Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tera Devosnal Atyachaar.... !!!

It is past midnight and still I am awake, can't sleep :( Well, I agree there can be a hundred reasons for that, but tonight it is not the stock markets or the symphony of gnats, but a ‘jagrata’ in my neighborhood, and as usual the innocent neighbors like me who detest loud music have to bear the shrill fusion of devotional and pop music of those professional night-mongers, aka the jaagaran-mandali, roaring out on giant speakers. I simply wonder whom these loudspeakers are meant for??? Neither the interested believers sitting right there nor the uninterested mortals sleeping (no! only trying to sleep) in their homes need them. And surely, God Himself doesn’t need them at all ... haha!!

Though loudspeakers are banned but (the real spirit of India– an example) who cares! If I have a reason to celebrate, I make (read ‘force’) others to join too, willingly or unwillingly. Such people hold the entire society to ransom. The jaagran started at 9:00 PM, and grew louder and louder, reaching its peak around midnight! Even bhoots (ghosts) must be getting irritated by this disturbance in their peak roaming time!

It’s ok if one has a reason for celebrating but such brazen display of callousness towards others only irritates the hell out of them. There are people of other faiths, non-believers, sick, old, infants, animals, students, or many such who need complete silence at least at night, after a hectic day.

Similar thing happens with a typical Indian marriage. The band and the blaring music can drive the nearby people nuts. My friends from abroad always stay excited to attend an Indian wedding but I detest all the noisy drama that goes in its name.

Anyways, society is a group of people, dude, u are not living alone in a city. Celebrate your happiness but please, with a little sophistication. Follow whatever religion you wish to, but without hurting or disturbing others.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Jai Ho!!! - But Kiski ??

Well I am feeling stuffed, tensed and choked again. As I opened the TV, it was flooded with the news of 8 Oscars the movie Slumdog Millionaire has won. My God! The whole country has gone crazy!!...People have proved that there are only two religions in India– movies and cricket. By the way, except for AR Rehman’s and Pookutty's awards, what exactly do we have for celebration? Their awards are for their own technical skill apart from the story. Only these can be called the ones truly bagged by Indians. Otherwise, what are we so excited that we are celebrating... for the parade of our country’s black side to the rest of the world? What are we so proud of? Should we really do so?

But my point is, making money and popularity by showcasing our penury is definitely not digestible. This movie has shown all the poverty and distress in details to outside world giving the ‘real’ picture of India. Agreed, we have slums, we are still juggling with penury and hunger, but then does even the USA not have its own slums, its dens of crime? There are a lot many countries worse off than India. And India has brighter faces as well.

Similar is the case with 2008 Man Booker Prize winning book ‘The White Tiger’ by Arvind Adiga. The very concept is strange prima facie; the protagonist, a slum urchin rises all the way through all possible means including robbery and murder to become a white collar entrepreneur. Then he writes to the Chinese Premier giving graphic details of his ‘successful rise’ as well as of the countryside’s dark life. It might seem interesting for the foreigners, but for us the stark realities of slums are everyday sights. And other countries don’t have better or no slums. We don’t need entire (and so depressing) book to understand it.

Slumdog Millionaire is not Indian but a British movie shot in India and was released here later. Lovleen Tondon, the assistant director was roped in to get the local flavor. Even the lead actor Dev Patel is out and out an NRI.

Also, an amazing movie like Tare Zameen Pe (TZP) was packed home. I feel TZP showed how cinema can be used as a powerful medium to the benefit of the society and changed the way every parent, teacher and even our sleepy government looked at the school children. The government actually made amendments in the existing rules to give dyslexic kids half an hour extra in Boards.

We have a mental block that ‘west’ means ‘best’ and crave for its approval for our best. I strongly feel Oscars are over hyped. We need to shun chasing them and maintain our self confidence. Though India has gained independence long back, we still continue to be mental slaves to the white skin.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Gol Gappe ......& Success..... :)

I am a big fan of golgappas (pani puris). I go to my favorite chaatwala... Well I am too loyal to this particular fellow. I saw people coming in big swanky cars and actually queuing up! There are many reasons for this like popularity like good PR (he never gets irritated), quality and service as well as a unique taste. So I can easily conclude that this particular chaatwala is famous in his catchment area and a little beyond too. He is excellent at making golgappas and that’s also his profession; he is doing his work diligently and sincerely. So, is he successful?? I asked one of my friends. Pat came the reply: a big NO, because he is a poor chaatwala, uneducated and ‘dehati’. But I disagree.

Mr Shiv Khera says he who does his work sincerely and with honesty is successful... That is why the chaatwala is no less then a mini celebrity in our colony. And yes, the most important- I feel he is free, running his own venture, not subservient to anyone, not doing anyone’s job. His hard work is going to pay ‘him’ and his negligence is also going to cost ‘him’, no one else. He can hold his head high, decide on his own when to open shop, whom to or not to serve, etc… now how many of us in jobs can enjoy this type of freedom??

One of my teachers (a sweet Anglo-Indian lady from Mussouri with an amazing smile and overall personality..:) one day shared with us the story of her senior school friend who failed thrice and yet joined her first job at the same level as hers. My teacher feels that the girl is successful because of her amazing self confidence, and I agree. How many of us will not get depressed or can gather guts to apply for a good job after failing thrice?? Now that girl is doing very well and is in UK currently.

So finally what is the definition or measure of success? Is it a journey or a destination? I feel its means different things to different people but we widely tend to measure it by the preset and outdated academic benchmarks which themselves are yearning for improvement. Kids inclined towards thinking, arts, literature etc are labeled as duffers and failures in schools. I feel a semiliterate housewife efficiently managing a big family in a modest budget, or a student (like u, my dear Bindu..:) topping his/her exams on a tight budget is successful. Women who have sacrificed their personal lives to bring up young siblings are successful because they have perfectly played their roles as sisters, mothers, wives, daughters, etc, all at the same time.

Having a job in a Fortune 500 company but with tearful eyes and pocket full of money, to me, is no success at all. Certainly not better than my favorite golgappa man! What say ???

Sunday, February 15, 2009

MBA -- Mentally Blocked Aadmi !!

The elephant trainers, they say, tie baby elephant to a pole with a chain. The animal is kept tied till it becomes adult and then the chain is removed. But the elephant still does not go away because mentally it always feels itself tied to that pole. Somewhat same thing happens in the B schools too.

There are millions of students dying to get into B-schools to get an MBA degree and B schools too charge exorbitant fees to teach students various fundas and tricks of business. I have studied in a good B school myself and know it inside out. Simple things are expressed in mind boggling, impressive jargon and there are activities like corporate lectures to impress industry people. But what I have always noticed and felt is our esteemed faculties mould the young and inquisitive minds into a slave mentality.

To any act of indiscipline on the part of students, the usual and the first reaction of the faculty is ‘this is not expected of you, how you will survive in a job?’ Or ‘such acts will not make any company recruit you people’ … I have been through all this, and I still wonder why don’t faculty takes it in a slightly different light and say ‘this is not expected of you, how will you manage your own venture this way?’.

The years in a B-school put a cage around the free creative mind of a young soul, teaching students to be good employees and to keep their bosses happy, to work like a machine, never to say no to any work, to defend their job with their life, etc but hardly if ever to be good entrepreneurs and to recruit and keep ‘their’ employees happy and satisfied. They teach us to generate new ideas to get early promotions but not to start a new venture of our own. Even the biggest B-school carries this mentality though, it’s now changing fast. B-schools, agreed, teach us business but also make us perceive a job as a most precious thing.

Where are all the ethics gone? The B-Grads learn to excel in jobs with chutzpah and to be competitive even with friends, and carry razor sharp professionalism in their attitude, a typical trait they have learnt in B-schools and are quite proud of, but what the MBA has not taught them is where to and with whom to apply this professionalism of theirs. That’s why half of them end up making rounds of mental counselors. None of the faculties (except that of the subject ‘entrepreneurship development’ that too is an elective one carrying minor weight) ever encourages entrepreneurship.

Are we churning out manager- robots from our high profile B-schools, who are going to carry this mental attitude with a pride all their life? Just like the poor elephant that spends its entire life tied to a pole absolutely unaware of its strength, thanks to the mental block it has been put into.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Beep-beep, Beep-beep SMSsssss!

I received an SMS message from a friend. It was funny with an amazing sense of humor, some thing out of the box. So often we see messages full of new ideas and angles from which people can look at the things or give a tweak to the too well-known words that they make us smile & laugh out loud, or sometimes push us into a pondering mode, but certainly leave us marveling at the creativity displayed by its author.
We tag punch lines, advertisements, fashion designs etc. for their utmost creativity, but for me the SMS messages are the height of creativity. In case you have missed on this, just spare some time and go through the SMS messages in the newspapers, or closer home, in your own mobile, and check for yourself!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


We keep reading about the independence of women all over. Each and every magazine and newspaper publishes something related to this topic every weekend. But is it really so in actual life? Except for a few Celebes, are Indian women really confident enough to face the world? Well, we actually have no logical and straight answer to this question, given all the different cultures and societies in a huge cultural melting pot known as India.

But my point is based on a thing I have noticed: why are we so paranoid about eating out alone. And why do we give mixed reactions of surprise and awe when we spot someone who is doing so? Is it a crime? Is it illegal, very outlawish, attracting a penalty? Why do we make our faces in protest when we spot someone, specially a girl, eating alone? We tend to jump to many conclusions, like

· she is devoid of all the friends in the world,
· she is very much single, willing to mingle
· she is depressed (poor soul),
· she has a lot of chutzpah, and yes,
· she is very western.

That poor girl (eating out alone) might not have any of these qualities. Are we really schizophrenic??at one hand we push our girls to step out alone, telling them to face the life and on the other pass strange looks?

Monday, February 2, 2009


Well, I have always loved pets. I think that must be prominent in my birth chart much to the irritation of my family and friends.

One of my dear friends Anubha just got a new puppy. It’s a very cute and sweet Lahsa Apso. When I mention a puppy, I need not use the adjective cute!! But its name is just too tough and long to memorize, like some exotic French dish; I wonder what that pup might be thinking, (yaar, kaisi complicated malkin mili hai!). Any ways, let’s not get into what that puppy might be thinking but my friend got it for a good price, the procedure was long with a lot of paperwork involved. I asked her out of my natural curiosity, why she didn’t adopt one?? After all she could have easily done so. To this she actually had no substantial reply.

Is it not a good idea to adopt an animal rather then buying one? There are so many NGOs doing this service, like Friendicos and Maneka Gandhi’s ‘Heads & Tails. Having a pet actually relieves one of tension and many such ailments that stem from psychological problems. Kids are happiest when with pets. And all this is not my personal ‘gyaan’ rather these are the research insights I came across in various newspapers and magazines.

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principle difference between a dog and a man”. - Mark Twain

An orphan pet gets a family and a family gets a bundle of joy… who says money can’t but happiness?? And this way you also save an animal from the cruel extermination by Municipal staffers, which it would otherwise ultimately face. I too had a pet. Mine was a pure white American spitz. I lost it some two years back, and believe me its memory is still alive and will always be. A dog or any animal gives unconditional love, no matter whether the owner is a king or a pauper, and in return they need just enough food and a little love... That’s it! One can know the value of a pet only after keeping it. I still have fresh memories of my pup running towards me as I would enter home, waiting for me patiently; and yes, I can never forget the love in its eyes, when it would look at me innocently without any demands or expectations.

I read this line somewhere “There no better physiatrist in this world than a cute puppy licking your face” well! This can sound a bit unhygienic to some people but the actual sense is that a pet brings joy and colour to one’s life. And support too; trained dogs are no less then a boon for the disabled people. (‘Dogs with jobs’ on the National Geographic Channel)

“Man is a dog's idea of what God should be”. - Holbrook Jackson

I want to request all those reading this post of mine, with a hope somewhere in my heart that it would effect their decision. Please adopt a pet and gift a new life to a poor little creature and to yourself too…

Confused about where to start?? Please refer:

· http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/dogs-with-jobs
· http://adoption-pets.vivastreet.co.in/find-pet-dog-adopt
· http://www.weforanimals.com/adopt%20a%20pet.htm
· http://www.bluecross.org.in/adopt.html

For some cute and heart warming videos check out these youtube links:



My friend priyanka

Sunday, February 1, 2009

WE, THE HYBRIDS...aren't we???

For last few days I had been thinking of writing again. But the traditional paper and pen thing is too tiresome for a lazy bone like me so it got delayed. There are a lot of things to write about, where should I start from... From Oscars to Obama-mania, from Slumdog Millionaire to SRK over-hype, from terrorism to extremely irritating and disturbing peace marathons (wow! busy Celebes have time to run, but have to time for worthwhile things!).

India is changing that’s true. We are the hybrid children; I mean to say the hybrid generation. Because when liberalization, privatization and globalization (LPG) happened in 1991, we were quite small and while we were really growing up; the changes were too fast to keep pace with, and too dominant to ignore, no matter how much our parents wanted to insulate us from new fads. Like the pundits of consumer behavior have classified generations as baby boomers etc, I too have a management jargon ready: ‘The hybrid kids’. By definition these are the people born between 1980 to 1990. We have been a witness to all the changes and developments, actual and proposed (though their ratio is never balanced!) and the small changes that have been taking ever since India opened up her veil to face the entire world. These developments have been interesting and reflect the changing India. From cinema to small screen and from the way common people now dress and eat to the gizmos even the kids use with remarkable dexterity. Children now have a strong mentality of their own and are followers no more and this has been a dominant factor in shaping the consumer behavior and consequently, the strategies the brand retailers now apply. Well, actually that’s not the main focus of my article; it is, do hybrid kids feel some sort of identity crisis?? Yup, I feel so... That’s where we crib of the generation gap.

Is it true?

The rate of change has been exponential. Since around start of nineteenth century the machines won over the traditional labor and ever since, have not stopped churning millions of units of homogenous products. The trend has since been on acceleration, particularly after the WW-II. To absorb all this new tactics of selling, branding, creative advertising, etc., or what we can call ‘neo-marketing’, etc was created. The still young and potential markets in the countries like India and China are being targeted by the marketers the world over. Luxury brands that once considered coming to India an insult and down gradation are now flocking as their snobbish markets are now facing recession and saturation.

What I wish to convey in this article is that though changes have been exponential, gaining much force and momentum with each passing year, month and even week, the generation that has observed and felt both the pre- and neo-changes is us, the children born between 1980-1990, for we have seen combined and nuclear families, docile and fiercely independent women within the same families, Hamara Bajaj and Hayabusa, Ek Chidia to Shakira, Mile sur mera tumhara to Rolling Stones rock concerts, no to full makeup, long to micro minis and what not !

I mean, no other generation have seen changes so paradigm. The previous generation saw changes taking place slowly without disturbing their existing balance but we have been on a roller coaster ride ever since we were born.

And our growing up years have witnessed a changing environment outside and a tiff between traditional and modern lifestyles at home…
isn’t it true that we face an identity crisis? What do u think?