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Showing posts from June, 2012

Movie on Lumiere

Saw a movie on the Lumiere channel. It shall remain nameless, coz I believe the channel wanted it so. It was Norwegian, going by the story, scenery and some hints. Nice story, of a geeky guy who is befriended by  a girl who wants to move in with him, and does.

There is a group of friends at a swimming club who keep advising him about how to handle her, and his love life. She has a kinky friend with crystals and theories about chakras. Borrowed from India. And she herself is normal, by female standards. She believes in auras, and takes him for a spin to Paris and then throws a tantrum. She later moves up North to work (North is more beautiful and less populated), and falls for a guy there who is into watching eagles. The upshot is anxiety, and some time later, she realises the 'eagle-eyed man' is pea-brained, and comes back. Hunky dory till hero discovers she is carrying an eaglet inside her. End of love story. He throws her out and goes on the rebound into the arms of a girl …

IIT Di

Inspired to title it this way by the numerous di's and da's all around us who are becoming more important by the day. And also a general kolaveri of the original kolaveri di fame- those who haven't heard of this, please excuse-and update thyself.

What I meant to say is that I went to IIT Dilli for a conference whose theme is Excellence in Higher Education. And got a chance to interact with a few interesting returned NRIs among other beings. They are heading some new institutions-universities mostly, and in the private sector. So the boom may have begun, both for NRIs and univs. Hopefully it will attract good students and build a virtuous cycle.

A mass of macro level data was also presented and discussed, which generally makes little sense to me as I am a micro-brained person- I refer to its size, not pre-occupations.

Anyway, it was a nice experience and an ego-boost, because I met some readers of my text book, and they said they liked the book. So, I should attend more su…

Innovative Training Programs

In our constant endeavour to improve the world, we must do what we can. Therefore, I have resolved to teach some simple marketing fundas to people who matter. In other words, Hackers, telecallers, cold callers of all other types including cold mailers and cold facebook/ linkedin inviters.

First funda. You may be interested in X. But the imp. thing is to find out if X is interested in you.

Second funda. Most important for hackers, or others after my money. I am not a bank, nor do I own one. Heck, I don't even have a Swiss account in a chocolate bank, let alone the Franc variety. So why target me and waste your time?

Third funda. Telecallers, please be aware that most of what you do is illegal. If that does not deter you from your persistence, read para above. Might put you off my mobile number for good. It has worked on many potential girlfriends in the past. Simple- got no money to spend on you. Where is your knowledge of segmentation? Mere ownership of a mobile phone is not enou…

Naming Rating Agencies

There's a serious problem we have on hand. No, it's not the European meltdown (sounds like a chocolate sauce, does it?), or the American Presidential election of Obama versus Romney, (though this one has the potential to be included in our discussion), or even our own (Presidential election).

We have a REAL problem- and that is, to find out who named the rating agencies who go around rating everything from financial instruments, to countries, and now it seems, even educational institutions. The guys who did it need to be institutionalised- seriously!

I mean, Standard and Poor? What kind of a name is that? If the goal is financial inclusion, either they should rate everybody as 'poor' or everyone as rich, with nothing in between. But couldn't they have found a better name?

Fitch is another one that sounds suspiciously like another word that rhymes with it and is much more popular, particularly in cat-fights. Cats don't talk, except in Murakami novels, so I am r…

The Unbearable Lightness of Moving

The feeling that you get when moving is unique, and I am liking it. When your house gets slowly stripped of its mute occupants- the furniture, the clothes, the cupboards (yeah, we still haven't graduated to wardrobes, if you are reading this from the developed world), and cooking utensils/pots and pans, and stuff like that. And you never know for sure if you'll see them all again. Usually you do, though.

What I feel is akin to a taking a bath in a tub, somewhat, for the feeling of slowly being enveloped by a soothing lightness, and the water creeping up on you as you slowly sink in.

What it also signifies is a new beginning, which you are normally very reluctant to make, but you don't have a choice in this case. And new beginnings are always exciting, for you don't really know what they'll bring. It's always a lot of unexpected things, though. You almost invariably make new friends, and are forced to re-evaluate old ones. Hopefully, this adds to your positive …

Inauguration at IMT Ghaziabad

It was the inauguration of the IMT Ghaziabad PGDM (MBA) batch today, and a large crowd of expectant students filled the hall up. It was their first day in class at IMTG, and they had a lot to listen to. The guest for the occasion was Mr. Ramana Murthy, Vice President HR at Coca Cola in India, who incidentally is from A.P.

He shared his life story briefly, drawing lessons for a typical student to transform into a leader over his career, with some sage advice. He also outlined pitfalls that come in the way, and suggested means to tackle them. He also asked them to identify their passion and select a career related to it. Of course, some of this advice gets clearer in hindsight, or as one progresses in one's career. For instance, my migration to teaching- and many others from my MBA batch did something similar, either becoming professors or entrepreneurs. Two of them are also into spiritual pursuits full-time (not the United Breweries kind). He also tackled well some tricky question…

Golf Lessons for New Students

Life's lessons can be learnt in many ways. Sports can be pretty useful in learning some. I played cricket for my school team, and have played many other games like Badminton, Table Tennis, Tennis without a table, Basketball, Volleyball, Hockey at some point at least for a trial. Badminton a little more than others.

Golf was a late entrant into my life, and we started because of easy access to some cheap courses in the U.S. For about 5 dollars, we could play nine holes in the Clemson, SC area. So we just hit the ball around, not achieving any degree of expertise. In Harihar, while I was at Kirloskar Institute, we had an 18 hole course within walking distance in the campus, and made full use of it.

This week, we started Golf lessons for the new batch of IMT Nagpur students. It's just an intro, but the idea is that those who get interested will pursue the game. Looks easy, but is a tough game. And teaches you a lot about yourself, like most others. One lesson I have learnt from …

Selling a Ferrari

I am thinking about selling the Ferrari. But first I must remember to buy one. And become a monk. These things are getting harder and harder. Earlier, monks used to be monks. And Schumacher types used to drive Ferraris on the autobahns. Why are monks into buying and selling of the mean machines anyway?.

Anyway, having got this thought, I begin to ponder as to what else I can sell. Maybe I can sell my TV, and let someone else watch the trash that it can produce at the flick of a remote. But then, if they don't produce all that, the unemployment problem would get unmanageable.

Maybe I can sell my A.C. and prevent global warming. I understand that CFCs produced by ACs are responsible in some way for melting of Arctic glaciers. Now, that would be a cool thing to do- or is it warm?

I can actually sell my car (not the imaginary Ferrari) and not drive around so much. It will greatly improve my health and the health of those whom I afflict with my company on a regular basis. But what if …

Biggest Indian Industries

Name the biggest Indian industries. Steel, cement, Power, IT, you said? Sorry but you are wrong. The following are our biggest.

1. Coaching industry. From IIT entrance to tying your new-born's diapers, they can coach you for anything. Even going to the moon, if you wish. The income is multi-billion dollars, but estimates are unreliable, as income is untraced for the most part.
2. The talking industry. This involves all the talkers who incessantly advise the cricket players, the Cricket board, the government, and everyone else. This might actually be the biggest creator of greenhouse gases, more than auto exhaust.
3. Movie and TV industry, euphemistically (and optimistically) known as the entertainment industry. Whom it entertains is anybody's guess, but in terms of turnover, it has made billionaires out of blocks of wood in human shape. And we are all the worse for it.
4. Cheap book publishing industry for class 1 to 10, 11 to 12, and college. And guide books for all these. P…

Sudhir Kakar’s Book of Memories

India’s best known psychoanalyst is good to read. He has recounted in this autobiographical book various episodes in his eventful life. One is about his growing up years and career choices- unsurprisingly, driven by his father’s ideas of what he should be doing. Which he did at first, under protest. But at some point, partly after his meetings with Erik Eriksson, the Harvard psychologist in Ahmedabad, he decided to follow his calling and go for it. His dad later admitted his mistake in driving him away from it.
He also recounts how Vikram Sarabhai prevailed on Nehru to set up IIMA at Ahmedabad instead of Mumbai and why. The reason was not entirely professional, he candidly admits. It appears there was a relationship between Sarabhai and Sudhir’s aunt Kamala, and both were at Ahmedabad. This was one reason that drove him to set up the institute there.
There are a lot of insights into how he set up, with great difficulty, a psychoanalysis practice at Delhi, and how entire families got inv…

Kalyanji Anandji- Unsung Music Composers

Feroz Khan used them in many of his films, like Dharmatma, Qurbani, Apradh. And they were also the music directors for movies like Don, Muqaddar ka Sikandar and Johny Mera Naam.
Somehow, they are not talked about much, though they delivered good music in many films. They were probably shy and reserved, and did not interact with the media too much. But their genius came through in many songs, some of which were-
Kya khoob lagti ho, badi sundar dikhti ho..
Tumne kisise kabhi pyaar kiya hai, pyaar bhara dil kisi ko diya hai...
Nafrat karne waalon ke seene mein pyaar bhar doon.
Pal bhar ke liye koi hamein pyaar kar le..
Zindagi ka safar hai yeh kaisa safar...
Jeevan se bhari teri aankhen, majboor karein jeene ke liye..man kehlaayega
Rote hue aate hain sab hasta hua jo jaayega.woh muqaddar ka sikandar jaaneman kahlaayega
Yeh mera dil yaar ka deewana, 
Hamaare siwa tumhare aur kitne deewana hain..
Tere chehre mein woh jadoo hai, bin dor khincha aata hoon...

GBSN Conference at Delhi

IMT Ghaziabad is the co-host of the Global Business School Network ( a non-profit orgn) conference, held in India for the first time. Today was pretty good,  starting with some introductory remarks by the guests, Analjit Singh of the Max group and Mr. Kamal Nath. Followed by some good sessions about challenges facing B schools. Africa has less than 100 Business schools, was a major discovery, against 4000 or so in India.

We had an interesting session for Deans/Directors where we enumerated challenges facing B Schools, and how they might contribute to economic development. Met some academics from South and North Carolina where I spent around 5 years.

There was a very interesting dinner meet with a presentation by Aparajita from Bill and Melida Gates Foundation on the subject of an intervention on AIDS control among Indian sex workers and other target groups. The role of management, and of the Indian govt. were both lauded by the presenter. We had a nice chat. Also met a Dartmouth MBA …

Book Launch at Crossword Nagpur

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Yours truly in the middle, flanked by Smita Dabholkar, a colleague at IMT, and Mr. Phanshikar, editor of Hitavada, the widest circulated daily in Nagpur, who was the Chief Guest. The book we are holding (my autobiography titled My Experiments with Half-truths) was the reason for this. It was published sometime ago through pothi.com, an online Print-on-Demand publishing site. I had never thought about a retail launch, because it involved too much effort.

But thanks to Smita, who is a bundle of energy, this event happened yesterday at Crossword Nagpur. Well-attended (by an unknown author's standards), and well-compered by Smita, this gave me my hour of glory. Vijay Phanshikar (of the 3 'kars' fame- ha, ha) was very kind and very insightful in his comments on the book, which he seems to have enjoyed. It gave me new perspectives literally, adding four moons (char chaand) to the proceedings.

The audience ranged from 8 to about 60 in age, and patiently listened to my readings, …

A Quiz- Bollywood Music

What is common to these songs?

1. Baharon ki baaraat aa gayi, khushi ko leke saath aa gayi- from Yakeen, starring Dharmendra

2. Pukarta chala hun main, gali gali bahaar ki- Biswajeet (in Mere Sanam)

3. Chala jaata hun kisi ki dhun mein dhadakte dil ke, taraane liye- Rajesh Khanna in Mere Jeevan Saathi

4. Mere sapnon ki raani kab aayegi tu- Rajesh Khanna in Aaradhana

5. Babuuuu, samjho ishaare, horn pukaare pum, pum, pum,..from Chalti ka naam gaadi with Kishore, Ashok and Anoop Kumar.

6. Kaun hai jo sapnon mein aaya, kaun hai jo dil mein samaaya..from Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan

Guesses welcome. Grand Prize- a trip for two on Kingfisher Airlines.

Best Movie Titles-Bollywood

I put on my thinking cap- which I do, occasionally- and gave serious thought to the most creative movie titles of all time (time for me, is basically post 1960, when I entered the portals of this world). I came up with the following -

1. Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye- a nice comedy drama from Rajshri Pictures.

2. Albert Pinto ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai- by Saeed Mirza, I think.

3. Love in Tokyo, made when half of India didn't know their Tokyo from their left toe.

4. Ishq, Ishq, Ishq, by Dev Anand. It's somewhat like the advertising wisdom, followed by the Nirma jingle, that you should repeat the product name as many times as possible. Darling, Darling, also a Dev Anand movie, did the same.

5. Mughal-e-Azam. In terms of a zabardast title, one can't get any better. The sound of it, and what Prithviraj Kapoor did in his dialogue delivery, was wonderful.

6. Ishq Par Zor Nahin- I think it starred Dharmendra, and the line is taken from a famous sher (Urdu poem) by Ghalib, or a cel…

Customised Cars

The most obvious first. Audi is for auditors.

Honda is for anybody who uses 'da' in his speech, as in, ennada, or lah, di, dah.

Toyota, is for people who don't know their To from their Ta. Yo-yoing between them, so to speak.

Tata is for those who are absolutely clear that they are bidding goodbye to someone by saying an old fashioned 'Tata' instead of the modern 'bye'.

Mahindra Logan is for the biryani khanewale logaan of Hyderabad (only Hyderabadis can figure this out. hint- 'aan' attached to any singular makes it the plural in Hyderabaadi).

Hyundai is for the guys who are ready to die for the car. Dil-o-jaan lutaane ko jee chahta hai, types.

The Xylo is for those who can figure out what a Xylophone is.

The Scorpio is for those who are NOT once bitten, twice shy. What next, a Snake?

The Nissan Sunny is for anyone whose name starts with Sunny- the options being Gavaskar, Deol, and a certain heroine of a Mahesh Bhatt film.

And the i20 is for all tho…

Rowdy Rathore- Not a Review

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What you have here is a picture of Rowdy Rathore (me) circa 1984, at a Delhi location- undisclosed, of course, because of security concerns. I am really amazed at the titles the cinema producers/directors come up with these days. Nothing against macho sounding names- after all, action movies have a wider appeal than love stories, just like wars have a wider appeal than peace initiatives, as history has proved. A so-called peace-loving nation like the U.S. is perpetually at war with someone just to prove the point.
But at least the titles can be a bit imaginative, like Sholay or at least Dabangg. Why a Rowdy in the title? Is the idea to put off family audiences (assuming they ARE put off by such things). On another note, Hema Malini disapproves of mainline heroines doing item numbers, if her views have been correctly reported. I would agree with her whole-heartedly. Helen was the ultimate item girl, and she was a specialist. The mainline heroines try too hard, and it shows, besides th…

Inauguration of the 9th Batch at IMT

Convocation speeches and inauguration speeches fill me with dread, usually. That's because they tend to sound the same. It's like trying to make a romantic love story on celluloid. How many different ways can you do it? But today was a pleasant surprise. Both the invited speakers did very well, I thought, to keep things interesting, and the audience (of around 350) interested. Their style had one common factor-the use of stories, mixed with the usual advice to incoming students, about various things in life at a B school and beyond.

One was a marketing and content/creative specialist (producing Kaun Banega Crorepati among other things), another a senior HR professional, and both were great examples of how to speak to a large audience- even though captive, it's tough to hold an audience these days. To their credit, the audience responded well, with rapt attention and apt enjoyment of the delivery.

Our lunchtime conversation was equally interesting, ranging from CSR (Corp S…

Moving On

I have a new responsibility given to me. The sad part is that it involves moving away from IMT Nagpur, a place that I have come to like a lot. But such is life. I am moving soon to IMT Ghaziabad as their Dean.

It is gratifying that with the help of excellent team work, we have put IMT Nagpur on the top-20 map of Indian B schools (numbering 3500 plus at last count). A recent reconfirmation of this came in the Business Standard report on Indian B schools published this week. It placed IMT Nagpur in the top 20 which they call the Superleague. The incoming batch which starts Monday will be the largest in our 8 year history, at 360.  Faculty here are among the best anywhere, and the staff's efficiency and courtesy is noticed by all visitors, and missed by faculty who have left us to join the new IIMs.

Alumni have given us great love and support, which was evident in all the five cities where we held alum meets last month. More than 500 alumni turned up to celebrate their bond with the…