Monday, October 01, 2007

Yes, I am alive.

Well, after many abortive attempts, I have finally decided enough is enough, and yours truly shall blog again. I know my blog is read very avidly (especially by well-intentioned gentlemen, who want to sell me viagra and similar concoctions through the comments section), and I don't want to disappoint them. Who cares so much for others these days? That too, relentlessly.

Why did I stop blogging? Well, hmm. (pregnant pause) After seven posts, I found out this blog was not getting esoteric. Worse, it wasn't even a cafe. Why should people come here? My future as a blogger looked quite uncertain to me. And just like Mathieu Delarue in Sartre's "The Reprieve" my existential ruminations got the better of me.

So I went out on a study tour. For a year. My odyssey through various weblogs, online forums, and most importantly rediff's comments sections taught me a lot. The most important thing: people are willing to read, as long as you are willing to churn out stuff. After all, Dev Anand still makes films like Mr Prime Minister and Censor. To top it, he says he won't stop till he receives an Oscar.

Last week, Dev saab released his autobiography. That was the last straw. I decided my blog shall live again.

So that's it. To give you a sneak peek of what awaits you next, I am going to write a very lame piece on an advertisement I did not like. To put it succinctly, I am going to crib. A lot.

And yes, as Apu Nahasapeemapetilon would say,
"Thank you, come again!"

Monday, September 25, 2006

On Freedom

Into the world of freedom, let my mind wander,
Let it have the liberty, to stop, to pause, and ponder,
To wonder: why, what, when, and how,
Those four good men are longtime friends of humankind,
Think, peruse, imagine, and everywhere you will find,
The joy of boundless creativity.

Let it run free, unshackled from the chains of tradition,
Let it traverse the seven seas of imagination,
Let it drink, from the peerless fountain of knowledge,
Break all ropes; break every single cage.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Maruti Chalisa

The very sight of an old Maruti 800 floods me with memories. It takes me back to the early 90’s. Back then, the car meant Maruti, and if anybody said he had a Maruti, he could mean only one thing: the Maruti 800.

The expressway was still years away. Mumbai was still Bombay. A Bombay-Pune trip took around four hours, and it required prior planning. Visits to the mechanic, tanking up fuel in the car, taking the picnic basket were must-do tasks. Travel held romance. If you wished, you could simply take a turn at Khopoli and head towards Alibaug. After a few hours, you could join the highway and resume the journey. Overtaking was a maneuver meant only for accomplished drivers. Mind you, the expressway has reduced the deadliness of inebriated truck drivers.

A Bombay-Pune hop wasn’t just a hop. It used to be a gastronomic odyssey. A stop at Khopoli, for Ramakant’s vadapav, another at Lonavla for Chikki and fudge, and roasted corn cobs in the ghats in Khandala. Oh, the innocent times!

And then there was our old Maruti 800 of 1980’s vintage. No air-conditioning, no power windows, just a closer-to-the road driving experience. She served us dutifully for years. She braved the rust that Mumbai’s rains inflicted upon her, not to mention the bad roads.

The old Pioneer car audio was our usual companion during long drives. However there wasn’t any Radio Mirchi or Radio City. In those days AIR ruled the roost. Later Times FM, Radio Mirchi’s predecessor, came to compete. And then, there were my favourites. In those days Colonial Cousins gave good music and even Daler Mehndi’s tunes were pretty hummable.

Maruti put millions of people like us on the highway. It is India’s very own Volkswagen Golf or Rover Mini. While the Mini has become Cooper and turned from a plain jane into a sexy hotbod, Maruti still remains the peoples’ vehicle. Many middle-class Indians nurture a dream: to drive their own car. The Maruti 800 is the only vehicle which has the capability to fulfill this.

Recently, the Alto overtook the 800 in terms of volumes of sales (for one month, don’t remember which).So is the 800 nearing its end? Not really. Not in this half of the 21st century, at least. The Alto is essentially a Maruti 800 in a new set of clothes.

The Alto’s increased sales may also be seen as the breaking of the traditional mould. Maybe the 800 reflects the story of modern India. If the 800 was the liberator who made waiting ten years for a dowdy car history, then the Alto represents resurgent Indians, the small-town entrepreneurs and members of the Great Indian Middle Class. Agreed, it is puny by Western standards, but we have come a long way, that’s for sure.

Maruti rules. And it will continue to do so, until someone comes up with something better. Will Ratan Tata’s 1-lakh car make any impact? Keep watching this space.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Shanghai(ed) English

I was reading last fortnight’s Business India, when I came across this.

Instructions for use of a Tolet (sic) sanitary napkin(actually a tissue you spread on the commode seat before parking your bottom there) manufactured by Dandong Shiyuanbaoquhaotian.

How to use it:

Opening the packing takes out the one.

Take out the one to slice to sew along the order type tear off.

Will tore the part place the front, bedding at sit and then protect plank top. To prevent genitals from contact toilet.

The convenience leaves into the garbage an inside behind.

What was the author of this curious little text thinking of? This could easily pass off for an old Chinese method of preventing AIDS!

No wonder, everybody is shit (literally and figuratively) scared of the Chinese!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

To Sir With Love

Respected Sir,

Greetings to the greatest management guru in India, nay, Asia!

I was aghast to read the wild allegations levelled against you by some brain-dead bloggers. I was greatly depressed to read such lies about you. I began sobbing. I cried to myself:”Is there no justice in this world, O Lord? How could You permit this to happen?” How could a snob from a pathetic B-school called IIM have the temerity to say anything like this about the greatest guru of all time?

On coming to know that this loser was working for the company which had manufactured my laptop, I felt an irresistible urge to burn my laptop. I am sure many of my B-school mates all over India felt the same. Besides, it is actually necessary to burn our laptops. Otherwise, how would we fulfill the Great Indian Dream? I still remember your references to Gandhiji and the Civil Disobedience movement in your esteemed book.

But I digress. The point is that this IIM bloke doesn’t know how superior our institute is to IIM. We also teach planning, which the IIM’s neglect. Take your rise to fame, for instance. How well-planned was it! A book, followed by full page ads in TOI, and finally, a film! You counted your chickens really well, and achieved what you wanted.

You never cease to amaze me!

He raised questions about your education. I could only pity his intellectual bankruptcy. With a great economist (your father, who gave us valuable insights into the planned economies of Russia and China) at the helm of your life, who needs education? Management education like yours makes graduation seem insignificant and trivial.

My heart still leaps with joy, when I reread your book again and again. It is my very own Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. Especially the part where you classify Karl Marx as an inspiration for managers. With managers like Karl Marx, who needs union leaders?

I remember those days,when, in my time of trouble you had come to me. I had failed to secure an admission to a respectable B-school. I had read your advertisement in the newspaper and I got the solution to all of my problems. I actually dared to think beyond the IIM’s, and thanks to you and your institute, I can hope of getting placed in a reputed company.

Sir, we are always by your side. Our laptops are always ready to be burnt, and if the need arises, we will burn everything that is made by the company that the smartass joins next.

Yours sincerely,

Student .

(Final year BBA and MBA combined course)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Mystery Of Paheli

I am really surprised. I really am.

My prophecies were blown to smithereens early this week when Paheli was announced as India’s entry to the Oscars. Well, I was pole-axed, to say the least.

I had first (and last) watched this movie in the summer. If the heroine’s flirtations with a ghost are well, a bit digestible, her getting pregnant simply blows away your mind. Wonder what if a rapist or a sex maniac turns into a ghost and comes back to haunt you….. Sounds interesting, indeed! So there you are, Paheli, which is mostly ‘Ghost’, with a dash of ‘The Entity’, and a little bit of ‘Hawa-Sexual Violence’ thrown in. The film loses its steam when the ghost reveals that he is a ghost. The story meanders off, and it turns into another song and dance routine.

You simply refuse to accept that something of this sort came from an accomplished director like Amol Palekar. Maybe Shah Rukh’s big bucks bought him over.

Paheli is a perfect example of the conflict of creativity between the director and the producer. It would have been radically different had Amol Palekar been the producer too.

The film loses its soul and it remains neither mainstream cinema, nor art cinema. It is too boring to be mainstream and too unrealistic to be art cinema.

Paheli’s story was fresh. The innocence and simplicity of the characters should have been an integral part of the feel of the movie. Yet that was conspicuously missing. I do not blame Rani or Shah Rukh for this. They are very good actors, mind you. But something was missing. To find out, what was that something, watch Amol Palekar and Zarina Wahab in ‘Chitchor’. The film had a very simple storyline. But there was this freshness and innocence, a straight-from-the-heart feel that made this film succeed at the box-office. And yes, it also had songs (soulful ones, by Yesudas- ‘Gori tera gaon bada pyaara’; ‘Jab deep jale aana’, and more).

But then, now, Paheli is our entry to the Oscars. It is not a question of portrayal of India through its films. Westerners expect song, dance, colourful costumes and elephants from Indians as much as they expect Kung-fu from China. Remember the past nominees from India? Almost all of them show India as impoverished, be it Mother India or Salaam Bombay or Lagaan. But they were marvelous in other aspects. Paheli fails here. It maintains the stereotype of India, but falls flat on other counts. Paheli’s only hope for an Oscar is SRK himself, whose presence in the film gives it an outside chance, considering that SRK has a big fan following amongst Indians in the US, and the jury recognizes this.

So what are our chances of winning an Oscar this year? Equivalent to us winning 50 golds at the Beijing Olympics in 2008!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Back to the Future

The more things change, the more they remain the sameTM *

* Registered in the name of ProWords Inc. Copyright 2095. Reprinted with permission.

Earth, 2150.

Associated Press-Reuters



Pakistani President Gen. Asif Musharraf has said that all issues must be resolved peacefully and with mutual understanding. In a press conference here, he said that like the Kashmir and the Punjab problems, the Rajasthan and Gujarat problems must be solved in accordance with the principles of peace and harmony. Only then will relations return to normal. Meanwhile, he reiterated that, unless those “contentious issues” were sorted out, there is no question of granting MFN status to India. On being asked about allowing Bollywood movies to be screened in Pakistan, he chuckled, To hell with Pakistani cinema-halls. Let them turn bankrupt. Sadaf video is much cheaper.”


New Delhi

A week after bomb blasts in Kolkata killed one, the prime minister said in Parliament that there will be no concessions towards terrorism. “We shall take appropriate measures to counter terrorism”.The opposition boycotted the session today amidst scenes of chaos and pandemonium. Meanwhile he briefed reporters outside Lok Sabha about an anti-terrorist pact signed with Tamil Eelam. “We stand united and committed against terrorism” ,he said .


Redmond, CA

American software major Wipro formally took over the worldwide operations of struggling Chinese software major Microsoft. This makes Wipro the world’s third largest software firm after Infosys and TCS.

Shares of Microsoft showed a bit of spurt on the BSE while Wipro’s shares dipped on fears of increased liabilities and debts.



After many delays, Pamir Khan’s much awaited movie “Jungle Friday- The Sinking” was finally released on Friday in Mumbai. Pamir Khan plays the role of a castaway who’s marooned on an island in the Pacific, after his ship sinks. Pamir had specially grown his armpit hair apart from a beard to portray a man kept away from civilization and a Gillette razor for years. When asked what his expectations from the movie were, he said, “Super Duper hit!”



Chinese cricket legend Gao Xingchuan has been appointed as the new coach of the Indian Cricket team. Sources say he has signed a 10-trillion yuan contract with the BCCI.

In a press conference arranged at the Taj Bengal, he vowed to restore Indian cricket to its days of glory like in 1983, when India last won the World Cup. Xingchuan is known for Shaolin Cricket, a new style of play introduced when he was the captain of the Chinese team.


India lose to East Timor in Football World Cup qualifiers.