A woman with the potential to make it big. It is not that she cannot: she simply will not.
The closest anyone has come to being an adopted daughter.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My life in numbers

Just thought I'd list numbers, serially, and try to recall the first word or phrase that comes to my mind at the mention of the number. The aim is to score a century. Let's see how far I can go:

0: Bradman. His last innings. Eric Hollies. 99.94. And all related stuff.

1: My rank in Patha Bhavan, Presidency College and JU MCA admission tests. Also my school rank in Madhyamik. Mwahahahahahahahaha.

2: My roll number. Patha Bhavan, V - XII. Alphabetic order, first names. 1 belonged to Abantika Ghosh. She took biology afterwards, and I got promoted to numero uno. Also, the first term and common difference of the most famous sequence ever created.

3: Paap se dharti phati, phati, phati; adharm se aasmaan, aasmaan, aasmaan; atyachaar se knaapi insaaniyat, aaniyat, aaniyat; raaj kar rahen haiwaan, haiwaan, haiwaan; jinki hogi taaqat apoorn, apoorn, apoorn; jinka hoga nishana abhed, abhed, abhed; jo karenge inka sarvanaash, vanaaash, vanaash; woh kehlayenge Tridev! Tridev! Tridev!!

4: My daughter's birth year. This pips a TV serial with Enid Blyton-type stories, called Ek Do Teen Char from the 1980s: one of my favourites. It had four kids called Ramu (Suraj Karani), Johnny (Ali Ashgar), Asif (Love Baronia) and Baba Shetty (a bespectacled boy whose name I've forgotten, but was my favourite of the lot). Remember? Ek do teen char, charon milkar saath chalen to karte hain chamatkar...

5: Anurag Kashyap, the greatest Indian film director since His demise in 1992. His first film, a Kay Kay-starrer called Paanch, never got released. Which is possibly why the inimitable tera emosional atyachaar in his Dev D starts with ek, do, teen, char, chhe..., omitting the paanch (on purpose?).

6: Shahid Afridi hitting the ball over long on, his right leg hoisted in mid-air. He has been doing that since he was 17, and he does it still now, even at this age of, what, 21?

7: James Bond, though I've (with an embarrassed look) never liked a single movie.

8: Mandrake's arch rival, just edging out spiders and octopi, despite the latter being quite delicious.

9: A box called 9 Diamonds someone had gifted me on one of those earlier birthdays. Among everything it had a game called Pick-Up-Sticks that involved carefully picking up very narrow sticks from a pile; given the thickness of my fingers, I was pathetic at this. Beats Gunmaster from Suraksha.

10: Raavan and his (in all probability) asymmetric heads. Had to be. Ahead of Jim Laker, Anil Kumble, shirt numbers of Tendulkar, Pele and Maradona, a house called Prateeksha and commandment counts.

11: The number of players in a cricket, T20 or football team.

12: Annas, along with five rupees. Kishore Kumar. Asha Bhosle. Madhubala. Teri gathri mein laaga chor. Dheere se jaana bagiyan mein. All that. A tough ask, though, selecting it over Chris Martin's highest test score, tasks of Hercules and Asterix, and a house number at Grimmauld Place.

13: Number of episodes of almost all 1980s TV serials, especially Jochhon Dostidar's Tero Parbon. No numerological names. No nonsense. Crisp. Honest. Brilliant. Chosen ahead of the 13th film of a certain career, where an angry young man overcame his equine dreams to outshine the equally attractive Sher Khan and Teja. Also worth a mention is 1313 Webfoot Walk, Duckburg, Calisota.

14: The Hindi version of the word, mostly used as a suffix to boka.

15: The two 15th Augusts - 1947 and 1975. Which one to choose, seriously?

16: Ages of heroines in most Bollywood movies till the 1980s. This often had spectacular effects, with people like Asha Parekh playing those roles. I chose this ahead of my house number.

17: Harry Potter's coming of age, his mother's magic wearing off, his permission to perform magic out of school, his getting a watch owned by Fabian Prewett, his invasion of the ministry, his living as a fugitive, his robbing a bank, his waging a war in his own school, his turning Voldy mouldy and his bowling a maiden over to Virender Sehwag. Okay, not the last one, but you get the story, correct?

18: The Mahabharata. Eighteen chapters. Eighteen days of war. Eighteen akshauhinis worth of soldiers. Enough said. An automatic choice over my voting age, and more redundantly, my driving age.

19: The two digits I had always written in addition to the mandatory six digits and three dots one had to write at the top right corner of every classwork and homework sheet.

20: My own birth date. Definitely a better choice than cute-looking hexagonal aluminium coins.

21: The length (in inches) of... a Samsung television set I've owned for eight years now. It has been used as much as ceiling fans now, and I've never faced a single problem. Also the points needed to win a table-tennis match in its glory days.

22: Length of a cricket pitch, in yards. A classmate of mine always walked across the pitch while drunk, and if it took him more than 22 steps, he knew he had already had too much alcohol for the night. Also something to do with gold and carats, though I'm not sure what it meets. Purity, I suppose.

23: Complan. Beats chromosome count in a human sex cell and vague recollections of terms like meiosis.

Don't miss the vinculum!
24: The number I was asked to write using three zeroes when I was ragged as a fresher at Presidency College. For the very curious-minded, this is the solution:

25: Towel Day. Tough choice, over 25th June 1983. Definitely ahead of the Baisakh date of that bearded guy fame.

26: The quick brown fox jumps over the old lazy dog. Also, my current pin code back home.

27: Number of cubes in a Rubik's cube. Also His age when Saat Hindustani released.

28: Perfect numbers (barring the trivial 6). The factors of 28 (1, 2, 4, 7, 14) add to the number itself, thereby banishing almost all other numbers to the ignominy of imperfection. Also the static age of Kapil Dev over a decade or so.

29: J 9 A 10 K Q 8 7. Followed by that man Bradman, yet again. 29 hundreds in 52 tests, no typo there. Lots of others mentioned here as well, even the atomic number of copper.

30: Jeetendra and his medications. Definitely over the only notable battle in history known by its duration, as opposed to the more commonly used venue.

31: That day of December on which Doordarshan always got Penaz Masani and her hair to sing independently and identically distributed numbers amidst copious amounts of multicoloured smoke.

32: My dental count before an attractive dentist called Vibha Jain who brought it down by two, thanks to a couple of her attempts. She's good in all senses of the word, and definitely wins over the American value for freezing point and Pheluda's Colt model number (with a decimal point, of course).

33: Number of Byomkesh stories. Includes Bishupal Bodh, the one Narayan Sanyal apparently dared to finish in a blind dash of blasphemy. Also my current age. Also the first two digits you need to dial after dialling the country code, whether I'm at Kolkata or Winston-Salem.

34: Gavaskar. Also the last two digits of the slowest bus invented by mankind, running one trip a decade between Golf Green and Belgharia.

35: Millimetres. Archaic movies. Random memories of the phrase Eastman Colours.

36: Malcolm Nash, Tilak Raj, Daan van Bunge and Stuart Broad. Also the first and third (last) numbers of a testosterone-inducing sequence.

37: Body temperature of an average human being in degrees Celsius. I used to own a Celsius thermometer once, by the way.

38: My waist size. Finally. A simple yay!! won't do it for me, I need to go jhingalala hoom, jhingalala hoom, jhingalala hoom, hurr! hurr!! at this.

39: Hitchcock and his steps. Nice ones, them.

40: -C=-F. Alibaba. Hanuman Chalisa. Noah's Ark. Somehow the Class VII physics question edges everything else out.

41: Oh, that bearded guy (see 25) died. Left behind a copyright to be expired and a Nobel Prize to be stolen subsequently.

42: God. Betelguese V. Towels. Goosnargh. Other similar stuff. Also the name of a Bengali movie based on freedom struggle, one that I was not allowed to see till a certain age because it apparently had sexually explicit scenes. I could never locate a single one when I was allowed, finally. Also the house number of P Sherman of Wallaby Way, Sydney, the only known person who wrote his name and address on his diver's mask.

43: Last two digits of His score when He had launched a desert storm to conquer another. Definitely more goosebump-generating than the facts that the Indian National Army was formed, and Andaman was renamed Swades and Nicobar Lagaan. Okay, Swaraj.

44: My shirt (shoulder) size. Beats the ISD code of Lord's Cricket Ground, Douglas Adams and J K Rowling, among others.

45: Winning margin in first test ever. An encore in the Centenary test as well. Speak of coincidences.

46: International cricket resumes after World War II. Definitely more important than the human chromosome count.

47: Sanjay Dutt. Akshay Kumar's initials. A stronger memory than Pomona College (do a Google on Pomona College 47). A country and its neighbour being born as well.

48: The Invincibles. All of them. Which brings us back to that man, mentioned in 0 and 29.

49: My father and Sunil Gavaskar (in chronological order) were born (to different people). Possibly the two most important men in my life in the 1980s.

50: Totorum, Aquarium, Laudanum and Compendum. Beats the matchstick count per box, and India becoming a republic and promptly squandering their only chance at a world cup soccer.

51: Number of states in the USA, DC included. Put within quotes, separated by commas, used as a macro variable in my file.

52: A pack of cards minus Heath Ledger. Hence the denominator of answers to many probability problems. Edges narrowly past Chandrasekhar's 6/52 and 6/52 at MCG to win us a test in 1978.

53: Jim Laker. This one apparently took me less than a second to think of.

54: The woman who has apparently contributed to 50% of my gene pool was born. Yes, she does win over Frank Tyson and his efforts.

55: Hat gono bhat pnach, edging out Guru Dutt and Madhubala and the sum of the first ten natural numbers.

56: House number of my first crush. An obvious choice over a strange movie by Nana Patekar, the first term of this sequence and Hercule Poirot's house number.

57: Take a pick: Battle of Plassey or Sepoy Mutiny. I pick the second because it inspired Aamir Khan to act in possibly the raunchiest movie of his career.

58: Number of deliveries I faced when I scored three not out as I carried my bat through an innings on a minefield of an 18-yard pitch in ISI Delhi. Remains my best effort till date.

59: Wherever I am, whatever I may be doing, if I'm staring at a digital watch just before noon or midnight, I invariably wait till 11:59:59 rolls over to 12:00:00. Always. Yes, I know I'm weird.

60: The current age of retirement in Government offices. Once she's past it, my mother can return to her full-time devotion towards TV serials.

61: ISD code for MCG and Shane Warne, SCG and Glenn McGrath.

62: The Indo-China War. We fought hard, watched Haqeeqat, feasted on chowmein and chilli chicken, rejected their cellphones as illegal or whatever, and about half a century later, made Chandni Chowk to China, the only known movie where Mithun was killed by a hat.

63: Nokia E63, the best cellphone I've ever owned. Chosen ahead of Kennedy's assassination, crushing the urban legend that he was shot exactly a hundred years after Lincoln was, in 1865.

64: A group of black-and-white squares that taught me at a very young age that battles are more fun with queens than without.

65: Chicken 65 Roll, the best thing to have ever rested on a Mongini's shelf.

66: Arthur Mailey and All That. The best autobiography by a cricketer. Ever.

67: Crowbars. Why? Because of this.

68: Games won by John Isner against Nicolas Mahut in the match. A Wikipedia page got created during the match.

69: My geography marks in Madhyamik. Unlike some people, I do not associate this number with Listerine.

70: Brazil acquiring the Jules Rimet Trophy on a permanent note (and losing it subsequently).

71: The twin series. Wadekar. Gavaskar. Sardesai. Chandra. Magic.

72: House number of Ghonada's mess. As I grow in age, he's turning out to be a more and more fierce rival of Pheluda in my realm of da's.

73: The larger factor of 365, the number of days in a normal year. Less than half of the corresponding one for a leap year.

74: 0.5 less than one of the greatest Bengali movies ever made, starring Tulshi Chakraborty, Bhanu Bandopadhyay, Uttam Kumar, mashima and malpo.

75: Arguably the best year in the history of Bollywood. Think of the names: Jai Santoshi Maa, possibly the first religious movie to have a serious cult following; Warrant, with lots of Dev Anandisms; Dharmatma, Feroz Khan's uber-glamorous version of Godfather; Khel Khel Mein, Zinda Dil and Rafoo Chakkar, with the unmissable Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh magic; Julie, which had Sridevi along with everything else; Faraar, with Sharmila trying her level best to put up with two incredible actors at their supreme best; Chhoti si Baat, of Colonel Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh fame; Aandhi, Gulzar's best till date; Mausam, good enough to make it to a double-cassette with Aandhi; Chupke Chupke, if not for anything else then at least for His breaking down at 2:10:05 or the scene starting from 2:14:30 - vee, aye, ess...; Mili, where I didn't realise for over an hour that I was watching open-mouthed and accumulating drool; Zakhmee, a smart, sleek production; Prem Kahani, with a nice storyline and the stylish Rajesh Khanna; Uljhan, one of the best performances of Sanjeev Kumar; Khushboo, despite Jeetendra and Hema Malini; and then, Deewaar and Sholay.

76: Ami Miss Calcutta, the only song I know that has the word statistics. Definitely a winner over a basketball team in Philadelphia and a monwontor (famine somehow doesn't have the same charm).

77: Last two digits of my birth year. Marginally beats the birth year of test cricket, which is more or less the same thing, since it's synonymous to life.

78: A bunch of private buses that ply on BT Road (with A, B, C, D or nothing after the number). They go to places with murky names like Ghola.

79: Vesuvius. If you have read Sukumar Ray's magnificent article on the volcano as a child you're bound to get visions for several years. For some reason this outdoes the house number of my parental residence.

80: The number (or age) Bhanu Bandopadhyay told us not to reach. A brilliant yet underrated movie.

81: Add a 2 before it, and you'd possibly get the number that has affected me the most in the past decade. It still seems only yesterday that 281 had happened. I've never witnessed anything so unreal, so magical, so invigorating, so emotional. Nothing. One day of mystique changed my life. And a nation's. Thanks VVS, as always.

82: A collection of 25-paise coins, forming the standard Bengali unit of slaps. This came so spontaneously to my mind that I even ignored the one mentioned in 85.

83: A sibling being born. A world cup win (a double entry, because we scored 183 in 1983). My only stay at a hospital. What else do you need? The order speaks for itself. And I'm not even mentioning Kapil Dev's 9/83, Ganguly's 183 or Dhoni's 183* here.

84: Ondhokare chourashita noroker kundo, tahate dubaye dhore patokir mundo. Chosen ahead of a thousand less than the number mentioned in an incredibly boring and overhyped Mahasweta Devi novel title.

85: The Oval. 1882. This thing can be done. It was done in the end. Spofforth. The burnt bails. The ashes. The urn. The birth. This page. Oh, for a time-turner!

86: A tied test, ahead of the three M's: Maradona in Mexico, Miandad at Sharjah and Mithun in Hope '86.

87: Sukumar Ray; and a documentary made on him by his illustrious son, exactly a hundred years later.

88: The longitude of Kolkata, rounded off to the nearest degree (East). Also the longest Roman representation among two-digit numbers - LXXXVIII.

89: Multiplex chain in Swabhumi. Acquired subsequently by Forum.

90: Number of overs in a day's play. Outdoes the duration of a soccer match.

91: An ISD code I need to dial frequently whenever I leave country. Now that my parents both use MTS, I have to start with 9191. Also reminiscent of 911, which ironically uses the same digits as 9/11.

92: An Oscar and a death doesn't leave space for much else. Not even a brutal riot in December.

93: WG Grace, because of this match. He ended his team innings in an apparently meaningless declaration. Reason? He had his full set of scores from 0 through 100, barring 93. Beat that.

94: I-94, the familiar card you need to fill up during any USA-bound flight. This is the one where you invariably need to call the flight attendant to ask whether City Where You Boarded shall be your Indian airport or the transit airport in Europe or Singapore/Bangkok, depending on your coast.

95: The most commonly used confidence limits, of course. Example: 2+2=4.01 at 95% confidence limits. Selected ahead of age-old visions of Ctrl, Alt and Delete and the static price of Chetan Bhagat books.

96: Sunil Gavaskar. His last test innings. Goosebumps. Nostalgia. Lots more. Chosen over a page number of my Class V geography book, the location of which I had somehow managed to find while opening the book itself: it won me several hard-fought book-cricket matches.

97: Gundappa Viswanath. On a Chennai minefield. Against a rampant Andy Roberts. Unbeaten. Possibly The Indian Batting Performance till 281 came along.

98: First two digits of any Indian cellphone all over the country till 2002. Whenever someone asked me to save his number, I typically typed in 98 before he started speaking. Then Reliance came and spoiled everything. Also, the year in which I opened my first email account, on (I'm serious) Hotmail.

99: Maximum body temperature at which my mother used to say that it wasn't a sufficient reason to skip studies.

100: Removal of headgear, revealing of designer hair or bandana, raising of bat, beam at the crowd and Ravi Shastri shouting at 32,807 decibels that it's a hundred. Beats the Blindfolded Big-Bang, resulting in The Losing Brethren (see 18 if you're confused).


  1. Simply wonderful.
    May He get a hundred and ten more runs tonight!

  2. oi 0! er opore aar niche dot gulor maane ki ? aar vinculum maane to mathar opor line? seta kothay ?

  3. For those who do not know Abhishek da,

    19= He got his masters in 2000 and he did all his home work before 2000 because typically you don't have to do home works in the final semester.

    Ghyam post. Ek sho te ek sho.

  4. oshadharon hoyechhe i think it's the best till date

  5. Hey Dude, That's a simply so rejuvenating post. It uncorks all the passions and ramblings of a true blogger. Carry on bro

  6. baakrudho hoye sotti-e superbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

  7. Wonderful post.....too good...count me as fan.

  8. my friend in No. 4 (ur daughter's birth yr) the Tv series Ek Do Teen Char, u've made few mistakes.
    Asif is the wrong name Aarif is the rt name and his character was not played by Love Baronia, was played by Late Vikas Khanna (a prominent child artiste from Bollywood who passed away after a few years of that serial airing on TV). The bespectacled guy whose name you don't remember playing Baba Shetty's role goes by the name Love Baronia. Which is me. And thx for liking my work back then.

    1. What happened to Vikas I was tracking when I came to realise that he is no more.

  9. Are you the real Love Baronia? The guy who played Baba Shetty? You have no idea how eagerly I waited for Ek Do Teen Char to be aired!

    Why did you give up on acting?

  10. Also pl visit my blog http://ideas27.blogspot and leave a comment on the current post which deals with a win-4-all solution the Ayodhya shrine dispute.

    thx again,

  11. It had four kids called Ramu (Suraj Karani), Johnny (Ali Ashgar), Asif (Vikas Khanna) and Baba Shetty (Love Baronia).

    I was googling for info on this TV serial coz I would watch it as a child since DD was the only option. I came by a youtube video of it and that's how I got the names. I got the link to your blog in the same search.

    Can't believe that the TV serial is almost 30 years old now. We had such simple entertainment back then.

    1. You came by a YouTube video? :P

      Please, please share the link!

  12. Love,
    if you are reading this thread, do you know what happened to another child actor from your era Kewal Shah, who acted in Mahabharat,
    Tipu Sultan etc. There seems to be no trace of him.

    PS: I loved Ek do teen char. wish someone could upload videos of it on youtube.