Showing posts from December, 2014

Deep Freeze

After balmy Bangalore, I returned to find Indore has turned into the Arctic or Antarctic, depending on which way you are facing. I would not be surprised to find an Eskimo peeping out from inside his igloo, or a penguin walking by flapping his flippers.

One is used to his butt freezing in Delhi or Lucknow or northern Rajasthan or Punjab (it happened to me in Amritsar once), but not in Indore. However, there is a bright side to it. You can remain immobile and hibernate unless there is something important to make you move. In my case, it is only this blog post, but that is doable from the warmth of the home.

Why it is freezing and rainy is beyond me. Might have to build a regression model and try explaining it. Maybe the Gods are angry with us. For the way we conduct ourselves. Last time I had a batch reunion, there was a tsunami (in 2004). This time, it's a deep freeze. Now I know how that packet of peas or sausage feels in the freezer.

GK goes to PK's planet

We recently were visited by Mr. PK, an alien from somewhere, according to the movie PK starring Aamir Khan. What is likely to be discovered if we send our guy-let's call him GK- to PK's planet?

Nothing, except the inhabitants, and maybe carrot farms.

No clothes, hence no FTV channel (its USP doesn't exist)

No fights, hence no need for dialogues such as "(Hindi) Main tera khoon pee jaoonga, kaminey"

No religion, and therefore, no salvation

No love, and hence no hate

No lying, and therefore no facebook

No paper- only transmission of knowledge through holding hands

No God-men, and no discourses by God-men. A few more TV channels gone!

No spitting, and hence no need for a Cleanliness Drive, by whatever name

No political parties, and therefore no Arnab Goswami.

Reunion at IIM Bangalore

This was a much-awaited event we waited five years for. The last one was the 25th, and this, the 30th. Gives you a fantastic feeling of nostalgia, with all the 'masks' you wear falling off, and leg-pulling and joke-telling taking centrestage. We also had a couple of genuine articles that were new this time, thanks to the team at the alum office and student volunteers.

One was a good stand-up comedy act from a student who is a budding stand-up, and a big surprise, a sports tournament in various games with us versus current students. I played a bit of Badminton partnering Venky, our batchmate who is actually nicknamed Baddy after his love for the game, and won a game against the youngsters, most born in 1982 or later! I was never in any kind of doubt about the talent we have in our batch, and it manifested itself in myriad ways in these two days.

You name any kind of achievement, interest or talent, and we seem to have someone in our group who is very good at it. Music, sports,…

What I Remember of 2014

I remember..

times spent with family..particularly an adventurous drive to Udaipur from Indore via Banswada.

attending a birthday party of my niece in The History of The World by Mel Brooks.

golfing at Nagpur at the Air Force club and the holes no. 0 and 19 before and after...yet another session at Kodaikanal where I got a hole-in-one..wonders never cease!

visits to Bangalore where I met friends from the past (colleagues from IIM, PESIT & IFIM, IIMB classmates, PESIT/IMT Nagpur alums in particular). Exploring crafted beers in the original pub city...the first pub started around the time I was studying at IIMB.

reading some good books, including a collection of humourous essays by Art Buchwald, whose column once appeared in The Hindu, and a nice fiction story Kalyug by Sreeram, an ex-student.

some good films, like Finding Fanny, Zed Plus, City Lights, .and some good episodes of Comedy Nights with Kapil, a show that's sustained its popular appeal.


Brand Slogans and More

This is a thoughtful piece. Now that I have provided the disclaimer, let me proceed. I have been thinking about coining slogans or taglines for brands for a long time now. Since the grey cells were numbed by the cold wave (this is different from the Oceanic ones), it took a while. But now, I have a few. If the weather improves, I may have some more. But for now,

Bailley's- We bail you out of thirsty situations

Teacher's - Teaching the world what it wants to learn

Starbucks- Who spends the bucks? You. Who makes them? Your guess.

DKNY- Don't Know us? Not Your type.

Aston Martin- Bonding with the Best.

Wagh Bakri- Stings like the Tiger's tail (Wagh=Tiger).

Kalnirnay (calendar)- Decide Today. Not kal. (Nirnay means decision, Kal is Tomorrow).

Chetan Bhagat (he is a brand)- After me, the deluge.

Raghuram Rajan (also a brand)- Interest cut? Not interested.

Kindle- That warm, fuzzy feeling- without paper in between the words and you.

PK- Film Review

It's watchable, and fun in parts, but tries your patience at times. But if it comes to a toss-up between the films of the three Khans today (leaving out Saif), I would go with Amir. There was a time when I would have gone with Shah Rukh, but sadly, that time was around DDLJ's first release- maybe even upto Kal Ho Na Ho. Anyway, back to P.K.

Some of the gags are pretty good, and so are the cinematic twists in the tale of an alien trying to understand this gola (sphere) and its denizens. The focus of the story is largely on the purveyors of religion who, in the name of God, manipulate the masses- sometimes giving them Hope, not a bad thing as one of the characters in the film says, defending himself.

Which is fine, and makes a lot of sense, in these times of the discredited Babas/Godmen of whom there is no dearth in our country. My major problem with the film is that it drags very badly in the first half- more precisely, in the second half of the first half. Had that been tight…

Airline Brands

Once upon a time, there were these brands of airlines-

Pan Am- an example of a failed American enterprise.
TWA- Another example.
Modiluft- one of the Modis and Lufthansa collaborated on this one.
East West- Came from the Middle East, and went nowhere.
Sahara- later besahara, and sold to Jet, it had a nice tagline, "Emotionally yours" . Its erstwhile promoter is now in jail.
Kingfisher- flashy and stylish while it lasted.
Kingfisher Red- was always in the red.
Jet Konnect- it has been 'jettisoned' coz it had lost its connect with passengers.
Paramount- it's of paramount importance to find out what went wrong with it.
Sabena- despite its Arabian-sounding name, it was a Belgian carrier. Hercule Poirot would know.
Indian Airlines- My first flight ever was on this airline, from Dibrugarh to Calcutta (it was still that in 1983). Merged with Air India.

Now, with rebranding of Jet Airways as one brand rather than two from December 1, it has come a full circle.

Other a…

Anopheles Visits Again- End December 2014

It was after a long time that Anopheles, my winged friend (a female of the mosquito-kind) was visiting me. After the customary pleasantries, she asked me how things were going in the human world.

"Is it evolving for the better?" she wanted to know.

" I don't think so. We are just getting more barbaric, suspicious, trivial, selfish....."
"Wait," she interrupted. "You seem to be depressed."
"Yes. We just had the latest round of meaningless killing. This time it was children in a school that got gunned down." I gave her the facts.

"That's sad. Will mankind survive all this?"
"Hope it does, at least for your sake. What will you do for food if it doesn't?" I said.
"Oh, we'll make it, don't worry. We'll adapt, and maybe become humans in a few years...maybe not, after what you have told me."

I agreed. "You are probably better off as mosquitoes. So what's up with you? All well?&qu…

What Got You Here...

I think there is a book titled 'What Got You Here Won't Get You There.' I thought that would be obvious. An Apple phone with GPS is now needed to go anywhere. But that makes me think- this is dangerous territory, as you know. I am now imagining all kinds of spoofy titles for books that could be written; if push comes to shove, I may write some of them myself, while the grey cells are still functioning. Be prepared for the following titles then.

Why Men Clean Their Cars and Women Their Homes, by Dr. Jobless Jones, Ph.D.

How to Unfriend People who Send you Candy Crush Requests, by Hail Carnegie

How Jobs Cleaned up Windows, by his ex-Cleanup Consultant

How Pepsi Uncovered Coke's Secret Formula, by a former chief of the KGB

Enemies, by the scriptwriter of Friends

The Cosby No-show, by the Five Find-outers

How to Kidnap Schoolchildren, by The Organization

The Highs and Lows of Oil Prices by OPEC

That Sinking Feeling, co-authored by CEOs of Spicejet and Malaysian airlines

Favourite Phrases of Teachers

We forget the courses, but still remember catch-phrases used by the teachers who taught us, as far back as high school. Why, I don't really know, you know- incidentally, 'you know' is also one.

We had a Hindi teacher in school who always began a discussion of some verses from poems with "Bahut sundar kaha hai kavi ne" (the poet has beautifully described....)

Another English teacher was famous for his unique way of presenting Keats' Ode to a Nightingale with the "littul birdae" and the important passages from Julius Caesar, not to mention the poem Ulysses which exhorted us to 'drink life to the lees'.

The Chemistry teacher in school was very strict and what we mostly remembered was his threats-       "I'll cut your tail, I say" being a constant one.

The Maths teacher was generally recognised by her pronunciation of 'which' as 'huch' ( luckily not hooch), and that was a great distraction when the theorems went ov…

Bhopal- Film Review

This is the new film about Bhopal and Union Carbide. It is worth a watch, if only to commiserate with the victims of what must rank as one of the biggest man-made calamities we have ever seen. Not that it is the only one- we have ourselves to blame for nuclear disasters, racial and gender-based crimes, riots based on caste and religion, and lots more.

But then, a lot of issues are raised in this film, that make you think. One is urbanisation after the fact- of industrialisation. The city 'caught up' with us, says the CEO of Union Carbide, to a journalist. May be true too. But why the factory did not move once that happened is still a question. The work provided by the plant seems like it was badly needed by people around it, so they did not want the plant shut down.

Where we should draw the line between industrialisation/jobs and life-threatening consequences, ironically, from the same 'life-giver', is something we can't answer easily.

Other issues that come up ar…

Rohtak and More

On the way to IIM Rohtak, stopped in Delhi for two interesting meetings this weekend. One was to meet a couple of friends and batchmates who go back 30 years. This was catching up on old times (again, coz we have been meeting regularly, but it's fun anyway).

Another catch-up happened with a former student-turned friend, Padmapriya (I have a lot of these, having spent many years teaching and non-teaching or administering), who is now married and settled in Delhi. Both wife and husband will most likely work with an NGO that is into poverty alleviation. Both did a course in the US on Public admin (master's). Why we don't have such courses is a question worth thinking about. We do need good public admin skills in governing a vast country like India, and we need a lot of research backing our policies.

At IIM Rohtak, an old friend and colleague is currently the Director. I am here to teach a doctoral course on Marketing Models. Interesting, new to me and with a lot of potential…

December is Here

..and so is the cold. Some interesting 'haps' (as opposed to apps- I still can't figure those out) in the last few days.

Attended an audition for the play "The Importance of Being Earnest" as an observer in the selection process, on campus. A colleague is going to stage the play. Reminded me of the Telugu film "Ashta Chamma" which was loosely based on the play, produced by a friend a few years ago.

The raw energy that a play (even in audition time) brings, and the sheer fun of the words Oscar Wilde had in this one, are infectious. Enjoyed the process thoroughly. Almost everyone who auditioned were talented, and might have fit into the play, if only the cast of characters were larger! Naseeruddin Shah says in his recent autobiography that he and his friends used to perform plays sometimes to an audience of ten or twenty. I can see why!

I do think we ought to make dramatics compulsory, if anything needs to be compulsory. In fact, faculty may also benefit…

Words That Resonate With You

There is a woman in the Oscar Wilde play "The Importance of Being Earnest" who is in love with the word 'Earnest' and therefore wants to marry only a person with that name, because the word evokes "vibrations" that Jack, for instance, does not have. This got me thinking about words that resonate with me. This is not a definitive list. Also, my theory is that it depends on who is saying the word, for it to resonate- or not.

Nineteen to the dozen- this is phrase that someone I knew used often, and it had a nice ring to it.

Paushtik bonda- this was food at Uncle's, a low-fi establishment on the IIMB campus long time ago, and kept body and soul together when we were 'fed up' of the food in the mess (why do they call it the mess? So appropriate). The words resonated, and conjured up images of desirable food.

Chai- this resonates as no other substitute for it would. Not tea, which sounds like a coloniser's word. Say Adrak-wali chai, and the reson…