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Showing posts from December, 2013

Resolving Resolutioning

Ok, this may not exist as a word, but it's obvious by its timing that it's about resolution-making. I have  resolutely been against making any resolution of any kind, because I have no clue at all on how to make them see the light of day. The only one I can probably keep is to read a few more books. If they happen to be of the quality of Zorba the Greek, or any of the creations of Wodehouse, all the better. I have also managed to discover a few other good authors over the last few years, through browsing at bookstores, or through 'friend'ly recommendations.

Some of these are Haruki Murakami, Bill Bryson, Sadat Hasan Manto, Alain de Botton, Umberto Eco, Devapriya Roy (The Vague Woman's Handbook), Saurav Jha (The Upside Down  Book of Nuclear Power), Fritjof Capra (Uncommon Wisdom), Subroto Bagchi, Julian Barnes (his 'Nothing to be Frightened of', an autobiography of a kind), Raju Bharatan and Ashok Ranade (on Hindi films and music). Some autobiographical stu…

2013 Ends at Girivan

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These pics are from a year-end retreat that we cousins try and do at least once  a year. This time it was in a resort called Girivan close to Paud, near Pune. Had a relaxing time, played some cricket, took walks, enjoyed the scenery amidst some single malt and singular reminiscences, and were fully entertained by the newest kid on the block, Maya, my niece from Down Under -second pic is hers.  My brother Satish was there from Atlanta in the U.S., on a visiting 'assignment'- to have fun. Bakul, another cousin and her family made it from Peoria, Illinois too. Someone had brought Oreo cookies from the U.S., and a niece who made the recent ads for Oreo with Ranbir Kapoor was grilled on how she colour-coordinated her clothes with his! All in all, great fun. We also celebrated three-four cousins turning fifty with some jokes about their memory-can't remember those, as I already turned fifty some years ago.

Radio Days- Vividh Bharati

I used to listen to the radio a lot in my first 24 years- mainly because TV had not come to India. Now that TV has taken over most of our non-working hours, I succumbed and watched it for many years. But the last few days, having just moved and awaiting the transfer of baggage, I became less 'idiotic' and rediscovered Vividh Bharati, the entertainment channel from All India Radio.

Some of its programs and features are outstanding. The quality of the announcers is mostly good. They have also relaxed a bit from their stentorian (dull?) avatars, and smile (you can hear it) occasionally. The selection of songs is invariably good, and there is an attempt to provide a glimpse into Indian classical music through some of their programs. Chhayageet, presented by one of the RJs each night, and Bhoole bisre geet (forgotten gems) are two that I like listening to. There are interviews with film personalities too- Ujaale unki yaadon ke, interspersed with songs. One of these was an intervie…

Fogged Out

It was cold and breezy this morning, reminding me of Delhi. I am glad Indore is milder, because the days are pretty warm and sunny-at least thus far. Delhi winters got me down usually, having grown up in the sunny southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Contemplation about life and years well-spent (living it) is the norm around this time of the year, so I thought I would sit and meditate for a while. But my dilemma was, that in meditation you are generally asked to think of nothing. So, how can one think of something while concentrating on nothing?

Anyway, I am now attempting to do a bit of both-something and nothing. The thing is, I like doing both. And therefore, will idly think about work and while working, ideate about idling. I have got it down to a fine art. Consultancy is on offer for those interested. Fees are negotiable.

Dhoom 3: A Review

Indian film-makers are now learning the art of making sequels. But their editing skills are still far from satisfactory. An exception like Sholay can pull off a three-hour film. But by and large, others fall short. The reason Sholay pulled it off was because of brilliance in every department-acting, cinematography, dialogue and songs. None of these qualities are present in Dhoom 3. Though they are good, they are not brilliant. The songs are actually awful.
What salvages Dhoom 3 is Aamir Khan. It is a role written for him, and he revels in it, backed by some spectacular stunts-though some are old and tiresome, like the motorbike going under a truck. Nevertheless, some are quite breath-taking, like motorcycling across buildings on a rope.
Another thing I liked about the film is that it equalizes the Chicago police with our own- they come out as chumps, like their Indian counterparts in most films. If this is not globalization, what is?
Coming to the story, a circus owner kills himself in …

Rahat Indori

Just trying to recollect people with names like the headlined one. The film line had a few, like Sahir Ludhianvi, Hasrat Jaipuri, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Firaqt Gorakhpuri, etc.

In our side (hamaare wahan) it is common to have a 'kar' suffixed to the gaon- as in Nargund 'kar' rather than an 'i' like the above example. An 'e' at the end as in Raje, Bhide, Gore, Khare (means 'true' in Marathi), Khote (means falsehood) also signifies some names in those places, though there are no place-names attached/embedded.

Srinath the fast bowler was from Javagal. AK Hangal presumably from Hangal, a place in Karnataka, and Prakash Padukone, you guessed it- from Padukone. By the way, so was Guru Dutt (he was not Bengali).

Surnames are often derived from professions or titles, like Mistry, Batliwala, Tailor, Carpenter, or Cabinetmaker. Or Joshi, Patwari and so on. Or how many Vedas you could claim mastery over- two, three or four (Dwivedi, Trivedi, Chaturvedi respe…

Punjab Da Puttar

Continuing my serial encounters with regional heavyweights.
I met a hatta-katta Punjabi the other day. I asked him where he was going. “Kanaada,” was the reply. “Why do you guys like Canada so much?” was my innocent question. “Bekaas Trronto is a great place, yaar” he said.
“But why?” I persisted. “It’s a ‘player’ to stay there. Good climate, nice people, clean surroundings. Not like Delhi.” “But if everyone goes to Canada, won’t it become like Delhi?” I was inquisitive, and persistent. “Oye, main parathe wali dukaan thode hi kholoonga udhar (do you think I’ll open a paratha shop there?)” “Nahin, nahin, paaji, my matlab was not like that,” I apologized. “I just wanted to know ki why you all don’t want to live in our country.”
“Simpal, yaar. We are still thinking like the British. Commonwealth country with only a few wealthy people. We have mobiles, but nothing to eat. Aston Martin is used to reduce the population, only. Election=inflation is a mathematical reality. We are losing our…

The Curious Case of Compatibility

The compatibility I am referring to is not that of husbands with wives, mainly because that would need a platform much larger than a piffling blog. No, I am talking about compatibility of hardware. As in, apple and orange- or rather, Apple and Microsoft. Or Apple and vendors of Microsoft such as HP.

This is after watching a technician struggle to put an HP printer in touch with an Apple Mac at a colleague's office here. Many attempts later, the two pieces of smartware (too smart, if you ask me) refuse to shake hands, or whatever it is they shake in the technical world they inhabit.

Funny, you would think that millions of 'customer-centric marketing' lessons later, compatibility would be a given. Guess again. We marketing profs. shall carry on gamely, nevertheless...

At Wit's End by Erma Bombeck

She is a female Dave Barry- very funny and readable. Not sure if I read anything of her before- probably not, because I would have remembered!

Scathing about life and all its majesty ( I am trying to be funny)- marriage, ageing, kids, husbands, and most everything besides, are her targets. Some of her funniest lines catch you unawares, and the fun multiplies. or instance,

" My children see me as four wheels, a motor, and a drive shaft. I am Snow White with a set of car keys." or, " I don't think women outlive men. It only seems longer."

Or about vacations- "The compulsive desire to buy a carful of souvenirs became so bad, we had to set down some explicit rules."
and "Next to children on a trip, there is nothing more trying than their father."

"Our daughter said she was going to let her hair grow. Like a fool I thought she meant down her back. Little  did I dream it would cascade over her face.."

Many sterling observations like the…

My Marketing Prof

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This was a recent gathering that turned out to be my farewell at Delhi. What is remarkable is that my marketing prof. from IIMB, Dr. JD Singh, also joined us at the Foreign Correspondents' Club. He made marketing so interesting, that many of us - Kusum, Narayan Das, Sankar Ganesan, Nanda Kumar, in the US, and me, Harish Chaudhary, and some part-timers like Manglik followed his footsteps. Great Guy!

My home office

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These are the mondha-chairs I spoke of in an earlier post. They brought back childhood memories, and are presently serving as my home office chairs at Indore.  Pretty comfy.

Mondha chairs

Not sure if they are called that, but we sat on them as kids in Kothagudem, A.P. while growing up. They are woven rope and cane chairs. Also available without a back as mondhas. I went on a drive outside the Indore IIM campus looking for some chairs, and there was a seller on the roadside-as if he'd guessed. I couldn't resist them, and bought a couple to do up my newly acquired and mostly empty house.

Drove to Mhow, a pleasant 12 kms. away, just to get acquainted with the surroundings. It is getting cold at night, so my ventures will mostly be daytime. Bought a pipe to water a huge lawn-cum-garden I have out in front. More later.

The Year Gone By- 2013

2013 was a good year.

In Jan I was recruiting faculty at IMT Ghaziabad.

In Feb I was planning a convocation at IMT Nagpur.

In March we welcomed Mr. Azim Premji at the convocation.

In April we had a faculty meeting spread over Nagpur and Bhedaghat (Marble Rocks) close to Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, my home-state to be (though I didn't know it then).

In May, we had a series of alumni meets of Nagpur alums across 5 cities. Also took a family break to Thailand and got introduced to a few Buddhas-sitting, smiling and reclining. A boat ride on the river was a highlight.

Welcomed a brand new batch of students at Nagpur in June. Taught them Golf and the case method.

A very wet monsoon followed in July- August. Lot of guest faculty from my IIM batch came to speak. So did Devapriya Roy, a friend and author from Delhi.

Went to visit Lonar crater in Buldana district, formed by a meteorite hit. Fantastic sight. Had a great golfing trip to Kodaikanal with Gadgil and Vijayakumar, colleagues at Na…

Michael Caine- Autobiography

That was his screen name. He writes better than Bond- Roger Moore, that is. I read Moore's autobiography earlier, but found it mildly interesting or soporific depending on the time of the day.  This one is better-written; the humour is good. Sample this- he quotes a joke from a stand-up comedian- "I slept like a log. I woke up in the fireplace." And a couple of lines from an Austin Powers movie that he starred in-
1. explaining why he had a stiff neck- "I took a Viagra and it got stuck in my throat" (not Michael Caine's line, but the hero's), and
2. another line, his own-"There are only two things I hate in the world: people who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and the Dutch."

His own fondness for humour comes through in the book. Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels was a comedy he starred in and rates highly- it stars in my top ten Hollywood films too. Another favourite he and I share is the actor Humphrey Bogart, and two of his films- Th…

Indore and Outdoor

Ok, that is a bad pun. But fun. I got to go outdoors in Indore. Decided to explore and went to a place that has a lot of history associated with the Holkars who ruled here two-three centuries ago.

Rajwada is a seven-storeyed structure that was burnt by the attacking troops from a hostile Scindia of   Gwalior. It has a small museum with artefacts from those Holkar days, some rifles, copper coins, measures like chhatak, pau, seer etc., and pics. There was also a pic of young Vijayendra Ghatge (actor), who was related.

Very crowded markets, and difficult drive, but worth visiting.

Jokes

Jokes forwarded by a friend.

Ek aadmi RAM Mandir gaya aur rone laga he RAM  meri biwi kho gayi. RAMJI bole: Baju wale HANUMAN Mandir me jake bol meri bhi usi ne dhundi thi.   -----------------------------------------------
Teacher ne Gadhe ke samne 1 Daaru ki aur  1 Pani ki Balti rakhi, 
Gadha Pani pi gaya.
Teacher: Tumne iss se kya Sikha?
Student: Jo Daaru nahi pita Woh Gadha hota hai.
------------------------------------- Gandhiji ne kaha :- Izzat karni ho to wife Ki karo... khayal rakhna ho toh wife ka rakho, Pyaar karna ho toh wife se karo...
Magar wife kis ki? Ye bapu ne bataya hi nahin!!! Naughty Bapu!!! ------------------------------------ Wife drinking BEER asked "Tum kaun ho?" 
Husband- "Pagal ho gayi ho kya? Apne husband ko bhool gayi? " 
Wife: "Nasha har gum bhula deta hai "Bhaisaab" ----------------------------------------------- Gadha- Mera malik bahut marta hai!
Kutta- Toh tu bhag kyoon nahi jata ???
Gadha- Uski khoobsoorat ladki jab p…

Bullet Raja

Not a classic, may not even be Tigmanshu Dhulia's best (Paan Singh Tomar was better), but it is a watchable action flick with some subtleties not found in crasser versions of movies about the U.P. badlands.

Its music is not too good, and Sonakshi's role is wishy-washy (what she is doing in Gulshan Grover's hotel room is not too clear, as a part of her characterisation), but on the whole, it has a good pace and I watched it without much effort at it.

I think the undercurrent of the movie is even better than the story on the surface. The fact that most institutions have been compromised, if it is a fact, is disturbing. The courts give bail at their political masters' whims, a mafia rules the state with cops and others simply falling in line, a guy in jail acts as if he is holidaying in the Bahamas, and generally there seem to be no protests from anyone. A businessman (called 'Kuber' by his accomplice holidaying in jail) finances elections in a non-transparent fa…