Amazing trivia #2 – এই সপ্তাহের আশ্চর্য তথ্য

This week’s trivia is completely pepper-related.

1. Did you know that black pepper is native to South India, but chili peppers originated in the Americas?

2. The Scoville scale measures the “hotness” of a chili pepper. It is named after Wilbur Scoville, an American who developed the scale.

3.  The hottest chili pepper in the world is the Bhut Jolokia pepper that grows in Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur.

4.  Indian defence scientists are creating a grenade using the Bhut Jolokia pepper.

5. There is a company that markets a weight-loss pill called Capsiplex made from hot peppers.

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Tora je ja bolish bhai, amar ghorar dim chai – তোরা যে যা বলিস ভাই আমার ঘোড়ার ডিম চাই!

Ashwadimba!The phrase “mare’s nest” is not used a lot these days. This is in contrast to the equivalent in Bengali, “asvadimba” (অশ্বডিম্ব) or “ghorar dim” (ঘোড়ার ডিম) which are both still commonly used to express disbelief at nonsense or fraud.

A more direct translation into English gives us something like “horse-egg.” Well, I   searched for the proverbial egg and found that it is a common motif in pysanka,  a type of Ukranian Easter egg decoration that relies on writing with wax. In parts of Eastern Europe, the horse is popular because it symbolizes both strength and prosperity.

In fact there are quite a few pictures of “horse-eggs” on the internet including one that is quite intricate.

With Christmas just around the corner, I’ve decided that I want a “ghorar dim,” and not just any will do. I want a stallion breaking out of an egg on a sweatshirt. If anyone wants to give one to me as a gift, I can tell you that you’ll find one online here.

© Bhalomanush. All content is copyright and may not be used without permission.

Botal se ek baat chali hai

A report in the Times of India states that in Delhi anyone over the age of 21 can serve drinks at bar and restaurants in the state due to new legislation, but they still cannot legally drink until they turn 25! I am not saying that the validity of this ludicrous law has any real-world implications, but it is amusing when you consider the fact that in India, anyone 18 or older can vote. In addition, women and men can get legally married at the ages of 18 and 21, respectively.

To read more about my thoughts on this ludicrous law check out my blog post on this topic.

© Bhalomanush. All content is copyright and may not be used without permission.

Not all Nobel Prizes are equal

Cross-posted in

As this years Nobel Laureates collect their prizes, a post in The Great Beyond mentions that winners in future years might actually get less prize money. The Nature blog quotes a story in Reuters which states that the Nobel Foundation has taken a 20% hit in assets due to the global recession.

On Twitter, Jason Snyder pointed out that a downsized Nobel was better than a confiscated one, to which I commented that a confiscated one was still better than a stolen one.

For those that aren’t up on their Nobel news, Jason was referring to Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi’s charge that officials had seized her award, a charge which Iran subsequently denied. I was talking about Indian Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s medal which was stolen in 2004. The police recently decided to close all investigations in that particular theft.

Clearly, not all Nobel Prizes are equal.

Here, you’ll find my list of how Nobel Prizes stack up on an arbitrary, but scientific-looking scale.

For the extra-inquisitive, I’ll add that Jean-Paul Sartre was the first person to decline a Nobel. Mahatma Gandhi, on the other hand was not deemed worthy by the Nobel Committee for the Peace Prize. Of course, Alfred Nobel who started the Nobel Peace Prize, invented dynamite.

Update: Iran recently returned Ms. Ebadi’s medal. How can you return something if you had not taken it away in the first place?

© Bhalomanush. All content is copyright and may not be used without permission.

Amazing trivia #1 – এই সপ্তাহের আশ্চর্য তথ্য

  1. Black Sabbath used to call themselves The Polka Tulk Blues Company.
  2. Cappuccino gets its name from Capuchin monks, whose robes are light brown.
  3. There are no clocks in Las Vegas gambling casinos.
  4. The first registered domain name was, which was registered on March 15, 1985.
  5. In Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho,’ the sound effects for the famous shower scene were created by repeatedly stabbing a casaba melon.

(Source: mental_floss)

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Finally Bengali films available for purchase online

While searching for Bengali films of Panchamda (R.D. Burman, রাহুলদেব বর্মন) I came across an excellent site that contains all the films released by Angel Video. Their price-structure is a bit weird: I mean in this day and age, who charges from 35 Rupees all the way to over 300 Rupees for VCDs of films? A VCD is essentially an outdated product, regardless of how you package it and to have a one order-of-magnitude price difference based for the same product seems counter-intuitive.

However, they do have an amazing website with at least a few hundred Bengali films. The nice thing about the website is that they have a search-engine that actually works. I’ve loaded up my shopping cart and will post my review of how promptly they process my order in a few days. So far, however, the process seems extremely efficient for people living in India. If you live outside of India, the best option is to have the VCDs and DVDs sent to someone in the country and pick them up when you visit. Right now, Angel is shipping anywhere in India for free as long as you purchase at least 500 Rupees worth of items.

The Angel Video website means now there are options. Before, we didn’t have that many and essentially had to purchase from retail websites that had very-highly marked up prices like Simindia. Simindia has virtually a non-existent interface and absolutely no search-engine. The only good thing about them though is that they deliver worldwide and they do so rather efficiently and promptly (I can vouch for this).

Anyways, I did a couple of searches on the Angel Video website and was excited with the results.

I was looking to increase my collection of Bhanu Bandyopadhyay films, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had many movies featuring Bhanu. It is quite a collection, indeed!

But most of all, I was happy to see that they carry a good stock of films in which Panchamda composed the music. Many of these bear the stamp of his assistant Sapan Chakraborty (স্বপন চক্রবর্তী ) too.

The R.D. Burman tribute site mentions that he composed the music for 32 Bengali films and another 134 non-film Bengali songs usually released around the time of the Pujas. I checked for the ones that Angel carries and was elated to find that they are selling 15 including some as rare as Anando Niketan with Sanjay, Sabitri, and Suparna (if you know anything about who Sanjay and Suparna are, do give me a buzz!)

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Khokon amar jadumoni… খোকন আমার জাদুমণি

Utpal Datta stole the show in the Bengali film, Bikele bhorer phul. Here are a couple of memorable teasers for purposes of review. Both clips are under one minute and courtesy of Angel Video. If you like these clips, I encourage you to buy the original VCD from them.

In the first, Utpal Datta gets emotional while reciting the poem he wrote, Khokon amar jadumoni.

In the second, as a special guest, he gives a completely unexpected speech (তোমরা মেয়েরা, তোমরা কি?)

Contai vs. Paris (কাঁথি বনাম প্যারিস)

Robi Ghosh had a short, but memorable cameo appearance in the 1968 Parthapratim Choudhury directed film, Hansamithun. In this short scene, Robi explains the difference between mime and being an actual mute to a rustic friend from Contai.

Contai, Contai, Contai. Tui na ekhon ekta gaainya roye geli! Kothay Contai aar kothay Paris?