Showing posts from 2017

IIMB Year Book 1984


Anopheles Takes Stock

Anopheles, my winged friend, was back. Her first question to me was, "Why are you perpetually having elections?"

"Because we are a democracy, of course," I had to say.

"Yes, but so many of them? With so much of misleading misrepresentation of truth?"

"You can call them lies, I have no problem with the truth," I told her.

"But the real issues get side-tracked, don't you think?"

"Not really, the bullet train is still on track," I told her.

"Hope that's not the SILVER BULLET,  the end of the story," she replied. I could sense some sarcasm.

"No, of course not. We have Vikas."

"Who's he?" she was curious, having known some names of my human friends.

"Well, it's not a 'he'. It's a word for development, in Hindi."

"Oh, you mean the stuff that's happening ever so slowly since the British left you to your own devices?"

I was amazed at her knowledge of h…

Rajasthan Over the Years in Pictures

First, Udaipur, then, at Jodhpur (with Sita Mishra recently), and with Prarthana in the traditional colourful headgear on a roadtrip.
 Stayed in this haveli with Manoharan for admission work, 2009. A shot of the ceiling, below.
and the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur. Jodhpur, Mehrangarh, with Neveen Das, my Ph.D. student then.  Chittorgarh victory tower, above, and a camel ride, below in Jaisalmer. 2015.

Rajasthan is fascinating, and I have been there several times.
and finally, the swag at having done it. Kuldhara, the mysterious deserted village near Jaisalmer.

A Wedding Party in Nagpur

Went to her wedding and met Abha Kulkarni, a former student (of IMT), for the first time there- I was the bride's guest. Must have happened for the first time. Thanks to Facebook, though, I feel that I know her pretty well. She's been a winner of some of my awards on fb. Anyway, the feeling of meeting someone in person (and seeing the radiant smile in this case) is much more than a facebook friendship. I highly recommend meeting some fb friends regularly when you can, and multiplying your joy. I try my best to meet one per visit to any city, at least. My own alumni meets of sorts.

In this case, of course, I was accompanied by my ex-colleagues Vijayakumar and Anant Ram who had taught her at IMT and told me she was a great student. It was a coincidence that her husband Rohan is from Nagpur, and enabled me to be here for the event. Found out from chatting with her parents that they have lived in Bangalore for many years. I am a fan of Nagpuri stuff like Oranges, and I also like …

Spending Time in Nagpur

This is a special place, as many pleasant years were spent here, and a majority of my student/alumni friends (thanks to facebook, naturally) happen to be from IMT Nagpur where I worked. Some of my faculty friends are the major reason I was spending the weekend this time around, but I was able to drop in on a wedding of a former student, Abha, too.

IMT was an exciting place to be, and we had a whole empty canvas which we filled with colour, to the best of our abilities. Some good initiatives that we were a part of- alumni meets in 5 cities, a Goa case conference, regular guest lectures from industry, and some training programs for regular clients like GSI and Asian Paints. A couple of new ventures by students also blossomed on the campus, one of the loveliest I have been a part of- IIMK and IIMI are also pretty campuses. And KIAMS, on the banks of the river Tungabhadra.

What particularly impressed me was the EQ of students at Nagpur, in addition to their IQ. I think the combination w…

My Ideal Person

I am an evolved being- at least that's what I like to think, after all these years on the planet. So my choice of humans is those with some or all of the following qualities-

Fun, not overly serious about every little thing going on.

Good singers- I like music, so Cacofonix is certainly not a favourite. Actually, good atany creative arts.

Courteous, and not just to the boss or superior. Just naturally.

One who laughs a lot. Related to no. 1, but not exactly the same thing.

One who clearly prefers a human to a mobile phone (it's a thing for me).

Sensible too, if possible, but that's not essential :)

Shashi Kapoor is No More

I liked Shashi Kapoor, though I don't think he was a great actor. But he radiated good vibes and charm in any role he played- I particularly liked his light-hearted roles like the ones in Trishul and Chor Machaye Shor (this was the film with the song Le jayenge, le jayenge dilwaale dulhaniya le jayenge, that inspired the DDLJ title).

He did many unique things in his 79 years. He produced a range of good films, like Junoon and Utsav. I thought Utsav was aesthetically brilliant, and tackled a subject that we don't hear of too much. Some songs were outstanding too, and Rekha looked great in the movie.

He also preserved Prithvi Theatres, along with Jennifer, his wife. Marrying a foreigner was also not common in those days, but they had met during his theatre days. His early success was a film co-starring Nanda, an established heroine who acted with this newcomer to films.

Unlike some others, he had no compunctions playing the second lead, and that led to many good films with Amit…

Celebrating 4 Years at IIM Indore

My second longest work stint- I have worked at Clemson (Teaching Asst.), Lander University, XIM Bhubaneswar, Vignana Jyothi, Kirloskar Institute, IIM Lucknow, IIM Kozhikode, PESIT, IFIM B School, IMT Nagpur and Ghaziabad before I got here. Kirloskar was the longest I stayed-7 years approx.

I learnt a lot here, and have enjoyed the company of some lovely people. Taught in our Dubai program, PGP MX (Weekend), Exec PGP, FPM, and the flagship PGP. Also did a couple of administrative stints as MDP chair and now as Dean (Faculty). Went to a few conferences and designed a few programs on Retail and Digital Marketing. Watched some talented students perform my favourite plays such as "The Importance of Being Earnest"  and work on the Google Online Marketing Challenge and win it.

Some glimpses from these 4 years.
 Shweta Kushal becomes a Golfer!
 Me and the Narmada river at Maheshwar.
 A great view of IIM Indore.
 Jayasimha and Archana at Jahaz Mahal, Mandu. He and I have now worked …

Odd Films That Stayed With Me

Jangal Mein Mangal was one, mainly because of one song. "Tum kitni khubsoorat ho"- sung with a lot of feeling by Kishore Kumar.

Gumnaam, because of two songs- Mehmood singing Hum kaale hain to kya hua dilwaale hain, and Helen singing Gham chhod ke manao rang reli, aur maan lo jo kahe Kitty Kelly.

A Fish Called Wanda, due to a scene in which a guy is caught with his pants down-hilarious.

The Naked Gun, due to Lelie Neilsen's antics on a Baseball field.

Lootmaar because of the Asha Bhosle song picturised on Simple Kapadia - "Jab chhaye, mera jadu, koi bach na paaye."

Bombay to Goa, dialogue stands out- "Amma, pakoda."

Aulad, where Mehmood and Aruna Irani sang - "Jodi hamari banega kaise jaani, hum to hai angrezi, tum ladki Hindustani.."

Barsaat, due to the colourful shades/glasses that Bobby Deol wears in it.

Yeh Dillagi, due to its rollicking song- "Jab bhi koi ladki dekhun mera dil deewana bole Ole Ole.."

Adavi Ramudu starrin…

Even More Memories

We happened to go to Sri Lanka for the first time in 2017.

 with family at the destination wedding of my niece Miskil.
 Vaseem and I pose.
 My foot poses.
 Can Pooja be far behind? At World's End, Horton Plains. Below, a mask in the showroom, Laksala.
 Second trip to Colombo,..for a conference. with Bhakti More and Fanni Wong.
 Also went to National University of Singapore. For a training program.
 Met my music group in Hyderabad.
 Muthu and Vasanti in KGA Bangalore. Borrowed a flowery shirt from him.
And of course, caught up with Osmaniacs in Hyderabad-my engg. classmates.

Discover Yourself - Through Karaoke

Last night we had fun with karaoke. A bunch of multi-talented students and I celebrated their world-beating performance at the Google Online Marketing Challenge. They are all in the pics here, but doing something entirely different - singing Tamil and Hindi songs on the karaoke mike. This is a great way to unwind, and has been popular in Japan and Korea for some time. Recommended! You may just discover the singer in you!

Memories 2017

The good ones from the year.

Winsome smiles.
A student group winning the Google Asia Pacic title for a Digital Marketing competition, ably led by Kalaivani, and comprising Mathan, Akshaya, Swathika, Chandran and Sadhana. It was an awesome achievement, and nothing pleases a teacher more than a student's achievement.

Teaching the course itself, with some innovations like an online bidding game. And an MDP (short training program), and meeting some great minds -faculty and participants.
Then, a major conference which my young colleague Abhishek organised so well along with NASMEI and UT Austin.And a conference in Colombo on Tourism, my current research interest. The pics below are from these two, in reverse order.
 In Oct. Yu (Fanni) Wong, a new friend, speaks at Colombo.

with Prof. Rishikesha Krishnan, and Abhishek Mishra. July 2017.

Nidhi, an old/still-young student of Kirloskar MBA from long ago, visited me, her then-mentor, at IIM Indore. She has an infectious smile, as you can …

Tumhari Sulu- Film Review

Vidya Balan is a favourite actress, and pleasure to watch in any role, but this one is especially good, well-written. It has all the sweet and sour taste of a typical middle class family story, with some twists which are convincingly picturised.

At its heart, it's about a married woman and mother trying to break out and work to discover herself. There are the usual obstacles, real and perceived. Her job is at night, and commuting is one of the issues. That is quickly sorted out, with a woman cabbie. But other problems like handling the family and relatives remain and fester.

Some clever touches such as the contrast with the Jet Airways crew who are her neighbours, or the incident with the shopkeeper not providing home delivery, add to the authenticity of the proceedings. The parallels with her hubby losing prominence at his job while Sulu is ascending, also send a message.

Though the first half is a bit slow and could have been edited more tightly, it is a well-knit story with th…

Ruled Out?

There was this curious phrase on the news today. There was a suspicious-looking package that turned out to be a bomb in Germany. The police defused it, but they also said that more such packages in town CANNOT BE RULED OUT. That got me thinking about what else we can't rule out.

Aliens coming to earth day after tomorrow.

RaGa as the P.M.

My learning how to dance.

Kapil Sharma coming out of coming out of a depression induced by too much comedy.

Santa really turning up with a gift for all of us.

North Korea's great leader getting a proper haircut.

Trump making sense.

America banning ownership of guns.

Teenagers giving up social media and reading books.

Startups without a Bansal or Agarwal at the helm, in India.

Padmavati releasing.

All of us losing weight in exactly the (kilo)grammage we want.

My blog going viral.

Industry Interaction for a B School

Location decisions for a B school must take into acount the need for frequent industry collaboration of various hues that can enrich the B school. From guest lectures to projects and case-writing, a lot can happen over coffee- I mean, these interactions.

A business school can also consider having a Golf course attached if it is not in a prime metro location, so that it can attract corporates to visit. This might overcome some of the locational disadvantages, besides teaching students the game, to improve their networking skills (and bragging rights).

To prove that I am not talking through my hat, here's a pic from a recent guest session in our Mumbai campus from Divya Singh, a founder of Cyclitics, an analytics company. It's easy to do this kind of a thing in a metro, and is the key to the success of Jamnalal Bajaj Inst. of Management Science, Mumbai and a few others of its type. The ones in remote locations struggle to give the necessary practical side of management inputs t…

Reflections with a Broken Arm

Ok, technically, it's the wrist, but that's not really the point. It puts you in a situation you did not expect. The benefits of being in this situation?

You learn empathy. Instantly. For anybody with restricted movements, abilities.

You get attention. Unexpected kindness. A lady came up in an airport lounge and served me some food, seeing me having some difficulty opening the heavy lids. I was grateful. Airport security also gives you more attention, by the way :)

You learn to manage with less. Shopping for unnecessay things becomes an even lower priority than usual.

If you cannot drive, you finally get more exercise than your car.

You get a new wardrobe- to fit the accoutrements you are forced to wear, like the cast.

You are a temporary POP star, if not a rock star- the Plaster-of-Paris cast ensures that!

You meet some good doctors-I did.

You learn what insurance pays for and doesn't. Useful info in life.

Life does not change permanently, but it does change perspectiv…

Games People Play- My Digital Marketing Course

This was the title of a best-seller of days bygone. It described some psychological 'games' that people indulge in. But who says the pyschos should have all the fun? Digital Marketers can have fun too.

So it was that we played this game involving bidding for a good position on a digital search platform. The bidding happens against a keyword which you think people will use to search (online) for your product, and if you want your advertisement to show up on the search results.

One can, of course, be found without paying, if your website content is the most relevant to the search query/keyword, but paying for it assures you a position in the top few advertised spots.

Anyway, the game was quite useful as a learning device and the class was able to articulate a few takeaways from only two rounds of playing it, with a real company-Golftripz- being the subject used, on whose behalf the bids were made.

We are also trying out an ad film for online use on Youtube or elsewhere (blog, w…


In the good old days, a caravan was an assorted bunch of wagons, horses and men/women going from one place to another. Then Nasir Husain made a film starring Jeetendra and Asha Parekh around it. It became famous due to a Helen-Asha Bhosle song though- Piya tu, ab to aa ja, with RD Burman doing his famous breathing-into-the-microphone sounds.

Now, Saregama has innovated a retro song player with some modern features and given it the name Carvaan or Caravan. This contains around 5000 Hindi film songs, and is apparently catching on, partly due to digital/online marketing.

Good to see something innovative by the Indians, for the Indians. Else we would only be going hyper about Hyperloop. Instead, we can enjoy retro music on a loop, what?

Controversies Through the Ages

I have been witness to a lot of controversies, and the current lot seem pale in comparison to the great ones before them. Sample these, usually reported in nationally relevant mags like Star and Style, Cine Blitz or similar mags before TV came in (Shobhaa De was a columnist in one of these)-

Whether Amitabh and Rekha had an affair

Whether Dharmendra had married Hema Malini

Whether Dharmendra had beaten up a journo

Whether Rakesh Roshan was always bald

Whether Rajesh Khanna and Tina used the same toothbrush when they were allegedly together

Should there be kissing in films? A firm no was the answer for some decades, in case you are curious. Just think-Emraan Hashmi would have been unemployed!

Every year, there would be a list of Income Tax owed by celebs, mainly film stars, and where they found unaccounted cash in raids- mattresses, bathrooms were standard hiding places. Kishore Kumar even inserted the line 'peechhe pad gaya income taxum' in a song of his - Jay Govindam Jai …

Live Shows- Music

I remember the following concerts vividly-

Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle and RD Burman. Three of my favourites live at Brabourne stadium, Mumbai, around 1985. It was great fun, with Kishore and RD fooling around in between some marvelous songs.

Hariprasad Chaurasia did a SPIC-MACAY show at IIM Bangalore when I was a student. I remember being amazed by the size of his flute!

Ghulam Ali and Mehi Hasan live in Atlanta..this was a rare treat, to have two maestros of ghazal on the same stage. Their styles were contrasting, with Ghulam Ali more conscious of the public, and talking to us often, and Mehdi Hasan was a lot more serious.

Shiv Kumar Sharma and Zakir Husain together in Atlanta. Their jugalbandi was divine, with the Santoor and Tabla sounding out-of-the-world.

Pankaj Udhas singing his melodious ghazala, again at Atlanta, USA.

Shankar Mahadevan recently did a show at Pune just after he had acted in and composed for the Marathi film Katyaar Kaljaat Ghusli. A great show, with lots of t…

Small Joys

I do most of my planning-Ok, make that ALL my planning-using a desk calendar. It's very easy to write what you want on the dates you want, and chances of errors are almost nil. You can overwrite too, if there's a change in plans. And you can photocopy a month's plans if you want to make them portable.

The reason I am going gaga over this is the fruitless (long) search for one last year in Indore. Finally, I found one in Chennai while visiting for a conference. I was really over the moon! This time, I took precautions, and I found one in Pune. For 2018. So you don't have to gift me one.

The other thing I have never understood is why institutions (including mine) distribute calendars after Jan 1st. Aren't we supposed to plan ahead? And also, why don't they give you a desk calendar in addition to a wall calendar? Ok, you will tell me to go digital in my planning..I'm not listening, so have your way.

Diary From a Hospital

I am sitting in a hospital with an arm in a sling that needs surgery to get it back to normal, the result of a mishap on the road. It is a new place to be writing from, and not one I want to be in often. But while here, it is an irresistible urge to write-and since one arm is still available, I am using it. I bet you have heard of a one-eyed monster, now you have a one-armed one!

My first fear of hospitals is the non-medical processes, which can kill- not literally, but you may die of boredom waiting, for anything- from admissions onwards. The clinical processes are usually good at a decent hospital, though expensive. I have no major complaints so far though, as the processes here involved only a minor delay. The place is also reasonably quiet, and conducive for reflection. On life in general, and many other things specifically. So I shall continue to reflect, about arms in a sling and more..

Being Resolute

Making resolutions is easy. Being resolute is not. So I shall only focus on being resolute. And not make resolutions- though we may be nearing New Year.

But what should I be resolute about? That's where I find myself wavering, just a bit. Should I be strict with my students? I was told by someone recently that I was too lenient. And I thought I was strict..this really needs resolving.

Should I spend more time on research? travel? writing? reading? social media? watching movies? reviewing them? watching TV? conversation? setting goals? achieving them? Some of these will resolve themselves naturally given my taste for some and distaste for others. But I must be resolute, whichever way things pan out. THAT I am very clear about.

Ittefaq- Film Review

It's a nice word, ittefaq (coincidence). It's also used in a favourite song of mine, Zindagi ittefaq hai  but this is about the film, a songless suspense film. It is a remake, with some changes, of a film by the same name starring Rajesh Khanna and Nanda. It is abot two murders, that seem linked to one suspect initially, and then a second. The theories and the suspects' stories are built around some coincidences.

An author is found with a dead man in circumstances that suggest he is the killer. His wife has also been found killed at home, on the evening of a book launch of his new book. The dead man's wife also becomes a suspect after she is found to have lied about some of her extra-curricular activities. S who is the real killer is what the inspector has to find out.

No spoilers, but the inspector Akshaye Khanna has acted well. So has Sonakshi, and others are adequate. Siddhath Malhotra I have always found wooden, and so …

Slapgate- a Joke

I was reminded of a joke after reading about the customer manhandling case at the airline. It goes as follows (roughly, from memory)-

A man was hauled up in court for slapping a woman in a bus. The judge asked him to explain his behavior. The man said "She was extremely annoying, your Honour."

"Can you explain how?"the judge asked him.

He replied, "I went up an sat on the upper deck of this double-decker. She came and sat in front. She opened her bag, took out a handkerchief, wiped her face, put the handkerchief back, closed her bag..the conductor came to me, and I bought a ticket.

The conductor went to her and asked her to buy a ticket. So she took out her bag, pulled out her purse, took out some change, closed the purse, put in in her bag, and asked for a ticket. The conductor gave her a ticket. As he was leaving, she again took out her bag, removed her purse, put the ticket in the purse....

"Stop, I can't stand it either" the judge cried.. &q…

Trending- Bad Behaviour

Why is it that bad behaviour is so rampant? The video of a passenger being manhandled (still not sure why, as reports are incomplete as usual)  by airline staff in Delhi are disturbing. Usually such treatment is reserved for potential hijackers inside an aircraft (or drunk brawlers in a pub). Or is it an attempt to catch up with global benchmarks? -United staff physically dragged a passenger out of an overbooked flight recently.

Is excessive competition to be blamed? Or policies of the employer as implemented by some line managers that create stress? Or just individuals acting out of line on their own? Luckily, we still don't have gunmen shooting and killing at random, but if we had lax gun laws like the U.S., I am sure we would cross their benchmarks in this arena too.

Do humans need to be taught to respect fellow human beings? Is this what they call Kaliyug? No idea at all, but something is seriously wrong somewhere. On a bigger scale, War being threatened by a superpower over …

Intelligent Comedy by Women

Happened to watch a nice comedy show on TLC the name of which I forget. The name is immaterial. I was impressed by the female artists (this was a show for them)- comediennes. Why do we have male-dominated comedy shows, mostly? Stand-up is where equal opportunity should come in fairly easily. Why doesn't it?

On another note, I attended an Economic Times event-again the name of which I forget (proving that I deserve to be a prof.). It was a leadership contest for B-school students. There was only one female judge among a dozen- they were mostly CEOs or Business Leaders of some kind.

These shows/public events do send a message, even if symbolic. The first is a good attempt to showcase talent for comedy.The second is a reminder that corporates remain unequal for genders at the highest level. IIMs, incidentally, also have had few women directors. Just one currently and one long ago at IIM Lucknow that I know of. I am sure that's not due to lack of talent.

Here's hoping that mo…

Khaas Indori Conversation

An Indori guy just walked past, so I thought I would find out what he was up to.

"Where are you going, my friend," I asked.

"To have a poha, come along," he said. We ended up having a kachori alongside the poha..but that's another matter. I wanted to know where he planned to go next.

"Angrezi (English) Classes hain yaar, he said. Aajkal angrezi seekhna bahut zaroori hai."
I agreed wholeheartedly, in English.

I asked him what his ambition in life was. He was pretty clear - "a government job," he said.

"What kind of a job? What do you want to do there?"I wanted to know more.

He looked surprised. "I'll do what others do in a government job."

I started having nightmares. I saw Soorma Bhopali of Sholay fame saying something like "Do rupaye mein license banwaane aaya hai? Kahaan kahaan se chale aate hain..?" to a visitor in a government office, chewing paan while he said it..luckily, I woke up before the nightmar…

Lucknowi Andaaz

We have the last bastion of good behaviour, Lucknow, still standing amidst the falling standards of good behaviour in our country. This was an encounter with one of its citizens. (In Hindi/Urdu)-

Me: Aap ki taareef?

Lucknawi: Ama, hum apni tareef nahin kiya karte. Phir bhi, aapne poochha to bata hi dete hain, is nacheez ko Banda Nawaz kehte hain.

Me: Aap ko nahin lagta Nawaz sahab, ki Uttar Pradesh hud se zyada badh gaya hai, aur ise chhota karna chahiye, taaki woh tarakki kar sake?

BN: Logon ko Awadh ki biryani khane se fursat mile tab  hi to soch paenge hum iske baare mein?

Me: Aaj kal ki shaayari ke baare mein aap ka kya khayal hai?

BN: Dard wahi hai, sahab, magar shaayar nahin rahe jo use bayaan kar saken.

Me: Zubaan se to aap Nawaab lagte hain. Karte kya hain?

BN: Sahi farmaya aapne janab, magar sirf zubaan ke hain..warna aapki sahi khaatirdaari na karte?

Me: Kyun sharminda kar rahen hain mujhe? Bahut shukriya aapki zarranawazi ka,..phir mulaqaat hogi kabhi..

Faster Fene- Film Review

This Marathi film is about a childhood hero of mine, a teenaged boy who likes to solve mysteries, and gets embroiled in them. I enjoyed it immensely, and will recommend it to anyone who likes the genre. It is subtitled in English, so it should be accessible to Non-Marathi speakers.

The higher education mafia is the subject of this movie, and how Banesh " Faster" Fene gets to the bottom of it, with help from an ex-small time thief (a kid) and a female journalist on a crime beat in education!! The hero's character is very tech-savvy, and uses all available digital techniques-endearing (to me).

A master-stroke is the induction of a character who is the actual author of the Faster Fene series- Mr. B.R. Bhagwat, played brilliantly by Dilip Prabhawalkar, a veteran Marathi actor. The suspense and action mostly keep you on the edge, and the tussle between the villain and Fene is interesting and fast-paced.

Amey Wagh fits the bill for the title role. The kid and the girl are go…