Budgetary Musings

Why do we need a budget? To decide if the money is coming or going, of course.

If there is a lot of money coming in, it's a good thing, and it's called a surplus budget. Problem is, this happens only in Utopia (in case you didn't know, this does not actually exist). In the real world, there's more money going out than coming in, and that's not a good thing, generally. Unless you are the U.S.A.

So if there is more money going out than coming in, what do you do?

You spend less, theoretically. Practically, have you ever seen anyone do this? No, it's not macho at all. So, what else can you do? If you are the government, you can increase taxes. If all goods are already taxed enough, you introduce a service tax. If you run out of ideas, you can combine everything and call it a Goods and Services Tax.

But seriously, to quickly get to a surplus, we only need to introduce a spitting tax, on anyone who spits in a public place. Then you can laugh all the way to the bank.. Banks will also smile (if not laugh) and probably recover from their NPAs, or whatever they call them these days (stressed assets is a euphemism often heard).

Remembering Nazia Hassan

Nazia Hassan was a great pop singer of the eighties. She sang a number of Hindi songs for film and non-film albums, and all of them were at the top of the charts. She forced Binaca Geet Mala to bring in non-film music in its countdown, if I remember correctly-such was her popularity. Her songs featured in some Hindi films like Qurbani (Aap jaisa koi meri zindagi mein aaye to baat ban jaaye- there was a joke about this song, which used the words baap ban jaaye instead of baat ban jaaye) and Star (Kumar Gaurav starrer) too.

Many of her songs were composed by Biddu, who was an NRI (non-resident Indian) based in London.

Some of the well-known songs were Disco Deewane, Aao na pyar karein, and Boom Boom....you can enjoy some of them at this link.


Program for Trent Executives

We are doing an extremely interesting training program. It is an exciting blend of marketing, operations and finance for store managers and merchandisers/buyers of Tata Trent which is into fashion retailing, along with a few more product categories in their department stores.

Organised retail in India has had a chequered growth compared to its global counterparts, because of consfusion over its impact on small conventional stores selling similar goods. Government policy has also further muddled the issue, and FDI in multi-brand retail is still frowned upon.

The situation is made even more interesting by the disruptive e-commerce players in India, such as Flipkart, Amazon and Jabong, which are making losses but increasing sales rapidly.

An enthusisatic group of participants and a lot of senior management visiting to keep everyone on their toes is another unique feature of this program. To more such programs at IIM Indore....

Harper Lee and Umberto Eco

I have read only one book of Harper Lee's and a couple of Umberto Eco's. But what  happened this week is a double tragedy. Both died within a couple of days of each other.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic. It portrays a story set during apartheid in America, told through the eyes of a kid whose father is a lawyer. He (the lawyer) represents a black (coloured or negro were terms used earlier) man accused falsely of a crime. Though I don't remember the novel clearly, it made a huge impact at the time I read it. I also remember watching the film many years ago. It is timeless, because issues of racism never really go away.

Umberto Eco is an author I discovered only about five years ago. He wrote a few novels, one of which called The Name of the Rose, I have read. This is a murder mystery set in an old abbey in olden times. It is a bit long-winded, but gripping, and the atmosphere is built up well. I appreciated the book more than the movie starring Sean Connery. 

Eco also wrote some intellectual essays that were about politics, sports, the human life and condition. I found them very stimulating, and will probably read more of him, because I agreed with a lot of his thoughts.

Shut Down Coffee Day

There is a call to shut down a few things, of late. I am joining the bandwagon (what's a bandwagon, by the way?)

Shut down offices, because they make you work, and I don't like to work.

Shut down Coffee Day, because it's serving more froth than coffee. Similarly, shut down McD's in the U.S., because they give you ice in the garb of Coke in those deceptively large "regular" glasses.

Shut down temples and churches, because their bells are too loud.

Shut down cinema halls, because they show stuff that may make people creative and make them question the status quo.

Shut down hospitals, because they kill a few patients now and then.

Shut down Art Galleries, because I don't nderstand what these guys paint..and the sculpture studios, because they make people in these weird shapes..

I am somewhat exhausted, but you can't shut ME down..

Shailendra Singh and Kanchan

Rishi Kapoor had a resounding start to his career in Bobby. It was a superhit, and the voice that launched his singing in this film was Shailendra Singh. The songs like Mujhe kuch kehna hai, Main shaayar to nahin, and Hum tum ek kamre mmein band hon, topped the charts for many weeks.

This continued with a few more films, such as Khel Khel Mein in the song Humne tumko dekha and later in a few more like Rafoo Chakker. In Rafoo Chakker, there was also a female singer that was new to Hindi films-Kanchan. Though she sang only in films with Kalyanji Anandji's music, she was very good in some of them, like "Tumko mere dil ne pukara hai bade naaz se"from Rafoo Chakker, and "Laila main laila" from Qurbani. Also, Kya khoob lagti ho from Dharmatma, a duet with Mukesh.

Sharda was another singer who sang only in a few films, but two or three of her songs were very popular. "Titli udi, ud jo chali," for instance. And "Chale jaana zara thehro," from Around The World, with Mukesh. She had a unique voice.

Songs for All Occasions

I almost never tire of listening to some of these melodies from old Hindi films.

Machalti hui hawa mein chham chham hamare sung sung chale Ganga ki lehrein.

Ajnabi tum jaane pehchaane se lagte ho...

Tu laali hai savere wali gagan rang de tu mere man ka..

Yeh duniyawale poochhenge , mulaqat hui, kya baat hui, yeh baat kisise na kehna..

Lakhon hain yahan dilwale, aur pyar nahin milta, aankhon mein kisi ki wafa ka ikraar nahin milta..

Tumse badhkar duniya mein na dekha koi aur, zubaan par aaj dil ki baat aa gayi..

Jab chhaye, mera jadoo, koi bach na paaye

Phoolon ke rang se, dil ki kalam se..

Are yaar meri, tum bhi ho ghazab...

Of course, this is only a short list. There are lots more.

Aircraft Maintenance Jokes

I hope these are jokes, or else I will be scared to fly from here onwards..These are logs of complaints by pilots and responses by maintenance crews.

Complaint- Something loose in the cockpit.
Response- Something tightened in cockpit.

C- Suspected crack in windshield.
R- Suspect you are right.

C- Mouse in cockpit.
R- Cat installed.

C- DME volume unbelievably loud.
R- Volume set to more believable level.

C- IFF inoperative.
R- IFF is always inoperative in Off Mode.

Book Worm in Bangalore and a Farewell Here

I did two things in Bangalore that I am proud of, apart from work. (Work as in writing a case study about a company started by a former student-turned entrepreneur. Abhinav runs a company called Ten Motion Arts in Bangalore.)

1. I rode the metro, though it's only a toy train between three or four stations right now.

2. Went to a book store-now my favourite, off MG Road, called Book Worm. This has a delightful collection of old books. I got a Dave Barry and a few humour and wit books so I can sound witty for a while- here and there. I will of course treat all you readers to samples of this wit as we go along, in the days to come.

Back home in Indore, my long-time academic assistant Saumya is moving on. So we went out for a farewell lunch. She has been invaluable in helping manage the technical aspects of preparation -downloads and stuff- and grading of exams, and will be missed. Well, I moved so many times, so I don't reallly blame anyone for moving on. I think it helps you grow.
                                        Pic with Saumya (centre) and Shweta, my colleague.

Talking to School Children at Nanded

Had a unique opportunity to talk to school kids at a Nanded school. It was scary too, because I was new to this experience. The talk was on...

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