Showing posts from December, 2012

Dancing Dudes and Divas

Bollywood has produced many great lyricists and music composers. But it has also given us a number of good dances, in movies across decades. Some actors, actresses and dance numbers stay with you years after the movie. Here is an attempt to list some of my favourites. I am excluding Helen, because she was a legend, and would have to be in a whole post by herself.

Kalpana Iyer with Mithun, in Wardaat. And Koi yahaan naache naache in Disco Dancer.

Karisma with Govinda- What is mobile number, what is your style number? Techno-cool song.

Bindu- Mera naam hai Kati Patang..musicless, almost.

Simple Kapadia- Jab chhaye, mera Lootmaar

Kamal Hasan and Reena Roy---ahaha..ahaha..nisha, in Sanam Teri Kasam

Disco Deewane..not a film song (originally), but swinging song, by Nazia Hasan.

Zeenat Aman in Laila main Laila, Qurbani

Rishi Kapoor- Hum Kisise Kam Nahin - the competition song, and Bachna ai haseeno

Tariq- Yaadon Ki baarat. He was fab. Lekar hum deewana dil..

Aruna Ira…

Malwada Days

If this sounds similar to Malgudi days, it was intended. Only, this was a lot quieter. We went, around 15 of us-cousins and family- to a place known as Malwada, off the Ahmedabad highway from Mumbai. It is in Thane district, and generally not known to anyone. That’s because Thane district is much bigger than the suburban station everybody knows. Sort of like New York City and the state of New York.

Anyway, what happens there is remarkable-nothing. And therefore, it is an ideal place to get away to. You can walk, or hear the birds twitter, or take even longer walks. A river dip is a possibility, with one nearby  (I think the river is called Pinjal, though I wouldn’t swear to it). Otherwise, you have your own company. 
The views are magnificient (it was a friend’s bungalow, on a small hill), and the soul feels refreshed. Sunrises, moonrises, and the corresponding 'sets' create excitement, and so do the clear views of the stars. Before you think I am raving (crazy), let me stop …

Pickles From Home- Book Review

An excellent collection of essays, compiled by an Outlook journo called Sugata Srinivasaraju. I happened to pick it up recently. It is edited by a Kannadiga, and some essays are his too. The reason I am going into this is because his explanation is a bit like Think Global, Act Local or to reverse its logic, one way to be global in outlook (pun unintended) is to understand the local immensely well.

Excellent essays on many things I wanted to know but was afraid to ask (not really, but sounds good). For instancem why Dharwad produces so many musical geniuses, like Mallikarjun Mansur, Gangubai Hangal and Bhimsen Joshi. Bhimsen's guru Sawai Gandharva is from Kundagol near Dharwad.

From the Mangalore pub attack (and poems about it by two Kannada women poets), to the Baghdad war, many topics are covered-intelligently. Like land acquisition and the imminent decline of agriculture as a way of life. Rarely have I enjoyed reading essays that are contemporary but deal with such varied India…

2012- What Was and Was Not

2012 started off with a New Year's party, and will probably end with an end-of-the year party at a remote location one day before the last day. Some highlights of the year were-

My older daughter Prarthana graduated and went in for an M.A. in English, and now she speaks Tolstoyese at times. Frightening.

My younger, Pooja, continues getting daunting assignments as part of her B. Arch. We hope she builds things (or is it designs?) which are joy-giving.

My book was launched in the retail space from the virtual-alone. Twice. I had to add a Nagpur section to it as I moved out to Dilli, the place which controls India, so many years after independence. Not counting renegades such as Bangalore, who acquired a life of their own.

Mukesh Ambani came to our party-I mean convocation- at Nagpur.

Anna Hazare and Kejriwal happened, and Modi did better than the Indian cricket stars.

The Delhi gang rape and the Connecticut shooting proved that beasts among men are still around, and we may or may n…

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Search for the killer in a serial murder situation. Countless books and films have done the honours before 'The Girl...', but this book has certain pluses going for it.

One, the setting is corporate (and journalistic) battles. One can identify with those shenanigans, as they are universal. Second, the locale is Sweden, an exotic land to most of us. Even within Sweden, the isolated village-island makes it even more interesting, with a cast of characters who are fairly weird. Most belong to the Vanger family, one of the corporates involved. The hero is an outsider hired to solve a disappearance from among the family, and how he does it is the story.

Then of course, the heroine. This is a singular (Holmesian terminology, but it fits in this case) character, well-developed by the author. And I think finally she makes it all different from the rest of the books in the genre. Rightfully, the title is based on her character. In a way, she is the hero too, or as much of one as the mal…

Indus Pride Beers

I got to taste a newly relaunched beer in four different flavours recently. The brand is called Indus Pride, and is produced by SAB-Miller in India. It is flavoured with spices such as cardamom, coriander, cinnamon and so on. There are more variants, which are seasonal and available only at certain times. It was at the house of a friend who works there, so it was a great experience learning first-hand about the relaunch at a premium price. A first for an India-based brand? Maybe, at least for a product such as this.

But I also had the opportunity to taste an Indian Single Malt that has made waves internationally. The Jagdale group makes it near Bangalore. It is called Amrut single malt, and one of their creations has been ranked among the top ten malts by a respected critic/ranker. I liked it, and it is 'duty-free' to Indians, and therefore significantly cheaper than the malts from Scotland. A good option to have, apart from the Laphroaigs and the Ardbegs and the like, which …

Round of Some IIMs

I was out on a mission (possible?) of meeting potential faculty candidates for the IMT group. My quest took me to IIM Calcutta and IIM Bangalore this week. Shreyashi, an alum of IMT Nagpur from 2010, is doing her FPM (PhD, coded in language that Pakistan can't understand) from IIMC. Through her, met a lot of her colleagues doing their FPM, while enjoying the campus ambience of theirs-had not been for a while, since my faculty days at IIMK and IIML. Managed to generate some interest in applying to IMT group among them.

I then moved to my alma mater for a similar meet with FPM students there. Had a fruitful meeting with half-a-dozen budding Fellows. Not as in 'He's a jolly good, fellow', but a 'Fellow' Fellow. Anyway, there is a huge shortage of good faculty members in management, and it is going to be there for a while. Industry folks are interested, at times, but don't always have the skills-or the will to acquire a PhD. Anyone listening, interested, pleas…

Right to Recall

Anna Hazare had brought up this idea of a voter recalling an MLA or MP for non-performance. I think the concept is universally useful, not just in voting and politics. It is in fact, transcendental, because if God has this right and decides to use it, life could be so much smoother for the khuda ke bandey who remain on earth!

Remember, it is already practiced widely. Toyota has joined the list of car companies - used to be the Americans earlier- that recalls vehicles for some defect or the other, size of defect could be nano or mega. Publishers can withdraw books because a certain segment of humanity feels offended by it-even the non-reading kind, at times. It is easy to be offended, these days.

So, to get to the point, why not expand the scope of this RIGHT? We can have parents who are disgruntled recalling their children. Not from the playing ground to their homes, but permanently. They can then attempt to correct their mistake by having new children. Imagine how tough it gets for …

Cricketing in the Deep

This is intended to be an in-depth analysis of cricket in India and the globe. It will rival the depth in Indian batting. Just clarifying things, in case you miss the point.

There is an Indian cricket team. It used to know how to bat and bowl, and field. But then, Harry Potter came along and waved a magic wand. One by one, our vaunted batting greats fell prey to the magic, and their MAGIC started fading. First, they lunged at balls outside their off stump, pulling them on to the stumps, or giving easy catching practice to a few good men around the bat, in any of different slippery positions, or even silly ones such as silly mid-offs.

Then, some started getting bowled without provocation, as if their ability to play straight and defend had suddenly been taken away- unknowingly to them, it HAD, by a Potter magic spell. Other batting greats were putting their best foot forward, but unfortunately, it was in the line of the stumps, and therefore, the umpire (unless he was blind-only some …

Mega Temples in Chattarpur

Visited Chattarpur yesterday for a wedding reception at a place called Tivoli garden resort. My friend's son got married, and I was among the youngest in the audience. Made me feel good.

But anyway, this is more about the mega temples in the area. They are BIG! Reminded me about my earlier visit to Haridwar en route to Badrinath that we undertook a few years ago. There are massive statues of Shiva and other gods there too. There was also psychedelic lighting and disco bhajans playing continuously, with neon lighting that would shame Las Vegas (this is Haridwar, not Chattarpur I am referring to). Well, God in all his majesty.

Our alumni meets across India kick off in the new year, with January and first week of February being a busy time. But before that, I have miles to go and anxious nights to sleep off- wondering if the world is going to end. Did the Mayans know that the world is Maya (illusion)? Good night-or good day, depending on which end of the world you are reading this fr…

More from The Genius in My Basement

A couple of quotes from the book (quirky as hell) by Alexander Masters that I had written about before.

 "It is a cliche that mathematicians are over the hill by their mid-thirties, but often it's not loss of mathematical intelligence that weakens their ability, but loss of focus. They meet someone luscious in the university canteen, get married, shackle themselves with debt, find they are suddenly pushing a pram containing twins; or they decide they haven't done enough for the health of the world and stumble off to fight American Imperialism. ...the mathematical concentration is shot, and before these ex-geniuses can get it back, it's time to retire and die themselves."

The book is about a mathematician, Simon.

"As a child, Simon invented an idea called 'Vortex Theory'. According to Vortex Theory, one step in the wrong sartorial direction-eg, buying a new pair of trousers when there are still two days left in the old ones before the police file ind…

Weird Messages Dot Com

The old junk (snail) mail has got a sexier alternative delivered straight to your inbox or as a pop-up...half-baked or well done, not as per orders though. This is called a weird message. One that I recurrently get on my screen is 'TrueSuite has crashed'. Now I am not even aware what TrueSuite is. Is it a suit I used to wear? Not likely, because I don't wear a true blue desi. Also if I wore one, it may or may not be a True Suite as in an 'honest shirt' yaane ki Peter England!

Of course, apart from the usual entertaining solicits that urge you to enalrge certain body parts, I get head-hunting calls from complete strangers asking me to apply for programming jobs in TCS or wherever. Now, I call that idiotic programming..but then, who said there were only 3 idiots in the world?

Other interesting things I get are matrimonial ads in my mailbox, enticing me to look at or some such. Sometimes I do, and find amusing stuff on the sites. On a…

Takia Kalaam

I think it is known as a takia kalaam in Urdu..something that is repeated in dialogue or verse. Many of us have a tendency to use a word or phrase very often when we speak. Teachers are particularly susceptible, but not the only culprits. Some of these phrases are-

You know, whatever, Getting it? (this was used by our bio teacher in school), You know what I mean, Am I right? (used by a friend) and similar ones.

One that students in the north (or from the north) use a lot is Matlab (not the software). This is used anywhere, at the beginning, end or at a pause in a sentence.

Students are usually quick at picking up these along with traits or mannerisms peculiar to people, and farewell parties at many B schools are filled with fun imitations of profs. We had one who said Makting instead of Marketing, and we still use this among friends. Some of us had actually adapted a song with various profs and courses figuring in it.

We also have regional accents that are tickle-inducing. One I reme…

Life-changing Experience

What is a life-changing or thrilling experience? For some, it could be an event, such as climbing a mountain, or getting a job, or getting a certain life partner, or giving birth (for a mother). In early days of (my) life in India, there were many mundane things that thrilled us no end.

A car other than a Fiat or Ambassador
Getting a phone (a black only instrument with a rotary dial) at home
Eating at a restaurant
Listening to music in stereo- meaning two speakers
Seeing prints of pictures you had taken- this is still thrilling, because it is rare to actually print one now
Getting a letter from abroad-the envelopes looked sexy!
Looking at an aeroplane- we knew we weren't easily going to get on to one
Getting your own scooter- thanks to Bajaj and licensing
Getting perfume on your hands-the attar or concentrated variety
Solving a difficult problem
Watching a Bond film

Now, what I find thrilling is (not F1 or fixed or poor-quality sports) interactions with some humans. Could be a lo…

Arresting Stuff

Arresting has many meanings. But the one meaning that's become popular these days refers to the thing that cops do to you. Used to be that we thought arrests are for crimes such as murder, rape, burglary, and what have you. Or at least cheating. But no. Events are proving how outdated we are. Like with everything else, arrests have evolved.

Now, if I don't like your face (book) I can have you arrested. And the cops are only too happy. I empathise with them too. Who would want to be in the company of cheaters and murderers all day, every day? They also deserve to spend some time with nice folks such as you and me (an important assumption is being made, I know).

But what beats me (an avid mystery reader at that), is this. How did the non-friends find out what was meant for the eyes of 'friends' only? Can anyone solve this mystery for me, please?

The Genius in My Basement- Book Review

Alexander Masters is not an author I am quite familiar with. But the title aroused my curiosity. The full title is actually 'Simon- The genius in my Basement'.

This is a quirky tale of a person who finds and writes about a nerdy guy who lives below his house. Another funny thing about this book is that it has a number of drawings to explain what happens when you turn geometrical figures around. For example, what happens when you turn a square to the right. This is depicted by giving the square two feet at its bottom, so you know what it looks like after a turn-or two, or three, because the feet sticking out are rotating.

Anyway, I will provide a couple of quotes from the book instead of giving too much away-not that there is a mystery in it.

1. The object of the tidy housekeeper is to remove all proof that he is a functioning organism.

2. Simon is, verbally, one of the most adept and playful people I know- as long as he doesn't have to speak. Or use metaphor or comment on …

Delhi Winters

It was a cool 7 degrees Celsius when I landed in Delhi at 9 am the other day. The change of season brings about significant change in behavior among Delhi-ites. The sweaters are out, and the shawls, mufflers and jackets. The first time I lived in Delhi in the 80s, I thought the city was full of corporate executives in winter. But I quickly discovered that it was winter 'jackets' rather than components of a corporate suit that everyone was wearing.

The vegetables start looking fresher, and are definitely cheaper. Particularly cauliflower, carrots and green peas. The fruit basket also looking richer in quality and variety. You start craving pakodas and other fried stuff even if you are not pregnant. You also start craving sunlight, which you hated not too long ago. It is nice to warm yourself under the rays of the 'mother of all lights', to use a Bush-like turn of phrase.

Hibernation seems like a good option to people with 'sunny dispositions' like me. A good br…

Denmark-India Collaboration

We have had this group of Copenhagen Business School students visiting us for a part of their learning about entrepreneurship, the last couple of weeks. Yesterday we had a farewell dinner at the campus for them. I gave a small talk, basically asking them some questions.

Of the answers, some were amazing. More than one 21 year-old said that she (they) wanted to come back and see how the slums (which they visited) had changed, in reply to a question about where they would like to go next time they visited. Of course, Bangalore came out tops if you count frequency of answers, and Himalayas and Kerala or the South came next.

They had a small company or NGO they used to visit everyday, and did a small project for them. They built a small bridge for kids of a  school to cross a drain for example. One or two were taken in by a speech they heard from a Buddhist monk in Delhi.

Of course, they were happy that Carlsberg beer was available in India. These Europeans drink a lot of beer! There was…

Nagpur Interlude

Got to spend a day or two in Nagpur on my way back from Goa. And boy, was it refreshing! Also managed to squeeze in a bit of golf on the IMT campus, but apart from that, a lot of other highlights.

Met a few of my erstwhile colleagues, spent a lot of time soaking in the mild sun, after the extremist weather in Delhi. Also had a couple of meetings (WORK), but lots more.

Met my blogger friend, a couple of other students, and a lot of the non-teaching staff who all make IMT such a great place. It gives you a feeling of peace which is a little different out here, more like the Wild West of American legend. You almost expect anyone (even without a hat of the cowboy fame) to start a shooting duel! Of course I am exaggerating, but you get the point.

Might do me a lot of good to take that drive from the city to the IMT campus there, on a regular basis. Picked up some Mario Miranda cards from Goa, and a book which promises to be a nice read. It is a take-off on the famous (and frequently preten…

The Goa Case Conference- Close Encounter for the Third Time

While I was at IMT Nagpur, some of us conceptualised a Case conference and picked Goa as the venue for it. I am happy that it is now in its third year and going strong. It is held at the International Centre, close to Dona Paula and the Goa University campus. A lovely location, it has three conference halls and a lawn, and a swimming pool and spa has been added recently.

Each faculty member presents his/her original case, and gets feedback from others sitting around the table. Powerpoints are banned, so it is a fairly interesting and civilised interaction, and not moronic or monotonous. Several students also participate, either with faculty or in their own teams.
This edition just finished today, and a bonus I usually get to meet a Goan friend and eat a fabulous dinner at his place. Of course, it is great for networking with professors from other business schools too. This time Dr. Ravichandran (director) of IIM Indore was also there, and gave a good talk evangelising case writing a…