Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

..But not in the way you think. I am referring here to the 500 metres from the 'high'way kind of fondness. Yet, I think we can come up with several ideas to extend this one, and improve humanity-of course, within distance limits.

We can ask people-

not to spit 29 metres from a wall, thus saving paint worth crores (paint companies may not like this, but..)

not to hug your boyfriend/girlfriend within 455 metres from either your house or theirs.

not to wear bikinis within 20 metres of a beach or a pool. You can sunbathe, but not swim in them.

not to smoke within 5 metres of anyone, to prevent them from going up in smoke. Also on Sundays. Smoky Sundays are intolerable.

Not to turn Republic TV channel on within 300 yards of any resident of our republic- health hazard!

Not to read a Dave Barry or PG Wodehouse within 5 metres of people without a sense of humour.

....you get the idea. Now go 10 metres away and frame your own rules!

Strictly Speaking

I am not strict, but I like the expression, though I am not sure what it means. Anyway, having got that out of the way, I will try and make some observations. As you can see, I am in the mood...

Strictly speaking, none of us is really busy. Just lazy, and trying to avoid things/people we don't like.

There is nothing at the end of the rainbow. But it's nice to imagine that there is.

We are not the most intelligent species, if you count the number of years we work- or the fact that we invented work.

News is really not news, most of the time.

A celebrity minus the hype is just you, or the guy/gal next door trying to fit in with the expectations of more people than you and I are.

Film-makers run out of ideas pretty quickly. That explains sequels.

Ok, I don't want the Earth to shatter just now, so I will stop here..for now.

Colleagues From Past Workplaces

I am concentrating on the ones I am still in touch with, mostly.

Leslie Price was a colleague at Lander, South Carolina, and we got along like a house on fire. We are now older, hopefully wiser, and parents of beautiful children, and still communicate on Fb.

Muthukumar, who I worked with at the market research firm called MBA, and shared an abode called Karl Guest House in Andheri with. We still meet and bond over a beer or a whisky. Sometimes Golf.

Avinash Mulky, who was at IIM Lucknow with me, now works at IIMB and I, at IIMI. We do meet occasionally, and talk of old times and new.

BK Mohanty, a colleague from my XIM Bhubaneswar and IIM Lucknow days, is a dear friend and we get to meet here and there.

Shahida, of PESIT, now at ASCI Hyderabad, whom I have met less often, but we are in touch on the phone and through Fb.

Dhanapal, who runs his own school at Coimbatour, and worked with me at Kirloskar Institute, Harihar. We meet now and then, and plan on more golfing trips like the one we undertook in Pattaya, courtesy our student Jogeswari and her company Golftripz.

Vijayakumar, who has been at KIAMS, and IMT Nagpur, and I meet quite often, and have gone to Munnar and Kodaikanal on roadtrips to play Golf.
 Nagpur ex-colleagues at Tuli.
 The Nagpur book launch.
Vijayakumar and Jayasimha figure in this one from KIAMS.

Gadgil, who I bonded with at IMT, was in the US like me, and has great stories to tell of those times. Was also responsible for improving our MDP (training business) at IMT, with new clients like Asian Paints.

Harsh Halve, who was at IMT and is now at Jaipuria Indore, also bonded over the karaoke mike, with his family's active participation.

Jayanti Ranjan and Sita Mishra, who I have met at academic events since I left IMT Ghaziabad.

Anant Ram, who we got from KIAMS to IMT Nagpur while I was there.

T.K. Chatterjee, who was a karaoke convert after I introduced him to it.

Bhagyalakshmi, who I had the pleasure of working with at PESIT, and also at IIM Indore.

Manoharan, with whom I worked and who was my first Ph.D. student. We still write papers together, and meet when we present them.

S.P. Kumar, who is a past colleague from PESIT, and member of a nice club called the City Institute, Bangalore, where we have met a few times.

Smita, who was a colleague at IMT Nagpur, and helped me launch my autobiography at Nagpur Crossword and at Pune too.

Roger Moore - Broken Bonds

His passing away brought back memories of the suave Bond he played in six or seven films. I think I saw and enjoyed all of them, but some I remember better than others. Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun in particular.

He was stylish, delivered the one-liners very coolly, and looked the part. Later Bonds were mostly no match, except Pierce Brosnan. I also read his autobiography, which was not so great, but narrated his story of struggles quite sincerely.

He will be remembered for keeping James Bond alive through his classy work. Long live Moore!

Film Review - Chi va Chi Sau Ka

This is a Marathi film deftly directed by the award-winning director Paresh Mokashi (Harishchandrachi Factory, a film about Dadasaheb Phalke, was by him). The title here refers to a girl aspiring to be a married woman.

It is a laugh-riot, barring a couple of serious scenes. Very interesting technique of story-telling, with quick-silver edits, keeps you engrossed. The witty yet believable dialogue and story gives a lot of weightage to characterisation of all the major players. The families and individuals grow on you, as the story rapidly progresses from a match made in heaven to a divorce made in the same place. And then, a second one in reverse order. The two sets of parents plotting first for the downfall of their kids'relationship, and then the reverse, is hilarious.

The lead actors were new to me, and did a great job. The support cast is terrific as a foil, particularly the feisty granny and the kid brother who is in a "committed" relationship at a young age (on a social medium) with his second girlfriend in school.

The film tackles a lot of modern themes, such as veganism, solar power, the environment, and a comic critique of our social customs (living with a stranger after marrying one, as in arranged marriages) is well-done too.

It gets my vote for a Go-watch. If you can find a subtitled version, non-Marathi guys can enjoy it too.

Worrisome Worries

Ok, I am getting philosophical. But natural, one would say, coz I am a Doctor of Philosophy.

But I am serious. We worry too much, and don't listen to the song "Don't worry, be happy" enough.

We worry about the future, when the present calls out and says, "I am here."

We worry about what we don't have (and possibly, the neighbours do have), forgetting that we do have a lot.

We worry about the world, which seems to have taken care of itself since we were born. And probably will do so after we die..

We worry about the potholes, and the jackasses who drive like crazy.

We worry about things we have no control over, and discuss them to death. Such as, "Who will win the IPL?"

We'd be better off worrying less, and doing (or not doing) more.

Film Review- The Sense of an Ending

Absorbing, almost lyrical, though not as satisfying as the book.

Having read the book a while ago, I had forgotten the twist. A good thing when you are watching a human interest story with a very big twist. But I remember I was impressed with the book, and had even recommended it to many. By the way, Julian Barnes wrote another one that was about dying, which is worth dying for.

The movie is worth a watch if you either liked Lunchbox (same direcor here) or like Julian Barnes's writing. The director does a good job, keeping the atmosphere of an English Public School, and the countryside (where much of the action happens) authentic. The sequences involving the protagonist and his schoolmates ended too quickly, I thought, and the ones with his daughter were a bit prolonged (because they don't take his story forward). But these minor cribs apart, it's beautifully acted.

Please don't go in expecting a Guardians of the Galaxy, and you won't be disappointed. The book, as it usually happens, is even better due to the detailing.

Comic Dialogue

Hindi film comedies or otherwise from which I remember funny dialogues-

From Sholay

Tumhara naam kya hai Basanti?

From Jaane Bhi Do Yaro

Yeh kya ho raha hai?

Aadha khao, aadha pheko, yeh Switzerland ka cake hai.

Bahut advanced country hai- hum dekha, udhar peene ka pani alag, gutter ka pani alag.

Shaant, gada-dhari Bheem, shaant.

Hum honge kaamyaab, hum honge kaamyaab ek din..

From Padosan

Tum humko ghoda bola?
Ek pe rehna jee, ya ghoda bolo ya chatur bolo

Mogambo khush hua (villain Amrish Puri delivers this)

Aap hamara kitna khayal rakhti hain..Nahane ke pani mein kewda, peene ke pani mein bewda (Mehmood in Naukar)

Record Blog Views on a Day

Pageviews today
Pageviews yesterday
Pageviews last month
Pageviews all time history

This is a day to cherish for this blog, as it hit an all-time high of 507 views in a day. Thought I would record it for posterity.

Film Review- Meri Pyari Bindu

A meandering second half kills the feel-good factor brought in by the first. The positives are good acting by Ayushman (Parineeti is Ok, too), and the easy flow in the narrative roughly till the interval.

Actually, the idea (of linking songs with life incidents) had a lot of potential. The movie may have worked better if it had stayed in the realm of flashbacks related to the songs. Some more songs could have been used to beef up the screenplay, vastly improving its impact. I can think of another dozen songs..actually, the best scenes are related to the old songs. I particularly liked the "Aiye meherbaan" dance sequence from the kids, recreating Madhubala and Ashok Kumar from the original.

The other good sequence is the entire family chipping in for the title song..Meri pyari Bindu, which also is my favourite from Padosan..mere prem ki naiyyan beech bhanwar mein gug gud gote khaye use paar laga de,..classic lyrics.

If you walk out at half-time, you won't miss much. But watchable for what it does not contain- over-the-top Khans, for example.

Favourite Songs

Hindi film songs- a list of favourites.

Yeh dil na hota bechara, kadam na hote awara

Dil aaj shaayar hai gham aaj naghma hai

Hai apna dil to awara, na jaane kis pe aayega

Hey, maine kasam li, hey, tune kasam li, nahin honge judaa hum..

Chala jaata hoon kisiki dhun mein.

O mere dil ke chain.

Tum kitni khoobsoorat ho yeh mere dil se poochho.

Tum mile pyar se mujhe jeena gawara hua.

Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jate hain jo makaam, woh phir nahin aate

Aap ki aankhon mein kuch mehke hue se khwab hain

Khwab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat..

Are yaar meri tum bhi ho gazab ghoonghat to zara odho.

Ek pal ka jeena phir to hai jaana.

Aanewala pal jaanewala hai..

Kai baar yun bhi dekha hai yeh jo man ki seema rekha hai

Seene mein jalan aankhon mein toofan sa kyun hai, is sheher mein har shakhs pareshan sa kyun hai.

Kehna hai, kehna hai, aaj tumse yeh pehli baar

Gore rang pe na itna guman kar, gora rang do din mein dhal jayega

Meri neendon mein tum mere khwabon mein tum

Hum the woh thi aur smaa rangeen samajh gaye na..

Meri pyari Bindu..

O mere Raaja, khafa na hona, der se aayi..

Wahan kaun hai tera musafir jayega kahan.

Mehbooba, mehbooba,

Lakhon hain yahan dilwale aur pyar nahin milta

Kuch na kaho, kuch bhi na kaho..

O  haseena zulfonwali jaane jahan..

Jawani janeman haseen dilruba

Parde mein rehne do parda na uthao

Dilruba, aa meri bahon mein aa..

Life, The Universe and Everything- Book Review

This is a Douglas Adams book. Therefore, it doesn't have to make sense. And so it doesn't.

Arthur Dent goes on a galactic tour with friends Ford Prefect (we had this car at one time, 1955 make) and Slartibartfast, and they encounter white robots this time instead of mice who conspired to run the universe last time around (in a previous book). They are hell-bent on destroying everything, like a James Bond villain.

The story involves a game of cricket, cave-dwelling, space travel, and everything in between. The wisecracks keep you going, and Zaphod Beeblebrox and his vanishing girlfriend (Half-Girlfriend?) make an appearance too.

Enjoyable if you like completely whimsical stuff of the intergalactic kind. 

Two Moving Experiences

By moving, I mean physically moving things. One major lesson learnt is that u can fit your life's possessions in a truck. What, you want no truck with the puns? Ok, then let me move on to the REAL stuff. Two recent experiences.

One truck was sent from point A in a city to point B in a different city. The contract was for unloading the material on the truck. The driver flatly refused to do that last part, in spite of a written and verbal agreement in his presence while leaving.

Second, within the city from one home to another. The sales talk was sweet as honey. The day of the move, after some arguments on the modality of the move, size of truck etc., the guy coolly presents a bill that is 7,500 rupees more than the agreed upon amount. Of course, he got a mouthful as a bonus along with the agreed-upon payment.

But the point that arises, from both these, is why do people in these businesses (or any other, extending the logic to bad service anywhere) behave like this?

In contrast, we had a great experience moving stuff from Clemson via New York to Mumbai. No hassles, and delivered as promised, within estimated time. Americans better at service businesses? Maybe. Cultural issue? Could be. But certainly worth pondering.

Top Films

I am approaching this top twenty (or more) from a different angle. I will try and list a few films from different genres, and see if they make sense in a list like this.

Simple Tales

Nil Battey Sannata, Rajnigandha, Chitchor


Jewel Thief, Teesri Manzil, Ittefaq, Dial M for Murder, Shikaar, Aankhen (both Dharmendra), The Reincarnation of Peter Proud

Serious Cinema

Anand, Arth, Aakrosh, Manthan, Mere Apne, Ingmar Bergman's films, Zorba the Greek


Bobby, Aradhana, Tere Mere Sapne, Ankhiyon ke Jaharonkhon Se, Casablanca, Amar Prem, Bridges of Madison County


Chhoti si Baat, Chashme buddoor, Gol Maal, Chupke Chupke, Namak Halaal, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, Padosan, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Finding Fanny, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Silent Movie, History of the World Part 1, The Loves and Times of Scaramouche


Where Eagles Dare, Mackenna's Gold, Sholay

Period Dramas

Mughal-e-azam, Bahubali,

Foreign Films

Many Iranian films like The Salesman, The Separation, Kurosawa films like Red Beard, Seven Samurai, a couple of French and Italian films, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady (this could go into the comedy list too)

Mindless Formula

Hathi Mere Sathi, Seeta aur Geeta, Zanjeer, Yaadon Ki Baaraat, Hum Kisise Kam Nahin, Amar Akbar Anthony, Jugnu, Roti, Humjoli, Some Govinda films, Some Telugu films with NTR, James Bond Films with Roger Moore, Tamil films with Prabhu Deva..

Ads and Creativity

Ads are supposed to be made by creative people. Why do I get the feeling then, that there is a dearth of such people in the industry?

About a year ago, almost seven ads across different product categories had an unexpected person (or more than one persons) dancing somewhere. Were they taking one concept and selling it to multiple clients? Or was it different ad agencies that had stopped thinking altogether and blindly copied that idea from others? No idea.

Detergent ads all have white clothes. And this has been going on for 30 years that I know of. Who wears white?

Underwear ads, Deo ads, and Fairness cream ads (yes, they exist), all have a sameness about them that is disheartening, and they probably do not succeed in selling the product beyond what it would sell without the ads..

Looking forward to a breakthrough that is overdue..Kuchh khaas hai?

Bahubali-Film Review of the Sequel

Hero-worship is not something I would recommend to anyone. But I am sorely tempted to recommend Devsena to you. And Kattappa. Why the two minor characters, you may ask, instead of the hero, Amarendra/Mahendra (though he fits his role to a T) or the Rajmata Shivagami? I will explain.

If you have to hero-worship, it need not be the guy who has the might, and therefore wins wars. Or the one who runs a kingdom on her whims (sometimes good, mostly bad as in most monarchies). It is those who are up against adverse circumstances, or deep dilemmas, and still come up trumps.

I would, in this edition of Bahubali, vote first for Devsena, who is the epitome of courage. She, more than anyone else, upholds values of a kind that need cherishing. Having the guts (multiple times) to challenge a Queen who at her whim can have her beheaded, requires a rare courage of conviction. Living through her husband being repeatedly humiliated, she still defies the high and mighty openly.

Second, Kattappa is also worthy of emulation. Second to none on the field of war, he is fiercely loyal to the promise his ancestors made, even when tested in the extreme. His role is actually the backbone of both the films, notwithstanding the fact that his killing Bahubali 1 became the talk of the town.

If you have to hero-worship, I would go for one of these two. The others were just doing their job. I am also happy to see an Indian film of the mind-boggling scale that this one has reached. That in itself is an achievement, in my view. Human emotions are also well-handled, an added  plus. No point making a recommendation, but I wouldn't mind a second viewing, just to enjoy the visuals. They are brilliant.

Review of The Sky is Pink

True stories are sometimes difficult to handle. The Sky is Pink is an uplifting story of a child (actually, two) with a rare condition at b...

These Were Liked a Lot