Beauty with Brains

This is triggered by an interview I watched on a TV channel. It featured the actress and director Nandita Das. Not sure how many people have seen her films, but she has starred in a few. I was struck by two things- the impact an upbringing (mainly parents)can have on a person's worldview. Secondly, that beauty and brains can go together, in spite of the dumb blonde jokes that we are all used to. Anyway, she is not blonde, nor fair, but still, beautiful to those who are not "fair-minded", or blinded by fair skin.

She spoke on a range of issues, including live-in relationships, her choice of films and her non-career mindedness as per Bollywood norms. I thought she came across as a balanced, Live-and-let-live kind of person, and more than that, as a genuinely nice person, compared to the many "naatakbaaz" (fake-sounding) people one comes across in large numbers on TV (maybe I have been watching too many financial analysts).

The interview was on DD, so I must also congratulate DD on a good subject for a nice interview.

Unconventional Wisdom

It has become a trend for economists to write mainstream books like Freakonomics. The latest that I read in this genre is one with a misleading title. I will come to the title later, but the book puts forth a lot of unconventional arguments. One is that patents are bad, another is that firemen should keep the assets that they save from a fire, and yet another is that a high population is good for all of humanity. I will not get into the details (I am not sure that I can!), but it is an engaging way to spend your afternoon, or evening, or night to read this book. In general, his argument is that the law of Karma should be applied to situations to decide who gets the incentives and pays for costs of his actions- the doer!

There are some real gems, like "the Labour minister steals from the farmers and business, the Commerce minister steals from the workers and farmers, and the Agricultural minister steals from the workers and business, to benefit their own constituencies- the workers, the businesses, and the farmers, respectively". Of course, in the American context. But he also points out that people in general have benefited from progress only over the last 50-100 years in terms of a rise in income and choices of lifestyle.

A real good observation is that Americans (or Westerners, in general) have no right to lecture third world countries on issues like child labour, because parents of the children can take care of this, and secondly, because American parents also did the same (supported their children working) for survival a couple of hundred years ago.

All in all, an interesting read. The (misleading) title of the book? More Sex is safer sex.

Long lost friends

Suddenly these past two weeks, I have had friends from school and college catching up through mail or Facebook. It is really great to catch up after say, twenty years or thirty years. One schoolmate is a chef, another a businessman, and so on. We are now going to try and revive a school batchmates group from Hyderabad Public School, Ramanthapur.
In any case, we are already planning a 25th reunion of our IIMB batch this year. So the reunion fever is stronger than Swine flu, as far as we are concerned. With most of us having children who are grown up, and very little to occupy the time at the "empty nests", this is one thing we are looking forward to.
Disgruntlement with high pressure corporate life is what I find increasingly among friends and acquaintances, and many are taking ways out by teaching, retiring, or finding other pursuits. Not bad, I would think. At least 25 years later (or Quarter ke baad, as our reunion is teasingly titled), people have figured out what is important to them, and are trying to pursue it, without peer pressure or other pressures influencing them. After all, that's what "success" should be all about.

The Long weekend

The long weekend started off well, with us going to Harihar, a place I worked in for seven years. Thanks to the bungling of the highway construction on NH 4, it takes longer to reach there than it used to seven years ago. But roads in town have improved. With some friends from Kirloskar Institute, we revisited some of our old haunts like Kondajji (a hill with a lake and a camping site), Raj Bhavan restaurant at Davangere nearby, a nice garden restaurant where many weekends were spent. The colony surrounding the institute (of a Kirloskar company called Mysore Kirloskar) has been bought over by an investor, and is in bad shape, though it may be restored or sold off in smaller lots.
Tried a hookah which a friend had brought from Qatar, and enjoyed the fruit flavoured "smoke". The journey back was marred by a blind (not literally) auto driver ramming his auto with us in the back into a mini-truck. Luckily we got away with minor bruises. Came back to a lot of rain in Bangalore.

Pics from Singapore KL and Pattaya

I have finished added captions to my recent Singapore trip album, which you can visit at-

I am new to Picasa and digital photography in general, having grown up on the "grandfatherly" analog cameras using which I was comfortable, but when it comes to instant sharing, I am now a convert to the digital variety. Happy viewing. The same site also contains a couple of older albums from the trips to Udaipur/Jaipur/Amritsar and to Amsterdam.

My Name is Anthony Gonsalves

No, of course, it isn't. I am simple trying to recall some songs which made an impact when I first saw them on screen. Some like this o...

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