This list is very subjective and is meant for expressing my own opinion only. I’m not talking about the best OPs of all time. I am also not (yet) an anime veteran, so I have not seen many popular shows which might have better OPs, and this list is subject to change. The descriptions also contain spoilers for some of the shows, so proceed with caution.


Title: Hacking to the Gate
Artist: Kanako Itō

This is probably on the list because it has grown on me after I listened to it at the start of each episode. It’s an infectious and upbeat piece, and for me it symbolises Okabe’s desire to save Mayurii and then Makise no matter what. The video sequence is quite good though, even though it gives the false impression that time travel involves a lot of rotating gears, whereas it requires just a microwave and a phone. 😉

Shingeki no Kyojin OP1

Title: Guren no Yumiya (紅蓮の弓矢)
Artist: Linked Horizon

Hate on it as much as you want, you have to agree that it’s an OP that’s done right. It perfectly embodies the underlying themes of determination, persistence and hard work triumphing insurmountable odds. It’s also very uplifting and inspiring. Procrastinating on studying for your test tomorrow? Having trouble doing the last few reps of your pull-up routine? Listen to this and bolster your resolve.

Fate/Zero OP2

Title: To the Beginning
Artist: Kalafina

For me, this track represents the hopes and aspirations of different mages and their legendary heroes and their motivation for obtaining the holy grail. The sequence contains mundane images like Kayneth and Lancer looking out from their building, Maiya putting on a coat, Rider and Waver in their room, etc. which reinforces the notion that however cruel or bizzare their actions may be, the characters are motivated by their goals and they are just trying to do what they think are right, or just trying to have a good time (as the case with Caster and Ryuunosuke). The track and the sequence becomes more meaningful as the characters die off and it really forces you to empathise with them. Like the anime, the high production values are evident everywhere.

Nodame Cantabile Season 1

Title: Allegro Cantabile
Artist: Suemitsu & the Suemith

An awesome piece of piano ballad (I’m just a sucker for piano though, so I may be biased). The track talks about the ups and downs and the joys and frowns that you face while creating or learning music. Personally it reminded me of Chiaki overcoming his fear of flying and Nodame finding her reason for pursuing music seriously and the transcendence they feel while playing a piece of music, either alone or in a orchestra. If you play an instrument or sing, this will really resound with you.

Ergo Proxy

Title: Kiri
Artist: Monoral

This track has the same dark undertones of hopelessness, despair and the belief that a higher power will provide salvation that runs throughout the series. It ties very well with the overall mood of the series. It’s even more depressing when you know that the proxies themselves are imperfect and they are meant to die along with the whole dome ecosystem when the earth has sufficiently recovered.

Mushishi Zoku Shou/Season 2

Title: Shiver
Artist: Lucy Rose

Even though this song talks about undying love through the ages, I think on a deeper level it talks about the love and compassion we feel for our fellow humans. At first glance, Mushishi looks like a show that is a documentary about the Mushi and how they affect people, but it’s really a show about human relationships, society, and how humans react towards each other and to him/herself in different circumstances. The song is really calm, and I think that symbolises Ginko’s attitude towards the Mushi. They do not mean any harm or goodwill, they just exist.

Do not allow yourself to be blinded by fear or anger. Everything is only as it is.

It’s a beautiful, beautiful show and you should watch it, regardless of whether you like anime or not.

Cowboy Bebop

Title: Tank!
Artist: The Seatbelts

Like every thing about Cowboy Bebop, it’s OP track and sequence is brilliant. It’s very difficult to describe how it is or what it symbolises. It has glimpses of the carefree attitude that Spike has and probably symbolises the oddball group of characters that the Bebop houses. It’s really one of the most recognised and iconic pieces of anime music and you’ll miss out if you do not listen to it or watch the show.

Ping Pong – The Anime

Title: Tada Hitori (唯一人)
Artist: Bakudan Johnny (爆弾ジョニー)

Here’s where my love for Masaaki Yuasa and his creations start flowing. It’s a highly infectious and upbeat piece that gets you pumped up for ping pong, which I believe is not as physical a sport as football or rugby. I think the track talks about the loneliness and detachment Smile feels from others, and the enjoyment Peco gets from playing. This might not be as deep as some of the other OPs in this list, but the well-developed characters and the greatness of the anime lend themselves to the OP, transcending it beyond what it would be if it were a standalone piece. The stylistic sequence that compliments this song is also amazing.

The Tatami Galaxy

Title: Maigo Inu to Ame no Beat (迷子犬と雨のビート)
Artist: Asian Kung-Fu Generation

This tells how humans spend our lives in vain, chasing after things which we think we want, but disregarding the things that are really important and will bring us real happiness. It’s also about our conception that if we made different decisions, things would have gone differently, for the better. The sequence starts with an endless loop of 4.5 tatami rooms in different colours, and then shows the different characters in the show, perfectly choreographed with the beats. It’s the perfect mix of wacky animation that characterises Yuasa’s work, and deep feels that you’ll definitely get as you progress through the anime and identify with the characters.

That concludes the list. I’d love to hear your thoughts, if any.


Good, or not?

It’s been a long time since I lasted posted here. Since then, my life has changed a lot. I won’t go into the details, but, let’s just say things did not go as I had thought they would. Anyway, that is one of the best things about life. Unpredictability. And the more you try to quantize things, analyze things, the less charming they become. This is one of the things I realised. More on that in another post, maybe?

Now, I’ve been often told that I’m a “good” boy. Good, as in, respecting elders, speaking the truth, not engaging in deception, helping others without a motive, and so on. I am aware that this definition of good is subjective and it has been formed under influence from my parents, society and religion. Now, what I’m thinking is that I usually have to make a conscious effort in order to stay good. Does this mean I’m intrinsically not good (evil?) I can answer this question, but I think my answer will be biased, one way or the other.

Okay, music. I’ve been listening to ABBA a lot for the last few days. Also, Port Blue, one of Adam Young’s numerous side projects. His music is beautiful, and if you haven’t listened to him yet, you should. Here’s a track from Seagull Orchestra, another of his side projects.

That’s all for today. See you later.

Stark reality and the level of corruption in India – How we successfully Save Our Tigers on Page 3. (via Churumuri)

Smug smog

You might be wondering why I stopped posting to this blog. I kind of resigned myself to the fact that nothing in Kolkata can be improved by public will, even if such a thing exists here. Even though polluting two-stroke autos and 15 year old vehicles have been banned, they ply on the roads, more so on the fringes of the city, where I live. I had some drafts saved up for posting, on illegal use of banned pesticides in vegetables and other issues that concern a Kolkatan directly, but I saw that there was no point in doing so, expect perhaps cataloging my opinion.

Today morning, a huge shroud of smog floated in the air where we live. It was very disturbing and had a lot of disturbing effects on the people, including coughing, burning sensation in the windpipe and other unpleasant effects. My dad’s asthma aggravated, and he had to resort to his inhaler puffs. I could almost see the smug faces of the politicians from behind the smog. Here are some images I clicked, now that I have an entry level camera phone :

On an unrelated note, one of my closest friends, Ben and his girlfriend Gina have started developing an MMORPG called Reign of the Maasken. There has already been two press releases, and they are revealing the races one by one. Keep an eye on the RoTM blog for updated information.

Briefing :

  • Objective : Poison the city’s air and make the citizens terminally ill.
  • Leaders : Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhatacharjee, Opposition leader Mamata Banerjee and the political parties
  • Operatives : 80,000 of the legal and illegal autos running on spurious fuel
  • Weapons : Deadly exhaust fumes containing carcinogenic components that leaves you ill in no time.
  • Target : The citizens of the city, especially the children.

Mission pollution has succeeded again. One of my friends has been successfully diagnosed with asthma. I’m next in line, probably.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the hon’ble chief minister Mr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and the opposition leader Ms. Mamata Banerjee for practicing their brand of what I call “poison people” politics which is all being done for the benefit of the people. In fact Mr. Buddhadeb has been so busy trying not to get his party, administration and the police into another controversy after Nandigram/Singur, and Ms. Mamata so much engulfed in saving the occupation of the auto-drivers, that they seem to have forgotten about the common people, and how we are poisoned everyday on the street.

Ironically, it was we, the common people who elected them, and beseated them in their positions of power.

An auto spewing noxious fumes

An auto spewing noxious fumes

In this post, I’m going to write about the air-pollution that goes on in my city, Kolkata and the mechanisms that directly or indirectly support it. Before you start to navigate away from this page, thinking this kind of pollution exists in every other developing nation, think again. Heck, even other parts of our country are much cleaner.

Most of the polution here is caused by a kind of vehicle named auto rickshaw (auto in short). Almost all of these vehicles use a kind of adulterated fuel called katatel in the local dialect. Katatel is a lethal concoction of petrol, diesel, kerosene, naptha and impurities. Around 60,000 of these autos ply on the roads everyday, spewing bluish, lethal fumes which kill people.

Perils of adulterated fuel

Perils of adulterated fuel

The perils of breathing katatel-poisoned air are many, probably too many to be addressed in this post. The foul fumes spewed by the autorickshaws contain  toxic components like carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, RPM, naptha, benzene and particulate matter. These cause damage to the lung, heart, kidney, eye and throat. Diseases caused by these pollutants include chronic cough, cancer, asthma, bronchitis, neuro and cardiac disorder. Degenerative diseases like Alzheimer and Parkinson’s can also be attributed to this. It has been found recently that breathing katatel fumes affects our ability to reproduce. A study found that 15 to 20 percent of all pregnancies in the city lead to miscarriages, and this number is on the rise. The children and the old are particularly vurnerable, so are the daily commuters. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by a concerned citizen in the High Court in April 2008, regarding the amount of air pollution in the city caused by the autos. The court consulted the Environment Department of the state government, which recommended that the polluting two stroke autos running on adulterated fuel should be replaced by cleaner four-stroke autos running on LPG. The state government was given 8 months time to convert existing autos to LPG-powered autos. According to the court directive, the government should strive to convert all two-stroke autos to four-stroke autos by December 31st, 2008. After December 31st, the two stroke autos will be banned and any two-stroke autos seen on the road will be seized immediately. Strangely, the government took no steps whatsoever about the issue till December 25th, 2008, when the transport minister issued a statement regarding how they will try their best to address the situation. Even then, nothing fruitful was done. [6]

A two stroke auto spitting smoke

A two stroke auto spitting smoke

On January 1st, 2009, the police lazily and erratically started seizing autos. Only 6 autos were seized on the first day, and when a two-stroke katatel auto driver was asked about the ban, he replied[2],

Nobody can take away our vehicles because we have the full support of our party. We have stayed with the party through thick and thin. Our leaders have assured us that our livelihood will not be taken away,

Let me explain what gives this illegal auto driver so much confidence. The auto drivers have the backing of the pollitical parties, both the rulling and the opposition parties. The parties need cadres to make a rally successful or use them during polls. The auto operators provide a ready pool of foot soldiers and so the political leaders  never antagonize them. Besides, each of the 70,000 autos — 40,000 registered and 30,000 unregistered — pay between Rs 5 and Rs 10 every day to the Citu* union under which they are organised. This means, Citu earns anything between Rs 3.35 lakh and Rs 6.7 lakh daily from the autos. In this situation, the political parties do not want their steady flow of income and ready pool of foot soldiers to go away.

An autorickshaw driver filling spurious oil into his vehicles tank

An autorickshaw driver filling spurious oil into his vehicle's tank

Let us come back to what happened to the banned autos. On the second day of the ban, police became a bit harsher on the autos, seizing only 37 autos. This prompted the drivers of illegal autos to let loose bursts of violence that appeared to be aimed at causing inconvenience to commuters and holding the law hostage with the threat of more lawlessness. They were led and supported by the leaders of the opposition party who took this opportunity to appease the large number of auto drivers, and get their votes in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. This prompted the state government to slow down the illegal auto-seizing operation and ask for a legal extension of the deadline by three months. The chief minister confirmed the move to seek a new deadline, saying auto drivers “cannot be asked to change (to LPG) one fine morning” — although the court order had come on July 18th, last year.

The government advocate sought an extension of the deadline upto 31st July, 2009, but the court said,

Given the inability, for whatever reasons, of the state government to implement the order passed on July 18, 2008, it would be necessary for this court to monitor further progress with regard to the implementation of the said scheme at frequent intervals.

The court asked the government to submit fortnightly action-taken reports till polluting three-wheelers are off the roads and set. It has been the same routine since then; every time during the hearing in the court, the government advocate expresses the inability of the government to

A two-stroke auto belching smoke, as usual

A two-stroke auto belching smoke, as usual

meet a deadline to clean Calcutta’s air. The bench of judges berates the government and then gives it one more deadline. On one such hearing the government expressed it’s inability to seize illegal autos due to the oncoming elections, on the pretext that the  police will be busy with the election process. But the government was ready to provide police forces for the IPL matches to be held in Kolkata. [7] On one instance, an exasperated court said,

It is unfortunate that the state government is not in a position to carry out the court orders in time. We still doubt whether the order will be carried out at all. But still we are providing them time.

The words of Subhas Dutta, the original petitioner of the PIL, sums up my thoughts :

I am convinced that the government will not be in a position to carry out the court orders by July 31. Only the government’s excuse changes, otherwise everything is like an action replay.

The latest deadline, as is evident, is 31st July, 2009; but as expected, the government will not be able to meet the deadline. On the other hand, on the issue of seizing spurious fuel, Calcutta police have done precious little but their counterparts in the South and North 24-Parganas districts have seized around 62,000 litres of adulterated fuel in one-and-a-half months. Some 46 people have been arrested and 34 cases registered. In South 24-Parganas, around Rs 30,000 has been seized from various katatel counters along with cans of spurious oil. [8] [9] This demonstrates that it’s political will, and nothing else, that’s stopping the police from acting.

In the meantime, the auto drivers are employing a novel method to stall the conversion to cleaner fuel. They are deliberately sabotaging the applications for bank loans required for buying the four stroke autos. Out of the 20,000 applications submitted to the bank, around 17,000 had submitted sabotaged applications, with missing or incorrect information. We can’t blame them for resisting the conversion. In other Indian cities, where such conversions had taken place, the government had prepared a conversion package for the auto drivers from which the drivers stood to benefit. Not only they received monetary benefits, but they were also given the knowledge that they were helping to keep the city’s air clean, and to keep the people healthy. Here, the politicians mislead the drivers by saying that the high court is trying to take away their means of livelihood by banning the autos. They are not told about the environmental or the health concerns.



It’s April 11th, 2009 now and banned autos, spewing fatal fumes, ply on the road unhitched. People are falling ill everyday. Around 10,000 people die every year in this city due to lung cancer. Our city is even being called the cancer capital of India. The cases of  bronchitis, asthma are also rising steeply, but who cares? Not the government. It’s only concern is election and votes, not the health of the citizens.Even the people are not concerned for themselves. I see my friends persistenly coughing, wheezing yet oblivious to all that’s happening around them. Everyday my dad returns home wheezing and coughing, yet he refuses to acknowledge the pollution. Even I was not concerned untill I was affected. In my quest to find a working respirator in the city,  I could find none. All I could find was pathetic “Pollution Mask”s, which have air- tight plastic in place of the filters, and holes to let the polluted air in! A few people, who are concerned about their health, do a futile attempt by covering their noses with their handkerchief; but they are looked down by others, whose general feeling is, “If you are affected by the pollution, you have a weak constitution”.

So, is there any hope for us? I’d say no. With a selfish government, unconcerned people, and powerless courts, I’d say we are destined to die like this.

So, if you plan on visiting India during the next holidays, please, don’t come to Kolkata.

References :

  1. Cancer cocktail on roads: 50% kerosene & naphtha in auto oil – The Telegraph
  2. Toxic toll on nervous system – The Telegraph
  3. Two stroke peril : maim and kill – The Telegraph
  4. Smell the air, feel the heart – The Telegraph
  5. Air plays foul in pregnancy – The Telegraph
  6. Two-stroke tactic: tarry & parry – The Telegraph
  7. See no evil, smell no stink: Let the kids breathe poison, it’s poll time – The Telegraph
  8. Slo-mo crackdown lets smoking autos rule road – The Telegraph
  9. Cops behind smokescreen – 695 litres: foul fuel police seized in three months – The Telegraph

I’m a Schizophrenic

I just found out I’m a Schizophrenic. Or, at least, I have the symptoms of a Schizophrenic.

Not convinced? See this : http://blog.binnyva.com/2007/11/30-reasons-why-all-programmers-are-schizophrenics/

As you might’ve guessed, I too have most of those symptoms.