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...