Showing posts from August, 2011

Campus Masti

The pics here have something in common, and that is, they are from campuses that I spent quite some time on. Osmania University, Hyderabad, IIM Bangalore and Clemson University, as a student of engineering, MBA and PhD in Management, respectively.

At OU, we had a Hilton cafe, an Irani joint serving chai and samosa, bun-omelettes and other yummy things. This was the only Hilton we knew in those days.

At IIMB, we had grounds but no sports equipment. So we innovated, and played Frisbee Footer, because we had a frisbee. Similar to Rugby, you passed the frisbee, and scored goals.

At Clemson, the football was played on a much larger scale- in an 80,000 capacity stadium called Death Valley. And we were spectators. It was a colourful affair, and the ambience was infectious even to those who did not understand the game.

Bill of Marital Rights

I sometimes wonder why the words 'marital' and 'martial' are so close to each other. Is it indicative of the way most marriages are conducted? In the interest of peace, I think the time has come to come out with a Bill of Rights for married individuals. The Bill will be completely constitutional, will respect the sovereignty of God in Heaven, and still protect the voice of the oppressed (the married in this case).

Husband's Rights

To be silent: even under accusations, extreme provocation, etc. etc.

To read the newspaper undisturbed.

To watch his favourite sports event, without taunts. His only obligation will be to buy a second TV if there are conflicts of interest with his wife on what to watch.

To go out with friends at times unspecified, with return times undefined.

To forget birthdays, anniversaries.

Wife's Rights

To shop until the bags are bursting at the seams- (no one would notice these, as the husband would be reading the newspaper/watching the TV at suc…

Media and its Role

Let me start with a confession. I don't think too highly of the electronic media's ability in analysing news and views. I feel they tend to be simplistic, not very thoughtful, and irritating, aggravating, or downright rude most of the time. But I will concede that they have certain advantages when it comes to a crisis or a situation that requires a ball-by-ball commentary on events of great importance to large sections of society.

Wars are a case in point. There was a lot of criticism of 'embedded' correspondents during the Gulf War, but they did bring immediately home to Americans and othr viewers, what was happening. CNN was the first 24 hour news channel, started by Ted Turner in Atlanta (I have been to their studio). We now have many news channels, in several languages. But it is during an event like we have seen over the last couple of weeks, that we see viewers flocking to them, and their TRPs shooting through the roof.

For daily news and analysis, I still prefe…

Lyrics That Touch the Heart

There are quite a few songs in Hindi films with beautiful lyrics or poetry that touch you. I have attempted to list a few-very few.

1. Tere bina zindagi se koi, shikwa to nahin, from Aandhi.

2. Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai..from a Guru Dutt film

3. Ajnabi, tum jaane pehchaane se lagte ho..from an old Kishore Kumar movie

4. Nafrat karne waalon ke seene mein pyar bhar doon, from Johny Mera Naam

5. Kaise kahen hum, pyaar ne hum ko, kya kya khel dikhaaye, from Sharmilee

6. Laakhon hain yahan dilwaale, par pyaar nahin milta, from Kismat

7. Khwaab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat kaun ho tum batlaao, from Teen Deviyan

8. Chalo ek baar phir se ajnabi ban jaaye hum dono, from Gumraah

9. Main zindagi ka saath nibhaata chala gaya, har fiqr ko dhuen mein udaata chala gaya, from Hum Dono

10. Musafir hoon yaaro, na ghar hai na thikaana, mujhe chalte jaana hai..from Parichay

11. Shokhiyon mein ghola jaaye phoolon ka shabaab, usme phir milayi jaaye thodi si sharaab, hoga yun nasha jo tayyar.. woh …

Top Ten Dialogues from Hindi Movies

Keep it simple, stupid (acronym KISS) is supposedly a mantra for good management. I think it works in filmy dialogue too. Simple, and effective. Examples-

1. Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahin, naamumkin hai.

2. Loha garam hai, maar do hathoda.

3. Has beta has, tu muqaddar ka baadshah hoga.

4. Tum jis school mein padhte ho, uske hum headmaster hain.

5. Yeh koi khilona nahi hai, haath kat jaayega. (addressing a knife-wielding villain).

6. Mera naam Surma Bhopali aasay hi nahi hain.

7. Aapke paaon dekhe. Bahut khoobsoorat hain. Inhe zameen par mat rakhiye. Maile ho jaayenge. (from Pakeezah, by Raaj Kumar, about Meena Kumari)

8. Mogambo Khush hua.

9. This body is made of steel, Daddy. (Sanjay Dutt, unconvincingly, in his first film,

10. Ab main badi ho gayee hoon, Daddy (Vijayeta Pandit, unconvincingly and shrieking, in a fight over choosing her mate, in Love Story)

Activity filled week at IMT Nagpur

We just finished doing an MDP (management development program for those unaware of the acronym) for the GMR group. Their executives came in for a 3-day program at the campus. We also had a visit fron HDFC for a campus recruitment program for the first leg of a sort of combined training-cum-recruitment process. The offers will be made to successful students after a training program of a few weeks done both by HDFC and our faculty. This is an interesting way to recruit students.

We also just finished a 2 day conference on MSME sector (Micro, Small and Medium is the expansion of the acronym). Some interesting stats on MSMEs and their contribution to the GDP and exports came up. But some of their problems seem to be timeless. Anyway, researchers made a great effort to document many different facets. This was our second conference since June. Three more are slated in the rest of the year.

We are doing an SPSS (Stat Package for Social Sciences) training program from tomorrow for 3 days. This…

Chinatown Starring Shammi Kapoor

A large part of its story has been used later in Don, I realised after watching this classic Shakti Samanta film in Black and White. It has an ebullient Shammi Kapoor in a double role, a pretty Shakila as his love interest and the beautiful Helen in the role of his love interest in the Don Avatar. Madan Puri is the Chinese Wong, the villain from Calcutta's Chinatown.

The story is presented slightly differently, the obvious difference being the missing Pran and his two kids (difference between Chandra Barot/Bacchhan's Don and Chinatown). There are also a few very good songs, the best being Baar Baar Dekho Hazaar Baar Dekho, Ke Dekhne Ki Cheez Hai Hamara Dilruba...but another two or three good ones- Yumma yumma tu Parwana Mai Shama, Hum Se Na Poocho Hum Kahan Chale. Music is by Ravi, though it sounds a lot like O.P. Nayyar's style.

Don added a twist in that the inspector who recruits the fake Don gets killed, thereby making it tough to prove that he is not the actual Don whe…

Three Iranian Films

Saw three Iranian films from a friend's collection over the weekend. Unlike Hindi films, the subjects are varied, and even where they tread familiar territory like love and relationships, the treatment is very subtle, subdued and intelligent. I am impressed, and will attempt to see some more of them, whenever a chance presents itself.

One was called Fireworks Wednesday in English, and was about a young about to be married girl who happens to be a central character in another family's infidelity drama. She goes to work part time at their house, and runs headlong into a suspected affair that the man is having with his neighbour who runs a beauty salon. Impressively made, and till the last minute, you are not sure if he is guilty or innocent. The performances are restrained, and keep you glued.

The same is the case with the movie called The Hidden Half, about a young woman married to a respectable man who is about to hear the mercy plea of a woman imprisoned for several years-a …

Shammi Kapoor and The Art of Being Independent

Shammi Kapoor passing away at this point may have a message. He was probably the first Indian hero to do his own thing. Particularly with his body contorting in unbelievable ways, gyrating to the rhythm of an OP Nayyar or Shankar Jaikishan or RD Burman. I used to as a teenager, love his films, and one of my favorites was his song Badan Pe Sitaare Lapete Hue, from 'Prince'. There were many others, too, like the Teesri Manzil songs, or Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyaar ke charche har zabaan par, probably one of the top 5 dance numbers from Indian movies. Rocking was an appropriate term for this guy, who seemed to epitomise the art of being happy. His son says in an interview day before yesterday that he advised his family to keep laughing and singing, never mind his condition! What an attitude.

What being independent means is probably just that. Being happy, whether you are on the street or in a palace. Freedom may be the better word. Freedom from what happens. Whatever happens, you are …

Leadership, God and Selective Memory

Just thought of a great way to explain how God behaves. If you believe in God, at times you would be puzzled by the fact that he is not just, not equitable, not fair, not listening to your prayers etc.. He is not unlike the leader of a large corporation or organisation with multiple responsibilities, or a mom with thousands of children. Assume that even God has a limit to his energy, or concentration, and needs rest from time to time, to get back to his job of running the world with renewed vigour.

Imagine a leader with 10,000 employees each with his or her agenda at the office. How would you deal with it, as their CEO? Or a mom with 10,000 kids running around with a leaking nose, wanting a feed, or in a brawl with each other. If you were the mom, how would you behave? The only solution to preserve your sanity, would be selective memory. That is, focus on the most important issue facing you. And more importantly, FORGET THE REST. And that is exactly what God must be doing. So he doe…

The Biology of Enlightenment

This is the intriguing title of a book which contains conversations with U.G. Krishnamurti, who is different from Jiddu Krishnamurti, but was working for the Theosophical Society at one point and was at one time influenced by him.

It is remarkable in its simplicity, mainly because there are no 'how to' formulas for enlightenment. No tapasya, no saadhana, no hard work of fifty or forty years, no self-negation etc.

What UG propounds instead is his thesis that enlightenment is a physical thing, and not in the mind. The mind becomes subservient to the body or physical being in this state, and is used only for matter-of-fact uses like providing memory when required and being dormant at all other times. He is also clear that this cannot be taught, but a few individuals come across this state of being once in a few (hundred) years.

Meditation he says, is a temporary high that makes you feel good while it lasts, like any other high. Similar are his views about other "techniques&…

S&P's US Downgrade and the Sensex

I think there is a need to applaud the courage shown by Standard & Poor's in downgrading the AAA Sovereign Rating of the US. I can imagine the tremendous pressure on them not to do so, but there is a limit to everything. You can imagine the condition India would have found itself in, had our Reserve Bank acted like the others in the developed world (particularly the US), and not had a strict control on our banks and financial systems in the last crisis. Most of the rating agencies were to blame for the last derivatives-led recession or collapse of financial markets. They are there to do a job, and they must do it. The consequences are not their problem. The consequences of NOT doing their job would be far worse.

What will happen now is anybody's guess. But regardless of what does happen, at least S&P's can hold its head high.

Humans are Selfless

We often hear wise people say that we should be selfless, because it is a virtue with all its attendant benefits. What I want to argue is that we already ARE selfless.

Wind back to my parenting days, twenty years or so ago. I spent more time changing nappies and taking care of Baby 1 (this is our first daughter, not a Govinda film) than on myself in the days, weeks and years before Baby 1 could do the potty. Repeated the cycle (my wife did too, I was not alone) with Baby no.2 (this can't even BE a Govinda film title). Then, I spent more days trying to teach them Kannada and Maths, than on my golf in their early school years- with disastrous results in both- but that's not the point.

After that, wherever we moved, I spent time and money on getting them admissions in schools with various levels of greed. I could have spent the time (and the money) on a cruise to the Bahamas, had I accumulated it at 8% compound interest. Selfless? You bet.

If I start listing the things I did for my…

Knowing your P's and Q's

Ever since someone started a storm in the T cup by coining the phrase EQ and landing in best-seller territory, there have been a lot of me-too's or wannabes trying to come up with another smart acronym- and a bestseller. So, giving my imagination a long rope, here's my list of Q's.

AQ - Awesomeness Quotient, useful if you are a teenager with limited vocabulary.

BQ - Bitchiness Quotient. Cat-fights are among cats. Who says?

CQ - Creepiness Quotient. You can usually recognise the high-scorers in seconds.

DQ - Dumb-bell Quotient. Does not discriminate between genders. Or hair colour.

EQ is already taken. Millions made.

FQ - this is easy. Fun Quotient.

GQ - Gregariousness Quotient.

HQ - Hemming and Hawing Quotient, from Hamlet, who had a high score.

IQ- the original one.

JQ - Joviality Quotient.

KQ - Kissability Quotient, for the daters.

LQ - Loveability Quotient, for those who love other humans. Tinder, loving care.

MQ - Marriageability Quotient, similar to the one above. A…

Motivation Theories

Motivation is a much-used word with theories galore about it, in management. I would like to add my two bits to the subject. Incidentally, this is triggered by a talk I sat through at IMT last week, by Sharu Rangnekar, one of the earliest management consultants that India saw. I first heard him in 1982 during my MBA orientation at IIMB. He was in his elements, and had his own take on Motivation. This is mine.

We all have motivation, or else we wouldn't be living. Even to eat, one requires motivation. But beyond the basics, what motivates someone to try and excel at his work, or hobby, or something else? Is it a quest for money? Yes, to an extent. But what after you reach your level of incompetence at earning it?

My theory is that leisure is a great motivator for some. Remember school days when we yearned for holidays? Probably that idea never gets out of our minds even after we grow up. We are always on the look out for something other than what we are doing/supposed to be doing.