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A Compilation from my Blog Madhosh Kiye Jaa Modern Diseases Nov 2, 2009.

Just some random thoughts about Modern Diseases and their treatment. 1. Dont Check Ur Mailitis: Strikes many a healthy emailer without notice. Can ind uce long stays in the real world. Patient recalls only physical world, and tends to forget the unreal, or virtual world. Starts living his first life, to the co mplete exclusion of his second life. Treatment: Earlier treatments included mails to the patient announcing he had wo n 200,000 pounds (the currency, not the weight) in a lottery. This treatment no longer works. A whack on the side of his head (a physical one, actually delivere d on the side of his head) sometimes works. A kick in the right place may also b e tried as an alternative line of treatment. Note: A golf club should not be used to administer the treatment. It can land th e do-gooder in the cooler for life. 2. Realityshowtitis: This shows up in symptoms like saying to your children afte r they have brushed their teeth, "your score is...thirty", with a flourish, or s aying to your boss in office, "You are eliminated from this company", or saying to anyone at home, "We will meet in the next round", or similar forms of disorie nted speech. Serious cases include assuming you are a KBC show host and offering every guest four options of drinks or food, using letters a, b, c, and d before naming them. Treatment: Blowing up the fuse of the TV set is the best treatment. Asking the p atient to sleep for at least eight hours a day reduces the symptoms dramatically . Engaging the patient in some socially useful activity may also help, though if he exhibits reluctance to do so, force or threats may be needed. 3. Twitchyfingers: This is completely unlike the itchy finger, where scratching it is enough to cure. What happens to the patient is he treats anything he sees as a mobile phone keypad or a computer keypad, and starts typing on it. If done on a bald head, it can have hilarious consequences for observers, but not for th e one with the head. Treatment: There is no known cure for this, except to try to convince the patien t that he is living in the year 1984, when computers and mobile phones did not e xist. Giving him a gun may lead him to ape Quick Gun Murugan. Mind it. 4. Tiger Woods Syndrome: This is a delusional state where the patient constantly plays superb golf strokes in the air. Symptoms are similar to those found in th e Tendulkar Syndrome and Beckhamitis (except that this affects the foot). He is under the illusion that he is Tiger Woods. Treatment: The most effective treatment is to take the patient to the woods, and show him a real tiger, uncaged. While running for his life, his health will rap idly return to top form, and after recovery, he may perform well in athletics, a t least. 5. Husbanditis: This manifests itself as deafness in BOTH ears when there is men tion of any household work, responsibility, etc. Treatment: This affliction is incurable, once a person becomes a husband. Vaccin ation through an anti-marriage brainwash vaccine is the only preventive measure av ailable.

Significant Happenings Dec 14, 2009 Asterix turned 50 recently. Millions of people across the world have enjoyed his adventures along with Obelix, the maker of the magic potion, Druid Getafix and so on. The names of the characters are great entertainment in themselves. I stil l carry around a particular one called Obelix and Co. which is a great take off on management- in particular, advertising and marketing. There is a smart alec w ho gets the Gauls addicted to making money by selling menhirs (he buys them hims elf)and succeeds in corrupting them. Great read for an MBA. The bard Cacophonix is another brilliant creation. We come across equivalent cha racters in real life so often, that he is easy to relate to. The caricature of R omans (particularly Julius Caesar)is hilarious, and should be compulsory reading for all would-be dictators. Paul Samuelson, author of a great text book on Economics, passed away. I read hi s book during my MBA and it was the first one on Economics that I enjoyed readin g. The Telangana crisis set me thinking. I was born in Andhra (undivided), so will I have an identity crisis if that changes to Telangana? What is the economic rat ionale for a new stste to be formed? Will the reorganisation help the common man in any significant way? Bangalore Book Fair Oct 14, 2009 The Bangalore Book Fair is an annual event that hosts publishers from all over. This year s edition is special, however, because will have a stall the re. What is It is a Print-on-demand (or POD) publisher based in Banga lore. So what, you may ask. They are also the publisher of my autobiography call ed "My Experiments with Half-truths". That s what makes this year s event specia l for me. It s from November 6th to 15th. What makes the POD so attractive to fiction/poetry/non-fiction authors is that t he content is entirely under the author s control. So a Michael Moore (whose Stu pid White Men had some problems getting published) could use this form of publis hing, and so could you or I, unknown authors to begin with, who may never get pu blished any other way. Sales are usually slow, because it is sold online against an order, and the author needs to promote his book (as I am doing now), but the re is no pressure on an author to buy a minimum number as with normal self-publi shing/printing. It is deeply satisfying, for some reason, to see your thoughts i n print even in the age of the internet. Unconventional Wisdom Aug 23, 2009 It has become a trend for economists to write mainstream books like Freakonomics . The latest that I read in this genre is one with a misleading title. I will co me to the title later, but the book puts forth a lot of unconventional arguments . One is that patents are bad, another is that firemen should keep the assets th at they save from a fire, and yet another is that a high population is good for all of humanity. I will not get into the details (I am not sure that I can!), bu t it is an engaging way to spend your afternoon, or evening, or night to read th

is book. In general, his argument is that the law of Karma should be applied to situations to decide who gets the incentives and pays for costs of his actionsthe doer! There are some real gems, like "the Labour minister steals from the farmers and business, the Commerce minister steals from the workers and farmers, and the Agr icultural minister steals from the workers and business, to benefit their own co nstituencies- the workers, the businesses, and the farmers, respectively". Of co urse, in the American context. But he also points out that people in general hav e benefited from progress only over the last 50-100 years in terms of a rise in income and choices of lifestyle. A real good observation is that Americans (or Westerners, in general) have no ri ght to lecture third world countries on issues like child labour, because parent s of the children can take care of this, and secondly, because American parents also did the same (supported their children working) for survival a couple of hu ndred years ago. All in all, an interesting read. The (misleading) title of the book? More Sex is safer sex. Ladyboys of Thailand July 31, 2009 An entire 90 minute show performed by beautiful (actually better than beautiful, gorgeous-looking) transvestites (ladyboys in local parlance)? I am not joking. You can see it in Pattaya, and unless they tell you, you can t even make out the y are transgendered performers. What a brilliant idea to give them dignity in a world that normally forces them to live in disgusting and undignified ways. Hats off! This show, called Alcazar, was a highlight of our two day Pattaya romp. An other was an undersea walk in the shallow sea water on way to Coral Island, an i sland reached through a thrilling 30 minute ride on a Bond-style speedboat that cuts through the water, front end up at an angle after take-off. The undersea wa lk needs no training, just wear a helmet (a BIG helmet) that lets you breathe, a nd a guide takes you for a walk, feeding fish and touching some coral, watching other sea animals floating past you. It beats the Singapore Undersea World any d ay, though the fish in Singapore are bigger. Our Thai guide tells me his life story, which like most stories, is about povert y, separation, and need to earn a living. But the important part is, in spite of this, Thailand is called the Land of Smiles, and rightly so. They are charming to visitors, to the point of embarrassment. I think that s why people keep going back to Thailand. Something to learn from them. Though if they could learn more English, they may get better jobs. But who knows? They may lose their humility and become like the Indian touts whom tourists have to encounter. There was a lady at the reception in the hotel who reminded me of Buddha for som e reason-very graceful, and contented looking. A cocktail car (like a minivan, a ctually) parked in a courtyard of a mall was a lovely spot to unwind after hecti c touring. There are also a lot of noisy beer bars and go-go bars that cater to the so-called "nightlife tourist", but this cocktail car was free from distracti ons. Their vocabulary being limited, OK, OK, Same Same are commonly used terms. We go to Nong Nooch village and see a cultural show with Thai boxing, songs and dance . The garden is huge, and a bus ride makes us appreciate the diversity of treesthee is even a Bodhi tree from India. Thais are Buddhist and also do a very nic e Namaste like we used to!

There was a restaurant called Bai Bua in our hotel. Funnily, in Marathi, it mean s a lady (bai) and a guy (Bua). The Bangkok airport- Pattaya highway is flawless , and takes two hours or less to drive 150 kms- tourism friendly like hell. The beach itself is not great, but the water is a light green, blue which looks terr ific. The mediterranean has a deep blue, and that looks nice too. From a marketer s point of view, I found the Alcazar show very instructive. The presentation was power-packed, lot of resources used, editing was tight, not a m oment wasted, acts unfolding one after another, each one spectacular, and photog raphy was allowed. Unlike in India, where we guard everything as if it was a nuc lear secret, the actors were very participative, and kept mingling with the audi ence at times, even posing for photos at the end of the show, outside the venue. That s great customer relationship management, and great publicity from these g uys talking about it (like I am). Golf tours are also available from Pattaya, al l-inclusive and day long to six or seven courses. Hope to go back on one myself.

Pintu goes to Malaysia July 26, 2009 The best part of Malaysia is its language. Or words. I was fascinated from the m oment I landed in Kuala Lumpur. Salamat Datang is a greeting. Dilarang.....somet hing.. is No Smoking. Teri maa kais hai, or something similar sounding, means T hank you . But the best of them all...a gate is called Pintu. What a fabulous wo rd. Pintu... all the Indian visitors at the airport kept on saying, Pintu this, Pintu that...I am reminded of something that happened in Clemson University a lo ng time ago. I was a student in some course during my Ph.D. My American professo r had a habit of asking us a question, and if he got the correct answer, he woul d shout "Bingo!". One of my classmates, Masoud, was so fascinated, that he would read up before class so he could answer the questions, just to hear the prof. s ay Bingo! How s that for motivation? The fascinating words don t stop there. We went to an upmarket commercial and re sidential are called Bahsong Baru, a Las Vegas and Disneyland combo resort calle d Genting, and a shopping area called Bukit Bintang. And to top off the musical sounds, their currency is called Ringgit. By the way, at Genting, which is also on a hill, we saw an indoor mall with a meal advertised in a Hong Kong style res taurant. The menu (rather, a big hoarding)on the wall had a full suckling pig me al- reminded me of the wild boar that Obelix and Asterix ate lots of. The magic potion was missing. Our guide Velu had a lot of style, always wore a batik shirt, and handled us wit h aplomb. Malaysia is officially Islamic, but a very liberal variety, with bars (though local Malays are supposed to refrain from going there and mostly do), wi ne shops, and attire ranging from short skirts to the burkha/hijab. My additional joy (apart from their language, not the short skirts) came from me eting my old classmate from Ph.D. days, who is a visiting professor at Universit i Malaya. Singha in Singapore July 26, 2009 No, actually that is wrong! No Singha beer in Singapore. That s in Thailand. And Tiger beer is from Singapore. Confused? You bet. Price of beer in Thailand? 50 baht-around 70 rupees. Price of coke in Thailand? More than that.

Indian food? No problem. On a banana leaf? No problem. In a restaurant called Th e Banana Leaf? Again, no problem. Tiger prawn or Chili crab in a Tamil restauran t? Absolutely. A mall like an Octopus spreading its tentacles across three block s of Singapore? That s Mustapha, a heady combo of an Indian kirana store and the western mall-mania filling eight streets and four or five levels. Big bazaar wa s (is?) trying to do this in India. Disciplined or scared of big brother? I could not figure out what Singaporeans r eally feel. The discipline is awesome, but scary to someone as used to indiscipl ine (not just from students) as I am. No doubt, Singapore has a lot of man-made beauty and a stupid combo of a lion and fish- wouldn t a mermaid have been more beautiful to look at? Anyways, many questions and no answers. To end on a high, Singapore has some beautiful restaurants like Riverwalk Tandoo r in Clark Quay (pronounced as Key), great public transport, professional and co urteous taxi drivers (again a candidate for the Ripley s Believe it or Not), and lots of money floating around (all the banks have tall offices)- at least until the recession struck. Singapore in one word? Unreal! To buy a car (as expensive as two wives, according to our guide David who looks like Jackie Chan), there is a quota, and you may have to wait a few years. Hamar a Bajaj of 1970 was your consultant, maybe? Another thing an Indian cannot under stand. Not enough growth in Singapore population, in spite of incentives. Ripley should create a monument to this. Indians would gladly double the world s popul ation, given half the incentive. Cars I Drove Over the Years July 12, 2009 Since I am not a zillionaire, these are quite modest and do not include the Ferr aris, Mercs and the like, but I just realised that it is an interesting list nev ertheless. For example, I started driving at age 18 on a vintage Ford Prefect 19 55, which has that old world look, complete with a cranking "handle" to start it like the Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi car, and a floor gear. It also had a footboard on both sides, and we as children used to enjoy standing on it on the drive from t he gate to the garage while my father or mother was driving. Great fun! The next car was a humdrum "Fiat" which was an official car (parents ), which I did not drive much, as it came with a driver. My next one in the US was a giveaw ay from Alok, my friend who had finished his PhD and bought a new Totota Celica in 1986. His old Datsun (from Nissan)1976 I think, was what I drove for a year. It was a zippy car, by Indian standards, though it had a leaky cylinder which me ant one spark plug constantly needed cleaning, much to the amusement of our Amer ican friends. I then bought a 1979 Ford Granada, and we made our first around-the-US yatra in it, going from Clemson to Los Angeles and back. We later made another longer rou nd trip in a similar Ford Lincoln that we hired. The Ford Granada was a luxury c ar, and was fantastic for long rides, though a gas guzzler compared to the Datsu n. But then, petrol was cheap enough for us graduate students to go gallivanting . So we covered around 25 states of the 50 US states in that tri[. I celebrated my PhD with another used car, a Subaru with a hatchback, station wa gon style. This was a great car for its handling, and carrying capacity. We coul d stuff almost anything, (though we never tried a small elephant, maybe we could have)at the back and we used it for many short trips, including to the Tennesse e mountains in Fall season to see the multicoloured leaves.

My first car back in India in 1995 was again a Fiat (Premier Padmini), which I l iked a lot for its hand-gears and seating capacity. Six was a comfortable fit. I t saw me through Harihar, and my Lucknow days, where I sold it. Next I bought a new car for the first time, the good old Maruti 800. Lasted me 2 years, and I ex changed it for an Esteem when I moved to Bangalore. I drove a lot of the 800, an d I drive a lot less of the Esteem, because I am mortally scared of Bangalore tr affic. But I did make a couple of trips to Goa and to Salem, and enjoyed the com fort of the ride. All in all, an interesting bunch of cars.

My Top Ten List July 12, 2009 Top Ten Movies (Indian) 1. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi- music, masti, Madhubala. Aur kya chahiye? One of Kishor e Kumars best. 2. Anand- it made an impact in 1970 when I saw it. It makes one even today. 3. Rajnigandha- a great example of how to tell a story. Simply. It also has my f avourite Mukesh song- Kai baar yoon hi dekha hai, yeh jo man ki seema rekha hai, man todne lagta hai. 4. Padosan- probably the greatest comedy ever made. So stunningly simple, low-bu dget and yet, irresistible. Can be watched once every year to drive your blues a way. Maybe Mehmoods best role. Meri pyaari Bindu and the line from it ..mere prem ki naiyya beech bhnwar mein gud-gud gotey khaaye is hilarious. 5. Sholay- everything came together in a great symphony. Not one false stroke. S alim Javed were probably responsible. 6. Chupke Chupke- can language be such fun? Yes, if people like Hrishikesh Mukhe rjee can have a go at it. Om Prakash got a chance to show his great talent. 7. Shaukeen- 3 old men trying to bed a young damsel? Just for sheer novelty of t he plot, this gets my vote. Utpal Dutt was hilarious. 8. Yaadon Ki Baraat- One of the best lost and found stories. The song Chura Liya hain Tumne jo Dil ko, Nazar Nahin Churana Sanamone of the most romantic songs ev er. 9. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro- This movie is so funny, that you can barely stop yourself from rolling in laughter. Om Puri and Satish Shah were great. One of the Satish Shah dialogues (he is the municipal commissioner who has just returned from a f oreign tour)- foreign mein hum dekha.peene ka paani alag, drainage ka paani alag is an all time great. Another great dialogue- Aadha khao, aadha phenko- yeh Switzer land ka cake hai. The idea of using a scene from the Mahabharat for the mayhem in the climax was also superb. 10. Johny Mera Naam- A gorgeous Hema Malini, a debonair Dev Anand, three I.S. Jo hars, and some wonderful music. Masala movie-making at its best. Jewel Thief is in the same category, but a little long. 11. Maybe I will add another one- Teesri Manzil, to this list. Vijay Anand was o ne of our best directors, I think. Suspense, comedy, great music and dancing. Th e term disco had probably not been invented, but Aaja aaja main hoon pyar tera was rocking! So was Helen in the other dance number, O haseena zulfon wali jaane jah an. There are of course, many more which could have made it if it was a top twenty l ist. But I dont want to go on and on, like some badly edited Hindi films. As unin tended comedies, Ill vote for all Randhir Kapoor films, and all NTR films in Telu gu ending with the name Ramudu, with prefixes like Driver, Adavi, and even Chall

enge. Murli Meets Mughal-e-Azam May 28, 2009 During my days at IIMK, a controversy broke out between the HRD ministry and the IIMs regarding fees to be charged from the MBA students. The ministry was tryin g to dictate the fees and IIMs were resisting this assault on their autonomy. Th e following piece was inspired by this tug-of-war. The then minister was Murli M anohar Joshi.

Murli was visiting IIM Delhi, trying to convert the institutes logo into a colour recognised by all- saffron. His logic was impeccable, but he came up with an un foreseen obstacle. The Great Mughal, who happened to be the Chairman of IIMDs boa rd. This is how their conversation went. Murli: Hamein Bharat ki sanskriti ki raksha karni hai. Is liye naye electives ki khoj karni padegi jaise kimurli bajakar bakriyon ko Manage karna. Mughal-e-Azam: Hamari saltanat mein hamara matlab hai hamari Institute mein yeh g ustakhi karne ki jurrat karne wale aap kaun hote hain? Kya bhed-bakriyon ko mana ge karne wale multi-million dollars ki Securities Transactions ko manage kar sak enge? Murli: Kyon nahin? Kya Praacheen kaal mein Krishna Bhagwan ne Dwarka mein raj na hin kiya tha? Aur apni madhur murli ki dhun se gopiyon ko bhi mantramugdh kar di ya tha! Management aur gopiyon ka madhur sangamnahin nahin..mera matlab hai Mange ment aur bakriyon kanahin nahin Mughal-e-Azam (interrupting)Saleeeemroko ise. Is shakhsiat se hamein bachao. Chalo, hum mughal raj ki tauheen aur bardaasht nahin kar sakte. Hum is Institute ke Ch airmanship se istifa dete hain. Murli: Ek aur baat sunte jaiye, jahan panah. Is institute ka logo ab saffron yan e bhagwe rang ka hoga, kyonki Bharat ki pavitra dharti par aur koi rang aam jant a ko itna pasand nahin hai. M-e-A: Nahinhamaari aakhri saans chalne tak hum yeh nahin hone denge. Is mulk kima tlab Institute ki Autonomy ko hum thes nahin pahunchne denge. Murli: Magar ye logo to Ministry ki den haiise badalna hi hoga. FADE strains of hindi songLOGO, na maro ise, yahi to mera

IFIM Faculty Workshop April 27, 2009 We all (IFIM faculty) spent two very useful days on April 25 and 26 clarifying t he role that we have to play as Business School faculty today. And found that th is is a multi-dimensional role, that includes mentoring students & colleagues, b uilding the institution s brand through executive training, research leading to publication , consulting, case writing and so on. The great faculty members of t his world have distinguished themselves through either teaching standards, resea rch or book writing. Think Marketing, and you think of Kotler. Services Marketin g, Parasuraman, Brand management, Keller or Kapferer. Therefore, to be a recogni sed faculty member, you have to contribute in some way to the profession. Use of

inovative teaching methods, including films, case studies, role plays, projects etc. could be great ways to break the monotony of a class. Live examples cited from current periodicals are also an excellent tool. Computer based analysis hel ps make students industry ready. These were some of the learnings. Also, a link between all these and appraisal syatems would motivate the good faculty to stick around- retention issues re a headache across B schools. All in all, two days w ell spent.

It s here! April 2, 2009 My autobiography is finally out. Titled My Experiments with Half-truths, it s av ailable from -truths which is an online POD publisher, who makes it easy to publish your own book. I found out about it a month ago, and my book is already for sale online. I recommend it for motivated budding authors who are not looking to become a bes t-selling author (though you may still end up being one), but mainly write for a small audience of your own friends, or relatives, batchmates etc. No hassles of chasing a publisher, fighting duels with editors, and no mandatory order of 300 or 500 copies! Just format your own stuff, design a cover page, submit it, and voila! You have a book. It s called Print-on-demand or POD, so it s printed and delivered against an order. I really think it s a great concept. I wrote the boo k for fun, and to consolidate my experiences of student life and life as a prof. Hope there are some people out there who will read it. Golf Lessons Jan 28, 2008 All games are equal, in some ways. But some are special. Like Golf. People think you have to be a millionaire to be able to play the game. That s not necessaril y true. But you do feel like a million bucks when you play it. You guessed it. I just got a great weekend out in Kodai golf club, and will bask in the afterglow for weeks, maybe even months. I recommend the game highly to anyone who has not tried it. According to me, the best part of the game is it teaches you that you are ultimately trying to conquer yourself- there s no one else out there. And i t s deadly for grinding one s ego to dust. Paper Tigers Jan 25, 2008 Stock markets give us an illusion of wealth. The world (at least most of it) is composed of stock markets. And therefore, the world is an illusion. What does th e paper money really represent? Why don t all investors cash out while the going is good? And settle down in the Bahamas? Don t know if there is a stock market there. A wise friend of mine who is into real estate broking once told me- the o nly guys who consistently make money (win-win, if you please) are the agents/bro kers/traders etc. in any trading activity. The ongoing hulchul reminds me of tha t wise guy. Parenting in India May 30, 2008 Are you admission-savvy? This is a million-dollar question to which you have to answer a "yes" if you want to be a successful Indian parent. From K.G. to P.G an d beyond, you have to learn to be a submissive moron with a generous bent of min

d, to be able to succeed in the eternal quest for admissions for your kid, somet hing like the fired-up Knights of the Round Table of ancient times. New times, n ew avatars! Also, a strong belief in God helps, coz otherwise, whom do you curse in case the quest fails? Therefore, to find out if you have what it takes, answer the question above. And thou shalt know. Conferencing in Amsterdam Oct 16, 2008 Had a four day visit to Amsterdam in Oct. first week for a conference where I pr esented a paper. Travelling outside India after a long time, I found our airport s have improved visibly- at least the Bangalore one has, in terms of time taken to clear passengers while coming back. I remember long lines at Mumbai on my ear lier trips many years ago. Amsterdam is a pleasure to be in, because of a perman ent party atmosphere. Unlike the U.S., you see a lot a people outdooors, on bike s and in the buses and trams. It is a pictureque place, well-laid out and very, very liberal in attitude towards minor vices. English is widely understood, so i t is not a problem to move around. I took long tram rides across the city, and the names of places like Slotermeerl aan (where I stayed), Bos en Lommerplein, Voorburgwal, all sound like familiar t erritory now. Prices in restaurants were sky high, but I managed to eat a lot of burgers and save! One of the highlights was a walk in the Vondel Park, a large area with waterbodies, and a lot of cyclists, joggers and walkers-even in 10 deg rees Centigrade weather. Another was a Spanish dinner at the Paella, which is al so the name of a dish- a sort of seafood Pulao, with fish, prawns and squid etc. The average Hollander is tall and fair and good-looking, and fun-loving, at lea st from the viewpoint of a visitor like me. The conference had a small yet diverse collection of people from Turkey, Lithuan ia, Sweden, India, and the US, besides Netherlands. My presentation on the use o f CRM for major stakeholders in Business schools was pretty well received. Year-end Oranges Dec 20, 2010 People suffer from blues of various kinds. I suffer from Oranges. You may well ask, "What are the oranges?" and I would reply, "the positive form of the blues " Well, OK, the colour is inspired by the fact that I happen to live in the oran ge city, but any other bright colour would do just as well. What I mean is that positive energy flows through me at the end of the year. Not to make new year re solutions, but to keep doing something new all the time. For instance, write blogs. Unless I do something, I don t have anything to write about. The easiest thing to do, for me at least, is to read something. Of cours e, you may not agree. But I also do things like attend conferences (which peak a t the end of the year, incidentally or coincidentally). Or write books, though t hat has slowed down the last year or two. Or watch movies, or occasionally, TV s hows. I was watching a TV show yesterday, called the Zee TV Rishtey Awards or some suc h. Z was the pioneer among private TV channels in India around 18 years ago, and were celebrating, with all the early stars like Navneet Nishan of Tara, and Nee na Gupta and Alok Nath of many other serials. There was a nice takeoff on Dabang g, by one of the comedians on stage. Also a pretty good take on the various rish tey in one s life. The good part was that each act was about 2 minutes long- in

other words, well within tolerance limits. Hindi films could do with such editin g! Zorba The Greek Dec 16, 2010 I am presently reading this book. I don t know yet how it ends, but I think that s not the point of this book. Sometimes, an author or a poet hits on something that does not have a formula, or a stereotyped structure, and yet manages to kee p you glued to the written word. This is one such book-a rare one, if I may say so. This is the story of a vagabond Greek, narrated by his companion-cum-boss, who t ravels to Crete and tries to get a project going, and among other things, runs a lignite/coal mine with local workers. But again, that is not the point. The sto ry is just an excuse for the author s larger ruminations about the purpose of li fe, men, women, relationships, the existence (or otherwise) of God, the Buddha ( yes, that s a recurring reference point). The other thing is that the tale seems timeless. I have no idea when it was writ ten, and it seems to matter little. Again, a rare thing. I have not heard of thi s author or whether he wrote anything else in his life, but I think this book al one is worth at least ten. Hats off to this guy, whose name is still Greek to me ! By the way, when I visited Greece once, I was struck by how similar they were to Indians. Maybe I have a soft corner for these guys. Leadership Challenges Dec 10, 2010 There was an interesting question I faced at a training program yesterday. My su bject was leadership, and the question asked by one of the participants was "Why was Sachin Tendulkar unsuccessful as a captain of the cricket team?" This made me think (on my feet), but the answer is that different skills are req uired when you have to get work done from a set of people, compared to doing the job yourself. It is easy for Tendulkar to set himself standards, and use reward s or punishment for himself and get runs, or field well, but getting ten others to do the same was not his forte. In many cases, leaders take things too personally, and it may start affecting th em. For instance, a batsman may stop batting well, or a bowler may not bowl well , because he is made captain. The same may happen in the corporate world, where a great salesman may make a lousy sales manager, and also stop selling, due to h is administrative responsibilities.It is probably possible to orient a person ta king up a leadership role about what it is that needs to be different. The setting of priorities, and putting the right people (out of those available or recruitable) on the right job are two other things that a leader should be go od at. A personal sense of mission is desirable in what a leader wants to achiev e in a 2-3 year time-frame. You may want to call it a vision for people in the o rganisation, because that is what makes an organization go around. A clear visio n and clarity on limitations of his role make a leader better.

Golfing in Pattaya

Nov 26, 2010 In Pattaya for a golf tournament organised by a friend. Excellent facilities, co urtesy, and organisation. The golf is iffy, but that is always the case. When yo u sign up for it, you know it will be. But how does it matter? The idea is to ha ve some fun and enjoy the companionship, and the opportunity to make new friends . Despite the pomposity of most golf clubs, golfers always get along, and make f riends easily. At this age, or any age for that matter, what else does one need? This outing is organised by, who are new to this game but very go od at what they do. May their tribe increase and prosper. Good for mortals like me who like to play for the fun of it, not necessarily to win a trophy. A thought that occurs to me, by the way, is, if Pattaya area can have 50 golf courses, why can t a city in I ndia? We played at three courses- Burapha, Phoenix, and Laem Chabang, all close to Pat taya. The last was designed by Jack Nicklaus, and is very scenic. Spent a lot of time taking pics. The caddies are women, in all the courses. They also drive yo u around on the golf carts, and are very nice, with lilting accents tellling you how to play, and commenting....shot no gooo.. means you muffed it. Right OBeeee , means it s gone out of bounds on the right, and so on. Goooo..means it was a g ood one. Putting instructions were also handy because the greens on these course s were extremely tricky to read. Had a party at Laem Chabang too, on the last evening, with a female singer who s ang many old numbers, and the Dhoom machale song too. Think it was a Thai who sa ng the number. Long remembered Movies, TV Shows Nov 9, 2010 A movie I saw in my childhood and laughed out loud at was The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob . Can t remember too much, but I think it was slapstick of the kind that appeals to a child or a teen. One more starring Michael Sarrazin was The Loves and Times of Scaramouche , about a swashbuckling hero with a lot of spoofi ng of Napolean, one of the characters in the film. I think the same Michael Sarr azin starred in the original Karz , which was called The Reincarnation of Pete r Proud - an engrossing suspense film unlike its khichdi counterpart. The Carry on Series also impressed me when I first saw it, with its comedy which was somet imes bawdy, but funny nevertheless. A comedian who does funny things called Benn y Hill, may be missing on Indian TV screens, but did a mix of music, stand-up ac ts and a lot more on Western TV a few decades ago. Herbie Goes Bananas was anoth er fun movie, and so were the Bud Spencer-Terrence Hill combination films, a pre cursor to the Jackie Chan masala movies. Bruce Lee was awesome when he entered like a dragon, and spawned the whole karat e training industry in India. Back to the Future starring Michael J Fox, of the famous TV show called Family Ties, was another memorable film. Remington Steele was my favourite TV show in the mystery-comedy genre, and starred Pierce Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist, both excellent in their roles. Perry Mason series on T V was also great, recreating the characters admirably (in Black and White). I th ink Raymond Burr played Perry Mason. Murder on the Orient Express is one of the most startling plots made into an equally impressive movie. Death on the Nile wa s another movie based on Agatha Christie novel that I liked. The Naked Gun, A Fi sh Called Wanda, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels were three very good comedies I enj oyed watching sometime in the late eighties, or early nineties.

One other movie that has stayed with me was Paheli by Rajshri films in the seven ties, about a village girl who grows up between two meetings with a city boy v isiting his grandmother in the village. Beautiful locales, some great music- So na, kare jhilmil jhillmil , Tan Bheege, man bheege being the best two, and a l ovely Namita Chandra playing the girl (where is she?) completed the experience. Birthday Bash Nov 6, 2010 Like in cricket or the movies, we lay a lot of store by a half-century or a gold en jubilee. And so it was that I happened to have a birthday bash a little after I turned fifty, at Pune because many of my family are here. Starting with my eldest cousin who lives in Mumbai, to one of my nieces also fro m Mumbai, there were around 25 people who turned up in all for a two-epsiode bir thday party. A restaurant called Oasis on NDA road overlooking a valley view bel ow was the venue for lunch. Managed efficiently by two cousins who are good at t his sort of thing,we managed to get food served on time to everyone s satisfacti on, got a cake cut in between courses, and had a gala time catching up on news a nd views, with occasional leg-pulling too. After a nap to catch our breath, we started on leg 2 in the evening. Most people were there, and some more, age groups- 18 to 81. This was more of remembrances, with people reminding me of what I had done to them over the last fifty years. But mostly, I came out Ok from the scan. Of course, everyone was in a generous m ood with the festivities floating in the air around us- all our neighbours had a lso helped by decorating their homes around ours. Lots of nice cards and letters(handwritten) added to the charm. And a karaoke se t gifted to remind me that life is about singing your way through. So I ended wi th a song (not an age to rock and roll any more) which seemed appropriate to meZindagi ke safar mein guzar jaate hain jo makaam, woh...phir nahi aate.. Fantasy- A Plane Journey Nov 2, 2010 The check-in is smooth, and I get a seat of my choice. There are no oversized gu ys leaning into me front, back and sideways, no wailing children, the pushback o n my seat works, and I can use the toilet whenever I wish to, without the infern al trolleys blocking the passage. The food is free, it s good and I am asked for my preference and get it. I get t ea if I feel like having some. It tastes like tea. The food tastes like food (as in the old days when men used to be men ). The flight arrives when it should, without vague announcements like "delays in a rrival and therefore delay beyond our control" and hamein khed hai. People (co-p assengers do not behave like they are getting out of a jail while getting on and getting off the plane. They don t jostle to put heavy bags into the overhead lu ggage compartment and then jostle to take it off. They generally behave courteou sly. They don t use mobile phones after being old to stop using them. The stewar dess smiles rather than scowls/puts on a fake expression like a debuting film ac tress while getting you a bottle of water or something equally ordinary. Yana Gupta smiles at me. I return her smile...but hey, I woke up before I could get any further...

Adrak Ke Panje Oct 2, 2010 Adrak ke panje literally translates into The Ginger Paw/Palm. This was the title of a super-successful comedy act by one Mr. Babban Khan of Hyderabad. It was a quintessential comic routine with hardly any sets, revolving around a lower midd le class Muslim Hyderabadi family. Some classic jokes (many were topical, and ch anged with the times)The hero is surrounded by a clattering bunch of around a dozen children as he en ters his home one evening. He says " Itne khush kyon horeain? Main office se aar un koi jail se chhutke nahi aarun" (I am coming from office, not from jail). He carries on in this vein for an hour and half of Rollicking take-offs on everythi ng from the population to landlords, to the police force to almost anything that you can poke fun at. One classic exchange is between a son of a friend who asks our hero to get him a job. The hero wants to find his skill set, so he does a preliminary interview. Asks the candidate, Tumko driving aata kya? (Can you drive?) THe answer is no. Disappointed, the hero says, if only you knew driving , I coul d have got you a driver s job. And so on, about 2-3 other professions. Each time , the boy says he he can t do this or that. Finally, exasperated, the hero asks him, "Tumko dimag hai?" (Do you have brains? ) This time, he says, Yes. The hero puts his hand on his forehead and says, "Shit, if you didn t have brain s, I could have got you a job in the police". All this and more in Hyderabadi is hilarious and a laugh-riot. Wonder if any of this is on VCD/DVD. Hyderabadi Oct 2, 2010 There is a strange lingo called Hyderabadi which may be fast fading away. Some a ttempts at preservation Kaikoo? means Why? and How means Yes. Kaikoo yaaro? means, Why, man? Parso can mean day before yesterday, day after tomorrow or a year forward or bac in "Parso main aaya thaa naa," to a long lost relative/friend. Kya logaan hai yaaro, is a general cry of despair at anything which should not b e happening, but has happened, with people, countries, continents or outer space . Motabbari hai kya? roughly translates into Who do you think you are? when said in the right tone (not a literal translation) Bataan nahi karte hum Hyderabadi is a line from a song in one of Big B s films . It means, "We Hyderabadis don t just talk,...."

Hum kaale hain to kya hua dilwaale hain- was an immortal song filmed on Mehmood in Gumnaam in which he uses Hyderabadi lingo. The movie Bazaar starring Supriya Pathak and Farooq Sheikh had some excellent use of the lingo in the whole film. Celebrity Prattle Oct. 1, 2010 Interviewing film celebrities must be a pain in the neck or other areas for thos e who do it routinely. It tends to follow a formula worse than the typical potbo iler, and typically goes something ;like thisInterviewer: So why did you do this film? Celebrity: I believe in doing something different. It was the role of a lifetime . The director said he would not make the film it if I refused it. Int: Why did you take 20 films to find success? Celebrity: I don t have a godfather in the film industry. I had to struggle, and work hard before I got noticed. The producers did not market my films properly. But I am grateful to the audiences who stood by me, and made me what I am. Int: Heard that you are doing an item number in an upcoming film? Celeb: Yes, but it s only as a favour to XYZ. I am not into item numbers on a re gular basis. And this one is different from the ones that are usually shown in m ovies. Int: What are your views on the state of our nation? Celeb: Young people have a different view of the world. They will change the sys tem for the better. But I am not into politics. I support people on the basis of issues. Int: What is your favourite food? Celeb: I love rajma chawal, and palak paneer. Int: How do you spend your leisure time? Celeb: Playing with my kids/nieces/nephews. Any wonder that Robot is a hit? Rajinikanth delivers it straight from the gut. S o does Rakhi Sawant, at a different level. Ruminations Oct 7, 2010 It struck me that I am 50 years old. Another 10 years to go before I can aspire to be a Rajini, without becoming a robot. So what should I look forward to in th e coming ten? Taste some good food from around the world. Play some good golf- in Nagpur and elsewhere Write a couple of books Write at least one blog a month See my daughters graduate and get on in life See all the institutions I worked in grow to their full potential- without me, t hey can go faster See all friends, family, colleagues-present and past, work towards whatever they wish to work for, and achieve most of it...

Do things which I feel proud of and do less of those which I am not proud of.. See you when I am 60! The Great Chase Sept 29, 2010 There are a few great chases which dominate our lives. We need to chase a career , unless there is an inheritance that makes it redundant. We need to chase a lif e partner to settle down with, unless we are wedded to bachelorhood. We need to chase money, so that bills get paid without penalties of the limb-threatening ki nd. We need to chase various people who don t do what they are supposed to, like repairmen, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, insurance guys to get claims set tled, doctors to treat us, customer service reps to serve us against their will, and these days, banks to open accounts (in the good old days, it was a simple h alf day trip- now it takes a month of running around). I am also involved in a somewhat different chase. Chasing a publisher to print a book of mine. Has been lying around with him for a year and a half, for some re ason...maybe everyone in their office went to sleep, a la Rip Van Winkle...or, t hey were abducted by aliens. Hopefully, there will be a happy ending. Moving Body Parts and Bollywood Sept 1, 2010 I have gained some gyaan this week. It is what is known as Saakshaatkaar -which means something like realization, in Marathi and probably Sanskrit. The realiza tion is this- that many Bollywood heroes have made a career by simply moving the ir body , or parts of it, in a particular way. Take Shashi Kapoor. I was watching the title song from Sharmilee yesterday, and it struck me that I had seen the same movements of his body--arms outstretched, rocking motion forward and back, almost a dozen times in his other films. Or Shammi Kapoor. I have also seen this guy in countless movies of his, particul arly in song sequences, moving various body parts in indeterminate directions, a t random, and without dislocating any (my presumption). What Michael Jackson was to pop music, we already had in the form of Shammi, (not to mention that his ya hoo came before the company did). Or Dev Anand, my favourite for years. He has this unique style of moving around , crouching and with hands held close to the body, the neck moving up and down, in many sequences. Rajesh Khanna had the up and down hand motion which has been imitated successful ly by many stand-up comedians, along with the eyes going open and shut, with acc ompanying neck movements. Moral of story? If you have got the moves- as in moving body parts, flaunt them, use them, and become a STAR!

Insuring Body Parts Aug 31, 2010 With the intriguing trend of insuring your body parts catching on, I am sure the

re would be a race among the well-endowed, in various parts, to earn bragging ri ghts. As in, "My bald patch is worth more than yours" among the wig-wammers (a w ig-wam is a Red Indian dwelling I happened to see in Texas), sorry, wig-wearers of celebritydom. Other variants of this would be "My eyelashes are more fetching (in terms of insurance, not aesthetically) than yours", or "My beer belly has a bigger bulge and can earn more terminal benefits if it bursts" etc. And no doub t, insurance companies would go belly-up if all these insured ones were to burst at the same time, as a result of a party that called upon them to fill-up, king size, with the king of good times. What if you could insure egos? Then, the race for the no.1 could easily be decid ed by the premiums paid, and why not? You can after all, afford to have an ego o nly when there are people/hangers-on in large enough numbers to feed it, and who but the no.1 celebrity would be so lucky? And insurance companies cannot afford to ignore such hard data while fixing the sum assured, assuredly? So finally, w e would come to know who is the real Baadshah (or Begum) of Bollywood- something that we were pining for all these years. A related thought is that the patents office should start allowing criminal mast erminds, terrorists, etc. to patent their pet technologies. Whether it is use of planes to bomb towers, or a simple rock to throw at the security forces, or a b omb in a pressure cooker (or underwear, as one unfortunate guy tried recently), no two terrorist organisers should be allowed to copy each other s methods. And the penalty for violation of the patent? Should be a forced exile on an island w hich broadcasts only Ekta Kapoor s serials, 24x7. Of Godliness and 100% Attendance Note: This was written during my days as a student at IIM Bangalore, where we we re briefly subjected to the rule. Thought-provoking articles are always a success. Because the reader likes to be provoked- or it could be because he likes to think that he can think- theres no oth er way his thoughts could be provoked. Anyway, proceeding with the above assumptio n, when the compulsions to write became unavoidable, I turned my attention to th e issue of compulsory one hundred percent attendance. The more I thought about t he subject, the more it provoked me. In fact, half-way through my thinking trip, I suddenly realized the rationale behind the 100% attendance rule. There are people who look upon the rule as an infringement of their Right to Ski p Classes-as enshrined in the Students Constitution. But think deeply (how deep y ou go is left to you and your aptitude for delving) and you immediately discover the fallacy inherent in the above presumption. The rule cannot be an infringeme nt of the said constitution, simply because it is above all such mundane matters . In fact, it is a sincere attempt by the concerned authorities to elevate the cr eam of Indian student community to greater heights- to godliness, to be precise. Because, who can be so nave as to imagine that an ordinary average mortal can att end all classes on all working days all round the year? The common reaction is, I ts humanly impossible. But alas, hardly anyone takes the logic a step further and says Its Godly possible. Actually, the whole exercise is aimed at bringing Man (the s pecies so abundant in the deep woods of Bannerghatta) closer to God. And the mov e to bridge the gulf between Man (the student in this case) and God has paid off . This was confirmed recently when one of the professors saw an assignment submi tted by a student and exclaimed, Oh, God! He was closer to the truth (and the stud ent, closer to God) than he had imagined. Some skeptics claim that the rule breeds corrupt practices like proxy signatures for absentees by their attentive brethren on the sheet circulated by professors i n class. But this argument does not hold water. Why? Because these playful prank

s are eventually brought to light thanks to a vigilant MIS (management informati on system). The guilty, who then repent (often in writing) and seek forgiveness are purged of their sins and are thus drawn closer to the almighty- in the proce ss, learning one more important fact of life; that CRIME DOES NOT PRAY. This lea rning is actually redundant for those of the semi-gods that see Hindi films. For the ignoramus who still attributes unholy motives to the rule without realiz ing the noble intentions of the appropriate authorities, a prescribed dose of so me slogans like these should be administeredShortest way to Salvation-Attend Classes Optimal Path to Heaven- Attend O.R. For Eternal Bliss in the After-life- 100% Attendance, or a challenging one like th e followingLoneliness in room, or Godliness in Class? The Choice is Yours. These and other such slogans (similarly ingenious) are expected to market to mar ket the concept effectively. Even if the campaign does not immediately generate enough enthusiasm in habitual shirkers to get them to occupy front rows in class , no matter. Given long enough to operate it will instill a sense of responsibil ity among the students, which is a task well-begun, and hence half-done. Thus unknowingly but definitely, the student community goes on in its quest for godliness. Even as the attendance rule continues to bug many, some adopt, philos ophically, the policy of grin and bear it; yet others take recourse to verse and e xpress themselves thus- Ours not to reason why. Ours but to attend and SIGH. Predictable is boring Aug 10, 2010 Predictable is boring. Innumerable examples. Also the reason why life in India i s more exciting than life in US or Germany (not even counting the vast chasm in the quality of food between the different places). What fun can you have if the electricity remains on 24 hours a day, day after day? Americans never heard of s inging songs when the lights go off, I am sure. Or never enjoyed the gossip and fights that women can indulge in while collecting water from public taps which c ome on and go off at times of their own choosing. Terrorists keep choosing new methods to harass their victims. Just when you thou ght the next attack will be in local trains (like the last), desperadoes come cr uising in a boat. When you think AK 47s will be the weapon of choice, you get go od old stone-pelting, and not necessarily from terrorists alone. The simple household maid, a source of joy to millions of housewives in India, a dds to the fun in everyone s life by constantly making them play the game of "Wi ll she, won t she?". The angst is comparable to that of a young would-be-bridegr oom asking his would-be-bride the milion dollar question, but the difference is the frequency with which this happens with the housewife-maid combo. Just when you thought Tatas had cornered the market for small cars with the Nano , you hear that Mamata has spread her love and affection (mamata, in other words ) all over West Bengal, including its production site. Instead, you hear, Jaguar and Land Rover are raking it in. Unbelievable, but apparently, true.

Zulfein Aug 10, 2010 Listening to a CD compilation titled Zulfein. Chhedon na meri zulfein, sab log k ya kahengee..hum to deewana tumko kaali ghata kahenge, a fabulous duet, is one o f the many in the CD. Some others include the little-heard. Yeh zulf kaisi hai, zanjeer jaisi hai.., Ude jab jab zulfein teri kanwariyon ka dil machle, Yeh resh mi zulfein, yeh sharbati aankhen...and the naughty Main tasveer utaarta hoon...i n zulfon ke saaye mein main raate guzaarta hoon...all in all, a nice collection. Dhadkan, mehek, mulaqaat (chhoti si mulaqaat pyaar ban gayi, ...ya ya yippee yip pee ya, ya, ya is a delightful song) and someone told me that Uttam Kumar did a disco in the film on this. The thought is hilarious, akin to Randhir Kapoor s hi larious moments (unintended) on the dance floor in Harjaee for the song (Pehle m ilan mein hoti hai kashmakash,...etc.) Tumhari nazar kyon khafaa ho gayi,.. Khataa baksh do, gar khataa ho ano ther full of beautiful sounding Urdu words. Shikayat. Paon choo lene do phoolon ko inaayat hogi, ....humko bhi shikayat hogi makes good use of this word. Shikwa is another synonym of sorts used very well in Aandhi s famous Tere bina zindagi se koi shikwa to nahi, shikwa nahi... Ajnabi...tum jaane pehchaane se lagte ho is a classic, particularly the music th at follows the first word.

What I Taught the Women in my Life Aug 4, 2010 Foreword: What follows is pure fantasy, and bears no resemblance to what actuall y happened. But happiness also includes occasional delusions, so what the heck! I have taught the various women in my life the following things. Just my way of thanking them for everything. Budgeting This consisted of the basic course on budgets, and the advanced course on budget s. The basic course on budgets consists of the following sentence- There is a bu dget for everything. The advanced course consists of one more sentence. If you e xceed the budget on item A, that money has to come out of item B. Repeat about 2 0,000 a year. Most of them understood, and I would say this was effect ive, on the whole. Prioritising This eseentially was about a hierarchy of Needs or Ranking by Importance. If som ething is going to kill you, Importance Rating is 5, on a five point scale. If y ou will survive without doing something, rating is 1, 2 or 3. Ratings will decid e what you will do in a day. Other facts of the matter are A day has 24 hours in it. After that, you have to postpone things to the next day. Auxiliary learning s are that plumbers, electricians, carpenters, gas repairmen, drivers, belong to an alien species with a mind of their own, and descend into earthly abodes only as an occasional favour to mankind at a time of their own choosing. Men are not accountable for the vagaries of aliens. Nice and easy, and they understood. Getting Dressed in Time

Here, I led by example, and always got dressed in about 3 minutes, and used the d emonstration effect to good effect. It worked, instantly. Limiting the Number of Bags, Shoes, Cosmetics and Sundry Other Possessions Here I gave examples of what can happen to Imelda Marcoss of the world. You can a ctually lose your throne if you have too many shoes, and someone finds out. Abou t cosmetics, I cited the example of a Cosmetics Queen who herself resembles Hidi mbaa (a female demon from mythology), and impressed upon them that natural beaut y has no parallels in chemically altered faces and lips. This was interspersed w ith speeches from Gandhijis autobiography, and also Ramdev Babas diatribe against multinational companies. Worked like a charm, I must say. The Older Generation. Note that I am saying older, because I am aware of the fact that I am young no mor e. The older generation of women, I have taught not to repeat stories of my chil dhood (particularly the unflattering ones), stories of their own childhood, and stories of what was the price of a kilo (or is it a quintal?) of rice during the ir time. They all agreed that after about 400 repeats, it could get a bit tediou s. Women in my Life and What I Learnt from them Aug 3, 2010 There have been around five hundred women in my life. In case that sounds like a lot, let me also say there will be many more. You might call it an occupational hazard. I am a professor, and in my profession, there are almost as many women students (and colleagues) as there are men. Professional life is also a large (t oo large?) part of life, you will agree with me. Therefore, this rough estimate of the women in my life, both personal and professional. One wife and two daught ers, and a few relatives seem a blip on the radar when compared to the professio nal side, but in terms of influence, the dice are loaded on the personal side. However, this is about my learnings- from both sides. I learnt how to cook from some men friends, though there were tips galore from observing women too. So I c ant really attribute this to the women in my life. Cleanliness, I was taught by s ome rather strict teachers in boarding school, but I may have picked up some goo d habits from the constant cleaning and washing happening around me in my format ive years, in which men played an insignificant role. How to dress well, I have not yet learnt, though some women (will not blame anyo ne in particular) tried their best to teach me this art. What I learnt instead w as to save time by putting on whatever clothes were available to qualify as bein g dressed and just get on with it. IIM Lucknow (not a woman) even gave me a jacket (not me alone, they gave it to all faculty) in the vain hope that I would wear it, but being an anti-colonial, I refrained from doing so, except under extreme provocation, like a really formal occasion. Packing (not parking, please note) is a skill I did learn from them, as only wom en are genetically wired to do it properly. Any customer-facing activity can be done with a smile and some grace, is what I also learnt by observing women emplo yees and comparing them to the sods (men) who usually put up such a grumpy count enance that a customer would think the end of the world was near. Even if that w ere true, you can always go out cheerfully, if you ask me. Making conversation is an art I am still trying to learn. Observe two women talk ing (earlier, this had to be physical but now, it could be on the cell phone), a nd you (if you are a man) will wonder at their capacity to take even the most mu ndane thing in life and turn it into a subject of great interest. Of course, you dont want to use this learning in some situations when on the phone with a woman

who is telling you what you did wrong. In such cases, silence is golden, for, a s the cops keep telling arrested people, what you say may be used against you- i n future conversations of a similar nature. But when relevant, this communicatio n skill is very useful, and I certainly learnt a bit of it. One thing you can learn, if you really want to, is how to develop a photographic memory. Things that you would forget in a jiffy (even if you are not an absentminded professor), women can remember for indefinite periods tending towards inf inity. Patience to deal with men and various other intruders into life, only wom en can have- thank God for that. Best Comedians July 26, 2010 Top ten comedians in Bollywood. Mehmood Definitely, a class act. Very talented, and very funny. A lot of classic roles o f the hero s buddy went to him, and he partnered almost all successful heroes, D harmendra, Rajendra Kumar, Jeetendra etc. in his films. Padosan, the cult comedy , was a landmark in Hindi movies, and his role in Gumnaam, and the song, Hum Kaa le Hain to Kya Hua Dilwaale Hain, is unique. Bombay to Goa was one of Amitabh s early breaks, produced by him. Some heroes were actually scared to have him beca use he was a scene-stealer, it appears from a biography of his I read. One role I particularly liked was in an old movie, Aulad, where he played a Chaplinesque character and sang the song Jodi hamari bane na kaisejaani, hum to hain angrezi, tum ladki Hindustani.. with Aruna Irani. Asrani Some of his acts were over-the-top, but some were classy. His jailer in Sholay w as a classic, with almost all the lines becoming household words. He also played some caricatures in Baawarchi and the like, as well as some mature, non-comic r oles in films like Abhimaan, where he is a sympathetic friend of Amitabh through his bad times. Deven Varma A relatively sophisticated comedian, who played a lot of funny characters, but h is best remembered perhaps will be the Angoor role because the situations in t he film brought out his best. Johny Walker An old-timer, he played a side-kick to many yesteryear heroes, from Guru Dutt to Dilip Kumar. Sang some famous songs too, like Jangal mein mor naacha... and Sar jo tera Chakraye. He also played an important character in Anand, who fulfills Rajesh Khanna s urge to act, and gives him the dialogue which forms a pivotal pa rt of the film. Johny Lever Some good roles played by him were in Ishq, Baazigar and so on. His ability to c ontort his face, unfortunately, was over-used, but he was also a good imitator o f people, and he came out with audio tapes that did justice to his talent too. Rajendranath

He had a few memorable roles, some of them with Rajesh Khanna in his heyday. His look was at times enough to create laughter, but I remember him as a spy in an unknown movie called Saboot, wearing glasses that had wipers on them! Jagdeep This guy was also very talented, and used well only half the time. Some memorabl e roles were of Soorma Bhopali in Sholay, and Mithun Chakraborty s side-kick in his Gunmaster films like Suraksha and Wardaat, where he kept uttering Khamba Ukh aadke every now and then. Kishore Kumar He was a brilliant comic, apart from his many other talents. His films like Chal ti Ka Naam Gaadi gave him ample scope to showcase his comic genius, and his role of a music teacher/singer in Padosan was unforgettable. Amitabh Bachchan If you saw him in Chupke Chupke or delivering his solo drunken speech in Amar Ak bar Anthony, you would never mistake him for an angry young man. He had a great comic streak, mostly left to one or two directors to exploit. Namak Halal was al so a great chance for him to use his comic timing, and he did that wonderfully. Dharmendra The he-man of the sixties and seventies is a great comedy actor too, as exemplif ied by Sholay, and also Chupke Chupke. He was the soul of Chupke Chupke, and his crackling battle of wits with Om Prakash made it an all-time great. Sanjeev Kumar He had a few good opportunities to show off the comic side, like in Manchali, an d Manoranjan, which was supposedly inspired by Irma La Douce, a story of the Lad ies of the night. Tax Talk July 15, 2010 Brand Management for the Department of Direct Taxes was the topic for a small in vited talk (not small talk ) that I gave at a gathering of Chief Commissioners of Income Tax at their training centre in Nagpur. Rather intimidating, at first sight, you would think (and I thought). But we got along well, and nobody asked me for my PAN number at the end- so the revenge motive is ruled out. Seriously, it was quite interesting to talk about marketing and branding to peop le from a government department. After all, it is a monopoly, and with a lot of power, so what would it be doing with marketing? I had to also think differently , and came up with a passable presentation based on basics of services marketing - the 7 Ps. We came up with a positioning statement for the dept. to uplift its image or give it a positive spin- call themselves Bankers to the Nation . The t rouble is, State Bank of India already uses the tagline. So we left the concept at that and moved on. There was a also a lively discussion about Mr. Nilekani an d his project called Unique ID that seeks to generate one for every Indian. I al so put forth my pet theory that Indian post offices along with e-seva centres ca n be used to deliver almost every known government service that a citizen needs in his lifetime, including driving license, passport, ration card, marriage, bir th and death registration, and so on.

In general, the ideas that the image is important even for a govt. department we nt down well. We had an added bonus in the form of a TV crew that shot a few mom ents of our session for a documentary film on the tax dept. that they were shoot ing. Growing up June 7, 2010 Reading a title called Confessions of a failed Grown-up. It s British humour by a lady who has also written a few other books, notably Confessions of a Failed M other. It has a lot of good stuff like take-offs on ageing (sagging assets, and other usual things that happen to various body parts), parenting, husbands and h ow useless they usually are, fear of spiders, Saturday Night Fever (it has more cuss words than anyone can remember, and not much dancing, and yet was a big hit ), and so on. What Do You Call Yours, is a chapter devoted to wondering what you tell the children to call their "willies" or "noo-noos" or whatever, and quite hilarious. There is also some angst about British (female)clothes sizes- from 5 to 22, and the fact that they don t actually make/sell more than a few small sizes-it seems they end at around size 12. The author claims that most females are forced to d iet because otherwise they couldn t buy any clothes. She suggests that they chan ge to the American sizes, because they are smalller numbers, making you feel bet ter even if you are fat . A size 10 (American) is the same as say, 20 in Britai n. The behavior of children she describes is devastatingly funny, with their air of being the lords of all they survey, and acting as if their mother is a slave cr eated to fulfill their every wish. The author essentially says she has failed to grow up, and cites a lot of suppor ting evidence-inability to resist chocolates, inability to be like other mothers , and so on. Why she can t have affairs is also a funny piece, one reason being she cannot plan or be organised, so she can t possibly manage an affair. There a re also a few good take-offs on Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher. Murakami Whodunit May 3, 2010 Read a book by Haruki (?) Murakami called Dance, Dance, Dance. Translated from t he Japanese. I was reading fiction after a long time, and couldn t put the book down. It is a bit unusual, in the sense that it combines the everyday whodunit w ith something like a whatdunit, and throws in a bit of who-am-I and what-is-t his-new-advanced-capitalistic society all about kind of thing throughout the pl ot. The most interesting relationship portrayed in the book is an unexpected one bet ween the protagonist- male, 34 year old detective, and a 13 year old girl he s f orced to mentor. The exchanges between them reminded me of some between me and m y daughters, or, for that matter, most fathers and daughters. Some metaphysical beings are also thrown in, for good measure. Refreshing change from what I have been used to reading by way of fiction and whodunits. I may end up reading more of him, I think. Had a couple of close encounters with an older (than I) set of relatives, and re ally enjoyed the conversation. Not all old guys are bores, is a welcome revelati on as I trundle along into the category- no, of course I am not THERE yet!

Character Sketches April 28, 2010 This is inspired by the Marathi humourist P.L. Deshpande, who wrote some immorta l character sketches. Of course, these may be nowhere near his in quality. But t hat doesn t stop me from attempting some. The Man Who Knows Too Much This is the watchman at any residential complex gate. He knows exactly what is h appening inside, and who is coming or going. In case there is a murder in the re sidential complex, his testimony is crucial. Has to keep tabs on parking of sund ry vehicles, and tries to fob off guests trying to park inside. Also a useful ch ap when the housewife has small errands like calling the dhobi, or the raddiwala , or the absconding maid needs a stern reminder. At other times, his sphinx-like appearance belies his alert mind, at least in the daytime. He may be occasional ly found snoring at night, but never goofs off more than the average office-goer . The Indian Student in 12th This is a person who has to answer 3 times a day, for 1 year, the same dreaded q uestion- "So, WHAT are you planning to do?" from all and sundry. Even tougher th an answering the board exam questions. If she makes it to the dream courses like engineering or whatever, she is considered a success by everybody. But if she d oes not, God has to help her, like Krishna came to the aid of Draupadi. If she h appens to have an interest which is somewhat non-mainstream, then even God is of little help. You can admire a Sania (or a Saina), but you can t aspire to be on e, is the golden rule here. A Girl Over 21 "So, what are your marriage plans?" goes the question for this one, on the lines of the question above. If you don t have any, you better be a celebrity, or els e....all the older relatives feel left out of the family affairs if this girl s eems to be independent minded far as marriage plans go. It is after all, everybo dy s business what the girl does- for example, what would the Khap panchayats do if they can t sponsor a few honour killings now and then? The Climatologist He produces reports on the next climate disaster about to happen, such as floods - only to find that there is a drought. This is somewhat like predicting a torna do, and ending up with a tsunami. While the glacier-melting prophecies were bein g hotly debated, a volcano quietly put everyone in their place. Nevertheless, an interesting species, which recognises the fallibility of man. Unlike the cricke t bookies, who know exactly which team will win the next T20 match. Character Sketches 2 Continuing with the thoughts in the last posting, here are some more, this time in the form of job profiles. The IPL Commissioner- A Job Profile You are expected to modi fy the existing game format, the rules, the timings, i

n short, everything about cricket. The EQ, or the entertainment quotient, has to be as close to 100% with glitz, glamour, cheerful behavior (particularly of the leaders), whiff on controversies ensuring continuous media limelight. Unexpecte d winners and losers are a must in as many matches as possible, to keep bookies on their toes. A twitter account is the minimum qualification, as in the case of certain ministries of state. A Management Guru You have to spawn a new vocabulary, and a new paradigm which is expected to ch ange the business world forever. A best-seller outlining 10 ways to achieve the largest market share in any business in 1 year, is mandatory. You must wear a th ree-piece suit even in peak summer, so that your brand value is not eroded, corr oded, etc. You must also have a travel itinerary that spans the world, so you ca n be unavailable for appointment seekers, again enhancing your value through wha t cine-stars have been practising for ages- being elusive. A run-of-the mill Guru These are now perfected recipes. Take 1 ashram on the outskirts of any city with a large population of IT or other rich guys. Mix one measure of robes of any co lour. Give gyan in a branded course on anything under the sun, including yoga, p ranayam, breathing, or anything Sanskrit-sounding. Throw in a dash of calistheni cs on any spiritual TV channel by buying enough airtime, and you are all set. Bu y a couple of currency counting machines (or borrow from chief of Medical Counci l of India) to keep track of the cash. Do some invigorating exercises, after mak ing sure there are no hidden cameras. Bliss et al April 8, 2010 The pursuit of bliss has driven mankind into a variety of activities- from prayi ng to making money, and several others. But a journalist has actually gone to va rious countries to study how happy people there are. The result is a book, The G eography of Bliss. Written in a very engaging style, it starts with Netherlands, where happiness is a subject of university researchers, to Bhutan, which measur es Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product, to Switzerland, Qatar, India, and a few other countries in between. What happens everywhere is quite educational. The Himalayan country of Bhutan it self is a calming influence on visitors and residents alike. They look at life d ifferently, not only materialistically. The residents want monarchy to continue, whereas the king wants to bring in democracy. Happiness is linked to living in the present, paying attention to what we do, be ing nice to people, having some money (though not as much as we think), having u npredictability in life (even good things get monotonous after some time?), and above all, feeling you are linked to something or things beyond yourself- the co smos, or ancestors, or future generations, other animate (or inanimate) beings, etc... Switzerland is boring, Qatar has no culture (?), India is chaotic but has its fa ns who feel at home here (I am one), are some of the findings. I am yet to compl ete the book, but these nuggets of wisdom were endearing. Self Service Feb 20, 2010

In the good old days, there was selfless service. And there was no self service. Now, we have only selfish (commercial service) service- sorry, Gandhiji. And we have a lot of self service. If we have to do anything at all, we need to be an expert on computers, or something else. I will illustrate. In the good old days, if we needed to play, we just went out. At the most, you needed a ball of any size, or some makeshift stuff like a gill i danda, or some stones or marbles or a top (the wooden, spinning variety). Now, if you are a self-respecting kid who wants to play a game, you need a Sony Play station, with games that mimic a James Bond movie- by implication, you are savin g the world, so it s no longer just a game. Self service was invented by a genius, and perfected by McDonald s. But all onli ne stuff is also the work of a genius. Want to transfer money? Do it yourself, a fter remembering half a dozen passwords. Want to get married? Run around and do everything yourself-parents are now reluctant to find you a bride/groom too. The self service mania is getting so pervasive that you may have to give birth to y ourself in the next janam, coz the doctor would be busy playing computer games o n his playstation. And maybe, you will have to learn how to bury/cremate yoursel f, because there are only self service undertakers. Service, anyone? Marathi Manoos Feb 1, 2010 I am confused. I was born in Andhra to Maharashtrian parents from Belgaum and Ja lgaon, and have lived in Orissa, Delhi, Lucknow, Calicut, Bangalore and Harihar apart from Hyderabad. I speak Telugu, understand Kannada, speak Marathi at home, understand and read some literary stuff in the mother tongue, and have hardly w orked or lived in Maharashtra- though I am in Nagpur now but that is neither her e nor there (Vidarbha or not?). My confusion is- am I a Marathi manoos or not? A t the rate at which the definition of one keeps changing, I may never know. Am I an Indian? Probably, as I have lived in India a majority of my 50 years, bu t at various points of time, I feel affinity towards America (where I have frien ds, relatives etc like every other Indian), or European nations for their contri butions to society, or African nations because they are where we were a few hund red years ago, with the potential to be a lot different, and so on. But the confusion is ever present. Who am I?