Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Remember Dr. Drake Ramoray?

Okay, let me play the responsible citizen of blogosphere today and do my bit for society. (Now folks, all those who've been reading this blog regularly, this is the reason why you come here. I don't just write about random happenings in the daily life of an ordinary guy; at times, I also help people.)

All right, all right. Before you folks decide to kill me for acting high-n-mighty over nothing, let me get on with the post.

Have you spotted one of these around your home, your work place or your shopping mall?

(B-school bibliography writing instincts take over... photo courtesy straylight6)

And by 'one of these', I meant a glass elevator. With the number of eye-catching and glittery malls opening up around, the chances are that you've already stepped into one of these and that it isn't gonna be long before you step into one again.

Well...... WATCH OUT !!!!!

These glass elevators, sexy though they are, can be dangerous. As Banana Pen points out, there's this person in her office building who walked through the lift-doors of one of these glass elevators and didn't realise that the elevator wasn't there !!! Thankfully, he was only on the second floor, and hence, survived the fall with just a broken leg.

So, the message for the evening, ladies & gentlemen, is pretty clear: Mind your step when walking into an elevator. You might just save your life. And hey, be all the more careful when you're talking on the cell-phone and about to enter the lift, being absent minded and jumping down the elevator-shaft doesn't help. Ask Joey about how Dr. Drake Ramoray died !!!

Something must be wrong at Orkut

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Bittersweet Symphony

Had an hour long talk last night on the phone with an old friend. In fact, he's one of those people who I don't speak to for, say, a month. And then, the day we talk, we try to catch up on everything that has been going on in the other person's life and hence, the discussion always extends beyond an hour.

Now, owing to the Business Law lecture yesterday morning at 11, I had to wake up after a very short sleep (yeah... I slept at 7 in the morning and woke up at 10:30). And despite this, I was feeling pretty ok and not drowsy at all, although the cuppa of tea at the mess helped greatly.

However, late last night, after the phone call, I just couldn't sleep. I don't know what it was that kept me up, but although I felt tired and drained, I just kept sitting in front of my laptop in my darkened hostel room. This was around 3 or so in the morning, so the noises of the hostel were already quietened and all that I could hear was the silent whirring of the fan. And for some reason, I kept staring at my desktop, which for about the last 2 weeks, looks like this:

I kept staring at the picture of Kali Ma (the photograph is a capture of the deity at Kalighat Temple, Calcutta) and wondering what the purpose of life was. Somehow, I felt that I was just wandering around life aimlessly, not knowing what exactly I wanted. To quote myself from a chat that I had with a close friend a few days back, "most of us are like rudderless boats rocking to the waves in the ocean of life...". (Recall Abhinav's post.) What exactly was my mission in life? The biggest trouble was that continuing with life without answering this all-important question seemed useless. Unfortunately, I don't have the time that a seer has, neither do I have the courage to give up all worldly pursuits and follow a philosophical pursuit of questions that a seer does.

I was then reminded of The Verve's song, "Bittersweet Symphony" (needless to mention, have already downloaded the song and heard it about 10 times back-to-back). Somewhere, the lyrics expressed the turmoil within...

"Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life
Try to make ends meet
You're a slave to money then you die...

No change, I can change
I can change, I can change
But I'm here in my mold
I am here in my mold
But I'm a million different people
from one day to the next
I can't change my mold
No, no, no, no, no"

[P.S. To all my dear well-wishers: Please don't worry, I'm not terribly upset or worried about anything. It's just that I'm thoughtful. The usual. ;) ]

Monday, February 26, 2007

Incomplete scribbled thoughts

Here's what I'd scribbled at the back of my notebook. For some reason, I had been unable to complete the note.

"Thought is but like a child; if you allow it to be free and pursue whatever it wishes to, there is no knowing where the child shall finally await your attention, not to mention the wildly exciting path that it has taken to reach there. However, throw a toy or some other subject of interest for the child, and you can be certain that the..."

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Rocky Balboa's advice

The reason why films are magical is because they have the potential, at times, to inspire people. How many times have you felt charged up just because of the dialogues that were extremely well written. Of course, you also need an actor competent enough to say the lines with heart and emotion.

One such American film series was the Rocky series. The sixth and final installment of the series, 'Rocky Balboa', has one such dialogue which is just beautiful.

Rocky gives his son some fatherly advice on success, and then repeats these lines to himself in the final fight after taking a brutal punch from his opponent.

"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that! "

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Desire To Do Something Wrong

Well, let's just put things in context first and then let's take it from there. I was chatting with a friend in the evening about how a few people we knew were behaving foolishly. Here's the last bit of the transcript:

: i don't understand, how can ppl blindfold themselves... both X and Y.... ~shakes his head~

: guyz r silly
: no.. they aren't...some guys just CHOOSE to be silly...

Well, not EXACTLY a great revelation; but I just felt that more often than not, we KNOW what the correct thing to do is... It's just that the desire to do what is wrong is so tempting that we cannot tear ourselves away from it.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Just Say Sorry

You know what the best part about having a friend is?

When you know you screwed up, just walk up to your friend, and with an honest heart tell them that you were a jerk, that you're thoroughly and extremely sorry and promise to learn from your mistake and never repeat it.

At times, it can be difficult to take the first step towards your friend, given the dinosaur-sized egos that humans normally have; but, just take in a deep breath and let go.

If your friend truly does understand you, they'll know that you mean every word of your apology. And that is the greatest test of your friendship; you having the courage to apologise, and them having the strength and purity to forgive.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

You want a little adventure?

Yesterday was a ROTTEN, ROTTEN day for more than one reason and I would like to just hit the 'Delete' button on it. (Make that 'Shift+Delete' !!) Today threatened to head in a similar direction, but then, things got better as the day wore on. A thought, however, lingered and though sad, the truth in it kept coming back to me.

The thought that haunted me was this: Most of the times, almost amusingly, the most painful decisions of your life are the ones which are correct.


I went to meet my Maasi and her daughter today. Both of them live in Rajkot and come down to Ahmedabad to meet my 'bhanja' (err...well, technically he's my 'bhanja', but he's already a cardiologist and I'm still wondering where and when I'll get my MBA degree... thank the older generation of parents who believed in a long line of children... my mom was the youngest of five sisters!).

During the two hours I spent with them, we recalled how a few year's back Maasi had unexpectedly landed up at our house in Calcutta at 8 in the morning! I remember both Mom and Dad were pleasantly surprised at her having called on us. But Maasi being Maasi, she was there on a mission. She quickly explained to Mom how she had, on an almost impromptu decision, left home with a group of her friends for a 'yatra', and had arrived in Calcutta without a place to stay in. She asked Mom if Dad could help.

Dad called up a few places he knew, and fortunately, a local dharamshala (which would meet the budget of the elderly group of people Maasi was travelling with) said that they could accommodate them, but not before the evening. 'No problem', Maasi said. And the next thing you knew, the bus-full of people were invited to our building terrace to 'prepare' food. Yes, that's right, people... they were actually carrying their 'mini kitchens' with them and prepared their own food on our terrace. I remember Mom and Dad watching with a rather amused smile as the elderly people went about with the energy of a couple of young boy-scouts on a camping routine.

You can imagine the amount of fun we all had that day when I tell you that I can recall this story after a good 5 years or so have passed. My parents still recall with fondness the happy feeling of helping the 'shraddhalus' on that day.

Now the reason why I'm putting this up here is because I feel that the most memorable outings of your life are going to be the ones that were unplanned. Sure it makes good sense to go on a holiday having everything planned and pre-decided. But at times, it's fun to just listen to the instinct, drop all work and head out. The novelty of it all, the kick that you get from the adventurous nature of the trip, the idea of the unexpected exciting sight that lies beyond the next corner is worth the little trouble that you must go through. And hey, it's fun !!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

You Know My Name

Here are the top 10 songs that I listen to. As you can see, "You Know My Name" by Chris Cornell from 'Casino Royale' is at the top with the play count at 73. The next most popular track is "The Godfather - Waltz" with only 35 counts.

I don't know what it is about "You Know...", but I just have to listen to it a minimum of 5 times after I've heard it once. My favorite part?? The following -

"Arm yourself because no-one else here will save you
The odds will betray you
And I will replace you
You can't deny the prize it may never fulfill you
It longs to kill you
Are you willing to die?

The coldest blood runs through my veins
You know my name"

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Majaa ni life

Ahh... majaa ni life !! :D

Well, what more could one want. A lazy Sunday afternoon, which slowly, with overhanging clouds turns into a pleasant evening, bringing along with itself the first sweet smell of spring. Add to that a late lunch (plus a kettle full of tea) with close friends, and you have the perfect setting for a wonderful day.

'Nirma thali' at the next-door 'rajvadu' restaurant: Rs. 55

A kettle of tea: Rs. 18

Carefree Sunday afternoon, with A. R. Rehman singing 'Tere Bina' on iTunes: Priceless


Day before yesterday, I went to see 'Eklavya'. And contrary to what appears to be the popular opinion, I loved the film. The only review that echoed what I felt after seeing the film was this.

The film is definitely not for the masses, who may go rushing into the cinema halls drawn by the names of Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan and Sanjay Dutt (and Vidya Balan, of course).

The cinematography of S Natarajan Subramaniam is, in one word, brilliant. The screen is resplendent in the royal colours of Rajasthan and the film is a visual treat. The scene just before the interval, where all that is visible is the dark silhouette of a dying Rana breathing his last in the arms of a royal bodyguard, with the sun setting symbolically in the background and throwing its last rays of glorious orange sunshine on the royal fort, is a classic...It leaves a deep impact as the lights of the cinema-hall slowly come to life.

The editing, by Raviranjan Maitra, is fantastic. Not one scene seems to be out of line. Scenes which apparently have very little or nothing to do with the story, come back later with a sweet after-effect; be it the explanation of what the young rajkumar was punished for early in the movie or the scarf that the maharani accidentally drops from the fort ramparts. Kudos to both, Raviranjan Maitra and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, for such crisp editing.

Amitabh Bachchan is par excellence. Not once do you see the typical expressions that you might associate with the Bachchan of Karan Johar films. Amitabh gets into the skin of the character and one is convinced that he indeed is Eklavya, an aging bodyguard who must guard not only the occupants of the palace but also their deepest secrets. Watch out for the scene when Eklavya is asked, nay, ordered to leave the fort and go back to his village. Bachchan is what he is because what he does in the scene; he emotes pain and shock without uttering a single syllable.

Saif Ali Khan was powerful in essaying his role of the prince. In a film where he could've easily been overshadowed by Bachchan's performance, all credits to him for putting in a memorable portrayal. This is the third time after the eponymous 'Being Cyrus' and Langda Tyagi of 'Omkara' that I realised that there is more to him than just the actor with a wonderful comic timing (be it Sameer of 'Dil Chahta Hai' or Karan Kapoor of 'Hum Tum').

Boman Irani shows why people say his best performance was not as 'J Dot Asthana' of 'Munna Bhai MBBS' but as the 75 year old Dhunjisha Batliwala in Rahul Da Cunha's play 'I'm not Bajirao'. Vidya Balan brings grace and, ahem, sexual chemistry to the film. Sanjay Dutt with his portrayal of the rustic DSP adds the much-needed humour from time to time. Jackie Shroff and Jimmy Shergill do well in their short roles.

And finally, the best part of the film, the story. The film, while harking back to the legend of Eklavya from The Mahabharata, keeps asking questions about 'dharma' and right and wrong. The film also offers an interesting answer in the form of the definition which the grand old man of The Mahabharata, Bhishma, gives for 'dharma'. Then again, the film provides good food-for-thought with issues such as 'the young son helping an aging father' and 'a son's duty towards both, his foster and biological parents'.

Armed with this script, a play would perhaps have been much, much more powerful. I was also reminded of a play titled 'Durgesh Nandan' (Son of the Fort) that I had seen many years ago in Calcutta.

Okay, perhaps there's just one other review that I agree with. And what strikes me the most about this review by the New York Times is that this film 'has a heart for the classics'.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra, take a bow.

My ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars

[Okay, okay... I give in, but this was a review that I found after writing the post. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Subhash K. Jha's review.]

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dream Sessions and an Indian Apple Store

Woke up at 11 today too. ~sighs~ When was the last time I got up early? (Only 2 days back, but that sounds like ages ago.)

Had two lectures of New Venture Creation (NVC) followed by two lectures of Retail Management. NVC was fun, in the usual manner. If I would have had my way, I would re-name these classes as 'Dream Sessions'. Don't get me wrong, it isn't that what the professor teaches is so out-of-this world that it lulls you to sleep, just that I day-dream of how new ventures take their businesses to the corporate level. The strategies that they use, the myriad of options that they have and the choices that they must make. Network models, promising start-ups, venture-backed start-ups, marginal start-ups... they're not just words which random research scholars have typed into their word-processing software; they're live organisations, humming with the combined heart-beat of all the stakeholders of the firm.

Ok, I hereby conclude that I'm a "romantic-academic" (Eureka!! Have I just invented a term for the English language?) at heart !

There are two things that I must mention about these NVC classes before I move on to another topic (actually, make that 3!!).

1. I was surprised by a professor saying the following words, "If an individual wants to take his fledgling organisation to the corporate level, he must start with a very simple step: set audacious goals." Really? Is it actually that simple?? That humble goal setting process???

2. Sir sprung another surprise when he said this course wasn't something that we would forget about once our MBA would get over and we get on our with our jobs; the NVC spiral of articles and research papers isn't something that we'll be dusting off shelves in say, 5 years time, when (and if) we decide to start our own ventures. According to him, he is arming us with enough research materials and (he hopes) an inquisitive mind to study not only the organisation that we would be working in but also all forms of businesses that we encounter in our daily lives. Hmm... what say, do you see the makings of a Starbucks in your neighbourhood 'chai-waala'?

3. Speaking of 'chai-waala', there is no dearth of chai-waalas, maska-bun waalas, small-time coffee-shop owners that we discuss in class. The only way the class becomes interesting and lively is by the impromptu and passionate speeches that the students start making when they cite examples of people they personally know who started out small time and eventually made it big. And, typically, Sir springs to the black-board and starts drawing either a matrix or a graph to (to quote Sir) "try and see if we can have some idea about how the person was successful". (Trust me, nothing sounds as intellectual as those words when said by a greying Bengali prof. who knows his stuff).

Just as I was wondering whether I've taken my MBA at least a year or two earlier, Sir sprung another surprise. He said, "Your real MBA starts once you walk out of this institute. Here, we only provide you the tools and some basic knowledge, the real learning starts when you apply this knowledge to the uncertainties of the world outside." Cool ! :)

Moving over to the Retail Marketing classes, I actually kept Sir back after class to discuss Apple Stores with him. I've become an Apple fan of late, and was wondering where in India do I have to go to see (and someday, hopefully, buy) a MacBook. I had thought that with the booming economy and the number of people looking to buying a laptop, India would've been a sure-shot target. When I went to the Apple website, however, I found that the closest address for an Apple Store is in Singapore. :(

Sir said that he'd already spotted a shop in Forum Mall, Bangalore where they have the authorised dealership of Apple products. [My friend Abhinav also told me to check out the Himalaya Mall in Ahmedabad where, apparently, there's another dealer.] Not satisfied with 'authorised dealerships', I asked Sir how long would it be before we could expect an Apple Store. "Any time now." And what had kept them waiting for so long? "You must please appreciate the FDI norms that the Govt. keeps commenting on." And the destination would be?? Mumbai? Bangalore? "Of course Bangalore, no doubt about it. But you never know, even Hyderabad is picking up quickly."


Had worn my India t-shirt all day long, and thank God the guys won at Goa.

Post dinner at Madhurya (with Sam and Basanti), have been working on the Capstone project. Hope we rock tomorrow.

Cheers and good night. :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


All right, this blog is back in business !!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

New blog in the meanwhile

Hi there...

I've been hibernating from blogosphere. But tell you what, it's good. It has meant a lot of quality time alone, and means that I've had time to introspect and chart out a road-map for the future.

I have started blogging again. It is a blog where I review the books that I read. Two reasons why I had to do this. One, I love the idea of keeping a track of the books that I read. Two, the itch to write was just too much to ignore. So, those of you who think I might be reading some interesting books and would do justice to reviewing them, click here.

As for blogging about my thoughts and life in general, I have been debating with myself over and over again (then again, I'm a Libran, and this constant attempt at balancing of scales is always expected). Let's see whether I do actually blog again. Till then, namaskar. :)