27 August, 2008

Post candidates

Writing is much tougher than I thought. What keeps me going are visions of grandeur and fame and unabashed adulation by the teeming millions.
But seriously, there are things about blogging which are irritating.
Writing ideas and plots have a bad sense of timing. In the sense that they occur almost always when I am not in front of a computer. I forget half of them by the time I log into blogger.
Also, You know that there are some people (besides  your close friends) who might be reading your blog. But you don't really know what they want to read. There is an absence of structured feedback. I miss it.  (Even in  running a business, I sometimes miss having a boss.  I wonder if that makes me a  very sorry entrepreneur)
I thought I will make a list of things I want to write about and then write them as proper articles later.
1. Our parents' generation - I often wonder about the  "good ol' days". What were the good things to do then? I wonder what were the things my parents did to kill time? And my grandparents. I watched Mumbai Meri Jaan and there is a clip in which they show about 60 years of Bombay - starting with independence and  the  first international flights from Bombay and ending with the life and traffic today in "Mumbai". Such clips always make me think about the immediate past - How were things in the 50s and the 60s in India - was there hope and confidence or had the current apathy already set in? I think writing this one will need some interviewing (jobless that I am)
2. The rise (and fall?) of Google - There isn't much to talk about in the rise - everyone has seen it happen... but it is increasingly tempting to discuss a potential fall - continued dependence on Adwords, poor quality of natural search results despite algorithm changes, anti-trust issues and so on.
3. The ROI of road repair - Is there another way than hoping for the MCD/NDMC (damn them!) gods to smile and come and repair your potholes?

Ha! I thought that writing about posts and not writing an entire post about anything in particular was a smart idea.
The only thing that could go wrong was if all my post ideas dried up.
Thanks Murphy!

19 August, 2008

Bachao Haseeno se...

So the movie was ok, but I think there could be more interesting endings.The original plot is here for those who have not seen it and don't want to.
Part 1 -
This part of the movie remains unchanged - Raj (RK) meets Mahi (ML) [song] and then moves on - Sleeps and then runs away from Radhika (BB) - Meets and then falls in love [song] with Gayatri (DP) [This point in itself was a good ending for a somewhat pointless and hence an average movie. However, Gayatri says no to Raj and this is something he can not handle. Raj wants to apologise to every one he has ever hurt with his wily ways. Given the length of the list, he decides to apologise properly to the top two he had hurt the most. He sets off to apologise to Mahi and Radhika.
Part 2 -
Raj finds out that Mahi has a husband. He meets Mahi who has her parents visiting her at her house. She does not recognise Raj. Raj tells everyone that he is a friend of Mahi's younger sister's fiancee. There is a wedding going on and there is singing and dancing [song]. Mahi's father recognises Raj takes him to meet Mahi. This time, Mahi is able to place Raj and remembers the incident. She calls her husband and the two of them have a laugh about it. Raj asks for forgiveness. Mahi does not understand and Raj explains his reasons. Mahi can not believe that Raj is being serious and she and her husband have another hearty good laugh.Mahi realises that Raj is quite serious so she sobers up and tells Raj that her life was not affected for more than a few hours after that day at the airport. Raj leaves. [no song]
Radhika is a regular Rakhi Sawant, who does item songs for a living. She is a b*tch as a boss and she fires secretary just after an event [item song]. Radhika holidays alone (!) in Italy and Raj has to go there to meet her. Radhika offers the job of her secretary (read servant) to Raj on a whim, to see if he is really serious about apologising and he does. She gives him a tough time running errands, but Raj works very hard. Radhika has a soft spot for Raj quite quickly, but continues to give him tough errands.  There is a party where Radhika flirts with a few men [song] and tries to see if Raj is getting jealous . After the party, Radhika tries to seduce Raj [song] but Raj resists. Radhika is impressed and tells Raj that they can start a new life together [rain song, Radhika trying harder!] and that she has forgiven him. Raj apologises for not feeling the same way about her and leaves for Australia. Radhika curses Raj.
Raj comes back to find out that he has been fired. Raj also needs to leave the country as his work permit will expire in a month. He tries to meet Gayatri. He finds out that Gayatri was heartbroken after he left and Rahul (enter Abhishek Bachan) supported her. One thing led to another and Gayatri and Rahul are now dating. She has completed Bschool and plans to start a new video game design company with Rahul. She also wants to marry Rahul as she thinks that she wants to settle down and have a family. She tells Raj that Raj had met her when she was "very cool" but Rahul met her when she was completely miserable and yet took care of her and has brought her back to normalcy. Raj sits in a plane for Italy and remembers Radhika's curse.
Movie ends.

12 August, 2008

Bin-dra, done that!

Every one knows by now about this, but just wanted to record this moment for posterity and as a portent of things to come....
(Image courtesy - wikipedia)  
(There has to be a model by which one could predict medals per country - independent variables could include media density, per capita state spend on education and/or sports.
Random thought - if every one wants to work less, why dont we have 4 day weeks and 3 day weekends?)

11 August, 2008

The Bombay Plan

If you know your history, you will know that the Bombay plan referred to a plan which called for rapid industrialisation of India by using a large infusion of public funds. The plan was backed by prominent Indian industrialists including JRD Tata and was circulated around 1945. Surprisingly, it was formulated by leading businessmen and industrialists but it called for substantial state intervention in industrial development. Historians say that the first few five year plans were based largely on this plan, even though the plan did not gain any official backing or recognition.
However, my Bombay plan was very different. It involved running around bombay for two meetings, which went ok. It also meant meeting most of my IIMA friends under one roof with a few notable exceptions, and not doing anything significant other than resting and eating for two days. I think my plan was more successful than its illustrious older namesake.
Five years since I passed out and a large majority of my friends today are those I met at campus. I wonder if it this is something to be worried about or take inferences from. Does it mean that I have stopped meeting new people? Does it mean that I am boring and have not been able to make new friends? I think I am ok in making new friends.I have made new friends, but not so many of them and I do not hang out with them in the same way as I hang out with my campus friends.
At the same time, I think that I like to spend more and more time with them is because even though we might not share similar thoughts, we share similar attitudes. There have been numerous situations where a very demanding task has been confronted by an equally demanding disregard for all things important and critical. I think campus did that to us. The laid-back-ness of such gatherings,therefore, is awe-inspiring. (About ten of us could not arrange for ice cubes and we could not also decide where to go on Saturday night).
The whole of saturday turned out well as well. (With all of us every thing has to turn out in some way. Notihng is planned). A full English followed by rest (RG - I dont need to sleep, I just need to lie down for a while; MM - I have stuff to do in the house) followed by some biryani and some playstation. Always hits the spot. I think life in bombay is a bit like life in London - every one stays away from family and has plenty of time over the weekends.
Bombay, on the other hand, never ceases to amaze with its traffic, congestion (such a mild word compared to what actually happens in Bombay) and rain. Each one of us had our traffic tales for the day and week, but it was all soon forgotten. Kebabs from Carter road and single malt from Dubai soothed our jarred nerves and restored our faith in humanity. I wanted to stay on on Sunday as well, but it was my sister's birthday back in Delhi, so off I went.

06 August, 2008

What's the Catch?

It was love at first read. The first time I read it was in college. It helped me during my MBA entrance interviews as well, as it played the part of my favourite book, favourite author and also the last book I had read (it probably was). There is something about the Catch because of which I keep coming back to it. So do a lot of others it seems. It has been voted one of the best novels of all times in several surveys.
Someone once told me that one of the reasons I was not floored by "Catcher in the Rye" was probably because I did not read it at the right age. With Catch 22, I think I got it right.
What did I like about it?
The humour. Black and dry and variations of the same.
The confusing narrative, which jumped from place to place and person to person and forward and backwards in time - all in the same sentence some times.
The characters - Yossarian (the anti hero, ofcourse!), Ex-PFC Wintergreen, Milo (The capitalist) and Dunbar. in fact, all the characters were like different possible roles one acts out in real life. Many a time, I have spotted Wintergreen, Cathcart, Yossarian and Dreedle in real life.
The book is also a melting pot of so many underlying themes - the arguments of one person's welfare versus many, the sanity inside insanity, heroism and the lack of it, the absurd extremes of bureaucracy, the absurd extremes of normalcy as well, love versus lust - it never fails to excite.
Heller also made disguised references to earlier works and usually let his characters take the opposite position. For example, Yossarian is the opposite of Achilles all through the book when he always chooses his life over others. He is also the opposite of Jesus, when he choses to make a deal with the colonel.
I used to have a very worn out copy, which had survived the college hostel, numerous train  rides between Delhi and Mangalore and long rainy evenings in London. I got another copy as a birthday gift a few years ago. Getting something you really like is nice. Always.
The next book which comes anywhere close is "The Life of Pi" by Yann Martel. But that is another post.
(Also, blogger sucks!)