Romancing the Train is the link to a song Gaadi bula rahi hai, from the film Dost. One of the songs I really like, shot on a train and about a train...and life.

Singing in a train is as good as singing in the rain..

Another one or two about romances that had one of the characters in a train, are these-

Jiya o, jiya o jiya kuch bol do..Rafi singing for Dev Anand.

The same idea, later, with Kishore Kumar for Rajesh Khanna singing to Sharmila on the darjeeling mountain railway.

Mere sapnon ki rani kab aayegi tu..I grew up watching this, and it's still a favourite.

Another old gem with Hemant Kumar for Dev Anand singing to Waheeda Rehman.
Hai apna dil to awara na jane kis pe aayega from Solva Saal.

Joblessness and Other Indexes

Ok, Indices, maybe..I don't know. But the point is, I am coming up with some new ones, like the soap companies do, on a regular basis. Unlike them, I really had to think these through. Why should Sensex have all the fun?

Joblessness Index- Hours spent doing useful things, divided by hours spent on Social Media+Hours spent on Cell talking+Hours spent on Netflixing (this is not a word yet, I invented it..if Googling is an accepted word, this will be too)..for better results, interchange the numerator and denominator, so the number appears large, and you can then make speeches worrying about it.

Economy's Health Index. Doctors' earnings for all doctors divided by Patients' Bank Balance (Amount reduced by paying medical bills) indicates the economy's health- can you argue with this?

Pseudo-intellectuals Index. This is the total number of posts forwarded in a day about anything that sounds intellectual but is not, multiplied by 1000.

Real Intellectuals Index. The number of people who did their homework (or any work) without Copy/Pasting anything.

Smart Bloggers Index. This species does not exist, and therefore this index is not needed.

Day 3 of IIM Indore NASMEI Conference

A pic from the inaugural day, with Phil Zerrillo (left), and Stefan Haves (right), who gave us a brilliant example of how to connect with an audience/customer. Rishikesha Krishnan, director, IIM Indore and I are also in the pic.

The conference concluded yesterday, and a lot of lessons were learnt (yes, we used Digital Marketing to promote it too). Sheer energy and teamwork among many people led to its great success, and invited speakers were eloquent in their praise.

Thanks to the overwhelming response from researchers, we had a problem of plenty. Out of over 400 submissions, we selected around 300 for presentations. Managing so many in multiple tracks in two days was a big challenge. FPM students and Academic Associates chipped in, and media and photography were managed superbly by the able Ananya Mishra.

Hats off to the team of Veenus Tewari and her gang (as I like to call it) of girls and guys..and thanks to all our sponsors who saw it turn into the big event it became. Raji Srinivasan and Manoj Agarwal from NASMEI helped in multiple ways, and I discovered many people who were connected with MBA, a market research company and a former employer of mine, founded by 3 IIMA alumni.

Maybe as a symbolic coincidence, the IIM Bill 2017 was passed by the Lok Sabha (Indian Parliament's lower house) as the conference was on.

Movie Titles

Jewel Thief, Sholay, Gol Maal, Chupke Chupke, Anand, Rajnigandha, Dil Diya Dard Liya, Kati Patang, Mere Jeevan Sathi, Aandhi, Lahu Ke Do Rang, Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye, Hum Kisise Kum Nahi, Yaadon ki Baaraat, Around the World, Chalti ka Naam Gaadi, Driver Ramudu (Telugu), Siri Siri Muvva (Telugu), Shankarabharanam (Telugu)..are some titles that I remember from old films.

The new ones (relatively) that I remember are Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Om Shanti Om, Kahani, Queen, Baazigar, Court (Marathi), Natsamraat (Marathi), Mungaru Male (Kannada), Swapnakkudu (Malayalam), Finding Fanny, Queen, ..

Hollywood Films

A Fish Called Wanda, History of the World- Part 1, Ben Hur, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Diamonds are Forever, Live and Let Die, Silent Movie, The Great Dictator, Modern Times, Where Eagles Dare, The Mask, Good Morning Vietnam, The Pink Panther series, Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Muder, Murder on the Orient Express...

Recent Hollywood Films

I actually haven't watched too many, so maybe I'll skip these..

Day 2 of the IIMI NASMEI conference

Day 2 of the conference kicked off with a presentation by four luminaries- Manoj Agarwal, Raji Srinivasan, Rama Bijapurkar and Pingali Venugopal. The first two are representing NASMEI, which is our partner for this conference. They are hard-core academics at U.S. universities. Rama is a consultant, and Venugopal is a prof. at XLRI.

As usual, there were many familiar faces, like Ramesh Kumar from IIM Bangalore, and a few new ones. Moutusy Maity of IIML told me she has published a book on Digital Marketing, and I am looking forward to reading that. I mentioned our plans to edit a Case Book on the subject (some of you readers would be the contributors).

Learnings- Customer value in emerging markets may manifest itself differently, because of lower discretionary income levels, but some aspirations are common across levels of income, and many marketing concepts hold good anywhere in the world.

Also, there are not enough customer voices or marketing people in the Board rooms of American companies. Third, that sustainability is not recognised enough by marketers and consumers, except sporadically. That needs to change.

Research Paper presentations will start today and continue through tomorrow.

Learnings- IIM Indore NASMEI Marketing Conference

Stefan Haves and Phil Zerrillo, are two speakers we had invited to kickstart our Marketing conference (with our partner NASMEI) at IIM Indore - and what a session it turned out to be.

Both are Americans, but with very different backgrounds. Phil is a Ph.D. from Philip Kotler's workplace, and is currently at Singapore Managaement University and runs a Case writing centre, among other things. Stefan is a Director with Cirque du Soleil, and writes comic parts for actors to play. He has also directed a couple of Hollywood films.

Learnings- Customer value (our conference theme) may take different forms at different times, but the customer is keen to get value for his money, and marketers who keep up with them will win their hearts.

The connection with customers is important. The heart should rule along with the head. Our humanism is slowly making way for a technology-based humanoid, and the joy of living comes from balancing the feminine side (intuition, softer feelings, and all the rest) with logic that represents the brain. 

Tips for teaching and learning were also a part of this-using the body, voice, as elements in a classroom session were also discussed. A vibrant beginning to the conference.

Lipstick Under my Burkha- Film Review

It's an important film, about a very important topic, which is usually kept under the carpet- love and sexuality from a woman's perspective. Full marks for dealing with the subject, and some of its real ramifications. The difficulty of breaking out of traditions, and societal expectations, and hypocrisy. For instance, that women of a certain age should not have expectations of physical love. Ratna Pathak Shah's character is probably the one that draws the most empathy. She is also the best actress in the film (actor, actually), with no exceptions.

The film could have done with a bit of drama, though. It feels like it's going through the motions, too quickly. Some twists in the story, maybe a few light moments, would have made it that much more moving and powerful. It does make its points about the search for love in and out of marriage -and a search for the liberation that all young people look for. But I found better expressions of it in films like Masaan or Life in a Metro, compared with this one.

It is worth a watch, for bringing up issues that need to be, but as a film, it could have been a lot better. Maybe better actors would have done the trick-barring Ratna Pathak Shah, who is perfect.

IIM Indore-NASMEI Marketing Conference 2017

One of the most successful conferences we organised when I was with IMT was  the Case conference at Goa's International Centre. Looks like the IIM Indore Marketing Conference on July 28th and 29th with NASMEI and UT Austin is all set to surpass that one. We have 300 plus papers on a variety of marketing topics, and top academicians from leading management institutes are participating either as presenters or invited speakers, making it one of the biggest marketing events in India. In addition, we have a few global stalwarts like Raji Srinivasan, Manoj Agarwal, and Phil Zerillo who will grace the occasion. Industry is also well-represented, with people like Shiv Kumar from Pepsi and Rama Bijapurkar, consultant, speaking at the event.

My young colleague Abhishek Mishra and his able conference manager Veenus, aided by a team of FPM students and staff, are the reason for the success.

Next week is going to be a power-packed and interesting one. Looking forward to it.

HPCL Training Program

 A unique partnership with HPCL. This time
at their training institute in Pune. Lovely campus.


 We all have avatars. This was mine (Clemsonavatar) in the late eighties. With Anu at Clemson, South Carolina, where I got a Ph.D. Not sure why I wore a jacket and tie. Maybe it was the day I defended my Ph.D. thesis.
 We outside our abode (above and below). I think a Clemson prof. owned the apartment.

Oranges and Farewells

Khatta Meetha

(This was my farewell speech to the 2008-10 Batch at IMT Nagpur..found it in the archives)

An orange is to my mind, a more interesting fruit than an apple. Though delicious, an apple’s taste is uni-dimensional- sweet.  An orange, especially the one from Nagpur, is tangy, and combines a little sweet with a little sour, giving us a real glimpse into life. Duality makes  you appreciate the good part- without seeing the other side, you may not fully appreciate it.

Obviously, farewells bring up a lot of memories, of a time spent doing things together which we may have to do alone. Learning in the conventional sense is of course one reason why all of you came to IMT Nagpur, but I am sure the learnings went far beyond.  I still recollect what we learnt- and what we did not, during our days at IIMB. But most of us who graduated then did very well at things we did not necessarily learn directly from our coursework. The courses are like a peg to hang your future learning on- it gives you a fulcrum, or maybe a starting point. If the world needs changing, the learning of yesterday is not enough. A tomorrow is always different from yesterday, and we all play a part in building it. A Sabeer Bhatia may have invented Hotmail, but it was the ordinary users like you and me who made it a big hit, and now the idea continues to benefit all humanity, connecting us in ways we never would have imagined.

A career is an important part of our lives, and one must pay a lot of attention to nurture it for three or four decades after we start. I would also suggest that you pay attention to self development, in any way that you can. Work hard, but also smell the roses along the way, or take long walks (on a golf course if you like to play the game). Life has a lot to offer, if we can take the time to figure it out.

Despite hectic activity, contemplation is actually easier in the two years during the MBA, if my memory serves me right, than in the years after that. I am sure that many of you would have dreamt a lot when you were here. And if you continue to do that after you start on new endeavors in the coming months, these dreams will be realized. I would like to wish each one of the 2008-2010 batch a great future ahead in life. You are now going to be an IMT Nagpur alumnus, and we are sure you will keep in touch.

Rajendra Nargundkar

Zindagi Ittefaq Hai

This is a favourite song, (link if you want to listen but also rings true. Most things in life happen serendipitously, or in an unplanned manner.

Thinking back, most of my career choices after school were because friends asked me to appear for some entrance exams-left to myself, I would have probably done the easiest degree available, whatever it was, and gone ahead..and maybe still would have become a teacher :)

Many things we do in life are a result of being in the right place at the right time- from buying a new dress, to starting  a new research project, or deciding where to eat. There's a lot less of planning than we think. The cars I bought in the U.S., particularly the huge 1979 Ford Granada, was because a friend was sellling it, and I was was a luxury car that I enjoyed driving. Before getting back to earth with a more sober Subaru hatchback. That was also because it happened to be available second hand at the dealer we went to..and liked it.

Most books I have found and liked have been while browsing in a bookstore-Landmark, Crossword, Book Bargain Hut, Gangaram's, Blossoms, Sapna, Book Worm, WH Smith, etc..(happened to buy 3 today at one of these). Happy coincidences happen all the time, like meeting your friends, students, or anyone at all, when you least expect a mall, in a corridor, or on the street. A lot of things can happen over coffee, or tea, or beer,..

Resolute Resolutions

Why do resolutions have to be year-end ones?

Here are 5 mid-year ones, approx. half-way through this year.

1. I will be relaxed about everything. Does not mean in a hammock-it's all in the mind.

2. I will appreciate people a bit more..I find it challenging, so I guess this needs to be worked on.

3. I will try something new each time I teach..generally do, but need to be steadfast.

4. Try new research methods..qualitative in addition to the usual.

5. Write better blog posts..see, I am already trying the last one out. :)

..and continue the good things like the Best DP awards, in case you are apprehensive..

Summer School

There is a set of week-long (or two) courses at National Univ. of Singapore each summer (also called the IPSA-NUS Methods School). I have now attended two, in successive years, and recommend them to students of any age. Particularly good are the qualitative ones, though you have to pick one that's suitable for you. Happened to meet an old colleague, Senthil, from IMT Nagpur there too.

Here are some pics from the experience.

1. Fitting right in with the global crowd. Kent Ridge Metro station serves the university.

 There are also outings for socialising. Dinner at Kowloon Express, Clementi. That's Bruce Lee behind us! South Korea, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Turkey, China and Vietnam at the table. Jai ho!

Class in progress. Prof. Max Bergman of Univ of Basel is the Boss.

The NUS campus is a delight.

The food variety at their campus food court is amazing. Koffee C is our style of coffee.

Airport Art

Airports generally have a lot of advertising- for tourism, or cosmetics, or for their own duty-free shops if international. But depicting your culture through airport art is an art..and Mumbai airport Terminal 2 seems to have done a lot of it right. The murals on its walls are good at showing Indian motifs - sample these.


I keep changing my mind about inventions that changed my life. Here's the current list.

ATM- It was the ATM's birthday yesterday. I take my hat off for the guy who made the act of going to a bank redundant.

Diapers- a great help when parenting. Maybe adult version in future too.

Bean Bag- It gives you the perfect angle- always.

Desk calendar- Would be lost without one.

The aeroplane- Boeing, boeing, horse carriages.

The computer. Made communicating easier-don't know about the computing.

Google- Except your lost key or glasses, you can find anything with it.

Not so thrilled about passwords, mobile phone, TV (after what we have done to it- not the inventor's fault)

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