December 25, 2007

Taare zameen par – an experience!

I saw the movie last night. This is not a review per se. In fact, the movie does not need any review. I cannot imagine anybody not liking this movie. A movie about a dyslexic child… under pressure from the materialistic expectations of parents and teachers… suffering from absolute lack of confidence. It is an amazing journey of the little boy – from the naughty kid in his own world to an unknown boarding school world where he cannot find himself. Until of course, Aamir Khan discovers the little boy’s strengths and likings.

As I said earlier, the movie is too good for me to even attempt writing a review.

For me personally, watching the movie was a real experience. For, I could relate to the little boy very intimately. Everything that happened to him has happened to my elder brother – except a ‘savior’ in the form of AK. I could feel the pain of the little boy. I have seen many similar scenes of the movie in my own life years ago. The comparison of the little boy with his elder brother, for instance. My brother was also put through such subjective evaluations relative to me. The difference vis-à-vis movie is that I am the younger brother.

It was really really tough for me to keep my composure and not break down crying as I watched the movie. There were scenes which ripped me apart because it happened to my brother also. My parents too behaved exactly the way the little boy’s parents did – because the fact of the matter is they did not think they were doing anything wrong. I can perceive the emptiness in my brother’s life when I was given the kind of attention (at his cost) for being 'academically good' and 'normal' like other kids. Thankfully, my brother was not sent to boarding though. In fact, it was contemplated seriously at one point in time. Financial problems stalled the plans.

This movie has hit me hard. It has increased my guilt and remorse for not being able to make any difference to my brother’s life. I wish it was as easy for me to go up to him and share my feelings. I wish I can assure him that I am always going to be around for him. I wish I can make a little difference to his life. I wish I would not have been so immature, selfish and stupid all these years.

The brilliant work of Prasoon Joshi can be easily overshadowed by the little boy’s classic performance and AK’s charisma. But I strongly feel the movie will lose a lot of charm and feel if it was not for the lyrics of few songs. Kudos to Prasoon Joshi…

This movie will act as a catalyst in fulfilling my dreams over the next few years. May the tribe of Amole Gupte and AK in this world keep growing…

Sorry chetta for everything…

December 21, 2007

Strength of a Man

The strength of a man isn't in the width of his shoulders,
it is in the width of his arms that encircle you.

The strength of a man isn't in the deep tone of his voice,
it is in the gentle words he whispers.

The strength of a man isn't how many buddies he has,
it is how good a buddy he is with his kids.

The strength of a man isn't in how respected he is at work,
it is in how respected he is at home.

The strength of a man isn't in how hard he hits,
it is in how tender he touches.

The strength of a man isn't how many women he's loved by,
it is in can he be true to one woman.

The strength of a man isn't in the weight he can lift,
it is in the burdens he can understand and overcome.

Read this in one of the forwarded mails I received.. found it a nice little write-up. But, is this description passé? Girls, please throw some light on this.. :)

December 17, 2007

Dull start... an otherwise exciting week… and this, after a really hectic weekend!

Wondering why we miss few people so very much! And, why it is not necessarily reciprocated...

December 13, 2007

Delhi's cool - in all sense!

Back home after 2 days' official trip to Delhi. I love Delhi for many reasons and for some one going from Mumbai, the cleanliness, greenery, broad roads and less crowded spaces cannot miss the eyes. Even if we discount the fact that it is the administrative capital, the progress that Delhi has made over the last few years should put Mumbai think-tank to shame. And if you ever go to Delhi, do not come back without hitching a ride on the new intra-city rail network, Metro. It is simply brilliant. You must see it to believe it...

Crowded airports, flights running into full capacity, Mercedes and Porsche cars even in the most unlikeliest of places in the country, crowded malls, non-availability of rooms in most of the hotels around Connaught Place - all point towards a booming economy. A long way to go obviously...

Some people on this mother earth are just simply fabulous. Wonderful human being, caring mother of 2, loving wife, extra-ordinary performer, smart driver, fun loving attitude - really too good a person. May GOD shower all the happiness on such superb people.

This post might not make any sense to most - but that is precisely how it is supposed to be!

U No Hoo

P.S.: The next person who asks me about when I am getting married is going to see a different Harish! :)

December 10, 2007

Back with a bang!

Yes, the title is about me - back with a bang after about 4 months. Why this break? Well, what else do you expect from a lazy dumbo like me! :)

As the year is closing in towards the end, lots of random thoughts eating me up. Hate to say this, but a good number of my 2007 resolutions have to be carried forward to the next year. Hopefully, 2008 would be a much better year. Oh God, that same, old HOPE thingie remains...

To be fair, 2007 has been decent for me personally and professionally. ING has treated me well and am happy to be here, though a tad dissatisfied for not having done better. As they say, there is always a scope for improvement! But then, there should always be something to look for tomorrow and on that front, I've lots to look forward to.

The most frequently asked question to me this year has been 'So, when are you getting married?'! Gosh, that thought scares me. Not at all gung-ho about getting married... Before you start presuming that something's wrong in me ;) , lemme clarify that's not the case. :) There are more than one reasons why I believe I will be happier remaining single than married. More so, for the eventual girl if and when I get married. Few of my good friends got married this year. And by traditional parameters of the right age for getting married, they say I am more than eligible! Want to run away to Mars...

So will 2008 be more eventful than 2007? Will US head into a recession eventually? Or may be stagflation will show its ugly face? Will Abhi-Ash remain happily married? With a baby?? Will Sachin Tendulkar retire on a high? Will he have to be shown the door?? Will Sensex touch 25k? 30k?? 50k??? Will I get married? Happily?? I have no answers to any of these questions...but one thing's for sure - I will turn a year older and complete the silver jubilee of my life. Should I be happy or sad? :)

Lots of traveling over the next few days. Off to Delhi tomorrow and then to Hyderabad next week.

Sometime soon, the most precious thing in this world would be SILENCE.. sheer tranquility.

Take care and keep smiling :)
U No Hoo

August 27, 2007

Lead India!

The Times of India has launched the "Lead India" campaign. It is one of the best initiatives that has come from a media house as far as I remember. The programme gives the selected candidates an opportunity to join politics without dirtying their hands, something that is perceived as the biggeest roadblock towards choosing politics as a career option by youth. The details of the campaign can be found at

For all of us, I hope this campaign gives a genuine opportunity to stop criticizing the system and stand up for the broader well-being of the society.

Among many pre-conditions, one is that the minimum age for this programme is 25 years (in line with the parliamentary rules, I guess). For the time being, hence, I use this as an excuse to continue being very very selfish...

August 25, 2007

From Bombay to Mumbai to ... ?

It was a normal travel routine for me. Boarded a fast Kasara local from Byculla station last evening. The train was more crowded than normal and I could just find myself enough space to accomodate my bulky body in a very congested fashion. Of course, the thoughts were to try and avoid the brunt of over-enthusiastic crowd that would get in from Dadar.

Before I could do much to get into a 'safer place', the crowd was all around me and I was trying to maintain my balance with atleast 3 people leaning on me from different sides, as the case with everyone inside that 'hell'. It is very easy for any body to lose one's cool when he is so very uncomfortable due to heavy crowd and resultant heat and suffocation. And then, at that very moment something happened - something that I personally witnessed for the first time in my life here in Mumbai.

An argument started between two guys, both stuck in some awkward position in the crowd and apparently one of them was pushing the other. A heated argument followed and voices were raised. The family members were referred to in the choicest of filthy words by both as is usual in such arguments. One of the two was shouting in Marathi. At one point, the other person tried to play smart. He 'complained' that he does not understand Marathi and sarcastically asked the other guy to talk in Hindi. That was it... The first guy got really very furious, as could me made out from his voice decibels. He kept talking in Marathi and blasted the other guy for not knowing Marathi in Maharashrta! He said you are an outsider and are sitting on our heads in Mumbai. We let you come in and that is the biggest mistake we did. And now you are polluting this place in a very significant manner! All this in Marathi... I was stunned a moment later when his 'speech' was responded by cheers and claps in the bogie!! The other guy was obviously tongue-tied.

I have never seen such a 'aamchi-Mumbai' incident ever in Mumbai. Of course such things do happen and the famous campaign by Shiv Sena is an example. But a real-life incident like this struck me. Though it is just a small incident but it is true that
such frictions based on insiders/outsiders are very much prevalent. I wonder whether these small incidents would result into some fracas soon in our daily lives. Hopefully not...

It is true that Mumbai has ceased to be Maharashtrians' land but it is incorrect to claim it that way at the first place, I feel. Ok, it is a part of Maharashtra but now it has evolved as the financial capital of the country and thence the influx of 'outsiders' is a natural progression. But unfortunately, when in a situation of rage, logics take a backseat and emotions rule the show.

All said and done, these sentiments and emotions, as reflected in this incident, is here to stay.

August 21, 2007

From bad to worse

The more I remain patient with the downs of life, it is getting worse. I do not know for how long this lull would continue or what will trigger a revival, but I remain hopeful...and foolishly perhaps. I am forced to re-produce the headline of my blogpage:

All my life, I wanted to be somebody! Now I see I should have been more specific

I am searching for myself these days...

June 21, 2007

CA = Complete Aaram?

I was privy to an interesting conversation between two gentlemen in the train today. They were discussing about Chartered Accountants (CAs).

I did not bother to catch up with their conversation till the time I realized that they were discussing about me and my professional colleagues. Hence, I missed the context in which this conversation came up. Nevertheless, it still remains interesting. One of the two people was a global gyaani – a genre of people you would always find in Mumbai who believe they are on top of everything that happens in this mother earth… or perhaps in Mars, Venus and Saturn too. He opined that CAs are too many - too much these days. Or to put it in his own words, aaj kal CA kachre ke jaise mil jaate hai. Aisa hi chalta raha to paanch saalon mein yeh log raste mein bhatak rahe honge!

No, if you are thinking that I would have pounced on him and beaten him blue and black, you are completely wrong. I am not such a person at all. I am kind at heart and ever forgiving even in such situations. I am not an egoist to feel offended about these remarks. Considering all this, it is almost irrelevant that the global gyaani had an enviable giant frame - bulky and not shorter than 6’2. :)

Coming back to their conversation, it had not ended. The not-so-global gyaani was visibly surprised. He had thought, like me, that clearing CA is not that easy and so how could the number increase in such proportion. To this the global gyaani had an instant answer. He explained that the passing rates of the examinations have increased and aaj kal koi bhi CA ban sakta hai. He added, more importantly these CAs have no knowledge at all. They just have to sit in an air conditioned office and could earn Rs.1 lac per month for doing nothing! I wanted to intervene and ask the address of this office to apply for a job. ;)

On a serious note, there was some truth in what the global gyaani was saying. It is a fact that the passing rates of CA examinations have improved significantly. And I do not think that is because of improvement in the quality of candidates. I have been teaching CA students for about three years now and I can say this from my experience that the quality is visibly deteriorating. Perhaps it is unfair to pass such remarks on the batches that succeeded mine. But I would be lying if I say that I have not experienced deterioration in quality.

The proportion of quality students in a batch that I teach has more or less remained constant over the years. But the number of students who pass out has increased, and within them the quality is mixed. And this is not necessarily because these students are not good, but purely because the yardstick has been lowered. Presumably, this has been done to cater to the increasing demand for CAs. Whether this is the right approach or not is an entirely different realm for debating.

Whilst it is incorrect that all CAs go on to earn Rs.1 lac per month for doing nothing, people who have passed out in the last 5 years (and includes me) has never had it better in terms of the career opportunities. The pay scales have also improved significantly. Simple economics would suggest that a sharp fall in the pay packages of CAs should precede a scenario that our global gyaani envisaged – that CAs would have no work at all.

June 20, 2007

What if you knew you were gonna die today!

An extract from the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories. (I'm sharing just the third story here. The entire text is readily available in the web. Just google for the same if you are interested in reading the entire speech)

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.


Personally, I could not have read this piece at a more apt time in my life.

June 19, 2007

Unsung superhero...

My driver’s eldest son is eight years old. That sentence doesn’t tell the full story. It is true that he is eight years old and that he is the eldest of the three children in the house but he is not quite my driver’s son.

During the floods that raged last year, one of the casualties was 36-year-old Zaigham Ali, an autorickshaw driver. Ali hailed from the same village as my driver. Mishra certainly had done a lot better for himself than Ali. Mishra had a house - it was a shanty, but in Mumbai it was worth a palace.

Mishra worked as a driver, and his wife contributed a small income as a seamstress. Together, they could be described as one of the unseen upwardly mobile couples of Mumbai - their life was circumscribed by the slum, but their lot was far better than that of their kin in the village.

Ali lived as Mishra’s paying guest. Ali’s son lived with him, his wife had passed away a long time ago, and there was nobody in the village to look after him. Life seemed satisfactory enough. The slum was small and space scarce, but life didn’t seem so bad; the children played and fought on the street alongside, and went to the municipal school close by, where they failed most of their examinations together.

Then the rains came and the waters rose and wouldn’t stop rising. Ali didn’t return the next day or the next; so Mishra went looking for him in the hospitals - he didn’t find Ali, he found his body instead; nobody seemed to know how he had died.

He was buried in the Muslim cemetery, and then a group of elders (a system that could only be described as a slum panchayat) met to decide what would happen to the boy. Mishra told them not to worry about that.

Sometimes, a hero doesn’t always wear a cape. He doesn’t always save the world from intruders who come from outer space. Sometimes a superhero is a quiet, self-effacing, down-to-earth man, who works as a driver, lives in a slum and raises the child of his friend as his own.

- Published in The Times of India

June 7, 2007

SIP in life!

In the world of investments, there is this very popular concept known as the Systematic Investment Plan (SIP). The basic idea behind SIP is that over a long period of time, investments made in the equity markets on a periodic, systematic basis helps in smoothening the impact of excess volatility that equity markets are bound to witness in the short run. In other words, SIP encourages building an investment portfolio by investing small amounts over a long period, rather than waiting to invest in lump sum amount on an irregular basis. (Apologies to my friends from non-finance backgrounds for making this sound like rocket science)

Can’t this concept of SIP be applied to life? Here’s how I think we can:

Over the lifetime of an average person, there are only a few potential momentous/devastating events or experiences. Death of a parent, winning a lottery of few millions, getting married, meeting with an accident, etc are some of the instances you could include under this. Now, what events hold what degree of relevance in one’s life is obviously subjective. Also, some of these events/experiences are certain and many are uncertain. I am referring to the certain ones here. For instance, death of a loved one - a parent. This is the most devastating one I can think of.

One may call me a sadist for visualizing such unpleasant things. But this is where the SIP comes into picture. What if we were to experience such an unpleasant event in installments! What if I imagine a life without my father around me! Obviously, I would be really upset thinking about it now. If I do this for 100 times over the next many years, would the situation be easier to handle when the event actually happens? Would the loss be more bearable since I’ve already ‘experienced’ that many times before?

The same logic (if I may use this word) could be applied in case of extremely happy events also. If the theory that all great things are created twice, one in mind and then in real, the excitement on witnessing these great events could also be ‘smoothened’. The reality is no one would want to be happy in only a controlled manner on blissful moments of life, everyone would want to exult.

A case in point is the character of Howard Roark in Ayn Rand’s ‘The Fountain Head’. If that character seems too fictional to be in existence in this world, think of ace tennis player Roger Federer. I have not seen Federer displaying extreme reactions in either emphatic victories or crushing defeats. Is he a live example of the SIP theory? In a sense that his mind so strong that any event does not trigger too much of a reaction from him.

The flip side to this SIP theory is that there would be nothing that would ‘turn us on’ then.

Does all this sound like a piece of crap! Hope no one calls me up and advises me to see a psychiatrist :)

June 6, 2007


I went on a very short trip to Ahmedabad, a vibrant city in the western state of Gujarat, over the weekend. That also explains the small break in my blog postings, not that it matters in any way whatsoever.

The trip was really satisfying for reasons more than one. For one, it provided a much needed break (and relief) from the daily routine life of Mumbai. Had a jolly good time there at my cousin sis' place. The trip was too short not to start getting bored, but long enough to get back the energy and mood. Returning home, however, was still a little painful!

Apart from some memorable moments, the trip has left back few features of the city. Well maintained and cleaner roads than Mumbai, sparkling new developing pockets of real estate (at very affordable rates relative to Mumbai - though the two cities are not comparable), insane traffic sense, absence of traffic controls.. all these come to my mind instantly. But the best part of the city, from whatever I have managed to see, is the IIM. Lovely place.. love the main building and the adjoining convocation lawn.

Without taking the efforts to explain the context (and deliberately so), seems that my visits to the city will increase in the coming years.

May 29, 2007

Way to go

An extract from an op-ed article in DNA published on May 24:

The French are the worst tourists in Europe, says a recent survey released by European hotels. Before we declaim loudly about famous Parisian rudeness, the balloon must be deflated — Indians are the second-worst. We are followed by China, marginally better behaved than us.

Indians are disliked because they are loud, untidy and poorly behaved. Lessons need to be taken from the Japanese who are the best tourists. They are polite and tidy. The Americans come second for being very courteous and the Swiss third for being, well, Swiss — quiet and considerate. The British are the fifth worst in the world because they are the rudest.

Incidentally, this is the second instance of this kind of ‘Indian trait’ I've heard/read in the last month. Few weeks back, one of my friends who has come on his vacation from UK happened to share with me a similar example. The university he studies there in UK offers a free overdraft facility to its students in association with a local bank. The overdraft (short term loan) can go up to GBP 2,000. The facility has been extended to smoothen the cash flows of the students who typically work as trainees there to fund their education related expenses. Apparently, this facility had to be withdrawn after reported cases of Asians (mainly Indians) utilizing the entire GBP 2,000 overdraft and flee back home. At today’s exchange rate, the booty is approx. Rs.160,000/-.

Though the two incidents are entirely different, there is a common link that reflects on the underlying psyche.

Obviously, it is really disheartening to know these things. Indeed, one may chosse to ignore such ‘irrelevant’ and ‘baseless’ surveys and information. But as they say, there is no smoke without fire!

Apologies for the anti-national skew in the post.

Cheeni Kum

I got to see Cheeni Kum yesterday. Went into the multiplex with buoyant expectations, for the movie has three of the finest actors in the film fraternity today – Big B, Tabu and Paresh Rawal. Also, the movie is directed by Balki (R. Balakrishnan), the advertising guru. I happened to see Balki for the first time on television as a guest in Barkha Dutt’s ‘We the people’ few years back. I was floored by his persona. He, along with, Prasoon Joshi and Piyush Pandey have to be few of the most creative and multi-talented people in the country – Prasoon Joshi for sure.

Back to the movie. The core underlying theme of the movie, of that of a relationship between a 64-year young man and 34-year old woman, was handled well. The movie is subtle and the dialogues are really classy. Loved many of them. The first half of the movie was excellent where love blossoms between the two. However, I thought the film lost a bit of its focus in second half. The movie dragged into some bit of melodramatic stuff and lost its finesse.

There is no real take-away theme in the movie, except perhaps that aging has nothing to do with the number of years of living. I guess it is made for a pure entertainment value for the 2hrs 15mins it spans out for. The climax scene per se, where AB comes to know about the baby’s death and becomes desperate and guilty that he did not pray for her, was good but was not converted to a classic by AB. There was something missing in the scene as far as the enactment was concerned.

Frankly, the movie fell short of my expectations. Could not go home with a good ‘after-taste’ of the movie. I felt there were voids at many places in the movie. I cannot point out instances where I felt so, but there was a sense of incompleteness somewhere.

In terms of performances, Big B is brilliant, as usual. But I have to say that Tabu is exemplary. To my mind, she has over-shadowed Big B in this movie, and by a distance perhaps. Paresh Rawal (as Tabu’s father) and Zohra Sehgal (as AB’s mother) were excellent too.

The character of Sexy (the baby) is portrayed brilliantly by Swini Khara. She is terrific and supremely confident as an actor. This movie would have lost a lot of charm without her. She was really too good…

The movie is worth watching for the superb performances, if not for anything else.

By the way, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that there was no kissing scene between AB and Tabu – a serious deviation from the trend these days.

Worth a thought

I read this saying somewhere:

Being a good person is like being a goal keeper - no matter how many goals you save, people would still remember only the ones you missed.

Isn't this true?

May 22, 2007

What's the BIG picture?

We come to this world as 'some one', become 'somebody's son/daughter', 'somebody's sibling', later 'somebody's spouse', 'somebody's parent'. Then we die. Full stop.

Don't get me wrong. The reason why I have specified 'somebody' in the above sentence is because from a broader perspective, that is what everyone around us are. Small parts of a bigger picture, aren't they? We do not necessarily choose a lot of people who get associated with us. Yet we believe they are important and spend almost our entire life for their happiness and well-being. We create a clear and distinct 'universe' of 'somebodies' whom we think are worth our time and energy. Rest of the world becomes irrelevant or fall within the 'I do not care' zone. Simply because they have not been 'incorporated' to our universe. For instance, I may meet 'somebody' in the train whom I do not know. We see each other quite some times but don't really take efforts to know each other. I don't get up to offer him a seat when I see him. We just 'see' each other. However, if I later get married to that 'somebody's' daughter, this person suddenly becomes very important for me! Offering a seat when I meet him is the least I could do, isn't it? As I said earlier, we do not necessairly cherry-pick few 'somebodies' into our universe.

If we take a third-party view of our own lives, the observations are so interesting. I do a lot of things in my life for few 'somebodies' who are a part of my universe. Some of them leave our universe, many die. On one of the coming days, my parents will die. They will just leave me, never to be seen again. Years of association just ends one day.. we do not have a choice even in that aspect! I don't know how to put my feelings in words. One day, all the 'somebodies' leave us forever, people whom we loved so much, people who cared for us, loved us, who were with us for years together.

We are still expected to continue living for the rest of the 'somebodies' in our lives. The process continues till eventually we die. That's about it?

Don't you think there is something missing in this scheme of things? I feel so, and strongly. Are we supposed to be living just like this? Chasing something without ever knowing what is it that we are chasing? Striving hard to earn money without ever knowing how much money is enough? So many things happen around us and beyond our control. Some affect us, many don't. We eat, sleep, drink, walk, cry, laugh, run.. all without knowing the big picture. Where is it that we are headed? Is it all about money, more money and some more money? And about happiness and welfare of only those 'somebodies' who have come within our universe? And end up dying after doing some things, and not doing many? There has to be something more, something deeper and more meaningful than all this..

How many of us smile at total strangers? If we do, how many of them smile back? Am sure the reaction would be a strange stare, at most. Rarely would someone genuinely smile back at us if we do. I've made a reference to this smiling thing only as a pointer towards the fact that we have become so self-indulgent, so much into our own interests and that of the 'somebodies' in our universe.

At work, we have our deliverables defined clearly by our boss. We have targets and roles to play. We get rated on that basis. Extending the same concept, what is the Key Responsibility Area (KRA) of our lives? What are our 'goals'? Have they been defined for us? Who rates us? And what is the rating process like? Would we ever know all this?

Whenever I start to discuss things like this with 'somebody' in my universe, the typical reply is: "Hey mate, all's well? You seem disturbed!" And the topic ends there. Sadly so.

May 21, 2007

Those were the days!

I met two of my best friends of my school days yesterday. Those little kiddos have grown up so much, so fast. Time flies yaar..

We spent a good couple of hours together and remembered those days gone by. When class teachers were so close and affectionate, where fun meant a free period, stress was homework and examinations, relief was whole 2 months vacation (wow.. really miss this), 'KRA' was to try and be in the rank list.

A good part of our time yesterday was spent inquiring about our 'lost' classmates and their whereabouts. Especially our crushes.. all of them married now :(

One of the two I met yesterday (Renny) was always my team mate for quiz competitions, elocutions, science exhibition projects, dramas, etc. One of the dramas that we did in Standard VII is quite a memorable one.

This one was based on one of our history lessons that showed Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj's greatness! The story went like this... Shivaji sends his chief of army (Sondev) to win a nearby territory belonging to some enemy. The chief of army comes back victorious. He brags about the war and how he managed to win it finally by risking his won life, blah blah.. He proudly tells Shivaji that he has brought a special gift for the king. The 'gift' is the queen of the territory he just won. On hearing this, Shivaji loses his cool and gives a long lecture on the 'izzat' and 'garima' of women, how we should protect them and not look down on them as objects of desire & lust, etc etc etc.. In the scene above, Shivaji is giving a dressing-down to Sondev for this cowardly and shameful act!

I played Sondev (second from left in the pic! - though it was so different from my true self ;) ), Renny played Shivaji (next to me). The girl played the role of the 'gift queen' and the boy on the right is the minister (Moropant).

The best part of this drama was a scene where Sondev (me) had to lift the dupatta of the queen. Now, the original girl who was supposed to act as the queen backed out at the last minute. So, this girl was brought in as a replacement. However, no body realized that poor me would not be able to lift her dupatta over her head b'coz of her height! Finally we managed to enact that in stage through team work - she stooped slightly and I jumped simultaneously! It was hilarious and the drama turned out to be a comedy flick.. :)

Oh man, that was fun.. really miss those days.

'Shivaji' has just completed his Masters from a university in Scotland, 'Moropant' is a qualified engineer and the 'queen' is married with two kids now!

Cheers to all.
Keep smiling!

May 18, 2007

Enough is enough. Why not go the BEST way?

As each day passes, it seems that the pathetic situation in the local trains cannot get worse. Alas, the feeling is short-lived. The crowd simply keeps on increasing and the rate at which the rush increases is simply astounding. It does not matter whether you travel by first class or second class, it is all the same. The situation inside the crowded compartment in peak hours is so terrible that just the thought of traveling in it puts me off. At any given point in time, my body is in contact with at least four other bodies from different sides. The stink after a hard day’s work on the return journey home is just the ‘icing on the cake’!

What makes me feel more disgusting is the fact that our tolerance levels almost edges at the point of indifference. Nobody does absolutely anything to try and improve it, and it includes me. Oh yes, people do talk about how grave the conditions are but the reaction stops just there. I admit that a group of people cannot just change the situation, but collectively I feel we can. Easier said than done though... I will be the happiest person to get up one day and see all the commuters on an ‘indefinite strike’, refusing to travel in such appalling conditions. Imagine what would be the implications. Even if you ignore the loss to the government’s exchequer, absence of such humongous workforce from work will cripple the entire business of the city! Do you think the administration would then be able to sit pat on this issue? More importantly, will the business houses and companies allow the government to stay put?

If I probe more into the entire situation, I find that the core problem is not just limited to the local trains. It runs deeper into the state of our minds. We are a rotten set of selfish people who are completely indifferent to what is happening around us. This pathetic state of mind gets appreciated by being referred to as ‘strong willed people/city’. Bull-shit! The fact that we travel in such conditions does not reflect our strong will. It exposes our lack of courage to stand up and demand better living conditions. We just don’t have the balls to change things around us. Who would want to sacrifice a day’s pay and run for the larger cause of betterment of this city?

We still have the same old four railway tracks on the central side for decades now. I see some work going around for few months now to increase the number of tracks. But I fail to understand how it would solve the problem. Is this being done to moderate the crowd conditions or to just smoothen traffic flows during peak hours? Laying down additional tracks for long-distance trains separately would not address the former issue at all.

Rather than expanding in width, why not expand in length? How about having double-decker trains like the BEST buses! To my mind, raising the height of the overhead wires would be simpler than laying down more tracks. Of course, the ‘widening’ task can continue but the concept of double-decker trains would address the rush factor more cleanly. At least I believe so.

Having said all this, the practical side of me is smiling sympathetically. I should be happy if all these are seen before my son has to use local trains. The thought scares me. May be, it’s time to float my CV for overseas jobs!

May 17, 2007

What a day to start!

Incidentally, May 17 is quite an eventful day. Circa May 17, 2004, three events occured:
a. My CA Final examinations started on that day. Was real fun.. not just that day, but the entire CA voyage. Happy to have come out unscathed :)
b. The NDA government got replaced by the current UPA, something that came as a shocker.. and hence..
c. ..the equity markets tanked, handing over the first relatively big loss to me in the markets. And helped me in understanding the concept of 'beta' much better!

On the third anniversary of that eventful day, I still remain with a single degree (ACA), UPA has survived this term without too much of a scare and equity markets remain hunky-dory as ever!

To my mind, and I take a risk of getting myself verified then, three years down the line things would be completely different on all the three above counts.

Finally, here it comes!

It has been quite some time that I have been contemplating to start my own blog, partially to get into this relatively new bandwagon but largely to use this as a dumping ground for my thoughts. After introspecting about the last few years, I realize that I haven't done much towards my passion - writing. Also, I feel the need to instill some discipline in my life, a need to sit down everyday to do something specific. May be this page triggers a disciplined start of better and bigger things going forward, viz., walking, reading, etc. Hopefully..

I really do not have a specific agenda or list of topics that I want to blog about. My guess is they would be extremely random and volatile. Let's see how it goes.

Am unwinding to RDB's Luka Chuppi as I write this. An awesome song - kudos to Lata Mangeshkar, A. R. Rehman and Prasoon Joshi.