Showing posts from February, 2011

Book of General Ignorance

As promised earlier, here are a few gems from the book of Ignorance- edited for brevity, of course.

1. Who coined the phrase The Survival of the Fittest? Not Charles Darwin, who used it, but Herbert Spencer.

2. Many Eskimos don't know what an igloo is. Only some live in one.

3. Which metal is the best conductor? Silver..

4. How many States of Matter are there? Solid, liquid, gas, Bose-Einstein condensate, and several others..totaling to about 15. Quark-glucon plasma being one of the exotic ones..

5. And will close with many senses do we humans have? Five? No, more like nine...Body awareness (knowing where the body parts are), Sense of balance, Sense of heat, Perception of pain...interestingly, the brain has no pain headaches actually originate somewhere outside!

Foray into Madhya Pradesh

Drove to Jabalpur through a National Highway from Nagpur and came across something that thrilled me. MP Tourism has set up a jungle lodge kind of a hotel with a rest stop restaurant which others on the move can also use. Set up next to a thousand year old banyan tree, it is a lovely point to break the journey for a cup of tea or more. Some of the road is absolutely world class, and you can race the wind on it.

Passed the cantonment town of Kamptee, and towns called Lakhnadoon and Seoni. Also visited the marble rocks at Bhedaghat while there. Sheer cliffs of marble, and a narrow stream of Narmada in which boating is available.

MP is a huge state, and many more things remain to be visited. Pachmadhi, Gwalior, Bhimbetka (where early man lived-real early!), Sanchi, Mandu, Khajuraho and so on.

Meantime, placements have happened at a fast clip and we (IMT) got a lot of our students jobs in the last week. That should bring a smile on to many faces.

Book of Ignorance

That's the hilarious title of a book I am currently reading. It lists our many misconceptions and then proceeds to clear them up. Ranges from silly to the sensible. For example, How many wives did Henry the Eighth have? Apparently he married quite a few and then annulled the marriages, which means they "never happened', reducing the actual number by a few. Many such gems of knowledge that's a must for all. Still reading it, and will therefore update all you poor souls.

One such book I read a long time ago was A book of Insults I think compiled by : Louis Safian. It had delightful insults. It was a good conversational tool for a long time when I was in college. At least 25% books sell on their titles alone. For example, Why Men Don't Look at Maps, and Women Cry or something of that sort. Or, Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars etc. Blink and The World is Flat are also good titles.

As for movies, people are so short of titles that they keep using old ones over a…

Thought Leadership

The seminar course on Thought Leadership closed yesterday, with the exception of the final exam. A wide variety of presentations from student groups were the only component of the course. It went off very well, with a lot of learnings on subjects like how to create fun based companies (Walt Disney and Richard Branson were topics of two presentations) to Genetics and what it can do for us. Leonardo Da Vinci, Ayn Rand, and Scott Adams were a few other thought leaders covered. War, terrorism, environmental degradation were some more themes explored.

A couple of guest sessions by Jogeswari and Padmapriya, both exploring completely new things themselves, added to the course significantly. I am writing a case study on Golftripz, the company that Jogeswari, Madhav Misra and Ajit co-founded. It has a video add-on which brings in novelty.

I will add some new dimensions to this in the next offering to try and innovate some more. Meanwhile, a meeting in Dubai and a wedding to attend in Jabalpur …

Ah, To Be a Dictator

Hosni Mubarak, Zindabad. I am all for dictators. Or rather, for being a dictator. The reason is not what you guys (with your dirty minds) are thinking about. It is simply the fact that you can dictate, and you have people who will listen to whatever crap you tell them. These days, it is so good for your morale. What with kids of five or less having a mind of their own (whoever heard of such a thing in 'the good old days?'), it is really nice to have SOMEBODY listen to what you have to say, let alone obey unquestioningly.

Even if this goes on for about 20 years (as the average lifespan of a modern dictator seems to indicate), I would say, go for it. It's a rocking lifestyle. And you always have Uncle Sam to bail you out, if things start closing in around your neck at the end of it all.

One thing I always missed out in India, and the US-two countries I lived in so far, is a good dictator. Imagine if there was a dictator in the country, would anyone dare to refuse you a ration…

The Elephant Vanishes

Finished reading a marvelous set of stories by Murakami which is titled "The Elephant Vanishes." What gets me is his ability to blend the real and the surreal in a mixture which leaves you thought-provoked. Stray remarks and lines in the stories are pregnant with meaning, and make you introspect about life, love, relationships, 'pragmatism', jobs, and the whole business of being. A similar effect was when I read Zorba The Greek a few months ago.

The stories are also about a variety of things-an amazing variety, from cats to elephants to clocks, to ordinary people and extraordinary people- TV people, in one of the stories, who behave somewhat like aliens visible only to the protagonist. There is a hidden meaning in almost all the stories, and sometimes you don't get it, too.

Also read a book on Kundalini and Tantra by a westerner. Seems quite interesting, though complex.

Two Films and a Lecture

Saw two movies this past week. Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji by Madhur Bhandarkar and Yeh Saali Zindagi by Sudhir Mishra. Both are very good, in different ways. The first is a nicely flowing film with a surprise ending, about three guys and their love stories. Ajay Devgan has acted really well, and his love interest brings a freshness and vivacity to her role. Emraan Hashmi is competent, but funnyman Vaidya who debuted in Three Idiots is the one who makes a greater impact as the innocent poet-ardent lover.

The other, Yeh Saaali Zindagi, is a black comedy about a bunch of gangsters and two love stories connected with two of them. The scene-stealer is actually Saurabh Shukla, a third gangster. Very intricate plot, a tight script which brings the complexities to a very interesting climax, and good acting by Irrfan Khan, Chitrangada Singh, Aditi Rao (her debut) and Arunoday Singh, and most others makes this a treat to watch. It has shades of Johnny Gaddar in terms of pace and type of plot, but thi…