Thursday, December 31, 2009

Jinhe Naaz hai Hind Par woh Kahaan hai!!!

It was the alumni home-coming for the batch of 1984 that I heard this song for the first time. It caught me by the throat and refused to let go for the moment – but as with a lot of other things, the song went to a corner of my memory and never resurfaced; till yesterday. Suddenly I wanted to listen to the “emotionally charged song that Bodhi Tree played” and I’ve listened to that song ever since.

The lyrics – powerful and charged brings back memories of those newspaper articles we read some years back and quite conveniently, though unfortunately, forgot. As with every new thing I read about, I googled the mentions in the song – and came across the incidents and how we have really forgotten those who take pride in being what they are – and are today in the same state as the martyrs who are remembered on the one day of the year.

Bilqis Rasool, the gangrape victim of the infamous aftermath of the Godhra carnage. Satyendra Dubey, the whistleblower, the IIT alumni who decided the pride of the nation – the GQ project – could not be handled by incapable local goons, wrote to the PMO about irregularities and ultimately paid with his life for this expose. Manjunath, the IIM-Lucknow alumni, who was brutally murdered in Lahimpur Kheri by the oil mafia for his action against adulteration. The last mention was of Navleen Kumar, an unknown social activist in the Nallasopara region of Mahrashtra who raised her voice against large scale land acquisition found herself on the wrong side of the local MLA.

I’ll copy here the lyrics (downloaded) as I want every person reading my blog to at least know the power of a well-written song and the emotions that it can charge with respect to being a proud Indian. And if possible, take cue as to what being an Indian means... Rabbi, I bow to thee...

Mera naam Bilqis Yakub Rasool
Mujhse hui bas ek hi bhool
Ki jab dhhundhhte thhe vo Ram ko
To maen kharhi thhi rah mein

Pehle ek ne puchha na mujhe kuchh pata thha
Dujey ko bhi mera yehi javab thha
Fir itno ne puchha ki mera ab saval hai ki

Jinhe naaz hai hind par vo kahan the
Jinhe naaz hai vo kahan hain

Mera naam shriman Satyendra Dubey
Jo kehna thha vo keh chukey
Ab parhey hain rah mein
Dil mein liye ik goli

Bas itna kasur ki hamne likha thha
Vo sach jo har kisi ki zuban thha
Par sach yahan ho jatey hain zahriley

Jinhe naaz hai hind par vo kahan the
Jinhe naaz hai vo kahan hain

Mujhe kehte hain anna Manjunath
Maine dekhi bhatakti ek laash
Zamir ki beech sarhak Lakhimpur Kherhi

Adarsh phasan jahan naaron mein
Aur chor bharey darbaron mein
Vahan maut akhlaq ki hai ik khabar baasi

Jinhe naaz hai hind par vo kahan hain
Jinhe naaz hai vo kahan hain

Mazha nau aahe Navleen Kumar
Unnees june unnees var
Unnees unnees unnees unnees
Unnees baar

Unnees unnees unnees unnees
Unnees unnees unnees unnees
Unnees unnees unnees unnees
Unnees vaar

Looto dehaat kholo bazaar
Nallasopara aur Virar
Chheeno zameen hamse hamein
Bhejo pataal

Jinhe naaz hai hind par vo kahan hain
Jinhe naaz hai vo kahan hain

Monday, December 28, 2009

Creating a "Top-10" for Dummies

This has been inspired by a recent "Top-10" which ranked engineering colleges
  1. Take up a topic that everyone would be interested in. When it’s the month of May, everybody in India is interested in knowing which the best college in India for every stream is. If it’s November (or Mar-Apr), everyone wants to know which the Best B-School in India is. So when its spring, the magazine might come up with, “Top-10 Flowers” in India or when its Diwali time – “The Top-10 Crackers”...
  2. Create an “exhaustive” list of parameters on which the object can be judged. So if it’s a flower, my criterion are:
    • Its colour
    • Durability
    • Ease of growth
    • For the sake of completeness, its ability to attract the other sex
    • And its acceptability in Indian Temples
  3. Categorise the object that is being ranked. For flowers, categorise it as flowers that can be used to decorate the house, that can be used to appease a roothi hui girl friend and those that can be used in bouquets for giving to the winners of the survey.
  4. Create a fundoo sounding methodology. Just note that the following words and terms should appear at least once. Expert, detailed, analysis, survey, representative, statistical, large (wide) sample, ranking, stakeholders, perspectives, review.
  5. Shuffle the known best (Like the IIM-A in B-Schools, 6 IITs in technical institutes, AIIMS in medicine) and award them the top ranks. Throw in the lesser considered ones (NITs in engineering; Other IIMs, XLRI, SPJIMR, MDI etc in B-Schools) to complete the top ten. If you want to make it look even more authentic, remove one of the top from the top and declare that the 'top' refused to participate in the survey and hence is not ranked.
  6. Throw in a few comments from one of the “stakeholders” stating why the best is the best. Throw in an interview with the head of the best and a few more from people below him in the hierarchy.
  7. Importantly, throw in a few statistics which no one can confirm. Ex: While number of petals in roses averaged 57, the number of petals in marigold averaged 123. The trend is expected to improve in the current season due to the influx of Sodiumbenzonitropantonate.
  8. Throw in a few “interesting” points. Interestingly, sabsebadafool is the only flower that is found in Jhumri Talaiya that found its way into the top ten.
  9. Call one of the later ones in the rankings a “surprise” package who is making its “re-entry” after a gap of 6 years. Cite one reason why that could be. Ex: The Hibiscus finds itself back in the top ten after a gap of 6 years because Ms. Sonia Gandhi has decided to cover her garden with different varieties of Hibiscus.
  10. Conclude with a few generic statements which can apply to anything. The atmosphere has a huge impact on the quality and in the coming days, with increasing disturbances, can deteriorate.
And Lo! You have your first top-10. Go publish it. If the first step is right, I’m sure you will receive sufficient readership and with it, possibly, big moolah.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Review: 3 Idiots

I do not like to like posting movie reviews, but this one deserves it.

Spoiler alert: Though I have tried to not describe the story, there might be a few hints and glimpses.

It didn’t start off very well – the unpleasing butts stared into our faces – literally. Then there was a shock – again, literally – and the fun express took speed. Through the brilliance of the antics of Rancho and the troubles and dilemmas of Raju and Farhan, the movie entwines a beautiful story which every one of us will relate to. The humour though, is not without some heart-wrenching scenes – like dealing with a successful suicide attempt of a student. Midway I realised, I was just another “gadha”. But I take the insult sportingly and shall not sue Vidhu Vinod Chopra :P. The ending was slightly pushing the funda of “All izz Well” too far but then, a little over-optimism never hurts a fun-living moviegoer. :)

The songs, barring one, are well placed and do not really annoy the viewer with a break in the story. In fact, the songs quite run in the background of the story without affecting it. The music is lively and forceful when required. It’s been long since we had a non-Rahman good sound track – this sure fits the bill. Jaane Nahi was my favourite though All izz Well shall very soon become an anthem... Sonu Nigam's typical stamp on the vocals is all pervasive...

The let-down that Avatar 3D was – was more than made up by the 3 Idiots. Aamir, is his usual entertaining self. Kareena is not the slim-trim hot babe as in Tashan – but no less attractive. Madhavan looks kinda old for a 22yr old but gels well with Aamir. Sharman Joshi plays his role to perfection - his potrayal of the cash-crunched youth with the burden of an ailing family and a young sister does touch a chord. Boman Irani is good in his Hitler-Einstein hybrid look. Omi Vaidya (Chatur Ramalingam) is brilliant in his expressions and to me, created few of the the most comic scenes of the movie with his “humko hindi nahi aata, tum kidhar jaati” style. Rajkumar Hirani may not have created yet another Munnabhai but Rancho would come quite close in appeal.

This movie, not quite the same tone as TZP, carries a very strong message indeed. I now see ViruS in every institution that I’ve studied so far (Oh, I met one Rancho too). I see how murders are committed everywhere not because of the pressure on the windpipe but way above – right in the head (I’ve known one murder committed – a budding artist who was forced to do his masters in engineering). Most movies quite spoil the fun of the book – this movie makes me wanna read Five-Point-Someone again though the author and the director have denied direct inspirations.

Aal izz Well....!!!

Ok I dunno where to start – the interesting and entertaining day or the very interesting but not so entertaining night...

I’d rather start with the wonderful Christmas that we had... It all started two days back when one of my dear friends suggested another friend that we should go to Kolkata for a movie on Christmas. We booked online – and early morning today, we were on our way to Kolkata. Nice warm weather from the chills of Jamshedpur – a literal warm welcome :)

The taxiwala though was not so warm – after going 28 km in the taxi – where he first feigned taking us to Science City – passed it without asking if we were getting down – then took us to the “bypass” to South City. We saw the turn to Salt Lake City but didn’t say anything as we were new to Kolkata and thought probably it was just round the corner. When after turning many corners and reaching 25 km on the meter, the South City Mall didn’t arrive – we decided to take the matters into our hands and asked the locals about its location – and surprise – the taxi wala asks for “Sowl City” and then suddenly turns the taxi around to say – “Oh I took one wrong turn. We’ll be there in two mins” when we were in fact on the right path (finally). We corrected him and soon, we were at South City mall and with a lot of help from the local bystanders, we managed to get the taxi off with a fare of Rs. 100. So basically we went to science city – then salt lake city – then a fictitious “Sowl City” and then finally our destination. I thought, not for the last time in the day, “Aal izz Well”...

While one friend visited her relatives who stayed close by, we had a subway – which tasted as it always does across anywhere in India – Good. Then just as we reached the Fame entrance we realised, the speedy ticket counter for online bookers was not as speedy. It took us a good 20 mins into the movie “Avatar 3D” before we could get in but finally we did and again I thought, “Bhaiya Aal izz Well”...

The movie had stunning VFX but nothing so great about the storyline... James Cameron kinda let me down. But then, the effects and the 3D made it worth the money. We came out and clicked pics around the many X-Mas trees decorated there. And again I thought, “Chachu, All izz Well”...

After a refreshing giant Pepsi, we 4 idiots entered “3 Idiots”. I shall leave the review for another post but rest assured, we came out laughing and thoroughly satisfied, thinking, once again, “Bhaiya Aal izz Well”...

I decided, it was Christmas, and while my friends enjoyed a plate of spicy and mouthwatering pani puri, I had to give Father Christmas’s gift to the person who is behind most joys in XL and with me in most sorrows at XL. Suddenly realisation dawned on me – I didn’t have my credit card!!! Did I lose it somewhere? Where? I remained calm and checked my bag – called up my friends to check. Thankfully it was in the camera pouch. Once again, the thought came to my mind – “Murgi, Aal izz well” :)

We rushed through the Kolkata traffic to reach the station only to discover that our train was delayed by 8 hours!!! We didn’t want to spend the night on the Kolkata station. Decided we had to bypass rules and go through touts and get ourselves on the next train going to Tata. Got booking via the inside route – with a ticket premium of more than 100% over the cost – but at least better than waiting on the platform. Yet again, “Bakre, Aal izz Well”...

The train journey was scary to say the least. We were completely unprepared for the cold. No blankets. Sweatshirts that could cover us through the evening chill in Jamshedpur but surely not the biting cold of the moving train. And surprisingly enough, I was the most comfortable amongst my friends. In a close huddle, we derived as much body heat from each other as possible and reached – rather, made it – to Tatanagar. God bless Indian Railways and the coffee guy on the platform. The auto ride back was where I realised why the winter takes its toll in the North India. Even when laden with light armour of a hooded sweatshirt, my hands had gone numb – actually numb. I could only imagine what the destitute across the northern plains would do when they ran out of firewood. Thankfully, I reached the campus, alive; turned on the kettle and put my digits – almost at the breaking point – in the warm water. Blood rushed back through the digital systems and now again, “Bhaiya, Aal izz Well”...

Overall a great Christmas outing... Merry Christmas...

P.S: No disrespect to Kolkata-waalon - but tourists to Kolkata, please beware of the cheating Kolkata Taxis. Take the pre-paid and you will sing, "Aal izz Well"... :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Internal Security Ministry...

Chidambaram proposed a new “Internal Security Ministry” today... This sure signals that all is not well in India. Why would the home minister want to offload a part of his portfolio? Does this indicate that the internal security matters have become so grave that the Home Ministry is not able to handle it?

Even if they do create a new ministry, what matters is that the ministry is headed by an able administrator and not someone like Shivraj Patil. Or is it Shivraj Patil, who has been kept on the sidelines for quite sometime now wants to come back to mainstream ministry, this move is being made. Since the Home portfolio is firmly kept away from him, he wants a part of it. if not the whole. Gives the tainted record of the Congress on these matters, it would not be too surprising... After all, the person who could not run the home ministry was being proposed at one time for the post of the President of India... this is way smaller...!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cameron's new AVATAR

Long back I had talked about how there was an unnecessary (my opinion) controversy created whenever there was a Hindi movie inspired by and English/other language movie. The recent controversy regarding the ‘Return of James Cameron’ movie AVATAR has just vindicated my stand that each director was different and each movie was different. While Avatar might be inspired from a book, picturization of a book in the modern sci-fi day cinema is not the easiest of tasks and James Cameron must be lauded for that. James Cameron has been one of my favourite directors and no controversy regarding “plagiarism” will take that away from him. As he says in one of his hit movies through Arnie’s dialogue, he’ll be back... I just hope the movie is as good, if not better, than the trailers...

100th post...

Till I arrived on the dashboard, I hadn't realised this was my 100th post. Its been just more than a year and the blog has given me words and voice. In some cases, that voice has been heard, and few, even considered for action. Here's a colelction of some of my favourites...

It is no secret that my favourite tags is The Philosopher Me... All about specific incidents in my life that extract the philosophical Puneet out of the otherwise critical one... My favourite posts here have been A Toy Story and The Screamer. Both incidents created craters on my interior and will rattle my memories every time something similar happens...

The year being spent in XL has seen quite a few posts on my life at XLRI school of Business and Human Resources. Truly, the XL posts have been posted for my future memories more than anything... My favourites here have been more on satirical side and can border humour for the uninitiated - I'm a Proud Geek takes the cake. My 4-part reporting of the summer internship process of 2008 were a reflection of the rigour and uncertainty that an Indian B-School student faces in his first year...

I Think Therefore... was my best attempt at humour that will be best understood and appreciated by students of consumer behaviour. Duryodhan's Diary was my attempt to think of a variant viewpoint and deviate from the accepted. However, my posts labelled 'Attempt at humour' will be incomplete without my experience and subsequent description of Group Discussions. Probably PMIR my colleagues at XLRI could take a hint and devise newer methods of recruitment.

Surprisingly the blog post generating maximum number of hits was the post on the Pink Attire of Nadal. Just goes to show how and what searchers look for 'News'.

Anyways, its been a fun to pour my emotions, ideas, critical comments, viewpoints or simply reporting of facts and hope I can continue this blog unlike three of my previous attempts...

Puzzled Puneet (PP)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Yet another interesting journey...

The journeys are always as exciting and the beautiful as the destinations themselves. This has proved to be true in my case unfalteringly.

I dunno why that happens to me but my plans for a tour have failed in the past two years with an accuracy of close to 100%, the only success being “Rivers Meet” (OK that WAS the only success, so it IS counted even if it was just a 30 mins drive). As usual, with every failed plan, it brought me anguish of not being able to go but also importantly, of planning again for Plan B!!! So this time when the north-east trip did not happen, I was left to plan for my journey back home.

Now, the journey back home is no easy task for me. I need to travel close to 2,000 kms across India (from Tatanagar to Toranagallu) to reach home. And that is going almost by the shortest route there is. I do have longer routes with more travelling time which I frequent due to higher frequency and faster speed. I figured the earliest I was getting there irrespective of the costs is Monday morning. There is one train going from Howrah to my place, Toranagallu (Henceforth, TNGL) but that plies on Saturday but not Sunday. So as it happened, if I missed the Saturday train, I had two options – first being taking the flight to Bangalore (Henceforth, SBC) early next morning (8,000/-) and then the night train (500/-) to TNGL or waiting for Monday’s train and reach on Wednesday. Given my short term-break, the second was almost a non-option as it’d give me a home stay of 4 days with travel of 3 days and every day counts when you are going home for 5 days.

So I checked for all possible routes which would make me reach TNGL by Monday morning. Trains going westward – I checked trains connecting my place to any place on route from TATA to Mumbai. Trains to Nagpur, Daund; I even considered going to Pune and taking a night bus but again – reaching Pune was gonna be trouble as tickets were not available at this time of the year. Then I decided going to my normal route but on trains which would drop me somewhere I could catch a train to TNGL. So I checked up trains going to Vijaywada (henceforth BZA), Guntur, Guntakal and even decided travelling to Kharagpur (Henceforth, KGP) to catch a train to Hyderabad from where I could catch an overnight train to TNGL. But again, I’d be reaching on Tuesday morning. So it was finally decided, if I had to travel by train, it had to be this train leaving Howrah at 2330 hrs on the Saturday.

So I decided to book everything possible in this train till I got a confirmed reservation and got myself booked in 3-tier ac, 2-tier ac and the same in the Tatkal quota. I figured, the second class was too full to even have a glimpse of a reservation. And as fate would have it, all of my tickets were wait-listed.

Now India has a peculiar system of getting reservations where the train ticket examiner (famously called TT but is actually TTE) has the complete power over who he allots seats after the chart is prepared (which is approx. 6 hrs prior to departure of a train). I decided, one TTE was gonna be rich tonight and started from Jamshedpur with double the fare in cash and the all my tickets – giving him all the options for a conversion. What happened If the TTE was an honest man or he actually couldn’t do anything despite all my generous offers, I’d spend the night on the platform buying myself lots of coffee/tea to keep warm (I had given my gloves and warm blanket to a Chennai friend who really hates cold but was travelling by the second class due to lack of tickets) and spend 8,000/- and take the morning flight to SBC and then again try to get a TTE to give me a seat from SBC to TNGL. Both ways, I’d be reaching home by Monday morning.

I used the GPRS to keep checking just in case something got cleared. Somehow, a ticket in 3-tier ac was confirmed when I reached KGP. I was very happy. One TTE just missed his share of fortune. Then just for the heck of it, I asked my dad to check again in half an hour (GPRS was too slow) and as luck would have it, all my tickets were confirmed!!! In a matter of hours, I went from having no ticket in my hand to having multiple confirmed ac tickets. And what was more, the chart had been prepared. So regardless of other passengers, I knew there would be four ‘Puneet Aggarwal’s onboard 8047 Amravati Express. I knew Tatkal quota cannot be cancelled. So I decided to maximise return on investment and travel by 2-tier ac though i geenrally prefer 3-tier ac due to the larger number of people to talk to. The non-Tatkal tickets I got cancelled but being less than 6 hrs prior to the departure, I got only 50% of the fare charge as refund. The other tickets, I let go. The TTE would realise by KGP that there was no Puneet Aggarwal coming on the seats and finally get his share of fortune, though not through me...

The journey was very beautiful. India is very beautiful in the winters. The train passes through the heart of Lake Chilka, the biggest backwater lake in the country. And on a foggy morning, all one needs to do is hang the curtains of the double glassed, tinted ac window on the sides and savour the sunshine and the panoramic views of the lake. Soon after, the aroma of biryani being served in lunch tells Andhra (yet undivided) is here as Anakapalle (terminus for SCR) passes by. Then you cross the mighty Godavari and Krishna in quick succession as the mighty rivers and the long bridges make you wonder why there ever is a water shortage in this country. All through the journey, paddy fields abound. From BZA (where you are served another round of Biryani), the train turns westward and deviates from the Howrah-Chennai trunk route. By this time it is late evening and I decided to sleep early to get up early (8047 reaches TNGL at 5:30) and just as Guntur passed, I was fast asleep dreaming off all the goodies I’d savour in the next 5 days at home.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Other Side...

This post was written almost a month ago but was waiting for this day, the 26-11 to finally declare to the world that I was once on the other side too... Now I can say proud, I’ve seen it all... And this is where it all began...

It was a year ago...

I was on the other side...

The other side, the side which faces all the heat when all around people keep telling you to be cool...

The other side, the side which feels everything in the world is wrong when the only thing wrong is the belief that everything is wrong...

The other side, the side which doesn’t want to eat anything but needs to, just to survive yet another day... and god forbid, another... and another...

The other side, the side that always thinks bad things happen to bad people. I’ve always been a good guy... I’m gonna get good things in life...

The other side, the side which wants to go to bed with a smile on the face, sometimes in company of a good friend the muscles of the face even manage that, but once that friend is gone, they contract back to their anguished state...

The other side, the side which realises for the first time that there are good people in this world who’ll leave everything to be by your side when u need it...

The other side, the side where every day doesn’t rise with a sunrise but gloom of seeing it...

The other side, the side which reaffirms its belief in the Chaos Theory and Murphy’s Laws and the worst of all, requires a process much more efficient than the MSExcel rand() function to actually reach QED...

The other side, the side which after two months of mentoring and careful planning wonders what was it worth...

The other side, the side which experiences, at least in small bursts of time, a world where there are no friends... Only colleagues...

The other side, the side which no one wants to ever be on but everyone ends up being on...

The other side, the side which u enter a baby but emerge a man...

And so those of you just coming from the other side, all the best. Hope to see some of you there for us when we visit the other side in the coming months...

Btw, in case u are wondering what is "the other side" about... read this

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Unilateral Love...

Just the other day I read a line that got me thinking: “I love you far too much to be bothered by what you say or do to me.” This, as with a lot of other things, got me into the philosophical mode. Now this is either un-human or a simple plain harmless white lie!!! Can any human being actually love someone and not be bothered by what they say? Doesn’t it talk of unilateralism? Can any love be unilateral? To this extent? And again, as with everything else, I tried to reason the philosophy with logic.

Emotions always have the potential of being unilateral. Many people hate George Bush. But can he hate them? I’m angry with the Indian Government for so many things – to the extent that I might try to evade as much tax as possible. But is it angry with me? It’ll still continue to offer me what it always did – the citizenship of a “free” country. While all around me is misery, I can be the happiest person in XLRI or even on the face of the earth and probably beyond. And the converse – while all around me are partying, I can sit on the table and hope I could disappear or rather disapparate to the small hole, 40 ft below the surface of an ice island, in Tundra.

But wait, all these emotions I talked about were my relations with the group. What about individuals? Can I have unilateral emotions towards individuals? And such Extreme? I could hate, really hate, someone but when they help me, I would not be able to stop the feeling of gratitude. I could be angry, furious, with someone but when they came to me with a sorry written on a sullen face, I will relent though I might not absolve the other person of all their crimes.

But love behaves quite different from these human emotions. It is, after all, divine. I reminisced how many times in history/mythology has love led to people being irrational. Love has caused wars and ended them. It is the single most potent weapon in the hands of a poor soul on the other side of anger. I finally concluded – love – more than most (or should I say, all) other emotions – can be unilateral. Next time, when it comes to it, I won’t hesitate to say, “I love you far too much to be bothered by what you say or do to me.”

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Miles to go...

The other day, someone remarked that my frequency of blogging had decreased considerably. The truth is that there are many posts that I have drafted but never got myself to post them. Socially desirable responses and blogs... The unwillingness to answer a few pointed Qs... Those furtive glances... All of these conspired against me posting anything.

This post however finds its way out...

I was never the one who believed in sticking to culture and heritage. I, for one, always believe in the progressive stance and believe any progress needs sacrifices. I always resented the idea of a joint family. Today, I realise what those values and fun of the joint family meant. Till last year, XL was one huge family. The seniors, juniors and the Professors were members of that happy united family. Some Idiotic Process (SIP) axed away the bond between the siblings – the seniors and the juniors. The elders, well, I didn’t even realise when that bond was severed. This Diwali sealed it all. East is East, West is West and never shall the twain meet.

There was no welcoming to the houses. There were those ‘kutti idlis’ but that was not what pulled me last year. It was the joy of being invited. I went to have those ‘kutti idlis’ this year too but didn’t feel like having – and actually ended up having just a few forkful of noodles. There may have been the taste – after all, nothing ever changes in this sleepy town of Jamshedpur – including the tastes. But without the warmth of being served, the taste was actually not present. There was the customary Antakshari, good fun too. But when the company I cherish the most is absent – life truly is drab – what if it is Diwali. In this drab life, every sound of cracker is loud noise and every spark is a blinding flash.

I still believe I’ve a purpose to serve. The motivation might have been killed - quite cruelly - but I still believe someone somewhere might just need me. I hang on... I live on... The journey is not as pleasing as it used to be...

The woods are not lovely...
They are very dark – very deep...
But I’ve promises to keep...
and miles to go before I sleep!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The celebration...

The Italian chandelier was lit by a dim halogen glow. The soft light falling on the banquet hall really seemed to fill the evening with joy. The aroma of the tossed Russian salad mixed well with the selection of exclusive selection of French wines procured specifically for this occasion. The ikebana specialist, Sun Takahashi was happy to have got the contract for the arrangement of the Dutch Tulips in the central hall. The smile(y) was present on every nook of the decorated room. The city’s who’s who were all there, waiting for the Mr. R’s arrival. There were suddenly flashes all around and sudden frenzy at the door. Mr. R was accompanied by his new fiancée Ms. S. Dressed in a deep blue Armani, Mr. R looked ready for the occasion. The media sure was.

“Friends, the last month has been a real enlightening week for us. It was one where we experienced feeling so surreal, so redeeming that I feel privileged to be present here today to tell you more about it. We started off with the “Ghoomo India” campaign where 20 of us travelled across the country. Thanks to the innovative designs of our buses by Mr. D, who agreed to design the buses without any charges, we were able to visit places where no government goes. I’m happy to inform you that we supplied the village health centres worth 20 Crore of medicines. Thanks to the involvement of the 200 self-help-groups and mahila mandals in the city, we were able to collect 20 quintals of grain and used clothes. These were distributed to the needy with the help of the NGOs who decided to support us. Thanks to your support, we were able to reach out and spread the message of our foundation to 20 crore people of this country. Tonight we are here to celebrate the success of our mission and we have a reason to. I’d like to thank the schools and colleges, the Governmental Organisations and the NGOs, the self-help-groups and above all, the media for helping us on this tough journey. Please enjoy yourselves. I’m sure Chef P will have prepared a good selection of food for all your tastes. I’ve a meeting to attend and will thus take leave. Good night.”

Mr. R left the hall and walked towards his car. The chauffeur opened the rear door of the sedan. Mr. R. got into his car. The media was now focussed on other guests at the party. Just then...

“Do rupaye de do saahab. Kal se kuch nahi khaya hai. Maa Bimar hai. Yeh dekho sahib, behan ko bukhar hai. Do rupaye de do.”

“Chal Hat, Watchman, yeh log andar kaise aa gaye. Hatao inhe yaha se. Watchman... Driver Gadi chalao...”

Monday, September 14, 2009

You know you are back at XL when...

  • You get a feeling you should be working... That’s it. The feeling stops there...

  • That feeling comes only if you got a submission the next day and it is 1:00 am in the night...

  • You start loving all those vegetables mom used to force you to eat but you gave an ugly look saying, “Mom, aren’t there better things to make!”

  • You realise dieting is something that ppl do (remember ppl, not Me or you) because they don’t get those tempting Bisuda parathas at 2 in the morning...

  • You realise alarm clocks are needed to put you to sleep.

  • FB sure is one way...
    • Farms are no more wilted.

    • Your Mafia friends “wall” you for a pair of scissors, a haircut and cufflinks. You pick up fights and wars JLT. You learn new family values.

    • You get tagged on notes, cartoons, links and for everything you are not.

    • Fortune cookies are in high demand. (New B-Plan anyone?? New promotion strategy – Found in a Fortune Cookie, “You should eat a Bull’s Eye tonight with someone special”)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

He Cut My Wings Away...

I was a happy li’l tweeter
One tree to another, I flew
Suddenly he came along
And cut my sweet song...

What would happen if suddenly one day I lost the only thing that mattered to me – the only thing that I thought differentiated me – the thing that made my survival worth it.

It was the moment that I waited for

The victory would’ve been mine
Today would’ve been my day
Had he not cut my wings away...

I was planning for things to come. My future looked bright. The only thing I was afraid of was uncertainty. Alas, that had the last laugh...

To stay alive, I fought hard
The breath was snuffed out
The claw curled, I clung on
Lest in death I be frowned upon...

It wasn’t just myself that I was leaving behind. I didn’t have to be the joke. I was the brave tweeter who would will his way out of things... I wouldn’t give up, not now... I couldn’t be myself but I could still be someone. I’d live my life as that someone.

Those final steps I had to make

Just go that one more tile
Though would I fly in the rain
Never be the tweeter again...

The unknown. The unobtrusive. But I’d live. It was just three steps... one... two... three... Almost there... Like so many others who had been... But I was no “other”. I was the tweeter. I had to claim my right to the six feet of space. The three steps for the six feet...

Those three steps is why I live

First for my sweetheart
Two for the clouds cast
And three to relive the past...

And I survived. He could take my wings but I flew higher. Or could I? May be I couldn’t. He took my wings... Oh, he didn’t take my dreams. I could dream of flying higher. But would I? Probably I would. I was the tweeter... I shouldn’t give up... Or should I???

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Think Therefore I'm.... Single :)

Disclaimer: The following piece of literature is a satire and an attempted application of MBA concepts to real-world. The author is not responsible for feuds resulting or arising out of the text though he would be interested in knowing about them ;)
Disclaimer 2: The analysis is believed to be gender independent and universally applicable :)
The ‘product’: Depending on the consumer characteristics, the product can be high involvement product or a low involvement product. It may not be generalised but the product’s use as FMCG is not socially desirable. Thus, for the purpose of simplification of analysis, we shall assume the product is a high-involvement product and is intended to be used as a consumer durable. The product has a high-maintenance cost associated but the perceived lifetime value is higher than the costs involved. Thus, the product has a high aspirational value.
The ‘purchase’: The purchase decision is generally non-impulse though the primary point of contact with the product has a high impact on the final purchase. The purchase can involve extended information search. Alternative evaluation, though, is restricted, often by the terms and conditions mentioned by the product. To meet the alternative evaluation requirements the consumer often observes flanking brands to be satisfied of the genuine advantages of the evoked set. General consumers like to try the product before deciding the purchase. Only surrogate attributes are used for evaluation during trial. The trial period can involve high monetary, emotional and temporal costs. Elimination-by-aspects is the general rule used for final decision. Sometimes, consumers do trade-off important attributes for the less important ones and thus actually use compensatory decision rule in conjunction with elimination-by-aspects. In many cases, the product is deemed faulty and discarded without any damages sought. Packaging has a high impact on the purchase decision. The consumer seeks out the product and hence the place dimension of the product mix is insignificant at the point of contact. However, for all further decisions, proximity is a highly desirable trait. Group impact on decision-making is very high and co-branding strategies are often successful.
Post-Purchase: Post-purchase dissonance is often delayed and not instantaneous. Display of post-purchase dissonance is restricted. Consumption guilt is often absent. Disposability of the product is very low. Hence, in cases where post-purchase dissonance or consumption guilt exists, the product is put to a no-use state before being slowly discarded. The duration of the no-use phase before disposal (and replacement) is highly dependent on attribution. Depending on the individual consumer, the product may sometimes be replaced immediately with a new one but more often than not, the second purchase is characterised by a prolonged period of analysis of previous use, and an in-depth study of the consideration set elements for making the second purchase.
P.S.: Go Ahead, Guess the product :)
Disclaimer 3: The author has limited knowledge of the product. The analysis performed is based on secondary data.
Credits shared by: @ng, Kutti

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Late Date...

I had imagined it’d be like this but never could have imagined it could be this great. The weather was just apt. Slight drizzle from the sky, a hint of hum through the wind... This moment had been long time coming but somehow the forces were against it. Today I decided, come what may, I’m not gonna miss the chance – no matter what the world thinks – the GRAX boards could keep rolling... my date was gonna happen today. I decided 2245 hrs would be the meeting time.

The restaurant was quiet... the last of the diners were leaving. Slow instrumental music filled the room... The light was just right... The diffused yellow light gave a snug feeling to the room... The setting was perfect. I took a few moments to prepare myself for this... this was definitely not an everyday thing. There I was, sitting on the corner table of Regent, waiting.

And then... she arrived.

The waiter escorted her in. Instantly and involuntarily, my lips parted and my tongue rolled over. The whole world came to a standstill. My mind went numb. She was dressed in a dark overall just as I had asked; So beautiful... So sensuous... Looking hotter than ever... Did I just see a few wisps of steam rise from her... I was sure I could devour her just with my eyes... My heart started racing... Should I get up and take her to the table? Or do just sit and wait for her? Would the waiter get a wrong impression if I looked too anxious? Would I be judged? Oh so slowly the waiter moved... painstakingly slow... She was shown the way to my table. Was anything in the world worth this feeling – of a quiet corner in a restaurant with your true love? I could’ve exchanged anything in the world for this moment. I was sure the waiter could’ve too.

Slowly and courteously, without moving his eyes away from her, the waiter asked, “Anything to go with the Bull’s Eye Sir?”

P.S.: Regent = One decent place to dine; Bull's Eye = One decent Chocolate Dessert
P.S.2: This story is inspired from true events of today and doesn't involve any living person other than me and the waiter. Any coincidences are purely coincidental :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why Does History Repeat Itself?

We blame the history for repeating itself but the more we see the fundamental behaviour of humans, the more we shall find that the phenomenon of history being able to repeat is primarily the reason why it can repeat. Confused??? Its fine... I was too, till I gave more thought to it... And what is worse, still am....

Let us look at the judicial system: A precedent is something that can hardly be ignored, unless the case facts have altered beyond a point. The precedent, then, is taken as the judgement to be made. If the case facts are similar, the culprit must be the same – is what we believe. Why don’t we question the judgement of the judge who set that precedent? How many amendments do we know of which sought to repeal previously held judgements. Most amendments are actually “appendment”s. So effectively, if in a dubious case the wrong guy is hanged to death, the precedence will be held true for all cases in future too – and repeatedly, the wrong guy will be dead. And undoubtedly, we’ll claim, “History Repeats Itself”.

The second instance is what I got interested in today – Technical Analysis of stocks. The chartists claim that trends are similar across times – that trends themselves have a trend!!! But where they cement the phenomenon is their belief that the trend cannot change, that if the prices went down this day in history, they will do so today!!! So the next time I recognise a trend, I know what will happen and thus will follow the trend... Thus I, inadvertently, become a part of self-fulfilling prophecy. I recognise the trend that prices will fall and start selling my stock. Everyone else also does the same. When it reaches a certain level and I realise that the historical trend predicts an increase now, I start to buy stock. Everyone else does too. Is it a wonder that the prices actually fall and rise “as predicted by Technical Analysis”? The chartists believe that market psyche remains constant to market stimuli, why they discount the human mental evolution is something I’m yet to understand. Probably a chartist or behavioural finance specialist can explain.


P.S.: I'm neither a Lawyer nor a Chartist. More importantly, I do not claim to be one. The above are simply ramblings which I hope will be answered over time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Of negligence, dereliction and corruption

It was just one of those things that can get me started. I hate inefficiencies but not being the most efficient performer (despite my concentrated and hopefully dedicated efforts) myself, I try not to complain too...!!! I might crib about it but forget it soon enough. More often than not, I end up praising for perpetuator of inefficiency for the work done... (Remember my praises of mess food;))

It was a simple expression of anger on the inefficiency of a government-run body. The perpetuator of inefficiency (and may be dereliction too) was an employee of the govt. And it got me started... I’ll paste the chat that followed (me v/s XXX)

me: But its a big vicious circle..
and initially u feel angry against the perpetuator..
but if u analyse it, u cant blame him..
jungle hai... sher deer se dosti karega to khayega kya..!!

XXX: kya pata yar
deer kaun sher kaun
sab hi sher ho rakhe hain
me: initially we also thot the same..
but then i talked to the perpetuator
thn realised.. he cant really help it..
and his job is really his side business.. they provide jobs to many other families through other things they do. basically ek haath se 150/- dete hain aur doosre haath se 100/- lete hain..

XXX: kya pata yaar
me: hmm... not sayin sab doodh ke dhule hain..
XXX: perpetuator ke part pe bad job ka justification samajh nahi aata
me: hmm.. but yeah.. they are not so wrong also... one thin i realised on my village trip was tht we, with all the resources, can afford to think of idealism..
they cant..

XXX: probably true
me: just think.. 100/- pm se kitna kamata hoga.. aint tht amount u spend on treats and bisuda..
me: coz in engg coll days i wanted to teach the kids of the roadside labour..
but realised.. i cud do it coz i knew it was not somethin i was doing for eternity or a living..

XXX: hmm
ye bhi hai

me: if it was for a living.. then i'd not be teachin them beyond a point whr they stop dependin on me...
and if they doubt.. i'd ensure one of my friends takes the tuition and i teach in "school"
so in essence i'll safeguard my source of income if tht was so..

XXX: :(
me: corruption can and should be analysed from the point of view of the perpetuator..
XXX: hmm
me: just imagine.. how many times - almost daily - do we involve ourselves in corruption - how many times do we not do our duty - and then we complain of negligence, dereliction and mal-intention..
me: ok, wat is ur duty?
u knw ur capacity is infinite..

XXX: alag alag role mei alag hai
me: yups.. hv u performed everyone of them?
if u say no, i'll say.. "see"
if u say yes, i'll add two more things tht u cud and shud hv done..
so really u dont hv an answer..


P.S. @XXX: I really hope, ur anonymity is well preserved and this post is in no way offensive to you or your beliefs

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Did Nokia borrow my idea???

“Business leaders do not spring from a classroom, they are born of THE COLOSSEUM.”
Thus says my T-shirt. Are ideas also born of THE COLOSSEUM? They sure seem to...

I had talked about how Nokia publicised its N97 through the B-School competition, THE COLOSSEUM some months back. But now that I think of it, it was not just publicity. The event was really a cradle of ideas – ideas that Nokia could use for not just N97 but also its other future products.

Think of it... The event was participated in by the most brilliant minds of the country. The suggestions came out after a detailed market analysis and touch-point study of the target consumers. What came out of the competition had to be top-notch. All that would be required after these ideas were generated would be communication of these ideas to few creative people who would then look for consumer target icons and use them to create super brands.

With an industry which keeps changing so fast, it really can be expensive to hire a top-notch ad agency to create advertising and marketing campaigns month after month. It would be very expensive to hire consultants for brand positioning and value propositioning. Going to B-Schools thus becomes an easy source of innovation (in terms of promotion strategies and not products). With the technology backing, all a marketing giant needs to do is float such competitions in the best B-Schools and the best design schools. One such competition would give them enough fodder to feed a few of their future products. At cost that would not even equal a single product launch, it sure is a very beneficial form of outsourcing.


P.S. Case in point: My introduction to the idea was this (not same but similar to Nokia 7610's "Its not just a phone, Its who we are."):

"My first phone was a Nokia 3310. It solved my communication needs. Then I bought a Nokia 6360. Not just did it solve my communication needs but connected me to real-life through its colours. Then I bought a Nokia 6670. That connected me to my computer and I could read documents and listen to music. Then I bought an NGage. That kept me connected to my first love – games. Then I purchased a N72 – which with GPRS, Good Music, FM radio, Camera and decent video – changed the whole concept of a phone. I was now connected to the whole world. But my world was limited by the capacity of the phone. Then came the N95 which with its huge memory ensured I had a bigger repository of songs than I could ever listen to in one sitting, that stayed connected to my memories through the images and videos I could store. What next? Has Nokia transcended all boundaries and connected me to everything I ever wanted to be connected to? Now I need something that not just connects me to the world but is also an extension of myself. Thus it is not a phone but my virtual self."

Our Team: Karan, Angshu, Me

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mowgli's Welcome - Part 2

If you haven’t read this, read it first

The story so far: Mowgli comes to town chasing his dream. He flouts a few “rules” and is protected by the residents of the town, who take all the blame onto themselves in order to protect Mowgli. What Mowgli thought would be a very cool transition to the new town wasn’t a pleasant transformation anymore. And then...

The rift was widening by the day. The sessions meant to acclimatise Mowgli were shortened. (That the residents were busy with their political process was a fact not known to Mowgli.) One of these sessions, the sincere helpful residents who had decided to take up all the blame for Mowgli’s doings were banished from the town. The boiling point was reached... It never recovered from here. Mowgli had alienated more residents than he knew.

Meanwhile Mowgli did apply to the very important branding committee on insistence of the friendly guardian council. He was given few very strategic and important assignments which he earnestly completed. With the connectivity problems not helping, it was indeed a test of his gut and strength. He sourced information, woke up nights, but somehow, managed to finish his assignment and the council was indeed pleased by him. But the residents, they decided to vent their anger on him and the guardian council for want of someone to blame for the banishing of their fellows.

Around the same time, the Sun fell sic. His good work was about to be undone by others’ callous disregard to listen. And perturbed by the agendaless council meeting, he decided to withdraw, but then, giving in to the last minute nature of the process, decided to continue, though mellowed down. Things got back on track.

And it was the D-Day... It had to happen... Mowgli was good (or he thought he was) but one of his clan wasn’t careful enough. A leak happened. The guardian council read out the “actual” leak in front of all Mowgli’s clan. First the banished residents and now the leak... The brand of the town would have been tarnished forever. All Mowgli could was hang his head in shame and walk out of the sanctum sanctorum through the hallowed portals for his absolution. His path was lit by light of righteousness. His lone walk ended in front of his residence where he decided to take his oath – the oath that had been taken by his ancestors – the oath that would hence redefine his existence. The skies opened up and washed Mowgli and his clan of all his sins. He was now an official member of the town.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mowgli's welcomed - Part 1

Disambiguation: For the benefit of the batch of 2009-11 and beyond, all further references will be hidden and/or disguised :)

It was the time of the year when anxiety rules on one end of the jungle and the fun of watching the anxiety on the other!!!

Mowgli was not new to the world, but this one, he had never seen. Mowgli had always looked to the day when he would walk into this acclaimed town with the feeling of having tamed all but a few big and wild cats of the jungle. This he thought would be a new life – the life he had always waited for – the life of a know-it-all, the life of the master. And it was... well not exactly as he had thought it would be J

The first day, the earlier residents of this town called him and told him to get his other friends. The residents were sweet and looked caring. He was glad. Suddenly out of nowhere did the mast haathi – the Lord Ganesha come in and started uprooting the camaraderie that was built up. All that was required was a prayer song to the Lord Venki to make the rook trace back his steps. All the world’s a stage – said the Bard. All the lawn’s a pool said the master(ess) and Mowgli knew he had to keep swimming (in all possible ways) to stay afloat. And stay afloat he did. But then, how long could he do that!!! He could really feel the earth rising and swallowing him up.

To bring some order to the things fast going out of control – the Sun (no typo) was born... Yes The Sun – the centre of all gravitation – the bull’s eye of all cupid arrows. The prodigy took over the reins and organised basic survival workshops for Mowgli and his clan. His was a small court – just one “sweet” hulk with the face of the god himself drinking coke relaxing on a bed of petals.

Mowgli was glad. He was learning the life of the town. Though sometimes he did wish he was back in the jungle. The will to survive overpowered the need to sleep and soon everything seemed alright. Meanwhile, the other residents did try to catch up with Mowgli’s clan. Soon the residents knew more about the clan than the clan itself. The pure netizen climbed the summit of helpfulness, and unmindful of the gag imposed by the town council, reached out to Mowgli and his clan.

All was soon gonna change. The goat was being readied for the grand feast – the catch being that it wouldn’t be able to enjoy the feast that he thought he was looking forward to. Little did Mowgli know that he had to stay away from the worldly pleasures he had once enjoyed in the forest. This was no forest and there were rules. The earlier residents decided to save Mowgli from the guardians and take it all upon themselves but the rift was created. Would life ever be the same again for Mowgli? Keep watching...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Why Am I Not an Alien!!!

Somehow, this post missed getting published... It has stayed in my drafts for long now and wants to see the light of publication...

Wants and wishes – the two human traits that I could surely have done without. Many of my friends say I’m an alien – not human – why am I not an alien!!! Why are they not correct!!! Why do I wish? Even if I do, why do I not wish for things that are more achievable like being the President of India, like earning a pay-check the size of India’s GDP or even say building my rooftop garden with palm trees dropping mangoes on the 9th moon of planet BCD-996 revolving around Alpha Unknownus in the galaxy Unreachabilus. I wish for things that are beyond what is termed ‘possible’ – a good friend for example.

Why am I writing this – well, something that helps when I have no one to turn to – when everyone else believes he’s got more important things than keeping up a promise – when these simple wishes of mine overpower me and cause me to think I better be an alien – not that with every passing instant I’m not becoming one. It starts with a simple NO and soon enough those also stop coming and I assume them anyways. Very soon I’ll have green ears which do not hear anything, green eyes which do not see the part of the world they do not want to and the brain which works only in cases where 2+2 = 4 and not when to bring two 2's together there are other 1s required – and heart – well it better not exist!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Love "Love Stories"

And I read another book – looks like my frequency of reading books has improved – quite a bit at that. Compare 3 books in four years (during engineering) to 4 books in a year (since passing out of engineering). I generally kinda like all books which have a decent paced storyline or flow of thought. I hate books which expand and elaborate beyond my liking, Tolkien, for example. No wonder Dan Brown and Jeff Archer find themselves on my favourite list (not that it is a very illustrative list which they would be proud to be on). Anyways coming to the book...

It’s called “Anything for you, ma’am” and tagged – “an IITian’s love story”. Tushar Raheja, an IITDian of 2006 has more created a Hindi movie plot than written a book. – And must I say, a good one too (Do IITians even study engineering – first Chetan Bhagat and now Tushar Raheja!!!).

The initial plot seems a tad confusing – jumping timelines – flashbacks. And but for the chapter names stating the month in the timeline, I’d have really lost myself (Now I’m no voracious reader and have to make some effort to recall characters in books – nothing strange for me to get lost). But yes, Tushar does pack it with a lot of humour and IITD lingo that makes these jumps no less fun.

Pappi’s character is really colourful – the otherwise really nice surd who can be rough too when he sets out to it. Tejas, the gallant lover who will and does travel across the length of the country to get his first kiss, creating plots and schemes that would match the best Bollywood screenplays. Shreya, the so well painted picture of the simple Indian girl who can easily be the girl of everyone’s dreams (which guy doesn’t dream of a girl who doesn’t make him spend in 5-stars!!!). The friends of Tejas and the family – most of all the understanding and loving didi – I never had one and now wish I had (but then, I never had a “Shreya” either, and now I wish I had ). Those are pretty much the important characters in the plot – oh yes there is the khadoos old-fashioned - “Love? WTF!!!” - Chennai-dad who will start everything with a pooja.

The plot is fast paced and filled with humour and views of Tushar. Dunno why he interjected it with attempts at elaboration and elongation!!! Frankly, I hardly paid attention to his songs (Oh yes, there is a song for every occasion). I’d have gone into the details of the story but will refrain for the benefit of those who haven’t read the book and have stumbled here. There are some really funny moments and also few which will make you stand up and pull your hair out screaming, “WOW, Brilliant!!!”. The ending is the most beautiful part – the romantic setting created for Tejas by his new-found friend (Raju Bhaiya) on the serene sand of the Chennai beach, amidst the crashing waves under the blue sky.

“I looked into her eyes; eyes that said so much. She closed them as I brought my lips close to hers and touched them. The wind, the waves, the sky, the day, had all ceased to exist.”

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Netherlands Stun England!!!

In the first match of the Twenty20 World Cup, we have a upset. The minnows have beaten the hosts England. England were going fine till the over ten, reaching 90. But then on it was a downward slide as Holland clawed their way back and restricted England to a very manageable 160 odd runs. Grooth and Borren led the Dutch chase as they chased down the English total in a nail-biting last-ball finish... England, more than anything were let down by their fielding. The English had many chances but couldn't get a direct hit on the stumps. It was a fitting finish that the Dutch won the match on an overthrow!!! My man-of-the-match: Grooth.

I just read a satirical on Cricinfo stating that India and Scotland would be in the finals. with Scotland having a slight edge. That doesn't seem so satirical anymore...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Microsoft Does It Again...

I just downloaded the Vista Service Pack 2. And guess what, it comes with an add-on to FireFox!!! I hated IE and switched over to FireFox and now this MS encroachment to Firefox... And that is not it – U can’t even uninstall this from your Firefox!!!

I generally support MS for all it does in making computing easy and accessible to all. Ya Ya.. LINUX groups will jump onto this statement saying Linux is better blah blah... I could never manage that (and I’m not a computer illiterate). I love the way MS gives me easy ways of doing things... who cares if I have that control on my comp or not. I don’t want the control that LINUX users promise – I want the ease that MS promises.... But things like these are what irritate me. Why shud it install something into Firefox which is not even its own!!! Do whatever you want with windows application but leave the others alone. Other than Office, I rarely use any other windows application... and I kinda prefer it that way. I dunno what the functionalities of this add-on are... I’m yet searching for that... If anyone’s got a clue, please post it over...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Its all in the head...

It’s the tough of the heart who win games, sets and matches. Tommy Hass was well on his way to another upset in the French Open (after Nadal’s shock defeat yesterday). Two sets to nil up, he was tied at in the third set. And just then, he went up 40-30 on Fedex serve. Break point at this stage was as good as the Match Point. He sent it wide... And that one point changed the direction of the whole match. He lost the set 6-4 and the next set all Fedex had to do was to send the ball over the net and in the court. Hass sprayed it all over the court. It was two sets apiece now. Tommy Haas found some glimpses of brilliance that he had displayed to win the first two sets. Suddenly, faced with a break-point, Haas cracked. The game was Federer’s. Not just that game, Federer sent three aces down in the next game to win the game at 40-0. And by the next game, Haas had all but given up. He lost the next game again at nought. Fedex keeps his career slam opportunity open. Federer was not at his best today – but all it took for Haas to stumble to defeat from the brink of history was one point and it was then that he had lost it in his head. On the court, it was a mere formality... Result: Federer wins in five sets after being down in the first two and reaches the quaterfinal.


P.S.: The crowd may not realise it, but just as they celebrate the Fedex victory, 228 of their family is missing in AF 447. My heart goes out to the families. Being lost in an airplane crash is the worst that can happen – the status of the person can never be confirmed. Did the plane crash? Did anyone survive? Are they out there waiting for help? Are we looking in the right areas? Can they contact us somehow? How do we tell them to hold and that help is on its way?

And Finally... The end of an era...

Was just bored and saw the TVC of Nirma. A search on youtube finally gave me the link.. (its not easy to find)
But, finally – the TVC that defined jingles and brand association has been replaced its new high-tech version. The new TVC is colourful and is a huge shift from the whiteness platform that the earlier ad positioned itself on. This ad is replete with colours and flowing clothes probably depicting the quality of the fabric. Dunno what the underwater nature of this ad symbolises though... any suggestions?

The New Commercial

Whatever, I like the ad – though I miss the old jingle... Who can forget the evergreen line from the commercial

Hema, Rekha, Jaya aur Sushma... Sabki Pasand Nirma. Washing powder Nirma

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Simple things...

It’s amazing how simple things mean so much more than elaborate arrangements. This, I write as I watch the clip of the “Saturnalia Miracle” over and over again (the iTunes count says 21) – reminiscing how, over the past one year, have I found joys in the most simple and unnoticed of gestures. A plain old simple hug means so much that it can surpass the combined value of all those baskets of goodies. A plain simple word would of goodwill, of love would mean so much more!!! The more I watch “The Big Bang Theory”, the more I feel, I’ve so much in common with Sheldon. I’ve always pondered over what to gift my friends on special occasions and often can’t come up with anything... How sheepishly I ponder over what gift is worthy of the feeling that I actually want to display. I never even know what to write on a greeting card – once I start writing, the words never stop coming – I could well write novels on that greeting card when all I wanted to say was “sorry” or a simple “thank you”.
P.S.: The best dialogue of this episode (or in fact many many others)
Penny: He came into the restaurant. Sorry the napkin’s dirty; he wiped his mouth with it
Sheldon: I possess the DNA of Leonard Nimoy
Penny: Ya, Ya, I guess. But look he’s signed it.
Sheldon: Do you realise what this means? All I need is a healthy ovum and I can grow my own Leonard Nimoy.
[I mean, WOW... Where does someone get an idea that geeky!!!]
Penny: Ok. All I’m giving you is the napkin, Sheldon

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

99% Success is a Failure Grade

Or so, it was said of surgery and military. Very soon it'll be true of education too!!!

Just today I was seeing a news piece - 90% in CBSE is considered average!!! When I cleared CBSE X (2002), 90% was considered very good. This time, students of my alma mater, 15 students got >90% (out of 30 odd students). Goes to show that to match the standards of state boards, CBSE standards have fell!!!

So what students now have is less syllabus but they still don't learn or understand anything. Its just become easier for them to cram up - there's less syllabus. Basics, well the "Question Banks" are the basic. I know of students who hadn't even read the prescribed Text-books but managed 95%. Few years back the government proclaimed that the text-books would include more basic stuff (when the actual motive was undoing what the previous government had changed in the text-books). The argument that going back to basic in education will help falls flat in an atmosphere where understanding matters far less than the score achieved (which btw, doesn't require understanding because of the question banks and the "sample papers" released by the board). Did the easing of syllabus lead to the child being more active in other fields? NO. Did it aid anyone? NO.

CBSE started off with a good initiative of declaring the grade and not rank. I feel that should be extended to doing away with scores at all. When 90% = 95% (I really feel it is), the kid will probably try to understand more because he anyways can't get better than an A+. If not that, at least he'll spend his time not cramming up question banks but for some other interest or hobby.

High time students, parents and the boards realised that the grades and marks are all but one and must I say, unimportant part of the education the child receives. More important is what he learnt from it. Anyone can identify pictures of different strokes in swimming and score a cent percent but when at sea, the only stroke that'll work is what can make you survive till help is at hand.

Monday, May 25, 2009

French Open: Rafael Nadal in PINK

That he is no less male was demonstrated through his shots and the ultimate scoreboard (7-5, 6-4, 6-3) in the opening round against Brazilian Marcos Daniel but still PINK!!! And it was no manly pink... It was no Mauve or anything but PINK... He may call it "Light Rose" or whatever... but as Phoebe puts it many times in her typical tone "po-tay-to po-tah-to", its PINK after all...

Now if Federer can't make his trademark shots and ends up losing to Nadal, he can surely make an excuse of courtesy or even better, distraction!! We can bid goodbye to the trademark bright green - hope it is not the case with the brilliant tennis he plays along with it.

Yup, the pic on the right is his colour this French Open...


P.S.: The latest score - Federer Lost his serve in the opening game and trails 0-2.... OK no, not to Nadal :)

The heat was definitely ON...

“The heat was definitely ON...” -- President of South Africa on the IPL.

And once again Lalit Modi shows that he is indeed the best thing that happened to Indian Cricket since Jagmohan Dalmiya’s commercialisation. When the country refused to provide the IPL the security that it needed and requested, an ad hoc plan to shift the whole tournament to South Africa was required and within days,, he shifted the whole event to the rainbow nation. In his own words, “To relocate an event of this magnitude to another continent in less than four weeks is simply mind-boggling.”

I was glad I was in Bombay for my internship, thus allowing me to watch the matches on television each night – also once on the big screen at Juhu Mocha! Saddened though I was on seeing tears on the ever-so-bubbly dimpled face of the pretty Preity, I couldn’t wonder at how the South African nation stands to benefit from the IPL. Four weeks ago, as they wondered if they were ready to host the biggest event in their short history – the FIFA World Cup 2010, Lalit Modi provided them with the best dress-rehearsal there could be. With exactly 50 weeks before the first match is played, South Africa can sure claim to be the right place for the FIFA World CUP.

And not just that, the economic benefits far outweighed the troubles this huge logistical nightmare brought to South Africa. 35 days of cricket – around 30-40 staff for each team, reporters, sponsors, crickets officials, the media, the organisers and the fans – all in all we sure are looking at five-star bookings tops 10k hotel days. Add to that the travel that these people had to do – the airline tickets itself would be huge economic boost to the nation. Add to that the tourism benefits – the safari packages, the SOTC tours et al. Even the simplistic of things like the roaming charges on cellphone!!! The President put the economic activity at 1 billion rand!!!

Lest I forget, let me also mention the indirect economic activity this would bring to the nation – the goodwill that it will generate internationally. The IPL has put a cross-mark on the international event-managers’ radars. And now the South Africans can sure brag of hosting huge international events and surge on their preparations for the Confederations Cup – 2009 and the most watched television extravaganza – the FIFA World CUP beginning on June 11th, 2010.

All in all – the grandest party of the year for the South Africans will bring in more than just the fun and excitement it promised...

Now waiting for FIFA 2010...


P.S: What filled my heart with pride and gave me goosebumps – The closing ceremony – the beautiful instrumental played – guess the tune – vaishnav jan... Gandhi will never be forgotten in this foreign land even if he is ridiculed in his own nation...

P.S2: If you missed the closing ceremony, you surely should see the re-telecast. Though I din't understand the local songs (obviously, or may be they were English but I din't listen), the lights, colours and fire made it worth every second. Sydney 2000 wasn't as good!!!

P.S3: If you are wondering what the "army man" sung before the beautiful fireworks display - click here. It is a beautiful song by Eddy Grant.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

#1: Did u know...

I thot the Sri Lankan cricketers had longish names - wait till u see this...
Who is the IPL cricketer with the initials LRPLT?
Luteru Ross Poutoa Lote Taylor, RCB (New Zealand)

P.S.: Looking for other long names: Click Here

Saturday, May 23, 2009

BJP: Gear up for 2019

The verdict is out – it is a mandate for the Congress led UPA government. PM Dr. Singh becomes the second PM after Pandit Nehru to return to office with a clear mandate. With the Left not shackling it and now DMK out too, the Congress cannot blame anyone but itself if it fails to deliver what the alliance promises to – progress. Mind you, I’m no Congressman, but when it comes to a stable dynastic government versus an unstable democratic government, I’d rather prefer a dynastic government. I do agree Advaniji would be a strong PM but with allies like Mayawati and Jayalalitha to keep the alliance under a continuous threat of collapse over trivial issues like the Left did to the UPA, I'd rather have Sonia-Rahul dictate terms to a "weak" Manmohan Singh.

And in what may seem quite contrary to my views earlier, I kinda liked the “non-congress’ised Rahul Gandhi. While Sonia may have become the AICC and the UPA chief due to the dynasty, Rahul wants to establish himself through the route an “aam aadmi” would take – the route of toil and hard work. That, even the staunchest of opponents will observe, he does. His "Discover of India" tour was well publicised though did not really yield instant results for the Congress. When Rahul Gandhi came to the scene initially, he was being looked upon as the bearer of bad luck. Whichever state he went to, the Congress lost it. And not all was because of the opposition’s good performance. Few statements made by Rahul Gandhi were rebuked by the BJP and few of them simply showed Congress in bad light. But at least he was true to himself and the country - he was a "naive" politician!!! One thing that he did well for the congress was to recruit the youth to the congress. Byre Gowda contested against the might of Ananth Kumar in Bangalore. That in itself shows the strength the youth Congress has accumulated. And clearly, a lot of credit should go to Rahul. But now that he has been "Congress"ised, will he remain that focussed on actually achieving improvement and development – both for the Congress and the country – is a question that time will answer. For now, looks like, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

In a situation where the DMK even quit the government because the low performing ministers were not acceptable to the PM, Rahul declined to take up any portfolio – not that he would surely do a good job – that does speak volumes about the PM-in-Waiting. As the infighting in the BJP ranks erupts, even threatening to burn up the party’s loyal base of the RSS and the VHP ranks, here’s just a suggestion for them – look for an heir who will lead you in 2019. 2014 will surely be the congress sweep in the Parliament – Rahul surely will not lose his first election as the PM-to-be and I sure believe he'll be ready for the top job by then (Though few experts do feel Rahul wouldn't do good by being so and I agree that very well can be the case)


Friday, May 22, 2009

The Autowala Wisdom

Do you think the intelligent people come out of the best B-Schools in the country? Well, intelligent they may be but they all they can be attributed to are the recessions and the crashes – what comes out of the hawker and the autowala is wisdom that works!!!

I was travelling from Andheri to Bandra in a rickshaw. I saw a congress board thanking the loyal Bombay junta for their votes. The autowala remarked uninstigated– "पहले election पे इतना पैसा waste किया – अब thank you बोलने पे करेगा यह politician लोग." That was the conversation I was looking for – and it started. From how the politicians “work” to how it affects the “Aam Aadmi”. We talked on similar things and I din’t know I had reached Linking Road.

Wait for it...

Yes, it was then that the autowala delivered a timeless piece of wisdom – “साहिब जानते हैं, काम तो सभी एक ही करते हैं. Congress हो या शिव सेना, बारिश के मौसम में flood रुकने वाला नहीं है. But कोई भी government हो बड़ी margin से जीतनी चाहिए. हमको तो बस stable लंबा government मांगता है.”

I was like, “Wow, how would a stable government affect this petty driver?”

He continued, “अब यह देखो, मैं चार भाई लोग है. दो Congress के साथ है. एक भाई और उसकी बीवी शिव सेना के साथ है. election जो भी जीते पैसा तो मिलता ही है अपने को. जितना बड़ा margin, उतना बड़ा पैसा. और जब government रहेगा तो भी पैसा आता रहेगा. अब जो भी जीते, पैसा तो अपने फॅमिली को मिलता है।”

Now that is a very intelligent Driver!!!