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Showing posts from 2016

Cooing in Coonoor

An old joke about cooing in Coonoor and wooing in (W)Ooty is what triggered the title. But our purpose this time was not one of the above. It was simply chilling. There were five of us, classmates from MBA days at Bangalore, who formed the chillar party, or the chilling brigade. Starting out in Bangalore, we headed out to Ooty, enroute to Coonoor, which was to be our abode. Discovering that the Ooty Gymkhana Golf Club was on the way, three of us decided to play there. We had a great time, and proceeded to Coonoor in the evening. Temperatures were actually quite pleasant, contrary to what we thought they would be.

Walks, talks, card games, and eating out at various places is what we indulged ourselves in, with a bit of Single Malt to keep us company. We also managed to get a sketch of ours done by an artist in one of the restaurants we had gone to (we HAD formally learnt management, after all).

On day 2, we played golf at the beautiful Wellington Golf Club near Coonoor. As we wound ou…

Leaving Your Stamp on the Sands of Time

As the Dust Settles

I am writing this as an impartial observer, without any political leaning of any kind. As the dust settles on the "demonetisation" and some realities seem to sink in, it may be a good time to look at the pluses and minuses so far- this may change due to subsequent actions of various stakeholders.

The shock value was delivered impeccably- an achievement in itself.

The initial reactions indicated that broadly, people supported the decision, assuming all would be back to normal in a few weeks.

It is not clear why the government chose to change the size of the notes, requiring recalibration of all ATMs. This delayed the functioning of ATMs at full capacity.

The cash supply has not yet returned to normal, at least not in the ATMs. This is from personal experience in at least three cities that I travelled to in the past week.

Possibility of corruption in RBI, banks and so on seems to have been overlooked. This has siphoned off a lot of money that could have reached the common man…

Digital Marketing Course- First Edition

I just finished teaching the digital marketing course- its first edition.

It is an exciting new area to teach in, and required a few months of preparation. Fortunately, I was able to write a couple of original case studies, and used them in the course. Chats with former students who work in the area also helped. Compared to traditional media (I used to teach the advertising course earlier, and also worked in an ad agency many years ago), the digital media are very dynamic and may change in character or opportunities offered, every two or three years.

Anyway, since it is a new area, I also tested some unique assessment methods. One of them was to assign students to write blogs on the subject of digital marketing, update the content regularly, and measure the readership after trying their best to promote the blogs through email or social media. The result was gratifying.

More innovations will follow in edition 2 next year. Keeps everyone on their toes. Me too.

T Time

The importance of T cannot be underestimated in life.

It wakes up so many people daily and makes them functional human beings, somewhat tolerable to the rest of humani-tea.

You exclaim when something is going exactly right, that "it fits to a T."

Golf actually uses the tee in two ways. Starting off is called a Tee-off, and the wooden/plastic ball-holder on which you put the ball before swinging at it is also called a tee.

What I do for a living begins with a t- teaching!

The easiest gift to give someone is a t- shirt.

When someone is feeling down, you give them TLC- tender loving care.

We live on Oxygen. And who gives us that in exchange for carbon dioxide? A Tree, of course.


Dear Zindagi- Film Review

It's a film worth watching for its unusual subject- the mental trauma of its lead character and its treatment. There aren't too many films about it, and if there are, usually are handled (treated?) immaturely by the directors. This one is a more measured, and leisurely paced look at it.

Alia Bhatt does justice to her role as a modern confused youngster unable to free herself from her past memories, until her therapist helps to re-interpret them and helps her grow up and shed the burden.

The only complaint I have is that the scenes with Alia are sometimes repetitive, and could have been cut down to bring the film down by about 15 minutes in length. The ending is a bit too pat, with all her exes present to applaud. It reminded me of Mera Naam Joker, where all the people (Xs, Ys and Zs) in Raj Kapoor's life are present together while he performs in the last act of the circus.

Shah Rukh does a lot better at this (playing his age), than in teenage lover roles (which he did wel…

Book Review- TED Talks

This is a book about what TED talks are, and How to be a TED talker if you want to be one- straight from the horse's mouth. Chris Anderson runs the TED franchise now, after the original founder.

There are a lot of pointers on how everyone has a unique story to tell, and is a possible TED speaker. But also on how to prepare for a talk, within the 18 minute limit.

Many Dos and some Don'ts are a part of this, but what makes it unique and useful are the examples from various TED talks, on subjects ranging from laughter to the nature of DNA and their impact on various things that matter. Or, How More Choice Makes us Unhappier! The talk must have a structure that is easy for the audience to follow, but you can also have suspense, humour, visuals or dreams about a better future to enthuse them. Being yourself, and connecting with the audience as a human are the most important. Most people in any audience want you to do well, and will respond, unless you are perceived as arrogant, or…

Kahani 2- Film Review

I had Vidya Balan on my top ten list of heroines. She vindicates my choice, with yet another stellar performance. The story is a bit more linear than in the first, but manages to keep you glued, rather than bored.

The ending is a bit melodramatic, but I was happy just to see this genre of suspense/drama reappear on Hindi screen. It does not have many takers, and Sujoy Ghosh must be a rare director-to be complimented for it. And doing it well too. Reminded me of old films like 36 Ghante, Faraar and Ittefaq.

The other actors who play the daughter, the wife of Arjun Rampal, his boss, and the corrupt policewoman, are also good. Arjun and Jugal Hansraj play their parts well. The cinematography is good and the editing tight. The pace is good, and keeps you engrossed because there are hardly any unnecessary diversions.

I would say, go watch it if you are either into suspenseful dramas or Vidya Balan.

Prof Ananth

I keep listening to many people as a part of my job. I think public speaking in our country needs to be taught on a war footing, because many speakers manage to effortlessly put me to sleep. One exception was this week. Prof. Ananth, former director, IIT Madras. I heard him speak at an event TCS conducted called Sangam, an academia-industry interface. He was superb. He spoke about education- higher education- and its purpose. My IIMB classmate Sandhya who was head of the Research Park near IIT also figured in his talk, but that's incidental.

Here are a few gems from his talk.

On the futility of excessive exams

C. Rajagopalachari once visited us (he narrated), and asked during his talk, "I believe you have exams EVERY YEAR nowadays?,"  looking surprised at it.

On Repetition

The speaker visited the US and heard a pastor giving his sermon. He asked the pastor at the end, "Why did you repeat the same thing seven times?" The pastor told him, "Because, at any g…

What I enjoyed most this year..

So far this year, I enjoyed-

random chats with fb friends.

teaching the Digital Marketing course.

planned and unplanned meetings with alums of earlier batches of various B schools I taught in- some took the trouble to visit me in Indore too.

family time at Hyderabad, Pune.

conversations around the dining table, faculty lounge, in restaurants or at home.

running quizzes on random subjects on facebook, reading the answers.

watching some offbeat films... and a few formulaic ones.

reading a few good books- made my debut with Harry Potter.

travel to Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand for various conferences or work.

taking pics, one or two selfies included. :)




Demonetised Jokes

Don't demonise demonetisation- it's the wrong spelling.

A Demo was never so effective before.

What's the opposite of demonetise? Democratise (Cash supply).

What happens if you demonetise again and again? You become ir-redeemable.

What did the RBI guv say? I promise to pay you a sum of..conditions apply.

Who sang a song about demo? Remo.

What's it for the black money hoarders? Pay(back)- t(i)m(e)- in short, Paytm.


What I Learnt From...

You don't learn only from text books. Life's lessons are everywhere..these were some of mine. Not an exhaustive list.

I learnt unconditional love from my many aunts/cousins..still some way to go in practising it.

I learnt how to quip from Ameen Sayani, my favourite radio host - jockey sounds disrespectful in his case. He connected song to something interesting, always, in Binaca Geet Mala.

Learnt how to wiggle my eyebrows from an Uncle- it was great fun. Still is.

How to cook, from roommates and friends in the U.S. Quick and filling, was the key.

How to laugh, from reading PG Wodehouse, Asterix comics, and many others like Pu La, the Marathi humourist.

How to appreciate drama, from watching Bollywood films, children, teenagers,..

To appreciate music, from listening to GREAT singers- Rafi, Kishore, Hemant, Talat, Asha, Geeta, ..

Teaching, by experimenting with many different ideas, not being wedded to any one..

Writing, I have no idea how..




New Songs for Changeing Times

New songs must be coined for the çhanged, or changing times.- where you are either short of change, or short of money itself. Here is an attempt. Inspiration is from old songs, of course- original thinking is passe- haven't you heard?

Ooo khilona, jaan kar tum toh purana note laati ho..

Jeena bhi kya hai jeena, ATM lines ke bina..oo ho ho, aa ha ha..

O majhi re, purane note le ja, nadiya ki dhara mein..

Zindagi ka safar, hai yeh kaisa suffer, koi note nahin, hai toh chalta nahin..

Yaadon ki baraat nikli hai aaj dil ke dwaare, purane noton ke haar pehne Mayawati ko pukaare..

Main to chala, jidhar ATM dikha, kahan meri manzil, mujhe kya pata..

Hum black money wale, hargiz na the, par hum white bhi ikattha kar na sake, humko mili iski sazaa, paise ke liye dar dar phire..jhingalala hoom, jhingala hoom.

Koi maane ya na maane jo kal tak the anjaane woh aaj hamein jaan se bhi pyare ho gaye (new notes- no change in original lyrics here)










The Colour of Money and People

The colours are important. Black or white. You are looked at through jaundiced (yellow) eyes. You may be pure as driven snow (white), or Snow White herself. Or you may be a Grey or worse. People end up revealing their true colours at some point.

We learn to colour things early-with our drawing books. Beauty may lie in the eyes of the beholder, but colours have a lot to do with it. A red rose would not be the same if it was some lesser colour. The blue of the sea and the green of the valley is something we cherish.

The money too. The black is what is earned through foul means. So taking money out and forcing people to work and barter their labour for something may be a good way to purge humanity of its ills. We are temporarily is such a state with the demonetisation, and have begun to appreciate how a poor man lives without any cash, for days on end. The month-end syndrome of no cash has become a daily occurrence for the last few days.

The new notes are of a different colour altogethe…

Living with Change of Places

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I have lived in Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Mumbai, Harihar, Hyderabad, Interior Andhra Pradesh, Calicut, Indore, Nagpur, Delhi, Clemson, Greenwood (both in the US)...

The upshot of all this is I feel like a global citizen, because of the variety of people that I have encountered in these places. To their credit, most people I came across have been Good to Great (to filch a bestselling title of a book), with just a few exceptions.

The things I remember the most are the good things - the Oranges, the kababs, the biryani, the pickles, the chaats, the chhole-bhature, the Chettinad chicken, the fish, the Pizza Huts (in the US, they were a favourite), the California Rose wine, Mahatma brand of rice (in the US), the Fall Colours (amazing work of nature), the lakes and mountains of South Carolina, Virginia, the Geysers and multi-hued terraces at Yellowstone, stalactites and stalagmites at Carlsbad Caverns (Arizona), Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon, Muzappilangad beach (though I can't…

What Elections Mean- to us and the US

They give you an illusion that you (and they) are going to change the world, most of the time. If that were true, it should have changed every five years- or four. Sometimes, your world changes for the better. More often, it remains the same, because the visible portion of the government changes, and the invisible remains more or less the same. Where are the big ideas that will change lives dramatically? I fail to see what either Hillary or Trump will do in that direction. Nothing that I heard in the flashes of the debates that I saw gave me even a clue.

So it may not really change anything for most of the people in the U.S., if I can make a prediction. And to think that India needs a particular President in the U.S. to do well itself is really foolish. We have to pull up our socks and work at it, in more ways than one. One of these ways is stop expecting any miracles from our government, and work harder if we want to see results.

You could of course, dismiss these as ramblings of an…

Albums- Hindi

There are great songs in Hindi films, but this is about a whole album of a Hindi film being good. Most of these are from the 70s, or earlier. You can add your own favourites to the following-

1. Waqt

2. The Train

3. Mere Jeevan Sathi

4. Aradhana

5. Rajnigandha

6. Chitchor

7. Khel Khel Mein

8. Guide

9. Johnny Mera Naam

10. Amar Prem

11. Jawani Diwani

12. Anand

13. Hamraaz (Sunil Dutt)

14. Aandhi

15. Jewel Thief

Lost in translation?

What would some global characters/people/films translate to, if they were Indianised?

James Bond would be Janu Bande and 007, shunya, shunya saat. M would be Ma, in Hindi.

Star Wars would be Sitaron ki Jung.

Star Trek could be Chalat musafir taron ke sung.

Herbie Goes Bananas would be Haribhai gaye kele lene.

Mackenna's Gold, (in Telugu)- Venkanna Bangaram.

Game of Thrones- Singhasan pe siyasat.

and the reverse.

Anarkali would be Pomogranate-bud.

Chacha Chaudhary would be Uncle Chow.

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam would be  Baby, I gave you my heart.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, would be That guy Prem gets the pie.


Shivaay- Film Review

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Ajay Devgn is an actor I like, right from his debut film Phool aur Kaante. I am not so sure about his directorial capabilities, though. A good director has to be a good editor, for me. This film is badly edited.

The story is good- actually, gripping at times. The acting is uniformly good. The casting is almost perfect. The only problem I have is the length of the movie. About 20-25 minutes shorter, it would rank high up there. That's where Bond usually scores over his Bollywood rivals.

Girish Karnad is the only character in the film who keeps it short and sweet. All others stretch their dialogue or scenes too long, in my not-so-humble view. The special effects, action (Bond-ish) and the scenery keep you interested, for most part. I was impressed by the lovely Erika Kaar, by far the best import into Bollywood in recent times. The kid (Abigail) too played her part well.

This is Erika Kaar, a Polish actress who plays the heroine.



Book Review- Love, Lies and Layoffs

I read mostly non-fiction, unless a Murakami strikes. Or a Wodehouse. But every once in a while (Old Jungle Saying, like in Phantom Comics), I read something that I picked up impulsively at the airport..just because it looks interesting.

This one is a well-written story of an office romance- utterly predictable, between a guy and a girl at a media house. Office politics is the villain, rather than any one person, that hangs like a cloud over the love-birds. The supporting cast is impressive, from bimbettes to well-meaning alcoholics. Sort of 'Na tum jaano na hum' in prose.

The corporate shenanigans instantly brought in thoughts of the ongoing Tata-Mistry saga that's playing out as we speak. This one's smaller in scale, but interesting nevertheless. One identifies with Frieda, the narrator, which is half the battle won for the author in any story.

Nice read, for its style, realism and wit. My first with Usha Narayanan, the author.

Hillarious Observations on the 2016 Elections

Now that we are close to the end of a tragi-comic sequence of events leading to many Americans wishing that they had more Trudeau (pun intended) with candidate selection, we can brace for the aftermath.

If Trump gets elected, I will start a wall-building company, before Hiranandani or other construction companies get in. The Mexican border is big, and can keep me rich for 4 years.

If Hillary becomes President, I will start an email-destroying company, and get rich. If a mere secretary of state destroyed 35,000, imagine how many a Prez can destroy?

The Pentagon may be re-named The Hexagon, with a multi-faced President deciding that 5 sides are too few.

Ab ki baar, Trump sarkar, ya Hillary ke achche din aa gaye? Tension is increasing. Fox (news) is panting, and the stock markets are watching. Voters, I am sure, are wondering..what to do.



Why You Could Teach

I am going to try and sum up why I am into teaching, and let you figure out if you should.

I worked in industry after my MBA for two years- advertising and marketing research. Then I got a chance to get a Ph.D. in the U.S., and went for it. I started teaching as part of my scholarship, and found I liked it. After the Ph.D. in 1989, I started full-time teaching, and haven't stopped. Just a few years' break for admin./leadership roles, but I am back into full-time teaching now.

I find it's one of the most fulfilling professions around. Maybe barring a few-very few. Firstly, you are with young people, and that rubs off on you. You see lots of people who are idealistic, like you were (or are), who think they will change the world. Some actually will.

Given the numbers today, you may not remember every student by name, but they always remember you- for good or bad. I still remember most profs. who taught me in my MBA and Ph.D. classes- some more than others, because they gave …

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil- Film Review

A serious film review may not serve much purpose, because this review is a bit late- half the population would have seen the film, either because of Fawad Khan, or to snub Raj Thackeray-oh yes, Ranbir too (not to snub him, his fans). Also, it's a Karan Johar film. So I will only give you a summary of where I think he has copied from, various segments of this film.

First, the last segment is a straight lift from Sweet November- the cancer bit.

The first segment seems like some leftover shots from Tamasha, with Anushka getting into Deepika's skin. Maybe technology has advanced to enable directors to do that.

The party shots are copied from Irrfan Khan's spoof on party songs. And the club remains the same, no matter which country Ranbir and Anushka are in.

In between, Farah Khan's influence shows- no story, Bollywood songs of yore, and cuteness overload. Shah Rukh too.

In summary, though an hour too long, it's not a bad film, if you keep expectations at floor level.(…

Three No Trumps

This is what you may bid when you are playing the card game of Bridge. I am into more mundane pursuits right now, like making Trump jokes. Because it's the done thing, and I may not get a chance to do them after November (the elections).

Trumpeting. Trump (without an elephant's trunk) talking about himself.

Ta ra rum pum pum.. reactions of people to Trump claiming to be the right man to lead a democracy of mostly sane citizens.

Trumped up charges- Founders of ISIS are Hillary and Obama.

Trump tax returns- Even Columbus would find it taxing to discover any money there!

Trump Debate- Everyone is an ***hole, but me.

Trump Home- A Wig-wam.

Donald's score - a Duck!





Theatres in Hyderabad

I saw a lot of movies while growing up in Hyderabad. This is a tribute to the theatres I saw them in.

Sangeet was an upmarket theatre in Secunderabad, that mostly screened English films. Lawrence of Arabia, The Poseidon Adventure, Patton, are some films that I saw there.

Ramakrishna 70 mm was a grand theatre near Abids in Hyderabad. Guns of Navarone was one film I vividly rember seeing there. And Sholay in 70 mm, a visual treat. Sanjeev Kumar's voice sounded fantastic on their sound system. The 35 mm cousin is where I saw Rajnigandha, and Chitchor. I think Shareef Badmash too.

Ashok, Navrang and Vikranti were all on the same road, in Jambagh. Saw many movies there, including Anand, Agent Vinod, and Patthar ke Sanam. Damaad too, an Amol Palekar comedy.

Farheen was a 70 mm theatre, where I saw Where Eagles Dare with Richard Burton and Clint eastwood-magnificient. Zamarrud nearby, is where I saw Ijaazat, and Phandebaaz, a Dharmendra comedy.

Venkatesa is one near Kacheguda that I saw…

Cambodian Fantasy- Pics

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Phnom Penh, near and in Royal Palace. Above, and two pics below.


Standing tall. Angkor.
Apsaras (not kidding, they are called Apsaras) on walls.
Poetry in stone- Angkor Wat temples, Siem Reap -below (with the Missus) and above.

Blog Metrics

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These are stats from my blog for the week. Using this as an example for the digital marketing course, where we discuss metrics- or measurement of content you put online for marketing purposes. Promoting your blog on your facebook page increases possible reach, as the stats here demonstrate. Headlines/keywords too play a role. My blogs
Madhosh Kiye Jaa  ·  Overview stats Oct 4, 2016 11:30 AM – Oct 11, 2016 10:30 AM
New post Overview  Posts Pages Comments Stats
OverviewPostsTraffic sourcesAudience Earnings Campaigns Layout Template Settings
Pageviews today 140

Digital Marketing Course

I am currently teaching a course on Digital Marketing to MBA students at IIM Indore. This is an interesting subject, amenable to using a few digital media live during the course. We have already started blogs on the subject of digital marketing, and intend to measure their effectiveness, and discuss why certain blogs did better than others. Nothing like a live project whose results are measurable instantly- like the digital marketing metrics themselves.

We will also try other things such as web design, writing copy for display ads or email marketing as we go along. I also have a couple of cases that I wrote specially for this course, one of which was presented at an international conference recently. Lots of my former students are doing some form of digital marketing at their jobs, and have volunteered interesting tidbits.

In another class, we have a facebook group formed to share any links on useful articles that anyone may find and want to share. Using the power of social media as …

Fifty Six and More

How long you live is not known. But you do have aspirations for yourself in the years that you do. Here are some of mine.

That I have lots of small joys every day. An unexpected mail, or meeting. A smile, or a guffaw, a shared joke..

A well-made cup of tea, with the right amount (for me) of milk, sugar and the tea. With music.

A nice book.

An intelligent, witty comment, or turn of phrase from someone on a facebook post. Or a funny forward.

A beautiful photograph, of a person, place, thing.

A pleasant memory coming back to haunt me.

A great biryani at regular intervals. Hyderabadi, preferably.

7th Pay Commission being implemented ( a sour note? I just want the govt. to be more efficient).

Opportunities to travel, as long as the limbs can move.

To see the sea, every once in a while. Hoping to make it to Sri Lanka in 2017.

Peace (no news channels, hopefully they'll disppear from the face of the earth one day).

Otherwise, the Deluge

Some famous Queen supposedly said, "After me, the deluge." She thought she was the centre of the universe, I suppose.

But there are many journalists/columnists who sing the same song. As in..

If we don't privatise,...

If we don't cut interest rates,...

If we don't devalue the currency,..

If we don't de-regulate power, ...

If we open up the country to retail giants like...

If we give reservations to X, Y, Z, community/caste...

If NGOs are allowed to get unlimited foreign funds,..

If we don't catch the murderer of X,...

Most of these pieces, about 1000-word long, argue very persuasively that the world is about to end. Even if a couple of nuclear bombs were to be used by a lunatic, the world is unlikely to end anytime soon. The Chinese and Indians alone will ensure that humans as a race will suvive even if depleted marginally. Therefore, there's no cause for worry. But if I don't end this post here,....


Missions Impossible?

Missions in life are becoming impossible. I am beginning to think Tom Cruise had it easy. Let me illustrate.

First, the mission was to find a Joke to forward on email.

Then it was to find a good-looking pic of yourself for fb..

Then a Selfie-good looks didn't matter, pouts did.

After that, it was to find some 360 degree pic/ panorama.

Then we migrated to GIFs, and one had to figure out how to get those.

Now, it's Videos that are the rage..

No wonder, I call them Missions Impossible!

War and Peace

It is hard to say this under provocations of the kind that Pakistan keeps throwing at India regularly. But it needs to be said. War is never a great idea, for the victor or the vanquished. It may be necessary in self-defense or extreme provocation, but shaming, sanctions, or any other way (proxy, covert or guerrilla war) is always better than war. It results in destruction on both sides, with many lives being destroyed-innocent lives too, in addition to those of soldiers-those are also unnecessary losses, by the way.

Look at any ongoing or recent war around the world- Palestine/Israel, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, etc. and you will find misery on both sides. We are unaware of the casualties that India suffered in 1971, though Bangla Desh was liberated and Pakistan defeated. Just because the military complex in Pakistan has no better ideas, India does not have to engage in full-scale war at a cost to its civilian population. It could try many other options.

Pink- Film Review

Reminded me of some courtroom dramas that B.R. Chopra specialised in. A serious film about a serious issue, and well-made. No distractions, except perhaps the scenes with Amitabh's companion who has no relevance to the story.

When is a molestation a molestation, is the question that the film raises, but in the process exposes many of our wrong attitudes. Also does not show up the police in good light (films rarely do), nor the politically connected classes who bend the law. The judiciary is one which shines, here.

The ageing Amitabh Bachchan pulls off a pretty tough role, barring some unclear dialogues he mumbles early in the film. But in the court scenes, he comes into his own, despite a worthy competitor in Piyush Mishra (recently saw him in Happy Bhag Jayegi-he was brilliant there).

The MCP crowd may not like it, but it's like a sucker punch aimed at their jaw, so it's Ok. The rest, you must watch it. Taapsee Pannu is very good, and so are her two flatmates. The wrong …

Condensed Books

No, the books are not physically condensed. The stories are, to make them palatable to a new generation.

Ramayan

Ram weds Sita, goes to the jungle due to step-mom's shenanigans. Inveigled by Ravan in the form of a deer, goes to Lanka after a kidnapping episode with Sita, to get her back. Kumbhakarna is sleeping (for a few months), but wakes up when the war between Ram and Ravan starts. Hanuman (his tail plays a big role) and his army of monkeys help Ram defeat Ravan. Laxman, Ram and Sita come back to Ayodhya. Ram rajya prevails.

Mahabharat

There are 5 brothers (Pandavas) who have a hundred cousins (the Kauravas). They fight over their kingdom constantly, while the elders look on. Arjuna wins Draupadi in an open archery contest, but his Mom inadvertently makes her the wife of all five brothers. The fight continues between the cousins (Duryodhana is the bad guy), and in an eighteen day war, aided by Krishna, the Pandavas win. Bada Bheem is one of the heroes in the battle. But they …

Purpose of Life According to..

There was a book titled The World According to Garp, many years ago. This is an attempt to define the purpose of (your) life according to..

Parents..to get married and "settle down" (meaning unknown).

FinMin..to pay taxes.

Boyfriends/Girlfriends..to give them your undivided attention. Looking at other specimens of their kind strictly forbidden.

Civil engineers.. to build bridges with them.

TV channels- to switch off.

Animal-lovers..to adopt a few zillion cats/dogs/gorillas..

Modi-bhakts.. to praise him for sleeping 4 hours a day.

Rahul Gandhi bhakts..to admire his dimples, and..let's not get there.

Kejriwal bhakts..to get into a scandal to make HIM look good.

MBAs- to do your bit to increase the supply of consultants and investment bankers and reduce all jobs that make your hands dirty.

Politicians- to vote for them, regardless..

Bankers/credit card companies- to take loans beyond your capacity to pay in this life.

Spouses.. no purpose at all, except to fight with them…

Parallel Governments, Judiciary, et al

That we don't as a nation have much respect for the rule of law is quite well-known. Violation of traffic rules is a small symptom, though wide-spread. Lawless behaviour extends into other areas too, sometimes life-threatening (honour killings, for example).

But what keeps happening with regularity is violence based on some excuse-any excuse at all- where all sanity seems non-existent, and mobs rule our roads. I have seen too many such instances over the years, though personally the most chilling was the 1984 riots in Delhi, because I lived there at the time. Right from the ones at the time of our independence (partition, Bengal etc.) til date, we have not been able to control the urge to settle arguments on the road. It's similar to the need that the U.S. and a few others seem to have, to go bomb someone somewhere when the urge becomes uncontrollable. The excuse does not really matter.

This urge for violence towards a fellow human (sometimes family, as in honour killings), i…

Epic Terms Old and New

Epic - not to be confused with The Odessey, or the Ramayana, this is just an expression that expresses that something (anything) is very good!

Bestie- this is not a beast, but a human you like. Confusing part is, there could be more than one best, and grammar takes a best, sorry, backseat.

Bro- it's unisex, and is derived from brother, a term commonly used to describe brothers in early 21st century. Some centuries ago, Pardner was a similar term (in the Cowboy era in the US of A).

Awesome- this could be an ice-cream, or a chicken tikka, and does not necessarily have to be a view of the Alps.

Awww-  this term is reserved for exclusive use by the fairer sex. No one knows what it means, but we suspect it means cute.

You can add more, and improve the General Knowledge of the general public.










Asha Bhosle Turns 83

She is an amazing artist. I am not sure when I learnt to recognise her voice, but it had a magical quality. I was not much into female singers, what with Kishore Kumar occupying centre-stage in my choice of film songs, but she was so good that I paid attention. Some songs that may have attracted me initially were- Parde mein rehne do, parda na uthao.. from Shikaar, Haal kaisa hai janaab ka (Chalti ka Naam Gaadi) and Ga mere man ga (from Lajwanti), a couple from Mere Sanam and Jewel Thief (Raat akeli hai, bujh gaye diye, filmed on Tanuja), and later on, some duets with Kishore Kumar.

Jaane jaan dhoondhta phir raha from Jawani Diwani was a great number, and so was Dum MaroDum, the iconic song from Dev Anand's film Hare Rama Hare Krishna.There was a steady stream of seductive songs she sang for Helen, like Piya tu ab to aaja (Caravan) and Yeh mera dil pyar ka deewana (Don), or Simple Kapadia (Jab chhaye, mera Jadu, koi bach na paaye, in Lootmaar). Pyar hua hai jabse, mujhkko nahin ch…

New Ways to Die

Who says the last inventor was Thomas Edison? We as a species have always been inventors. It's in our blood- or at least in a couple of us, like Zuckerberg. But I am not talking of dating inventions that went out of control here. I am talking of new ways to die.

In the good old days (just a turn of phrase, can't guarantee they were ACTUALLY good), we could only get a good old heart attack (by whatever name called), or drown in  a river.

Gradually, we invented car crashes (after cars were invented, of course), air crashes (likewise), and a sundry collection of such methods. Some went so far as to crash a Space Shuttle too, but that was rare.

Now, since  9/11, we have turned our attention to the dying process, and have turned innovative. Some top favourites are-

A selfie on the edge of a cliff- talk about LIVING on the edge!

The doctor leaving his scissors in your tummy. A scissarian section?

Driving while you text. What, you say it's too graphic? Text can't be, it'…