Showing posts from May, 2016

Favourite Foods

These are not my favourites, but of fictional characters/celebs.

Bruce Lee- Idli

James Bond- A Bonda

Daler Mehndi- Vadda Paav.

Mika- Makke di roti

Now, for some of mine.


Mutton curry- red coloured/Kashmiri

Chicken Chettinad

Fish Molee (from Kerala)

Ginger-garlic Prawn

Baingan ka bharta


(Greek) Moussaka

Spahetti with meat balls

Keema pav

Seekh kabab

Tunde kabab (Lakhnavi)

Crab curry (from Karwar)

Dal tadka

Palak paneer

Goan fish curry

Thali (set meal) from Tamilnadu

Thai soups (most of them-including Tom Yum)

Sushi rolls with spicy accompaniments

Bun-maska with Irani chai

Yet to try Cambodian, Australian, New Zealandian, Brazilian, ...

Contests for World Leaders

No prizes for guessing who's going to win the best Kurta contest. Let's look at some others.

Best hairstyle without a wig. The winner is Kim Il ..whatever. the North Korean guy.

Best one with a wig. Donald Trump.

The only one cuter than Shahid Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan combined. Justin Trudeau- Canada.

The only one with a heart- Dil-ma Rousseff, if she has not been impeached. Brazil.

Six packs. Putin.

Nitwits. Nawaz Sharif may have few competitors.

Shepherd of largest flock of sheep. The New Zealander.

The militantly named one- Bar(r)ack Obama.

The one with an endearing Hindi word in his name- Abe, Japan.

Earth-shaking News

We all are governed by what happens around us, so we badly need to know-

How many shirts Salman Khan owns. And if he does own some, why is there a perpetual shortage?

Did Sonam Kapoor sneeze before her first shot for her new film?

How many hours Modi sleeps in a day.

What Jackie Chan plans to write in his Will.

How much Bill Gates earns.

How Anushka will react to RCB losing out.

What was the raise that all the CEOs of India's biggest companies got.

What the latest report says about the impact of wine consumption on our heart.

Whether Kangana sent emails on behalf of Hrithik or did he, on hers? Or was it that Wikileaks guy playing a prank on both?

Our next meal depends on it. For the tadka.

How to Deal with Marriage

Being a conventional guy, I will stick to hetero marriages. So, there is a guy and a gal. They get married. You are one of them. You have to live happily ever after (I think till death do us part is the Western version). So how do you do it?

If you are the girl (wife)-

1. You don't expect any help. If you get it, you praise the giver.
2. You don't criticise his choice-of anything. He chose you, right?
3.  Sports- it's not his fault. He has limited things on which he can sustain a conversation. Why take that away from him? Enjoy if you can, ignore if you can't.
4. Shopping is a lethal word to use. Steal his card if you must, but never suggest going out shopping. Eating out maybe, but NOT shopping. And don't brag about what you bought. It will have no impact.
5. Have a comfortable couch in the house. If you have to have a potato, might as well treat him right.

If you are the Guy (Husband)-

1. Tell her she looks beautiful, approximately every three hours.
2. Never as…

How to Tackle Bosses

I am now into consulting for The Greater Good. I am kicking this off with a simple manual on How to Tackle Bosses- one of the most vexing issues for inexperienced young people taking their baby steps into corporate life. No, you don't owe me. This is purely for society's greater good.

1. Flatter him/her. This can take a frontline worker in any department and make him/her a unit head faster than a Porsche can go from 0-100 kms.

2. Arrive at work just before he does, and leave just after. Works wonders, and results in quick promotions.

3. Ask him for advice on inconsequential matters. Everyone likes to be seen as a wise guy (in the positive sense), and this will create a good impression. The complicated stuff, you can decide for yourself-you don't want him to screw that up!

4. Report regularly to him on what you have been doing. This can be a mix of 40% reality and 60% fiction, but realistic fiction. This helps to create an impression that you believe in hierarchy and disci…

IMT Nagpur Pics

A collection of pics from IMT Nagpur days. Many were clicked at alumni meets, some at the campus. Great times.
Saksham and Anuradha Chatterjee, with others at campus event.

 Another alum group. Hanika and others.
 Inaugurating Frost n Fun. With Mallika.
 Jasleen at Janmashtami.
 With Prof Gadgil on a memorable trip to the Lonar crater.
 Meenu Mynam - Hyderabadi conversation.
 Devapriya Roy watches keenly at Milestone inauguration
 My friend Prabhakar visits for Foundation lecture.
 Abdullah, Shuchi and gang at Hyderabad alum meet.
 Alum meeting. Pradeep Majumdar.

In Praise of Pankaj Kapur

I find him one of the most under-rated and under-utilised actors in films. Most films in which he appears, he leaves an indelible mark. Even the not-so-successful ones. He is a trained theatre actor, and continues to act there.

A cult movie which was successful, and first drew my attention to him, was Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro. Along with Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani and Satish Shah, it was a laugh riot. Then came TV serial Karamchand Jasoos in 1985 or so, which was a big hit among kids in particular. He played the title role. We as an M.R. agency had done some research on the show in Mumbai. He dubbed for Ben Kingsley in Attenborough's Gandhi.

Recent films of histhat I have seen were Matroo ki Bijli ka Mandola and Finding Fanny. In both, the film has gone a few notches higher because of his acting. I don't remember many of his serious roles, like Ek Ruka Hua Faisla, and others, but in comic roles, his dialogue delivery, expression, and timing are superb.

Masala Movies- Bollywood

Yaadon ki Baaraat, Hum Kisise Kum Nahin, Khel Khel Mein, Anjaana, Waqt, Teesri Manzil, Johnny Mera Naam, Amar Akbar Anthony, Sholay, Mr. India, Brahmachari, Prince, Mahal (Dev Anand), Jewel Thief, Chalti Ka Naam Gadi, Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan, Kati Patang, Gambler, The Great Gambler, Trishul, Manoranjan, Manchali, Aradhana, Namak Halaal, Howrah Bridge, Mughal-e-Azam, Kati Patang, Mere Jeevan Sathi, Sagar, Sanam Teri Kasam, Caravan, Banphool, Jigri Dost, Khilona, Dushman, Roti, Rajkumar, Mera Saaya, Dhund, Gumraah, Humraaz, Bulundi, Tirangaa, Khiladi series (Akshay Kumar), No. 1 series (Govinda), Bomb Blast, Mohra, Satte pe Satta, Karz, Shaukeen, Rafoochakkar, Zanjeer, Andaz, Muqaddar ka Sikandar, Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Bombay to Goa, Gumnaam, Main Sunder Hoon, Doosra Aadmi, Dildaar, Judaai, Yehi Hai Zindagi, Swarg Nark, CID, Main Khiladi Tu Anadi, Damaad, Tarana, Hera Pheri, Don, Yakeen, Shikar, Des Pardes, Mera Naam Joker, Bobby, Sagar, Julie, Ek Duuje ke Liye, Jaani…


Creating nicknames is a creative pastime, and should be encouraged. We had a batchmate amongst our class of 1982-84 PGDM who single-handedly created many nicknames for our profs. Cadbury was the name chosen for one who resembled Richie Rich's butler.

Of course, we all had nicknames in the batch-some were created, some fell into place naturally. Here is a list of some interesting ones-

Henry Fayol for Srikanth Payal

Talaivar for Sriram

Sexy for Shakti Ghosal

Abbajan for Siraj Siddiqui

Bhau for Ramani

Dunhill for (The) Anil Srivastava

Gobish for Gautam Biswas

Pakad Baees (Catch 22 in Hindi) for Harish Arora

Dukhi for PK Gopalakrishnan

Han Jian for Anil Jain

Smoke Smoke for Swamimalai Srinivasan Ramesh

POM I for A. Ramamurthy (there were two other POMs in the batch)

Dancing Queen for A Ramesh Kumar

Tappu for Sajiv Menon

Chasha for Chandramouli Sarma

Mandrake for Himanshu Manglik

Shah of Kiraan for Kiran shah

Banana Tax for Kishore Kelekar

R2D2 for S. Sivaram

Paranjyoti for Narayan D…

What a Workplace Should Strive For

We all know what makes you successful, and what you as an employee should bring to the table (the job-you may have a table or not). This is about what the workplace should think about. And do, hopefully.

Dignity of labour is in my view, number one for a human in any job. He or she must be treated with dignity, and not as a robotic or mechanical cog in the wheel. The latter is beautifully demonstrated by Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times.

Show him a reasonable future in terms of what he can do to progress to a level above his current one. This need not be in terms of just salary, but a good mix of work where he gets to use his skills best.

Anything that fosters an element of camaraderie among his team-mates will create an atmosphere where he wants to come back every day.

Autonomy to the extent possible, is crucial for many. In my view, this is what brings people into teaching, particularly to autonomous institutions which also provide autonomy to its faculty and staff. An empowered empl…

SD Burman- Biography

He was born Comilla (now Bangla Desh). He was from Tripura's royal family, but the brothers fell out, and one moved to Comilla, till they later went back. Anyway, he studied in Agartala and Calcutta, and started with singing Bengali songs of various kinds. His influences were Baul and Bhatiyali songs. He made a name for himself, but for further growth, moved to Mumbai. He stayed with Harindranath Chattopadhyay initially, and struggled.

Success came slowly, and he once even considered moving back. Ashok Kumar managed to delay his departure- for ever, thank God. We may otherwise have missed out on his superb music from later films. My own favourites are all his Dev Anand films- from Paying Guest Check out this song.. from the film as an example.

Or Tere Ghar ke Samne Check this out too.. Dil ka bhanwar kare pukar.. what a melody.

Later songs from Gambler (Dil aaj shayar hai..), Tere Mere Sapne (…

Blog Stats- A Milestone

This blog has crossed 350,000 views yesterday. That's unbelievable, for me, and unexpected too.

Thank you, dear readers. You are awesome, and are what keeps me going.

This post is just to celebrate. Cheers, and hope you keep reading. A pic from an expedition to Ladakh, to signify scaling of peaks.


Surnames (feminists may prefer to call them family names, as the sur may be considered a slur) are varied, and this is an incisive (!) analysis of my favourite ones.

Smith, or its variant, Psmith, used by Wodehouse. These also occur in various colours, like Black, but to the best of my knowledge, not Purple.

Sharma, which could be the Indian equivalent, as it is found in every corner; sometimes the 'h' goes into hiding (out of sharm?) and it turns into a Sarma.

Goodenough- if he's good enough for Priety Zinta, who am I to complain?

Patil, also comes with variants, usually prefixes such as Kolte or Butte..even Dangat.

Suzuki, a family name that changed the way families in India pereceived private transport. Used to be driven by another surname, (Hamara) Bajaj. Wheels within wheels, did you say?

Bandookwala, with its cousins Jalnawala, Sodabottleopenerwala, Screwwala, ...

Karmarkar which is literally Do-die-do if you split it up.

Walker, which is the name assumed by The Pha…

Burman Jalsa- A Musical Show

Had the good fortune last evening, to attend a marathon four-hour concert dedicated to SD Burman. He was RD Burman's father, who left the royal family of Tripura, because he was crazy about music. He established himself as a singer in Bengali, but we non-Bengalis know him because of his film songs in Hindi. And what a range of songs! From folksy to the sensual (Roop tera mastana, for instance), he has it all. Was also the mentor for Kishore Kumar Khandwewala, that great singer who gave us great delight with his superbly crazy singing.

The show in Pune brought forth the brilliance of his compositions, from films such as Jaal, Baazi, Kala Pani, Guide, Prem Pujari, Jewel Thief, Teen Deviyan, Lajwanti, Sujata, Pyaasa, Kagaz ke Phool, Sharmilee, Aradhana to name a few. The organisers also released a book on SD Burman in a Marathi translation.

My favourites from the show were Ga mere man ga, Paanch rupiah barah aana, Dil ka bhanwar kare pukar, Khwab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat, Are yaar mer…

Munnabhai, MBA

Story: Munnabhai, after his usual stunts, gets admission into IIMB, circa 1982. During his stay, his friend and confidante Gurumurthy is always by his side. Munna and Guru are sitting at Uncle’s, the campus adda, sipping chai and feasting on bondas. Read on (in Hindi)....
Munnabhai: Apun ka to jaan nikal gaya baap.
Gurmurthy:  Kyon, kya hua, Munnabhai?
Munna: Are who saala JD kya tagda sawaal poocha apne quiz me. Kuch samajh mein nahin aa raha tha kya likhneka. Differentiate between handling the product and fondling the product? Hudh ho gayi yaar!
Guru: Phir... tumne kya likha?
Munna: Are main kya khaak likhta? Woh sala Jockey apne paas baitha thaa na, uska answer ‘toap’ diya saala.
Guru: Lekin usko to zero mila tha pichle quiz me…VK se ‘topne’ ka thaa na? Kamse kam pass to ho jaate?
Munna: Are chhod yaar, apne ko Harvard thode hi jaana hai, bus ek chhote se multinational company mein Supply Chain Management ka dhanda kar lenge yaar.
Guru: Kya matlab?
Munna: Wohi purana dhanda- ghaas bechne ka…

Review of the Movie Inquilab- Amitabh, Sridevi

This movie, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Sridevi, and Shakti Kapoor, was released during 1983. Reviewed for the IIMB wall-mag by yours truly. Recycled for the good of society-and MBAs. INQUILAB: The attaché is missing Refreshing…..when you wake up! –Ambade Time-pauss- Dazy, Sardie, ROI in unison. Wished I was in Colombo- Tharan (from Sri Lanka) Sridevi had such a small role- unfair! – IIM Junta
The film is all about an attaché which is lost- a lost attaché- Khoya hua attaché. What happens when the attaché is lost? Its parents, M/s. VIP and Aristocrat, launch a worldwide search. And guess where they locate it? Bees saal baad…Delhi’s Palam airport. The attaché is found masquerading with a beard. Not only that, it has cleverly switched its name. The alias is Koya Koya attaché (note the Oh so subtle change of spelling and the duplication of the word K(h)oya). The distraught parents are about to pounce on their wayward ‘attache’ when it suddenly disappears, and is later found murdered, after swi…

The Meaning of Life

There is a great joke I heard on American T.V. that for me epitomizes the answer to this question. A guy from America was searching for the meaning of life (like all of us). He had heard of many great gurus in different countries, met many, but was unsatisfied. Then, someone mentioned a recluse who lived in the Himalayas, and said he would not disappoint him. Finding him after many months of trying, this American went up to the meditating man in some corner of the mountains. He waited until the guru opened his eyes. Explaining his quest, what pains he had to take, and the good things he had heard about the guru, the man asked him the question he had been longing to get an answer for. “What is life?”The guru replied instantly, “It is a fountain with water flowing out of it,” and fell silent.
After waiting for more, the American asked him,“That’s it? Is that why I came across the seven seas to you? This cannot be the answer to my question…blah, blah..”  “You have to give me the real answer…

Yes, My Accent is Real- Book Review

You know Raj Koothrappalli. You don't? Of course you do, the Indian astrophysicist from Big Bang Theory, theTV show. Well, this is a book written by him. His real name is Kunal Nayyar, and he is from Delhi.

This book is worth a read, for many reasons.

He tells you how to woo girls, and sometimes succeed. He also tells you how to take rejection in auditions-not always sportingly!He gives you many life lessons- such as, If it happens, good. If it doesn't, VERY GOOD.He is funny.He reiterates the value of chasing a dream, AND hard work to achieve it.He recognises dignity of labour. He collected garbage, and washed toilets for a living. Of course, somewhat clean toilets, in the U.S.He loves his parents, and even listens to their advice at times.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Disclaimer: I don't know …

The Checklist Manifesto- Book Review

Atul Gawande is a surgeon in the US and has written a few books too. This one talks about a simple way to improve processes. That is through a simple checklist.

The average air passenger may be familiar with the fact that we have a survival checklist or two in case of disasters- how to open the emergency door and what to do-or not. There is also a similar one that pilots use to make sure a few things are done in sequence before taking off. They have several others for different kinds of emergencies.

How the humble checklist can reduce errors in surgery-the patient's life may depend on it-is what the book is about, essentially. But along the way, it provides other examples of its use, potentially successfully-in investing, for instance.

Intriguingly, resistance to using one is universal, and among surgeons, investment analysts, and others. The hero who can single-handedly win against all odds, and who knows everything (without checklists)- is an idea that is strongly ingrained in …

Changing Roles

The roles, they are changing.

Kanhaiyya used to dance with the Gopis. Now, he shows bhai-chara with Laloo.

The farmers used to cultivate land. Now they don't know whom to cultivate, with all the politicians vying for their attention.

The bankers used to be conservative. Now you can't bank on it.

Kejriwal specialised in dharna. Even he now finds it Odd.

Trump built a fortune with his casinos. Now he plans to gamble the future of a country away.

Babas were once spiritual; now they are commercial.

Mallya was the King of Good Times. Now he's targeted by the Times.

Being backward was once infra dig. Now it's aspirational.

There were once Reality Shows. Now it's Virtual Reality.

The Role of Empathy

I first learned of empathy in my MBA Psychology/OB class. It is in simple terms, an ability to see things from another's perspective, not your own. It is quite a powerful concept. In any customer-facing situation, it is important. Not making him wait, or making his wait painless, removing drudgery from the tasks he has to perform, making him feel important (he pays the bill, remember?), are all a part of it. But in medicine, it's a life-saver, even if not literally.

The in-patient system at most Indian hospitals is such that the doctor rarely sees his patient, except in the Operation Theatre. His visits are unpredictable, and few. Mostly, the duty doctors and nurses and staff are the people who take care of the patient. Therefore, this front-line staff needs to have empathy, and can make a difference if they do.

A lot of parents need it too, judging by the Kota (coaching class) enrollments and suicides. Having unrealistic expectations from your kid can kill him- no kidding! J…

Einstein and the Case Study Method

What's common between Einstein's theory of relativity and the case study method? Just that there is no single best way. Or, that it's all relative.

Why the business school has caught on (or the MBA, if you prefer) is that it is different from the school and college (technical college, anyway) that keeps telling you there is one solution to a given problem.

In the MBA, we were taught (and we try and teach) that the best is contextual, at best. There is a different best based on who you are, what you want to achieve, and the resources you are willing to expend trying to achieve. Could be money, time, effort, hard grind etc..

The case method of learning/teaching exemplifies this more than anything else. Not the best method of learning, maybe, but a pretty good one, given the right usage, in the right hands, and the right students.

Similarly, we waste our time achieving the best as defined by someone else in life. A better way would be to find out what makes you happy, figure…