Shoban's India Page

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For all your travel arrangements within India, I recommend Oasis Travel India for friendly and efficient service. They can tailor make your trip and take care of all your personal needs.

Check out my Tour India Through Stamps to learn about India through postage stamps. This really is an unique Web site.

Vyjayanthimala was my favorite Bollywood heroine. You might want to see how I paid my tribute to her in my Web site Vyjayanthimala - A Personal Tribute.

Check out my Home Movie Making Tutorials for Beginners to learn how to make dazzling home movies.

To learn more about me, my hobbies, interests, and creations, please visit I guarantee you will find something that interests you!
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Tour India Through Stamps
(Originally published in Shoban Sen's Diary on September 19, 2007)

Building Web sites is one of my hobbies. But that hobby started only from September of 2000 when I was almost 60 years old. I have another hobby that is going on since I was 10 years old. That hobby is stamp collecting. Unlike most people, I collect stamps for enjoyment - not for profit. And I collect in a totally different way seldom practiced by any other collector. I have built a worldwide network of people who simply donate stamps to me. It took me about 56 years to build such an enormous network. I have thousands and thousands of different stamps from all over the world which I have acquired for free! I do not buy stamps for the purpose of collecting. To be totally honest, I may have bought a couple of hundred stamps in my whole life. I think, that does not count.

My first Web site was Stamp Collecting - Doing it for enjoyment, not for profit. That site instantly became a great success. There are over 580 guestbook entries there till date. (This should give you an idea about how popular that site is.) Anyway, that is beside the point.

Another of my hobby is traveling. Some people have asked me after I posted a slideshow of some of my travel pictures here a few days ago, if I traveled for business. No, I am not that lucky. Nobody ever paid a single penny for my trips at home or abroad. I just saved up and took trips whenever I got a chance. And I have been to many more places than what this little slideshow shows.

Recently, I combined my two hobbies - stamp collecting and traveling - to make another Web site having the same title as above. I have many India stamps that focuses on places of tourist interest. I have used some of those stamps to make that site.

Here, I have created a slideshow using some of the stamps from the site called Tour India Through Stamps. I hope you will enjoy the slideshow even if you are not (and most people are not) a stamp collector. I have used about 60 stamps in this slideshow. So to see the complete show, it will take a few minutes. Please feel free to move away, if you are not interested. This show is primarily for me. I shall watch it again and again because it satisfies my appetite for two different things - stamp collecting and traveling.

Thank you for watching. Please visit the original site, if this slideshow generates any interest in you. You will see actual photos of the places shown on the stamps or get more information about each subject in my Web site. I am thinking of personally conducting a guided tour of India in near future. If interested you can contact me through this site.

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India's Independence Day
(Originally published in Shoban Sen's Diary on August 15, 2008)

India became independent from the British rule on August 15, 1947. So today is India’s 61st Independence Day.

India already celebrated its 61st Independence Day several hours ago, because of the time difference between India and USA – where I live. I was reading in the Indian online newspapers about the celebrations and festivities that took place in India today. The Prime Minister as usual “lectured” and talked about big things. But I was more interested in reading the feelings of the public. Thanks to the Internet. Feelings of Indians living in and out of India have filled the newspaper’s Comments section. As expected, opinions and views differ widely. But somebody has almost voiced my opinion about being an Indian, and the progress made by the country in the last 61 years. So I am quoting below his opinion:

Amit, Pune, says: Proud?? Of what?? Poor infrastructure, lack of planning, no vision, corrupt politicians, high inflation, being ruled like a monarchy by one family for decades? Or one gold medal that India won at Olympics after 61 years of independence? There is nothing to be proud of. Look at countries like China achieving and scaling great heights and emerging as a true super power. They have proved that in spite of communist rule, they are a far better nation and a highly advanced and superior nation than India. Where does India stand today? Answer: No where!! The grave is already dug; it’s just a matter of time [when] we all fall into it. [15 Aug 2008, 2105 hrs IST] - Quoted from The Times of India [,curpg-4.cms -- Unfortunately this link is now broken.]

Amit, I totally agree with you. Add to it India’s total failure of population control, India’s still prevalent caste system, dowry system, high percentage of illiteracy, lack of enough electricity to support even urban population, lack of clean drinking water for all villagers, etc. and you get the full picture. Three (or is it four?) Indians have been named in this year’s list of 10 richest people in the world. On the other hand, about 30% of Indians live on an income of less than one dollar a day. This is the progress India made in 61 years after Independence. And some people are actually proud to be Indian? I think these people are responsible for India’s plight and standing in the world today.

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India during my time and now
(Originally published in Shoban Sen's Thoughts on December 25, 2011)

I left India 30 years ago. What a contrast between then and now! The country's population has increased tremendously (will India ever do anything to control population?). Some people have become enormously rich these days whereas poor people have become poorer!

In my time women used to wear sarees in India. These days only the elderly women wear sarees. Younger women tend to dress like Western women. Half-naked women or women in bikinis are in magazines, movies ... everywhere. Kissing was not allowed on the silver screen in my times. These days adult scenes (like in Hollywood movies) are common place in Indian or Bollywood movies.

My point is, in my old age I have become nostalgic to some Indian things that I remember from my younger age. They are mainly Hindi or Bollywood movies, cricket, Indian tourism places, genuine Indian food, etc. Just two days ago I have published an Web site called Shoban's India Page, which is mainly a collection of video clips of these things. The site basically represents what comes to my mind when I think of India (though some video clips represent modern India and hence the contrast). And I want to keep it that way. Call it nostalgia!

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Don't retire 2 India
(Originally published in Shoban Sen's Thoughts on January 12, 2011)

Yes, I mean it. Why? Plenty of reasons. First of all, why did you leave India in the first place? For a better life? Then why do you want to go back? India has not changed a bit so far as the usual nuisances are concerned. For example:

1. People still freely spit and answer to nature's calls (big and small) in open streets.

2. They do not have any sense of hygiene and the public toilets throughout the entire country are unusuable.

3. Stray dogs, cats, cows, monkies, and other animals still freely roam on city streets.

4. Food items sold by roadside vendors still give diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, cholera, gastroenteritis, and other dangarous diseases.

5. Uninterrupted supply of electricity is too much to expect (especially in Kolkata). Frequent, unannounced powercuts are normal everyday business and even God doesn't know when the power might return.

6. Supply of filtered water at a reasonable pressure in cities and towns is not guaranteed..

7. Standing in mile-long lines is normal for everything in India, whether you are buying a movie ticket or trying to make a reservation in a train run by the Indian Railways, or you want to do something in a post office or bank or ANYWHERE.

8. Expecting a seat in a public transport whether it is a bus, tram, train or anything is day-dreaming. A toe-hold is considered good fortune in a city bus or commuter train in India.

9. India is a hot country and people do not use de-odorants there. As a result the stench in crowded places (and it is crowded everywhere!) is UNBEARABLE. (Most people in India wear polyester-cotton blends and they do not change clothes everyday).

10. Indians do not see dentists for preventive care. (The only time they see a dentist is when they have unbearable pain in their tooth and the treatment the dentist provides is extraction of the decayed and diseased tooth.) As a result, most Indians have bad breath. Yuck.

11. Indians throw garbage on city streets. That is normal with them. Finding a garbage disposal bin in an Indian city street is rare.

Want to know more? Get in touch with me.

Secondly, those of you who left India at a relatively early age in search of a better life and settled in an advanced country and became a citizen of that country, please show your allegiance to that country. Don't leave the country after you have fulfilled your personal ambination. Now that you are retired, it is your time to pay back to the community. Don't leave now and exploit those poor people in India and hire them as your personal (domestic) servants for peanuts. That is not fair.

I have every right to express my opinion on this. I have lived and worked in India (in various cities) for 40 years and I have lived and worked in USA for almost 30 years. I know the good and bad of both countries. Nobody need to lecture me.

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