Showing posts from April, 2015

Anopheles Makes a Surprise Visit

Anopheles and Me

For those who have lost the plot ..err, haven't been following the plot, Anopheles is a female mosquito who drops in on me to have a chat once in a while. We have had conversations on every topic in the world- theirs and ours. I had not seen her in a while, and it was a pleasant surprise to hear her buzz into my room.

"What is a war?" she asked without a preamble.
"Well, it is a situation in which we kill each other." I tried.
"But why do you kill each other?" she wasn't satisfied, as I was afraid she wouldn't.

"Some of us want to expand our kingdoms" I said, thinking of Alexander the Great.
"Are large kingdoms necessary for a king to be happy?"she innocently asked.
"I can't say, I never had one" I told her.

"So what's your poison?" she queried.
"Mine, I guess, is the ego. Without the achievements to accompany the desire, I want people to tell me I am great. This is a faili…

Impending Vacation

I like my vocation because it entitles you to a vacation, against the norms of corporate behaviour, where anything other than value-added stuff contributing to the bottom line (wonder why it's at the bottom) is frowned upon.

So this animal called a vacation seems to be drawing close, with some prospects of Golf with friends being a part of it. There is a planned trip to Munnar to play and sip some signature tea, I hope. I stayed in Kerala for two years but never got around to going there.

While on the subject, I started playing some Golf on our own cricket ground in IIM Indore today. I intend to train colleagues if any are interested in the game, and maybe students if the numbers are manageable. The ground is large enogh to do some shots with a medium distance iron, and that can give you a good feel for it, and make you feel good that you know some of the great game. Trust the Scots to invent all the highfalutin stuff! They must have been itching to be different from the boring B…

The Earth Quakes

An earthquake is extremely unpredictable in its magnitude and the distance it covers in various forms-like a tsunami, for instance. In December 2004, just as we were concluding an alumni batch meet, we heard of the tsunami that reached coastal Tamilnadu and caused huge damage. It had originated in Indonesia then.

The Himalayas are said to be sitting on a fault line-potential quake zone- and the earthquake yesterday seemed to prove that, as did an earlier one in Uttarakhand a few years ago. Some countries like Japan have got used to earthquakes, and seem better prepared than the rest to tackle it. We still seem indifferent, as typically, we value a life less than the advanced countries such as the U.S. or Japan.

While we need to reach out to those in distress, we can also take some preventive steps, like providing housing that is structurally safe to as many people as possible-not through doles, but through work that pays for it.

This government seems proactive on aiding those in tro…

I Decide

Gathering from all my six senses as to what works, I decided-for me, that's a BIG Deal, as I am not a decision-maker by nature-more of a vacillator. But now, inspired by some great guys, I have decided. That I will walk to Kedarnath.

You may well ask, why Kedarnath?

I'd reply, "Why not?"

It's a holy journey, so I can wash a few sins off-bathing in the Ganga is too cold a way of doing it, for me.

It's a good, healthy walk, so I can shed a few pounds, along with my sins.

It is cool out there, so this is a good time to be there- I can't afford to go to Europe.

It is a politically correct thing to do- compared to going to Bangkok.

I might just make it to the headlines.

What if there is a lanslide? Well, it's better to be buried in mud, rather than bury my head in sand!

Fun Evening With Students

The music club of our IPM students organised a fun evening yesterday with some faculty singing. This was a novel idea, since usually we are at the receiving end (of singing). I enjoyed it a lot, and diverse talent was unearthed in the process (not talking of yours truly- I discovered myself quite some time ago), including some talented faculty kids.

There was pretty good participation from all attending faculty -around six of us did some singing, and there were appreciation awards for all participants-always a good idea to encourage future participation. I sang two songs with help from Shweta, a colleague who supplied the lyrics and voice too. Are yaar meri, tum bhi ho ghazab, was a duet which came out well. There was a colleague, Pawan Singh, who sang a high-pitched Mahendra Kapoor song rather well, describing how Kaliyug would pan out, almost like an Orwellian prophecy. That song was from the film Gopi. Another faculty colleague, Venkat, did a couple of nice Hemant Kumar songs.


The Vanishing Bookstores

When visiting Pune recently, I found that the Landmark, which originally started out as a bookstore plus in Chennai a few years ago and then got taken over by the Tatas, had closed its branch at SGS Mall, which was accessible easily to me from where I live.

This is not the only bookstore I know that has closed, though. There are many more. Manney's also in the same area as above, shut down earlier. A few Crosswords that I knew of have also closed-one on Bangalore's Residency Road, for instance.

As a person who likes to browse before he buys, I am concerned. That civilisation is in danger, if we only order online and don't want to spend the time browsing in actual physical stores. There seems to be something wrong here. Airport bookstalls were almost a given, until I found two years ago that Delhi's budget departure lounge did not have a book store any more. This is such an obvious place to sell books, so I don't know what went wrong. The greed of the airport in in…

Why Thoughts Occur

If you thought that this was going to be a brainy kind of research-based post on the brain, think again. I just thought (why?) that I should post something and to keep that thought alive, started typing. You get the drift? Ok, so now, let's take it a step further.

Thoughts occur for a few basic reasons.
1. A brain thinks it has to have thoughts.
2. You can ask it to shut up, but usually don't. You know how it is, with certain people; so it is with certain parts of your body.
3. Therefore, thoughts occur.
4. Sometimes, they are simple fulfillable desires-like I want ice cream, or a chai, or, to listen to a song.
5. Sometimes they are not- like wanting to become the ruler of Baghdad (isn't someone?), own a yacht (not sure even how it's spelt), own a beer factory (someone does, I am pretty sure), have twenty butlers at the same time (notwithstanding that they would collide with each other in their eager attempts at buttling), etc..

Then, finally, I thought about why I sh…

Court- Film Review

This is a different film, and please don't watch it if you are looking for entertainment. It's in Marathi with subtitles, and has won awards in foreign festivals. That might indicate that the audience has to be of a serious bent of mind to appreciate it.

This is about the court proceedings in two cases-both against an ageing folk singer, who is accused of abetment to suicide, and then, after he gets bail, of inciting violence and being a terrorist sympathiser. All he ever does, actually, is sing folk songs that are sometimes anti-establishment, to crowds that are rarely over a hundred at a time.

The point of the film is to make a statement on our judicial system, and how, unwittingly sometimes, it promotes miscarriage of justice. It also hints at the investigation system and witness presentation system being faulty, leaving judges helpless. Some of our laws date back a 100 years, and are crying out for change.

Other aspects it touches on are the unprotected municipal workers …

Month-wise Remix of Solomon Grundy

Remixes are possible with nursery rhymes too. One of my favourite rhymes was Solomon Grundy. His life was fast and furious, which I admire. So here goes-

Corporate Solomon Grundy

Born in Jan, Opened facebook account in Feb, B. Tech. in March, Joined Infosys in April, Became Team Lead in May, got an MBA in June, became CEO in July, Retired in August, Joined NGO for climate change in September, Climate changed in October, Nobel Prize in November, and Drowned in December from the melting glaciers.

Aam Admi Grundy

Ramlila maidan in Jan, Hazare ko aakhri salaam in Feb, Delhi election in March, Resigned and bathing at Ganga Ghat in April , Lost in May, Back to monkey tricks in June, Won Delhi in July, Found Kaminey in August, Sting in September, Still coughing in October, Stuck his neck in sand in November, Buried in sand-storm in December.

Entrepreneurial Thoughts

Here are some thoughts on the subject of entrepreneurship. Since my area is thinking, this seems appropriate to me.

Why do some products/services succeed wildly when many bite the dust/become so-so survivors?

In my not-so-humble opinion (IMNSHO), it is because no one needs them. If a person (lots of people) needs (need) something, they move heaven and earth to get it. Lots of examples come to mind, ranging from a matchbox to a mobile phone or its service provider, to the life-is-jhingalala TV dish, to the internet connection (for the mobile-haters) provider, to Blogger (for those who can't resist putting finger to keyboard), to a pair of scissors (for those with overgrown nails or nose hair or just a packet that needs to be cut open), to a can-opener (beer cans don't these, so they are exempt), a ticket to a good movie, or concert- they don't need no salesman.

Insurance, on the other hand, is a product no one will stand in a line to buy. So don't start an insurance co…

Indianising English

We have made English our own; so much that we can barely recognise it. The English would be puzzled at some of the things we do (like we are puzzled by many things they do-mess around in Iraq, for instance).

Like 'prepone' things instead of advance them.

Using "Could able to" where it has no business being used.

I did not knew - did you?

The cost was very less- oh, was it?

Did you discuss about the important news?

And, not to differentiate, "Ï'm Loving It"is also grammatically wrong.  In case you are going to a McD to improve your kid's English, please rethink.

Mother's Day- Play Review

This is a Marathi play that stars my cousin Suhita Thatte in a major role. So, naturally, we went in full force to the Balgandharva Rangamandir-me, after a long time.

The play, billed as a black comedy, lives up to its billing. The first act particularly, is full of barbs that fly non-stop, about parent-child relations, sibling rivalry, disregard for the aged, and many things else. Witty dialogue, sharp delivery and great acting from the four women (it's an all-women starrer)-most of whom act together in a TV serial, I understand (with Rohini Hattangadi and a couple of others), it is a must-watch for Marathi speakers.

The second Act is relatively sombre, but brings things to a climax that is somewhat expected, but closed out decently. Makes you think about a mother's unconditional love (a Kaikeyi or two notwithstanding-but even she loved Bharat that way), and how the kids are usually heartless. In this play, the daughters are the heartless ones (but one), while the daughter-i…

Byomkesh Bakshi and More- Films

Saw a Marathi film that was really well-made. It is called Coffee ani barach kahi (Coffee and much more). Very nicely directed, simple story of a guy who can't get himself to tell the girl from office that he loves, that he does. She is stuck on the view that he has to propose. The happy ending happens after a lot of waiting, but it is handled well. The lead pair, Prarthana Behere and Vaibhav Tattwawadi, bring life into their roles, and the support cast is also fantastic. Enjoyable experience.

Also watched Byomkesh Bakshi. It has its moments, of detection and the period atmosphere of 1940s Calcutta. But one feels it could have been tighter on the plot- too many China and Japan distractions for people who are zillion years away from the World War make it look less menacing than it could have been. The last scene is overly dramatic and violent. Why the villain does not shoot Byomkesh (or why he, Byomkesh, does not take adequate precautions not to get shot) is not explained by the s…

Fools' Day

I like Fools' Day the best of all "Days" celebrated globally.

It is one where we shed our pretences- of being smart, intelligent, holier-than-thou, and all the rest.

It is an opportunity to prove to others what they may not always believe. You know what.

It is a day dedicated to humour, unlike too many days when you have to be serious. Seriously, why is it that we don't take laughter seriously? Heart disease would vanish in a jiffy! Imagine Bush, Osama, and so on on a laughing trip. You can't make war when you laugh.

Fools can sometimes be useful. They are the ones who cling to their ideas, and innovate when no one believes in the. You might say we need fools to keep improving things, inventing things.

Now that I have made my case, I will not prolong my argument foolishly, and stop right here.

Happy Foolishness, whichever day you choose it as your companion.