Saturday, December 25, 2010


Vishal Bhadwaj is on a mission to take a sensitive word, usually not spoken in a normal conversation and bring it in the mainstream. First it was Kaminey, Now it seems to be darling.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ripples on water

So I end up at this place to do something, and figure out that actually that something doesn't start for another 12 hours. I have time to kill and my options are:

1. Sit outside and watch traffic. This wasn't a highway and I was in a village.
2. Sit on a computer and browse through presentations on banking
3. Alibaug
4. Google maps
5. Temples

Ruling out Alibaug and temples without a thought, and after some time the presentations, I opened up google maps on my cell. Randomly I saw something called Morbe Dam.

I jumped on it. I reached the dam, Typical village life was in process around us. This being India, a trifle inside the gate few villagers were gossiping away their way to glory. They were generally making fun of the village stupid. I tried to ignore them and walk straight up on the artificial road, created on the embankment made to stop the water. But, they stopped me.

We went to the other side, came across another set of houses, went down towards the bank and sat there. Doing nothing. Throwing stones in the water and watching the ripples. The last time, I did this was I guess five or so years back, in some rivulet near a friend's farmhouse in Talegaon, near Lonavala- Pune.

The water was soapy on the banks, because of the very high penetration of Indian FMCG companies in the Indian markets. At each place that I threw a stone, a kind of small sludge was formed. A semi- milestone in my quest of watching ripples.

We later went and climbed up the Arnala fort. The first time I did that in three visits to the Arnala Bird sanctuary. It is a three KM trek one way, and not very difficult. Nowhere closer to a few suicidal treks I have gone to in the near past. One was further north up and another near Roha. Both of them involved near vertical climb on huge boulders.

One was Avchitgad, from Nidhi station.

In the other I slept in Mulher, but I forget the name of the treks.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Skeleton Woman : A review

Anurag Kashyap, in all his shorts shorts glory opened up the play.. a few lines

  1. People think I have directed this play, No I have not
  2. Nayantara is on her way, if she comes here by the time the play ends you may see her.
  3. No photographs please.

There is something about him. He is aware of the latent needs and subconscious expectations of the vox populi when he suddenly thrusts himself amongst them.

I did not get much of the play, other than that it was about Sea and fishes. Some reference to Conrad, I don't know. A lot of representation seemed to be an effort in portraying delusions, and I guess it is difficult to communicate delusions, as it is.

So, a few laughs here, a few there and and entertaining time spent. Given that it cost only 150 bucks, 50 short of my personal threshold , also helped.

So what do you want
Why don't you get it then
If I knew how to, I would have got it by now

What I liked the most was the music Kalki hums towards the end. I don't know which music is that, and I don't know from where to start Googling to find that out.

The play is inspired by an Inuit folk tale. Something to do with the arctic and the Eskimos. I did not know till just now what Inuit even was.

Btw I thought Kalki was some kind of a French word. Wiki informs me it has something to do with Indian mythology. I surely need a course in Indian mythology.

Among other things, In Xanadu is a welcome change from the denseness of From the holy mountain. Humour was absolutely absent in the latter, but it is in plenty in the former.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Game Theory


1. There is nothing called a decision.
2. Decisions in aggregate is a way of life
3. There is nothing called a good or bad decision. With or without hindsight. Each outcome of an action is just another data point.Keep your eyes on only the aggregate.
4. Everybody has something to offer to you. Meet everybody. Learn to differentiate bias from intelligence, even your own. Always know your biases. If not, ask others they will tell you.

1 Start with a parameter value of an objective
2. Define your constraints. Define your system. Freeze the system.
3. You cannot change the constraints. Accept it. Find a way around.
4. Start the game
5. After sufficient iterations freeze the objective, if need be change it. Never be afraid of changing your mind, the best traders are the most fickle minded people. Ignore the sticks others will give you for focus or lack thereof.
6. Define your means/channels. Set up as many of them as you can, though one at a time.
7. Never confuse means with objectives
8. Be indifferent to means.
9. Do not question your cards. If you don't like the game, throw your cards down. Ask fate to deal them again. Understand that the next set of cards will be equally random.

1. You will make mistakes, that is one of the most beautiful ways to live a life. Embrace it.
2. Nobody knows how any thing would turn out. Stop asking people the answers to your life.
3. Sometimes rather than trying to change the objective, the means , the game, try changing your own perspective on things. Observer and the observed. Quantum physics?

Two men looked out from a prison window, one saw the sandstorm, the other the stars.

P.S1. A lot of lessons are from my start up days, which is now history.
2. Operations research( Constraints et all) and Numerical Methods( Iterations et all) still remain my favourite all time subjects.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Movies of 60's

1. Office Space
2. Once upon a time in the West
3. Cool Hand Luke

Judgement at Neuremberg
2001 a space odyssey

Friday, November 05, 2010

Happy Diwali 2010

Should I do my year end reflection/appraisal on Diwali or new year or financial year? Or do all three anyways.

Diwali 2009 : I was in Mumbai. I think my bro and his family also were here. I forget. My start up had hit rock bottom, so did my relationship with my partner. Was exploring other partners.

Diwali 2008 : I was employed with a company. I took a couple of weeks off, came to Bombay. Was ambivalent about quitting that job. Actually had quit it but was asked to reconsider, take a break.

Diwali 2007: Was at home, in between jobs. I actually did not recall that till I googled out that it was on 9th Nov. My last day was I guess 2nd Nov. I was to leave for Bangalore on 12th Nov and start the new job on 15th Nov.

Diwali 2006 : I should have been at Mumbai at home. A difficult period, it was the last trimester before placements and the peer pressure was at its highest. I had actually given up on getting placed in slot zero( I was right), and take up an employment with India's number 2 IT services company. ( they did make an offer, I refused)

Diwali 2005 : I have no clue what was I doing where was I .Should have been in Bombay only.Celebrating with parents and all.

Diwali 1999: Was in hyderabad. Dad, I guess had come down barely after getting a day's leave. We did not have a land line at the rented house for three months. So had to go to a STD booth to call up dad. What was his number 9821... some BPL number.

There was that Diwali when we had celebrated it in our backyard in hyderabad.

The infighting amongst brothers on the type of crackers we wanted to buy. The list of available crackers at co operative stores.

The diwali when all other children had gone to watch an english movie in the auditorium. I had sat in the balcony, lit up a candle and put a light to the crackers on the balcony and kept dropping them down to the ground.

Shit, is this turning out to be some nostalgic memoir. Anyways

To quote myself from before, Here's me, the brute, the uncouth, the unstable, happying everyone. Have a good one and keep others around you happy as well.

Btw did I ever talk about that happiness and reasons, independence theory. Or the symbols-experience analogy. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Disregarding the fact that my writing fell to abysmal levels in my last post, I will still go out and write another random post.

Of my many delusional ambitions, one is about working in the development sector for the up-liftment of those who did not have the shots at life that I have been pampered with.I will ignore the reality that I did not end up like many other chasing the great Indian ambition of a small house, a small car then a big house, bigger house etc. But there is still time , to go that way. Let's see, where I end up.

Books I have read:

Growing a business : Paul Hawken
From the Holy Mountains : William Dalrymple

Books I want to read for cheap:
Blood Meridian and The Road both by Cormac McCarthy

To appreciate Will Dam, one should read both, the above and Nine Lives. Nine Lives is intended for Indian middle class, small town,( Dhoni's India? )aspirational readers, who want to be seen in public places reading english books. People who are consumers of nonsense novels from the arm chair English walking-talking population of India.I forget the names of the books, but they are even worse than , The monk who sold his ferrari. That book is a piece of crap shamelessly lifted from Og Mandinho's and Coelho's books. With a pretension of a joke on each page and a nonsense of an allegory.

So Nine Lives is an awesomely simplistic book, the language i.e. And when you read the holy mountain, you realise what the dude is capable of. And he actually lives on a farmhouse outside Delhi. In India. Just why ?

Growing a Business is your normal self help book. A welcome change to the manufactured world of tech start ups , silicon valley, the VC scene etc that I keep consuming. This is not the exhaustive start up scene is what I have come to know.  

He has another explanation of the corporate life
1. Information is politicized, shared unequally. Stemming from inefficiencies's insecurities.
2. Employees often imitate the boss. People aim to please.

An organization as a whole does not require control. His thoughts, not mine. I remain a control freak.

Another thing I discovered is the radio show of This American Life. I had listened to one about the Megator trade and how Hedge funds tried to make the Sub Prime bubble big so that they could gain more from the bigger eventual fall, and left it there. But I went back and some vigorous searching on the web gave me what I always look for, freebies and loopholes. So now I can save the episodes on my cell phone and listen to them in my useless commute time. I was anyways getting bored by Confessions and Emelda.

So, a little bit of lead generation had given me names of people I need to ping to initiate conversations and set up my channels. I am big on setting up channels and systems and becoming indifferent to individual outcomes, in case you wanted to know.

The lead generation had happened a few months back , I guess six months back and I had forgotten all about it. I should have called up those dudes, traveled, met those guys, given my life a direction, but I chickened out.

So when I got an opportunity to travel back again, a hope lit up in my mind and I fetched that email from the hundreds of spam mails I have subscribed to in my quest to get employed a few months back. I wanted to catch up with the three dudes as I was anyways going back. And it looked like a good idea to save their numbers on my cell phone, coz J does not have a very high reliability when it comes to Internet.

I did fetch that email and then typed the first number in my cell, and the smart ass that I am I tried saving them in a particular fashion J space the name of the person. On my first attempt at saving a number, the cell phone gave a message that the name already exists, in exactly the same format.I cancelld the saving and went back and searched entries in that syntax.

And there they were : all three names, perfectly one after the other. Like I wanted them. Before I had actioned my thoughts.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind?

Friday, October 29, 2010

School Buses in Maheshwar

Mandu is a hill station very close to Narmada. And still, I could see water tankers in Mandu delivering water.

Maheshwar is green, a complete about turn to what I have seen in Bundelkhand where entire stretches of land are barren and muddy. In the long run, this is how I believe deserts are made, and bundelkhand might be on the road to become one in the next couple of centuries.

Maheshwar has a lot of yellow colour school buses. Another surprise. A casual chat with the driver of the cab revealed that this market has just exploded.A lot of private schools have mushroomed in maheshwar and with Narmada and a Mumbai Indore national highway at close quarters, two major infrastructure booms people seem to be aspiring for more.

4*400 MW maheshwar dam is also coming up , for almost a decade now. But is expected to become operational soon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Good Morning

Waking Up
In the dark
In Silence
Listening to your voice

Feeling good
without a reason
Just like that

Starting afresh
A new day
And remembering
Frustrations forgotten

Feeling churlish
The wasted emotions
The far yesterday

Btw who the hell is Cormac Mccarthy, he was leading the ladbrokers odd at winning the Oscar but lost to some spanish dude. And his books are priced, exorbitant and with no hope of finding them in the pirated market in fort.

This country is going to dogs, I am telling you. I just want a Canadian passport and like any crow loving fearing Parsi , jump ship and settle there.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Jisne Lahore na dekhyan

Jisne Lahore Na dekhya is a guilty play, with a little bit of thackeray in it. They make you stand at the end with the Indian National Anthem. A trifle of an irony for a play which is completely set in Lahore. I would have preferred the Pakistani national anthem.

The levels where I enjoyed it were the interplay of punjabi and Urdu. Somewhere I had read that Urdu was a normal language till just before freedom and was taught in schools just like Hindi and English are. But post Independence, it was systematically eliminated. 

The interplay of images using a projector was also I believe wasted.

But I did like the stage, and the play with illumination/lighting.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Yeh Duniya maya ke bagula jivan mukti kar le

One of the challenges with being employed is that it takes away a lot of your time. Managing egos, timelines, travel etc. That one forgets what the game is all about. So here's another of my lists, enumerating what would I like to do along with being employed.

1. Get back into options, actively
2. Read at least 50 pages of prose everyday

Another habit, one cultivates in a job is , to live life on the weekends. Everything that one likes to do, gets pushed on the weekend. And when a weekend comes, after one has compensated for all the sleep lost, one does not have energy to organise things into a particular pattern and clear the backlog.

The heart again pings the brain, saying what is the fun in a weekend, if it follows  a structure and is not random. So there is exactly where I stand

3 Download audio books and listen to them in your commute time
4. Continue daydreaming
5. Be active on linkedin. Coz Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner

Life is better than before. I sometimes think of HP and think, wouldn't my life be better fulfilled had I taken that up at 1/3rd of the price. The logic goes like this.

Whatever job I am doing, anybody can do that. But the job that needs to be done in HP, not everybody can do it, Very few can, and very very few are willing to do it, given the price point. 

And then I confront that with what I want. To be able to execute your ideas, one should have absolute control. In a corporate life, where the structure is always political and beyond a point nobody gives anybody more than a fuck but keep waiting for a promotion or a pay raise every march, one has to develop this ability to influence people. 

So either I have complete control, or I work i a bigger set up where I can get exposure to scales. 

The risks in something in between is a tad too much. And the benefits, if someday, there are esops, then I can exit at good returns. But then would I really deserve that wealth. I don't know. 

Again the final scene of Unbreakable comes here. Is my purpose to be an enabler or a creator or just a passer by. 

The logic is pretty faulty and can be taken down easily, but for now, I will treat it as an absolute truth and believe in it. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gulaal : A review

Gulaal was not released for three years. I don't know why.

The soundtrack of gulaal is awesome. But it has to be discovered.

I enjoyed the character of Piyush Mishra the most. His poetry, rendition etc. When I was growing up, I read a few select books in every summer vacation. One was Bhagat Singh's biography and the other was Chandrashekhar Azad's. And I always picked Azad over Bhagat.

They had different styles. Bhagat Singh wanted to discuss and tell his views to everybody. He wanted discussion, reasoning and a broader understanding, and he chose a courtroom as his platform, albeit at the cost of his life.

Jab Maut ant hai nahin, to maut se bhi kyun daren, yeh ja ke aasman mai dahad do 

Azad wasn't the type who cared about reasons. ( I am starting to include my bias at precisely this point). He just wanted to do a few things his way. He did them and left. I guess, since there is so less known and heard about his that the same cannot be rehashed again and again.

Yudh hi to veer ka praman hai 

The movie exposes the concept of Rajputana and how IG with one stroke nationalized inherited wealth and planned to redistribute it equitably among other. I have no idea, how god was that execution. I hope it brought on some good.

But needless to say, an action as swift as this would produce resentment.

Movies can fall into genre, like crime, drama, comedy etc. But I like to classify them on the parameter of their objectives. A non exhaustive list on a variety of objectives can be :
1. Show a mirror to the society or a focus group. Delhi 6
2. Articulate an undercurrent and catch the pulse of people. Rang De Basanti
3.Give people 3 hours of break from their existence. The Yash Johar, Chopra kiln, risqué comedys.
4. etc.

Gulaal tries to capture the pulse and also present a mirror. (Now I am being ambitious here, trying to fist manufacture a classification and then putting a movie on a pedestal saying that it is a hybrid one)

Hell, but why does Anurag Kashyap make women in his movies so strong and practical.
 Books update.

I liked Gulaal.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


OK. There was a photo in papers which showed him holding his head by both his hands and looking down. Surely the editors of the paper did not think twice but choose that image over thousand others. It was melodramatic and kind of dense in the pseudo intellectual way.

Even in his post match press conference , the video of which can be accessed from Wimbledon's homepage, he said many things. But the copy of the article turned out as Federer blames injuries for his defeat.

In another context, somebody said that, I really like hearing to what the really rich people have to say. As they just don't have to bother about anything but just express their views.

RF is a pretty candid person and when asked a question gives his honest opinion. He also said a beautiful one liner, I made it to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. People would die to do that. That, unfortunately did not get published.

My problem is I am not rich. Quite contrary actually. But my nature makes me quite candid, as much as I try to suppress my views. It still does. And that is hurting me now. Professionally. At least when looked from this moment backwards.

Another quote, What is the worse that can happen. stay calm.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Irony in education

I some days dream of going back to a small town and start by teaching people spoken english anf then branch out to personality development interview preparation, bpo training, Retail, cellular employees soft skills training etc. And hope to breaking the branded franchise model of Veta, Speak well or other local players by my sheer quest for excellence.

I also try to teach slum children to speak in English and fail miserably each time. But now, I have come to appreciate how systems works and what a sustainable effort is.

Though, one is an action and another a thought, still how can I have both these thoughts simultaneously in my head.

On other updates, I received a payment for direct service rendered/salary after a year and half for teaching in the NGO. On an impulse, I wanted to refuse it, but I let that thought pass. Also was pleasantly surprised, never had though about been paid for this. :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Indian VC Market

Does it even exist or is a figment of imagination, just like the villain in the harry potter series, one who should not be named.

A few years back, say in the dot com boom, people realised that there were too many Indians in the Silicon Valley. And India was a developing economy. Looking from an investor's perspective, he chases sectors/economies which can grow at a faster rate and provide better ROI. So some investor put the Indians and India together.

Hence somebody sitting somewhere manufactured the Indian VC industry. He took the Indians out of Silicon valley, put them in the native country and expected the model to self manufacture itself.

Some smart entrepreneurs like Indiabulls were on the other side of this system, the consumers. They were one of the million start ups on the internet and india plank who got a start. But unlike other, they very soon dumped the the internet plank and took a U turn and entered conventional businesses.

IndiaBulls ambitions are that of a conglomerate. More on their initial years here,;col1

So ten years hence, one finds a Industry, Money, Investor managers, Desi's returned from US to give something back to their country, start ups etc. But no transaction. Because, there is no market.

VC's have changed direction, they have become more of micro PE funds investing in micro finance, healthcare, hospitality etc.

So, what went wrong. Silicon valley has a system. India does not. The presence of a majority of Indians is merely incidental and speaks on the nomadic nature of Indian psyche.

A market never gives an individual a model. The model has to come from within an individual or a team. The market helps the individual tweak and iterate the model. I wouldn't agree with jumping wildly in a market and expect random experiences to transmogrify into a model.

And if an individual took some model from the market, for how much time can he possibly sustain the high of the novel model? More on this here,

Someday, when I start dabbling in Journalism, I would start giving structure and themes to what I write. 

What is value

One of the challenges, being from a B school is people's insistence on value. Any conversation goes like, where does one bring in value, how can you add value, how do you spot value.

Some management guru had also invented the mathematical formula to calculate value.

I believe like value is a derivative product. Just like a share of a company.

First one needs to do something, create an idea out of thin air and then worry about what/where is the value.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The state of the mind

The state of the mind has to be expressed.

I had taken a bet that the market would improve post March. But I forgot a simple attribute about myself. I take big and difficult things very easily but frequently overlook simple and common-sense things. The mistake here was that my profile is a bit fractured, which makes this job seeking endevour a tad difficult one.

Notwithstanding the premiere B school tag. Usually one has to display focus and perseverance in a profile, not necessarily in work. A lot of people in this world are in the business of giving others a gold medal for their past achievements, while what matters is what is the future potential, what can be changed in the future.

Then there is this attribute of pretending to project a positive attitude in an interaction.

Someone once told me, watch your thoughts closely, because they soon turn into actions. I guess, I need to put control mechanisms to manage my cynicism.

To take a break I went to crossword and read a whole book, three cups of tea with an overpriced sandwich in between. In Bangalore, I had a landmark at 10 mins walk and another landmark at a 20 min walk from my home. Here, Landmark is at the other end of town, the closest crossword is a local and a auto ride far. Taking totally about 45-50 mins. Landmark is generally a more exhaustive bookshop when compared to crossword. Though neither of them have, Growing a business.

But I guess, crosswords is under revenue strain. The one I went today had subleased their space to a gift and an online photo publishing shop(, along with a cursory CCD . Or some other branded coffee shop.

Also visited few NGO's, but most of the educational ones are vacationing at this point. Even the NGO's have a class distinction, the best endowed one where the elite and foreigners work, the middle class one where middle class people work and the bottom of the pyramid one which are exactly where they are needed but without any glamour and razzmatazz..I have always held the view that NGO's should run as private limited companies, but that would create a problem from the grant perspective. But SKS did convert from NGO to pvt limited pretty early Also visited a slum, where I might teach some children, presumably Maths and science, ironically in a shiv sena office.

Randomly at crosswords,

Went through a few pages of this Indian book, where the storyteller describes himself as M. Self deprecatory humour begins somewhere in Rajasthan

Read last few pages of Gone with the wind

Realised that some random book by some Pune kid is number 1 fiction. ( Oh Shit, not again by Mandar Gokate). The publisher is a local one and inserts a lot of pages of self advertisements like contact us if you want to write a book etc. There are so many aspirational writers/publishers in India, and I guess the penguin and big name publisher hegemony ends here. Chetan Bhagat has created a entirely new market here. Small Publisher, small time writer, simple English, good entertainment. Of course the snobs of south Mumbai and central Delhi look down on this form of English, but who cares about them

Dork is out of print at this crossword, Trainspotting and Eats, shoots and Leaves are as always unavailable, so are any books by Vijay Tendulkar or Harold C Pinter.

Gamechangers is available

Rashmi Bansal has written another book, but taken things upside down. Has something on jugaad, junoon and another word starting with j. Celebrating other's success seems a good opportunity, need to try my hand at it, sometime.My personal(borrowed from NNT) bias states that success and failures both need to be celebrated equally.

Browsed through the last pages of a Fitzgerald book, I guess it was Tender is night. Had an eerie feeling.

And how much time( if,) before the online store of crossword, landmark odyssey etc start matching flipkart's pricing, at least for online retailing. Looks impossible though, but you never know. They just need a reason to justify the differential pricing to walk in customers. Better still, they can create a new branded portal owned by them but not carrying crossword's brand name and start the differential pricing game. If they want to take flipkart out ,this is the time, else see amazon buy flipkart a few years hence and hammer them till eternity.


NICOLE KEPT IN TOUCH with Dick after her marriage; there were letters on business matters, and about the children. When she said, as she often did, "I loved Dick and I'll never forget him,"
Tommy answered, "Of course not why should you?"
Dick opened an office in Buffalo, but evidently without success.
Nicole did not find what the trouble was, but she heard a months later that he was in a little town named Batavia, New York, practicing general medicine, and later that he in Lockport, doing the same thing. By accident she heard about his life there than anywhere: that he bicycled a lot, was admired by
the ladies, and always had a big stack of papers on his desk that were known to be an important treatise on some medical subject, almost in process of completion. was considered to have fine manners and once made a good speech at a public health meeting on the subject of drugs; but he became entangled with a girl who
worked in a grocery store, and he was also involved in a lawsuit about some medical question; so he left Lockport.
After that he didn't ask for the children to be sent to and didn't answer when Nicole wrote asking if he needed
money. In the last letter she had from him he told her that he practising in Geneva, York, and she got the impression that he had settled down with someone to keep house for him. She looked up Geneva in an atlas and found it was in the heart of the Finger Lakes section and considered a pleasant place. Perhaps, so
she liked to think, his career was biding its time, again like Grant's in Galena; his latest note was post-marked from Hornell, New York, which is some distance from Geneva and a very small town; in any case he is almost certainly in that section of the country, in one town or another.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How IIT preparation is evolving

I read IITian full page ad in Mumbai Mirror and froze for a moment. They were talking something like hybrid colleges, where the colleges teach the IIT syllabus and also normal HSC stuff.

I guess this is a very normal practice in Kota, where the whole of India seems to be turning up for JEE preparation.But before Kota happened to JEE, Hyderabad had happened. There was this phase i think in 1990's where a majority of students in IITs were from Hyderabad through two coaching institutes, Ramaihah and Krishnamoorthy. And there was this college Vignan which gave you an easy admission and virtual attendance free environment if you came from either of these two coaching institutions.

The coaching market has evolved and I feel cold in my feet thinking, how the market moved from Hyderabad to Kota and now is taking over Mumbai. IITianpace uses youtube to further talk about it's message.

The founder is cautious while selling IIT coaching to 8th standard students and calls this a healthy trend.

I don't know how this market will evolve but I won't be surprised if in the near future IIT's stop JEE and implement an American model of technical education which banks a lot on recommendations and is mostly subjective.

A lot of PE players have invested in IIT coaching classes. Links and video below.

Matrix investing in FIIT JEE
Nadathur in career point 
Milestone Religare in IMS 
Milestone Religare in Resonance Eduventures

Thursday, April 01, 2010

One of those nights

When I don't want to sleep. I am listening continuously to bandi song from LSD.

But I am in-the-money on a naked option. And I have to track it real time, so that I do not ending up blowing it up completely. I am already in notional loss. So I need to wake up before 9 AM tomorrow.

I saw LSD today. Well, I did not find anything obscene in it. A combination of hard hitting irony, simple Indian flimsy gore, and a masterpiece of a juxtaposition.

Had I been on campus, would have started a movie now and taken a stroll in the morning before going to sleep.

31st March 2010. An end.

Another beginning beckons. Where?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Can I have Murli Manohar Joshi back ? Please.

Analysis of any problem is good. It gives an entity, an individual or a group the data points from where a decision can be easily taken. At a simple level it is a great tool.

But in the b2b market, a simple analysis needs to be peppered with a lot of bullshit, so that the buyer believes that the product that he is buying is actually worth it, never mind the fact that they can understand the analysis or not.

A few things which have left me disappointed in the last few days.

  • The surge in suicide rates, more so amongst the kids.
  • The rising costs of management education, led by the IIMs
  • The stupid selection criterion set forth by most of the IIMs.

 It matters to them, what you did in standard ten, twelfth and then your graduation. Never mind that in India you have various state boards, central boards, CBSE, ICSE etc.  A common measurement of academic excellence across these mediums is fruitless.

Why in god's name does it not occur to them. There was a time when I took CAT and loved it madly, because it did not value knowledge, but application of skills. You did not have to set up a profile starting from your tenth standard , depending on their criterion by the time you reach their gates.

So what will IIMs do next, a la Big 4 consultancy? It matters not what have you done or can do, what I am interested is whether your father is a well heeled bureaucrat in Delhi, who can use influence to win me a government advisory contract?

Look, there is very little I can do to change what the IIMs are doing. I can merely change my outlook so that I can find my way through this system. Or, quit and move to another country.

Say, I hold on. and 10 others also. We stay put because for some crazy reason, we subscribe to the idea of a nation state, Mother India etc. We reach a stage when we have kids who are beginning to prepare for standard ten. What do I do? I pressurize them. 10 others also pressurize their kids. You know where this roads lead, right? Suicide.

Mostly I haven't expressed my displeasure with the IIMs before, thinking that they are a private entity, they have a freehand in their criterion for gd/pi calls, their fees etc. But do they understand that they are the beacon people look up to expecting answers to everything, because they are suppose to be better.

But then, one day you take notice that a kid called Sachin Tendulkar says that he has a lot of responsibilities because people look up to his. If he is not careful, and be seen with a cigarette on his lips, a thousands others will pick it up. It effects him, this responsibility and he is aware of it.

But why do the revered IIMs do not get this basic reasoning.

They have already inculcated the culture of rigour during an MBA program, possibly with an exception on Cal. Professors in other B schools tell their pupils, look the IIMs believe in rigour as a form of education, since they are IIM's they should be right. And hence, even I will introduce rigour.

Mr. Bakul Dholakia stands up in a convocation ceremony and proudly announces, If you have survived in IIM A, you can survive anywhere in this world.  Did not a single entity sitting in that ceremony have a question for him. Err...Sir....but...what if I want to live a life ...and just not survive it?

I am ok with rigour been passed down in other, mostly private , B schools.

I am not Ok, with the ever increasing rise in fees, I don't care what are their costs and the rate of inflation. A govt. institution is a govt. institution. I don't care what are the salary packages when a kid gets out of an IIM. I don't want a kid's life to be a debt trap, just like it is in US today.

Ideally I would prefer a kid to be free of any encumbrances after a formal education, so that he is not obligated to join a company which pays him disproportionately, so that he can square off an education loan, "survive" in life, and one fine day discover that , all he has done in life is survive, and forgotten, how exactly a life is lived. He should be free to choose a vocation independent of a promise of future cashflows/ career.

I am not OK with a kids life turning out to be constant struggle for grades, so that after six years he can take a  shot at a seat in IIM.

I have looked up to IIMs as temples. I still do. But for how long I will continue, I am not sure.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Well done abba

turned out to be good. very similar to welcome to sajjanpur. and very real. the hero gets every thing right, here boman irani, but the villains also get awards. And the poor police just watches it on.

A lot of people walked out from the theater very happy, satisfied that they had spent an evening entertaining themselves, and discussing benegal no end. Mr. Benegal, did you want this? 

The actors, other than the professional ones looked like the local populace. Especially the dances in the lorry. 

Hyderabadi Hindi was remembered, after a very long time. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Movies Update

Crazy Heart
When Jeff Bridges and his mentee have a conversation on how each one's life turned out. And his mentee says, he had to save his marriage.
Grand Torino
The constant juxtaposition of non americans in the frames along with eastwood, and his supposedly discomfort with them. His grumpy nature, as well.
Up in the Air
When clooney repeats that He is a parenthesis.
The Song of the Sparrows, Iranian
The fishes lying to the kerb and the kids crying subsequently.
A serious Man, Coen Bros
The divorce attorney's advice.
Burn After Reading
" I am a good samitan, man" by Brad Pitt. Clooney's style of saying, Hey-low with a crooked smile.
Glengary Glen Ross
seems inspired a bit from chaos.
The girl singing and dancing freely.
The Hurt Locker
War is a drug, the final lines.
The Blind Side
nothing really
Taste of Cherry on UTV World movies
The shots of the car with dry and arid mountains around

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gran Torino

So tenderly
Your story is
Nothing more
Than what you see
What you've done
Or will become
Standing strong
Do you belong
In your skin
Just wondering

Gentle now
The tender breeze
Whispers through
My Gran Torino
Whistling another
Tired song

Engine humms
And bitter dreams
Grow heart locked
In a Gran Torino
It beats
A lonely rhythm
All night long
It beats
A lonely rhythm
All night long
It beats
A lonely rhythm
All night long

Realign all
The stars
Above my head
Warning signs
Travel far
I drink instead
On my own
Oh,how I've known
The battle scars
And worn out beds

Gentle now
A tender breeze
Whispers through
A Gran Torino
Whistling another
Tired song

Engines humm
And bitter dreams
Heart locked
In a Gran Torino
It beats
A lonely rhythm
All night long

These streets
Are old
They shine
With the things
I've known
And breaks
The trees
Their sparkling

Your world
Is nothing more
Than all
The tiny things
You've left

So tenderly
Your story is
Nothing more
Than what you see
What you've done
Or will become
Standing strong
Do you belong
In your skin
Just wondering

Gentle now
A tender breeze
Whispers through
The Gran Torino
Whistling another
Tired song
Engines humm
And bitter dreams
A heart locked
In a Gran Torino
It beats
A lonely rhythm
All night long

May I be
So bold and stay
I need someone
To hold
That shudders
My skin
Their sparkling

Your world
Is nothing more
Than all
The tiny things
You've left

So realign
All the stars
Above my head
Warning signs
Travel far
I drink instead
On my own
How i've known
The battle scars
And worn out beds

Gentle now
A tender breeze
Whispers through
The Gran Torino
Whistling another
Tired song
Engines humm
And better dreams
Heart locked
In a Gran Torino
It beats
A lonely rhythm
All night long
It beats
A lonely rhythm
All night long
It beats
A lonely rhythm
All night long

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Hurt Locker

Staff Sergeant William James: [Speaking to his son] You love playing with that. You love playing with all your stuffed animals. You love your Mommy, your Daddy. You love your pajamas. You love everything, don't ya? Yea. But you know what, buddy? As you get older... some of the things you love might not seem so special anymore. Like your Jack-in-a-Box. Maybe you'll realize it's just a piece of tin and a stuffed animal. And then you forget the few things you really love. And by the time you get to my age, maybe it's only one or two things. With me, I think it's one.

Ryan Bingham: How much does your life weigh? Imagine for a second that you're carrying a backpack. I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life... you start with the little things. The shelves, the drawers, the knickknacks, then you start adding larger stuff. Clothes, tabletop appliances, lamps, your TV... the backpack should be getting pretty heavy now. You go bigger. Your couch, your car, your home... I want you to stuff it all into that backpack. Now I want you to fill it with people. Start with casual acquaintances, friends of friends, folks around the office... and then you move into the people you trust with your most intimate secrets. Your brothers, your sisters, your children, your parents and finally your husband, your wife, your boyfriend, your girlfriend. You get them into that backpack, feel the weight of that bag. Make no mistake your relationships are the heaviest components in your life. All those negotiations and arguments and secrets, the compromises. The slower we move the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living. Some animals were meant to carry each other to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not swans. We are sharks.

Natalie Keener: Can you stop condescending for one second or is that one of the principles of your bullshit philosophy?

Ryan Bingham: If you think about it, your favorite memories, the most important moments in your life... were you alone? Life's better with company.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sex, Morality and Censorship, an attempt at a review

This play was staged at Prithvi. My first attempt to watch it was scuttled as I had to catch up with a friend. The second attempt was rejected by the chowkidar who felt it disturbing to the sensibilities of other audience, if I royally entered the play just 10 minutes late. I then had to take the tickets for the next show after a 3.5 hours gap.

The one thing that attracted me to the play was that it had something to do with Vijay Tendulkar.

The play was supposedly commissioned for a madam in Delhi, who wanted people to be aware of difficulties faced by Sakharam Binder, a 1971 play by Tendulkar. This play could have been inspired by the movie Adaptation where the original play and it's struggles are intermingled freely.

So we had the story of the play's struggle and also glimpses from the play playing in a random order. Somebody also wanted to give a hat trip to Dylan, so the same was arranged, through a projector.

The setting is a conversation between two players, one a lavani dancer and the other a fat protagonist. There is a delhiwallah historian for good measure. So these three discuss everything under the Sun and after some time the original director of Sakharam Binder also joins in.

The scenes enacted of Binder were the most impressive, especially the portrayal of violence against women. The first lady Binder brings in was a pretty skinny lady. And she is repeated oppressed upon. I really freaked out when Binder kicks her repeatedly. Just imagine playing this part, waiting for a kick to land on your shoulders anytime soon, and then waiting.

The character I liked the most was the second woman Binder brings in. They rarely make those characters anymore in real life. She has this huge smudge of a bindi on her temple, is mostly chewing a paan, and her swagger is unapologetic and very far from a typical woman's. She also pulls her sari in and out with ease, and at a pace which only comes by practice.

I guess the cultural elites should watch this play, for the culture shock that's in store for them.

I kind of liked lavani, the Maharastrian dance, I don't know why is it not more common elsewhere in other cultural programs in colleges or fest etc.This was the first time I saw a lavani.

The price of the ticket at 200 bucks was more than what I am used to in Rangashankara. But from Bombay's standards it appears ok, even slightly benevolent on poor souls like me. Shiv Sena, among other jokes had a proposal to reduce theater rates across Maharastra( which sadly was rejected). I whole heartedly support them in this quest. Bring on the orange flag.

Things I picked up

  • There is a censor board for even the plays. It was initially called the Tamasha board, but some snob somewhere had a problem with that word, so the name has evolved.
  • There is some act, initially designed by Britishers which still is applicable to screening of the plays.
  • The Britishers banned some historical play, full of metaphors, I have forgotten the historical characters, but one of them represented Tilak, the other Gokhale etc.
  • Some plays have not been given censor certificate and have been screened as private screenings, some other as annual subscription gifts etc.

The play was impactful, especially when the shiv sena dude( this is not an oxymoron) breaks a pot, on stage and Binder abuses his women.
I have realised that, that art is usually is valued, which represents the society as it is and not the SRK, or Javed Akhtar's son's movies which merely cater to aspirations or pipe dreams which we all have.

I am done.Thanks.

One last bit, if someone finds the script please send it to me. Would love to read it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Missing Mistry

I am told, it was around 1975- 77 period, when Indira Gandhi had imposed her emergency. The constitution of India does entitle the government to impose one, only in special circumstances like a threat of war from some other country.

The stories have remained etched in the minds of people. The empty editorial pages in express, the mass imprisonment of political leaders, etc. When once I asked my mother, why is it that , though all my uncles have more than two kids, one particular uncle does not, my dad replied, it was the time of the emergency, and Mr. Sanjay Gandhi was having a field day.

The consequence was a system where the owner tells other, I know better than you and since I have power you better listen to me. Damodaran in one of his webinars on Corporate finance is critical of these systems, he much rather prefers self correcting systems, where even though I might not have best people running the show, but responsive people who can own up their mistakes and correct them soon enough. Something, which works in the stock markets, over a period of time.

The consequences of emergency were many, but one that remained was the disillusion it left behind in people's mind. In this state, I guess Rohinton Mistry moved lock stock and barrel to Canada. For good.

The one thing, I would have loved to do is discuss with him, how did he feel when he was writing the sequence when Manek steps on the railway tracks, with Avinash's chessboard with him. Did he cry, when he was writing it ?

Had Mistry stayed back, to become some professor of English in Mumbai or any other place in India, I might have have gone up to him and attempted to draw him out. But, he left. For his own good.

It's been more than 30 years since that incident, and life has come one full circle for Mumbai. I don't know how many we might loose this time.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Delhi, An understudy

When travelling in the metro, one looks out of the windows, only to see darkness outside. In Mumbai, it is different, there is always a scene playing at the window.

The doors close. That is awesome. It is centrally air conditioned, so no one haggles to get the window seat, in the direction of motion of the train like in Mumbai. The best part there are no window seats at all.

The security is on par with airports, with luggage scanners and X ray machines. The ticketing is different with coin like coupons, eliminating the need for a ticket collector. But what if I drop my coupon somewhere in middle, a highly likely event from my perspective.

The beauty of doing a thing 100 years too late is that one knows all the problems of Mumbai locals, and then can easily rectify them in the new system. Not that the same cannot be done in Mumbai, but for that one would require a person who takes a completely different approach to things, and also who does not belong to the system. Like Mr. Sreedharan.

New Delhi station was a disappointment. The traffic, the honking, the hand rickshaw, the auto rickshaw.the taxi,the Marathon, the traffic jam just outside the station.

Somehow I did not want to take the auto. I get a trifle uncomfortable to talk with the aggressive delhiwallah. Though I skipped the auto, I did get a measure of that in a Sony world shop. The salesmen, of all people were pretty rude. Guess, our dressing was too simple, from their perspective.

Another strange feature was the practice of tying up ropes against parked cars, possibly as a deterrent against car thieves. That was funny.

Finally the road rage was inexplicable, the constant accelerating and braking was too much for my tastes. It was as if all the cars were driving blindly, with half a hope of returning home safely.

The roads were wide enough though. I did enjoy the metro, and have always wondered as to why did they not change the local trains in Mumbai when they were changing from DC traction t AC traction and overhauling the entire set up. 

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I dug up a diamond

But As Ray estimated these two characters, he later explained to me that Josef, the consciously virtuous man, was a relatively static personality while Narsingh, being at the bottom a good man, had a greater capacity for growth and undergoes a marked degree of change.

Marie Steton ( On Abhijan by Ray)

...if you ever feel that security is more important than love, or love might grow out of security, let me know.

Bannerji to Monisha in Kanchenjunga

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Shatranj Ke Khiladi

The increase in the blog posts is a consequence of reading Amit Varma's bio. In it, is written, he did dot com time pass during 2000-2001, and then started writing for publications.

So, I am also trying to bring my writing in shape, least a publication wants me to write for them and also pay me. Not that I possess any talent, but there is a saying in our line. There is always a fool in the market, and if you can't find the fool, there is a good chance that you are the one.

A few to do's for me:

  1. Learn to give a structure to your ideas and hence writing
  2. Stop using conversational language in the written form
  3. Stop using, there are, where, there is, that and other crutches of words.
  4. Make your writing crisp
  5. Always end with a punch, like the Economist writers

Now, I don't possess Arundhati Roy's creativity in prose that I can describe a pothole for a page, but there is always ample space for people in the bottom of the pyramid. I should easily get cozy there.

I played another chess game with my Dad today, And I won. I think this is the first time in my living memory, that I have won a game of chess with anybody in my family. Never mind Dad was being over ambitious and wanted to crush me in the least amount of time. Had he been playing his natural game I would have never won. Even I wasn't playing my natural game. My natural game is the one where I want cleanliness from my chessboard during a match and go on a killing and get killed spree, without discriminating between pawns and non-pawns.

So finally after all these years of loosing to everybody, I did it. It took an aeon of time, but finally I got there.

In other news, followed the Australian open women's final radio commentary on my comp. Better luck next time Hardine. Read Ishquiya's review on rediff. And saw a few video promos's also on rediff. Might watch this one. Vishal Bharadwaj has produced it, should be good.

Strange that nobody has launched an Indian version of Youtube. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Bucket List Item

My views on doing two bits about the society have been stated before, but I will reiterate them here. Basically, if you want to do something go ahead and do it. Don't just do it for spreading awareness or contributing in my simple way types. I helped a kid today by feeding him lunch or I switched off the lights at precisely 8 PM just doesn't cut ice, with me. 

So I have this dream for long, I guess I had gotten inspired by one of Raj Kamal Jha's editorial pieces, where he is about to go to a village to teach, but receives a scholarship from some American college and ends up studying Conrad when he was suppose to be in a village teaching kids. It might be a piece on the Gujarat riots... No it was the edit he wrote when the IITian was shot dead in Bihar, Satyendra Dubey. 

Express, incidentally was the paper which had reported this news on some inner pages, but the same Sunday, chose to put it directly on the front page top on it's Sunday edition. 

One of the few documentaries I have loved is, Born into Brothel,( where this French woman randomly gives all children cameras in Calcutta's red light area. All the kids click away pictures randomly, but one of them finds his talent and is provided an exit from a sure-shot hellhole. Juxtaposed is the story of a girl, who is tried to be sent to a school, or sent to a foster home. She is not able to adjust there, and unfortunately returns to the brothel. If you can sell a kid a dream, you can forget about aid or money or helping him. The kid will find a way to make sure he achieves his dreams. 

I am not a great teacher and neither my going to some random village for a year and teaching the kids will change their lives in any way. But if I am there for a year, I will certainly interact with them. Tell them about what all is there to the world, beyond their tiny village existence. There might be some discussions on Bombay and it's glamour. There might be other on the educational possibilities, not just in India but also outside. There might be talk about the iPad and my biases of how technology has been just used for one objective till now, saving costs. It can be utilised in many other facets also. 

In a group of 20 kids, I might end up boring 15 kids, but if I can at least sell new dreams to the rest five of them. Inspire them to think outside what they believed till now, were the realms of possibility. Dreams are what makes a person take a whimsical road and think at another plain altogether. But, what if the rainmaker never arrived in their village to show them the possibilities that could have been. 

Exactly about a year back, I was browsing CBSE's website and I cam across a report where they were discussing the demand supply mismatch between teachers in villages, towns etc. 

I am not a great teacher. I might just get along, if I try. But the point is not to teach something to somebody. It is to make people aware that there are a million possibilities. Just like, Ruksar, living in Kurla hadn't been to Marine Drive ever, a distance of barely 15-20 KM, which in Bombay is nothing. She has a right to know about all the possibilities. Ditto for any kid anywhere. 

And that's why there is a need to tweak our education structure in a way so that we contribute back. Not just keep chasing dreams with merely keeping our own parochial self interests as our goals.I guess Harsha Bhogle uses a word here, in the initial part of his talk at IIM C. Prophesizing or something. Or Proselytizing? He says that he just doesn't want to do that. Trying to sound as if he is teaching them something.

Naive is a good word, when pronounced appropriately. With an emphasis like naa'eev. It kind of stretches the imagination. . 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Conversations with parents

Apparently SBI bank has hired some credit card executive from a private bank. They have been harassing Dad with a credit card.

Parents are not aware of a credit card as I am. And when I explained them the utility and the 38% annual interest rates. They were aghast. They asked me if I owned a cc. I told them, I wanted to but apparently I was a high risk segment and hence was refused one.

Then they asked if my siblings own them, and I said, yeah. Fortunately.

Mom on time: Time passes very fast. You will nor realise how fast a year will pass. An oblique reference to me and marriage.

Dad after watching 3 idiots with mom. It was an ok movie . There were a few jokes in it. The trend seems to be to make anti system movies these days. Munabhai was against professors and so is 3 idiots. Let's see how long this trend lasts.

I haven't seen 3 idiots and a few scenes I did over see when parents were watching it, I did not like Aamir's infinite attempts to act a college kid. Each scene he seem to be overdoing it. Trying so extra, that it looked ugly.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Breaking wood

So finally I have a kulhadi and hathoda. And a small log of wood. And I broke it with the help of a 8-10 year old kiddo, in my home in Mumbai. All the while my mother yelling at me to leave doing it. And then she said, just do what you want to do, I am leaving.

And she still did not leave. Mothers, I tell you. I asked her finally , what do you want. She just doesn't want me to hurt myself. And I though I was an old man.

The process of breaking the wood is difficult and should not be undertaken without adult supervision. A pair of glasses can be helpful, as no mathematician has come up with the equation of a particle in three dimension, when a chisel of varying sharpness makes contact with dry wood, with knots. So you never know which piece is coming out and in which direction.

My latest resolution. Follow Damodaran's classes on corporate finance over next few months here.

For those who do not know Damodaran, he writes books in finance which my buddies in MBA use to rave about. At least they pretended. And since I did not as much as touch them, I could not say if they understood anything or not. We had all touched this great wave where everybody was doing an MBA from a top notch school, so an adequate amount of BS was usually assumed in any claim.

Nevertheless, I listened to the first damodaran's lecture on Valuation from here: and found it infinitely interesting and fun. So I guess, I will bite. Because, the dude seems fun and not because he has written a few books.

More video lesson/thought sites are : and

Book of the moment: Portrait of a director : Satyajit Ray by Marie Seton. The eastest I have traveled is hyderabad, I do not understand the language spoken in Bongland, and I haven't seen any of Ray's work.

So I guess there is a trifle of an irony there.

I am also trying to understand what on hell is the principle of fair play. I have downloaded some document from scribd by some one called simmons. Will read it at ease.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The old man and the sea

There was this video I was watching for the nth time. It's there in my orkut profile, where two really old men are having a casual discussion.

So ther is this one man who is talking about Nikolas Tesla, stating that Tesla postulated that this earth is one big magnet.

The other old man is of artistic bent, he recalls some opera song he had heard and I guess recalls New York or some old city of the 1920's.

The men seem to be opposites.
I am lost to the world
with which I used to waste so much time,
It has heard nothing from me for so long
that it may very well believe that I am dead!

It is of no consequence to me
Whether it thinks me dead;
I cannot deny it,
for I really am dead to the world.

I am dead to the world's tumult,
And I rest in a quiet realm
I live alone in my heaven,
In my love and in my song!

( Translated from German, the opera song which is referenced in the video)


I am doing my HSC from a government junior college and the math professor is this uber cool dude, on the verge of his retirement, with his from two tooth missing, just like the character from the movie, Adaptation.

He in known to be of a free will and eccentric. He calls a parameter, a perraiya while teaching mathematics.

Someone stands up in the class and questions about positive infinity. Some one else chirps in with negative infinity and this professor looses his cool, he says, there is nothing called positive infinity and negative infinity, there is just one infinity.

I shrug him off.

I am reading this book, . I at times read books in a random order. I just open up a book, and start reading from which ever page came up and up to the end of the chapter. I close the book and repeat this process again.

I read Earnest Hemingway's A farewell to Arms that way. I have read Alchemist thrice. Once the other way round, backwards starting from the last chapter.

And then this dude sums up Einstein's (Special) Theory of relativity by summarising that there is nothing called mass. There are not two things's mass and energy. Mass is also a form of energy.

It's all energy.

Two old men are sitting on a Beach. Let's say, Arambol.

Both of them walked out of a corporate career. Both started their ventures. Once succeeded, the other failed, in the conventional sense of the words, success and failure.

One is sitting on a private beach he bought out from the money he made. The other is sitting on a public, though deserted beach.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, I guess has used the word stoicism somewhere.


And then, the penny dropped. It took me n attempts, where n tends to infinity, which one, the positive or the negative . :)