Bad habit; The little things; Not necessary; Sad miss; Delicious dish

Bad habit

• Sir - The growing number of hookah parlours and microbreweries in Calcutta is worrying. As a result of this proliferation, children are getting addicted to hookah, alcohol and even cigarettes. Kids seem to be completely oblivious to the dangers of such addictions. Parents must shoulder some of the blame for providing children with large sums of money for the latter's daily expenses. Parents and guardians should keep a track of how children spend their pocket money. Rather than encouraging bad habits and giving children money to compensate for their absence, parents should provide wards with things money cannot buy, like love and time.

Rakesh Bajoria,

The little things

• Sir - The article, "When small is big" (Feb 18), by Gopalkrishna Gandhi made for delightful reading. As I grow older, it is indeed the tiny things, like the author pointed out, that give me immense joy. Take, for instance, the occasional singing of the cuckoo bird in early spring that manages to rise above the cacophony of modern life. Then, the raging red of the krishnachura flower that manages to divert attention from the squalor below gives me great pleasure. The list is endless. These things may be small and insignificant to others but they evoke intense emotions in me.

However, I have one quibble with the article. The 10 " chinna" aspirations listed by the writer may be important otherwise, but they do not go with the piece.

Dhruba Basu,

• Sir - In the article, "When small is big", Gopalkrishna Gandhi has rightly pointed out that as one grows older, small things become deeply fulfilling. The same may not hold true in youth or for a person in his prime. These are the times when people desire more and more. It is these wants that take the shape of aspirations and help a person move forward in life. But such desires should not take the form of greed.

As the author has correctly pointed out, one must not miss out on the "minor nirvanas" of life.

Subodh Jha,

Not necessary

• Sir - The editorial, "Pandora's box" (Feb 15), hit the nail on the head. In a country like India, where every state hosts multiple linguistic, cultural and religious identities, it is not feasible for states to have separate flags. Given the nasty political games that are played around identity, separate flags for states will only be more fodder for controversy.

Mihir Kanungo,

Sad miss

• Sir - It was imprudent of the West Bengal goverment to not telecast the prime minister's ' Pareeksha par charcha' ("Muted: PM sermon on exam stress", Feb 16). This only goes to show that the state government is ignorant about examination-related stress. Its decision not only dishonoured the prime minister but also deprived students in the state of words of wisdom. It is shameful that political ego was given precedence over betterment of residents. The state government's reluctance towards obeying any directive that comes from the Centre, too, is condemnable.

Ratan Kumar Halder,

Delicious dish

• Sir - Surveys show that the traditional English breakfast is fast losing its popularity as are fish and chips and curry. Britishers in recent times have shown a marked preference for lighter and healthier meals. The meaty heartiness of British dishes has been replaced by vegetarian and vegan fares in several restaurants.

On a recent trip to the United Kingdom, I was disappointed to find that most establishments have removed the English breakfast from their menu. Instead, I was offered options like granola and fruits on toast. The taste of a good English breakfast, however, is unmatchable; runny egg yolks, earthy fried mushrooms, beans in a gravy of tomatoes and delicious black pudding or other kinds of sausages make for a heavenly dish.

Aditya Bannerjee,


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