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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Four years old!

Come July 8th, this blog is going to be four years old; and this is the 180th post. I hardly wrote much in 2006, the first year: the tempo picked up only in late 2007, but I am happy to say that I have maintained it ever since, and not by constantly repeating myself either: I have written about everything from aeroplanes to religion to economics to literature and movies, environmental issues and politics and education and ethical concerns and little travelogues and personal reminiscences and what have you.

I am glad that the number of people enrolling as ‘followers’ has begun to rise fast since mid-2009. At this rate, I might have a thousand of them well before I die! A big thank you to all who have joined, and boo to all those who ‘follow privately’, and those who have vanished after I ticked them off in no uncertain manner.

I shall entreat first-time visitors not to make up their minds about me before they have read at least fifty posts, including the seven labelled ‘earliest posts’ (see right sidebar) and the essay titled What sort of person am I, the link to which is a permanent fixture on top of this page.

To comment-writers – except those who are old friends already, and therefore always welcome to say whatever they like – I shall only say ‘Please do write, but not unless you have something substantial and relevant to say, or something to draw my attention to, or something to ask’. I have this urge to reply to everybody (except the very banal and vulgar, of course), because I regard it as essential courtesy, but I get tired of answering people who really have nothing to say, only a desire (often subconscious, maybe) to quarrel based on a) a dislike they have taken to me, b) strong opinions backed by poor knowledge and little reason and c) an urge to get noticed! To all such, I must repeat: just because you have written a comment does not mean that it is going to be published or answered. I am perfectly within my rights there, I should think.

Another request: please do follow the basic universal rules of courtesy. An address is absolutely necessary (Dear Sir/Dear Mr. Chatterjee), and that according to my admittedly old-fashioned notions of civility, which means no one addresses me as Suvro or Suvroda unless s/he is a senior, a close friend, or a favourite ex-student. There are many things about being old-fashioned that I like much more than I want to make new ‘friends’ or keep old ones. If that last sentence brands me as elitist and misanthropic, I don’t mind. I have been around long enough to have been able to make up my mind on a subject like that. And I bring to the internet the same self that I am in the brick and mortar world.

It tickles me to note that whenever I write things that are in the nature of unpleasant truths – as in the immediately previous post, or the one I wrote about fatherhood a short while ago – the flow of comments suddenly dries up. Nothing makes me feel more vindicated!

An apology is in order next – to all those who have very kindly requested me to write on this or that subject they were interested in, and I couldn’t oblige, either because I didn’t consider myself competent to comment (I hate know-alls, and am the first to admit that I am not one), or simply because I forgot! An old man’s failing, and I am getting old, no matter how indignant that makes some people who love me…

That’s all for now. Maybe I shall add a few lines here if something else occurs to me. You might want to read what I wrote exactly a year ago: that post is titled 'Looking back again'. Do say ‘Happy birthday’ to my blog, unless you are feeling particularly uncharitable. You don't have to wait till July 8!


Tanmoy said...

Dear Suvroda

Thank you for the bottom of my heart for writing this blog. In times where most of us lead a disillusioned life, your blogs provide directions to at least my thought process. I benefit from it immensely.

I wish you and the blog all the best for future and many more birthdays.



Sunup said...

Happy birthday SCb! May you continue the good run and may the Almighty grant your creator a happy and long life to keep you running!


Shilpi said...

Suvro da,
You indeed have written about so many different things and sometimes you've fitted in so many different things within the same post - I'll never stop being amazed - and it always makes one's mind spin meaningfully if not always happily.

Thank you.

I think I'll rattle off some of my favourite posts (from amongst the ones you wrote over the last year):
Your abiding woe,
Your daughter's first video,
The one about the then-not-so-terribly-old 'fool' in the sea,
Your review of The Fire-bird,
On Thanksgiving...,
They live beyond the lights,
Oh democracy,
On teaching,
Your review of Dirty Harry,
On music, and
the one on your love for aeroplanes...
I may have missed some of my favourite ones out, and I'll probably slap my head later. But for the nonce, these were the ones that came to my head.

I like this post itself...and somehow that 'boo' is priceless.

I'll wish your blog a Happy Birthday on the day of its birthday, and not a day before.


Purnata said...

Dear Sir,
firstly, wishing a very very Happy Birthday to your blog, and may it be named a "Blog of Note" by Blogger soon.

Secondly, Sir, I have a request. Many of your posts have thankfully changed my ideas about the world (which weren't right before). So I want to know about your take on the reservation for castes in the educational system.

I support the Reservation for castes, as I think we general caste people should pay for the injustice we have done to people now denoted as SC, ST or OBC (the injustice hasn't much stopped) under the veil of religion. But for having this view, I was dubbed "a CPM supporter" by my English tutor (who was, otherwise, a housewife) and I faced lots of criticism from my peers. Even if there is any post where you have written about it, please let me know (sorry, Sir, for the inconvenience I might be causing :-) ) but now that I am about to enter college, these questions are troubling me a bit!

Purnata Ghosal

Shilpi said...

There was also the essay on Henry Allingham and your recent one titled 'Not Impressed'.
I won't add anything else but I had to come back and add these two.

And terribly old or not, may you keep writing for awhile.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Purnata, many thanks for writing. On the reservations question, I am entirely in agreement with you, although I must point out that the privileges are now being grossly abused! You can discuss this further with me privately if you wish, via email ... but the person (I am ashamed to hear it was a teacher) who said that your support shows that you are a CPIM supporter was an ignorant and ill-mannered fool. You don't have to support the CPM to support reservations (it was the Congress which started it!), and besides, which party you support is none of her business (notice, I say this though I am not a CPM supporter myself), and in a free country everybody has every right to support whichever party she wants to. Supporting the CPM is not something chhee chhee!

As for my blog becoming tagged as a 'blog of note', I don't really care. If you have gone through some of those blogs which are so tagged already, you will discover that many of them are pathetic - it would hardly be an honour to be ranked with them - and besides, how many 'blogs of note' written by non-Americans have you seen?

You did not inconvenience me in any way. I am always glad to talk with people who have sensible things to say and ask. I look forward to your next communication. Take care, and good luck.

Sreejith Nair said...

Dear Sir,
I remember hearing this phrase from you many-a-time: "Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional".

In that context as Suvro Chatterjee Bemused (SCB) grows older, it has helped us all grow up as well. A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!! While being happy that a four year old can teach me so much (!!) I must also thank this blog for its opinions and advice.

I can not help saying that coming to think of it, I feel that for most of us who have been reading, commenting and appreciating Bemused (SCB) as well as Wanton Whimsy (SWWW), both of them have almost become like personified characters whom we feel like 'chatting' to often.
While SCB is 'my type' and I enjoy his company, most an occasional lighter moment is best shared with SWWW!

Once again Happy Birthday and keep blogging!!

Anonymous said...


Its always been a pleasure to read your articles, and undoubtedly will always continue to be so. As a matter of fact, it was only your blog and encouragement that inspired me to start a blog of my own. Hope I see SCB growing and prospering as it has been doing over these 4 years.


Looking forward for more from you.


Nishant said...

My heartiest Birthday Wishes to the blog. Hope it grows, shares more and meets many along the way.


Rajdeep said...

Happy Birthday blog! Best wishes. Keep up writing Sir.

Sayak Shome said...

Dear Sir,
A childish poem for your grown up blog.

Happy Birthday Dear Blog,
Come 8th July,
You'll be four years old,
In all these years,
So many stories you've told.
Things of concern,
Be it dust or gold,
You've talked about them,
With a stance so bold.
With warm words,
Sometimes ripostes cold;
You've been clear about,
The beliefs you ahold.
I wonder in awe,
And with respect; behold.
How many minds, with proper ideas,
So perfectly have you mould.

Bemused are you, so are we;
Wonderous knowledge, we've acquired from thee.

Love and best wishes,

As you like it said...


Wishing your blog a very Happy Birthday.

This is the most precious blog I have found over the internet till now. I enjoy reading everything you write, but most importantly, some of your posts make me think over various different things, and it makes me read those posts again and again! The first thing that I do everyday after switching on my machine is check my mailbox and click on the thumbnail of you blog, in fact, both the blogs! Please keep writing. Hope to read on many more interesting topics in this blog!

With regards and Best Wishes-


devdas said...

Hello Suvro-da,
please accept my best wishes and surely your blog has made its mark in all respects. I do scroll down often and admire your energy to think and write...hope you wont mind, a few lines from my side:
লিখেছো ওনেক ভেবেছো ওনেক বেশি
কথায় কথায় বেজে যায় কালের দিবানিশি.....
সময়ের স্রোতে ভেসে যেতে সখা একদা দিলে পাড়ি
জেনো একদিন মিলবে ঠিকানা যেথা আপনার বাড়ি


nkr said...

Dear Sir,

Happy Birthday to your blog. I love all your posts and I hope you keep writing for a long long time.

I have personally learnt a lot from your blog. Your views on ethical issues are inspiring and for me they tell me why one should live by the right values rather than be super 'cool' (but a super moron). Also, reading this blog and some of those you follow, has rekindled the love of reading books once again! I owe all this to you via this blog. So 3 cheers for SCB.


Suvro Chatterjee said...

A grateful thanks to those who have written already, and a sigh to think that so many more claim to be 'regular and admiring' readers but haven't yet 'found time' to offer even a one-line good wish...

Debasish (I've said this before), do please check that whatever you write in some language other than English comes over as legible English!

Sayak: nice try!

Nirman: you surprise me.

Nishant (Kamath): thanks, of course, but you were quite capable of writing a few lines more!

Shilpi: so kind of you to remember so many posts. I wonder how many of my so-called admirers could actually do that!

"sam X": I have said again and again that I do not publish comments from anonymous sources or people hiding behind pseudonyms. But your question has been answered on my orkut forum thread titled Message Board (the last entry there).

Navin said...

Dear Sir,
I hope that I continue reading great posts from you for a long time to come. For the last four years it has been quite a volume of material which you have kindly shared with us.

All the best for your blog and I can only hope that the frequency of your blog posts only increase over time.


devdas said...

Hello Suvro-da,
thanks for pointing this out.

I have a few lines (but not word by word translation):

You have pondered and written even more;
Like nights and days the words seem to flow.
One day the voyage shall end on some distant shore,
To the place you always wanted to go........

I have always wondered why emotions are so space dependent? Maybe we are humans ...after all.


Aakash said...

Dear Sir,

Wishing your blog the very best. I look forward to read more, know more, and grow to be a more understanding human being.

Thank you Sir.


aranibanerjee said...

Let's have a birthday bash! And it has to be in the capital of the nation (if such a thing exists). Here's the menu:
1.Famous Grouse: a couple of pegs--on the rocks and Patiala (celebrating the impeccable spare English prose that you write)
2. Wild mushroom vol-au-vents (for all the semi-literates you manage to scare away)
3. Fish and chips (dripping with animal fat-exactly as the Englishmen have them): celebrating the John Cleese blog post
4. Mutton steak (in honour of that gem-of-a-post called 'Teaching')
5. Yorkshire pudding (and this isn't a dessert)--celebrating 'Travelling Once More...' (do excuse this bit of narcissism)
6. Dark chocolate pastries from Claridges at Aurangzeb Road for the real McCoy: 'Counterculture'

We will fix up a date and definitely have a bash. Meanwhile, 'hazaar'thanks for the blog and thanks for bringing some quality to the internet--a respite from the farmers on facebook.

May it live for many more years.

Abhirup said...

Dear Sir,
A very happy birthday to your blog. On this occassion, I would like to convey my deepest thanks to you for providing me (and so many others) with lucid, thought-provoking posts for four years. You have written on such a wide variety of subjects that I don't know what else I should ask you to write about. Nevertheless, here are a couple of requests:

1) While I know why you don't write much about books and films, I would humbly ask you to share your thoughts on these topics more frequently. I would love to read and comment upon them; and I know that there are at least a dozen regular followers of your blog who will also have important, sensible things to say.

2) I would also like to read more satirical pieces, such as the translated article of Parimal Sengupta on how crudely Bengalis celebrate Christmas and New Year, the letter supposedly authored by John Cleese, and the sharp American rebuttal to it.

Take care, and keep writing. I shall look forward to many, many more delightful posts on this blog.

With love and regards,

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Well, that's more like it! I was wondering whether people really read my blog or not, and whether they were lacking in minimal courtesy. Those who haven't 'found time' in five days even to send a one-line greeting can hardly claim any affection or attention from me hereafter... there are limits to rudeness, even if it's 'unintentional' (which is something I actually refuse to believe, having given offence to many, but rarely 'unintentionally'!)

Debasish, thanks for taking the trouble.

Aakash, so kind of you. You reinforce my conviction that nobody needs to grow snooty with age. Having an old boy like you is a privilege.

Arani, that invitation was superb; the menu (though I could never do justice to it at one sitting) as much as the humour interlaced with it. May we often sit down to such 'feasts of reason and flow of soul', well-provisioned by the choicest victuals of the more worldly kind!

And Abhirup: it's a tall order, and humbling too, but I shall certainly try. My only lament is that I rarely get much good feedback when I write about books and movies, and I hate the feeling that I am talking to a wall...

Take care, and the choicest good wishes, all.

Archishman Sarkar said...

Dear Sir,

Happy birthday to "You bemused". It was nothing but pleasure to read your blog posts. It had liked every bit of it, which has not only made me a more pondering person but also to keep myself informed. The best ones were the humours, philosophizing, and the personal sections. Not to forget the memorable comments of Shilpi Di and Avirup Da.


Suvro Chatterjee said...

... and as for all those who know full well how much hurt they have given this man who never wished them ill, well, the Good Book says Vengeance is mine, said the Lord...

Suvro Sarkar said...

Haha hopefully I'm in time to escape the Lord's vengeance!

Dear Sir, your blog gives me one of the few means to escape the drudgery of office and actually lets my brain do some serious thinking for a change. It has been a constant companion for more than a year now, and my colleagues must wonder what I read on the green (now blue) page so often. I'm sure you have noticed Singapore blinking on your visitor map on many a day.

I must accept I am bad at writing comments, though, sometimes because I do not have enough to add value to the post/ preceding comments, mostly because I'm too lazy, and on some rare occasions, because I cannot identify with the post enough. However, I've thoroughly enjoyed writing my views whenever I've got the chance, and hope to participate more in the forum, going forward.

When I read the comments from your old boys and girls, it gives me cheer that there are still so many "good" people on the planet. Maybe there could be one day in the year when all the active participants in this forum could meet up with you and have a SCB get-together...that would be fun!

So cheers to your blog and hope your follower count balloons beyond your wildest dreams in the years to come...


Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,
I am really sorry for being late. Please accept my apologies.
And now, A Very Happy Birthday to your blog. This blog had been a source of information,knowledge and inspiration for me. Whenever I am feeling lonely or am not in a good mood, I visit your blog to spend my time fruitfully. I must say I have learnt a lot. And though I can't see or hear from you regularly, this blog compensates it for all.
So thank you Sir for this blog.Hope you will continue surprising us by your words in years to come...
Yours lovingly

Vaishnavi said...

Dear Sir,

Before anything else, I want to wish your blog a very very very happy birthday and hope it celebrates umpteen more. I am so sorry for the delay in commenting but I hope to make up for it. When I first began reading your blog, I couldn't have guessed that it would form such a major portion of my reading time. There is always something for me here, something that makes me think, laugh, cry too (that post on your grandfather Sir) and I love this bemused blog. Forgive me Sir, if I am not able to adequately say how much I love this blog and esteem you but I do want to convey my regards from the bottom of my heart and I am heart glad of this blog's success.


Shameek said...

Dear SIR,
Wish your blog a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY..
Whenever i read the blog,it makes me think upon the various topics you write on.May this successful journey continue...and looking forward to many more interesting posts from you in the future...

with regards,

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Well, Archishman, Suvro, Anurupa, Vaishnavi and Shameek: thank you very much indeed. It's people like you who make it worthwhile for me to keep hammering away at the keyboard! Tomorrow's the birthday: let's see if some more people feel like wishing us good luck...

Anirvan Choudhury said...

Respected Sir,

Wishing your blog a very very "HAPPY BIRTHDAY".

Your blog is a treasure trove of fresh air amidst our suffocating environs. We look forward to many more decades of happy blogging and many more birthdays to celebrate. As always, please show us the light in our journey of life.

sincere regards,


Pradipta said...

Dear Suvroda, Dear Sir, Dear Philosopher,
Wish You and Your Blog a Very Very Happy Birthday!!!!!!
I believe Just in Time Wishes are more pleasing!!!!! May You (Want to wish so) and Your Blog continue to be Strong and Steady as the Days Pass By and the number of Visits Cross 150000 by the next Birthday (I think that it is not too much by the Current Standards as you expected 50000 by this July which mark was long crossed by May)!!!!!!

Amit parag said...

After spending nearly a month thinking about writing something worthwhile, I fully appreciate what Rabindranath Tagore meant when he said that no hand can give the greatest of gifts.
Sir's blog( which also becomes mine if I were to quote Tagore again,"Whatever we understand and enjoy in human products instantly becomes ours, wherever they might have their origin") is one of those few things that are a part of my very own family. Running to cyber cafes to read the latest blog or checking if any new comment has been posted, is altogether a very exciting part of the day.
So I will end my short and crude message with the hope that the blog fulfills the purpose for which it was set up.
Happy Birthday blog!

Shilpi said...

Happy Birthday to your blog, Suvro da. May it prosper more and more. Happy writing (and reading) for you and happy reading for us.
It indeed would be good to have a birthday party in honour of your blog one day.
Thank you for the blog.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Anirvan, Pradipta, Amit and Shilpi,

Many thanks for taking the trouble. It is heartwarming that you took a little time off your respective schedules to say 'Happy Birthday'. I hope I shall be able to keep on catering readable stuff for folks like you for quite some time to come.

I take pride in the fact that my blog does not exist on the net just for the heck of it, but so many people keep visiting it regularly. I wish more of them would feel like writing comments of the kind that would enthuse all of us to get involved in lively and friendly debates that are beneficial to all. To provide just such a forum to a lot of decent and broadly like-minded people was my primary aim right from the start...

Shilpi said...

It's the 7th here and the 8th there - so I guess it's a perfect time to wish your blog a very Happy Birthday. I can't believe that it's been a year but let me not get into that. I'm not sure when I exactly started expecting weekly essays/posts but I now do.

Thank you lots and may you keep sharing your writings, worldviews and thoughts and all else that you can and do, here and elsewhere, for many years more. Hope too that you have more followers and more commentators through time.