Showing posts from December, 2016

Cooing in Coonoor

An old joke about cooing in Coonoor and wooing in (W)Ooty is what triggered the title. But our purpose this time was not one of the above. It was simply chilling. There were five of us, classmates from MBA days at Bangalore, who formed the chillar party, or the chilling brigade. Starting out in Bangalore, we headed out to Ooty, enroute to Coonoor, which was to be our abode. Discovering that the Ooty Gymkhana Golf Club was on the way, three of us decided to play there. We had a great time, and proceeded to Coonoor in the evening. Temperatures were actually quite pleasant, contrary to what we thought they would be.

Walks, talks, card games, and eating out at various places is what we indulged ourselves in, with a bit of Single Malt to keep us company. We also managed to get a sketch of ours done by an artist in one of the restaurants we had gone to (we HAD formally learnt management, after all).

On day 2, we played golf at the beautiful Wellington Golf Club near Coonoor. As we wound ou…

Leaving Your Stamp on the Sands of Time

As the Dust Settles

I am writing this as an impartial observer, without any political leaning of any kind. As the dust settles on the "demonetisation" and some realities seem to sink in, it may be a good time to look at the pluses and minuses so far- this may change due to subsequent actions of various stakeholders.

The shock value was delivered impeccably- an achievement in itself.

The initial reactions indicated that broadly, people supported the decision, assuming all would be back to normal in a few weeks.

It is not clear why the government chose to change the size of the notes, requiring recalibration of all ATMs. This delayed the functioning of ATMs at full capacity.

The cash supply has not yet returned to normal, at least not in the ATMs. This is from personal experience in at least three cities that I travelled to in the past week.

Possibility of corruption in RBI, banks and so on seems to have been overlooked. This has siphoned off a lot of money that could have reached the common man…

Digital Marketing Course- First Edition

I just finished teaching the digital marketing course- its first edition.

It is an exciting new area to teach in, and required a few months of preparation. Fortunately, I was able to write a couple of original case studies, and used them in the course. Chats with former students who work in the area also helped. Compared to traditional media (I used to teach the advertising course earlier, and also worked in an ad agency many years ago), the digital media are very dynamic and may change in character or opportunities offered, every two or three years.

Anyway, since it is a new area, I also tested some unique assessment methods. One of them was to assign students to write blogs on the subject of digital marketing, update the content regularly, and measure the readership after trying their best to promote the blogs through email or social media. The result was gratifying.

More innovations will follow in edition 2 next year. Keeps everyone on their toes. Me too.

T Time

The importance of T cannot be underestimated in life.

It wakes up so many people daily and makes them functional human beings, somewhat tolerable to the rest of humani-tea.

You exclaim when something is going exactly right, that "it fits to a T."

Golf actually uses the tee in two ways. Starting off is called a Tee-off, and the wooden/plastic ball-holder on which you put the ball before swinging at it is also called a tee.

What I do for a living begins with a t- teaching!

The easiest gift to give someone is a t- shirt.

When someone is feeling down, you give them TLC- tender loving care.

We live on Oxygen. And who gives us that in exchange for carbon dioxide? A Tree, of course.

Dear Zindagi- Film Review

It's a film worth watching for its unusual subject- the mental trauma of its lead character and its treatment. There aren't too many films about it, and if there are, usually are handled (treated?) immaturely by the directors. This one is a more measured, and leisurely paced look at it.

Alia Bhatt does justice to her role as a modern confused youngster unable to free herself from her past memories, until her therapist helps to re-interpret them and helps her grow up and shed the burden.

The only complaint I have is that the scenes with Alia are sometimes repetitive, and could have been cut down to bring the film down by about 15 minutes in length. The ending is a bit too pat, with all her exes present to applaud. It reminded me of Mera Naam Joker, where all the people (Xs, Ys and Zs) in Raj Kapoor's life are present together while he performs in the last act of the circus.

Shah Rukh does a lot better at this (playing his age), than in teenage lover roles (which he did wel…

Book Review- TED Talks

This is a book about what TED talks are, and How to be a TED talker if you want to be one- straight from the horse's mouth. Chris Anderson runs the TED franchise now, after the original founder.

There are a lot of pointers on how everyone has a unique story to tell, and is a possible TED speaker. But also on how to prepare for a talk, within the 18 minute limit.

Many Dos and some Don'ts are a part of this, but what makes it unique and useful are the examples from various TED talks, on subjects ranging from laughter to the nature of DNA and their impact on various things that matter. Or, How More Choice Makes us Unhappier! The talk must have a structure that is easy for the audience to follow, but you can also have suspense, humour, visuals or dreams about a better future to enthuse them. Being yourself, and connecting with the audience as a human are the most important. Most people in any audience want you to do well, and will respond, unless you are perceived as arrogant, or…

Kahani 2- Film Review

I had Vidya Balan on my top ten list of heroines. She vindicates my choice, with yet another stellar performance. The story is a bit more linear than in the first, but manages to keep you glued, rather than bored.

The ending is a bit melodramatic, but I was happy just to see this genre of suspense/drama reappear on Hindi screen. It does not have many takers, and Sujoy Ghosh must be a rare director-to be complimented for it. And doing it well too. Reminded me of old films like 36 Ghante, Faraar and Ittefaq.

The other actors who play the daughter, the wife of Arjun Rampal, his boss, and the corrupt policewoman, are also good. Arjun and Jugal Hansraj play their parts well. The cinematography is good and the editing tight. The pace is good, and keeps you engrossed because there are hardly any unnecessary diversions.

I would say, go watch it if you are either into suspenseful dramas or Vidya Balan.

Prof Ananth

I keep listening to many people as a part of my job. I think public speaking in our country needs to be taught on a war footing, because many speakers manage to effortlessly put me to sleep. One exception was this week. Prof. Ananth, former director, IIT Madras. I heard him speak at an event TCS conducted called Sangam, an academia-industry interface. He was superb. He spoke about education- higher education- and its purpose. My IIMB classmate Sandhya who was head of the Research Park near IIT also figured in his talk, but that's incidental.

Here are a few gems from his talk.

On the futility of excessive exams

C. Rajagopalachari once visited us (he narrated), and asked during his talk, "I believe you have exams EVERY YEAR nowadays?,"  looking surprised at it.

On Repetition

The speaker visited the US and heard a pastor giving his sermon. He asked the pastor at the end, "Why did you repeat the same thing seven times?" The pastor told him, "Because, at any g…

What I enjoyed most this year..

So far this year, I enjoyed-

random chats with fb friends.

teaching the Digital Marketing course.

planned and unplanned meetings with alums of earlier batches of various B schools I taught in- some took the trouble to visit me in Indore too.

family time at Hyderabad, Pune.

conversations around the dining table, faculty lounge, in restaurants or at home.

running quizzes on random subjects on facebook, reading the answers.

watching some offbeat films... and a few formulaic ones.

reading a few good books- made my debut with Harry Potter.

travel to Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand for various conferences or work.

taking pics, one or two selfies included. :)