Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mandatory marriage message

Well folks, next week same time, the goose is cooked. Carefree days of fun and frolic will change to fretful days of responsibility and worry. The 'baccha chele' will become 'bhodrolok' or 'korta'. Phew! The pressures, I tell you...
But some good things do come about from unions like these. For instance, the contrarian natures of both parties can sometimes conspire to serve them immensely well, leading to a happy and engaging time spent together. For instance, the fiance is a cleanliness freak and counts it amongst her favourite pass times. I, however, like to leave a trail of filth and general disorder in my wake, something like a statement of my presence. So I dirty and she cleans. And we're both happy. Fantastic.
However, similar traits in both parties can be quite negative in a relationship. The fact that neither of us can cook is quite a downer. How we shall survive to help ourselves and our future flock grow and prosper, is quite beyond me. So to all my local friends...please be prepared for unwanted guests...especially at meal times. We promise to bring gifts.

Well, I'll be off now and shall not be updating this space for atleast a couple of weeks. Fret not, as pictures shall be up soon.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Good Year

From the ferocious duo of Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe comes a benign, sappy romantic comedy which fails to impress on many counts. Set in London and France, the story traces the journey of a irreverent investment analyst Skinner (Crowe) who inherits his favourite uncle's vineyard and estate in France. Eager to sell it off immediately for good money, he heads there after he has been suspended for dodgy deals on the bond market. Things get a little complicated when an illegitimate child of his late uncle shows up, looking for her father. Skinner, however, promptly falls in love with a charming local waitress and after a while finds the sleepy and beautiful town to be quite agreeable. How he takes the decision to give up the bustle of his city life and the material attachments of money, fame and position, to settle into this dreamy place in France for a more sedate lifestyle forms the crux of the story.
In a lot of ways the story seeks to explore the meaning of modern city life, what its truly worth and our inability to find true happiness and inner peace and tranquility, even when it it right under our noses. In part it is also a treatise on the journey of boy to man, and lessons that life has to offer, shown beautifully in flash backs through the many conversations between young Skinner and his uncle Henry (Albert Finney). These are by far the best parts of the film, rich in language and cinematic effect. The performances are good, especially form the supporting cast. Crowe is of course much more convincing as the 'tough as nails' bond trader. As a romantic lead he tries hard, but is just about adequate. He should leave that to the Hugh Grants and the Mel Gibsons of the world and focus more on bashing people to death with 'Gladius Hispaniensis', and other Roman weaponry. Which Ridley Scott, too, may consider for his next venture.
'A Good Year' is just about watchable fare and ends up being light, mishy-mashy, some what feel good and in the end nothing unique. Save yourself the $10, rent the DVD or download off the net, if legal in your neck of the woods.



Sunday, November 12, 2006

"Suddenly they are not sure who they are. Carl Jung called this state mid-life crisis. You are in the trap of mid-life crisis, Jung said, when you are discontent with life, bored with people, feel dangerously adventurous, question the meaning of life, about who you are, or where your life is going. When this happens, you try to create a self to meet the expectations of others. But that puts life on a bumpy ride and the 'who am I' question turns more complex. They all want to be 'myself', but they are just not sure what that is..."

Blighmy! I've been in a mid life crisis practically all my life...


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Book reviews

After a hiatus from the literary world, I have hit back with a vengeance...devouring paperbacks and hardbacks alike, with all the zest of a possessed bibliophile. I have read quite a bit over the last month and briefly review here, three of the most readable titles I've leafed through:

1. Calcutta - A city remembered by Jug Suraiya

Quite possibly one of the few cities to have so many books dedicated to it. A hopelessly biased selection, I chose this book because it was made out to be a collection of essays about the sights and sounds of Calcutta, and not a prolonged and detailed history of the city. And i wasn't disappointed. The book is a poignant look at the images one naturally associates with the city...Rajiv Gandhi's 'dying city', Mother Teresa's home, the Howrah Bridge, the rickshaw puller, the football, the cultural melting pot, the 'Bengali' and the famous 'adda' sessions. The city evokes such strong and diverse feelings, both emotionally and culturally, that everyone has their own Calcutta and the author has his, and my, isn't it just fantastic. Vivid, funny and insightful, the book is a series of essays on the stereotypes associated with the city. He takes a look into the city's glorious past, its British heritage, its famous gentleman's club culture and its lost opulence and heads onwards in time into the turbulent 60s and 70s and ends with a note on its eventual decline and current resurgence. And at 130 pages, it leaves you thoroughly satisfied and yearning for more.

Extract - "In many ways, Calcutta - or at least, the Calcutta I knew - found an apt metaphor in a derelict, tuneless piano in my aunt's attic: once grand and imposing, but now consigned to cobwebs and memories; difficult to accommodate in any practical scheme of things, yet defiantly enduring; pathetic to some, poignant to others, sufficient to itself. "

2. From Balham to Bollywood by Chris England

A book that marries 2 of my keenest interests, cricket and Bollywood. Also a fun light read, this book is part travelogue, part cricket tour and part Bollywood movie. Chris England was chosen to play the role of Yardley, the fearsome Larwood-esque fast bowler from the British army team who lose to bunch of rag tag village cricketers in Champaran in a Bollywood movie. Yes, Lagaan. The book takes us on his journey into India, experiences with both Indian film making, the star system and the cricket. This laugh a page marathon will keep you guffawing right till the end. A great companion on a flight or a train journey.

Extract - " Within about fifteen minutes of Mela, however, 1 was utterly at sea. Aamir and his mate were involved in a fantastic fight scene, and then we cut away to a musical number. In a Hollywood musical the songs by and large seem to grow out of the story. Characters burst into song, which is not a particularly realistic thing to have happen, but the song takes place in the same location as the surrounding story, and pushes the plot along, or illuminates a character's emotional state in some way. In this, though, we were wrenched from a countryside scene on to a huge theatrical stage, where the characters were suddenly all clad in black leather, and surrounded by neon lights and a bewildering number of dancers. It was as though the Young Generation, the Younger Generation, the Second Generation, the Nigel Lythgoe dancers, the Jeff Thacker dancers, Pan's People, Legs 'n' Co, Hot Gossip, the lads from Michael Jackson's Thriller video and the Kids from Fame had got together to form some kind of almighty synchronised pelvisthrusting supergroup. They did their funky thing, and then it was back to the plot, and a bit of comic relief."

3. A bowl of steaming rice or a mere ghost story - Sunil Gangopadhyay

One of the finest collection of short stories I have read in a while from any Indian author. While this collection is a translation of the author's Bengali works, it does to a degree manage to hold its own in the English language. 15 stories, set both in the villages and in the city, present the reader with the opportunity to look into the the lives of ordinary people, living ordinary lives and facing ordinary problems. The author seems more comfortable with rural life and the stories set in the villages are the better ones, dealing with issues like decadence, hunger, superstition and fear(The goings on at Keshtopur). The title story, is by far the best and the most intricate. However, the stories dealing with city life are not far behind, and tend to delve into subjects like alienation, competition, morality(For acertain woman, The meaning of Bijon's life) and personal loss. Each story highlights some facet of daily life we have certainly encountered and or some emotional upheaval we have definitely been through. A book written from the heart, this is my first brush with Sunil Gangopadhyay and it has made sure that it will not be my last.

No extract available.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Goodbye Shoaib?

Oh well, controversy's favorite child is in the dock again. A sad ending for one of the great cricketing entertainers of our time. A 2 year ban for the 31 year old tearaway fast bowler could effectively end his career. He could be guilty as sin, or it could just be a case of a monumental cock-up by the PCB...but that is now irrelevant. The bans have been handed out and though Shoaib can appeal, he appears pretty much out of it. Which is a pity because he was one of the genuine south Asian superstars of the game. His thundering runup, whippy action, hyperextended or not, and flying celebrations after a wicket, will all be imitated by bowlers to follow and will be stuff of legends. While his controversial career had branded him a bad boy, his exploits in the cricket field were consistently good. It had seemed as though the phoenix had finally risen...oh well...
As Kamraan Abbasi says in his article about the issue, 'what an almighty waste!'
I would dearly hope the fastest bowler in the world can bounce back for one final curtain call...
Thank you Shoaib, for being a cricket lover's delight.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Many many reviews...

I've managed to catch up with loads of films in the last 2 - 3 weeks. Here are some brief reviews -

1. Khosla Ka Ghosla - A breath of fresh air. Amidst all the fanfare of the big budget films, remakes and sequels, this punjabi middle class story about a family protecting their plot of land from evil land sharks is a little gem. Natural performances, great script, genuinely funny at times and perfect casting...I would recommend this to all..quite in the Mukherjee/Chatterjee tradition. The second half tends to slow down and that perhaps is the only downer. Watch out for a surprisingly refreshing performance from Ranvir Shorey. 3.5/5

2. Jaan-e-mann - Old wine, new bottle. Starts well, some funny moments, and an interesting premise. Loses steam going forward and turns into the same old three way love story we are used to seeing. Sappy and melodramatic. Performances are nothing to write home about. Run of the mill stuff. Something of a return to form for Anu Malik, though. Some decent numbers. 1.5/5

3. Don - Don circa 2006 is a slick action thriller set in Malaysia instead of Mumbai, like its predecessor. Its a remake, so it is going to be compared to the original. People will want to be thrilled with the same scenes and dialogues that thrilled them in the 78 cult film. Some work and some don't. Akhtar tries hard and succeeds to a point, but the film drags in the second half. While the original didn't let up at all, here some situations are easily avoided. The songs seem to get in the way, baring a couple. Shah Rukh is good as the evil Don, but is unconvincing as Vijay. Some characters are given another dimension, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Om Puri appears for a screen time of 5 minutes... Arjun Rampal mumbles through his role and Isha Kopikar has nothing much to do. I did like Akhtar's plot twists in the end, but it could have been handled better. The middle part of the film lets it down badly. And Boman Irani should stay away from villainous roles for a while. Unconvincing as De silva and Vardhaan. Mixed bag. 2.5/5

4. The Departed - What a film! Martin Scorcese's best effort since Casino. A tight script and great performances from the cast, take this cops and robbers film about 2 moles on either side of the law to another level. Di Caprio puts in his best effort since 'Gilbert Grape' and Nicholson gets enough scope to showcase his hedonistic side..which is what we like about him in any case. Wahlberg and Damon are pretty good as well..with the latter giving an understated performance as the bad cop. Two hours plus just flew by during this gripping police drama. 4/5

5. The Prestige - Based on the novel of same name, this tale of two rival magicians in the early twentieth century is as gripping as it is inexplicable. Beautifully shot, good performances, some great magic, and some conspiracy theories thrown, this film seemed to have it all, till the end. The end takes away all the good work done till that point. A tragedy dealing with the bitter battle between friends turned foes trying to outdo each other with obsession of madmen progresses perfectly till the very end. Full marks for that...and Jackman and Bale do well. Scarlet Johannsen is used as eye candy. Not perhaps Nolan's best, but pretty good all the same. Worth a watch. 3/5


Friday, October 13, 2006

The Nanyang MBA series - 5 (Rankings)

The Economist's MBA 2006 rankings are out. MBA rankings are tricky animals. They are based on pre determined criteria, which generally vary from ranker to ranker. Hence, what is an important criteria for determining the quality of a full-time MBA programme in one publisher's ranking, may not be as important to another. So, to a degree it does veer towards being a subjective exercise. I would recommend students, who generally tend to read too much into MBA rankings, to take these with a pinch of salt. The rankings can at best be indicative of a school's standing, not the final word on its competence.

The Economist's (EIU) rankings are based on the following criteria:

A. Open new career opportunities (35%)
1. Diversity of recruiters (Number of industry sectors)
2. Assessment of careers services (Percentage of graduates in jobs three months after graduation)
3. Jobs found through the careers service (Percentage of graduates finding jobs through careers service)
4. Student assessment (Meeting expectations and needs)

B. Personal development/educational experience (35%)
1. Faculty quality (Ratio of faculty to students/Percentage of faculty with PhD (full–time only))
2. Student quality (Average GMAT score/Average length of work experience)
3. Student diversity (Percentage of foreign students/Percentage of women students)
4. Education experience (Student rating of programme content and range of electives/Range of overseas exchange programmes/Number of languages on offer)

C. Increase salary (20%)
1. How much did your salary increase after graduating? (Salary change from pre–MBA to post–MBA (excluding bonuses))
2. Leaving salary (Post–MBA salary (excluding bonuses))

D. Potential to network (10%)
1. Breadth of alumni network (Ratio of registered alumni to current students)
2. Internationalism of alumni (Ratio of students to overseas alumni branches)
3. Alumni effectiveness (Student assessment of alumni network)

The rankings did throw up surprises this year. IESE continued its march at the top, with a host of US and European schools following suit. Dartmouth came in at 2, with Stanford and Chicago GSB bringing up 3 and 4 and IMD at number 5. The hallowed Harvard slipped to number 7 this year. Though the list is dominated by American Schools, the number of European Schools (IMD, IESE, LBS, INSEAD etc.) and Asian MBAs (IIM A, The Nanyang MBA, NUS, HKUST etc.) have been steadily increasing. The highest ranked Asian school this year was HKUST (37) followed by The University of HK (39). The Nanyang MBA moved up a few places this year to land in at 77, up from 83 in 2005 and 92 in 2004. Without getting too emotional about the alma mater, I would say that it is good progress indeed for a newish program. IIM A fell from a position in the 60s last year to 98 this year. This will disappoint the management there, especially after having gone on record with the fact that they would not participate in local rankings and focus only on foreign rankings like EIU's or FT's. NUS broke in at 99.
A lot of the Asian MBAs like CEIBS and Chinese University of HK went unranked, but this is no indicator of any shortcoming of the programmes. It might have resulted as a consequence of non participation of the schools or any other reason.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Glimpses - Sharodutsav '06 Kolkata

The pujas have come and gone yet again. Only this time I was in Kolkata after a gap of two years to enjoy them in the flavor it is meant to be enjoyed in. So did I go all out? Not really... 'Pandal' hopping was restricted to south Kolkata alone, though the north has more to offer both in terms of heritage and craftmanship. However, the spirit and zest was there to see and it was fabulous to see that it had not waned at all...people braved the rains, be it to pay visits to the various 'pandals' or to generally enjoy themselves with friends and family. The atmosphere was one only Kolkata can provide. Another highlight of this Kolkata trip was the family gathering at home to mark the 100th birth anniversary of my paternal grandfather. While this is not a remarkable event in itself, the highlight for me was a citation received from a gentleman researching the origins of my fathers family in East Bengal. He happened to see the advertisement in the newspapers, where it was mentioned that my grandfather was from Barisal in East Bengal and immediately wrote in saying that he was from the same family, another branch from my grandfather's cousin's side which had settled independently in Calcutta (then). He confirmed names from his grandmother and sent in the citation in time for the birth anniversary celebrations, as he himself could not be present. The citation was read out at the gathering of almost all of my father's relatives. You could almost sense a longing for this new found relative on the faces of the slightly more aged family members, even though they hadn't a clue who he was. Getting the the whole family together there that evening was special indeed.

I attach some pictures of the colorful puja pandals which I visited this Durga Puja.

The Pandal at Shinghi Park The pandal at Raja Basanta Rai Road

The Maddox Square pandalI couldn't resist...opposite the Maddox square pandal

Cheers and Shubh Bijoya!


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Read fast...

Busy busy busy...stuff to finish at work. Tight deadline. Also helping in recruitment at work this year, so extra hours. Also a small debt to pay. Drinks money so nothing emotional. Old friend down in Singapore for a week. Need to put in some quality time there. Setting up two friends from different worlds. Lets see how that goes. Cupid gets the heat from both ends if things turn ugly. Shopping pending for Kolkata trip. List lies untouched, except for some non essential items. Planning son, planning. Packing also gloriously uninitiated. Don't even know where suitcase is. Sigh...all before Friday 5 pm.
I shall be back soon with some pictures of the Durga Puja from Kolkata...hasta manana until then..


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Songs of a lifetime - 8 (is it?)

This post will again bring me back to my favorite muse, Kolkata. With the Durga Puja approaching in about two weeks time, both mind and heart are happy in a way they haven't been in a long time. I shall be in Kolkata to experience the Pujas after a gap of two years. About time.

I also happened to find this article on the web by Manojit Mitra... not specific to the Pujas or anything, (for that you can read this) but what the heck, I'm hoping you'll forgive me the over-enthusiasm and read it anyway...

"The more Kolkata changes, the more it remains the same. How do I justify a statement like that? I don't. You go and find out for yourself. As for myself, I am quite happy to be saying what I want to say about Kolkata. Because I belong here, own it and am proud of this wonderful hellhole. Don't believe there's a better one. However, if you are too insistent, I'll tell you that it's like one of those clowns in the plays of yesteryear -- looks funny, acts ludicrous but is a good chap at heart, wishing everyone well, accepting his own fate without batting an eyelid and carries on when everyone else has left. Do me a favour: don't take it away from me.You can't, because Kolkata's heart never changes. You have brought so many new-fangled things into it, but under the surface, it's heart goes on beating in the same old rhythm. It all started from the mid-seventies when its skyline began to change and high-rise apartments reared their heads. The television arrived, and the indolent Calcuttan (read Kolkatan) took to it gladly. For years, they messed up the entire place, building the second bridge and the metro. More buses, more cars. More and more people. The naxalites slit some throats and went into oblivion. The youth Congress stampeded about for sometime, and fell back. The marxist took over and have been bossing it over, but I am told their stars have dimmed too. It seemed people were desperate to change the Kolkata I knew. Enter globalisation, and new slogans were raised. Posh hotels, restaurants. Food -- continental, Japanese, Thai. Discoes -- all-night dancing. An entirely new vocabulary emerged -- investment, downstream units, infrastructure. Then computers, dotcom, toggling, nerds. The fragrance of millions in the air. Overnight prosperity. Fly-by-night operations. The whole works.In front of me lies a letter from my school buddy, Atin Bose, who's made it big out there in the pomised land, the US of A. What with one thing and another he hasn't been able to visit Kolkata in the last twenty years. "Tell me," writes the sick-at-heart Kolkatan, "has Kolkata changed? Does College Street look different? What about Basanta Cabin..." Rewind to the mid-fifties. The era of innocence. When we were young and the world was green. The buses were crowded even then, but other things were different. The walls bore political slogans. The revolution, we were told, was long overdue.Occasionally, they set fire to trams at the crossing of College Street and Mahatma Gandhi Road. Tear gas, lathi charge, shooting. Run for it. Get into the Coffee House. A haze of cigarette smoke. Endless talkathon in progress at tables. Wodehouse, Eliot, Satyajit, Kamal Majumdar. In a dark cubicle in the ground floor of the Presidency College, professor Tarak Nath Sen taught Hamlet. His thin, artistic fingers shaking in excitement as he explained the scene where Hamlet tells Ophelia, "Get thee to a nunnery -- why should'st thou be a breeder of sinner...". Across the street, Gauri Nath Shastri walked up and down the classroom, in Sanskrit College, lecturing on Ahhijnanshakuntalam. We fooled around. Kabiraji cutlet in Dilkhusa restaurant. Toasts and tea in Basanta Cabin. Radhaballavi and dal in Putiram. Off to Esplanade, for ten paise on the bus. Two aging Anglo-Indians stood at the entrance to Chung Wah restaurant, strumming a guitar and a mandolin. They sang, "When the swallows come back to Capistrano / That's the day, I pray you would, come back to me". Those were the days of of Pat Boone and Dean Martin, Elvis Presley and Harry Bellafonte, Hemanta, Sandhya and Lata. At the centre of New Market was a small coffee shop with a juke box. You could listen to Jailhouse Rock for 25 paise. On Chowringhee Road stood Firpo's. Rich couples relaxed with drinks on its sprawling first-floor balcony. Tangawallas fed their horses where the metro's Esplanade station stands now. Vans of the Tea Board and Coffee Board stood near the tram goomty in the evening, selling cups of fine tea and coffee for 25 paise a cup. Phoochakas? ofcourse, a dozen a rupee. And those glorious all-night jalsas of adhunik gaan. Hemanta, Sandhya, Shymal, Satinath, Manabendra, Utpala. Those fabulous Uttam-Suchitra starrers. We tried to emulate Uttam. Every girl believed she was Suchitra Sen. Those furtive meets in YMCA cabins, walks down the strand, hand in hand in dark cinema houses. Romance!I am told that young people these days have no time for such things. Too busy planning their career, savings pennies to pay for the computer course. That would be sad. But I still find young couples sauntering slowly down lonely streets, lost to the world around them. Can romance die? In Kolkata? I don't believe it. What about those chattering, bag-slinging boys and girls in the Rabindra Sadan complex? The lonely, bespectacled young fellow who goes about singing "Aaj jyotsna ratey shabai gachhey boney"? The blind harmonium player who threads through the jostling pavement walkers on Chowringhee? The frentic Addas at road intersections? Unemployment and insecurity? Closed factories and empty promises? Kolkata will survive it all. I am inviting Atin Bose to come and stay with me. We shall storm the city together, like we did forty years ago. Let the self-exiled brother come home and see. Home is still home."

Oh, I almost forgot the song in all of this...this one is by a Bengali band called Chandrabindoo, known for their satirical, colloquial and humorous (often 'nonsense') lyrics. Their tunes are generally heavily influenced by western music and finding an original tune in their repertoire can take more effort than getting me to wear anything other than white, black or blue, but the lyrics more than make up for it sometimes...ah..I forgive them. I'm not sure who this song was dedicated to when originally written, but I shall take the liberty of dedicating it to the phenomenon of the Durga Pujas...

"Eita tomar gaan
Tumi loadshedding er chander alor shor
Tumi jhorer sheshe shurjo dhowa ghor

Aaina bhora din
Rup shaior er jol
Aalga chhutir rod
Rokto jholomol
tomai dilam
Ei khatar bhaje gacher patar naam

Eita tomar gaan
Tumi norom thote shechcha bethar neel
Tumi onno mone ekla pakhir jhil

Aina bhora din
Rup shaior er jol
Alga chhutir rod
Rokto jholomol
tomai dilam
Ei mayar poshom haat debar araam

Eita tomar gaan
Oi anchol ghera brishti chhater gham,
Rege mege shishu giyeche bhashan"


Monday, September 11, 2006

Goppo... (Story)

The theatre hall was old, hallowed. Many a famous performance had been staged here. Today was another play. Of course, theatre was no longer the most favored art form and Tantu had reluctantly agreed to buy tickets for this event. He knew a few members of the cast, so he felt obliged to watch the show. never lay easy on the chest, did it? He made his way to the back rooms of the building, where the performing artistes were getting ready to stage a famous Tagore dance drama. He hadn't been to a play in a long while, so strangely, coming didn't feel like a complete waste of time. A re-acquaintance with a dying art form, so to speak, even if Tagore appreciation did not come naturally to him. The smell of the semi-lit corridor that winded up towards the green rooms hit his nostrils, and he smiled...Dettol. A few steps on and the corridor opened into a hall which had three doors. He knocked gently on the first before calling out, 'Babai da?' His peering eyes were met with stares from four men dressed up in bright green and golden kurtas. The room itself was littered with plastic swords, make up kits, trinkets and bright cloth. A box of black mustachios lay open in front of the large mirror that saddled the wall in front of them. A fifth man was was attempting to paste a rather large curly mustache onto the upper lip of one of brightly dressed men. On Tantu's entry the man standing immediately to his left, smiled and waved. "Tantu! You came!!" Tantu, smiled in return and waved back "Aah, Babai da, of course, I made it a point to come! I wouldn't miss this for the world!". This was of course only partially true. Tantu, in his head, winced.
Babai da, meanwhile, proceeded to introduce the others in the room. "This is Bhai, that one there is Buro, this is Babushona and the distinguished gentleman who is fixing Babushona's whiskers is Tito babu." Tantu folded his hands in the traditional Indian 'Namaste' and smiled. Babai da and the others had to be on stage for a sound check before the show, hence excused themselves and made their way out, leaving Tito Babu alone with him.
"Sit down, they will take a while", he said.
Tantu sat down on one of the wooden chairs, one on which Babushona had just been sitting. The seat felt warm and that was always a good thing.
"So you are a student?", Tito Babu asked.
"Not anymore, I was till a year ago, now I make short films, you know, like documentaries."
" are an artiste then, like all these people.", he carried on.
"Films yes, artiste I don't know. Just finished filming a documentary on wolves. Its not great money, but I like what I do." Tantu quipped.
"Money isn't everything. You need to do something that you enjoy. Something that marries passion and profession, you know?" Tito Babu was old, probably in his sixties. His faced was wrinkled and weather beaten. He looked sad. Maybe he couldn't marry passion and profession and wound up doing something he despised. Maybe not. Tantu chided himself for thinking too much. An awkward silence followed.
Suddenly, "Jana Gana Mana..." blared from the sound system, just outside the green room. The Indian national anthem was not a part of this Tagore dance drama, as far as Tantu knew, so he let a frown escape his brows. Tito Babu smiled and hummed the tune. Just then the song stopped as abruptly as it had started. Tito Babu stopped humming a second or two later. He seemed disappointed at its sudden end.
He looked at Tantu and asked, " You're a film wallah, correct?" Tell me, which popular Sachin Dev Burman tune is inspired from the Indian national anthem?"
(SD Burman was one of the great music directors of Hindi films. Though he passed away in the 70s, after three decades of great music composition, his tunes remain popular to this day.)
Tantu was taken by surprise. He wasn't expecting a quiz at a theatre performance. Besides, he was a young man, brought up on techno-pop, electronica and heavy metal. SD Burman was something his grandfather and father listened to, on those vinyl records and obscenely large gramophones.
"Not sure really. Which one?" Tantu wasn't really bothered. His brows arched into a frown for the second time, only this one feigned interest. In his head he winced again.
Tito Babu smiled and carried on, and hummed "Punjab Sindhu Gujarata Maratha, Dravida Utkala Banga...", and then hummed again "Humne to jab kaliya mangi, kaaton ka haar milaaa...".
He stopped, smiled and said, "laste pench diye ghuriye diyeche...see? kaliyan maangi...SD Burman er churi gulon dhora khub mushkil!" (It is extremely difficult to catch SD Burman's tune lifts!)
Tantu smiled. There could be truth in the old man's words, but he wasn't sure. "Aah..we learn something new everyday, don't we?" he said. "Thanks for the interesting titbit. I think I should be moving on, the show is about to start."
Tantu wanted didn't want another quiz from him. What if he asked him what the capital of Burkina Fasso was or which Indian music director lifted Procol Harum's 'Whiter shade of Pale'? It would be too much to handle. Besides the show really was going to start.
"Oh its time already? Sure, carry on, I wont keep will need time to find your seat."
"Right, Mr. Tito, hope to meet you again."
Tantu winced in his head for the third time. He didn't want to meet this melancholic quiz master cum part time make up man ever again. He turned around and started his walk back into the corridor, only to turn around after a few moments.
The last thing he saw before he turned around again was the image of a sad old man, standing in the corner, back stage, watching the dance drama from the side line, behind the scenes, with a smile on his face, thoroughly enjoying the Tagore song and dance extravaganza. He was engrossed. His hands were folded behind his back and and his lips moved along with the stage singer's songs. He seemed happy, enjoying something he really liked. Maybe passion and profession had finally tied the knot.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lage Raho Munnabhai

First lets get the inevitable comparison with the first installment out of the way. 'Munnabhai MBBS' was a more complete, more intelligent film. 'Lage Raho' is more feel-good and commercial than the first part. It packs in more gags and laughs to play up to the gallery. So is the effect diluted? Not entirely. 'Lage Raho' still retains the goodness of the 'Munnabhai MBBS' film and builds a different message into the narrative without getting too preachy. I'd rate the first part marginally higher than the sequel.
However, the film is a great ride! Replete with fun, frolic and some Gandhian philosophy. The film doesn't start from where the first movie ends, but is a completely new episode in itself, easily holding its own. Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi are back in their lovable avatars and this time are aided by Dilip Prabhawalkar, Boman Irani and Vidya Balan. The story involves Munna's experiences with Gandhi's teachings and his bid to live by the great man's ideals. He takes on a corrupt builder, Irani, in this episode and how he wins his lady love's (Balan) heart while helping distressed people along the way forms the meat of the story.
The gags in the film are good and this installment packs in more laughs than ever. In this regard, the duo of Dutt and Warsi do an exemplary job. Warsi especially deserves a pat on the back for his comic timing. His sudden lack of screen space in the second half is unfortunate. The film is sugar coated in its goodness. Of course if you have that man Gandhi woven around the story line it can't but be helped. Jimmy Shergill, Dia Mirza and Parikshit Sahni make appearances as beneficiaries of Munna's newfound mantra of 'Gandhi-giri'. This is the new catch phrase as against 'Jadoo ki jhappi' in part one.
The Munnabhai series is one of those rare comedies which live up to the great Mukherjee/Chatterjee tradition. They will be well remembered as classic comedies in years to come. Hirani's direction isn't too bad. Shantanu Moitra's music is tuneful but just about passable. Nowhere in the Parineeta or Yahaan league. He even lifts Cliff Richard's 'Theme for a dream'.
All in all a good movie to be enjoyed with friends and family and one which leaves you feeling good after the show. When was the last time you were able to do that?

PS: Ladies, watch out for Bachchan Jr. in a cameo!



Saturday, September 02, 2006

Khamosh Paani - Silent Waters

I had heard about this small Pakistani-French production at the time of its release and since the film had a limited release, it had not moved up on my 'to see' list. I chanced upon its CD the other day and at first sight, pounced on it. And I wasn't disappointed.
'Khamosh Paani' is a great film. Easily one of the best films in the 1947 partition of India genre. It examines the issue from an entirely different perspective and reinforces the possibilities of this genre, which I had thought, till I saw this film, been done to death. Sahiba Sumar as the director sets the film in a remote village in Pakistan's Punjab. The visuals are breathtaking. Its little, desolate, crumbling minarets, white-walled houses and lakes create that wonderfully alienated but content atmosphere. The residents of this village are a happy, content bunch of people. Among them is Ayesha (Kirron Kher) and her son Saleem (Aamir Malik). Ayesha teaches the Quran to the children of the village, while her eighteen year old son Saleem is an aimless, dreamy, charming and simple young lad, who's only ambition is to woo the pretty Zubeidaa (Shilpa Shukla). Zubeidaa, loves Saleem, but is eager to study in the city and build a career for herself. The year is 1979 and General Zia is about to enforce the Martial Law. This leads to the rise in Islamic fundamentalism through out the state and a few workers from the city come to the village to recruit some young hands to work for their misguided and deluded cause of Islam. Saleem is easy prey. He starts to get drawn into the quagmire of Islamic politics and begins to share the fundamentalistic ideas of the party workers, believing that he is doing the country a great service. Needless to say, in the process, he begins to alienate his girlfriend, who tries to get him to find a job and settle down. Things get complicated, when a group Sikhs arrive to pay respects to a holy shrine, from across the border. One particular gentleman, Jaswant, arrives at Ayesha's door looking for his sister, who he had lost during the partition. Ayesha turns out to be his sister, much to the annoyance of her son, who's transformation from gentle young lover to hardened fundamentalist is now complete. He is now shameful of being her son, a Sikh's descendant.
The story is compelling from a number of aspects. First, the film explores, through flashbacks, Ayesha's (and many other women's) trauma during the Partition, where families from both sides of the border would kill their own mothers, sisters and daughters, lest they fall into the enemy's hands and shame the family honour. Ayesha was one such girl, who was left to die by her Sikh family, only to be adopted by a kind Pakistani Punjabi man. The film captures her pain beautifully from the point that Jaswant comes looking for his sister in the village. Ayesha's final outburst at her brother for abandoning her years earlier is a very well done scene. Her pain at being rewarded for staying a true Pakistani Muslim, with only hate from her son is again very evocatively brought out. The scars of Partition are many. We see another side in 'Khamosh Paani'.
Another great aspect in the film is the transformation of Saleem. Aamir Malik holds you with his performance as the young misguided youth. You love him at the beginning of the film and then start hating him towards the end. His disregard for both his love and his mother are astonishing, but made eminently believable by the actor.
Also, the sequences where the city fundamentalists clash with the simple villagers who do not understand politics, are noteworthy. The scene where Saleem heads a protest against the Sikhs from across the border, with the old village folk watching in dismay is mersemerising.
The screenplay is very good and builds the story steadily. Performances are very good, from both Kirron Kher and Aamir Malik. Shilpa Shulka is good as well, though she looks too old be a school girl. The flashbacks of Ayesha suffering abuse and trauma are not its best parts. Perhaps if Ayesha had herself confronted her son with her ordeal, it would have had greater impact. But a very good watch all the same. I would recommend this film to all.
It has got me looking forward to more good cinema from Pakistan.



Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Aajkal ke naujawano ko dekhkar mujhe badi mayoosi hoti hai bade baabu...

A cinematic luminary has passed away. Hrishikesh Mukherjee was perhaps Bollywood's cleanest and simplest story teller of the last century. His films have delighted us time and time over. Some of his films will be remembered as classics. He was not Ray, Ghatak, Sen or Gopalakrishnan. Neither was he in the Johar, Chopra mould. He was the quintessential man in the middle. His stories dealt with the joys and sorrows of the middle class. No one understood this class better than him and Basu Chatterjee. I remember reading an article which said that Hrishikesh Mukherjee's films are like our fondest photographs in our picture albums. How true. I'd frame them.
Of course, Mukherjee's body of work did have blemishes. He did get repetitive in theme at times and made some average cinema with films like "Kisi se na kehna" and "Jhoot bole kauwa kaate", where you could tell he was trying to paste Amrish Puri onto Utpal Dutt, Anupam Kher onto David and Anil Kapoor onto Amol Palekar. He also got a little too ambitious with "Bemisaal". However, one doesn't really care about the blemishes of the man who gave us "Anari", "Anand", "Guddi", "Abhimaan", "Golmaal", "Anupama" and "Naram Garam". His films were all about normal people in abnormal scenarios. The joys and foibles of people like you and me. He was our film maker. They don't tell stories like this anymore. I'm sure if he saw today's big budget, candy floss, music video cinema he would repeat Utpal Dutt's classic line from Golmaal.

And now the answers from last post's Quiz -

1. RD Burman and Swapan Chakraborty sing 'Golmaal hai'. Amit Kumar was also in the recording studio at that time, but I find it hard to figure out his lines in the song.

2. Amitabh is shooting for 'Jurmana'.

3. Mukherjee used the same green and white school uniform to dress up 'Guddi'.

4. Gulzar, Bharat.

5. That Bhawani Shankar is Bengali in the film is clear from the slang phrase 'Daat kelani bancharam' (teeth bearing/laughing idiot?) which he uses twice in the film.

6. Swami Vivekananda.

7. There are a total of 8 sportsmen mentioned in the film: 2 Pakistan Hockey players (Samiullah Khan and another I cannot remember right now), Pele, Sunil Gavaskar, Vishwanath, Amarnath, Bedi and Chandrashekhar.

8. In the scene where Deven Verma wears make up (mustache) the mustache curls upwards. However, when Amol Palekar has to make the excuse and introduces his twin brother to Utpal Dutt, the flashback to the same scene shows Verma pasting a mustache curling downwards.

9. Kishore Kumar and Amit Kumar.

10. 15%, but only 12% passed.

Commendations to Gaurav for his fine attempt. Well done sir.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Great 'Golmaal' Quiz

A classic comedy indeed. Uptal Dutt, Amol Palekar and Hrishikesh Mukherjee got it just right in this one. I know loads of people who have seen this film millions of times. I know people who know all the dialogues and can recite them backwards. This is one of those films that has continued to gain monumental popularity years after its initial release. But how well do you actually know 'Golmaal'? Take the quiz and find out! Answers in the next post.

1. In the first song of the film, 'Golmaal hai', who takes up the playback responsibilities?

2. In the scene where Deven takes Ram Prasad to Mohan Studios to get him a 'kurta payjama' for his interview, they meet Amitabh Bachchan, who is shooting for one of his films. Which film?

3. In the same scene (mentioned above), Amitabh is then accosted by autograph hunting school girls who are in their uniforms. This identical school uniform was used by Hrishikesh Mukherjee in another of his well loved films. Which?

4. Fill in the blanks - "Bacchu, pehnoge sirf dhoti kurta to lagoge Mr.____, tum pehnke dekho dhoti, kurta aur jacket, tum lagoge Mr._____.

5. Bhawani Shankar (Utpal Dutt) uses a Bengali slang phrase twice in the film. Can you identify which one?

6. Bhawani Shankar has the bust of which famous Indian philosopher/social reformer in his office?

7. Bhawani Shankar hates the fact that the youth wastes itself in sports and other related activities. How many sportsmen are mentioned throughout the length of the film?

8. There is a serious continuity problem in one of the scenes of the film. Did you notice which?

9. Who sang the song 'Sapne mein dekha sapna'?

10. What percentage of candidates were expected to pass the Chartered Accountancy Final examination the term Ram Prasad appeared for the exam?


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Happy Birthday to you...

Well, its been a year since this blog started and boy, hasn't time flown! When I started off, I didn't see it this far into the future, quite frankly. Congratulations to me and Happy Birthday to the blogspot.
As a new year resolution perhaps, I would like to be more regular with my writing here. I had almost lost touch with the written word after school as college and B-school don't really stress on natural writing skills and ability; they tends to promote business writing more than anything else. Natural self expression gets limited opportunity. This space gives me scope to write as I want, about the stuff I want to write about. Perhaps I also need to broaden my horizon a little bit in terms of subjects...perhaps diarise it a tad. Lets see.
For now, I'm just glad I got this far.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006


The fish-loving Bengalis will be deprived of their favourite Hilsa this year owing to a paltry catch even in the peak of the Hilsa season. “Though an unpalatable truth, the supply of Hilsa to the city markets is low this year. We blame unfavourable climatic conditions for the low catch,” Mr Kiranmoy Nanda, state fisheries minister, said. He said that owing to frequent depressions and cyclonic conditions in the Bay of Bengal, the fishermen, who venture deep into the sea for fishing, had no option but to stay anchored. Also, he said, this time the onset on monsoon was not accompanied by any easterly breeze ~ which is responsible for the diverting the shoals of Hilsa to move from sea to the river for the purpose of breeding.This year, supply of Hilsa from Bangladesh has also been as low as 574 metric ton till July as compared with the 3,375 metric ton supplied during the same period last year. He said that even Bangladeshi fishermen had had a bad season this time around.

Bugger! Anyways...I haven't had a decent meal of 'ilish' maach in more than two years...atleast this year I won't be alone in my misery...

Allen Heckard filed a lawsuit in Hillsboro, Ore., in June against Michael Jordan and Nike founder Phil Knight for $416 million each, charging that they are responsible for his "pain and suffering," and his "defamation," in that nearly every day for 15 years, people have mistaken him for Jordan. Heckard admits to being a pretty good basketball player (though 6 inches shorter than Jordan) and to wearing Air Jordans, and in fact curiously told KGW-TV that, all in all, being recognized as Jordan was a "positive" thing. He said he arrived at the "416" figure from multiplying his age by seven (though he appears to be in his 30s, not 59). (Needless to say, Heckard filed the lawsuit without benefit of a lawyer.)

Umm...what do I say, they've been weirder lawsuits!

Stressed-out Chinese can now unleash pent-up anger at a bar that lets customers attack staff, smash glasses and generally make a ruckus, a Chinese newspaper reported Monday. The Rising Sun Anger Release Bar in Nanjing, capital of the eastern province of Jiangsu, employs 20 muscled young men as "models" for customers to punch and scream at. "Customers can specify how they want the models to appear -- they can even appear as women -- and then they are free to give them a sound beating," the China Daily said. The bar charges from 50 yuan ($6.25) to 300 yuan for the pleasure. If violence does not work, counselors - students from local universities - are at hand to dispense advice, the newspaper quoted the owner of the bar, Wu Gong, as saying.

Can we do something similar at work??


Sunday, July 30, 2006


A few posts ago, I had likened Vishal Bhardwaj to Gulzar. I was a little off the mark. Vishal is a much better story teller than the great man. In his second Shakespearean venture, he exhibits remarkable ease while handling the camera, and every frame is worth its weight in gold. I have very few bad things to say about the film. From Makdee to Maqbool to Omkara...this filmography alone can put him in a league all by himself.
I assume here that everyone knows what Othello is all about. A tragedy filled with lies, deceipt, love and bloodshed. Omkara stays very true to the original, in fact Vishal doesn't include any fictional characters to adapt the story to fit the Indian landscape. And what a landscape it is! Set in political Uttar Pradesh, a menacing, hostile jungle of violence, political intrigue and feuds, with its dusty villages and golden fields, the surroundings keep you captivated from start to finish. The backdrop itself is as strong as any of the characters. Ajay Devgan as Omkara is powerful, Kareena as Dolly is very good as well, Vivek Oberoi as Kesu and Bipasha Basu as Billo don't get much scope. But Konkona Sen takes your breath away with her vibrance in a smallish role. She is a fantastic actress and its frightening to imagine what she could accomplish after a few more years in the business. But all said and done, this is Saif Ali Khan's film. Iago (Landga Tyagi here) is a difficult character to play, but Saif makes the scheming, hurting, jealous lieutenant come alive in a way that you hate and like him at the same time. Award winning stuff.
The music of the film is good as well. 'O Saathi re' and 'Omkara' are the stand out tracks for me. The others are situational and are not bad by any standards. One item song too many though. Gulzar's lyrics are fantastic.
The only possible drawbacks of the film could be the language of the film, which is very UP ite and hence might be difficult to grasp for people not versed with the accent and dialect in that part of the country and the editing, which uses the fade out technique too often, which slows down proceedings considerably. A few expletives could have been avoided, but its not really something I'd whine about.
Dark, brooding, menacing, delightful.
Omkara could well be a classic in the making.



Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Convocation '06: the real story

Aroon!, Spookie, Capt. Suppi, Candy, KK, G2, Santy, Raju Chacha, Sachin, Rishi, Aande, Arun C, Balaji, Ekta jiee!, Sandeep, Bhaagaah, Pranava, Bean, Bawa, Ram, Sudheer, Mayank, Kaiyo, Cuong, Zoltan, Chris R, Chris K, Melly, FM, Wee Ping, Afia, Linh Thy Vu, Emlyn.

I love you guys. Couldn't have asked for better company.
To us.

Ashok - To him goes the best senior award. Thanks bro for being there.
Aroon - Dude. Hate to see you go. I'll see you in Pecos someday. Till then, the memories remain. Brij, Bean, Kayo, Sandeep and Ashwin - Missed you guys!
G2- Thanks for coming sir. Wouldn't have been the same.
Maa, Dad and Stuti - Take a bow. I wouldn't be here otherwise.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Songs of a lifetime - 7

A moment from our lives to remember those innocents who lost their lives in the Mumbai blasts. India, having been a victim of violence for a while now, is used to these kinds of situations. So much so that we don't even cringe at the news. Desensitised, i guess. As usual, all this will soon be forgotten and life will continue as usual. There will be no concentrated results to beef up internal security. Bribary, lapse and the 'chalta hai' attitude will continue. Correct me if I am wrong, but cities like Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata are sitting ducks w.r.t security, high alert or not. One shudders to think what the effects of a similar attack would be, in these areas. In the meanwhile the 'mumbaikar' will steel himself, pick up the threads of his life, mourn the loss of his loved ones in unision and move on. The world will forget soon enough.
A tribute to the great city of Mumbai.

Aye dil hai mushkil jeena yahan
Zara hat ke zara bach ke,
Yeh hai Bombay meri jaan

Kahin building kahin traame, kahin motor kahin mill
Milta hai yahan sab kuchh ik milta nahin dil
Insaan ka nahin kahin naam-o-nishaan
Zara hat ke zara bach ke, yeh hai Bombay meri jaan

Kahin satta, kahin patta kahin chori kahin race
Kahin daaka, kahin phaaka kahin thokar kahin thes
Bekaaro ke hain kai kaam yahan
Zara hat ke zara bach ke, yeh hai Bombay meri jaan

Beghar ko aawara yahan kehte has has
Khud kaate gale sabke kahe isko business
Ik cheez ke hain kai naam yahan
Zara hat ke zara bach ke, yeh hai Bombay meri jaan

Bura duniya woh hai kehta aisa bhola tu na ban
Jo hai karta woh hai bharta hai yahan ka yeh chalan
Tadbeer nahin chalne ki yahan
Yeh hai Bombay, yeh hai Bombay, yeh hai Bombay meri jaan
Aye dil hai aasaa jeena yahan
Suno mister, suno bandhu, yeh hai Bombay meri jaan

Duniya mein nahin dekha tune aise yeh nagar,
Aasoon ki nadiyan hai, par kisko hai fikar?
Bombay ko hai salaam mera,
Yeh hai Bombay, yeh hai Bombay, yeh hai Bombay meri jaan

PS: My apologies to Majrooh Sultanpuri for adding my vile words to his sublime creation!


Thursday, July 06, 2006

The shepherds

Some people to whom I owe a lot to. I wish I could find more time for them. People who shaped my thought process, inspired me, frustrated me and unconsciously helped in nurturing whatever minimal talents I have. You deserve more than you get. A big thank you!



Thursday, June 29, 2006

And its good that I'm not angry... I just need to get over... I'm not angry... It's dragging me under

Take a look at the article printed in the Financial Express.

"Amidst the row sparked by Kannada actress Jaimala's confession that she had once touched the idol of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala, Kerala government on Thursday said it will not interfere in the customs followed by the temple, including its ban on women in the 10-50 age group from praying at the hill shrine. It was for the temple authorities and institutions like Travancore Devaswom Board to decide on issues concerning customs followed by the temple for centuries and the government did not intend to interfere in them, Devaswom Minister G Sudhakaran told the State Assembly. CPI MLA N Aniruddhan had sought to know from the minister whether the practice of not allowing women to visit Sabarimala did not amount to gender discrimination. The minister however, evaded a direct reply to supplementaries on the Jaimala incident. While some of the members sought to drag the minister into the Jaimala episode, he said it was better to skip a debate on the issue, as the main question being considered by the house was the master plan for the development of Sabarimala.
Meanwhile, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad demanded a comprehensive inquiry into Jaimala's claim that she had not only visited the temple in her youth but also touched the idol of the deity after being pushed into the sanctum sanctorum by the heavy rush of pilgrims.
"The actress's claim has created grave anxiety in the minds of devotees. They have the right to know whether that version is true or just a concocted story. It is necessary to bring out the truth through a thorough probe," VHP state organising secretary Kummanam Rajasekharan said in a statement. If Jaimala's claim proved to be true, it would amount to breach of the temple's traditions. In such an event, those responsible for defilement and encroachment should be punished, he said.

I have long held the view that any creation of man that seeks to divide the human race is detrimental to its very creators...caste, creed, and religion fall under this umbrella and I therefore would rather they didn't exist. The world fights and spills blood over the above mentioned. India seems to have its own troubles as the article above reinforces. You think I'm being simplistic? Perhaps...
The purpose of religion was spiritual enlightenment and worldly wisdom, started I'm sure, with peace, harmony and prosperity as its goal. We are taught, 'God is everywhere', 'God lies in action', 'God lies within us'. We must therefore kill, murder, maim, rape, burn, wound and destroy, all in his name. The VHP secretary wants a probe, apparently. Joker. Like all things change and adapt to keep pace with time, religion too needs to evolve to remain relevant and generally to make the world a better place...(very 'We are the world' ish, but whatever). Idol worship, superstition and caste system are somethings I would rather not be part of the religion that coming generations embrace. They will have their problems I'm sure, but they will not have ours. I do not want my children's blood spilled over cries of, "MY God Strooongestt!!" We fail to see the futility in spending eons of time and negative energy in brick, stone, colour of skin and status, instead of diverting that into positive action...wait, isn't that what all religion advocates in anycase?? What I want to see is the removal of the dead weight and the forging of a more relevant and meaningful 'religion'. Enforce the philosphy, the ends, and not the superstitious manifestations. Walking around a stone 11 times will not cure your troubles, my friend, having faith in oneself and going about fighting them might help though (and in doing that, you find God)...also, slaughtering a cow or killing 'infidels' and 'heathens' will not get you too far either. Lets the keep the positives and restrict the negatives, the things that are driven by fanatics, superstition, apprehension and fear. I am not saying stop believing in God. You feel free to have your concept of God...but whatever it is, it shouldn't be worth killing for. I don't care if a girl touched the shrine. I care if the print space devoted to the article could have been devoted to something more important like lack of education, poverty, and corruption and what action has been taken against them. Only through positive action will we be happier, more content and at peace with ourselves.
I have taken a stance. I wish the rest of you would follow. There are gaps in my philosophy, I'm sure. I have my God. I am at peace with Him. He lies not in the confines of walls which cannot be touched by a woman. He lies inside me. He lies everywhere.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Classic Corner #1 - The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses

This is a new chain I am starting, like the 'Songs of a Lifetime', which is quite dormant right now. Here is where I shall showcase, rave about, dissect and eulogise about some classic instances of pure genius in the performing arts, be it theatre, music, film or any other medium. These are examples of sheer brilliance and works far ahead of their that regal, enthrall and stay relevant even today. These shaped the future of their respective art forms and left an indelible mark on society and social consciousness. Some of them were plain difficult to describe, such was force of their beauty, power and effect.

I'll start with one of the most prized possessions in my collection, The Stone Roses' self titled debut album. What a record. British pop music had not heard anything so pristine before these guys came along. I do not want to get into the history of the band and such details, as it would require another post altogether. Just a bit of an intro, though. These four guys teamed up in the mid 80s when British pop/rock music was ruled The Smiths, New Order and The Fall. The Smiths were on the decline and nothing as exciting was in the offing. Then Ian Brown and his mates from Manchester decided to have some fun with their style of light rock/pop guitar driven music. They were to record only one more studio album after this one, 'The Second Coming', before they eventually split up in the early 90s. Their music formed the reference point of loads of modern bands like Oasis, Blur, Lightening Seeds, Embrace and The Verve. Sadly after delivering a near perfect rock/pop album first up the band could never live up to the hype of an encore and the next album, though not bad by any standards, wasn't quite the same. Our loss entirely.

Let’s look at the album then...

The opening drawl on 'I wanna be adored' lets you know that this is something special indeed. When I first heard it, thanks to Brown's hushed Mancunian accented style of singing, I mistook the words to be ' I wanna be a door' (and I couldn't understand why the hell he wanted to be a part of the furniture). And then John's Squire's heavenly guitar riffs hit you...I couldn't care if he wanted to be the wash basin or a toilet, the resonance was just too powerful and the narcissism just too tempting to resist. Oasis tried something similar with 'Listen up', but came nowhere close. This gem is followed up by the holy trinity of 'She bangs the drums', 'Elephant stone' and 'Waterfall'. Well, rock songs dipped in honey. British pop had never had it better than this. When Brown croons, "Burst into heaven...kissing the cotton clouds" on 'Elephant stone', you can almost feel yourself with him 30,000 ft above sea level...sigh! The beauty of multilayer guitars has never been better demonstrated. Then there is the anti-monarchy gem, 'Elizabeth My dear' with the lines "Tear me apart and boil my bones / I'll not rest 'till she's lost her throne / My aim is true, my message is clear / It's curtains for you Elizabeth my dear". It ends with a silenced pistol shot.
Oh, and things are just about to get better...
Then comes the Paris students riots inspired, 'Bye bye badman' and the dark anti violence 'Made of stone', which is another fantastic addition. There were even audacious enough to add a song 'Don't stop', which is in fact the latter played backwards! The album finishes with 2 more beauties, 'This is the one' and the anthemic 'I am the resurrection', the first a powerful rock tune with fantastic guitar work (as usual) and the second presumably about coming out triumphant after facing rejection in love. Genius generally is accompanied by arrogance and 'Resurrection' is ample evidence of that...
I could go on and on about this album. If you don't have it and are a lover of guitar music, well...just die. But a better option would be to go out, buy it and give it a listen. Your world will be a better place to live in. Seriously...

Album: The Stone Roses
Band: The Stone Roses
Year: 1989
Label: Jive
Track listing:
1. I Wanna Be Adored
2. She Bangs The Drums
3. Elephant Stone
4. Waterfall
5. Don't Stop
6. Bye Bye Badman
7. Elizabeth My Dear
8. (Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister
9. Made Of Stone
10. Shoot You Down
11. This Is The One
12. I Am The Resurrection

"So here it is. Yes! Yes! Yes! The best rock album since Revolver? Definitely. Maybe. You don't have to believe that. Just play it from time to time. It gets better and better. Rave on!" -

"Make love to this album, get stoned to this album, start an uprising to this album, change the world to this album. For this album has changed many people's world and a world without it would be a place with slightly less magic." - Matt Pomry, Pop Matters.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Eagerly awaiting...

One a continuing saga of a comic book hero and the other a Shakespearean tragedy. Brendon Routh, beware, all actors who have played Superman before have had tragedy afflict them. Vishal Bhardwaj is set to be our generation's Gulzar. Kudos, sir.
Ironic, that I'm looking forward to 2 adaptations after railing against lack of originality...go figure.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Learning to enjoy the lack of originality...

The last few years in Indian cinema have churned out some really good films and also loads of average and generally worthless ones. While the technical ability of our film makers has improved in leaps and bounds, the lack of original ideas remains a constant bane. Can't these guys come up with one story which I haven't already seen in another movie a few years ago? The other day I happened to watch the Akshay-Katrina starrer 'Humko Deewana Kar Gaye' and the very first scene with the credits was a shameless rip off from the opening sequence from Richard Curtis's 'Love Actually'. The film itself was a bad rip off of 'Notting Hill', with some scenes lifted frame to frame. Then there was Sarkar, Ek Ajnabee, Quayamat, Zinda, Main Asia Hi Hoon and almost every Bhatt film. The list is in fact endless. While some very good work in being done, the writers are taking a back seat. The creative process is pitifully shoddy. I guess living in the jet age does not leave film makers with enough time to think up an interesting and original story. Why try something so weird, when you can walk into a Music World and pick up a random English or International film and turn into a Bollywood extravaganza with sprinklings of romance, melodrama and song and dance. The trend is also moving towards remaking Hindi films of yore. RGV struggles with 'Sholay'. Farhan Akhtar is almost done shooting 'Don', Feroz Khan announces 'Kurbani' with Fardeen playing his role in the original. Not acceptable either, I'm sorry.
The trend doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon, so I thought I might as well list down some of the better 'inspirations' in Indian Cinema.

1. Chori Chori (It happened One Night) - One of the better inspirations, the remake of the Clark Gable film had Raj Kapoor and Nargis in lead roles and some great music from Shankar Jaikishan. The film also spawned a modern version in 'Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin' which wasn't too bad either.

2. Sarkar (The Godfather) - This RGV is certainly one of his better efforts. He credits this film as a remake of Godfather and gives it an Indian twist, keeping most of the major events in tact.
The potent duo of Bachchan Senior and Junior works really well. The background score of the film is lifted and well Indianised with the 'Govinda' chants. He also used camera angles really well and RGV's use of silence is superb. An enjoyable remake. Lets see how RGV does with Bachchan's Humbert Humbert and his take on Nabokov's 'Lolita' (Nishabd).

3. Ganashatru(Enemy of the People) - One of Ray's films which was a remake of Ibsen's classic play. Its message, about the perils of greed, religious fanaticism, and environmental pollution, may be topical, but the film was too static to have total impact. Still, there were enough flashes of Ray's brilliance to make it worthwhile. The film had Soumitra Chatterjee (who else) playing a doctor convinced of the poisoning of a lake, water from which is used in the temples as 'prasad' and his 'against all odds' efforts to create awareness about this pollution.

4. Sholay (7 Samurai/The Magnificent 7) - What can I possibly add about this one?

5. Nayakan (Godfather) - Though not a frame for frame copy, it was based, by Kamal's own admission on The Godfather(the fixation never ends). Brilliant performances, brilliant film. Kamal also co wrote 'Sati Leelavathy', a copy of the Meryll Streep hit 'She Devil'. Also, an enjoyable fim.

6. Karz (The Reincarnation of Peter Proud) - The film was enjoyable, though much of the story was lifted from the 1975 horror/thriller original and LP's music also borrowed heavily from the west ('Om Shanti Om' was a blatant lift and so was the guitar riff from 'Ek hasina thi'. Ghai never admitted the similarity till recently and always claimed never to have even seen the original (which is a blatant lie, if you've seen both films). The film was grand though, and perhaps benefited from the fact the original was rather small budget and raw.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

India in a restaurant

Having dinner in an Indian restaurant in Singapore can be a very familiar experience. I don't mean it in from the culinary point of view. Purely from the people that frequent the place. Of course I'm also not talking about the upmarket, snooty sorts of places frequented by expat communities and foreigners trying to get a taste of India (the 'Oh you have to try the Chicken Tikka Masala at Rang Mahal' types). I was in a mid sized place in Serangoon the other day, and the experience for an occasional social voyeur like myself, was interesting to say the least. On the table next to me was an Indian girl who was introducing her Caucasian boyfriend to her parents for what I believed to be the first time. I expected muted and skeptic conversation. But what ensued was a friendly and amiable chat. Quite symbolic of the new emerging trend of disappearing borders amongst countries and communities. The Indian of today is far more at ease with the global phenomenon than he was even a decade ago. There is no awkwardness, no 'sahib' mentality. It is slowly developing into a meeting of equals. Pleasant and refreshing. LN Mittal can embrace steel plants and factories the world over, but the joy of watching this little meeting in a non descript eatery had its own significance and potrayed an encouraging and indicative reality.
A nearby table hosted a family of animated Bengalis, complete with pesky kids and over protective mothers. One of the ladies obviously thought that her 9-10 year old was completely incapable of eating on his own and hence laboriously continued to shove dollops of rice and daal down his throat. The kid was on a trip of his own and was more interested in exploring every corner of the premises, much to the annoyance of the other members of his family. 'Tubai! doude barash ni! Chup kore bosh! Uff eyi chele ke niye aar parlam na!' ('Tubai, don't run around and sit down quietly! Uff what shall I do with this kid!'). How many times have we as kids heard this? Brought back so many memories. Bengali boys, as children tend to be tremendously sheltered. Visions of Bula aunty (my neighbor a long while ago) feeding a visibly embarrassed Montuda at school during exams came flooding back. The poor fellow was instructed to cram his algebraic equations for his class 7 term exams and not waste time on eating! Mothers complain sporadically, but dutifully discharge their motherly chores, to the point of excessive pampering. How can one deny little Tubai? He will grow up to become an engineer or a doctor someday, the pride of the Bhowmick brigade. Nothing much seems to have changed since our time...
Then there was the Tamil group a few tables away. They stuck to curd and rice...staple diet down south. C'mon guys, there was a whole menu to chose from! But I guess home food is home food and it was quite possible that they had chanced upon this place after a while and wanted to get a good meal in. Politics was on their minds, perhaps thanks to the just concluded elections in TN. One gentleman was mighty dislpeased with the outcome and claimed that the state would not be the same without 'Amma'. He was pleased, however, that he would receive a free TV from the ruling party and hoped that cable would also come at no cost. They also proceeded to draw up how they could see the whole of Singapore and its sights in the next day and a half! A little time saved from taking this bus route, a little time saved from cabing it from point x to point y. Sometimes I feel, we Indians return from vacations far more exhausted than we were before we take them. The kind of schedules we put ourselves through! Perhaps its an economic thing. Westerners always seem more relaxed and appear to have more time on their hands...
A Punjabi couple occupied the table to our right. They were honeymooning in Singapore, (glow, bloody...glow!) I gathered. The guy in his smart turban and majestic whiskers and the a tank top and a miniskirt...I had no problems with the attire per say...hey its your honeymoon, enjoy it, but please get rid of the elaborate mehendi, the nose ring, the long earrings and the 800 red bangles on both hands! I know its the age of mix and match and fashion fusion and all but this looks plain ridiculous! They discussed their travel plans over the weekend and then diverted their attention to a fancy handy cam the guy had just purchased, along with his equally fancy I-Pod nano. The prosperity of the Punjab/Haryana belt was amply evident.
Here was India playing itself out in all its stereotypes. I am in no way judging their actions or the motivations behind them, but it was a very interesting evening in all. We all are so different, region from region, yet the union is so strong and the blend so natural. It was like cutting up bits and pieces of a country and re-arranging them somewhere else. The picture still remained the same, familiar and beautiful. And for people such as myself, who do not get to go back that often, this was a pleasurable and unique opportunity. It just took a microcosm of the country to feel the pulse of India, old and new, to gather public opinion, to get an insight into a changing country, and to feel at home.



Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Himesh, you little Devil!

Sample this from the Financial Express,
"Bollywood may have stood up for Aamir Khan, but it doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance when it comes to revoking this “ban”. So Himmesh Reshammiya’s hit number 'Jhalak dikhla ja, ek baar aaja, aaja...' may set feet tapping at discotheques, but in Anand district’s Bhalej village, it seems to have set alarm bells ringing.
Why? Residents claim that the lyrics are an invite to “ghosts” who then possess residents. The person possessed - some put this number at five, others at 20 - run a high temperature and behave in a strange manner. Rationalists and others may dismiss the idea as silly, but the 10,000-odd villagers are so worried that they’ve decided that the song - picturised on serial kisser Emraan Hashmi - won’t be heard in the village. What’s more? They’re seeking divine intervention: approaching the maulvis as well as planning visits to neighbouring temple town Dakor. Majid Malek, father-in-law of sarpanch Saira Malek, speaks about the problem “plaguing the village since last fortnight”. “Since the last 15 days, we’ve noticed this problem. There have been about 20 such cases since then,” says Malek. Mushtaq Thakore says there have been around five such cases, including that of a newly wedded girl Sartajbanu.
“The lyrics are such that they draw the attention of the ghosts, after which the person starts screaming and also runs a high temperature. The only way out is to seek divine help. Muslims go to maulvis, Hindus to their godmen,” Mushtaq says. Incidentally, the ghosts also have a particular spot where they choose their “victim”. The graveyard adjoining the lake.
After realising that the song could be the “root cause” of the “possession problem”, the village has decided to clamp down on it. The song may be a hit with wedding parties, but not in Bhalej. Allarakha, a musician with Rahi Music Band, says, “We get many requests to play different numbers, but we are asked by villagers to avoid this number.”

I never liked the song anyway, now I'm certainly not going to play it. It even gets the ghosts annoyed enough to leave their happy abodes and possess hapless humans! Himesh, perhaps you shouldn't have sung this one.


Sunday, May 28, 2006


Huge expectations are associated with any Aamir Khan film. Even more so if it happens to be Kajol's comeback vehicle. And perhaps even more so if it happens to be under the Yash Raj banner. But expectations of course don't guarantee a good cinematic experience, just a few 'house full' posters on friday, saturday and sunday, after which the product must fend for itself on the basis of its own merits.
'Fanaa' is strictly ok, perhaps even decent, but a step down for Aamir. I felt Mangal Pandey (minus the average second half and the barrage of songs) and 'Rang De Basanti' were better films. The film centres around the love story of Rehan, seemingly a brash and flirtatious tour guide and Zooni, a blind Kashmiri, who is only starting to live life on her own terms. Rehan and Zooni fall in love almost immediately and Rehan shows her the side of life that she has been missing for so long. Her experiences are new and invigorating. She immediately decides that he is the man for him. Deciding to marry her, he also arranges to restore her eyesight. Here is where the story takes a turn and leads us into the dark murky world that Rehan actually comes from from. He is a terrorist fighting for the independence of Kashmir. There is a bomb blast in which Zooni believes that Rehan has perished and lives out seven years in the belief that that the only man she's loved and never seen, is dead. Cut to seven years later where Rehan is on yet another mission for his terror outfit. He is wounded and seeks asylum in during a fierce storm in a small village and as fate would have it, lo and behold, Zooni opens the door along with a small boy, who is of course her child that she had with Rehan many moons ago.
Here's where the film gets interesting. The film now starts focusing on Rehan's realization that this is the life he wants, and not the life of a foot soldier for a organisation such as his. Zooni, discovering this guest's true identity (first that he is her Rehan, and second that he is in fact a terrorist) of course has to deal with the dilemma of turning him in versus making up for seven years of lost time and finally settling down with her one true love and the father of her child. How these parallel themes progress and pan out is the focus of the climax of the film.
The first half of the film is run of mill. Boy meets girl, girl can't see boy, boy is charming and gives girl a tour of Delhi. Love blooms. The first half is pure formula, complete with a multitude of songs and funny sidekicks. Quite disappointing actually. The second half is marked improved and the novelty of the plot and the decent treatment come to the fore. However here as well, things could have moved faster, but the director, Kunal Kohli takes his own time to let things unravel. Performances are good. Aamir is patchy in the first half and in form in the second. And it is such a pleasure watching Kajol after all these years. The lady can still dazzle the screen with her smile! The chemistry between Aamir and Kajol is good but Kajol-Shahrukh or Aamir-Juhi were better together. Supporting crew is decent though. Rishi Kapoor, Kirron Kher and Tabu are competent, though the choice of Tabu for the role of the Anti Terrorist Squad officer is quite puzzling. She mouths rhetoric and cliched dialogues. Wasted completely. Music is strictly average. What was expected to be Jatin-Lalit's swan song in their last film together, turn into an average album with a couple of good songs like 'Chand Sifarish' and 'Mere Haath Mein'. Watch out for Ravi K Chandran's camera work though, brilliant. Of course, filming in Poland helps.



Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The one in which rings get exchanged...

To put it simply, I got engaged. Don't ask me how I feel and other such things, as I don't think its sunk in as yet. Yes, there is the knowledge that now I shall have to refer to the erstwhile 'girlfriend' as 'fiance', 'would be', 'betrothed' and other such funny names...but apart from that not much has changed...yet. I guess long distance relationships can do this to you. I do know though that the ceremony and the formal exchange of rings has brought us a little closer, in the sense that the feeling of belonging has increased (which is funny because I was never one for ceremonies and formal exchange of rings). Its still a little bit of a blur, so watch this space for more clarity. Well, moving on to the minor details of the event. The venue was the venerable Bengal Club on Russell Street. Representatives from both families turned up in their best and brightest. 'Aashirbad' by elders commenced soon after and was accompanied by some 'ullus' (a traditional Bengali wedding yell/yodel). If my Marwari in-laws were alarmed by such a sudden increase in decibel level, they sportingly did not show it. Gifts were received and blessings were sought. The 'aashirbad' by elders gave way to the formal exchange of rings and a photocall which was enjoyed by everyone. The highlight of the evening for me was the way the two families extended goodwill and warmth to each other. One doesn't get to see Maru-Bong weddings everyday, and I must say that they shed their initial trepidation (and at a community level, years of business and cultural hostility, heheh) to support and partake in the festivities as best they could. It might as well have been a same community affair... A heartfelt thank you to all of you. Dinner was served after which much mingling ensued. The whole thing wound up by 11.30pm. It was a likeable affair in all, I mean what's not to like, good food, lots of gifts and pretty women all around...oh, and just in case I forgot, also the realization that you finally have the woman you love.

The holy man blesses...

The exchange of the rings

A photo - op with good friends 'Shots' and 'Sam'


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Quiz Time Again - Answers

1. The only song the two have sung for films together is the classic duet, 'Ei jo hethai kunjochayae' from the film 'Luko Churi'. Music was by Hemant Kumar.

2. Fairly simple one, Superman's earliest description.

3. Freddie Mercury was the only musician quoted in Kobain's suicide note.

4. - Mithun Chakraborty
- Cary Grant
- Jeetendra
- Whoopi Goldberg

5. All clocks show the time 4.20 pm.

Looks like Sougatada takes this one hands down! Well done.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Quiz time again!

Hello all, its been long since I've put up some questions to test your knowledge of all things artistic. Here is the second set of questions for you. Answers will be up next week!

1. Kishore Kumar and Ruma Devi (his first wife) both came from artistically gifted families. Both had impressive singing careers. However they sang playback together on only one occasion in their entire lives. Name the song and the film.

2. A 1940 radio serial described a character as "faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound". Who were they talking about?

3. Kurt Kobain's suicide note went "I havent felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music along with reading and writing for too many years now. I feel guilty beyond words about these things. For example, when we're backstage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowds begins, it doesn't affect me the way in which it did for ______, who seemed to love, relish in the love and adoration from the crowd, which is something I totally admire and envy." Fill in the blank...who was Kobain talking about?

4. How do we better know te following celebrities
- Gauranga Chakraborty
- Archibald Leach
- Ravi Kapoor
- Caryn Johnson

5. In the Tarantino classic, 'Pulp Fiction', all the watches shown in the film are stuck at one particular time. Let's see if you guys noticed when?

Answers up soon...


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

When numbers conspire...

Number of days left till engagement: 10

Number of cigarettes smoked since yesterday: 10

Number of deliverables at current attachment: 10

Number of dollars left in wallet: 10


Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Nanyang MBA Series - 4 (Placements)

Ok, this is the one about the placements...I have received loads of emails and calls from prospective students querying about the same and hence decided to blog about it for general information for all interested.
Right, yes everyone in the batch is placed, employed, working for money etc. Our batch (total fulltime strength: 65) had representation from around seventeen countries, the largest contingents being from China, India, Germany, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. The rest of the countries were represented by only one or two participants. As far a I know, the Chinese have all gone back to China with lucrative offers. Only one or two are working here in Singapore. This is out of choice. Most Chinese students were never even looking to work in Singapore as the NTU name is apparently big in their neck of the woods and hence they enjoy a real premium once they head back there. A couple of the Germans are working in Singapore while the rest have headed back to Europe. Most other students from the other countries are based here.
Now the 'desi' junta, we numbered 24. All the boys have found suitable employment. 21 of us are here in Singapore, while 3 students have headed back to India to take up their dream jobs.

The companies that the MBA batch of 2004-06 are working for are listed as follows, according to specialization:

Banking and Finance:

1. Standard & Poors, Singapore
2. DBS, Singapore
3. UOB, Singapore
4. HSBC, Singapore
5. Citibank, Japan
6. AurionPro Solutions, Singapore
7. HP Asia-Pac, Singapore
8. Raffles Consulting Pte. Ltd., Singapore
9. PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Singapore
10. Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore
11. ABN AMRO, Singapore
12. Keppel Land, Singapore
13. Morgan Stanley, Singapore


1. Colgate Palmolive, Singapore
2. AC Nielson, Singapore
3. Cushman & Wakefield, Bangalore
4. Unilever, Malaysia
5. WTO, Singapore
6. Roche Pharmaceuticals, Indonesia


1. Frost & Sullivan, Singapore
2. HCL Technologies, Chennai
3. Wipro Technologies, Bangalore


1. Seagate Technologies, Singapore
2. Inductis India Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi
3. Accenture, Singapore
4. Proudfoot Consulting, London

The above list is not exhaustive as I am unaware of the companies that most of the China based students are working in.

Let me add in a word about the internship scenario as well. Everyone in the batch got internships. The companies that hired for internships were HSBC Singapore, PwC Singapore, Singapore Technologies, HCL Singapore, DBS, Frost & Sullivan, AC Nielson Singapore, Carlson Marketing Singapore, HP Asia-Pac Singapore, Cisco Systems Singapore, British Petroleum Singapore, Citibank NA Singapore, Collin Ng & Partners, Accenture Singapore etc.
The average salary for fulltime offers of the batch would be around SGD 60,000 pa. For the internships, average stipends were in the range of SGD 1000-2000 pm.

So there. It was a good year in all for our batch. The junior batch is all set to outdo us with some of them securing full time offers already apart from internships. Way to go guys! Keep the flag flying...

Hope this helps.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

To the hustings...

Election time has arrived again in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Its highly unlikely that the CPM will be replaced in Bengal, mainly due to the new found corporate ratification that Buddha babu has received. In Chennai of course, it could be a close one, though one feels Amma might prevail again. It has been unfortunate that I haven't kept up with the political scenario in Chennai after I left the place long ago and moved to Kolkata...but here's a surprise. An email from a friend in Chennai was a revelation of sorts. The Lok Paritran party in Chennai is contesting the assembly polls. Set up by IIT ians, this is truly a party with a difference. Most of the candidates contesting seem to be well educated and seem to have a proven track record of public service. This is not propaganda for them or anything (when people come to power all the good intentions seem to take a back seat) and when you cast your vote make sure you do your due diligence on the candidates, but atleast now you might be saved from thinking, 'oh who do I vote for, they are all crooks!'. Take a look at the profiles of some of their candidates.

Mylapore - Santhanagopal Vasdev (28), M.A Economics from New York University

Chepauk - P. Elanthirumaran (38), Project Manager/Software Consultant

Thousand Lights - Ishrayel Maheswar (32), MBA, M.Phil

Egmore - Prashant Sharma (48), Marketing Professional

T. Nagar - Arvind Tiruvaiyar (32) - Marketing/Social Worker

Annanagar - Rajamani (56), A senior consulting engineer, worked abroad for 25 years

Saidapet - Hariharan (28), Software Engineer

Park Town - Rabindara Ganesh (61), Social worker

Atleast now the picture is more representative. With the rise of the middle class, it would be nice to have some candidates with whom this huge section of people can identify with. Its also heartening to see the educated, middle class taking the step to join politics and trying their bit to effect change for the better. Regardless of how they perform at the hustings, one has to hand it them for atleast trying.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Time for a BBQ!

After much ado, Aroon, Ashok and Raju's BBQ finally happened last week. Mandarin Gardens (Aroon's place), was the venue for this funfilled evening. Much meat was roasted, lots of alcohol was drunk (too much actually, but whats new), MBA days relived and generally lots of good cheer was spread. I also managed to meet a school mate from Kolkata, who was in our MBA program two years ago. Small world this is... (this week I also managed to get in touch with my school friends from way back in school - St.Xaviers '96 ICSE...apparently there was a yahoo groups thingy I was completely unaware of...there are already 20 odd was great to know all the guys are doing really well for themselves and are going places...apart from one little fellow who's in jail!...but hey it takes all kinds...sorry...back to the BBQ!). As the evening wore on, the conversations got really interesting...I think at one point I was discussing the way people burp and generally distributing pearls of complete nonsense. I beg forgiveness of the poor unsuspecting girl who was actually listening to apologies... The day was good friday and hence Aroon couldn't touch alcohol. Poor chap...but well done takes fight to pull through an evening like that...Apart from an unfortunate incident involving a bladder malfunction and a brief period when I disappeared into the bushes (don't even ask how), it was a very enjoyable evening. Thanks Aroon, Ashok and Raju. In other news, I got my teeth cleaned, so I'm sporting a set of pearly whites...and I'm smiling a lot!

Kamal in the food and beverage area...a fine cuisine
The gang at the BBQ!
My disappearance in the bushes...I can't believe someone actually clicked this!
Kamal, Ruchi and Rishi (recently married) and moi

The gang again!


Friday, April 07, 2006

Songs of a lifetime - 6

The weekends here again and what would be a better time to raise a toast to a constant friend...alcohol! No song says it better than this one by Brad Paisley. One doesn't realise it, but most of us have done some darned crazy things under its influence. Strange as it may sound, some of the funniest, weirdest and most fun moments in life have been thanks to the magic stuff...I'm not advocating drinking here...but its true...hear it straight from the horse's mouth!

I can make anybody pretty
I can make you believe any lie
I can make you pick a fight with somebody twice your size
Well, I've been known to cause a few break-ups
An' I've been known to cause a few births
Well, I can make you new friends, or get you fired from work.

And since the day I left Milwaukee, Lynchburg an' Bordeaux, France
Been making the bars lots of big money
An' helpin' white people dance
I got you in trouble in High School
But College, now that was a ball
You had some of the best times you'll never remember with me
Alcohol, Alcohol.

I got blamed at your wedding reception
For your best man's embarrassing speech
And also for those naked pictures of you at the beach
I've influenced Kings and world leaders
I helped Hemingway write like he did
And I'll bet you a drink or two, that I can make you put that lampshade on your head.

Cause since the day I left Milwaukee,Lynchburg and Bordeaux, France
I been making a fool out of folks just like you
An' helping white people dance
I am medicine and I am poison
I can help you up or make you fall
You had some of the best times you'll never remember with me
Alcohol, Alcohol.