Showing posts from February, 2013

Odd Ones Out

We sometimes tend to think that the mainstream is what we are better off with. But if being memorable is the objective, it helps to be odd. Odd, isn't it? Examples abound from all fields.

Where would Mousumi Chatterjee be if her teeth were the usual (in the memorability stakes)? Where would Amitabh be without his height? Or Amir without his (the reverse)?

In another sphere, Bollywood songs, I remember a few odd songs for maybe a phrase, maybe an interlude, or just a particular sound in it, though the song itself may not be a great one. For example, there was a song, "Woh pari kahan se laoon, teri dulhan jise banaoon, ke chhori koi pasand na aaye tujhko" which had the chorus singing this line, I think.

Another was from a film called Anjaana, probably a Rajendra Kumar starrer, in which there is a scream, Anjaanaaaa.. at the end of each couplet that sort of stuck in the mind.

'Laila main laila' for its drum beats (Qurbani), a song from Muqaddar ka Sikandar for its …

What is Success?

We often make the mistake of treating success as a single accomplishment or event, a light at the end of the tunnel. It may be that we are wrong. It is actually a multidimensional construct- ok, concept, if you want to be jargon-free.
What does that mean? In life, we go through various stages. We are expected to study, work, marry, have kids, care for aging parents, marry off kids, be grandparents if we live long enough, and have successful careers. So that’s about half a dozen different things already. I have not included relations with siblings or cousins or other relatives. If you add these up, the list of things we do (at least most people do) is a pretty long one.
Being a good parent may mean different things from being a success at work.  And being a good employee is quite different from being a good husband (or wife). Also, we may have preferences for certain roles, tasks out of the multiple ones that we have to perform.
It may be essential therefore, not to put too much pressure…

Questions That Will Shake up the Status Quo

As usual, the questions are all-important, potentially earth-shaking.

1. Can a Tunisian singer ever sing out of tune?

2. Are you being mean to a guest if you feed him Kari - Meen ( a Kerala fish dish)?

3. How does a news anchor (Arnab is not the only one) pull off a thirty-minute show with a single news item that could have been summed up in thirty seconds? Do they send them to the School of Elongation/Extrusion? Or do they watch episodes of Ramayan to learn this trick?

4. Why do you need cricket commentators when the viewer can watch everything from five different angles? And a related question- are we going to have live commentary with wedding videos soon?


This is not about the Right to Information but about a book called Return to India, written by Shoba Narayan. I first discovered her when I began reading the Saturday Mint Lounge recently. She writes a column in it, a pretty nice one.

The book is about THE GREAT DILEMMA that every immigrant faces at some point, or at many points- to return to your native country/home country or not. One begins to empathise with Hamlet when faced with the question, as every true-blue immigrant will tell you. Shoba writes a very honest account of her urge to get out of India and its domineering relatives' circle around her in Chennai, her transformation from a psychology student to a sculptor and a journalist (something that could only have happened in the U.S.), and her subsequent 'arranged marriage' to an NRI, love for her parents and theirs for her.

She does not pull any punches about her longing for America in the face of all the 'evils' she faces back here in her growing up yea…

Matrimonial Ad for Self

Once bitten always shy. There were times when one would have written a matrimonial ad for self with all the wrong characteristics- beautiful, smart, earning a six-figure salary, not to forget decent  background, and so on- and got bitten. But no more.  If one were to put an ad out today, it would read as follows-
Good cook, with an even better attitude- as in willing to cook and feed a (potential) family of four, day in and day out.  Work tirelessly to clean the surroundings, care for inmates and guests, expected or otherwise, asking for nothing in return, except occasional outings or small tokens of gratitude. Must be adept at juggling tasks, giving back or limb massages on demand, smile at me when I return from work. Willing to make tea/coffee  every few hours, at least five times in a day.
 Watching serials at home is acceptable, provided there is no attempt to imitate the villainish women appearing in them. Should be willing to attend PTA meetings of (future) children. Appointing m…

Pia (no) Milan ko jaana

I had promised avid readers (what, you?) that I would come up with a piece on piano songs from Hindi films. I generally keep my promises (unless I break them), and here is proof. I delved into my (fading) memory, did some research with the aid of that great gift to researchers (starts with a G) and compiled a list. I think it is about 95% right.

1. Chalo ek bar phir se ajnabi ban jaayen...from Gumrah.

2. Patthar ke sanam, tujhe humne ..title song from the movie.

3. Pyar diwana hota hai mastana hota hai...delight from Kati Patang

4. Dost dost na raha...Sangam..there is a hilarious scene in the film (not related to the sombre song sequence), where one of the characters leans at an acute angle for a prolonged length of time.

5. Kaun aaya ke nigahon mein chamak jaag uthi..Waqt..a female on the piano in this case.

6. Dheere dheere machal ae dile beqaraar..Anupama, with a wonderful tune. What a song!

7. Khwab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat,  kaun ho tum batlao..SD Burman tune from Teen Deviyaan..De…

Some Original Thoughts

Sometimes, an original thought enters your mind, without being influenced by your friends, colleagues, bosses, et. al. The media are exempt, because they influence everything from the food you eat to the deodorant you use (if you use one). The media also relentlessly enlightens you about the world's bad eggs, making you feel good that you are not one of them. However, I am digressing. Here are the thoughts- I admit they are small in number, but it is a start towards a new dawn.

1. If one were to write the complete story of the Italian Prime Minister, it would be titled 'The Full Monti' aka Full 2 Disclosure.

2. Some countries have had a 'meteoric' rise. But Russia is different.

3. CTRL-ALT-DEL refers to the Altitude which Dell once reached and fell from, with Michael (Dell) losing Control over his company.

HR Analytics

Can human beings be analysed? There are jokes galore about men being an open book and women being difficult to figure out. But seriously, HR analytics is an idea whose time has arrived. In line with analytics of customers (marketing analytics) and Financial analytics (analysis of anything financial, such as instruments, investments, companies or what have you), HR analytics- both explanatory and predictive, has the potential to improve HR strategy and its impact on the organisation.

IMT Nagpur today launched its centre of excellence (a research centre) on Human Resource Analytics in style- at Hotel Airport Centre Point, Nagpur. It brought in HR experts from corporates in Pune, Delhi, Bangalore and of course, Nagpur. There was a good gathering of all HR faculty and some others, student managers with interest in the area, and faculty research associates. An old friend, Mr. Vijay Phanshikar, who had launched my autobiography in Nagpur a year ago, was also there.

We hope many good things …

Love in the Air- and in Print

Here is a selection from a book that I am reading in order to appear witty- I mean, The Big Book of Wit andWisdom. That's my way of escaping from buying chocolates.

W.H. Auden- Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can; all of them make me laugh.

David Frost- Love is staying up all night with a sick child- or a healthy adult.

Robert Frost- Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.

Lord Tennyson- 'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Just to add some spice, a couple of quotes about marriage.

Rodney Dangerfield- My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.

Agatha Christie- An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have; the older she gets the more interested he is in her.

Richard Pryor- I believe in the institution of marriage, and I intend to keep trying until I get it right.

Orange County

Don't know where it (Orange County) is, probably in California, but the name sticks to my mind, for some reason. But my reason for titling the post thus is more Indian than Californian. I am back in the centre of India (if not the universe), in my previous role as Director of IMT Nagpur, at least for a while.

This time I am experimenting with living on campus, unlike the previous time. I get an extra hour to blog that way- readers should be scared! With an upcoming convocation to be addressed by the WIPRO chief, and all the excitement of students graduating (bidaai of a sort), it is probably the most exciting time of a campus, perhaps only rivalled by the first few weeks of the new batch's entry.

The greenery and peace are unrivalled, however, and the anticipation of something new (in spite of the fact that many of the faces are actually old- old colleagues, students) is always in the air.

Looking forward to the second innings here, and wishing everyone at Nagpur well.

Corny Love Songs

Jaagi badan mein jwaala, from a movie called Izzat made in 1968. It is an item number, in the tradition of  Hindi films of that vintage- extras in village belle costumes gyrating to charming, old-world dance steps, heaving bosons (sorry, bosoms), et. al. But the surprise part is the lead dancer or in today's lingo- 'item' girl. None other than Jayalalitha. Yes, the same. Search for this song on youtube if you don't believe me. I happened to discover it while listening to Ameen Sayani's Binaca Geet Mala ki chhaon mein.

Corny songs of love abound in Bollywood, and sixties and seventies had a huge number of decent ones where the heroes and heroines were-well, running around the trees, singing songs. We used to joke that the music director is hiding in the bushes to provide music to the couple.

Some good ones I remember lovingly from that era are-

Bekhudi mein sanam uth gaye jo kadam...

Yeh dil diwana hai, dil to diwana hai, diwana dil hai yeh, dil diwana..

Yeh raaten …

An Angular View

Everyone looks good at a particular angle, if you have looked at yourself in the mirror (I am not asking how often, by the way-I am focussed on the topic of discussion). Your best angle might be from the left top, or the right front, or centre, below. Film stars know this too well, and try not to let the unflattering angles intrude on their popularity. A pretty face can turn ugly when viewed from the wrong angle, as anyone stealing glances at one would know. Some stars even flaunt their curves, as I remember one particular lady did, as in ....don't lie (in this case, the angle was, shall we say, different?). Guru Dutt and his ilk had great camera angles and lighting, to keep their filmi characters looking surreal.

Anyway, what I am trying to prove is that angles are very important. Journalists are always on the lookout for the right angle (acute or obtuse) on a story, or a twist, so to speak. So are writers/authors, of books or plays or short stories and screenplays. Mystery writ…


I have noticed a new disease afflicting millions of people. It started in the developed world (whatever that may mean), and is threatening to envelope the under-developed world (whatever THAT may mean) in a tight embrace. It is called Braggitis, and it can be transmitted through the air, water, earth, or any known method of transmitting these things. Hot air is generally found in the vicinity of the Bragger- one who suffers from Braggitis, I mean.

Here is how it works. Say, a human in close proximity to you says,

You know, the other day, I was admitted into Escorts (name of a hospital, in case you get wrong ideas) for a colonoscopy after an endoscopy."

Your likely response when you are a victim of Braggitis,

" Oh, that is nothing. I am continuously being injected with 3 vials a day for acute rhinitis, right now."

Response to this might border on the ludicrous, for example,

"Oh, I didn't know a rhino bit you. You just came from Kaziranga?"

But even if the …

Questions, Questions

If you sit in a mall and mull over something, are you mulling or malling? Extension: If you wear a mulmul ka kurta while doing so, what happens?

Why does a dentist not repair dents?

Why does a carpenter not paint cars?

Why is a hood not required in a brotherhood?

When your relationship runs out of spice, can it be a case of Humdum (Hindi/Urdu) turning humdrum?

Why would a wife want the same husband for the next few lives? (logically, at most one life should suffice)

Who pops the question in a gay marriage?

Is Goli wada pav a 'deadly' brand name?

If someone falls over his shopping cart, is he Flipkarting?

If an idle mind is the Devil's workshop, where are the products from a zillion years of idle men?

An idle mind produces some blogs, too.

Sing-song Comedians

Singing songs is the preserve of heroes, heroines, and vamps (an endangered species today) - right? Wrong. The comedians do it too. And some have had superhit songs to their credit.

Deven Varma sang Mummy o Mummy, Tu kab saas banegi? in one of his memorable roles.

Johny Walker sang several, including Jangal mein mor naacha kisi ne na dekha, and Sar jo tera chakraye, ya dil dooba jaye.

I recently discovered a song sung by Rajendranath, which goes, Aye haseeno, tumne sadiyon, aashiq ko tadpaaya, .....Meri lottery lag jaane waali hai.

Mehmood sang in Gumnaam, Hum kaale hain to kya hua dilwaale hain, and it became a raging hit. He also sang with Kishore Kumar in Padosan, one of the all-time hits, Ek chatur naar, badi hoshiyaar...

Mehmood also did a Charlie Chaplin act in a movie called Aulad starring Jeetendra and sang a fun song, Jodi hammari, bane na kaise jaani, hum to hain angrezi, tum ladki hindustani, with Aruna Irani. I loved it when I first saw it in the early seventies.

Other in…

Bonding with India-Vishwaroop

James Bond with all his singularities, has made a home for himself in this former colony. But he had to be white, had to sleep with countless women, and pull one-liners, drink shaken stuff, and introduce himself as Bond, James Bond (which I try sometimes). He was my favourite while growing up, though I don't watch the modern ones any more.

Not any more. He can now be a guy full of RAW energy from India, have a single wife who is cheating on him, be a dance teacher by day, and drink nothing alcoholic in sight of the camera. Kamalhaasan brings so many new dimensions into the role, that it is worth a dekko. I liked Shekhar Kapoor second best- dunno why he vanished after one or two roles ages ago. He is such a fine actor, with looks that one can only envy.

Anyway, there is some Afghanistan (nicely shot, like Feroz Khan did in Dharmatma), some New York (with NYPD cops bumbling initially), and a lot of action. It mostly keeps you interested, though a sequence or two are dragged a bit l…

Of Flights and Other Diversions

This one if you have not guessed it already, is about diversionary tactics as applied to flights. I was sitting in an Indigo flight with some colleagues, headed from Nagpur to Delhi. We got a wee bit apprehensive when the pilot announced at take-off that there was dense fog in Delhi. After hovering around about 50 minutes above the dense fog, good sense prevailed. You don't burn fuel if you park yourself somewhere. Fortunately, we did not indulge in the car version of fuel-saving, switching the ignition off. We just landed in Jaipur, with a grand view of the unfogged landscape there.

Fortunately, some colleagues had bought Orange barfi at Nagpur, so we had something to chew on while we awaited communication from our masters at the ATC. The mood was one of a picnic, barring a few people who were either missing connecting flights or were being cursed by bosses. Eventually, the air was cleared over Delhi, but not before the lovely air hostesses had been harassed by hungry passengers …