Thursday, December 17, 2009

We live by Instinct & Intuition - 2

I see so many of my occupation-ally successful girl friends unmarried by the conventional age. Please don't ask me the conventional age but I guess you know what I mean.

I can also see that its a lonely life given our culture of 'no mingling' with strangers, even if strangers are us. We simply don't talk to each other even if we are in an exclusive pub, where singles seek out.

Earlier I had written one small piece on that frustration, today I am thinking of instinct and intuition, if and when she actually meet up good looking strangers.

With age beyond her conventional age of marriage, she become a cynic, mature, logical and risk averse. She questions everything; taking the best decision becomes a necessity for her.

Now that she is stable with her job. Now that she is a bit lonely with only independence by her side (she may refuse to admit this though). She knows that marriage now has to be the option.

But the issue is that all the good men are married.

Her married friends hell-bent in finding her hooked up, will occasionally come up with potential partners. She would meet them but her mature brain will act up from the time she set sight on her prospective boyfriend. She will dissect that somebody until she finds a thousand reasons of no-compatibility. Even his pronunciation or lack of knowledge about a rock band may become a sore point. Also, guys that she meets would be most likely older than her. So they will, very likely, have their own age-related idiosyncrasies, which would not be acceptable.

I may be over-reacting and getting theatrical but the mature brain does get a little mopped up with baggages of logic, rigidity and rationality. She fails to hear her instinct and intuition. She is a bit too far gone from the spiritual world of inner voice.

This is when we need to introspect and drive away logic and listen to inner voice. Any relationship is full of compromises and so we cannot afford to think of the compromises to be made before what instinct is actually saying. It is the true voice. It would never leave you or mis-guide you.

You may not get your instinct kicking-in right in the first meeting. Of course, first meeting cant be called dating. Thats for frustrated people. So the idea is to meet second time and many more times after that. Work hard to get your instinct kicking in. Any logical conclusions should be snuffed out at this moment - in the beginning.

Finally you will get to listen to your instinct and intuition. If instinct says yes, you may think of applying some logic.

It is not true that all the good men are married. It is not true that all the married men are good. In fact, the truth is that there is nobody who is good from every aspect of human behaviour.

Point is 'you have to think instinct, not too much'.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

We live by Instinct & Intuition - 1

One of my friends Facebook post said, 'Be with those who help your being'. One immediate repartee is '...that would have been a easier statement if we could read minds, understand telepathy or be God'.

I asked her, 'do you think I do, as in help your being? I think I do. But she may think otherwise. The corollary may be even torturous. She thinks I do but actually I don't. So how do we reconcile. The question comes to whom do we trust to be with them. Confusing right?

It is actually very simple. I follow my instinct, my intuition and leave the rest to the universe, to chance. There is no end to logical analysis in an effort to find out the truth. It can only lead to paralysis, even worse schizophrenia. I may be hyper-acting but I am trying to prove a point here :)

Following your instincts and intuition is a beautiful experience. Its lovely, easy and relieving. They are always right, strong and by your side.

Another complicated Facebook post reads 'The hardest thing about growing up is that you have to do what is right for you even if it means breaking someone's heart. Including your own'. Its amazing that we can think and become so complicated & mind-fucked.

Life is not so complicated as we make of it. In the corollary, it is as complicated as we make it.

Whether you are a kid or on your death bed, you always do what you think is right for you. We are all inherently selfish. Thats the order of the world. Even in flights, you are requested to get the oxygen mask for yourself before helping kids & elders. This is nothing to do with growing up. You always do what feels right for you, what your instinct and intuition tells you.

You think instinct, not too much!!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

PAA - More Mature than Progeria !!

PAA is a good film. It is much more than Progeria - the disease.

The film takes a very positive stand on youth and politics. It is just too emotional that Balki has decided to take this stand on politics - the heart of a country. You feel proud to watch the film. It clearly conveys that
  • Politics is not a bad profession by itself. It is the people in politics that make it dirty.
  • Young politicians can make a difference if they are willing and passionate enough. The mass may be indifferent to politics but they are not blind or stupid. They know how to appreciate truth, genuine-ness and good work.
  • Bad politics or rumours need not be tackled negatively. The society understands life and that politicians are also human. So coming out with truth and sincerity is better appreciated

It also turns a very relevant chapter on family support and about today's independent women. It showcases a modern Indian woman, a doctor who takes on life and pregnancy with strength, guts and self belief. It beautifully conveys the importance of the mother whose support was very critical to the daughter's decision.

Apart from the message, one of the first things that excited me is the overall creativity in the film. The witty dialogues, the shots, the use of shadows, placement of lights while shooting and the color & tone of the film. It was a beautiful play of light and darkness.

I specially liked the scene where Abhisekh's MP office, which is well lit, is shot from outside the office cabin through the door. So in the big wide screen you have this door where the light is there. Rest of the screen is dark. It is beautiful.

The second shot that comes to my mind is the scene when Paresh Rawal comes to the hospital and have an argument with Abhisekh. In this scene, Abhisekh is hidden by a pillar and only Paresh Rawal is visible while shouting at Abhisekh. I dont remember any other film using this technique to shoot an active argument between two individuals. Very creative, I would say.

To give credits, I couldnt find the DOP - Director of photography of the film but the cinematographer is PC Sreeram, who also crafted the look of Cheeni Kum. Guys, you have done a great job.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kurbaan - excellently packaged action thriller... Not a love story

Had a lovely breakfast with Kurbaan. Rs. 90/- for a wholesome salad of Kareena, Saiffu (as she funnily calls him), Vivek Oberoi, Om Puri and Kirron Kher. It was a good breakfast.

Actually I am still cogitating and yet to fully recover from the after-effects. For the quick busy reader, let me give a quick verdict. It is surely a must watch film. Incisive direction by Rensil D Silva, great looks and tone by the cinematographer - Hemant Chaturvedi and the editor - Asif Ali Shaikh, excellent screenplay by Rensil again and effective acting by the whole cast. Dont delay, Just watch. Its worth it. Only suggestion is that catch the morning show for its sub 100 price point.

Now let me give words to my after-thoughts about Kurbaan. When I saw the promotion, I was dissappointed with the extremely dull & thoughtless idea behind the promotions. Thrillers are not supposed to be promoted this way. You may want to read this. I had a bet with Karan Johar (@kjohar25) that if Saif does not die in the end of the movie, then I will delete my blog. So, of course my guess was correct and my blog stays... How can a movie be a thriller if I can predict the outcome just by seeing the promotion.

Anyways I always wanted to watch the movie. I was sure that it would be a good movie. I was correct. Not only it is fantastically designed (can be compared to any Hollywood movie), but also it gives out a dashboard about the hegemony of the whites and Islamic fundamentalism in an effective way. The vicious cycle thats shown is a reality and so, Rensil, "very well told". Proud of you.

But as the perfectionist that I am, I can't keep wondering a few things. Firstly why is the movie named as 'KURBAAN'. Who gave the Kurbaani? The Om Puri family - no they were taking revenge, Saif - revenge again, Kareena - Of course not, she is the hapless victim. So why is it called 'KURBAAN'. Being a biased person that I am, I dont think Rensil has thought about this name. It has to be the work of a team who cant say no to the leader of the team.

Then, is Kurbaan a love story? It is not. Its an action thriller. Perhaps when project Kurbaan had started, the script was a love story. When it was rendered, love story has become an action thriller. It happens, and nothing wrong about it. But the promotion therefore should be that of an action thriller. "Some love stories have blood on them" is therefore completely irrelevant to the story. In fact, the love quotient was zillion times stronger in NewYork.

Again, why is it shot in the NewYork. Probably its a decision taken with the support of loads of money or the belief that America, London, Swiss Alps (any location outside India) brings in the junta. And presumably, Karan Johar couldnot have known that "NewYork" was being made by Kabir Khan on a similar plot, IN NewYork ABOUT Muslim fundamentalism...

Even though I am writing a blog on the movie, I could not be one with the movie. I didnt feel for anyone in the movie. Even a frequent 'cryer' wouldnt have shed a tear. In fact, I didnt feel at all for the movie. It didnt have any clear message of what it supports or propagates. It was talking both 'for' and 'against' Muslim fundamentalism, American hegemony, terror etc. It is a 'no stand' movie, so you dont feel for the movie and its story.

Actually, action thrillers are supposed to be like that. You see the movie for the action and for the thrill. You would never cry in a Van Damme movie. Kurbaan is just that. An amazingly well made action thriller. It is stylish and has this grey tone to it. The action scenes are well directed and real. The plot surely could have been unpredictable but action thrillers, most often than not, have a predictable end.

Overall, a good movie. Although I enjoyed it, yet it was not complete.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kurbaan - Promoting a thriller

Shouting that Kurbaan is a thriller will only put the movie in that genre. Thats it. It wont promote the movie as a thriller subliminally, emotionally and in that perspective....

Thrill is something that you have to experience... The promotion of Kurbaan is gravely lacking in that respect.

Quite surprised reading Karan Johar (@kjohar25) saying that they have purposefully kept Vivek Oberoi away from the promotion to make it clear that Kurbaan is not a love triangle. I say, how foolish, from my heart. We cannot make a thriller clear of any perception. Let the mass have all kinds of perceptions and then let the thriller shatter them all in the movie hall... It would be interesting to know, hear and read people guessing all kinds of formula...

Oh! what a line! "Some love stories have blood on them". I say, its so cliche, bollywoodish and theatrical. Got a bit upset when I got to know that it has come from KJohar25. I have higher regards for him. But I am happy that @RensilDSilva didnt think of it. Thrill meter would have hit all time low in such a case. At least now, there is still some suspense about how rensil thinks. If at all blood is so important an obsession, then a much better line could have been "Some love stories are written in blood" - courtesy my friend Akanksha. Even thats taking away from the thrill quotient. We could have discovered all that while watching the film. This line had the potential to add thrill quotient but the team (kjohar25) failed here.

I wonder why Rensil DSilva (@rensildsilva) is a bit less visible in the media. Why Kareena Kapoor in her umpteen interviews mentioning KJohar as the director. Come on, he has done Aks, won an award for Rang De Basanti and he was the star copy writer of Mudra Communications belting out hugely popular McDonalds commercials. Enough can be said about him but the point is that a new director can very well add to the thriller quotient, if we design communication accordingly. As Kareena in one of her interviews mentions that Rensil is edgy... so just taking off on that thought brings up great ideas about using Rensil to create a thriller quotient around Kurbaan.
The first poster released also lacked serious 'Art Director' instincts and intuition. Refer the poster in the beginning of my blog. Now see this one. Doesn't it give you a better thrill? Visual communication can speak louder than words. I wonder where this poster is hiding when it comes to huge hoardings... Wonder who designed this. Get a feeling that it is not the same person.

Given that Kurbaan is releasing on the shadows of a successful film - NewYork and conventional logic suggests that they are kind of similar, promotion had a huge role to play to break conventional logic.
I am sure the movie would be a great movie. I have great faith in Rensil and I am sure (I hope) he has been given a free hand in making the movie. I just feel that it would have been better if the promotions were handled better, more strategically. It would have been fun for communication enthusiast like me to experience the media and mass reaction.
I had asked a friend yesterday, would Saif die in the film? She said, "Of Course" If he doesnt, I delete this blog or I have made my point.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Osho on FUCK

Some rubbish that I just read. Read if for yourself how you feel. This is Osho's rantings on FUCK. I believe there is also a video or an audio track on this.

It is actually so much more than that. I find Osho's description extremely lacking in scope, scale and beauty. Fuck is a much greater experience, a phenomenon and an instinct.

Osho says, "It is one of the most beautiful words. The English Language should be proud of it. It is one of the most interesting words. It is a magical word. Just by its sound, it can describe pain, pleasure, hate and love.

It falls into many grammatical categories. It can be used as a verb. Both transitive, 'John fucked Mary' and Intransitive, 'Mary was fucked by John'. And as a noun, 'Mary is a fine fuck.' It can be used as an adjective, 'Mary is fucking beautiful.'

There are not many words with the versatility of Fuck. Besides the sexual meaning, there are also the following uses:

Fraud: 'I got fucked at the used car lot.'
Ignorance: 'Fuck, if I know.'
Trouble: 'I guess I'm fucked now.'
Aggression: 'Fuck You.'
Displeasure: 'What the fuck is going on here?'
Difficulty: 'I can't understand this fucking job!'
Suspicion: 'What the fuck are you doing?'
Pleasure: 'I had a fucking good time!'
Request: 'Get the fuck out of here.'
Hostility: 'I'm going to knock your fucking head off.'
Greeting: 'How the fuck are you?'
Apathy: 'Who gives a fuck?!'
Surprise: 'Fuck! You scared the shit out of me.'
Anxiety: 'Today is really fucked.'

Every morning if you repeat the mantra 'Fuck You' five times. It clears the throat."


You may also like the read this article titled - Why I slept with 1300 women? Quite an interesting take of fuck. Somehow more meaningful than what Osho ranted.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Creativity comes to the deserved!

Creativity often can be seen in the most unexpected places. Thats the beauty of it. Creativity is omnipresent. Not locked in the so called ivory towers of advertising agencies, production houses et al.

Some years back, I had written this little piece when I saw this amazing salesman on the streets of Lower Parel. I was coming out of office for lunch and this branding spectacle I saw just floored me.. and I wasnt blogging then.

Read this.

I see this street boy (un-derogatorily) wearing an umbrella hat - a hat that is a perfect replica of the umbrellas that he is selling on the streets.

He is wearing an innovative manually designed belt which can hold a dozen umbrella hats. The umbrellas on his belt are organised in a way that all the different colours of the hat umbrellas are visible to the onlookers. Incidently, it is holding his trousers too.(what a show-window!!!).

The left hand carrying an umbrella for consumers to touch and feel before buying What merchandising!!!).

The right hand is carrying an open umbrella. He has this amazing talent of rotating the umbrella in great speed (What a clutter breaking event!!!)... Who wont get attracted when a multicoloured thingie is in rotation in your area of vision...

Dont know what prompted him to think so creatively. I doubt that it is his intelligence. I think it is his hunger to earn money for his next meal !!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Transparency & Trust are mutually exclusive

Yesterday, we were having this debate about how important is to talk with accountability. That we should not say everything that you feel like saying...

My brother, who was primarily working on his laptop, suddenly gets up & shoots his salvo. You guys are talking nonsense!! Everyone should be transparent and that he is transparent and that he cares a hoot about what others feel as long as he is transparent. Then he went on to say why Govt should be transparent, politics should be transparent etc etc...

It was good that he went on his speech for some time. It made my Dad - mostly a silent self after Parkinson's got him, utter a sentence that really pushed me to the wall & made me think... and now I am blogging.

He said that "if everyone becomes transparent, it will be difficult to trust people. Our society runs on trust"

My instant reaction was that "wow, this is serious stuff!" But I didnt understand the implications fully. I wondered about how is trust related to transparency. Both trust and transparency should co-exist, as both are virtues that generations have been preaching.

Slowly it dawned on me how correct is my Dad. It became quite clear in my head that you cannot afford to be transparent if you are in a social fabric of friends, family and colleagues. As long as this world and our lives are based on trust, friendships and gossip, we cannot be transparent. If you are transparent, nobody will share their selves, as you would not keep it to yourself; and you wont have a social circuit.

It is actually a big deal to be discreet, secretive, trust-worthy and therefor non-transparent, diplomatic and political.

So you cant be transparent when it comes to the society, your family, your friends and colleagues. Sad.

Thinking deeper, actually you can never be transparent about yourself too, leave the society. Thats depression.

Let me not write further. Its better to live life like it comes to you. I wont say f the ideals, but they should be cursory in the periphery guiding you from going insane to the society at large.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Loving Mumbai - its spirit, its people, its conscience

Mumbai is my home. And I'm lovin it.

On the 3rd of January 2002 with my RX 100 on a train from Ahmedabad, I arrived in Borivali, Mumbai. From then, it has been such a positive ride.

Sure, I had my share of frustrations in the initial initiation to the big bad Mumbai. From getting the bike out of the Borivali train station to traveling in the local train to reach lower parel, the next 15 days were a nightmare. I was not used to such a fast life in Ahmedabad.

With optimism for life and no such great ambition, I started my journey to settle down in Mumbai, to get my rythm back and start my life.

In these 8 years, I moved from Borivali to Sewri (what a relocation; with of all that I had in my Yamaha to a place which is the other end of Mumbai), from Sewri to Shivaji Park, from Shivaji Park to Mahim, from Mahim to Sion and then to my own home in Tilak Nagar, Chembur.

Occupationally, I moved from advertising & media to making ad films, from marketing to online marketing to my current position of Head - Internet Banking, Deutsche Bank. Yes, I work in a bank handling technology after starting my career with an agency handling advertising.

Here, as surprised you might be as a reader, I am also surprised at the opportunities that Mumbai has given to me to discover myself, my talent and my latent interests. I followed my dreams and dreams became reality. With time, money ceased to be an issue for most of my waking hours. I do get greedy at times.

Now thats too materialistic a reason to love Mumbai. Thats not what I wanted to write today. I wanted to write about my experiences, my feelings with Mumbai in these 8 years of living here, of making such tectonic shifts in my life.

The essense is that I have never felt alone in Mumbai. I never felt insecure in Mumbai. It has given life to my will to hardwork, be good, have patience, have faith and keep going.

From that day in 2002, when I found a helping leg to push my empty tanked bike to the nearest petrol station to yesterday when I found a stranger helping my dad (a parkinson's patient) to walk in the dark theatre towards his seat (we were there to watch Aladin & I went ahead to find the row), I have so many good memories of Mumbai and its beautiful people that it fills my heart to become a better person myself. I wish thats an epidemic and everybody is therefore becoming a better person themselves.

Let me jot down a few of my everlasting memories of Mumbai:

# Borivali to Sewri for a 10 days old on a bike in Mumbai was tough. I didnt take a single wrong turn and I found my destination in around an hour and half. In Mumbai it seems nobody has time for anybody but I found time from everyone. Everytime I asked for directions from an autorickshaw driver to an office goer, I got clear directions. From dharavi, I actually found someone who told me to follow him till my destiny. He actually took an extra turn for me. It was such a great satisfying journey, which could have been the worst in my life with 3 bags in a RX 100 with no clue about road directions.

# I am a bit of a crazy bike fanatic. Once I stubborned my way to take my father to the hospital for his acupressure session. While returning, he was having problem in getting onto the bike. Two gentlemen came and help him get on the bike. It was good till then. On the way, he got uncomfortable and was not keeping his balance on the bike. I had to stop somewhere near Goregaon in the WE highway. The magic started then. In a matter of minutes, my dad was brought down from my bike, given water, a stool to sit and relax. After a good 15 minutes when my Dad was comfortable, they again helped him onto the bike and we reached home. I was overwhelmed beyond words. I decided to become a better man myself.

# The fact that I dont have to bargain when I get into an Auto / Taxi is such a relief that we can only realise when we go to Delhi/Bangalore/Chennai. There is of course a slight problem that I ocassionally face. The taxis standing close to office premises wont budge for shorter distances. Once it happened that two girls (quite good looking and so I was observing or you may say leering at them) were trying to hire a taxi. They tried the standing taxis. They didnt budge, so they started waving for the passing taxis. Suddenly I see these two traffic policemen riding a bike passing by the waving girls... What shock me is that they stopped after a few metres to instruct the closest taxi driver to take these girls wherever they wants to go. Now that changed my view about traffic police completely. It is actually such a good life sala.

# I am quite a party animal. And shoulder to shoulder brushes are quite common in any pub in Mumbai. So a few bad looks here and there is accepted to be quite common. For the past 8 years, I have only heard of a few pub skirmishes. I havenot seen them. In Delhi, every pub/party has one fight every night. I may be exaggerating a bit but fights, abuses and quarrels are so much lesser in Mumbai pubs. It is actually fun.

# Last night, in a fit of excitement I left my purse in a paan shop in Bandra. Can you believe that? Yes I managed to do that and fortunately remembered after about travelling 5 kms towards my home. Luckily I have the habit of checking for my purse and mobile every 10-15 minutes. I could only say "WTF, I am screwed." I reviewed my memory and the best chance was the paan shop we stopped. I am still under dis-belief that I have actually got back my purse. God bless the paan walla and I wish he open a paan shop chain and become a paan magnet. Really, that's how magnanimous my wishes are for him.

Let me not drag it now. Just one last line. Mumbai - its people, its spirit and its conscience is really something to be proud of and to be inculcated within.

Dont understand why we say BIG BAD MUMBAI sometimes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blogging a Forward

I have grown up playing, peeing and dragging my body when I couldnt walk in a Bengali family among litters of 'sandesh (callaghan)', a puja room with zillions of idol photos, and experiencing many of their typicalities. Today when I was reading this forwarded mail.. it brought back my baby memories... read it and enjoy.

A is for Awpheesh (as in Office). This is where the average Kolkakattan goes and spends a day hard(ly) at work. And if he works for the "West Bengal Gawrment" he will arrive at 10, wipe his forehead till 11, have a tea break at 12, throw around a few files at 12.30, break for lunch at 1, smoke an unfiltered cigarette at 2, break for tea at 3, sleep sitting down at 4 and go home at 4:30. It's a hard life!

B is for Bhision. For some reason many Bengalis don't have good bhision.In fact in Kolkata most people are wearing spectacles all the time.

C is for Chappell. Currently, this is the Bengali word for the Devil, forthe worst form of evil. In the night mothers put their kids to sleep saying, æNa ghumaley Chappell eshey dhorey niye jabeö

D is for Debashish or any other name starting with Deb-. By an ancient law every fourth Bengali Child has to be named Debashish. So you have a Debashish everywhere and trying to get creative they are also called Deb, Debu, Deba with variations like Debanik, Deboprotim, Debojyoti, etc. thrown in at times.

E is for Eeesh. This is a very common Bengali exclamation made famous by Aishwarya Rai in the movie Devdas. It is estimated that on an average a Bengali, especially Bengali women, use eeesh 10,089 times every year. "EiMorechhey" is a close second to Eeesh.

F is for Feeesh. These are creatures that swim in rivers and seas and are a favourite food of the Bengalis. Despite the fact that a fish market has such strong smells, with one sniff a Bengali knows if a fish is all right. If not he will say 'eeesh what feeesh is theesh!'

G is for Good name. Every Bengali boy will have a good name like Debashish or Deboprotim and a pet name like Montu, Bablu, etc. While every Bengali girls will have pet names like Tia, Tuktuki, Mishti, Khuku, etc.

H is for Harmonium. This the Bengali equivalent of a rock guitar. Take four Bengalis and a Harmonium and you have the successors to The Bheatles!

I is for lleesh. This is a feeesh with 10,000 bones which would kill any ordinary person, but which the Bengalis eat with releeesh!

J is for Jhola. No self respecting Bengali is complete without his Jhola. It is a shapeless cloth bag where he keeps all his belongings and he fits an amazing number of things in. Even as you read this there are 2 million jholas bobbling around Kolkata- and they all look exactly the same! Note that 'Jhol' as in Maachher Jhol is a close second.

K is for 'Kee Kaando'!. It used to be the favourite Bengali exclamation till eeesh took over because of Aishwarya Rai (now Kee Kando's agent is trying to hire Bipasha Basu).

L is for Lungi - the dress for all occasions. People in Kolkata manage to play football and cricket wearing it not to mention the daily trip in the morning to the local bajaar. Now there is talk of a lungi expedition to Mt. Everest.

M is for Minibus. These are dangerous half buses whose antics would effortlessly frighten the living day lights out of all James Bond stuntmenas well as Formula 1 race car drivers.

N is for Nangtoe. This is the Bengali word for Naked. It is the most interesting naked word in any language!

O is for Oil. The Bengalis believe that a touch of mustard oil will cure anything from cold (oil in the nose), to ear-ache (oil in the ear), to cough(oil on the throat) to piles (oil you know where!)

P is for Phootball. This is always a phavourite phassion of the Kolkattan. Every Bengali is born an expert in this game. The two biggest clubs there are Mohunbagan and East Bengal and when they play the city comes to a stop.

Q is for Queen. This really has nothing to do with the Bengalis or Kolkata,but it's the only Q word I could think of at this moment. There's also Quilt but they never use them in Kolkata.

R is for Robi Thakur. Many nany years ago Rabindranath got the NobelPrize. This has given the right to all Bengalis no matter where they are to frame their acceptance speeches as if they were directly related to the great poet and walk with their head held high. This also gives Bengalis the birth right to look down at Delhi and Mumbai and of course 'all non-Bengawlees'! Note that 'Rawshogolla' comes a close second!

S is for Shourav. Now that they finally produced a genuine cricketer and a captain, Bengalis think that he should be allowed to play until he is 70 years old. Of course they will see to it that he stays in good form by doing a little bit of "joggo" and "maanot".

T is for Trams. Hundred years later there are still trams in Kolkata. Ofcourse if you are in a hurry it's faster to walk.

U is for Aambrela. When a Bengali baby is born they are handed one.

V is for Bhaayolence. Bengalis are the most non-violent violent peoplearound. When an accident happens they will fold up their sleeves, shout and scream and curse and abuse, ôChherey De Bolchhiö but the last time someone actually hit someone was in 1979.

W is for Water. For three months of the year the city is underwater and every year for the last 200 years the authorities are taken by surprise by this!

X is for XÆmas. It's very big in Kolkata, with Park Street fully lit up and all Bengalis agreeing that they must eat cake that day.

Y is for Yesshtaarday. Which is always better than today for a Bengali (see R for Robi Thakur).

Z is for Jebra, Joo, Jipper and Jylophone.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Is Marriage the only ultimate weapon to kill loneliness?

Its my never ending quest on questioning the convention of marriage. I have questioned it from so many points of view during discussions, during my dreamy moments. Finally it would be best to put pen to blogging for documentation sake.

One such question is: Is marriage the only weapon to kill loneliness? Or rather why is marriage the only weapon to kill loneliness?

I know so many boys and girls doing well in life but lonely. My brother, My friends who are yet to get married, My colleagues. They are so frustrated and incapacitated by loneliness that I see them changing their stance on marriage. I see them considering marriage as the only saviour to their lonely dinner time, lonely weekends, lonely life.

Ultimately everyone of us wants to marry... in hopelessness of loneliness knowing well that marriage may not be the ideal solution.

So, how does a working woman and a man find a partner for companionship?

Mumbai is the most glamourous, free, liberated city in the country. It is the city of dreams, city that is thought to be a haven of casual frivolity, of casual companionship, of casual sex. However I see hopelessness of loneliness more pronounced in Mumbai. Are we liberated enough to seek partners?

Mumbai is known to be one of the safest city with girls having no fear to travel and be outside of home at night. Yet we dont speak to strangers. we dont smile at strangers. How does a girl go about talking to a stranger boy in an upmarket pub without being considered cheap, or worse slutty. A up market pub has a homogeneous set of people and is a opportune place to meet likely minded people. But how?

Most of the couples meet each other through common friends. I am talking of working men and women. College days are a bit out of scope for this blog. So if common friends cant help..

We spent most of our waking hours in office and hence the only place to meet people. But we are all very professional to understand that office and personal life is best kept separately.

So when loneliness strikes, the only option becomes marriage. We start looking towards, towards parents et al for the next available opportunity to get married.

If only I could make Mumbai more natural, liberated, social and approachable? And thus marriage wont have to become the only weapon to kill loneliness.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

'Just do it' - One Random Thought !

The famous Nike campaign was really a good consumer insight that pulled in brain wave towards the brand. Among its many manifestation, I see two meanings thats prevalent - carving out of two consumer behaviour types: 'thinkers' and 'doers'

As we know, these are two sets of broad behaviour patterns that we see among us. One, who is a quality stickler and hence takes time thinking to execute any particular activity. He misses timelines but (tries to) delivers quality by putting attention to detail... The other who likes executing activities faster without much pendulum. There is always a second chance to improve, is perhaps the thought. Finishing is the priority for them.

'Just Do It' in my mind manifests into different meanings for these two kinds of people. The quality stickler says 'Just Do It... enough of masterbation'. Deadline is well past, shit. The finisher says 'Just Do It... get over it and start the next in line tomorrow. I am done for the day. Beer.. yeah!!'

Creativity as a profession, I feel, should fall into the laps of the former kinds. However, as it is with the world, everthing is in a equillibrium.

So creativity is also practiced by the second variety. They are good at it. Prolific. Fast. Money spinners. Quality.... never mind. There is a second chance!! With 'Son of the soil Vs Son of a gun' hoardings all over Mumbai city and '100% de dhana dhan' full page spread in DNA, it gets really depressing. And funny.

Creativity is in the wrong hands. Money is also in those wrong hands. People without any creative aptitude but with the right 'just do it' attitude is clearly polluting out-of-the-box lateral thinking. I want to curse them saying, "May they go to hell called empty houses...

But life is about variety. Accepting and ignoring variety is the rule. Evolve and lead your own life and just do your own thing. Be happy.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Homo-sexuality - isnt it like insanity?

I have no strong negative emotion against homo-sexuality. In fact I have been very close to such behaviour, as I have studied in an all boys school from pre-puberty to adulthood. And we hear of so many rumours.. et al
However, I certainly think that it is an anomaly.

If the celina jaetlys of the world professes that homo-sexuality is natural, it simply means to me that like insanity, homo-sexuality is also natural. So do we allow insanes to roam around freely on our roads performing insanity.

As for freedom of expression goes, yes everyone should have the freedom of expressing oneself. It is not a crime like insanity is not.

Having said that,
we should not encourage homo-sexuality and more so encourage breeding of homosexual behaviour. It is not is not according to the fundamentals of human civilization.

Just to take an analogy, yesterday I saw an unfortunate gentleman nude below his torso. He seems well behaved and normal otherwise. Perhaps he is a peace loving, not harmful to society and a normal person who has just lost his sense of shame to hide his genitals.

So if we imagine that this kind of insanity spreads wide into our lives and becomes prevalent, would we allow activism to start to allow them to roam around freely on our roads? Would you encourage them to show their genitals in public?

We need to councel them, take care of them and bring them to the normal decency of life. Same goes for homo-sexuality.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dope on Kashmir - the real tourism destiny

God knows how the fake IPL player writes one blog every day... perhaps because he does not have a permanent job. My frequency, sadly has become lesser than one blog post in a month! 

Good that he is not being picked up to be in the field by KKR (or it could be any team??), we are getting to read an interesting blog !!

Sorry, I am here to write about Kashmir. I am not into writing travelogues but it is my belief that Kashmir is the best tourist destination in India, which is making me write something about my travel to Kashmir. The simple reason is that you just can't get bored of the variety of natural beauty in Kashmir even if you stay for a month... there are so many different and beautiful scenery and places to tour that it is never ending. 

Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit is the end of March. Snow melts and Kashmir becomes drive friendly and tourist friendly in terms of costs and convenience. To enumerate the reasons for discipline:

  1. The roads are clear of snow and travel is not a problem
  2. The temperature is moderate. Daytime is one sweater cold and nights are 3 blankets cold. So you actually get to experience the cold.
  3. Gulmarg is filled with snow. There is a Gandola ride that cant be missed and it is no less than switzerland. See it to believe it guys.
  4. snow capped GulmargOther snow destinations like Yusufmarg, Sonemarg etc are snowclad and can even overwhelm an icelander.
  5. Pahalgam is green. Snow is gone and the meadows are beautifully viewable. Horse ride is possible and a must do there.
  6. Most importantly, March is the last off-season month. You can enjoy the off-season prices and the best facilities, as everything is renovated and made ready for the coming season and the rush of kids and 'gujarati' families.
More on Prices...
The main occupation is tourism and so every family is doing something or the other for the tourist. There is abundance of houseboats, hotels, Shikaras (boats), rent taxis (qualis/sumo) and the other necessities. Basically supply is definitely more than demand in the beautiful month of March.
Okay, if you are loaded with black money and can throw cash without the slightest guilt or if you are unfit or lazy to do some 'mehnat' to bargain for the best bet at multiple places, then it is your call. For some, vacation is complete relaxation, extravagance and becoming fat (piggish). They can ignore this section of this blog on pricing and cost management.
Some tips of how to get the best bargain. Enumerated again for the disciplined reader:
  1. Do not book any packages. Let me repeat, do not book any packages through your hometown travel agent (tourism consultant as they call themselves).
  2. The smaller houseboats will give you a room for Rs. 700/- and the bigger ones will come for not more than 1200/-. This is including breakfast and dinner. Yes of course, non veg included!!
  3. Water Skiing in Dal Lake is a must and that would come for 300/- per person. Its fun so you may give the nice guys a few hundred more for a longer session of wateraxia...
  4. Skikara is the only mode of transport in the Dal. They would come free with the houseboats. Twice in a day they will take you to the city and back. They have a shikara ride session and that will cost Rs. 400-500 for the whole day of floating on the Dal.
  5. In Kashmir, you should stay in the Dal. Take a houseboat in the middle of the lake and swallow the experience. Hotels are costly and it would be foolish to stay in them.
  6. You need to hire a qualis to travel around the valley. A good qualis with AC comes at Rs. 1000 a day. You take it anywhere and drive it till you get tired.
  7. Do not stay in Gulmarg. It is best to be a one day detour. It is the most beautiful snow capped place and the worst in terms of 'guide' menace. Gulmarg has pony ride all over the snow or human pulled sledge rides. Do not take any of their services. They are a difficult race and even your taxi driver wont utter a word for you in front of them. They will say that upfront before you reach Gulmarg. What you need to take is a pair of what you call gumboots or snow boots for Rs. 100. View from mountview
  8. In Pahalgam, you may stay a day or two. We stayed in Mountview and it was quite a nice stay in Rs. 1500 per night. Horse ride will take one full day and should cost you not more than 400 per horse.
So enough about prices... cant remember anything else. Its more than a month that I saw Kashmir. I will add anything that comes to my mind.... Keep visiting...
Some recommendations to end this blog...
  1. We stayed in a houseboat called "Young Bombay" owned by Noor bhaisaab. An extreme gentleman and the service is excellent. It is a small houseboat but surely worth for Rs. 700/- bucks per night of hugging 'hot water bottles'. Quite interestingly, during this time of the year, most of the houseboats do not operate their heaters. They give you hot water bags that we normally use for back sprains. They put it inside your blankets when you are having dinner and that keeps the bed warm to get into. Staying in Mumbai, it sounds so unbelievable. Sleeping with hot water bags inside 3 thick blankets. That will be suicide by dehydration in Mumbai.
  2. We rented a qualis owned by one dear gentleman by the name "Nazir". Great guide, Great Qualis and completely dependable. Worth your 1000 bucks per day. You can call him at 9906937297 and inform about your arrival. Again, do not book a package with him. Pay him by the day. Projectwise costing as we say in the corporate worldchikara
  3. We had a great fun-filled horse ride in Pahalgam. Cant remember the names of the guys who were our guides but enclosing a photograph and you can ask for him. Sweet chap, endearing to see him all red when you joke with him...
Why did I delay my writing this blog... cant remember much. I was planning to write over 10 blogs on Kashmir but now I cant even finish one... procrastination is sin.
Anyways, I will add in whenever I remember anything more... till then adios...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Towards Kashmir...

For some reason, Kashmir has always been a fantasy. Beautiful and inaccessible.
For my wife, Kashmir is a dream. First choice for a vacation.
Its for her dream that today impossible is becoming a reality. I am waiting to board a flight to Srinagar.
Its a queasy feeling for me. Not easy. Not believable.
Six fellow passengers in Arabic white kurta with the headgear - all looking like yasser arafat to me. Most of the passengers are talking in Kashmiri and that sounds to me like Arabic. For the first time in my life, we have been told to identify our baggages after all the elaborate security checks.
Am I just just imagining an unjustified apprehensive silence or is it actually there?
Perhaps that's the feeling people experience when they travel towards my home state - Assam... O Lord!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Abundance of myopia during recession...

What I have to come to realise is that life is mostly guided by myopia and decisions prompted by herd mentality. Its truer for professional life. Board meetings (and matings) increase the incidences of myopia.
Add to that - "recession", "crisis", "profitability target", people just go helter-skelter. The scene becomes like a bull being shown a red cloth.. even a 50 meter ditch beside the red cloth cannot stop the bull from attacking towards the cloth.
Let me put some perspective to my frustration. There was a decision taken in the division of the company where I work. A decision not to give promotions for the year 2008-09.
Initially, I, being a part of the herd, accepted the decision and saw nothing wrong in it. Yes thats how you manage cost and improve bottom line. It is definitely a hard decision but a required decision in recessionary times !!
But as I was digesting the decision, in a week or two, I actually started detesting the decision.
An organisation's basic strength is the collective ability (talent/merit) of the people working for the organisation, as the only business mantra that works is efficiency.
Efficiency can be seen as a factor of two variables:
  • Satisfaction/happiness index of the efficient talented employees
  • Proportion of inefficient employees in an organisation
This simply implies that incentivise the efficient people and de-incentivise the in-efficient people. But thats a tough, very tough for management to implement.
  1. Who all are efficient? It is the second most difficult decision for management to take. How do we benchmark and rate efficiency? However difficult decision it might be I think that it is always a long term thinking to follow meritocracy in a corporate profit centric business. Since it is a tough decision to judge efficiency and there can be lot of heart burns if the judgement is not right, the processes to make the judgement will improve with time once there is a dictat that meritocracy has to be followed. The subjectivity of the decision in measuring efficiency will reduce with improving processes and increasing transparency.
  2. Who all are in-efficient? This is the most difficult decision for management to implement. Ironically it is found that it is the most easiest decision for the peers to arrive at !!. For management, it is the most difficult decision because to follow meritocracy, the inefficient people have to be demoted, their salaries need to be cut. This is certainly too much to expect in our Indian democratic, risk averse and non transparent corporate culture.

So what we end up doing is taking the easier route. Take a blanket decision. Cut all salaries by 25% or stop all promotions or stop all bonuses.

Between these three decisions, I would still prefer the third option - stopping all bonuses. Thats a clear result of business not doing well. Salary cut is too drastic and dangerous. Stopping promotions is simply foolish and myopic. Meritocracy and recognition of effort gets completely murdered.

It is a recessionary measure during recession.

But who would stand up and show this light to management. I cant. Its too late when I realised.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

For a better looking tomorrow -

Its been quite a time that I have used this blogger editor to write something. Life's getting busier in the pursuit of making a career and earning money for a healthy spend intensive living. Blogging and other hobbies take a back-seat... expressing whatever_me becomes a thing to myself... just can think, no time to write.

Today I had to take some time out as I had to express that I have now become a director. My wife, Dr. Gunjan Shah and I have registered a company to our name - DBGS Skin Care Private Limited. The company plans to open a chain of affordable best in class skin clinics in the country. And can you believe, we have launched our first clinic - SkinWorld in Tilak Nagar, Chembur, Mumbai.

Interesting roller coaster experience with many good experience and a few bad ones. We had to sack the Interior Decorator. Interestingly I found my wife to have a better interior design sense. The clinic has come out really well. Somebody, I will write about how to go about selecting an interior designer. The branding consultant we chose to work with was also a bad decision. However, I must say he has done a great logo, its just that our expectations were much more.

Bad experiences are a must to realise the good ones. We have had many. The contractor who did our clinic was a gem of a contractor. We have had great support from Primeleaf consulting directors - Rahul Kubadia and Andrei D'Souza in making our website and other online initiatives.

To introduce SkinWorld - The Clinic, we consider ourselves as aesthetic skin care experts. We are passionate about skin and skin health. Our aim is to make reliable skincare a habit. We provide medically proven skin care prescribed by specially trained doctors at very reasonable prices. All our skin care prescriptions are customised to one's unique skin type with clear emphasis on post treatment counselling for better results.

Our services include treatments for pimples, acne scars, spots (pigmentation), blackheads removal, skin tags removal, mole extraction, keloid excision, cracked heels treatment, stretched marks treatment, wrinkles and many others. We have all the modern methods of skin treatment - Microdermabrasion, 6 different types of chemical peels, Iontophoresis, Radiofrequency, Dermaroller, computerised skinscope

Please visit our website - and give us your feedback. We are giving our heart and soul to bring genuineness and sincerity to skin care.