December 31, 2008

Alvida 2008

I started off the year with this beautiful thought that my then boss had passed on to us: Sir Edmund Hillary on failing to conquer Everest twice said.. I will be back. As a mountain, you cannot grow. As a human being, I can!

2008 has been a good year for me. Took a couple of tough decisions, and realized that I need to take more of them if I had to get even close to where I want to be. February, in that sense was a tough month. To move out of ING that month was a difficult thing. I still miss the place and the team. But then, you cannot get everything together, can you? I wanted to chase the satisfaction of working for myself and I am happy I took that decision. Since then, the pace of life has been much more comfortable and manageable, albeit slow. Thankfully, the flow of moolahs has not shown the same trend. And so, I am happy. In fact, what excites me the most in my professional life is that there is so much more left to be done. That in itself is a good motivator.

Personal life has been steady. Still single and still happy! Still at peace. Relationships are a lot like salt, me thinks. You add it to your life on a need basis, like you add salt to add taste. You do not just get into relationship because you ought to do it. If you think this sounds obvious, then look around. A lot of them are in a relationship because they are supposed to be in one. So I have stayed away from relationships. Or to put it differently, nothing came my way and I did not chase any.

As a person, I choose to believe that I have matured. I have made a lot of mistakes this year, like in any other year. Yet, I do not feel quilty. Doing mistakes without feeling the guilt is a good way of learning, I have realized. One does not become wise with age, but with thoughts. I am satisfied that I have been able to give my thoughts a breeding ground. All through the year. This is the least I expect to keep doing for each living year of my life.

Looking back, there has been no extra-ordinarily happy moment or event in the year. Few events this year will go a long way in changing me and my emotions. I am happy that I could move through them in a manner I would have hoped to. Ironically, one of the most exciting and dreadful moments of the year came together!

A lot of my resolutions for the year have been left undone. Thanks to me remaining passive and lazy for a large part of the year. Yet no real regrets. Today is the first day of the rest of my life, and I can still achieve them. And I will.

I have not made any list of resolutions for 2009. There are a lot of ideas in my mind, but cannot term them resolutions. Ideas that are, in most cases, productive. Ideas that are not really associated with my profession. Ideas that basically will leave me a lot more peaceful and content when implemented. Well, that's the key. Execution. And that is going to be my theme for 2009. I will look to execute a whole lot of ideas.

Here's wishing you and your loved ones a very happy 2009. Keep smiling and stay healthy.

December 30, 2008

The signs of today's times

As they say, a picture speaks thousand words. Received these as forwards.. enjoy!

December 26, 2008


Saw this much awaited Aamir Khan movie today. Was left disappointed, to put it in short.

For a change, was disappointed even after having no great expectations. I personally did not think that the movie will work. However, I have been proven wrong going by the box office verdict. Well, even Rab ne bana di jodi is a huge hit. That movie is a piece of crap. Ghajini isn't that bad, yet very incomplete.

The crux of the movie is the character's short term memory loss. Actually, he remembers things only for 15 minutes. Isn't it short term memory retention rather than a short term loss? Anyway, the movie started well. I was happy that the director has worked on the details well. The alarm every 15 minutes, post it notes all around Aamir's house, etc. Yet, he missed the big 'detail'. The two phases of Aamir has been done reasonably well - the pre-memory loss and post it. But surprisingly, the transition between the two is completely missing. After being hit and losing memory, how did he remember the reason why he was the way he was! How did he work out on his body and why? Cannot get that angle and without that the movie falls apart completely, to my mind.

Ineffective climax adds to the disappointment. A group of 20 goons expect Aamir to get to them, yet tries to kill him using sticks and rods. Haven't they heard of guns? Oh yes, Aamir is the hero. He can't be kiled. Sorry, short term memory loss for me too.

With 3 hours alloted for the movie, it could have been much much better conceptually. Guess I was supposed to see the movie without my mind in place. Well, then my mistake.

Completely disappointed. Period.

December 19, 2008

What could this be?

I guess you might have received similar mails. I wonder who would be sending this and why? It cannot be system generated, can it be? I also wonder who could be replying to it and what happens then! If this is some kind of business model, then how does it work? Sounds like a good plot for a movie, but I surely do not want to be the experimenting character. I am pasting the latest of such mails I received, and pasting it verbatim.











This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.

The bait is the 15% money and the lonely 18-year old Miss Rachel!!! Hmmmmm :-)

December 18, 2008

My first ton!

Sachin completed his 41st in Tests few days back, and I complete my first today. My 100th blog post! Yippiee.. applause, applause.

When I started to blog, never thought I would be able to maintain this for so long. Not in terms of posts, but time. More than a year and half of blogging. I have surprised myself with this!

I had titled it 'Musings of a restles mind...'. Restlessness does not indicate stress and discomfort. It indicates thoughts, and lots of them. All at once, erratic, all over the place. I love thinking. Sometimes I think about what to think. I do not think about negativities. I do not think about regrets. Thinking makes a person talk less. And I want to talk less. Very less.

I surely owe it to all of you for this blog to remain active. Thanks to all for reading my random musings and reacting to it. Most posts are intended to please myself, yet it triggers some thoughts inside many. I find that part of blogging exciting.

Here's hoping for few more hundreds of posts over the next few decades! Didn't I tell you I think really big!! No? Ok, now I did.

Keep reading. Keep commenting. Keep thinking. Keep smiling. Keep loving. Keep praying. Keep inspiring. Keep learning. Keep sharing. Keep living.

December 15, 2008


I was a just-born and she was thirty-one,
though we were we, we were one.
I would cry out in Latin and she would respond in Greek,
I would learn nothing but she never got tired to teach.

I was surrounded by monsters eager to pull my cheek,
but they would vanish the moment I was wet and weep.
She would come running and hold me in her arms,
as if I had won the contest of the charms.

Now I was able to walk and chew,
Hey, I was two.
I and she could now understand each other,
I was her everything and she needed no other.

I would try to walk and fall down,
but knowing she was with me, the fear of getting hurt was now gone.
We still could not converse that effectively,
but she would understand my needs so easily.

I could now roam about free,
because now I have turned three.
I was ready to join a new world,
my academic life was now gonna mould.

She would dress me as best as a prince,
but when I would come back, she would need atleast an hour to rinse.
I was now able to talk,
I was a ferry and she was my dock.

I still remember the child, whose shirt I had tore,
Hey buddy, I have turned four.
I now came home a little late,
nevertheless finding her waiting at the gate.
She would hug me and carry me in her arms,
it felt like flying through the farms.
We now did the homework together,
I would spoil the home and she used to work.

Years passed and now I was fifteen,
and with each year I would forget to lean.
I wouldn't care for what she said,
because now I had become mean.
She would ask me to study for a good future,
but I was busy in a different culture.
Now I had many shes in my life,
I dreamed of having one of them as my wife.

I changed a lot which she did not teach,
She would try to hug me but I was out of reach.
She still waited for me at the gate,
but I would look at her with utmost hate.
She would be awake till late in the night,
because I wasn't home, I was in a fight.
She had so much to scold, but she never did say,
hoping to find me better the next day.
Time went on and now I am grown,
lost in the world of my own.

I and she, between us have a river,
I have left her for my career.
When I was young, for me, she sacrificed her ambitions,
but I don't care, I now have my own mission.
I am not with her now, I am in a different city,
she is so old now but I don't even pity.

She needs me now but I am nowhere to find,
in the race for appraisal, I have become blind.
In a few years from now, I will be two,
there will be in my life someone new.
Then I'll forget even to bother,
I am her son and she my Mother.

I do not know the source of this piece..

December 11, 2008


It's the name of the movie I saw most recently. It's also the name of the blunder I last made. Got induced by a good star-cast that includes Naseerudin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Om Puri and Boman Irani, the movie missed out on something that is unfortunately very crucial - the script. A very shabby movie that gives no scope for even the furnitures to do their part of the role well. 2 hours wasted. Incidentally, I saw this movie with a Maharathi himself.. what say Romi. :)

I am not writing this post for reviewing the movie. I seldom give bad reviews for movies. One of the reasons why my movie reviews in this blog have been few and scattered. To be fair, I have seen horrible movies in the past. Can't remember all, but one of the worst I can is Good Boy, Bad Boy. If GBBY is a good movie, Maharathi could deserve at least a Filmfare if not the Oscar.

I am writing this to record something in my blog for years to come. The record of least number of people while watching a movie broke with this. It was 11 when I watched Shaurya (a good movie). I saw this amazing movie with 8 people.

Can we not claim compensation from the makers of a bad movie like we can from the manufacturers of an inferior product?

December 10, 2008

Me thinking...

...of writing a lot of stuff about finance, markets and related gyaan. Want to decide whether to write it on this blogpage itself or to create a new one for these stuff.

What do you think... any suggestions? Replies would be appreciated.

December 6, 2008

Magical words

A rich collector had three items with him: a gold ring, a gold nugget and a gold signet seal. When he was asleep, they argued all the time. The gold ring declared that it was better than the other two because it was made for the finger of a rich bride. The gold nugget said it was better than the other two because miners had risked their lives to find it. The gold signet said it was better than the other two because it had sealed the messages of a king.

They argued day and night, until the ring said, 'Let's ask God. He will decide which of us is the best.' The other two agreed, and so they approached the Almighty. Each made its claim for being superior. God listened carefully, and when they were done, he said 'I can't settle your dispute, I'm sorry'.

The gold signet seal grew angry. 'What do you mean, you can't settle it? You're God.'

'That's the problem', said God. 'I don't see a ring, a nugget and a seal. All I see is gold.'

An excerpt from 'Why is God Laughing?' written by Deepak Chopra.

December 3, 2008

Mumbai roars

Let me put this straight. Today might well be the day that marks the beginning of a new Mumbai. Going by what I witnessed at the Gateway of India today, it is apt to say that Mumbai roared like a tiger, though a wounded one at this point in time. A sea of people came to express their feelings relating to the terroris attacks. The could easily be thousands of people, if not even close to a lakh. Well, I have not seen so much people at one place before this. All with one common view: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE (borrowing from the Steve Austin's punchline).

There were all kind of groups. From people who silently expresses gratitude towards the martyrs and killed innocents to animated groups shouting anti-Pakistan slogans. There were many asking for a war to be declared, few wanting peace to emerge soon. People were pissed off with politicians more than terrorists. If I were a politician representing any part of this country and watching all this on television, I would definitely be one concerned guy. People went around pulling down all political hoardings down the streets. Putting up banners and placards with the choicest of taunts and abuses against terror and politicians, the people of Mumbai came out whole-heartedly to voice their concerns.

I am extremely proud that I was a part of the crowd and stood there holding banners and placards with my friends. This was one of the most magnificent moments of my life. I am truly proud to be a Mumbaikar, an Indian among the many thousands who stood with me asking for answers and solutions.

Where does this lead to? I do not know about others. But me and my friends are again going to be there at the Gateway of India on December 17 and December 26 if nothing concrete is done till then by the government. What we expect is, at least:
1. Bringing to books all those localites who helped the terrorists in their notorious acts.
2. Giving a clear ultimatum to Pakistan to come out clean or go all out to destroy terror camps within the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) if they refuse to co-operate.
3. Clear and transaparent measures to be taken to ramp up security forces across the country as soon as possible.
4. And finally, all politicians kindly shut their mouths and ACT to restore our confidence. We do not want to hear your nonsense. We do not want political catfights on issues relating to our security.

Friends, please be there again on December 17 if you are not convinced of what is being done. We have got the momentum, a great start. Let's keep this going till we reach the end. We cannot leave these politicians by themselves. We have committed a blunder by choosing them to their current posts. Let us erase our mistakes by forcing them to act. They won't otherwise.

Friends, the time to ACT is NOW. Or else we risk yet another 26/11.

December 2, 2008

Tracking 'Silence Quotient'

Ladies and gentlemen, I have formulated a new concept known as the Silence Quotient. Applause Applause..

In one of my earlier posts, I had written that silence is golden and I want to feel it. This was a result of a lot of things going inside me, a result of few introspections, a result of analsying the 'noise' around me. I have not taken any deliberate measures to achieve this, yet wanted to see how I have fared. In some way, trying to measure 'passive performance' on this front. To be sure, I wanted a quantified measure of how much I have spoken over the last one year. How could I do it?

Actually, over the last two months, two of my friends and well-wishers who knows me very well happened to mention that I seem to be in a shell. So that is a qualitative assessment of how things have been. But I wanted to measure it.

I looked into my last 12 months' mobile bills to get some sense of how I am faring. And the results are positive! :) Here's the summary of the analysis:

The orange line shows the minutes I have spoken on outgoing calls and the green line, the number of smses I have sent out. The dip in both the lines must either mean I have become a stingy mobile user or I am ACTUALLY talking and interacting less. Right?

Now, I must confess that I am really happy about the findings. I have indeed lost the zest to just talk about nothing-at-all with people. I avoid conversations which is all about rhetorics and general in nature. I can sense that the noise around is lesser. Please do not misunderstand that I am avoiding people or not taking calls. In fact, the above chart does not reflect anything about incoming calls. But that too has come down. I am indeed enroute external silence, by actually talking less!

There is a lot to be done regarding internal silence now. That will happen too, very soon. My Silence Quotient is definitely on the rise and hopefully will become optimum soon.

I must admit that during trainings/lectures, I obviously talk a lot but that's unavoidable. Other than that what I can avoid, I have been trying to.

And finally, talking less does not mean that you are feeling odd or out of the friends' circle or left out or something. My personal observation has been that the two does not have any great correlation. I have been feeling lighter, mentally. (Wish I could say that about my physical self!)

P.S.: If you are wondering how am I getting the time to do all this, where do you think the time saved on talking is going into? :)

December 1, 2008

December 3

It's yet another Wednesday, but this time the plan is to counter-threaten the elements who have managed to threaten us in the past. I am sure every one has received either a mail or a sms regarding the coming together for the fight against terrorism on December 3, 6pm at the Gateway of India, easily the most distinct iconic symbol of Mumbai. We have had terror attacks in the past and there have been a handful of people who have come together to light few candles in memory of the killed. However, this kind of a large scale movement is probably the first of its kinds and hopefully will be the start of a new era of civilian movement.

I do not know what will be the impact of the movement, I do not know how many people would turn up, I do not know whether we can individually do anything but I would surely be a part of the crowd to voice my dissent against the way things happen in this city, this country.. my city & country.

Mumbai is already back on its feet and things apparently look normal. But I can be sure that it is not, and things are not going to be normal again for a long time. And that is how it should be. Reactions to an extremely abnormal situation cannot be any longer normal. The country surely is looking for faces among the crowd and leaders among the bunch of ministerial jokers who can lead the way for the nation. Few resignations here, some cabinet shuffles there could all be just useless if not followed through properly.

All these things would turn out to be hollow rhetorics without anything backing it. Will we see that set of actions? What will I be doing for that? When? Many questions that each one of us should be asking ourselves.

November 29, 2008

The ordeal's over... almost. What next?

As I write this, the ordeal's almost over. Atleast, the more pressing one that being of the terrorists being killed/caught. More than 60 hours after the start of the attack, apparently things are under control. But beyond the material losses that the attacks have inflicted, it has forced (yet again) to raise a lot of basic questions about the way we are and the we things work. Unfortunately, the price of learning all these lessons is very very costly. Losing top grade officials and innocent civilian lives are just not acceptable. A score of people, with thorough planning and ammunition, has been able to leave a scar behind - not just in the Taj Heritage but also in our souls. Personally, I am still shocked. Not just for what has happened, but more so about what could still happen. What can change? And how? Who is accountable? The politicians? The police? The intelligence? Or we the people?

Five pointers that come to my mind... I would like this to be considered at some level:

1. Let us not please wait for people to die before we realize how important and valuabe they are. The media is all out lauding praises on Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar, Sandip Unnikrishnan and others but it is too late after we have lost them. What was done to ensure we never lose them? Nothing. And if this continues, we might lose another set of such brave officers. Equipments, pay system, non-politicization of police system, ramping up the force both qualititatively and quantitatively - all these must be done. On top priority.

2. Let us keep politicians out of the security system please. I was apalled to see Narendra Modi briefing the press. What was the need? He and other politicians should be sitting in their respective houses unless thay can really add value to the process. Rhetorics and gibberish are not needed. There must be a totally insulated national and state level teams to combat terror and pre-empt such actions. A younger, able team consisting of the best among the army and security forces should be given the task, for they are more capable to handling it.

3. Let us, for GOD sake, take some hard actions to prevent anything from happening again. If we are sure that the anti-terror elements have linkages with our neighbouring country, as has been the case in the past.. then let us talk straight and direct and WARN them to do what is needed to ensure these elements do not arise from that side of the world. And, if they cannot do this job, we should be allowed to clean their insides too. It can well be done, if we keep ideologies and international border rules aside for some time. I am not suggesting an attack or a war, but a mutual operation to clean our and their systems. If they have genuine interest in helping us, they won't refuse. They dare not.

4. Let us not sensationalize the terror acts and the operations being conducted by our security forces. I have been watching various news channels trying to find news bytes and boosting their TRPs by reporting not so relevant and sensational pieces of information. Media must be more responsible. They are a very powerful and important tool to set things right, but they are stuck with more petty issues like TRP. To be fair, the coverage could have been worse than what I have seen.. still, it could have been much more responsible. I strongly believe that a half-hourly update at such times is more effective than round-the-clock coverage that creates unnecessary 'noise' all around.

5. Finally, let us NOT take all this in our stride and 'move on'. Damn the Mumbai spirit, which is nothing but lack of a better choice. Let us press for answers and actions. Let us be more active, more responsible, more demanding from the system and people who are supposed to do a better job of governing us. Let us ensure the lives of the martyrs are not wasted amidst political rubbish and vote agendas.

Signing off.. saluting the brave officers who showed the courage to face the terrorists and made sure we are safe. Many die, few live forever in history.

November 27, 2008

Need peace desperately

Yet another terror attack! This time, more direct.. more severe. I still cannot believe insane terrorists roaming around on the streets firing randomly at people around. Shocking. Some of the footage I am seeing on television are really scary.

This particular terror incident is particularly shocking for me. During the past ones, I have always been at home hearing and seeing things on TV. This time, I was at the domestic airport about 20 minutes after the taxi blast at Vile Parle. I was on my way back from Bangalore. It was chaos all across. People confused amidst rumors of 8 blasts. Police trying to shoo away crowd. I was frantically searching for a call-cab to try and make it to home. I did find a Meru cab for the journey. I cannot forget the scenes on the road for the rest of my life. My cab and luggage was checked by police at three points - Sion, Mulund and Ulhasnagar, during the entire journey. Each time, police asked the cabbie to clear off the road as early as possible. Auto drivers and cabbies would randomly stop us and advice us not to take the road ahead. Rumors of curfew being in place all across Mumbai was arift. My cabbie was particularly afraid for a simple reason. He was a Muslim. His apprehensions were very evident. Lots and lots of police, lot of citizens volunteering to clear traffic and assisting the cops, fairly deserted streets, traffic blocks all remain clear in my mind.

I left the airport at 11.50pm. Reached home at 1.20am. My cabbie got atleast 10 calls all asking about his well-being and asking him to reach home safely. Like hime, a lot of cops and people looking after the panic-struck city at the wee hours of the night. Few policemen killed in the encounters including 3 top officials. As I sit safely at home, I salute the people who guard the city against such horrible acts of terror.

The talk about the spirit of Mumbai will be back. Media will highlight the fact that people are back to work even today. Point is, we do not have a choice. With a city as crowded and populated as Mumbai, imagining that few random people can threaten the security is not very improbable. It is not a very difficult task. Terrorists hijacking police van to shoot at people on streets, checking in to star hotels with ammunition, a handful of irrational people paralysing an entire city... where are we headed? They can strike at will, and the thought is scary enough.

I do not have any solutions to offer, just humble prayers for the families of the killed.

Hoping for a peaceful world...

November 16, 2008

Traveling... and a new start...

Traveling a lot these days.. something that I love. Had gone to Hyderabad. Off to Delhi tomorrow followed by Bengaluru.

I am loving my new professional avatar a lot. Getting a lot of space for myself. What I am doing of it is a totally different matter to blog on though.. I am not stressed, over-worked or busy. I like that part especially.

After many months of working on ideas and thoughts, I am 'doing' something finally this week. The first Mumbai meeting of the Adoption community is happening on Novemeber 22. We will be meeting to discuss the way ahead and I am hoping that a lot of great things will start to roll from there. I sincerely hope so.

On a random note.. top 5 activities I am involved in these days: Teaching/training, sleeping, eating, whiling way time (ya, has become an activity in itself) and thinking. Happily unemployed, I guess! :)

November 13, 2008

Me wondering...

... why am I not blogging these days!

November 3, 2008

Nasty October

Glad that a disastrous October is already behind us. Disastrous on many counts indeed.. one of the more talked about being the equity markets. People all around have lost tons of money ranging from anywhere between 30% to 90% over the last 10 months, with the most crucial blow coming in the last month. Unfortunately, most people I knew were fully invested during the beginning of the year and hence did not have liquidity to buy more at prices that looks like a steal in many cases.

Looking forward to a better November and overall a good year ahead. Good, in relative sense, that is. Add more money on dips and stay invested for atleast 3 years. You will be a very happy investor post that period. Remember, trusting my words are also risky - a disclaimer.

Life, like markets, is very strange. Just when you think it cannot get better, you get a hit to pull you back to 'reality'. Greed and fear that people exhibit in markets are reflected in real life too. We get overly excited when things are good and severely depressed when things are not so good. Both reactions, from a spiritual sense, are unwarranted. One needs to be patient, like in market and stick to what is the original plan. Move towards the target irrespective of the near-term volatility. Planning for 3-5 years makes a lot more sense than few months. That said, trading in futures can be fun if you have deep pockets and the risk appetite. Same way, short phases of joy in life too can be exciting, provided we take short-term jolts in the same spirit.

Life, as with markets, in the long run is an exciting profitable ride. Even if it does not turn out to be, makes a lot of sense thinking it would be. We would not come to know of the difference then.

Happy investing.. Happy living!

October 22, 2008


Past few days have been draining. Surely the next few is going to be as well. Both physically and emotionally. I have learnt some very harsh lessons in a very difficult way. It has taken some toll on me. I hope to put the learnings into actions for the rest of my life. More importantly during the next few years.

Experience, as I have read a lot of times, is a very effective teacher. I have started to feel it myself.

October 15, 2008

Some more wicked ones! ;)

David Bissonette: When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her.

Sacha Guitry: After marriage, husband and wife become two sides of a coin; they just can't face each other, but still they stay together.

Socrates: By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.

Dumas: The great question... which I have not been able to answer... is, "What does a woman want?

Sigmund Freud: I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me.

Anonymous: "Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays."

James Holt McGavran: "I've had bad luck with both my wives. The first one left me, and the second one didn't."

Patrick Murray: Two secrets to keep your marriage brimming
1. Whenever you're wrong, admit it,
2. Whenever you're right, shut up.

Nash: The most effective way to remember your wife's birthday is to forget it once...

Anonymous: You know what I did before I married? Anything I wanted to.

Henny Youngman: My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.

Rodney Dangerfield: A good wife always forgives her husband when she's wrong.

Anonymous: A man inserted an 'ad' in the classifieds: "Wife wanted". Next day he received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing: "You can have mine."

Anonymous: First Guy (proudly): "My wife's an angel!"
Second Guy: "You're lucky, mine's still alive."

October 12, 2008

The 10 Most Annoying Alarm Clocks

I surely need one of these...

#10 - Climbing clock: It hangs above your head and starts climbing while it rings. Don't wake up fast enough, and you won't be able to shut it up without a ladder.

#9 Wake Up Puzzle: You have to build the puzzle to make it stop.

#8 Wake or Curse: You can ask it what the time is and it will answer. But if you don't wake up quickly enough it will curse you.

#7 High Tech: This one has a vibrator, 95 db alarm and police style rotating light that you cannot ignore.

#6 Find The Pin: You need to find the right pin to stop it's ringing. Not going to stay sleepy after this mission.

#5 Chicken and Egg Problem: The egg laying alarm clock. It will only quiet down after you put all the eggs back.

#4 GI Joe: You will wake to the sound of your commander's wake up call. Don't mess with it.

#3 Floating Around: Will float around the room until you'll catch it.

#2 Kaboom: This acoustic grenade will wake the neighborhood with it's ultra loud sound level.

#1 Hide and Seek: The winner is the hide and seek alarm clock. Once it begins to ring it falls down to the floor and finds a random place to hide. Chase it down or else you're doomed.

I got this as a forward mail. Do not know the authenticity, but thought this was very interesting! I really fancy the models #10, 3 and 1!! :)

October 8, 2008

A Wednesday

Warning: If you haven't seen the movie, this post could spoil some fun if & when you see it.

Finally, I managed to see the movie. Again, saw this movie after hearing a lot of rave reviews. To write my review in a single line, if the movie was supposed to be a suspense thriller, then it is a good one. But if it was to be a solution to terrorism, then the movie is very weak. I saw the movie presuming the latter and I guess that is also what the movie is supposed to be. Needless to say, I am disappointed.

This movie is akin to Rang De Basanti (RDB). Both movies evoked good response from the audience. We like to see things that are unrealistic and impractical...the dreamy kinds. Suraj Barjatiya and Karan Johar realized this a lot earlier.

I have been failing consistently in the examinations. I am fed up and impatient now. I cannot study and work hard to clear. So I cheat in the exams to clear. This is the essence of the suggested solution in the movie for terrorism. I wish it was as easy. The movie is pale when it comes to providing any effective solution to what is indeed a pressing issue. Great performances by all involved, good dialogues, well writen script and few suspense twists make a good thriller as I said earlier, but that is the only thing this movie is about.

Why is this movie as unreal as RDB? It tries to show that 'the common man' can, if need be, also plant bombs and demand things to be done. The bombs are placed at a police station and an airspace runway! How realistic!! Terrorists do not and cannot plant bombs at such places. They place it among crowds and mobs. It is far more easier than what 'the common man' has managed to do in the movie. I hate hyperboles and impractical plots in a movie, I am sorry.

Coming to another absurd point. Even if I were to assume 'the common man' can plant bombs the way it has been shown, does he have the conviction and the 'selflessness' to do it? Terrorists are passionate about what they do. They can lay their lives for an issue that is stupid and absurd. They do not worry about families and friends when they go to plant bombs. They definitely fear death much lesser than 'the common man'. 'The common man' has to take care of a lot of things. He is far more 'selfish'. He has to get married, have kids, live a good life. 'The common man' cannot stake everything to do what the film shows. If he does, he is not a common man. The way I have defined 'selflessness' and 'selfish' here is not the common dictionary meaning. It is slightly twisted.

Why was 'the common man' shown to be getting a lot of support and appreciation in the movie? The cop suddenly is not sure of the sketch, the hacker thinks 'the common man' is the best, there is no case against him and the police commissioner walks off after seeing him pretending nothing has happened. Why? Did he not kill 3 people? Did he not play a lot of pranks with the cops? Did he not threaten and force the cops to do a lot of things including killing the 4th terrorist? Why was he not punished for all this? No, I am not talking for the terrorists. The movie talks for the terrorists, not me. And if the film was intended to get us into how terrorists think and act, then the end should also be logical. He cannot be left free.

If we believe that the 'cause' of 'the common man' in the movie to do all what he did was 'genuine' and hence he must be spared, the same 'logic' applies to terrorists. They too believe what they are doing is 'right'. The movie, unfortuntely, gives away the message that the ends justify the means. If that is so, this movie is pro-terrorism and not anti-terrorism. Because they also kill innocent people to be heard, to send a message, to achieve some ends. They do not bother about the means, and that is the reason why terrorism is different from Satyagraha that Mahatma Gandhi practised.

Terorrists were compared to cockroaches in the movie. Cockroaches aren't human and by definition cannot be as complex as the terrorists. Terrorists are a disease. Cockroaches are just a nuisance. You cannot kill a disease very easily unless if you take care of the causes of the disease. Killing makes things worse. If an eye were to be taken for an eye, the world would soon turn blind. I believe in this quote.

Because we cannot think of a solution to tackle this problem effectively does not mean we start to reciprocate the same way they do. Then it would be similar to cheating in the examination.

After having written all this, I must admit that there is a huge criticism that can be levied against me. That I have not lost a loved one in the blasts and hence I am talking like this. True. I cannot say anything for this criticism. Perhaps just that, 'the common man' in the movie is also not shown as a victim per se.

A Wednesday is a weak response to the entire issue of terrorism. It is at best a movie that makes us feel good that something is being done in it. I strongly believe the methods used in the movie are totally pro-terrorism. It gives them enough reasons to justify what they do.

The impact of the bankruptcy saga!

Received this witty yet insightful one liner from my ex-boss.

What worries me these days is when my bank tells me that my outbound cheque could not be cleared due to insufficient funds, I am not too sure whether he is talking about my account or his!

October 7, 2008

The laughter monster

This incident happened earlier today while I was at someone’s house. I had gone there with my mom and my cousin to call them for the marriage of my niece. There was a baby in that house. He must be about 6 months old. He was playing while we went there. His mother told us that he is not usually so jovial. The baby had GOD written all over it (to deviate slightly from the theme).

The baby came to all of us without being shy. He was really enjoying his time. Till something happened... I started laughing! Yes, I got a call and what I heard made me laugh. What was told over the phone is irrelevant here, how I reacted is.

The merrily playing baby was too shocked to hear me laugh. And as one could expect, he started to cry. Cry very very badly. He got scared. We had to leave a little earlier than our plans so that the boy could be pacified saying ‘see, that monster is gone… cheer up’ :) Poor kid.

Two things here. Firstly, my laughter can be scary if I go full on. Secondly, the baby did not get scared because he was a baby. Even men get scared! Two incidents I can think of straight away.


This one happened about 5 years back. I was returning home from classes. It was about 11pm if I am not wrong. I was the lone passenger in the rick. As we (me and the rick driver) were passing a cemetery that falls on the way, I remembered something and started laughing (I do laugh remembering things too). The driver got a stunner and he almost lost control of the rick. Thankfully, it ended well. I had to hear few comments from him though – some not so friendly comments!


This happened again about 4-5 years back. We were having a boys’ night out at a friend’s place. After dinner, we were just whiling away time discussing ‘worldly issues’. I guess we were 8 of us. All except me was sitting in the bedroom. I was watching TV in the living room. After some time, one of my friends came to check on me. By that time I had switched off the TV and was blankly looking at the ceiling lying down. He came and asked me to come in. He started to pull my legs saying few things. Others from the bedroom were calling us there to be together. So my brave friend was with me and others inside. Suddenly, the laughter bhoot came into me and I started laughing thinking about something. At first, normally. Then gradually geared up and soon it was a full on laughter (Again, I can laugh for an hour at a stretch). My brave friend kept teasing me and was smiling for some time. My roar of laughter reached the bedroom and they were all shouting at me.. Yeh fir se shuru ho gaya, hey bhagwaan.. I could hear them saying. All of a sudden the power went off and it was dark. That made me laugh more (I am reeeeally mad). The guys inside closed the bedroom door leaving my brave friend with me! After few seconds, may be sensing something is seriously wrong in me, my brave friend ran towards the bedroom and started banging on the door to be opened so that he could be ‘safe’!

These incidents are extremely nostalgic for me. What fun! At others’ cost. :)

October 6, 2008

The ‘tipping’ point

The backdrop of this post is a lot of outings that I have had with my close friends over the last few years. I am a ‘tipping’ person. I believe in giving tips when I like the service offered to me. Restaurants, public cabbies, ricks, private cabs when I am traveling officially, etc all fall in this category of services. In restaurants, for instance, I prefer tipping about 10% of the amount of the bill. This habit has stayed with me wherever I go. Or, if the rick fare comes to 18 bucks, I do not mind giving 20 bucks and walking off.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not writing this to talk of what I do. The reason is different. There have been instances where few people I know have mentioned that this is a bad habit. Or that I am trying to show off that I have a lot of money. I belong to a traditional family that had a modest financial background for most part of my life. If I tell my mom today that I gave 10 bucks to a beggar, she will be stunned. As a family, we still are very conservative spenders.

I had a very heated argument with one of my closest friends when we were holidaying. It was about the tip to be given to the driver who carried us to a lot of places when we in Delhi. The debate was on the amount. Points that he mentioned against my suggestion of giving a bigger tip than what he suggested? He thought I am spoiling the habit of the driver, in this case. The driver was just doing his job. He gets paid for it. The tip is just over & above it and need not be significant. If I tip him something abnormal, then he might expect the same from each of his customer and if one of his customers is relatively poor and cannot afford a big tip, the driver might not treat that customer properly. There were more points put forward, but I thought this one was the most important.

To be fair, the point has substance to some extent. I really do not intend to ‘spoil’ someone’s habits. But I guess a tip of Rs.50, for instance, for an entire day’s driving is ‘immaterial’. So either you give something more material or just do not. For me tipping is not a formality. It is a way of acknowledging that I was treated well. Of course, treating the driver, waiter, etc well is also crucial. If I treat him badly all day and end it off by even giving 500 bucks, I don’t think he would be too pleased. Emotional satisfaction is important. But let’s face it, emotional gratification does not help kill hunger. Money matters. So a fairly healthy tip also makes the receiver feel that he has done a good job. At least, that is what I intend when I tip.

My criterion of tipping is fairly straight forward. The amount should not pinch me. I should be happy giving it. When I travel for trainings, in most cases the client arranges a car for me for commuting. I do not pay for the car hiring charges. But the driver serves me directly. Most drivers I have met are extremely well behaved. They are courteous, take care of your schedule and do not do things that might put me into discomfort like talking loudly on phones, keeping the music loud. For a typical day, I end up giving upwards of 200-250 bucks to the driver. I hope that the amount helps him in a right way. I hope that he values it. And there is a point in it. 200 bucks is not even a per cent of what I get for a day’s training. To be fair, it is not very material for me, touch wood. But the same 200 bucks could be very material for the driver. Similarly, the value of extra 2 bucks given to cabbies/rick drivers is probably more valuable for them than me, in most cases I guess.

Another point against this habit… It is inflationary! Yes, in a sense that the rick drivers/cabbies might expect the same extra 2 bucks from every customer. Some one put this point across to me. I am not entirely convinced though.

If a tip is going to help the receiver and not pinch the giver, should it not be encouraged? Is it not a way of sort of helping people who are less fortunate than us in some ways?

One incident shared by a good friend of mine always helps me seal my decision to tip well. She shares my philosophy of ‘healthy’ tipping. She was escorted by a private car while she was on a 2-day official visit to Hyderabad. Finally, when she was dropped at Hyderabad airport after the 2-days trip, she handed over a 500 bucks note to the driver. She politely thanked him. However, the driver looked stunned. After few seconds, he suddenly started to thank my friend. He mentioned that his child was unwell and while he was driving, his mind was busy thinking of means to borrow few hundred bucks from any of his friends for the medicine. Receiving the 500Rs. took care of that problem. My friend’s face glows even today when she describes the driver’s reaction. This incident makes me and surely my friend to try and give a healthy tip that does not pinch us too. In the process, may be it helps solving some small problems of this world through us.

My good friend Mangesh wrote this article in The Times of India editorial page last week. It stresses on an aspect that I believe could be linked to tipping. That, perhaps the way overall scheme of things work is, the giver ends up receiving much more. Giving does not make you poorer, it makes you wealthier. It has worked for me perfectly. Trust me.

P.S.: 1. This piece is not about how great I am :) Any such sense that you might get is totally unintentional!
2. The title is also the name of the book I just completed reading. The book is not on this subject at all, but just used the phrase. No correlations intended.

October 2, 2008

Mumbai meri jaan

Some times, a lot of expectations can make something a let-down eventually. One of the reviews I got about this movie was that this is a better movie than Taare Zameen Par. Quite obviously, I was expecting a lot.

Even after that, I now believe this movie is awesome. Should definitely have been our entry for Oscar instead of TZP, like Amol Gupte said. Lovely script, excellent direction and subtle yet effective performances from the cast makes this a must-watch.

I have personally known a lot of characters played by Paresh Rawal, Madhavan and Kay Kay Menon. More so like Menon. A movie with substance and soul, it has a conclusion that could not have been better. Simply apt.

Some of the scenes in the movie still hit me when I think of them.

Yet again, sadly this movie is already out of multiplexes. Rock on, which got released around the same time, is still running. When will we mature as audience? When will we undestand that lot of songs and a happy ending is not what a movie is all about?

Kudos to the entire team of Mumbai meri jaan...

September 27, 2008

Women may have to go to Venus!

Men are from Mars, women are from venus... say's the title of a book. Me thinks women might have to go to Venus to get married! Why? Read on..

3 of my good female friends are planning to get hitched. All 3 are CAs, working for reputed organisations. This one is about one of them. She has commited a crime of doing a MBA too after CA. Yes, that is a crime as far as the matrimonial market goes. To add to the dual qualifications, she looks fab. Don't be jealous girls, some of them come with all the luck. Now, the parents of the waiting-to-get-married girls are worried. They are not finding any 'suitable' groom. If everything from family background to habits to nature to looks are approved by the waiting-to-be-married girl, the point comes to how well is the guy 'settled'. The groom's parents suddenly have swelled chests and they say he earns a lac of moolahs every month. Oops, that hurts. It is ONLY about 65% of what the girl earns. No actually, 64.32% on a in-hand salary basis. Similar situations surround the other two friends too.

Economic boom has helped all. More so, a CA+MBA. Each year's appraisal makes marriage more improbable for her! Close to 40%-50% hikes with a big booty of bonus. We men have BIG egos. Wife earning more than us, and we knowing about it.. no ways!.. is how many thinks.

Possible solutions? Like for tax purposes, show lower income. Risky, since it has to be hidden for a long long time. The taxman does not sleep on the same bed with you, husband sometimes does. :)

Or perhaps go to the HR and ask them to cut your salary. Ask for a demotion. Underplay yourself. Nay, not acceptable gals, rite?

Or resign and be a good homemaker. What is left in the corporate rat race anyways... Resign, my left foot - I hear from my friends.

Well, then two choices left for you sweetheart. Read this book - 'Why marriage sucks' - and spend the rest of your life. Or, plan for a trip to Venus where you originally came from apparently.

September 26, 2008

Gifts, any one?

I am not a gift person. I mean I do accept gifts most times am given, but do not give a lot of gifts. But whenever I have, I really really felt like giving. However, two of the most important ones have gone awfully wrong. Both to people I like and respect a lot. In fact, one of them did not even see the gift!

How's that for a track record? Didn't some one say people like to receive gifts? Trying to find that idiot...

September 20, 2008

A costly mistake

Read this in a newspaper today. A German bank based in Berlin sacked 3 of its employees this week. Apparently they transferred 350 million euros to Lehman Brothers by mistake, a day after the latter filed for bankruptcy!

What a weird mistake.. On a normal day, they would have got the money back. But then these are not normal days!

Quote of the day.. or may be year

I don't worry about terrorism. I was married for two years.

September 17, 2008

The moment of truth

While surfing through channels yesterday, I hit upon this show in Star World called 'The moment of truth'. It is a kind of game show but the concept struck me. It works like this. The contestant is asked about 21 questions to which he has to reply truthfully. If he lies, it will be caught. Before the show, the contestant is asked a lot of questions (about 50) and is put through a kind of lie detection tests (polygraph test) checking his answers. In the main show, few questions out of the ones asked to him earlier are asked. Obviously he has to answer them truthfully now.

There are 6 levels of questions, and the contestant keeps earning money as he clears them. 6 questions in first level, 5 in the next, then 4, 3, 2 and the final question in level 6. As the level progresses, questions get very 'tricky'. The contestant is accompanied by family and friends and everything is happening before them.

I do not know whether you realize by now the gravity of the concept. Earn money for being truthful. Your answers can shock many. They could be potential family-breakers. In the episode I saw, some of the questions asked were:

Do you think your father worked hard enough to provide for the family? His answer was No.

Do you think your wife likes your mother? His answer was Yes.

Have you lost interest in your wife sexually after having a baby? His answer was No.

Have you ever had sex with any of your wife's friends? His answer was Yes.

Do you think your father loves you even today after having a divorce with your mother? (This question was asked by his dad himself who was called as a guest in the show) His answer was Yes.

These questions were a part of the 11 questions of the first two levels. I could not continue watching the show since mom had a serial coming up. I can't even imagine how bad the questions can get at higher levels.

Now, what do you think of this show? I am perplexed. Well, the concept is straight-forward. If you have been truthful to your loved ones, you can simply go out there and win all the money (total prize money of USD 5lacs ONLY). If not, it can be a disaster.

It is not about being truthful on the show. It is more about whether you have been truthful to your loved ones all your life before coming on to the show.

You can read more about the show and its already aired episodes here.

Interesting show indeed. A remake in India? Imaginable?

September 16, 2008

Money or love?

This one is on public demand! Just kidding... trying to answer the tricky question - money or love?

The problem here is, one can be quantified, the other can't be. Anyone who says money is not important is either lying or has spent his lifetime trying to get it but has failed. The story of sour grapes. Trust me.

Money is necessary, period. The point is, how much? That is the tricky part. I think one can go on and on but still not be able to figure out how much is enough. 50lacs? A crore? 10 of them? I have no idea, even if I have to speak for myself.

But, and there is a but here, why should it be a choice - love or money? Any money acquired beyond a point at the cost of love is just not worth it, if it ever is a choice. Irrespective of whether that point is 5lacs or 50lacs.

Now, on to love side. I have been trying hard but cannot think of anyone who is not loved at all. Every body is, I am sure. Even an orphan would have friends. Love is not a function of relationships. Love is a function of how good a person you are, in absolute sense.

Apart from family and relatives, I am loved by many I know. I love a lot of people. In many senses. Never has any of them been a function of or choice with money. Never ever.

So where is the need for trying to trade off between love and money? If there still comes such a point in my life, would stick to the point I made earlier.

The ultimate objective is to feel happy end of the day. Money helps achieve this to a large extent. Love too does it, but inconsistently I believe. Money can surely help eradicate many problems. Love, I am not very very sure as much as I am about money. Money and love both can multiply by giving. Yes, even money. Finally, they both have to be given to people who deserve them. Or else you will regret it for the rest of your life, especially if it's love.

September 15, 2008

Happiness is only real when shared!

We are quite happy a lot of times in life. Reasons could be umpteen. Now think about this. Is the happiness to be considered real and genuine only when you feel like sharing it with someone? And then you actually go on and share the happiness. Or else, does the happiness wither away? Just dries off the moment you stop thinking about it?

Should happiness be shared? Is it only then that it is real?

Would appreciate your thoughts on this seemingly tricky question. Please do comment...

September 11, 2008


... about 3,000 people belonging to over 90 nationalities died on this day in 2001.

A lot has changed since then, there have been several more attempts to hurt peace globally. Many have succeeded. The divide in this great race of humanity is clearly visible. What were once probably seen as reasons to be proud of, have become reasons to worry about. Religion is arguably the worst hit. Wealth related instabilities follow closely.

Since the inauspicious day of 2001, the damage done to the credibility of a particular community is extremely disappointing too. A lot has been generalised, unecessarily. A lot of books, movies and videos have been created to try and iron out the differences between the communities. Hope they have the desired impact.

The world is getting smaller, but the proximity increasingly means easier ways of getting struck.

The world is getting smarter and intelligent, yet the intelligence is to destroy not create.

The world has more languages than ever before, yet they are not used to communicate and share more than before but to create ruckus.

The world has more wealth than any time before, yet more are left poorer than wealthier.

A lot of us in this world have no clue as to where we are headed and what should be done with what we have, yet few others among us are spending a fortune to try and understand how all this might have started!

Sitting somewhere up there with a cup of coffee and few Parle-G biscuits, GOD surely must be smiling seeing all this...

September 10, 2008

I want to listen to silence

In this exciting world, everything is extremely dynamic. Time, climate, people, situations, relationships, events and so many other things are so variable. I guess that is what makes the entire 'game' exciting at the first place. Take relationships for instance. Think of a person whom you liked the most 10 years back. The person with whom you spent a lot of your time with. Are they still the same today? In my case, the 10 years also is a long period. The people might still be around, but the depth of relationship has diluted significantly. And more importantly, for no 'fault' of either of us (fault in quotes because I do not think it's a fault in any case). Likewise, some relationships has gained a lot of value over the same period. I 'just knew' someone 6 years back. Now, a day does not pass without talking to him.

How interesting! At some points, I was disappointed about the dilution of few relationships. Now, I look back and simply smile at myself thinking how childish I was. But perhaps, I will again feel odd when one of my exisiting 'strong tie' weakens.

I had written a piece a long time back - What's the BIG picture? I have come to understand the same concept so much better today than when I wrote it. I can appreciate the same thoughts in a much better manner. Strange but true.

Relationships are only a case in point. There are so many 'noises' around. I am simply reacting most of the time. Probably every moment that I'm awake, I'm reacting to situations and events around - consciously or sub-consciously.

I want to stop reacting. I want to close my ears from the noise deafening my mind. I want to talk at least 50% less than usual. Every single day. I want to sense the only constancy within and around me, and that's me. Once I feel the constancy in me, I will see and feel the same steadiness in everything around me.

I want to listen to silence...

Some more of Dilbert...

September 9, 2008

Some of Dilbert's one liners!

1. I say no to alcohol, it just doesn't listen.

2. Marriage is one of the chief causes of divorce.

3. Work is fine if it doesn't take too much of your time.

4. When everything comes in your way, you're in the wrong lane.

5. The light at the end of the tunnel may be an incoming train.

6. Born free, taxed to death.

7. Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don't have film.

8. Smile, it makes people wonder what you are thinking.

9. It's not hard to meet expenses, they are everywhere.

10. I love being a writer... what I can't stand is the paperwork.

11. A printer consists of 3 main parts: the case, the jammed paper tray and the blinking red light.

12. The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, he was the genius.

13. The trouble with being punctual is that no one is there to appreciate it.

14. In a country of free speech, why are there phone bills?

15. Beat the 5 O'clock rush, leave work at noon!

16. If you can't convince them, confuse them.

17. It's not the fall that kills you. It's the sudden stop at the end.

18. I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

19. Hot glass looks same as cold glass - Cunino's Law of Burnt Fingers

20. Someday is not a day of the week

21. Whenever I find the key to success, someone changes the lock.

22. To Err is human, to forgive is not a Company policy.

23. The road to success.... is always under construction.

24. Alcohol doesn't solve any problems, but if you think again, neither does Milk.

25. In order to get a Loan, you first need to prove that you don't need it.

26. All the desirable things in life are either illegal, expensive, fattening or married to someone else.

Source: A forwarded mail...

September 4, 2008

Reminiscing the Dharamshala trip

My internet connection has been acting quite funny all these days. Not that I had great thoughts to share, wanted to still update on my trip to Dharamshala. To be frank, personally it really does not matter much where I am going as long as I am with people I want to be with. Like the 2 friends (Lakshmi and Romesh) I went with. It was always supposed to be a great trip and it indeed was.

We started our trip by flying to Delhi. From there we were off to Agra by road to see the magnificent Taj Mahal. The monument, with all the hype and expectations that I had in my mind, still turned out to be simply brilliant. I cannot forget the first view of Taj for the rest of my life. I have not seen the other wonders of the world, but in absolute sense there is no list possible without the Taj being included in it.

Delhi to Taj and back was a good 8 hours by road. I love road travels. The fun quotient in a lot of my trips, including this one, has been augmented by the road travels. We had an evening train to catch for Pathankot in Punjab, the connecting place for Dharamshala. During the day we roamed around Delhi. Went to see Qutubminar, India Gate, Lotus Temple, etc. I have said this before in one my earlier posts. I am a huge fan of Delhi roads and infrastructure. Love the place...

Delhi to Pathankot is a 10-hours journey by train. We spent most of this time catching up on sleep. We reached Pathankot at about 7.30am. A 3-hours road journey took us to Dharamshala. Dharamshala is a small-time town near Kangra valley in Himachal Pradesh. We stayed at the Club Mahindra resort there. Romi is a member of their resorts. The only eligibility that he has for being my friend.. hehehehe (Romi, are you reading this?)

There is a lot to talk about the place and trip. A lot of ‘highlights’ is our intra-group happenings. But it is good if it remains within our group! I will list down a few things worth mentioning.

The good ones...

Dhabas: All through the trip, we relished authentic dhaba food. Amazing food at places that looks shabby. Amazing paranthas and tandoor chicken - yummmmyyy. Delicious, not very oily, reasonable and authentic food at most places we chose to have our food.

Lakes and water falls: One thing that characterizes Himachal is the clear water lakes and waterfalls all across. It is amazing. The look, feel and touch.

Greenery: For someone going from Mumbai, any place can boast of more greenery. Still, this place has to be one of the ‘greenest’ I have seen. One of the best phases of the trip was our trip from Dharamshala to Jyot, the highest reachable peak of the valley. The journey was amazing. Between clouds, lovely climate and lush green valleys... Jannat!

People: Good people at most places including babes!

The not so good ones…

Hotel: The location of the hotel, the views from there, the facilities and the staff – all were negatives. Food was ok. Loved the gajar halwa a lot. Yummy again...

As I said earlier, the trip was lovely for I was with great friends. For those who know about our group, me and Romi had huge arguments twice during the trip. As usual. Something that has been a feature of the way we are for the last 6 years.

Love you guys... Missed the other 3 musketeers of the group.

August 21, 2008

Off for a vacation... Biee!

I'm off for a week long break with couple of my closest friends to Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. Will be surely having some of the best moments of my life. Will be back with fresh thoughts... Till then, 5 questions that you might want to ponder about:

1. How much money is enough for someone to live happily?

2. If asked to choose one, would people prefer money or fame?

3. Why most educated people/couples still do not consider adoption as an option?

4. Why is the fear of stage/fear of public speaking one of the most prevalent phobias in this world?

5. Why is the grass always greener on the other side of the fence?

Happy thinking! Do post your thoughts. Chow...

August 16, 2008

Action packed fortnight

After about 12 busy yet exciting days, I have finally got some time off to write. Starting next week, again I am off for a couple of visits, professional and personal.

Starting 5th of this month, I traveled to Pune, Baroda, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad. 6 cities in about 7 days. I love traveling like this and enjoyed most part of these visits too. The only flip side is the toll it takes on your sleep. I am yet to catch up on the lost hours of sleep.

The new airports at Bangalore and Hyderabad are excellent, though relatively far-off from the city (both about 40kms). Hyderabad airport is amazing. It is simply huge, and since it's still new, clean and well maintained. With more than 35 departure gates, most flights manages to get an aerobridge which cuts a lot of time and is convenient. The shopping pockets within the two airports are excellent, something that Mumbai airport does not have.

Met a good friend in Bangalore. Had a good time albeit briefly. That reminds me, Bangalore traffic sucks. It is really annoying.

Met an extremely good person, who also happens to be a friend, in Delhi. As always, may GOD bless her. Some people in this world really makes me believe that despite everything, it is still a very lovely place to be in.

Back home, things were quite eventful. Celebrated our classes' prize distribution function on 15th August, as like every year. The preparations for the function takes a toll but the satisfaction that comes with a good event is gratifying. The enthusiasm of the students when they come up to receive their respective awards/prizes are amazing. One very primary reason why I love to be with them even after more than 4 years of doing the same thing. Success is a very strange thing. It can truly change people, both positively and unfortunately negatively too.

I have realized something over the last 2 years. It is very easy to fool people with displaying what you do not have. What appears on the outside is what matters in this world. To be given the status of being GODly is fairly easy here, and shockingly undeservedly. A really sad truth that I am still to come in terms with. There is a very specific reason why I am putting this down here. And there are also reasons why I will not elaborate further.

August 12, 2008

Take a bow Abhinav!

Abhinav Bindra has achieved an extremely remarkable feat. Feeling really, really proud indeed. Kudos to you Abhinav.

August 4, 2008

Fighting to find mindspace

Not that I do not have time, but not the way I need it to blog. I call it mindspace. Will hit the 'purple patch' of blogging soon though.

I was telling someone the other day that I can sense that I am turning into a lunatic with each day passing. More freaky, more weird than ever before! I find myself laughing more these days, and that's weird because I do not need reasons to laugh. Increasingly, I care less about what I am wearing to where. Carrying myself in a very casual way to lectures. Not really taking care of the 'niceties' and the 'formalities'. Being more volatile and 'unstructured' in the way I am living overall. Something that my parents keep complaining about. In their words, it is not 'disciplined'.

Also, I like doing things that most people believe are 'what-the-fu**' kinds. And I do not really like doing the 'in-things'. I sleep through (literally) the box-office hits in most cases and am excited about a movie that has 11 people watching it on the first day of its release.

I have stopped scolding the batches and keep mocking myself. Was actually dancing in a batch the other day! When was the last time I lost my cool? Can’t remember. And that’s not me. Can’t be. But yet that’s how it is.

I am less nervous about a lot of things. Leave it to the moment in most cases, including my presentations. Doing it more ‘extempore’ than before. The ever-excited wreck I was, am being more laid back these days. Less ‘turned on’ by things that otherwise would have excited me. Talking a lot lesser than before. Discussing a lot lesser than before. Getting out of home a lot lesser than before.

If not anything else, all the above crap might make you believe that I am starting to lose it. If still not convinced, see it to believe it!

July 23, 2008

Busy doing nothing

Resuming after a forced gap. My internet connection eluded me for 2 weeks before waking up this weekend. To be fair, had a hectic time myself doing not really much! Watching movies (4 of them in the last 8 days), attending book fairs and concerts, celebrating classes' success - all took time.

The 4 movies were Hancock, Dark Knight, Jaane tu.. ya Jaane na and Aamir. The western action flicks disappointed me. And not because I saw the English versions! Hancock is a nonsense movie. Dark Knight, ok-dokay. Nothing great. Aamir was relatively more exciting. Decent plot, makes one think about how easy it is to make someone do not-so-good things. Jaane tu was boring. Nothing at all in the movie. Really really unfortunate that the movie grosses up more revenue than a movie like Shaurya.

Attended Hariharan's concert again, this time in Thane. Thought it was not as great as the earlier one. May be it is because of the expectations factor. Nevertheless, ghazals are tantalizing, and to come from Hariharan... wow.

Just completed reading Deepak Chopra's latest offering 'Why is God Laughing?' Wonderful book. Amazing perspective. Lovely thoughts. Do read. Currently reading 'Traders, Guns and Money' - a book on the fascinating world of financial derivatives.

The next couple of weeks are going to be busy again, this time doing a lot of professional activities. On the other side of this is a holiday with two very close friends to Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. Yippie!

July 5, 2008

Write your own life

From "A 6th bowl of Chicken Soup for the Soul". I just loved the flow of the write-up. It's just amazing. Read on...

Suppose someone gave you a pen - a sealed, solid-colored pen.

You couldn't see how much ink it had. It might run dry after the first few tentative words or last just long enough to create a masterpiece (or several) that would last forever and make a difference in the scheme of things. You don't know before you begin.

Under the rules of the game, you really never know. You have to take a chance!

Actually, no rule of the game states you must do anything. Instead of picking up and using the pen, you could leave it on a shelf or in a drawer where it will dry up, unused.

But if you do decide to use it, what would you do with it? How would you play the game?

Would you plan and plan before you ever wrote a word? Would your plans be so extensive that you never even got to the writing?

Or would you take the pen in hand, plunge right in and just do it, struggling to keep up with the twists and turns of the torrents of words that take you where they take you?

Would you write cautiously and carefully, as if the pen might run dry the next moment, or would you pretend or believe (or pretend to believe) that the pen will write forever and proceed accordingly?

And of what would you write: Of love? Hate? Fun? Misery? Life? Death? Nothing? Everything?

Would you write to please just yourself? Or others? Or yourself by writing for others?

Would your strokes be tremblingly timid or brilliantly bold? Fancy with a flourish or plain?

Would you even write? Once you have the pen, no rule says you have to write. Would you sketch? Scribble? Doodle or draw?

Would you stay in or on the lines, or see no lines at all, even if they were there? Or are they?

There's a lot to think about here, isn't there?

Now, suppose someone gave you a life...

July 4, 2008

Lecture tit-bits

At a point where the batch was becoming too noisy for my comfort, I blurted out - Any more noise and I will throw the heaviest thing I can find on the podium.

After few seconds of silence, a student whispered back (loud enough for the batch to listen) - Sir, it has to be you then!

Amazing wit, must say. I was the first to laugh followed by the batch :)

July 3, 2008

Kindly respond

I have still not received any views on this particular aspect that I had mentioned in my earlier post on marriages. I guess by the time you reached the last para, you might have got bored :) Hence repeating it separately here.

In how many cases (out of 100) do parents sit down with the son/daughter to discuss whether he/she wants to get married and related issues?

Awaiting your responses. Thanks.

Keep smiling :)

July 2, 2008

Next time you think your life is hard, think again!

Another forward I received. Outright inspirational...

My name is Nick Vujicic and I was born without limbs and doctors have no medical explanation for this birth 'defect'. As you can imagine, I was faced with many challenges and obstacles. The doctors were shocked and had no answers at all! There is still no medical reason why this had happened and Nick now has a brother and sister who were born just like any other baby.

I know that there is no such thing as luck, chance or coincidence that these 'bad' things happen in our life. I had complete peace knowing that God won't let anything happen to us in our life unless God has a good purpose for it all. I am now twenty-three years old and have completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Financial
Planningand Accounting. I am also a motivational speaker and love to go out and share my story and testimony wherever opportunities become available. I have developed talks to relate to and encourage students through topics that challenge today's teenagers. I am also a speaker in the corporate sector.

I have a passion for reaching out to youth and keep myself available for whatever God wants me to do, and wherever He leads, I follow.

Writing several best-selling books has been one of my dreams and I hope to finish writing my first by the end of the year. It will be called 'No Arms, No Legs, and No Worries!'

I believe that if you have the desire and passion to do something, and if it's God's will, you will achieve it in good time. As humans, we continually put limits on ourselves for no reason at all! What's worse is putting limits on God who can do all things. We put God in a 'box'. The awesome thing about the Power of God, is that if we want to do something for God, instead of focusing on our capability, concentrate on our availability for we know that it is God through us and we can't do anything without God.

Once we make ourselves available for God's work, guess whose capabilities we rely on? God's!

July 1, 2008

The problem with getting hitched!

Marriages are made in heaven, they say. It's better if it stays there, I think.

I do not have a problem with people getting married or the concept of marriage per se. My problem is with the way it is construed as. Marriage has acquired the nature of being 'universally applicable', i.e., every one must getting married, the society thinks. At least, the society that I have seen and am a part of. I do not convince people to not get married. But I will appreciate if some one is not forced to get married either. It’s like my religious practices. I do not try and stop people I know from going to temples. But why are eyebrows raised when I tell people that I do not believe in temples? Worse, people think I am an atheist. So much from an educated set of people!

I have had umpteen number of discussions with friends and relatives, who have asked me to get ‘settled down’ in life. GOD knows what settling down means. If settling down means getting married, then why is it a function of age and not financial standing? Mallu guys are supposed to get married at about 28 years, irrespective of at what juncture of life they are at. How strange! The family of a 25+ unmarried girl is surely in a state of panic most of the times. Sad, sulky moods will characterize the girl’s parents’. Surely, in at least 80 out of 100 cases. I have personally seen quite a few.

To my mind, marriage is an over-hyped concept. Probably the most over-hyped. So over-hyped that people are literally obsessed when a person reaches ‘marriageable’ age. All discussions in that household surrounds around alliances. That is, assuming it’s a case of arranged marriage. The entire world seems so concerned when someone is not able to get a proper alliance. At social functions, the conversations are overshadowed by networking details of eligible prospects. The stares and questions of the society become so difficult to handle that the person in case even stops attending social functions in few cases. I can go on with the ordeals faced by such ‘victims’. Victims, in my eyes that is.

Let me now go one step ahead. Thinking and hyper-active minds (and believe me, they are rare) should not get married at all for their own sake and more importantly, for others’ sake. Marriage surely ties one down to a large extent. Married people deny this always, but do they have a choice? The worst argument I get is – you got to get married to talk about it. My left foot...

Why can’t marriage be treated as a choice? Like which stream of education/career we take. Like which organization we join. Like which trouser we buy. Like which car we drive. So, either I get married or do not get married. A simple choice! But so difficult to ‘survive’ if the choice is the latter. There are more choices if one needs – live-ins, flings, etc etc.

I like asking married people few questions. It has been one of my favorite rituals over the last couple of years. I ask every married person whether they are happy to be married. I have asked this to friends, professors, relatives, bosses, colleagues. Some had married just recently and some for more than 25 years. To be fair, the consensus answer has been YES. I smile, as I am doing now. My second question has always been – when and why did you decide that you had to get married? On getting a surprised face, I clarify. Why did you join this organization where you are working? I get a detailed answer. Similarly, why did you get married? Hmm.. uhhh.. well.... what an irrelevant question it is, I hear. I smile again. On insisting for an answer, the conversation broadly runs like this:

Need for a companion, you know. You mean, suddenly at the age of 27/28 you needed a companion? Out of the blue? Who were your companions till then? What happened to them? All of them went out of your lives? At the same time?

No you don’t understand. Need for a life partner. To share every thing with some one. To feel cared. To care for some one. When I come home after a hard day’s job, I need some one to care about me. I keep staring at them, smiling all the way. Typically, at 27/28 one must have got settled, after years of real struggle and slogging. At the most volatile times, one did not need a ‘companion’, suddenly out of thin air where does the need arise from? At a time, when your life is relatively steady. Can someone please educate me on this point?

Exactly. One needs to move onto the next level of life. After being steady, you need to take on social responsibilities, you know. Good point. Very valid point. Social responsibilities – and how do you take care of it? By getting married! By closing out your life from the larger responsibilities? By being more inward looking?

But who says you cannot help the society after marriage? True. But not more than if you were single, if time and money is what we are talking about here.

Things get heated up by now. This is ridiculous yaar. You can’t force your views on me. Agreed. I am just asking about the feelings that led you to marriage and how it helped you in being happy.

Well, I did not want to bring this point up. But since you are pushing me to the wall, I have to. Physical satisfaction is also important for human beings, you see. I am sure you understand what I mean. I do. You need a legitimate way of having sex. The most socially acceptable way. This is absurd. What a narrow minded and dirty view. Uh? What did I say! Was adding to your argument.

Any ways... The point is, if marriage is about companionship and/or physical pleasure, then the logical time to get married is when you are in your teens, when both these needs and urges are at the peak. Not when you are entering your mid-life.

This is your age talking. Let’s see when your time of getting married comes. I will ask about all of this on that day. Ha ha ha...
What a stupid way of running off a discussion.

I have seen a lot of married couples moving out from their parents’ homes. They then meet their parents very infrequently. Priorities change after marriage, they say. Parents need their children most when they are getting old. And we are out to seek happiness in marriage. How superficial!

The biggest irony in all this is parents are the most thrilled in getting their son/daughter married. And the same parents later whine and crib that their children do not take care of them or spend enough time with them. Wasn’t that supposed to happen? The ideal case is an exception.

I have not even started to talk about love and arranged marriages! Some other time, may be.

Just a question to end this with – In how many cases out of 100 do parents sit down with the son/daughter to discuss whether he/she wants to get married and related issues? 30, at best 40. For others, it is supposed to 'just happen' at an age. At 3, you go to play-school. At 16, join college. At 25, start earning. And at 28, get married. Simple... unfortunately.

Same old story

Just about two days of constant downpour and the city is already down and not-running. It happened last year, last to last year, the year before that, and the year before that, and the previous one too...

The usual pockets of the city yet again inaccesible. Trains down. Water-logging at key places. Almost every one have crawled back home after venturing out to attempt reaching offices/colleges.

Unfortunately, the same old story persists. Don't know for how many more years.

Oh yes, I should do something about it rather than just cribbing. Yaaaawn... see, have already started to do it.

June 30, 2008

2008 is half way through... already!

As always, time seem to fly. I remember distinctly the day when I wrote the piece to start off this year. Then, the year ahead looked very bright. Now, it looks even brighter. Had to take the toughest decision of my life earlier this year and am happy that it is paying off, as of now. I started off the year seeking a more peaceful mind. I'm happy that I've found it. I have found time to do a lot of things that I wanted to. I've managed to contribute meaningfully towards causes that I believe in. I have been able to devote more time to think, write and feed my mind.

As I sign off the first half of 2008, it's time to aspire to be happier! Much happier. It's time to have fun, smile, enjoy the moment, feel peace, read, write, sing, dance, laugh (and I do it 'awfully' well) and dream. And as always, dream BIG. Very big...

My venture is going smooth, touch wood. On an auto-pilot mode actually, where most things are happening without me actively working towards it. I am fine with that. I will start to be more active when this laid-back life becomes boring. Come to think of it, it has been more than 4 months that I have been 'at home'. I have never felt bored during all this time. Had quite a lot to do most of the times. If not, then was happy whiling away time sleeping :)

A lot of people have asked me how it feels to be self-employed. It would be incorrect to say it is something that every one should desire. I mean, it is a matter of perspective. More importantly, temperament. Not every one can be happy just working for few days a month. One should be a more laid back person to enjoy such kind of a lifestyle. Of course, if I actively scout for more assignments, then things will be more hectic.

Personally, I always yearned to be free. Free, not in a sense of being irresponsible. But to be more choosy about when I want to do what, to be able to decide on my own routines. This, to my mind, is the biggest plus of being self-employed. Apart from it, revenues and satisfaction level are higher.

The negatives? You do not meet a lot of people every day. You might get lazier and lose the focus of what you want to achieve since there is no one around you (like colleagues) to benchmark yourself against and help you feel pepped up each day. I know a lot of people who feels energised when working with a team of like-minded professionals at workplace.

Let me share something that happened just this morning to emphasize on the main plus. I woke up at 11am today, and saw a missed call from a business contact. I called him back and told him that I could not take the call since I was sleeping. Had slept late last night after seeing the Euro 2008 Finals. Something that he said from the other side felt like music to my ears - 'Lucky you'. I guess, that sums it all :)

Keep smiling guys :)