Bargains! Bargains!

Sudipta Bhawmik

The Great BargainWe Bengalis are fond of bargains. We feel insulted to shop at any store which do not allow bargaining. We are paranoid that the store owners and businesses are always on the lookout for ways to rip us off. And we would like to be on top of them. “Start your negotiation at one third the asking price”, advised our elders who claim to be the greatest negotiators of all time, “and be prepared to walk away, but slowly. The shopkeeper is going to call you back with a better offer!”
You need to be thick skinned too. Some of the savvy sales people will attack your pride and self confidence without any mercy. They will make you feel like a lowlife for having the audacity to make such an outrageous offer. Some, will keep on playing with you your own game and finally both of you will agree on a deal which will appear like a big win for you and a big loss for the sales person. He will whine and cry and ask you for the last two bits that you can spare, like “Dada, aar duto taka diye din; bounir somoy!”, and you will gracefully oblige. After all you are the big winner! You will walk away with your winning smile, and the sales person will start dealing with his next customer, hiding his own laughter. Many of us, the hard bargainers, snobbishly avoid those stores who conspicuously display the “Fixed Price” sign. What is the fun in shopping if we can’t get to play the bargaining game?
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Entertainment Scene

Amitava Sen

Pujor Gaaner AshorNo one can say that Raghav Chatterjee does not sing well. He does. He is an extremely talented and skilled singer and performer. But he came up short in delivering for the major and I stress, major part of his audience at Kallol Puja. He was too loud and sometimes painfully screaming. His repertoire was too post modern and convoluted for our liking. He possibly was targetting relatively young Calcutta born crowd present, but he definitely did not cater to the people who paid most for hiring him. The fault does not lie with him. The so called younger group of Kallol is ostensibly in control of the stage and what goes on there. Programs are chosen and directed by them with a trace of arrogance and a little bias. We heard Raghav at Banga Sammelan in New York and really liked his not so hip performance on the sober side. But his program at Kallol was disappointing to many and I dare say most of us. 50 people who danced with his singing at Durga Puja are not the final arbiters, I am afraid. Continue reading

Pujor Chandaa

Sudipta Bhawmik

niramishasi webFinally 2005 Pujo is here. In this Garden State of ours, Kallol has started their celebration yesterday (Friday) evening and GSCA will start theirs from today. Are you all ready to hit the doors of Ukrainian Community Center or Plainfield High School? As you attempt to enter the doors, you’ll encounter few somber looking gentlemen sitting behind a linen covered desk with few preprinted stationary and scattered ball point pens. Yes, you now need to pull out your check book and be ready to shell out few dollars from your savings. The question is how much? Continue reading