Posts

Showing posts from July, 2012

Nicknames

Nicknames are something we are usually ashamed of. They are given to us by parents or friends, who find the original names inconvenient, even if they gave them- parents, I mean.

Stars also have nicknames, and prefixes or suffixes. Sample these-

Garam Dharam.
Kaka- Rajesh Khanna
Bebo- Kareena
Piggy Chops- Priyanka
Bips- Ms. Basu
Jubilee Kumar- Rajendra Kumar

Some have a positioning statement, like

Dream Girl- Hema Malini
Poor man's Amitabh- Mithun Chakraborty
Angry young man- Amitabh himself
Tragedy King- Dilip Kumar
Tragedy Queen- Meena Kumari-
Mr. Perfection- Aamir Khan

Casablanca- A Review

Casablanca is a unique film. It is about the world war (German occupation of France, and consequent use of Morocco’s Casablanca as a bastion for French resistance and transit to Lisbon), but it’s fundamentally a beautiful love story. It also addresses a man’s point of view, unlike many films that concentrate on the woman’s  travails.
A classic of many dimensions, it has wonderful  performances  from Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and a lot of other actors. Ingrid, is of course, one of the loveliest actresses to have graced the screen. In this black and white movie, she lights up the screen whenever she appears on it.
The maturity of all three main characters (her husband who is presumed dead in a German concentration camp when she falls in love with  Bogart in Paris is the third) is amazing. His supreme sacrifice for her (arranging for and watching her fly away with her husband) is done without melodrama, but is very moving.
If you have not seen it, put it on your bucket list. …

Delhi Musings, Customer Service and More

Two incidents of customer service first. We had gone in a group of seven to eat lunch at a fairly expensive restaurant in Bangalore e-city recently. The lunch buffet was excellent. But at the end, we had to wait 20 minutes for the bill, because the cash register had failed!

The second incident is of a private sector bank which did not feel like crediting a cheque I wrote, because my payee's (wife was the payee) middle name was not written along with the long first  AND name. I am sure the idea was to prevent large gangs of cheque-stealers from raiding a poor prof's account, but it was not amusing!


Anyway, on to more pleasant stuff. I have found at least one good bookstore (Om book shop), though it's in Faraway  Gurgaon. But there is a metro station near it (MG Road), so it's accessible. I also found the bus system is good to use on weekends. Friday evenings, the traffic seems quite terrible, but OK on others.

Also celebrated the 50th birthday of a dear childhood friend …

Theory of Relativity 2012

It's been a while since Einstein posited his theory. So I thought about taking a crack at it. May not get a chance again  if the world ends in 2012. So here it is.

The mass of a human being is directly proportional to the amount of happiness he/she experiences. Or, in simpler English, the rolier or polier you are, the happier you are. Or rather, its reverse.

Want proof?  Look around you. All the sad sacks would be wafer thin, not having had wafers- or anything at   all-  for a while. And then look at the roly-poly types. Chances are, they would be tucking into something yummy. And feeling chirpy, laughing a lot.

You may now argue that diet experts advise you to cut the calories, ...blah, blah..but the point is, what do they know of happiness, who are always living in a narrow world with small visions. If they were to expand (their vision, and maybe girth) they would gladly abandon their own advise.

Golden Voice and More

Once upon a time, there was a golden voice on radio. It was that of Ameen Sayani, who was a host of a countdown of the week's hit songs-usually film songs. Starting with sales figures for records (LP or EP), those old-fashioned things, he moved on to using opinions of fan clubs around the country also. The program began as Binaca Geet Mala after the toothpaste brand, from Radio Ceylon, and morphed into Cibaca Geet Mala after a rebranding exercise. The country was also 'rebranded' so it was Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation which broadcast the show. Anyway, this popular hit parade had countless fans including me. Now, I am listening to some CDs by him (Ameen Sayani) called Geetmala ki chhaon mein that recount the glory days. Makes for fantastic listening. It is interwoven with interviews with various luminaries, and comes in yearwise volumes. One of the gems was listening to RD Burman talk about his inspiration- jazz, brass instruments and the cabaret format- for his song…

Forecasting

The business of forecasting is an interesting one. Today the head of the Indian Met Dept. said that his dept.'s forecast of the monsoon rains might be off the mark. That is the understatement of the year. Drought seems to be staring half of India in its face.

Actually, I like the word soothsayer rather than forecaster. At least it accurately reflects what the guy can really accomplish- which is, to soothe. For people whose nerves are frayed with worldly worries, a soothing word or two would go a long way. For a childless couple, it may be nice to hear that they will have a bundle of joy in their life soon. And so on, if you get the drift. End of the world prophecies are not really needed, because it hardly matters if we know about it or not.

I had read a good joke about an astrologer who would predict whether an impending child would be a girl or boy (in olden times). He would record in a diary the opposite of what he told the would-be parents. Then, if a parent came to him with …

Drive

Where do we get the drive to do anything from? Some major motivation theorists say- affiliation, achievement and power are the three major drivers-motivators. But what does it mean in real terms? For instance, what power can one have in real life? When even a five-year-old refuses to listen to what you have to say,  teenagers think you are a fossil, spouses have their own viewpoint on every point, and subordinates (assuming you have some) are more into insubordination than obeying orders (that old-fashioned quality sometimes found in the military), what is power but maya (illusion)?

Affiliation could be a need. I understand facebook is built around this need. The need to gossip is fundamentally the same need. With some narcissism added, it becomes your facebook activity driver.

Achievement can be tangible or not. You may achieve a landmark, like a degree, or a salary level, or a designation that you covet. But still be driven to get more. Like Sachin and runs in cricket. I don't …

IMT's International Ties

It is almost a fashion to tie up with international institutes or universities these days. Amid all the madness, IMT Ghaziabad stands apart for its serious attempt to get on to the global stage.

We have close to 80 MoUs signed with various international business schools, of which many are active and ready to explore initiatives beyond student exchange, important though that is.  Around 80 students  participate in our 2-way exchanges every year. I have met three teams from international universities in the past week alone, who are potential partners. And we are talking joint research and other ways of partnering.

Very interesting indeed, and lots of possibilities, going ahead. We have also applied for accreditation from AACSB, considered the best in the world, and are working  towards a new and revamped curriculum and modes of delivery/pedagogy. We already have a dual country MBA along with IMT Dubai.

Golf and The Hole in One

Those who golf (and some who don't) are aware of how difficult it is to score a hole-in-one. That means getting your ball in the hole in just one shot, as opposed to the usual three or four or five that is 'par' for a hole. It was exciting to watch young Anirban Lahiri, an Indian player do it yesterday at the ongoing British Open tournament. Seeing it happen is almost as rare as getting one yourself.

Incidentally, a lot of the usual stars are struggling in this tournament. They include Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, and Tiger Woods. Snedeker was leading when I watched, with a minus 10 (10 strokes less than total par so far in three rounds of 18 holes each), an amazing score in tough conditions.

Jeev Milkha Singh is also struggling here, though he just won the Scottish Open a couple of weeks ago. Well, golf is an accurate reflection of life. By the way, if any potential customers are reading this, Golftripz, a company run by friends who take Indian golfers out to play are org…

Music in Rajesh Khanna Films

Music was a strong point in many Rajesh Khanna films. This is an attempt to remember some of the songs.


Daag- Hum aur tum, tum aur hum, khush hain yun aaj milke...


Anurodh- Aapke anurodh pe main yeh geet sunaata hoon. and Aate jaate khoobsurat awara sadkon pe kabhi kabhi ittefaq se..


Ajnabee- Ek ajnabi haseena se, and a couple more ..Hum dono, do premee.


The Train- Rumbunctious song..Gulabi aankhen jo teri dekhi


Hum tum gumsum raat milan ki...from Humshakal, I think.


Agar tum na hote...from the same film.


Achcha to hum chalte hain from Aan Milo Sajna


Shayad meri shaadi ka khayal, dil me aaya hai..a delightful song from some movie with Tina Munim..Souten?


Dil ko dekho chehra na dekho, and Meri pyari beheniya banegi dulhaniya from Sachha Jhutha


Gorey rang pe na itna gumaan kar, gora rang do din mein dhal jayega..from Roti.

Mere naina sawan bhadon...from Mehbooba


Hamein tumse pyar kitna yeh hum nahi jaante from Kudrat


Sun ja, aa thandi hawa, in Hathi Mere Sathi


Karwaten badalte rahe....and Aaj mohabb…

Creating Doctors

We need hundreds of them. Doctors of Philosophy or Ph.D.s, in management, I mean. We have major weaknesses in our supply chain- read universities and other institutes. Many state universities lack quality guides and/or systems, though they allow flexibility. IIMs are inflexible, though they provide quality. Who will fill the gap?

No idea, as of now. But I am happy to have contributed my mite to solving this in a small way. I just helped one of my students clear his last hurdle towards his doctorate- he cleared his final viva yesterday. We celebrated with lunch at Lemontree in e-city.  We have a Ph.D. program with NLU and plan to start our own. IMT also conducts research methodology workshops for doctoral students (some of whom are teaching as well). Hope this helps a little bit.


Rajesh Khanna- My First Love

I think even before I fell in love with the heroines, I fell in love with this guy. He was probably the ultimate romantic, though Dev Anand came close. What I liked about him was an innocence he projected in his early films, and the brilliant acting in some films like Anand, Aap Ki Kasam, Namak Haram, Hathi Mere Sathi, The Train, Ittefaq, Kati Patang, Aan Milo Sajna, Roti, Andaz, Aradhana, Safar, and Amar Prem.

His other unique achievement was to become a non-violent superstar. Most superstars are fairly violent, both here in India and outside. He was the only one (again, with Dev Anand as a possible exception) who charmed his way through his roles. And I really liked that, like it in retrospect too.

His songs on screen were a rage, and some all time greats of SD and RD Burman, and Kishore Kumar were  embellished by his screen persona. I cannot for moment imagine anybody else doing his Chingari koi bhadke, or Mere Sapnon ki rani, or  Maine tere liye hi saat rang ke chune, or Zindagi …

Blogging in a Cab

Blogging in a cab is a unique experience. So is drinking wine from Chile. Thanks to a French guest we were entertaining, had the wine yesterday. Today, I am in Bangalore for a PhD student's defense, and tried blogging on the cab. It works, apparently. Whether its quality improves, is yet to be tested and proved. Hope to have some good dosas and kaapi while I am here, as a Dilliwala  visiting Electronic City-literally, as the PhD presentation is at IFIM in electronic city.

Bangalore is at 23 degrees, and heavenly after a rainless Delhi. The flight (Indigo) was only half-full (Even though Kingfisher has pretty much closed shop), and therefore pleasant. More on the stay later.

Unique D.B.A. Program with Grenoble

We at IMT Ghaziabad are launching a unique program, called the Doctorate in Business Administration, or DBA, in association with Grenoble School of Management, France. This program is aimed at corporate executives who may want to transition to academics but need a flexible yet rigorous program of doctoral studies. It involves attending a few short workshops and then doing a dissertation over a 3-4 year period. IMTG will host many of these short workshops, and Grenoble will host a couple of them, including the first.

Grenoble is a triple-accredited management school, having got these from AACSB, EQUIS and AAMBA. IMTG is of course, a top 10 business school in India. This opens up another avenue for potential faculty who  may want to migrate from. the corporate world. We are expecting to start the program early in 2013.

Kaagaz Ke Phool

I re-saw Kaagaz ke Phool by Guru Dutt on TV yesterday. He is one of my favourite director/actors. But I could see some flaws from a viewer's perspective, which may have made it a failure at the box office.

The story is powerful, about the vagaries of the film world, and the impact of it on a director's personal life and love. The middle of the film is slow, and just when the story gets dramatic with the daughter forcing the director's lover to abandon him, the plot is hampered by a couple of songs. Maybe a faster denouement would have worked.

It is also not too clear why the director is not willing to go back when his lady love comes back to films. If he is so firm on it, why does he audition for an extra's role?

Despite its flaws, it's well worth watching, just for the angst of the last scene- that of the defeated director being found dead in his old director's chair. The lighting in that scene is also amazing. He was great at conveying pathos.

Meet my batchmates- Part 5

Some more of my  IIMB batch (excerpts from our year book)
N. SRITHARAN (THARAN, TODDLER)
He believed in toddling casually into the class 55 minutes late or 75 minutes early depending on which class you are thinking of. He had the dubious distinction of being the youngest guy in the class and younger than most of the girls (even the age they claimed). His voice is remarkable. It is a real treat to hear him when he is tipsy. Even otherwise, he says all the right things at the wrong time.
“When the baby is Three months old, milk is not enough”
R. RATAN KUMAR (RAT, RANDALL, RATS)
After distinguishing himself in such diverse fields as Veena (the instrument) and Cricket (equaled Derek Randall in agility), he settled for the title of Computer Cat. While we complained, he thrived on the mess grub. One more living example to support the theory that roly-poly guys are a good humored lot. Once an honorary member, G lock bground floor, later defected to a loftier alternative (G first).
“The problem with joinin…

Hauz Khas Village

It's anything but. A village, I mean. It looks like a European street, in Paris or Amsterdam. It's a small cluster near a deer park (opposite IIT Delhi), where there was a Madrasa built by Allauddin Khilji. There is a lovely lake that reminded me of Ulsoor lake a few years ago. There are also nice 6 centuries old buildings which housed the madrasa.

But today, the hip crowd of Delhi and foreign visitors frequent the place, which has antique stores, art galleries, and cool cafes which have a European-sounding Menu (and prices). The desi  touch comes from shops that have old Hindi film posters. And some dirt and half-finished construction- we are always creating and destroying, right?

My guides were my new friends in Delhi, Devapriya Roy and her husband, Saurav Jha, who are both  authors, in different genres- she has to her credit "The Vague Woman's Handbook", a fictional work, while Saurav is an energy consultant who has written a book about Nuclear energy. He al…

Basmati Blues

I grew up in Andhra Pradesh, and for us, rice was a staple. Meaning, it had to be affordable, as we ate lots of it. This was not a major issue most of my life, as we obtained the 'normal' rice wherever we moved- except sometimes in Kerala, where we encountered a love for boiled rice. Did not really get used to that. In the US, there was a 'Mahatma' brand long grain rice we used to eat.

Now, I am getting used to a new normal in Delhi- Basmati. Probably named after Rani Roopmati, it is lovely, and expensive. My search for other varieties continues.

There is also an unusual Kawadiya yatra that is on right now, apparently people carrying on their shoulders two jars of water from the river Ganga at Haridwar all the way to Delhi- walking! Amazing, and a nightmare for traffic (us).

Pre and Post

I thought I would prepone this post. But that is wrong. I mean, the English, according to the Queen. The one floating on a barge with a disreputable sardar. So I postponed the post. That sounds right, somehow, so here it is.

There was a post-monsoon shower yesterday. How do I know that it was post-monsoon? Because experts said that the one last week was pre-monsoon. How do they know? I don't know, but experts being experts, they are always right- like the boss, or the wife. Facts of life, like the birds and bees. And taxes, whose 'dead'line is fast approaching. I have another silly doubt about tax returns. Even if you are not getting any money back, are you still filing a 'return' ? Your Majesty, your views on this, if you be pleased.

Anyway, back to the pre and post business. Can you just 'pre' something like you post something? I will leave you to think about this, post-pulling your hair out.

Arzoo and Mere Humdum Mere Dost

Both are movies from the sixties. I remember watching one in a theatre and the other in an open-air screening in which our club in Singareni Collieries specialised. This was a unique experience in itself, but this is to reminisce about the songs. The stories were probably not great, formulas popular for the period, but the songs were memorable, and made an impact on our impressionable minds. The not-so-impressionable mind still remembers some of these.

Arzoo had 'Aey Nargise Mastaana', and  'Aey Phoolon ki raani bahaaron ki malika tera muskuraana ghazab ho gaya', both sung by Mohammed Rafi and picturised on the so-called Jubilee (Rajendra) Kumar. Also two good Lata Mangeshkar songs, all written by Hasrat Jaipuri- 'Ajee Rooth kar ab kahaan jaiyega'...and 'Bedardi balma tujhko mera man  yaad karta hai.' Music was by Shankar Jaikishan.

Mere Humdum Mere Dost had 'Na jaa, kahin ab na jaa, ..' and 'Chalkaye jaam, aaiye aapki aankhon ke  naam'…

Doctor Zhivago

I saw most of Dr. Zhivago, the classic film based on Boris Paternak's novel by the same name. But what I found fascinating was a film about the making of this film which followed. This is narrated by Omar Sharif, who played that character. The film itselfwas directed by David Lean, who had just finished Lawrence of Arabia, it seems.

The story has strong political (anti-communist) overtones, and was suppressed in book form by the Establishment in the Soviet Union. The film, however, was conceptualised as a love story of Zhivago and two women in his life- a wife and a non-wife. The roles were essayed by Geraldine Chaplin and Julie Christie. David has a fascination for the outdoors, obvious in Lawrence of Arabia too, and there are magnificient location shots in this film, shot in Finland and Spain. Spain, because they needed a studio with editing and other facilities. Snow-driven landscapes were sometimes created, and some shot in real time snow.

An ice-palace was a striking innovat…

A Vintage Collection of Pics

Image
1. There is immortality involved here. A sidewalk at Clemson Univ., South Carolina has my name engraved .in it. Not because I won a Nobel Prize, but because I was one of the centenary year graduating students. So people there walk all over me! With me is Anu, my wife who had to be convinced she'd married the right guy!

2. Bond (Moore) and I share a pose at a wax museum in Hollywood, around 1987.

3. The third is a shot of Wendy, a student I taught at Clemson, who modelled for my shot of the vintage car parked in campus.

These are to celebrate my 500th post (and 15000 readership) on this blog. Now, where's the champagne?

Gender Inequality in the Spiritual Realm

We are generally drawn to spirituality at some point in life- generally in the later part. But this is not about man's spiritual quest. This is about why so few women are in spiritual leadership positions. A glass ceiling that  operates in their hierarchy, maybe?

Or, it could be that women are already evolved and couldn't be bothered to reform the others. After all, even in non-spiritual realms, their effort is wasted on incorrigible men. So why bother?

On the other hand, we have several Goddesses (most after the Greeks and Romans) whom we pray to. Some of them are pretty violent too, like Durga/Kali, for good reason. Anybody would turn violent if subjected to the daily goings-on on our great planet.

There is a more mundane explanation. That the daily grind gets to them, what with balancing (household) budgets, cooking and raising children, that they just don't have time for anything else (Ekta Kapoor's serials are the only exception, kyun ki...).

But I think they wou…

Bol Bachchan- Enjoyable Nonsense

I think Rohit Shetty is a better director of comedies than Sajid Khan. Going by the evidence of Bol Bachchan versus Housefull 1 and 2. This borrows some ideas from Golmaal, the classic comedy made by Hrishikesh Mukherjee who for me was one of our finest.

This is not a classic, but it worked for me. The acting and direction, the timing etc. was very good. It would have been even better had the chases and fights not been there, or had been replaced by a subtler twist. But then, Mukherjee or (Basu) Chatterjee are tough acts to follow. The effort is commendable, and the Delhi audience (Nehru Place) seemed to enjoy it.

Ajay Devgan, Asin, Abhishek, all acted well. Archana Puran Singh plays a role Dina Pathak played in Gol Maal, of a hired pretend-mother. The dialogues of the original, and the funny attempts at speaking English by Ajay are really well done. Asrani has a good role too. There is a literal cliffhanger at the end. Music is Ok, not great.

Songs with Place Names

There are a lot of Hindi film songs that have place names in them. Here are some that come to mind-

Jhumka gira re Bareilly ke bazaar mein

Mere piya gaye Rangoon wahan se kiya tele phoon

Ee hai Bambai nagariya tu dekh babua..from Don

Dilli se gayi Patna ...phir bhi na mila sajna

Bombay to Goa title song...Bom, bom Bombay Goa..

Saala main to sahab ban gaya....jaise Gora koi London ka..

An Evening in Paris..title song... aisa mauka phir kahan milega..

Potti patana hain phakat kaam apun ka....Hum Hyderabadi.

There is also an old Marathi song that goes..'disashi tu navtaruni Kashmiri' (you look like a young Kashmiri beauty)

Luxuries-Then and Now

Our top ten luxuries (mostly unattained) while growing up (1970s) were-

1. Eating out in a restaurant
2. Flying
3. Owning a phone
4. Owning a car- or any personal transport
5. Traveling first class in a train
6. Owning a camera
7. Owning a 2-in-1 cassette player and radio
8. Going to a foreign country
9. Going to stay in a 5 star hotel
10. Having friends in different countries

Today, I don't really know what could qualify. A BMW, Rolls Royce? An Armani suit? I was reading about a guy who experimented with living on 32 rupees (about 60 cents) a day because that is our definition of poverty. At that earning level, three meals a day might constitute luxury.


Economy- It Does Not Exist

There's actually nothing  like the economy! I just discovered this fact yesterday. A finance minister, the RBI governor, and so on are mythical characters. What does it matter to a man on the street (just a phrase, by the way, he may not actually be on the street), the aam aadmi?

There is no such thing as the economy. What is there is a commodity and a price for it. And either you can afford it, or you can't. Think of anything at all, and it fits this description. The rest is hoopla, baloney, verbiage,  and so on. So that the pink papers survive, like their yellow counterparts.

For an average person, there is nothing like the economy- only a set of commodities, services or products, sold to him by other services, like advertising, retailing etc. and some of these he ends up buying. And we teach people how to do these things.

So what do econo'mists' do? They create the mists that others try to peer through, and don't succeed. So their profession can thrive.