Indian Food and Weight Watchers

For folks who follow the Weight Watchers diet system of points, the following table illustrates some of the popular Indian food items found in restaurants. However, note that this is not what we eat at home on a daily basis.  Now how do we calculate points for Maachher Jhol, Begun Bhaja, Mung-dal, Posto-bata?

Wise Choices POINTS Value
Raita, 1/2 cup 1
Chapati bread, 1 piece 2
Puri bread, 1 piece 2
Nan bread, 7 x 8-inch piece 4
Tandoori chicken without skin, 1 piece 4
Chicken tikka, 4 oz 5
Bean and lentil stew, 1 cup (dal maharani) 6
Not-So-Wise Choices POINTS Value
Samosa (fried vegetable or meat patties) 3
Lamb korma (spicy curry), 1 cup 15
Chicken curry, 1 cup 10
Vegetable fritters, 1 cup 10
Lamb biryani, 1 cup 14

Did You Like Kaminey?

I mean Vishal Varadwaj’s latest film “Kaminey”. I liked it a lot! I was pleasantly surprised when I saw his previous film “Omkara”.  So I went to the theater with high hopes. And Kaminey exceeded my expectations. I can say that it is the best Bollywood gangsta movie ever made.  It is a treat to watch how this talented film maker has blended in violence with humor! The story telling style, the high paced and intelligent editing, the mood photohraphy and lighting, the music and the exemplary acting by the cast members reminds us that Bollywood film making has evolved a lot from the days of Ajit, Pran and Prem Chopra! Vishal Varadwaj is the Quentin Tarantino of Mumbai – he can create visual poetry with violence, he can create characters that get tattooed in your brain, and he can create wonderful music with Gulzar’s lyrics!

If you have seen the movie, let us know how you liked it.

And if you haven’t seen the movie – don’t sit there! Go to the nearest theater that’s screening “Kaminey”

Bengali Speakers Needed

A translation company specializing in voice-overs and subtitling are looking for native speakers of Bengali for lip-sync/dubbing of a video series for the City of New York (We are New York). They need approximately 10 –12 speakers, teenager to senior, male and female. Is this something you’d like to get involved in?  Experience is preferred by not necessary.

Contact: Lindsey
InterNation, Inc.
299 Broadway, Suite 1400
New York, NY 10007
toll free: 800.222.8799
phone: 212.619.5545
fax: 212.619.5887

Aila Causes Devastation in West Bengal

I am watching the devastation caused by hurricane Aila on ETV Bangla news. It looks really bad. Although the local adminstration has ramped up the rescue operation quite efficiently, the wide spread destruction is very difficult to handle. The recent election seems to have been responsible for this quick response from the Left Front State Govt who wants to prove that they have not lost contact with the people. The Trinamool leaders on the other hand is using this disaster to prove themselves as the viable alternative in the state.  The White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had once said, “… a crisis like this cannot go to waste.”  The West Bengal politicians do not want this opportunity thrown to them by Aila to be wasted either. This is an excellent opportunity to prove themselves.
Whatever may be the reason, if  the state politicians for a change work in favor of the people, it would serve them as well as the people. A New Tool to Write in Bengali Bengali Web interfaceDo you write in Bengali or any other Indian languages? Try quillpad! Its a great new online wordprocessor for Indian languages. The cool thing about this tool is its flexibility in transliteration. One does not need to follow any specific set of rules. The tool automatically tries to guess the word that you want to type in, and also offers multiple alternatives.  This is an excellent feature because it can take care of  several Bangla spelling issues.  The documentation says that it works better on Internet Explorer, however I tried it on Firefox and Chrome and it works fine.  One issue I encountered was the limitation of Bangla font availablility. Currently the font used is “Vrinda” and it’s not the best Bangla font available. The other issue is that this tool seems to have limited formatting capability.  I am concerned about how effectively can this tool be used to write Bengali documents besides emails and small messages.

I plan to check this tool out in more details and write a regular article some time later.

The Elusive Alexa Rank and How to Improve It

Alexa ranking is now the defacto standard for determining web popularity – the less the rank number the higher is your popularity. For example Google has the highest rank – 1. Most online advertisers use Alexa rank as the key metric to decide whether to spend their precious advertising dollars on a site.

However, the way Alexa computes a sites rank is  by measring how many visitors are viewing your site using a browser that has an Alexa tool bar installed. In other words, if a visitor do not have the Alexa tool bar installed, that visit does not count at all. Well, apparently there are are other variables used in computing the rank, but most webmasters and SEO pundits agree that the Alexa tool bar is the key instrumentation used in computing this elusive number.

One of the best ways of improving a web sites Alexa rank is to convince your visitors to download and install the Alexa tool bar (quite an unobtrusive element though) on their browser.  So if you are reading this now, download and install the toolbar and help improve my rank. However, if you are using one of the less popular web browsers like Google Chrome, then you (and me) are out of luck.

The other less effective ways are things like, installing Alexa widgets on your site, increasing the number of incoming links, use techniques like posting on Asian forums (apparently Alexa is more popular in Asia) etc. Google the term “how to improve Alexa rank” and you’ll find tons of advice.

But I think the only way to make it work for you is to get tons of traffic to your site.

Use Google to Search in Bengali

Want to search the web in Bengali for websites in Bengali? Visit and select the language (Bengali) from the menu below the search window.  Now type in your search keyword using your keyboard. Google uses a transliteration scheme to form the word in Bangla. It will also offer multiple options as you type in. Select your option, and voila’ – several Bangla websites will splash on your screen.

Give it a shot right away – if you haven’t done so.

ETV Bangla New Schedule for USA

ETV BanglaETV Bangla has changed its broadcast schedule in USA. They claim that the schedule is now follows the current Kolkata broadcast schedule only with the time shifted. In other words a show at 8.00pm in Kolkata will be broadcast at 8.00pm Eastern in USA. Although, now we have the privilge of watching the current shows instead of  a huge lag, the popular serials have now fast forwarded quite a bit with lot of story being lost in the process. The scheduling also doesn’t seem to be stabilzed – we often have to experience erratic programming.

The second issue is that the advertisements seem to have increased quite a bit. A short segment of broadcast is followed by a prolonged advertisement most of which are irrelevant for US market (I don’t think we are interested in Baygon Spray or Glucon-D).

The third issue is that ETV does not bother to update their listings with Direct-TV database and hence it makes DVR (aka Tivo, PVR) recording a major problem. I had once sent an email to ETV, and they did update it once. But that’s it.

Let’s hope ETV gets their act together soon and make our subscription worth it.