into the wedding planning business.

Also got to update my Facebook profile…okay that can wait for a few hours more.

The Chaiwallah’s now got a Chaiwalli.

The day after. Everyone’s still blissfully asleep.

And here’s me tweeting away:

Tweeting at Wedding

Me with the generation next:

Generation Next

The Chaiwallah with the Chaiwali at Shillong View Point, close to Shillong Peak – the highest point in Meghalaya.

At Shillong View Point

Chaiwallahs can be warriors to. In a traditional Khasi attire (they gave me a wodden sword, so that I don’t cause too much damage in my excitement).

In traditional Khasi dress

But being married shouldn’t change my blogging habits (atleast I would like to think so).

On a personal end life’s changed and now expecting that to happen in the professional sphere too. Will keep posted.

The title of the post is inspired from a congratulations tweet from Dhiraj Ramakrishnan (@stupendousman78)

“congratulations on the chaiwaali may be you need to start planning for the chotus”

The Chotus (or the Chotis) will have to wait, a little.

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Bollywood, Bollywood Videos, Family & Friends, Movies, Shillong, Videos

Falling in love with Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge PosterThree women, three kisses, three heartbreaks, a couple of apologies that’s Bachna Ae Haseeno (BAH). But this post isn’t about BAH it’s about Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ) (English title: Braveheart Will Win the Bride), that super-duper hit, a film that BAH pretends to be an extension of (parasite would be more appropriate).

People tend to boast of the number of times they have watched a particular movie, usually Sholay tops such a list, but DDLJ too is a worthy competition. I have actually lost count for both the films, though Maahi’s (Minnisha Lamna) count was 17.

The other day, a friend from Bangalore called up to enquire which year we passed the secondary school exams (he was at an interview and was filling up those unending HR forms). “Abbey 1995. DDLJ release hua tha na us year,” I replied. For my generation it perhaps released at the perfect time. It has become a sort of a landmark.

I still remember the first show, three of us schoolmates – two boys and a girl – bunking school and sitting in the second class seats of Shillong’s Payal Cinema (the tickets for the cheapest seats cost us Rs 40 each in black. The actual price back then was Rs 1.65). The release then was a rarity for Shillong – a film hitting the city’s screens on the same day as the rest of the country. We usually had to wait for a few months, by then half the city would have already watched it on video tapes. Huge posters of Kajol and Shah Rukh were plastered all over. “Come fall in love,” they said. When the film ended I told the female friend that I’ll come back for more.

Come back I did. As the shows went by I didn’t need to purchase tickets in black anymore and could enjoy the luxuries of the balcony (Rs 5.10) or the Dress Circle/Payal Circle (Rs 6.10). During the winter vacations twice or thrice a week I ventured out alone to Payal Cinema and watched Raj romance Simran and win over everyone on and off the screen.

The Raj bug hit many of us hard. A friend actually turned into a SRK in DDLJ clone and thereby earned the affections of many a female. Even today, whenever I happen to come across the film on TV, I give the remote a little rest for a while.

Aditya Chopra had indeed made a brilliant film, something that cannot be replicated. The story, the music, the performances – all had an endearing charm about it. From snowy Switzerland to mustard yellow Punjab the trip has us in a trip. The Rajs of the world looked for their Simrans and vice versa.

DDLJ also introduced me to another thing Stross beer (in film advertising works). It was the first beer that I tasted and I had made a pen stand out of that very first beer can. I think I still have that somewhere.

Though I didn’t go out shopping for the leather jacket and the cap or joined mandolin classes, I did look for those little lockets that SRK wore, without success.

Another thing that I happened to notice, DDLJ perhaps began the trend of movies deriving their titles from popular songs. Nowadays every other movie does so.

In the usual post-movie alternative endings discussions, one question was common – what if Raj was unable to reach out to Simran and pull her on the train? What if?

Nothing much. His Pops would have pulled the chain.

While the dilwale took away the dulhaniya we all sat and fell in love.