Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | June 7, 2010

Queen’s Birthday

There is an idiom in Bangla which is “nijer naak kete porer jatra bhongo”. This essentially means that you cause harm to yourself with a belief that your actions are inflicting more harm to others. Situation in Bengal politics is very much like that. To me it seems like from 1977 onwards we – the Bengalis when it came to politics have remained blind and just recently it seems we have extended our contract to remain blind forever. Even though we take lot of pride in every small bit of things, but I must say Bengalis have time and again proved to be most inefficient when it came to exercise their electoral mandate. Guided by sheer emotion we have messed ourselves up time and again. I just hope that does not happen for a long period of time. Anyway, no point discussing politics on this blog, because I am averse to discuss any emotionally charged discussion either on email or out here. Most Bengalis anyway consider themselves super-intelligent who know what they deserve. No point discussing with them about the State they love most.

As the winter sets deep into New Zealand, the rains are back with the chills. Auckland weather can get really bad during winter. It rains like cats and dogs – virtually always! Today for example. We are in the midst of a rare long weekend in Auckland and it is raining so badly. I know most of my family and dear ones in India will love to be in the Auckland weather for the time being but then too much of such rains can restrict mobility quite a bit. More so, in Auckland which does not boast of a great public transport system. Further, it is really beautiful when sunny.

As far as we are concerned, we moved to a new apartment after nearly 18 months of stay in the older, much smaller one. Moving was comparatively easy here with few nice people helping us out, last week Our move experiences in India are not so nice so I am particularly scared of moving. Yes. I have history of moves – thanks partly to my father’s transferable job and partly to my days of settling down which still continues. Thankfully, this new place has not taken us away from places that we like to visit regularly. In fact, now during my daily walk to office (which is now 1.5 kilometers one way instead of earlier 120 meters!) I pass the library and the university.

Whenever I look at the Auckland university, I wonder how nice it must be for the students studying there to have such abundance of facilities. Library, facilities to play sports, good classrooms etc. I am sure, students (like students all over the world), have their usual frustrations but then the university is endowed with almost everything a student can ask for. I hope oneday some of our schools and colleges can provide such facilities at relatively cheaper price.

I remember some of our college walls in Kolkata painted with unnecessary posters etc. Thankfully, Jesuit fathers ensured my college was not like that. Will these things change with change of guard in Kolkata? I hope it does. However, I must say I am not very hopeful.

Coming back to the move to a new apartment, it is a bit expensive but then at the moment this incidental expense was more than just necessary. We wanted a sunny, airy and healthy place to live in. Certain facilities in New Zealand are not so common as it is in India. Two things that come to my mind in this regard are: internet and cable television. Though people are getting more and more used to internet but people in New Zealand (other than the Asians of course), don’t really spend lot of time in front of the computer. Internet cannot be called a hobby for sure. Children will rather take up outdoor sports and grown-ups will instead use their balcony to prepare a barbecue lunch instead. As far as cable television is concerned, it is a common place thing about people with families, living in the sub-urbs. However, we for example (and like many of our friends), did not subscribe to cable television. Our new apartment comes with a bit expensive internet connection but a cable television connection (which thankfully is included in the rent). Yes, internet and cable televisions are expensive in New Zealand!

Internet, of course I must pay but after exercising a bit of control but I am actually enjoying the exposure to regular cable television after nearly 2 years. I know these things are very addictive but a few things in this past week about SKY New Zealand have impressed me. SKY movies does not have advertisement in the middle of the movies and that is so awesome. Secondly, I enjoyed a movie about Harry Houdini called Death Defying Acts aired on SKY this week. Indian films will reach the scale where Hollywood has reached only when Directors try out different subjects especially biopics. Thing with movies such as “Death Defying Acts” is that, even if the movie is not very good, it urges a knowledge seeking mind to read a bit about say a Harry Houdini. It probed me too and that is what I like the most.

Red Wine - on Queen's Birthday

Lastly, the extended weekend (which ends today) is for celebrating Queen’s Birthday. Surprisingly, Australia will celebrate the queen’s birthday next week though we have the same queen. I checked wikipedia about why does different country celebrate the same queen’s birthday on different days. There was no answer to this query of mine. It sort of said that, the Queen’s Official Birthday (sometimes known as “the Queen’s Birthday”) is celebrated as a public holiday in several Commonwealth countries, usually Commonwealth realms. The word Queen in the name of the celebration is replaced by King when appropriate. The exact date of the celebration varies from country to country, and it does not usually mark the real birthday of the sovereign (the current monarch, Elizabeth II, was born on 21 April 1926).

I am sure queen does not mind that. She must be receiving lots of gifts through out the year as her birthday is sort of spread across the globe through out the year. Anyway, a picture of the new red wine bottle that I bought thanks to the Queen Birthday sale. I know that is not an wine glass in the picture, but never mind the wine tastes good even in the one that I used.



  1. I love how you have easy access to a good library. Have fun with the new apartment 🙂

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