Vinod Khanna is No More

I remember (and will continue to remember) Vinod Khanna for many things.

His good looks and easy, effortless acting.

He played bad guys and good guys and grey ones with equal aplomb.

His movies were usually watchable, and sometimes excellent. Mere Apne, Achanak, Amar Akbar Anthony, Inkaar, Kudrat are some that I can remember readily. Lahu ke Do Rang too.

His Imtihan (which had the inspirational song Ruk Jaana nahin tu kahin haar ke) was a remake of To Sir With Love, a film about the beautiful teacher-student relationship, and how a single teacher can transform the attitude of students. Later, a Robin Williams film called Dead Poets' Society would do a nice film on a similar theme (that's also my favourite).

He is also remembered for going away to live with Osho in his Oregon ranch when he was a successful actor. His role in Qurbani with Feroz Khan was also quite memorable.

Local Flavours

Every place in India has its local delights- food being a major one.

And so it is that we have a Chitale's bakarwadi in Pune, a biryani or Double (bread, also called double roti) ka meetha in Hyderabad, and a Tunde kabab in Lucknow (hopefully it's still around).

Other delights I can remember are Tirunelveli halwa, some variation of which was also available at Calicut (and a shop called Bombay Halwa in Hyderabad sold something similar too-colourful, gooey, semi-solid stuff).

Of course, Gujarat has dhoklas, and theplas, and khakras. Gujaratis are foodies, though many are vegetarian, and have a variety of snacks. Kachoris are famous eats in many parts of North India, including Indore which is my current abode.

Aamras and puri and Puranpoli are two Maharastrian ideas, whereas the Avakai mango pickle is an Andhra speciality (I am at least partly an Andhravadu, having grown up there, and have a hot tooth, the opposite of a sweet one. Mirchi bajji is therefore a favourite).

Kolkata has many culinary ideas that involve fish, but its street food, particularly rolls, are quite distinct. Goa has its sausages, and also a dish spelt Xacutti which no one knows (at least I don't) know how to pronounce. Vindaloo with some meat (usually Pork) is also quintessentially Goan.

Belagaum has its kunda, a sweet, and Maddur has a vada named after it called Maddur vada. Pune's Kayani Bakery has a well-known Shrewsbury biscuit, and Karachi bakery in Hyderabad has its fruit biscuit that are now "world-famous" at least in India.


Memories of the US

Memories are now hazy, since I returned from the US in 1991 and have not visited since. But I do remember many places that we went to for sight-seeing. There was this plane somewhere in Charleston that we saw. Another large plane was called The Spruce Goose exhibited in a huge hangar in Los Angeles I remember seeing.

There is of course the famous Newsweek Cover I got made in an amusement park that I still have in my office. Our first New York visit was also awe-inspiring, and we did all the touristy things. The twin towers were still intact, and here is proof.
Will continue this story sometime...

Text Book Nostalgia

I am suddenly nostalgic about text books. Not certain I read all of them, though.

Resnick and Halliday was a Physics text.

BL Theraja wrote several books that became our Bibles for Electrical Engineering.

Tuli's book on Chemistry I still remember the title of.

Pindyck and Rubenfeld was one for Macroeconomics, and Paul Samuelson, for Microeconomics.

Don't remember the book for Advertising, only the fancy ads shown by guest faculty at IIMB.

There was also a thick Operations Research book, that terrified me by its sheer size.

But I was impressed by some non-text books about various management disciplines. Ogilvy on Advertising, Positioning, Maverick, The Goal, for instance.

I did not exactly like them, but some books that I referred to in Marketing Research included those by Green and Tull, Luck and Rubin, and Churchill. They inspired me to write my own.






Spices Make Us

We are Indians, and our country is spice country. They make us what we are. Here are a few common ones.

Ginger-from tea to a curry, it spices everything up. Cough cure too, in the right form.

Garlic adds a different kind of taste to cooking. Pickles get extra zest from it.

Cinnamon (dalchini) is a great-smelling additive to many a dish. Also tea. Saw a plant/tree from whose bark we get this.

Elaichi (cardamom)-Mom used this in every non-veg curry.

Clove- Promise used this in a toothpaste ad- and rightly so. It's grandma's cure for a toothache.

Pepper- History is peppered with wars and colonisation, over this spice. Vasco Da Gama went around in (large) circles, and found it in Kerala.

Cumin and coriander seeds (dhania) are like a staple in any curried concoction. Green coriander and Pudina (mint) also add spice to anything they get into.


Nostaljio

Coined a new word to commemorate the launch of Jio, and also to remind myself that we live and remember. Some pics from my batchmates of IIM Bangalore. First, all (almost) the lovely young ladies of my batch. Second, a few young men preparing for placement Third, my flatmates at Vasant Vihar, Delhi in 1984.


 And this was the launch of WINDOWS at IIMB.

Coimbatour

 Prof Poongodi at KCT, with guess which book? My Marketing Research book that she uses. Another pic with KCT faculty in front of their institute.
I had an occasion to go to Coimbatore on invitation recently. A bustling city, with a lot of entrepreneurs in and around. Tirupur is not too far away. Textiles are a speciality. Lots of educational institutes too. One such is KCT, where I spent some time with students and faculty. Founded by a Gandhian, the institute has an autonomous MBA program, and a couple of technical programs.

Met my friend Dhanapal, who runs a couple of schools in the town. We worked for a few years at Kirloskar Institute in the past, and have remained in touch. Golf is a common interest, and we have gone to Kodaikanal and Munnar to play too-unfortunately this time there wasn't time.

Coimbatore is also a gateway to Ooty and Coonoor, where I had been recently on a vacation trip, and to play Golf. I first went to Ooty on a KSTDC tour bus in the 70s, and remember eating my first strawberry there.

Karnataka always had a tour to Mysore and Ooty, from as far back as I remember, and they were good ones too. Unfortunately, that led to a neglect of many other destinations in the state-some of which I got to see during my stay at Harihar. Jog Falls is one such, Hampi being the other. And Belur-Halebid, which have some of the most exquisite carvings I have seen. 

Begum Jaan -Film Review

Disclaimer-I am rather fond of Vidya Balan, so this could be a tad biased.

There are a lot of good things in the film, like its attempts to give each character in Begum Jaan's establishment a unique identity and character. That is not easy to do, considering it is an establishment of ill-repute, and the ladies (and  a couple of gents) don't get to go out of the house much. But we do sympathise or empathise with most of the characters.

The story-telling sessions by the old lady in the house are used brilliantly to weave in tales of heroism by Indian women in the face of extreme adversity- Padmavati, Rani Laxmibai and so on. There is also comic relief in the form of the inspector and the man of the house imitating various inmates.

The fiery character of Begum Jaan is well played by Vidya Balan. The two other main characters of Rajat Kapoor and Ashish Vidyarthi are OK, a bit predictable given the story. The biggest contribution of the film though is its indictment of humanity for its merciless, callous treatment of fellow humans, in this case brought about by colonisers and their decision to partition India. But what about the other people who pushed for it or were a party to it?

Cinematically, not a great film to watch, but it's got its good points-Vidya and the ladies being one of them. Naseeruddin Shah is so-so in his guest appearance.

Rajesh Khanna- A Phenomenon

Celebrity worship comes easy to us- Sport and Films being obvious candidates. So here goes, an ode to one of Bollywood's most popular "superstars".

Rajesh Khanna was not immediately successful, and had a couple of so-so films before he hit the big time with Shakti Samanta's Aradhana. Kishore Kumar and Rafi, along with SD Burman's tunes, lifted this film into the mega-hit-sphere, and Sharmila Tagore and Farida Jalal also played their roles. The songs are a hit even today, close to 50 years after they were composed- Gunguna rahe hain bhaware, Mere sapnon ki rani, Roop tera mastana, Kora kagaz tha yeh man mera, ...all classics. The debonair RK sang Baagon mein bahar hai with Farida Jalal in his second avatar in the film too.

Then followed a string of films in which he excelled, including Bawarchi, Amar Prem, Dushman, Hathi Mere Sathi, Aap ki Kasam, Mere Jeevan Sathi, Safar, Souten, Namak Haraam, and my favourite, Anand. Many were memorable, and most had great music. Kishore Kumar had a second meteoric (singing) innings in parallel with Rajesh Khanna's rise (except Anand, where Manna Dey and Mukesh sang for him).

Until Amitabh and the angry young man persona took over, RK represented the Age of Romance.

4,00,000 and Going

Some stats from my blog to be proud of-



Pageviews last month
10,411


Pageviews Alltime 400, 035

Readers of course, are the key. I did not expect so many of you, really. I am truly madhosh. To celebrate, I am reproducing below an early blog post from 2008 titled Novelty.

What we need to keep us going is something new. According to guys like Osho, everything is evolving all the time, and therefore when you see it tomorrow it is different from what it was yesterday. This applies to everything- from a leaf on a tree to your wife, or for that matter, yourself (the mirror will vouch for that!). But everyone is not Osho. So we make valiant attempts to find variety in our lives. At least I do, sometimes with good results, sometimes with terrible ones. For example, I have tried almost all snacks available at airport counters, and they are equally bad! Ditto for food served inside the aircraft. Maybe when it is airborne, an idli has its way of getting "airy", and therefore tastes like tissue paper soaked in something. I have also tried flying all the domestic airlines now, and they all come across as callous. Just one example. If you know that the plane takes 2 hours, why put it as an hour and a half on the schedule? It fools novices into thinking they may get somewhere on time, but others by now know that they will get to know the sky at 30,000 feet a lot better while circling over the packed airports. So much for novelty. Now what is it that I need to try next? Maybe, Lalu's Garib Rath.



The Hundred Year Old Man...Book Review





Image result for the hundred year old man         

This is such an intriguing title that I had to buy the book, and read it. It's a bit long (about 400 pages), but it's a treat of many types. If you ike gentle humour, it's there. If you like devastating take-offs on politics, politicians, or isms, they are also there.

If you just like a good story with flashbacks in between, and surprises galore, you'll find these. Imaginatively written, I would put it next to James Bond in the thrill of anticipation- you get drawn in to his story, which is incredible, witty, full of twists and turns, and generally, rollicking fun with all the historical figures that one can think of. The adjectives used for some of thm (that clown) will make the people concerned roll in their graves, and you on the floor. If you want to clean up the floor, this is your chance.

Gone Mad-the Brand

 There is this brand called Gone Mad. It has a cream wafer stick wrapped in a Rs. 5 singles pack (different flavours) and sold in a carton (below). Made by Garuda Foods, an Indonesian-Indian joint venture, they have distribution in a few Southern states and Maharashtra.
Wondering if anyone has eaten it, because I am involved in writing a case study on the brand launch. If you can, please do share your thoughts about it.

Bangalored

It is always a pleasure to be in Bangalore. This time it was work that brought me here, and a highlight was discovering some places and even better, rediscovering people I had not met in some time.

I spent some time in the MR (Market Research) industry after my MBA, and one of my friends from those days is Muthukumar, who is still in the industry, while I veered off into academics. Our friendship grew over the years, and we independently started on Golf too. It was great meeting him and his family after a while.Here we are, at the KGA (Karnataka Golf Ass.) one evening.
Again, meeting old students is a given, as I try and catch up with my FB friends in person. This time I got lucky, and met three former students from different institutes-one at IBM, another into her own Exec Search frm, and the third at SAP. Also met my former assistant at Indore, Saumya, who works for Hansa research at Bangalore. And got to catch up with Aniruddh, an old friend who works for NetApp as a lawyer. Wonderful time spent with all.

The beer pubs are a great attraction, and I went to a couple of microbreweries that make exotic beer varieties.  Missed out on a few others (pubs and students), but there's always a next time

Of retreads and reincarnation

Post-this post, I might retire. Because I am like the post office-outdated. No, that does not mean I don't get dates. Fortunately, there are still friends who humour me for an evening at a pub or a restaurant.

What I mean is, I am feeling a bit tired. Now, a tyre can be re-treaded, but can a tired soul be? Only if it comes back in a full body in a re-incarnation, I suppose. On similar lines, can a retard be re-treaded?

That brings me to an important question. Does a tyre ever retire? Or does it continue to tread fearlessly where no tyre has gone before it?

Other important questions that I face are-

Does a homily cause the end of bonhomie?

Does a ghost-writer live on after his death?

Is playing caste politics a castly mistake, in the wake of recent election results?

Can you call a guy who bombs Syria an ASS-yrian?

Can a bird use a Nom-de-plume?


Pageviews Gone Mad

This pic is of my Blog's pageviews. Date April 4, 2017.
Pageviews today

4,376
Pageviews yesterday
354
Pageviews last month
10,040
Pageviews all time history
398,407


Hope it's true, but aware it may not be. Just a bot gone mad, and measuring it wrong, maybe. The details of countries from where the viewers came are even more astounding-

Country

Pageviews
United States
964
France
908
India
892
Netherlands
469
Romania
369
Germany
359
Czechia
97
Norway
89
Sweden
89
Switzerland
86


Highways and Laws

The Supreme Court has stopped liquor vends, bars, etc. along highways, both National and State.

In response, some states have apparently redignated their highways as low-ways- no, not exactly that, but something on those lines.

It would be interesting to see if the court wins this battle of wits, but some possibilities come to mind.

The bars can be converted into dance bars, as they are not banned yet. Some exercise would be good for the pot-bellied drivers who can also take care of their adrenalin rush during the drive, and go out to drive calmly after a zoomba session.

You can play Hide and Seek along the Hi ways, maybe with a treasure-hunt style game, and hi-ly prized prized.

Hi-tea zones can also be substituted for the erstwhile bars, re-creating the oh-so-English tradition in our low-brow hinterland, ths getting back at our colonisers. What say?

My way or the highway, did you say? That's so old-fasioned, dude.

Naam Shabana- Film Review

This could have been titled Baby se Pehle, as it is a prequel to Baby which starred Akshay. This one stars Taapsee Pannu, who is worming her way into my heart with her performances in Chashme Baddoor, Pink and now, Naam Shabana.

She is quite credible as a secret agent, but also credible as a young lady with a mind of her own. She faces tragedy with guts, and comes out on top. That message itself would be enough to go make you watch this film. But the film also works as an action film (a la Bond), with good editing to keep you guessing till almost the end, as to what will happen next. The other actors-Akshay, Danny, Anupam Kher are useful to keep you interested. Manoj Bajpayee is very good, and so is the lady who plays Shabana's mom. The villain is Prithviraj, I think from Mallu films. The nondescript "cable guy" is hilarious, when he says "People love free offers."

I enjoyed the film. Get some popcorn, and get going. The combo would be worthwhile.

Uniquely Indian Things

Band baaja baaraat..nothing like it anywhere in the world..Ghodi pe hoke sawaar and all that! Chain-snatching. Nowhere in the world do we...

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