Harshabardhan Avoids the War

This is the cover picture of Shibram Chakraborty's book Harshabardhan and his brother Gobardhan have received notices from the Government requiring them to enlist in the military; the enemy has crossed the borders, so every citizen must come to the aid of the country.

Harshabardhan doesn't want to go to war. No, he is not a traitor. He had fought the earlier war, but now he has grown older and is not sure whether he would be able to lift the rifle and undertake long route marches. No, he doesn't want to enlist.

This is a short story by popular Bengali humorist Shibram Chakraborty. The writer makes abundant use of pun, alliteration, and play of words in his stories. This story also has its share of pun, alliteration, and play of words. Unfortunately, this translation comes nowhere near reproducing the original. Large chunks of passages have been freely omitted because of the translator's inability to translate them. Then, why translate? The temptation to share the joys of reading Shibram Chakraborty's stories with non-Bengali readers is much too great. The stories, even if they don't make you laugh, could make you smile and make you forget your worries, even the Coronavirus, for a while. And, of course, you could look for better translations.

Back to the story. Gobardhan is much younger than Harshabardhan; he should have no qualms about enlisting. But Gobardhan is a person who sticks around with his elder brother. Gobardhan devises a scheme, which ensures that the brothers get to stay at home. What's the scheme?

(This story is being republished)

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Language Barrier

Funny picture of a dog wearing a hat The letter from my head office was terse and to the point. The one-paragraph letter shattered my world. It stated that I had been transferred to Ahmedabad in Gujarat and was to join the regional office there exactly one month from the receipt of the transfer order.

Having spent most part of my life in Maharashtra, I was not keen to relocate to a different state. The biggest problem I foresaw was that of language. But my colleagues assured me that anyone who understood Marathi and Hindi would easily be able to pick up the Gujarati language. There was truth in this logic because after all Maharashtra and Gujarat were formed from the same Bombay presidency state.

Even before going to Ahmedabad, I was aware of the Gujarati's penchant for pronouncing "hall" as "hole", "Paul" as "pole" and "snacks" as "snakes", but was not acquainted with the Gujarati numerals...

(This story is being republished)

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Going Round in Circles!

An athlete running around a circular track My friend and I visited the sports complex after many years. The sight brought back many happy memories. In our younger days, the complex used to be our favourite haunt and we used to begin the day with a morning jog.

We thought of reliving those good old days. We decided to walk. We decided that we would walk in opposite directions.

It was a circular track. We stood with our backs to each other at the same point. Exactly at 8 am, we began walking. Now, I am slower than my friend. I could walk at a speed of two rounds per hour while my friend completed three rounds per hour. We stopped walking at 9.30 am - we, therefore, walked continuously for one-and-half hours.

Can you tell how many times did my friend and I cross each other during the course of the walk?

(This puzzle is being republished)

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Some useful links for
your career:

  • Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
  • IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
  • Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
  • IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu