Showing posts from March, 2014

Conspiracy Theories

Did Modi want his supremacy stamped and did he therefore sideline Jaswant Singh?

Are criminal cases against MPs and MLAs motivated?

Did Chidambaram back out of Lok Sabha elections because he was certain he would lose?

Was Tarun Tejpal framed?

Did the Sahara chief get into trouble because he stopped sponsoring the Indian cricket team?

Is there fixing of every cricket match we see on TV?

Was the Malaysian plane really hijacked or is the truth being hidden from the world?

Did that guy in your office get an undeserved promotion?

No one really knows the answers. Therefore, the conspiracy theory is kept alive, and acquires a life of its own. Making the chai-pe-charcha (conversation over tea) an interesting thing.

Lessons from a Flat Tyre

I remember a book about motorcycle maintenance that was a rage during my college days. This is not a book, but a mini-essay on my recent experience at fixing a flat tyre (do not vent your ire at the spelling, the English do spell it  with a 'y').

I had a flat- it was doubtful at the start, and took its time deflating, but at the end, it was undoubtedly flat. Having ascertained the fact, the next step was to remove the spare tyre from the dickey (not the trunk), and replace the flat with the rounded.

There was only a small hitch. The last time I had fixed a flat myself without assistance of expert 'fixers' (not the IPL types) was about a decade ago. So I had to recall how I had done it then. A difficult thing, given the state of the random access memory (also known as RAM). But then, with an indomitable spirit (no, not the kind you are thinking of), I went to work, flat-out.

After a few ups and downs and wrong turns of the screw on the jack, I managed to lift the car o…

Ability Unlimited and Indore Convocation

There was a concert by Ability Unlimited at the IIM Indore campus two evenings ago. This is a group of artists under the stewardship of their mentor and Guru who, in spite of various physical handicaps, perform brilliantly. It was a pleasure to see their spirit, and as expected, it was a full house at the auditorium. They performed incredible movements, many times on wheelchairs, and their repertoire included a Sufi whirling dance (Turkish in origin), a Bharatanatyam performance and more.

Then, close to 550 students from different programs of the institute graduated in a Convocation last evening. Indore has a wide range of programs, from the Fellowship (PhD equivalent) to the integrated 5-year program called IPM that you start on after school (12th). This last is an innovative program, and is currently not on offer at any other IIM in India.  Ramchandra Guha, author, historian, delivered a wonderful convocation address, talking about India's secular, inclusive credentials and how…


Vijayakumar, above and below. Dhanapal who was also a colleague at Harihar, and Gadgil, who I met later at IMT Nagpur.
 Some students of Batch 2, with my colleagues in front row-below.
 Nidhi from Batch 1, KIAMS,  at Indore recently with her Dad.

Celebrating 480,000 views of this blog with an excerpt from my autobiography. If you want to read more, you can download the free ebook version from the link at the end (though I cannot imagine why anyone would want to)-
Chapter 9:   Harihar: My Golfing Days
The Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies was a small but high quality residential place for training executives. It was on the banks of river Tungabhadra, in a two-street town. There were two factories there, one owned by Aditya Birla group, and one by the Kirloskar group. These were on either side of the river. An arc-shaped building was the hostel for executives, overlooking a cricket field. Our boss, Prof. Korgaonker, was an ardent cricket fan, and we played a lot of tenn…

Election Graffiti

Elections are usually the time for acerbic wit, and even usually docile people suddenly get animated. Some of the gems that keep popping up have to do with nicknames- Pappu, Pheku, Maut ka saudagar,  and so on.

A new title was coined after the very notorious weapon of mass destruction, aka the AK-47. This one is known as AK-49, named after the party founder who first did a sit-in, and then a walk-out from his own government, all in just 49 days. His cap and muffler have provided wonderful fodder to all the cartoonists around. A cartoon showed NaMo cough syrup as an antidote to his recalcitrant cough.

The case of the pot calling the kettle black is also pretty prevalent. Every party blames the other for all kinds of omissions and commissions (I am not referring to commissions of enquiry here, they are a saga unto themselves), as if they are comprised of saints and Mahatmas.  I wonder if the holier-than-thou posturing comes from having celebrated Holi recently! It is quite amusing to s…

Nanda Passes Away

I think I first saw her in the film Gumnaam, the one based on an Agatha Christie story of serial murders of people marooned on an island. Mehmood made it famous with his song Hum kaale hain to kya hua dilwale hain, but Nanda had the female lead, and Helen was the other female character.

After that, I remember seeing her prancing around the trees with Rajesh Khanna in 'The Train,' to the song "Gulabi aankhen jo teri dekhi sharaabi yeh dil ho gaya," one of my favourite Rafi songs. She also had a few good songs picturised on her, like "Kisliye maine pyar kiya,.."

Her other prominent role I remember was in another murder mystery, a songless drama called "Ittefaq" again co-starring Rajesh Khanna. I think she was also one of the three women who wooed Dev Anand in Teen Deviyan.

I am sure there were lots of others, in a long career, but she was elegant on screen, and started off as a child actor, maybe before my time. She will be remembered by those who …

Ticking Ticket Bomb

There are tickets where you pay for them, as in plane, train, bus or tram tickets. Also some entry tickets like to a movie, or circus, or concert. Or a parking/speeding ticket, which is your contribution towards speeding up a slowing economy.

But what I am referring to is a bonanza that enables you to holiday at taxpayers' expense-if you win. The ticket to contest an election, I mean. Kids whose lollipops have been snatched between 'the cup and the lip' don't throw such tantrums as we have seen seventy-plus politicos throw in the last few days. When these oldies were denied tickets.

At an age where you either retire to a forest in keeping with the Hindu tradition of sannyas, or play with your grandchildren at home, these worthies aspire to a kingdom of their dreams. They scream louder than their grandkids, or go into a sulk that would shame a Kaikeyi who sent Rama wandering for fourteen years.

Whether they have their faculties intact to do anything useful if elected i…

Amazing Deals I got

I could not believe the deals.

A 3-bedroom villa in a Mumbai suburb for just a crore.

A 6-day holiday package to Greece and Italy for Rs. 30,000.

A collection of 10 top single malts for 10,000 bucks -Indian bucks.

A Pajero for Rs. 5 lakhs.

An ipad+Samsung Galaxy+Sony Vaio for Rs. 5,000.

A starter kit for a new home, classy furniture, with a washing machine, and jacuzzi, for Rs. 20,000.

A collection of 100 top Hollywood and Bollywood film DVDs for free if I bought any three of the above.

I was about to whip out my credit card, and have a go- I badly wanted the free DVDs, you see. But I stopped in my tracks when I read the conditions-

1. Watch Arnab on TV continuously for 5 nights.
2. Fly a Malaysian airliner in the next 15 days.
3. Watch 5 movies of Abhishek Bachchan or Sunny Deol or director Ram Gopal Varma back to back.

Film Review of Non-stop

It has the thrills and suspense needed to keep you hooked for the 106 minutes, after a slow start. The post-9/11 idea of air marshals armed for a contingency is the base of the film.

But the way it is presented, as an attempted extortion through text messages, and a craftily planted bomb by a passenger, incriminating the marshal and provoking mistakes from him, is gripping. There are quick turns of events and red herrings (why are they red?) that maintain the pace. The killing of the pilot is ingenious.

Liam Neeson is good as the brooding, alcoholic air marshal who while accused of a hijacking, has to save a planeload of passengers.

May be a good idea to watch it on TV or DVD, because the dialogue would be easier to grasp fully.
Worth a watch if you like 'edge-of-the-seat' (quite literally here) thrillers.

Khushwant Singh - A Tribute

This is a re-posting of one I had written about him, around 2 years ago, after reading his book on happiness. He passed away at age 99 yesterday.

Khushwant Singh, one of India's most entertaining writers, has written about almost everything in his long years as a journalist, editor, column writer (with Malice Towards All) etc. His light bulb logo was designed by Mario Miranda, the famous cartoonist. The Illustrated Weekly was very lively in his days as the editor. I respect him because he made a living from writing- a tough thing to do.

His take on happiness (or what I remember of it) is somewhat like this-

Earn enough to help yourself. Mendicants may or may not be happy.

Learn to live in solitude. Not in the Himalayas necessarily, but have significant time for yourself.

Make use of the time you have. Mostly, we spend a lot of time cribbing about (the time and much else) we don't have.

Don't waste time on parties and celebrities (and IPL- which might be fixed anyway).


Ni and Knee

Dedicated to some words ending with a ni - (a working knowledge of Hindi required)

Nani, as in "Hum unko nani yaad dila denge"- one of our former PMs. Pani, as in a liquid that mankind has in plenty, except that it's mixed up with a lot of salt.

Advani, a person who is in a permanent tantrum and knee-jerk reacion, arguing to himself, "If that silent old guy can do it, why can't I?"

Soni, a term of endearment popular in Punjab, and therefore Bollywood, as in "soni kudi."

Honi, the opposite of anhoni, used effectively by Amar, Akbar and Anthony, who specialise in making things happen.

Akashvani, literally 'the voice from the sky' used tellingly in our epics to warn people of things good or bad. 
Shani, the planet god of Saturday, who specialises in not letting things happen, unless appeased. Resembles one of the above 'ni's?

Golfing Away at Nagpur

Got a chance to go to Nagpur over the last weekend. First item on the agenda was playing golf with faculty of IMT who were my partners-in-crime when I worked there. We had actually built a small golf facility on campus there, and used it to give our day a green hue at the end, on most working days.

This time, however, we were in the Air Force Golf Club, a nice 9-hole course in the town. We were joined by a friend from Bangalore, who was there for a guest lecture to students. The experience of playing on a golf course after a while was exhilarating. Some good shots give one hope that one is redeemable!

Another highlight was a karaoke night at another colleague's place, where we tested our vocal chords in singing along with the lyrics, a few classics by Kishore Kumar and Rafi. The Korean-made mike that enables you to sing easily is a great invention (theirs) and a great discovery (our group of cousins discovered it at Pune, and I introduced it to Nagpur colleagues).

Got a copy of t…

Hayesian World

There was a Bayesian world of probabilities I was aware of. Read a book by a Louise Hay-group woman called Pam Grout. The title of  the Hayesian book is E squared. Being a square (not a squire), I fell for it, and turned out it was a good read.

Generally, it proposes that all objects are 'live' and can and do react to what you think. So does God, who is also a force-field connecting all the energy particles. We have enormous powers to make things happen. By wishing for them sincerely, almost demanding them.

We can also heal ourselves by asking body cells to heal. Food can be made nourishing by making 'it' feel good. Being grateful brings a lot of benefits to us. We can wish for things to happen, and the force-field works to make it so.

She describes a few experiments to put her theories to test- mostly in 48 hours each.

Wish for things forcefully, sincerely, and they will. I did wish that people would read this blog (before I read the book), and of late, readership ha…

The Curious Case of the Malaysian Plane

Thankfully, it's a rare occurrence. And having been in some really stormy flights that seemed as if they would disintegrate mid-air, I understand that modern aircraft are fairly resilient. But that makes the current disappearance of a flight all the more intriguing.

My questions to no one in particular, are-

1. Don't we have a simple device that can help us track any flight after it falls off, even if it disintegrates? Apart from the black box, I mean. If not, is it possible to invent one, considering so many millions are now flying?

2. Can't our satellite technology which detects even small objects detect these planes somehow?

3. I am pretty sure military technology is pretty advanced. Can't some of it be applied in civilian distress management?

4. Shouldn't we be looking at rescue as early as possible after a plane goes off the radar? In this case, it was many hours before anyone did anything, it would seem.

5. Can someone (a hijacker, or a renegade pilot) simpl…

What a Naughty Boy Was That

After watching Arvind Kejriwal in action over the last few weeks, I am reminded of all the naughty kids in all the nursery rhymes I learnt in school.

Humpty dumpty had a great 49 days

..what a naughty boy was that who drowned his own chances in a spat..

Solomon Grundy (Kejriwalji),Formed a party on Monday,Christened AAP on Tuesday,Contested on Wednesday,Won on Thursday,Took oath on Friday,Did a dharna on Saturday,Resigned on Sunday.That was the end,Of Solomon Grundy (Kejriwalji).
etc., etc..

Women- The Finer Sex

After all the hype about the International Women’s Day has died out, maybe one can be a little more calm (!) and make a few observations about women, without getting stuck in stereotyping and unnecessary exaggeration. Hype is not needed, because, of all the good qualities embodied in a civilized society, most are found in women.
They are cleaner than men. A survey of men’s and women’s bachelor pads should be able to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt.
They are less violent than men. This is not to be mistaken for lack of courage to face adversity. Women in most societies face more adversity than men.
Maybe due to motherhood, but they are more giving or generous.
They are more graceful than men, both in dress and social etiquette, and more common-sensical, in general. Exceptions for the latter are usually in a shopping arena.
They are more capable of multi-tasking. An average man cannot handle more than one and a half tasks at one time. A woman possibly can do at least twice as m…

Life and Technology

We used to debate in school on whether technology is a boon or bane, in the 'good old days'. Now, technology is a given, except to a few technophobes like  my generation.

The good that tech has done is tremendous. Communication technology has really changed lives for the better (mostly), except for some uncouth elements who do not have good usage etiquette.

The cost to an average user is also down, thanks thanks to competitive innovation by software and hardware manufacturers.

To me personally, tech is a great tool which attempts to enslave. This blog and Facebook, in particular, have helped me communicate with more people (since nobody has hacked these yet, I assume they are not totally pissed off). If you are able to keep it on a leash, it can be of great use- rather like Vishnu's Sudarshan Chakra, my favourite weapon of mass destruction. It can kill Bill, Tom, Dick, at will, but Krishna (Vishnu's avatar) uses it sparingly.

Likewise, the idiot box, the cell phone, g…

Find and Found

Major confusion rules in this world about silly things. Examples-

The difference between finding and founding.

The difference between lose and loose.

The meaning of beside and besides.

The meaning of alternate and alternative.

A woman and a doormat.

A woman and a model for an ad- any ad.

Politics and Economics.

Governance and Anarchy.

Nepotism and Impartiality.

Exams and Evaluation.

Looks and  abilities.

You are welcome to add those you have observed.

Brands I Grew Up With

As a user, the first brand I recognised was Philips, most likely. Our radio was Philips, though Murphy was probably around at the time too. The next one that I became aware of was Colgate, which had a dominant market share, followed by Binaca and Forhans.

When I had to wash clothes in the hostel, it was always the blue Rin detergent bar that would be the preferred choice. The restaurant brand was the Hilton (not THAT Hilton) cafe at the corner of Osmania University campus. (there was a branded women's college called Andhra Mahila Sabha pretty close by, and I was aware of that too).

We had a club branded as Yellandu Club in the mining towns we lived in, and I spent a lot of  time playing Badminton or swimming there. Theraja is a great author brand in Electrical engineering, and we worshipped him.

Among the Hyderabadi hotels, Kamat and Taj Mahal were the most frequented for their south Indian meals, followed by Alpha or Garden for their biryanis. The theatre brands were awesome in…

Jokes by Confucius- Maybe

To celebrate 70,000 views of this blog, here are some Confucius jokes, thanks to a non-confused friend.

What Confucius did not say. But would have if he were alive today. Man who wants pretty nurse, must be patient.

Passionate kiss, like spider web, leads to undoing of fly.

Lady who goes camping must beware of evil intent.

Man who leaps off cliff jumps to conclusion.

Man who runs in front of car gets tired... Man who runs behind car gets exhausted.

Man who eats many prunes gets good run for money.

War does not determine who is right; it determines who is left.

Man who fight with wife all day get no piece at night.

It takes many nails to build a crib but only one screw to fill it.

Man who drives like hell is bound to get there.

Man who stands on toilet is high on pot.

Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement.

Man who fish in other man's well often catch crabs.


"A lion will not cheat on his wife, but a Tiger Wood!" 

Monthly Calendar of Activities 2014

My well thought-out plans for 2014. Subject to interventions by major (non-natural) elements of life.

January- Make plans for summer vacations
February- Increase spending/day to revel in the shorter month.
March- Await the ides of March, if you have read Julius Caesar.
April- Save for the summer vacation you planned earlier.
May- Take the summer vacation

June- Save to compensate for all the extra shopping in May. (There is no free lunch, dinner or anything).
July- Teach
August- Teach
September- Teach and grade
October- Celebrate (own) birthday, and speculate on how many more are left.
November- Buy a new razaai/quilt to prepare for the winter. Maybe a bottle of brandy too, if a severe winter is predicted.
December- Freeze, travel through fog-delayed flights to unexpected destinations, celebrate 30th reunion with MBA classmates, and a family reunion somewhere.

Common to all months- blog on, pay taxes, and be happy!

Shadi ke Side-effects- Film Review

They say learning never stops. And this was proved to be correct as I watched this movie called Shadi ke Side-effects (The Side-effects of Marriage).

Summary of what I learnt-

1. Marriage results in kids. Pregnancy tests have a failure rate of 10%, 5% or 3% based on how many you get done.

2. Four kids at a time (your own) are scary.

3. One kid and a wife is a deadly combo if you are the husband.

4. An album (music) takes 5-7 years to make. And just when you get a producer for it, you may not want the album. At this rate, S.D. Burman would have given music to three films in his career, and R.D. Burman would have been trying to get a film all through his.

5. Only mothers know if a kid is warm, cold or hungry. Fathers are dumb, dumb, dumb...

6. Never watch a football game at home if you have a wife and kid. Ideally, never watch one, period.

7. Stage shows of 4 year-olds are so bad that nobody other than the parents can watch them.

8. Some men have extra-marital affairs.

9. Some women do…

Fun Songs

Here is a list of some fun songs from Hindi films-

Peenewalon ko jeene ka bahana chahiye, filmed on Randhir/Dabboo Kapoor. Famous for the line 'Chandramukhi ho ya Paro, koi farq nahin hai yaro'Naach meri jaan, fataafaat, from Mehmood's Main Sundar Hoon.Ek chatur naar karke singaar, sung by Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar, from Padosan.Meri Pyari Bindu, from PadosanHum the wo thi.......jaate the Japan pahunch gaye Cheen, from Chalti ka Naam GaadiMere bhains ko danda kyun mara from Pagla Kahin Ka starring Shammi KapoorNa biwi na bachcha, na baap bada na maiya filmed on Mehmood in Sabse bada rupaiya.Muthukodi kawwadi hada again filmed on Mehmood in Do Phool.Hum kaale hain to kya hua dilwale hain- Mehmood in Gumnaam. Sung by Rafi. Goya ke chunanche from Manoranjan, with Sanjeev Kumar and Shammi, with Zeenat Aman. Coincidentally or not, Mehmood and Kishore Kumar are associated with many of them.