Showing posts from April, 2011

Telugu Bidda

I always wanted to know Telugu Biddas better. So I set about interviewing a young one.

"What do you want to become when you grow up?"

He said, "Go to the US."

I said, "No, I mean, what kind of work? Profession? Career?"

He said, "It doesn't matter. It should be in the US."

I asked "But don't you like something? Arts, Science, Flying a plane?"

He said, "I don't know, I never thought about it. My parents always told me I should go to IIT, and my friends said after that you can go to the US."

I enquired, "What will you do after going there?"

"Study, get a job, marry a girl from Hyderabad."

"Why do you want to live in the US?"

"They are the Bosses of the world. Everyone listens to them. And if they don't, the drone attacks start. Soon, the drones drown the opposition."

"But, isn't that something like colonial masters' behavior?" I am puzzled.

"No. The colonial …

Marathi Manoos

The Marathi Manoos was in a quandary. He had to face an oncoming interview with the Breaking News Channel on their Ethnic Special Series. He did not know if he should wear a traditional Marathi dhoti-kurta-chappal or a suit. He finally settled for a compromise, as he always did- trousers and shirt.

The interviewer was a very pretty young thing. That made him nervous. Excerpts from the interview:

VPYT: So, Mr. Manoos, what gives you your identity?

MM: I think three things- My Marathi newspaper, Kanda Poha and Puran Poli.

VPYT: Two out of three of these are foods. You mean you are still stuck at that basic level of human experience?

MM: What to do? We are unable to go beyond a point. We are afraid to take risk, you know. The Gujarati goes to US and starts a motel, the Malayalee goes to the Gulf and takes over their plumbing, the Telugu goes to the US and gets a fat dowry, but we are stuck in Pune and Mumbai, not even going to Singapore. But we did make the Baakarwadi of Chitale Bandhu a grea…

Mannina Maga

Mr. Mani who is a Mannina maga at Namma Bengaluru, was taking a walk. He was pondering. He had just returned from a trip to Devanahalli, where a six-lane highway had recently been completed after a few years of hard work. Now, to his dismay, he saw that the road was again dug up, for some major overlay on the same highway. He wondered what it was about. So he asked the Bangalore Municipal Commissioner what was going on. The Commissioner's office told him there was no such thing on that road, that he was imagining things.

After a while, his thoughts went in another direction. He was now starting to think what would happen to brand Bangalore, after the IT industry. His friend Sambamurthy (Samba for short) had recently expressed concern about the IT industry entering a rough patch. But Mani had managed to dispel, at least temporarily, Samba's concern with some encouraging words. He told Samba,

"Don't worry, if the Gulf runs out of oil, they may be in a soup. But we can…


Dabong- The Fearful

Like Dabangg, the fearless, this is the story of a fearful guy. The guy is always fearful. He lives, breathes, eats, sleeps fear. But what is he afraid of? Let’s find out.

Interviewer: Mr. Dabong, what makes you scared?

Dabong: Everything around us is so scary. Climate change, rising vegetable prices, rising FISH prices..I dread the day that the Rohu and the Hilsa go outside my reach. I am also scared of our roads, the traffic, the rising population..

I: But everyone says we are going to get a demographic dividend out of our country’s population.

D: Not if they are all morons and murderers. Look at the newspaper headlines.

I: But there are saints and cricket players too.

D: (Looking really scared) Don’t even talk about cricket. The amount of illegal betting that goes on, and match fixing. The other day, someone mistook me for an IPL cricketer, and tried fixing me!

I: Look Mr. Dabong, there are always a few rotten apples in any society. But we are surely doing better than …

Joke on Communication

This is an old joke about How A Message Flows Through An Organization that I thought I would post, for a change..

From: Managing Director
To: Vice President

Tomorrow morning there will be a total eclipse of the sun at nine o’clock. This is something which we cannot see everyday. So let all employees line up outside, in their best clothes to watch it. To mark the occasion of this rare occurrence, I will personally explain the phenomenon to them. If it is raining we will not be able to see it very well and in that case the employees should assemble in the canteen.

From: Vice President
To: General Manager

By order of the Managing Director, there will be a total eclipse of the sun at nine o’ clock tomorrow morning. If it is raining we will not be able to see it in our best clothes, on the site. In this case the disappearance of the sun will be followed through in the canteen. This is something we cannot see happening everyday.


From: General managers
To: Industry Manag…

My Blog Audience Stats

I happened to look at the blog view statistics for this blog of mine, and was stunned. I never imagined that it would have been viewed in Slovenia, Spain, Malaysia, Egypt, Russia, UK, Germany and the Netherlands. Of course, India and the US were expected. I find it a great testimony to the internet breaking down global walls. If only we could use this kind of spirit and break down the walls that separate us elsewhere....

Anyway, I got back to reading fiction this week, and the book was "The Clue of the Twisted Candle" by Edgar Wallace. Apart from a brilliantly conceived plot, I found he is very good with his one-liners too. For instance, he says in passing, that 'he could not have been happy (for he was married)', while talking about some character in the novel.

The plot itself weaves its way through Europe, the UK, where Wallace is from too, and where the novel is based and some other regions like Patagonia. There is a wealthy Albanian-Greek who has a central role in …

A Journey Down Melody Lane

Raju Bharatan is the author of this one. Cricket and movie journalist of repute, he seems to have the handle on a lot of things. Indian ragas for example. He seems to know a 100 ragas and the songs based on them at least.

And hundreds of stories, anecdotes about the ego clashes, insecurities of even greats like Lata Mangeshkar, Sahir Ludhianvi (lyricist), Mohd. Rafi, Naushad, OP Nayyar etc. Even stars like Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman, Rajesh Khanna and so on.

But he is in his elements while talking about the music of the 50s and 60s. C. Ramchandra, Madan Mohan, Naushad, Ravi, OP Nayyar, SD Burman, Salil Chowdhary,and many others are the subject of long chapters. An interesting story is how in the year of 'Mughal-e-Azam', someone else got the Filmfare prize for the best music. And the same thing happened in the year that 'Guide' was released. Presumably, there was manipulation done by the winners, according to Raju.

Lata's fallouts with OP Nayyar, and with Rafi on th…


There are plenty of endearing ways that we Indians speak. One of these is the way two words are used together. Like, I don't want to go to any party-sharty. In Hindi, it sounds just right. Mujhe koi party-sharty nahin jaana. So what is it that is happening to the IPL-ShyPL this year?

Koi Paul-Waul aagaya, pata nahin kahan se, aur dhuandhaar century maar ke apne team ko jitaya. Sachin ne phir century maari, aur phir uski team haari. Yeh koi bhoot-woot to nahin hai na uski century mein, jo uski team ko dubaata hai?

Kolkata Knight Riders jeetne laga- ek aur bhoot ke team se nikaale jaane ke baad- jo kaafi dadagiri karne ka aadi thaa. Ab unki haar bhoot-kaal mein jamaa ho gayi hai. Apna Punjabi puttar Pune pahunchke jeetna seekh gaya. Aur Pune Warriors ka home-ground Mumbai kabse hone laga bhai? NAVI hui to kya hua? Mumbai to Mumbai hai, aur Pune Pune.

Jo cheerleaders kapde kam karne mein maahir thee, woh ab nau yard ki saadee bhi pehenne lagi hain. Aur phir bhi dekhne waale mazaa lete…

Method in Madness

That's the title of a book by Derek Bose about Kishore Kumar. A nicely illustrated hardback, I found it at Manney's book store in Pune. It is a delightful read, particularly because I am a die-hard fan of the singer. Of course, his multi-faceted personality shines through the writing of Bose, and his life's story also gets told in a way that is different from another book by Kishore Valicha that I had earlier read.

His ability to mimic his stars played a great role in Kishore Kumar sounding like them on screen. Initially, he was afraid of stage shows, but after he got over the stage fear, always made sure that his audience - and himself-had a blast. Over 2000 songs are credited to him, and about seven films that he directed are too. He also composed quite a few, including the great ones from Jhumroo and Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein. Door Ka Rahi also had a couple of great numbers.

A wonderful character, who had his share of miseries in his marriages- four in all. But he never g…

Pune and Showers

There were evening showers in Nagpur. And in Pench Tiger reserve that I visited last week. And also in Pune, where I am now. What's also remarkable is that in all the cases, these were correctly predicted by the weatherman. So we seem to be getting better at it. Also climbed up the Parvati, a hill with a view, after a long time. Nice look at the evening skyline of Pune.

Finished reading Sidney Lumet's Making Movies. He has a good take on different aspects of film-making, including writing, direction, the actual shooting, camera angles, the editing, ...the works. It is really absorbing to read if you are a movie person. From a man who directed, one of my favourite films, Murder on the Orient Express, it is a treat to read this book. On a par with Woody Allen on Woody Allen, which I read a few months earlier.

Hats off to Anna Hazare, and all the guys who like him, have the guts to stand for something with everything at stake.

Jai Scandinavistan

There is a new book on the bookshelves. It's called 'Once Upon a Time in Scandinavistan', and it's a a rather gory whodunit with bodies being barbecued in a tandoor and so on. But what is novel about the novel is it is a takeoff on all things Indian- and a few things Swedish/Scandinavian.

Set in Gothenberg, now renamed Gautampuri, it has a Sweden that functions like India, because it is an Indian colony, with chai shops, idli joints, Dr. Ambedkar University, and the like- the Red Tape too. Wonderful takeoffs on India abound throughout, which actually become a sub-plot. So we have a hero called Philumappa Ishtarjee shooting his potboiler in the middle of the investigations, near the scene of an actual crime. There is also an ashram with a nudist population brainwashed by a guru, and a non-violence class for the cops which teaches them Buddhist meditation as well.

The winters have actually turned warm and snow-less, due to global warming, and sand blows in to the town now …

Keeping Nerves in Adversity

This is why I liked the World Cup victory of 2011. I had also watched the 1983 finals when in my MBA hostel at Bangalore. This time I was in Bhubaneswar. The difference I found this time was that the team did not let adversity in the form of Sachin and Sehwag's dismissals get them down. Also, the last few overs that Sri Lanka hit out in, did not bother them for too long. True grit, and Dhoni probably should take some credit for inspiring the team by his personal approach. He may have made wrong choices, but he produced a win. No one's perfect, but teamwork overcomes the lack of it.

Yuvraj also played like a champion, and knew what he had to do, and did it in most matches. Raina played very well to get us to the finals. Harbhajan produced a very good spell in some matches, though he was luckless in many. Zaheer was good most of the time. Nehra contributed in the semifinals. Gambhir came out looking very good in the finals. I was particularly happy to see 5 bowlers take 2 wickets…

Deja Vu

I am in Bhubaneswar, and met old colleagues at XIM campus. I started my Indian teaching career at XIMB. Therefore there is a sense of deja vu. I have a session to take at a research methodology workshop at another university tomorrow. This city is really lovely and modern looking now. In 1991-92, there were only around 30 autorickshaws in the town. And it used to be a small town, with only one traffic light, and almost no traffic.

It is still very green. But the IT sector has come in, with big buildings housing the firms. Roads are wide, clean and well-maintained.

Last two days, met Shailaja, a childhood friend from Singareni Collieries twenty years ago, and some IIM batchmates who live in Mumbai. In all, a great sense of the bygone days came back. Memories are always golden-hued. And why not?