Showing posts from March, 2015

Financial Year Ends

Academic year too, but the March 31st year-end blues are usually accounting related. Some of the questions that stare you in the face-

Did I save enough to get all the tax breaks I could? Only a CA or a know-all can answer that question, so I don't worry too much about it. In July, at the time of filing returns, I will have to document all that anyhow, so why not postpone it till then?

What if I have to file for bankruptcy? Since Indian law does not allow an individual to do so (to the best of what I know), once again, I don't worry about this.

The most torturous question actually is this- where do we go to vacation this year in the summer? You can fix the following criteria for making this decision-

Destination should be facebook-friendly.

It should have a net connection.

More than enjoying the destination, you bask in the after-glory anyway, so the place does not really matter.

Happy holidaying- or thinking about it. In May or June or whenever you are ready with the leap in…

Convocation of IIM Indore

This was a Brilliant convocation. It was held at a convention centre called Brilliant, and the venue was perfect for the number of guests that came. And despite diplomas being awarded to close to 600 people, it was done super-efficiently in about 2 hours!

Nirmalya Kumar, the Chief Guest, spoke about a global mindset to succeed in branding and selling products made in emerging markets. The Chairman, KV Kamath, spoke of this again being a good time to launch oneself into the corporate world because of radical reforms being pursued by various arms of the government.

In general, the students appeared to be in a  celebratory mood, despite the strain of getting ready and rehearsing through most of the morning, and patiently sitting through the afternoon function.

So curtains came down on another eventful year at the institute. We look forward eagerly to the next, while wishing all outgoing students-now alumni- the best in their Second Life.

Cliches and Cliched Comments

Some cliches and my even more cliched comments :)

This is a "landmark'' XYZ. What is? Is it really?Is there a "watermark"also?

My "blood boils''. Then how come you have not evaporated?

"Stock sinks" on Supreme Court judgement. Was it swimming till now?

Australia " hammer India" (this happened yesterday on the cricket field).  What else could they have used? A chain-saw?

XYZ gets a 'clean chit'. What happened to all the dirty ones? Were they washed or not?

"9/11, 7/11" and all other branded dates. Are we glorifying things that happened on those by branding them?

"Black Tuesday" to commemorate the stock market fall. If you invested in stocks, you can afford to lose the money.

You are "looking fabulous" . Hmm..

Speculative Blog on India Australia Match in Progress

I speculate. On what will happen post the outcome of today's India-Australia world cup semi-final match (in progress as of now).

1. India Wins

Everyone and his aunt will take the credit, as if they were on the field. Euphoria will prevail, until the nail-biting and (further) speculation on what it will be like against New Zealand in the finals. All the experts on TV will tell you "I told you so."

2. India Loses

Everyone will blame everyone and their aunt for the abject failure, dismal capitulation, match fixing, money driving sport, and every other possible irrelevant evaluations of a simple fact. They will swear off cricket- not to worry, that will only last till the IPL begins, or India plays something, whichever is sooner. There will be calls for ousting Dhoni, Virat, Jadeja, Sharma (all of them), Ashwin, etc. from the team.

May the better-playing team win. I am not an Octopus!

Music to My Ears

Here are some people who are music to my ears, no matter when I hear their creations or voices-

Kishore Kumar Khandwewale (he was from Khandwa), who has magic in his voice. A sure cure for the blues is any song from Padosan or Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi starring him. Or in his voice from countless films. I used to like his yodelling a lot when growing up, but now I like any mood that he chooses to bring alive. Even his sombre songs are strangely uplifting!

SD Burman- I deliberately put him ahead of his peers and his son, because he was as original as anyone I heard composing tunes in Hindi films. In fact, many songs that I originally thought were tuned by RD Burman are in fact his creations-youthful, zesty, and a great combo of folk music plus creative use of instruments. Jewel Thief was a masterpiece, along with Teen Deviyan, Aradhana, ...

Rajesh Roshan- very soft tunes, always touching your heart-strings. Many of his songs as composer feature on my list of favourites- from the lilting Ch…

NH 10- Film Review

Highly avoidable, in my view.

Hardly any redeeming features. The plot is apparently copied or adapted from an English film a few years old. Adapted into the land of Khap Panchayats, and killing of the girls in the womb and outside in honour killings. What honour does a murderer have(?) is a different question altogether.

But a lot of blood and gore later (perpetrated by almost every character barring the kid), you are left wondering if you were hit by a train (that has a starring role in the film). A plot that is going nowhere and does so consistently, is mostly predictable, and with the exception of a few scenes, sleep-inducing.

Sorry, folks, you gotta do better than this. Go watch some Alfred Hitchcock films. If not, at least some good BR Chopra films- Dhund, Ittefaq, Kanoon, I think were some of his suspense films worth a watch.

A Lesson on Earnestness and Its Importance at IIM Indore

I have no idea if Oscar Wilde intended this one to be a pontification on the importance of being earnest in whatever you are doing. Whether it was intended or not, the staging of his play by the name (the Importance of Being Earnest) did prove that it helps-to be earnest.

I am referring of course, to the brilliant performance on campus (IIM Indore) by our students of this play yesterday. Three months of continuous hard work can do wonders, and the enthusiasm with which the cast and support did it bore fruit. It was one of the best possible renditions of this that you could pull off with an almost entirely amateur cast, the director being the experienced hand bringing it all together with great (im)patience-actually needed to drive a project of this kind. Talk about the importance of being Impatient!

The story of this play has a mix of humour- there are one-liners on relatives (aunts in particular), education, Londoners, marriage, high society, social standing, book-writers, and many …

Cups and Saucers

The cup of joy.

The World Cup.

Not your cup of tea.

I cupped my hands around the bowl/his neck.

         Why not saucered? as in

My saucer of joy.

The World Saucer.

Not your saucer of coffee.

I saucered my palm while showing off the tattoo/mehendi, or whatever.

Why this step-brotherly treatment to the humble saucer?
The cup of secrets holds the answer, I am sure.

Dum Laga ke Haisha- Film Review

This is a good feel-good film about an Indian marriage, particularly one involving a girl who is overweight by most standards, but educated and eligible otherwise. Bhumi Pednekar thrives in her role, and Ayushman Khurana in his- he is the reuctant shopkeeper's son who marries her due to family pressure.

A lot of ups and downs happen in their marital life, which are handled with sensitivity. The fact that in India, you marry a family (at least the girl does) is brought home starkly, because hardly anything remains private in the couple's married life.

A couple of critical incidents force the husband to start studying again for his 10th standard exams (unsuccessfully as it turns out), but then, a competition where the husbands carry their wives in a hurdle race (and hence the title of the film) unites the husband and wife (estranged earlier), and there is a happy ending.

The underlying motive/message is good, and the actors pull it off. Worth a watch. There is a mix of comedy a…

Monsoon Come Soon

Seems it's already here. What's the definition of a monsoon?

Winds from the West, and rains alng with them. The definition fits. So is it monsoon in March? So what happens in April, and May, and the original months, June-September? Well, we shall have to wait and watch.

It has thrown a spanner in the works a bit- I mean, golf plans have had to be postponed a bit, after having discovered a nice little Golf course in Indore. Never mind, we (the Golf course and me) will catch up some day.

IIM Indore also heads towards its Convocation Day on the 28th of March. Many PGP students and some others from the FPM (Ph.D.) and other programs will graduate, and turn into our alumni. A significant moment, indeed.

Before the convocation, we have a treat in store on the 20th, in the form of a play- Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" which is being staged on campus by some really keen students and their mentor-director faculty. It's a cracker of a play, one of Wi…

Yuganta- Book Review

This is a literary take on the Mahabharat by Irawati Karve.

A lot of thought has gone into this, and the basis for many of the author's assertions seem sound. For instance, the emphasis on oral traditions of story-telling and therefore, various versions of the stories being told from time to time. Also, the subsequent additions by the Bhrigus, a brahminical clan, who seem to have embellished the original story of the cousins fighting for what they believe to be rightfully theirs (the kingdom of Hastinapura). Mostly, the story is narrated as found in a critical edition of the Mahabharat.

An age of chivalry, but also bad habits (hunting, playing dice), wealth and generosity, Kshatriya values in men but women being treated as possessions for most part (to be married off- a term I fail to understand even today-as if they cannot marry themselves if the men in the family decide not to do so), valour and unfair means in war (Ashwaththama's name used to kill Drona), and finally, the …

The Worst Inventions

As promised, here are my top ten.

The tie. One which you 'get in the neck'. Comes in the way of necking, too. :)

The mobile phone- this takes the cake in making us inefficient and the service companies rich. Remember we survived before it came along?

TV channels 24x7- I concede there are some good shows on it, but by and large, they make little sense.

Bureaucracy- at its heart, a heartless creature.

Paneer- kills creativity in cooking. Look at the typical menu of a restaurant offering "North-Indian" food.

Treadmill- why not just walk? Or run?

Three-wheeler. It's neither here nor there. Two, or four is alright.

International Days of anything. Irritating, and unnecessary.

The Budget Day for a country. Hype rather than substance, except the 1991 one that liberalised our industry from the stranglehold it used to be in. Policy can be modified any day, not just on Feb 28th.

Rules- many are thoughtless, and either can't or won't be followed.

Passports and pass…

Banning This and That

I just started wondering what I would ban if given the chance to enact laws as a dictator-Hammurabi the second?

Bad handwriting- hands could be cut off as punishment.

Bandh gala- why? The answer is contained in the word itself. ban-the gala. Your neck could be on the line for a violation.

Spitting- you would be shown videos of people doing horrible things (like spitting) for 15 hours continuously as punishment.

Banditry- owe it to the public

Ban-ki-moon, as in ban the moon, ki? Had this been done, Tharoor may have been head of the U.N.

Bandana- this could actually be the symbol of freedom, and against a ban culture. Not allowed. Federer, tu to gaya.

Bannerjees- there are too many, anyways.

Banta jokes-yeh ban to banta hai, hai na?

Great Inventions

These are on my list of my ten great inventions-

Chair-improved our lives and elevated us from the floor.Spoon-gave us ways of using jars and stirring things up.Radio-everything else pales before this. An infinite source of information, entertainment and joy. Accessible to the common man. Even Modi uses this to connect with people.Pen and paper- how else would we have distinguished ourselves from animals? Books are an endless source of joy.Aspirin- it cures something (headache) with certainty-with most other medicines, you are not really sure.Homeopathy- again, accssible medicine, and despite what experts tell you, easy to learn and administer yourself. Cures at least a few known uncomfortable conditions.Sarcasm- without it, life would be dry and humourless. By using this, we also make friends-and lose some. Keeps the wheel of life on an even keel.Marriage-after laughter, this gets my vote as the next best thing. The twain cannot meet, usually, unfortunately. Blogging- you are already…

Holi Matrimony

Some thoughts about Holi and matrimony.

Both are colourful, especially the clothes bought/coloured and the language used in marital fights (the martial arts).

Both are confusing. Which day is Holi, exactly, for instance? And who is to cook in the married household, for instance.

Holi gives you excuses for chhed-chhad. Or used to, before various laws were enacted to take better care of women. Now, one less excuse to be inebriated with ''manly" power, I guess.

Just when you thought all the Holi songs had been written, there comes another. I think Ranbir and Deepika starred in one recently. On marriage, there are only jokes. Bollywood (happy) songs are all pre-marriage. What is the significance of that?

Marriage is supposed to provide security. And it promotes GDP growth. How? Married couples need a house, a car, a fridge, a washing machine, a cooking gas, restaurants, work to pay all the bills,...

So all you need to do to increase GDP growth to Chinese levels and beyond...…

Why We Get Along with Some

Small pleasures

It is no secret that the small pleasures are capable of brightening your day far more than a jackpot that you may keep dreaming about. Some of these that I have encountered in recent times (and I am grateful for)-

A call, an email or a facebook contact from an unexpected source.

A long chat over coffee with a friend.

Meeting a fan of my textbook. We were sitting next to each other at a seminar.

A song that plays on radio, just when you were thinking about it.

A nice speech. Modi made one in Parliament that was excellent oratory after a long time. Why should parliament be boring?

A repartee. Sometimes it's better than a party.

An unexpected encounter. Met Amol Palekar at IHC. He was exhibiting his paintings.

Playing a computer game with a kid. I played a couple with my niece.

A nice conversation at the lunch table with colleagues. Happens frequently.

Unexpected weather. It's been raining almost every month at Indore this year.

Watching TV after a long time. I watched a few cri…