Ambitions

Many of us have ambitions. In the seventies, many had ambitions of owning a scooter or a phone at home. But this is a slightly different look at the different ambitions of different people/things-


  1. A coloured shirt's ambition could be to replace 'that white shirt' in all the detergent ads.
  2. A father-in-law's ambition may be to be as talked-about as the infernal mother-in-law.
  3. A CEO's ambition could be to be a Don Juan-some have attempted this too, with unexpected results.
  4. Dracula's ambition could be to enjoy a colourless solid food item.
  5. April may want to experience how it is to be 'cool' as December.
  6. A gold necklace may want to try 'necking' an ordinary gal next door, rather than 'stiff-necked' royalty.
  7. A saucer (or a broom) may wish to fly, even if a witch is needed to make THAT happen.
  8. An Australian may wish to be a New Zealander for a day, just to see whether the jokes about their IQ are really true.
  9. An ass may want to perform so well that it gets known as a 'kickass' performer.
  10. Readers may want to burn this post, but that ambition will remain just that-an ambition.

Monali Thakur on her Songs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kez9ufDZQSs

Meet the lovely Monali Thakur, interviewed in this video. She is a singer who has done some good singing, but I became aware of her after I watched her as the lead actress in Nagesh Kukunoor's new film Lakshmi, screened at our campus. She has done a marvellous job as an actress too, and I certainly hope we see more of her on screen.  I am rather tired of Kareena, Katrina and Priyanka.

Among other songs, she has sung the English Vinglish marriage party song with some Marathi words in it. And 'Sawaar loon' from Lootera.

In case you like the above, there are more parts of that interview, like this for example-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbANVAfhkIg

Teacup in a Storm

Yes, I know we usually talk of a storm in a teacup. But I woke up this morning due to the sound of a thunderstorm with rain, and decided that the best course of action was to make myself a cup of tea.

So I did. And tea makes you think. So I did that, too.

The more I thought, the less I understood. Then I remembered I used to have a poster which said, "The more I think, the more confused I get." So I stopped thinking.

Our gurus (those that I have read anyway) advise us to stop thinking in order to approach the thoughtless state of 'being' to escape from the mundane, useless thoughts that crowd our poor minds. This is supposed to take you (over time, when the time is right etc..) to a meditative, calm, 'being-in-the-present' kind of state.

So I tried my best to meditate. And lo and behold, I found a new awakening, ....from sleep, because unknowingly, I had dozed off in the middle of my spiritual quest.

Anyway, there is always a next time!

Election Manifesto

Since it is approaching election time, I propose a manifesto that can be adopted by any forward-looking party.

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will be shut down. We will save 2000 crores by doing this, and 20,000 crores on the elections as a bonus.

We will have an Indian Idol competition to select one lawmaker (judged by Karan Johar, Kajol and Kumar Sanu), who rules till the next season. One sidekick is also selected from among the losers to assist him. This will restore the dying viewership of this boring program.

All citizens have two choices. They watch IPL matches or Ekta Kapoor serials. These will be played/manufactured/fixed regularly. Production licenses will be auctioned, with the reserve price (minimum bid) being fixed at half of India's GDP. Both together will make up our whole GDP. (Arnab will be gagged, just in case you are wondering.)

There will be no work, only fun- of two kinds, defined above. Everyone will be happy, and all our problems would be solved.

Please vote for our party.

What if?

I saw a forward today that inspired this post. It said, "What if Sooraj Barjatya made realistic films?'
Actually, many more what ifs come to mind. Ponder these-


  1. What if ads started telling the truth, especially baldness cure ads?
  2. What if James Bond were named Johnson Braithwaite by Ian Fleming?
  3. What if Arnab Goswami started talking sense, or stopped talking?
  4. What if Karan Johar started asking intelligent questions on his show? 
  5. What if film directors edited their movies by cutting irrelevant scenes/songs/fights?
  6. What if trees and flowers did not exist?
  7. What if monks and householders exchanged places?
  8. What if maids became memsahibs?
  9. What if PMs became chaiwalas?
  10. Most terrible, what if all books disappeared from the face of the earth?

Monali Thakur as Lakshmi- Film Review

This is the latest from Nagesh Kukunoor, who hit the bull's eye with Hyderabad Blues many years ago, and made films such as Dor and Iqbal after that.

Lakshmi is a very well-made film about Prevention of Immoral Trafficking (PITA) and its implementation, or (more often) lack thereof. Based on several true incidents, it is a part-fictionalised story of the resoluteness of one girl sold by her father into the flesh trade run through the support of powerful people.

What makes this film special is the heroine, Monali Thakur. She brings in the innocence and expressiveness that instantly get you on her side. She acts like a veteran in a role of a life-time, that many actresses never got in theirs careers. Hats off to her. The difficult subject is scripted and handled well, without distractions.

Other cast and characters are good too. Satish Kaushik, Ram Kapoor, Shefali Shah and Kukunoor himself, stand out. Monali's roommate at the brothel also does a great job.

An excellent movie that makes you think. Do watch it.


Narayanamurthy and Nagesh Kukunoor visit IIM Indore

The Narayanamurthy interaction was unplanned. It was prompted by Mr. Murthy being here for laying the foundation stone for his company's Indore office. He told us that he'd done the same at Nagpur yesterday. Looks good for both cities. IT is coming to them. Both cities are nice to live in, and the young IT crowd will make it more vibrant.

He was brilliant in fielding questions from students of the Exec Program and the PGP. He also did not hold back his punches, when he said we have wasted ten years in governing wrongly, but inspired the students  by saying they could still do it- transform the country by being disciplined and putting country before self.

His analysis was backed by solid examples. He lamented that the coaching classes had killed IITs. He also presented his views on attrition at Infosys and laid the blame on the top management for ills at the bottom.

Nagesh Kukunoor was invited by students conducting Mridang, the campus fest. His film Lakshmi was screened before the interaction with him. More on the film later.

There is no Superman

As you grow up, you discover things about the world. At first, you think there is a Santa Claus. He comes every Christmas, and brings you gifts. Then, you discover that he does not exist.

Then, you discover that Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Goofy also don't exist.  Would be fun to have a talking mouse and duck, I think. Would beat some of the boring humans I know.

By and by, you also discover that Richie Rich exists, but that it is not you.

But you still believe in Superman. For saving the world, there is no one like him. But then, it is a big blow to discover that he is a figment of someone's imagination.

The consolation is that you find people who are changing the world, and that you can do it too, in a small way.


Are you Experienced? - Book Review



Travel lends itself to humour. This book is humourous. That's a great plus in these times. The hero is a British teenager, cocky, and ignorant about the world. He has a year to spend 'discovering himself' before entering university, and nowhere to go. So he falls into a trap, and goes with the suggestion of his friend's girlfriend that he should accompany her on a three-month India trip. What happens during these months, starting from a crappy guest house in Delhi, to a "smoking joint" in the North (Manali), to many other places (Kovalam, Goa, Bangalore) is the rest of the story.His interest is strictly physical, and hers, apparently over-the-board, spiritual. He half-succeeds, and then she ditches him for a spiritually advanced duo, just back from a lepers' colony and headed to a yoga ashram. The arguments between these two are quite entertaining.

Some of the observations about India (like their set of three questions to him, always ending with "Are you married?") are quite funny. Even funnier is when an English journalist he meets on a train rips him apart for his empty-headedness. The takes on the yoga guru finding the "centre" of his disciples are quite believable, given recent scams in this territory.

There is an Indian from England trying to escape his own arranged marriage and have fun while he can, and a kind Dutchman who helps him recover from the Bangalore belly after eating a burger there.

Snobbery

Snobbery was a preserve of the elite (read English Lords/Ladies, Royalty, Page 3 crowd) once. Not so today. Anyone can be a snob, due to the democratised universe that we inhabit today.

I tried my hand at it the other day. Someone offered me a drink. I took one look at it, turned my nose up and said, "This is not a single malt." As if I had been born with a silver tap pouring single malts in my mouth.

It had no impact on the guy who had offered me a drink. "Take it or leave it" he said. So I swallowed my pride, and then some.

Then I tried it in a conversation about sports the other day. Cricket, as usual, threatened to dominate the conversation, so I saw an opportunity arising for some snobbery.

I said, "Cricket used to be a gentleman's game, but what with the big money and 'quick-fixes', it is one for the rogues. Golf, on the other hand, remains pristine, a true gentleman's game."

"Oh yes, only, there are a few ladies involved off-course with the gentlemen sometimes," an unpleasant guy in the group retorted. Since the evidence had been all over the newspaper tabloids over a prolonged period, I couldn't stick to my stand and revel in my sports snobbery.

Then I tried the ultimate trump card- country snobbery. I was in a crowd of mixed nationalities, and I tried the age-old trick of talking about age-old achievements of our country in various fields of human knowledge and endeavour.

"We had some great mathematicians, you know, like Aryabhatta, and many down the ages."

The response was swift and unexpected. "Why do you need a great mathematician to compute the single digit growth rate of your GDP today? You are Ok with learning some basic arithmetic, right?"
I was nonplussed, and vowed to come back with some excellent rejoinder to restore the snob's pride of place. I am still thinking...


Love Songs- Valentine's Day

Taking a much-needed break from election speeches and pepper-spray politics, and since it is Valentine's Day too, will try and recall some lovely love songs from Hindi films-

  1. Chudi nahi yeh mera dil hai, dekho, dekho, toote na... 
  2. Tumne kisise kabhi pyar kiya hai, pyar bhara dil kisi ko diya hai..
  3. Rajnigandha phool tumhare mehke yun hi jeevan mein, ...
  4. Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko, nazar nahin churana sanam..
  5. Abhi na jao chhod kar, ke dil abhi bhara nahi..
  6. Karvatein badalte rahe sari raat hum...aap ki kasam..
  7. Na jaane kyun hota hai ye zindagi ke saath, achanak ye man kisike jaane ke baad, kare phir uski yaad
  8. Aankhon aankhon mein baat hone do, mujhko apni bahon mein khone do..
  9. Gata rahe mera dil, tu hi meri manzil..
  10. Dil ka bhanwar kare pukar, pyar ka raag suno...hoon, hoon, hoon,..
  11. Raatkali ek khwab mein aayi, aur gale ka haar hui...
  12. Bhanware ki gunjan, hai mera dil, kabse samhale rakha hai dil, tere liye, tere liye
  13. Jadugar, tere naina, dil jayega bachke kahan..
  14. Naam gum jayega, chehra ye badal jayega, meri awaz hi pehchan hai, gar yaad rahe
  15. Tere bina zindagi se koi shikwa to nahin, tere bina zindagi magar zindagi to nahin.......one of the best!

Election Speech 2

This is in the tradition of the Sholay-Dharmendra-Water Tank episode. In Hindi..

Gaonwalon, agar aap log (AAP log nahin, aap log) hamari party ko vote denge, toh hum sab har roz Holi aur Diwali manane lagenge...taaki Gabbar phir se kabhi yeh sawaal na kar sake, ki "Holi kab hai?"

Gabbar ne aapse loota hua sara rupaya kisi doosre gaon ki tijori mein chhupa ke rakha hai, main aur Jai use wapas Ramgadh layenge, aur gaon ke saare taangon ki marammat mein lagayenge. Basanti, mausi, sun rahi ho na?

Ye shaharwale (aur ye angrez) hamesha laptop ki baat karke hamein neecha dikhate hain. Hum itni khush-hali layenge, gaonwalon, ke hamare har ghar mein bachche 'laptop' yaane maa ki god mein khelenge.

Gaonwalon, McDonald's ki dhoom jaise videsh mein chalti hai (aur Coffee Day ki shaher mein), bilkul waise hi hum har sadak par chai ki dukaan khulwa denge, taki sab log aram se apni baaten kar sake. Hamari line hogi, "Bahucharchit chai."

Hum gaon ki khush-hali chahte hain, isliye yahan ke khet hare-bhare karne mein koi kasar nahin rahegi. Jab Kaalia aur Gabbar ke aadmi use dekhenge to apne bare mein sochenge ki woh kis khet ki mooli hain? Aur dakaiti chhod ke woh bhi kheti karne lagenge.

Gaonwalon, mujhe yakeen hai, jeet hamari hi hogi. Mera gaon, mera desh Zindabad!




Election Speech 1

Potentially, there could be many for the upcoming elections. This is a first attempt, so please excuse glitches. I promise to get better with time-

Brothers and sisters (and all the rest),

I promise that it will be a never-ending party. I mean, India will never grow up. We will remain teenaged party-lovers, always -starting with Valentine's Day of 14th Feb fame. You are all invited, except for the owls and other party-poopers, I mean.

Our country has had a great tradition of parties- only, we suitably disguise them as family functions or religious occasions. Countless times, I have attended The Great Indian Wedding, which runs for days, and has costumes which would put erstwhile monarchs to shame. This is all for a good cause, lest you scream "conspicuous consumption." Our detractors may scream all they want, but think of the hungry weavers, spinners (no, not of our party yarns, the real ones), cotton growers and cloth merchants who are able to feed their hungry ones because of these.

I promise that we at our party will serve food that is cooked in pure desi ghee, again aimed at benefiting our home-grown dairy industry, and keeping the greedy multinationals away.

And of course, we will provide everybody jobs in catering to the Great Indian Party that never ends. Think of the impact on our doddering GDP growth! Thank you, and hope for your support.

Ullu ki Dum (Tail of an owl)- I mean, Jai Hind!


Matrimonially Humourous

Matrimonial Ads from 'Professionals'-

 BANKER: 

Wanted wife who takes interest in me and credits me with her service. 

CAR MECHANIC: 

Wanted a sturdy wife. Should be in working condition. 

Should be above average and must run the household at a good average. 

DOCTOR: 

Recently a love-bug injected in me a strange bacteria, making me desirous of marriage. 

I'm looking for a girl who is patient and has knowledge of all ills and pills, is religious minded and keeps away from all sins be it Anasin, Metasin or Crosin. I promise to be a good doctor with no side effects. 

Apply or reply. 

DRUNKARD: 

Wanted a girl. Girl's father should preferably have a soda factory. 

I am an occasional alcoholic who drinks only when friends come home. Friends come home only seven times a week. 

Girl preferred will carry me from bar to ghar-bar. 

Meet personally or send soda for trial. Sample should be ample. 

LAWYER: 

I hereby beg to solicit myself as an eligible candidate for the post of husband after marriage. 

The person whom I'm looking for should be strictly a girl. The girl should be strictly a girl. 

The girl should be willing to surrender to the service and jurisdiction of My Lord i.e. Myself. 

Any objection would be overruled and will not be sustained. Apply in confidence and if you have the confidence. 

SOFTWARE ENGINEER: 

Wanted a Girl with a Lovely Look & Feel, Good GUI with Security features (privileges only for the Specific User especially critical Functionalities). 

There must not be any Critical or Medium Bug in her. Low Bugs can be deferred But needs to B fixed by the Next Build. 

She Must not be PLATFORM INDEPENDENT, should be USER FRIENDLY. 

We are ready to Test the Application & CERTIFY the product but we will assure it will never be released to ANY OTHER Customer   

Simulation- Marklabs

I am currently teaching a course that uses a simulation called Marklabs that teaches students how to make decisions related to marketing a product. Started by alumni of IIM Indore, this is a good tool indeed for teaching. The emphasis is on Positioning and Segmentation in this one.

Each group of 4-5 students represents a company that is competing with 7-8 other companies. Each set of decisions counts for a period of a year, and one can play any amount of rounds (years) according to the time you have available. Environmental factors and competitors' decisions bring in uncertain elements, and make the process 'fun learning'.

Recommended for use in Business Schools.

Anopheles and Elections 2014

Anopheles, my female mosquito pal visited me yesterday after a long time. She was curious about the elections of 2014. We got talking.

" Can you tell me what is the significance of these elections?" she asked me.
"Well, we have these big two political parties, and then 250 other parties, and we all have a party at the cost of the parties, but they make money by swindling us for five years, so it's actually a party thrown at our cost, to put it simply," I tried explaining.

"And who are contesting, if I may ask?" Anopheles wanted to know.

"Well, there's a religious greeting, and there's a musical composition."
"What do you mean?" She didn't quite get it.

"I mean, the major candidates are Namo and Raga. That's what these names signify."
"Oh, that way. I have tried stinging them, but the Z level security they have was impenetrable."

"Well, they have promised F or FOOD security for all the rest, if not Z," I said.
"And what are the election issues?" Anopheles innocently carried on.

I said, "The same as they were in any earlier one. Poverty, bad infrastructure, good governance..."
She was surprised. " You mean after 1947, not much has changed? "

I said, " We have, we used to expect the moon. Now we are grateful for a piece of earth. And some cooking gas cylinders."

On that note, she promised to fly in again and said goodbye, as she still had to find her dinner in a STING operation.

One By Two- Film Review

This is a good mystery film (!) The hero does not know what he wants. The heroine does not know what she wants. The hero's friends don't know what he wants. It's all mysterious. For the first half,  we don't know what the director wants.

The only people who know what they want are a generation older. The heroine's mom (Lilette) wants to booze- and does it in style. The hero's mom (Rati Agnihotri) wants him married, and that leads to a predictable but funny song and dance sequence with the hero (Abhay Deol) trying to wriggle out of it. Sadly, the funniness does not last.

The heroine (Preeti Desai) makes a good attempt, but the script and pace let her down. Avoidable. 

Why I Hate Self-service

Self-service is a non-starter, as far as I am concerned. First of all, the meaning of service is that the service-person is dedicated to ...

These Were Liked a Lot