Monday, August 31, 2009

August Round Up

*Ok firstly copyright rights belong to Jayanth for the round up idea*

I have posted 9 posts this month, i am inordinately overjoyed cos i am in touch with one part of myself, Hope i better this next month. With better posts or even worse ones

Went to Chennai for a day, dint meet my friends, but bought lots of seedai, murukku and cashew pakkoda at krishna sweets in the airport. They were hidden in the room and clandestinely completed in 3 days.

Met my old roomie, was good catching up with the proud sardar

Pasanga is the best movie of the year, while kandawamy was a torture;
Kaminey and Love Aaaj kal, i liked both of em

Saw Batman Begins and Dark Knight (for 5th time i think) back to back with beer in hand, Saw Iron Man for the first time in HBO (Whattey Movie!), As per classics, saw "from here to eternity" and "pathways to glory", very very good movies

Work has been ok, freshers have joined, great fun pulling their legs, advicing and taunting them. Otherwise my work, like me, is stagnant without a purpose

Taught at a college for first time. Nice time as mentioned in the blog.

Have been too much into gtalk.. made a nice friend in mumbai, Need to make more of em. Need to meet more friends. need to cut down on gtalk, we are slaves of habit.

I feel my sense of humor is in trouble, i need to save it. Wodehouse save me!!! Vadivelu is my only source of comfort right now.

I missed my GF for ten days cos she was busy with her sisters wedding, She will call me tomorrow. Am a slave of habit, like i told earlier. (Good habit i mean)

Forgot Avani avattam. Heck i dont even have a poonal. My mom asked Why i dint have a poonal. I told her i am not keeping well and there is a lot of swine flu happeinig around. Succesfuly diverted the topic.

Went for a swine flu test at bandra, after a genuine suspicion. Those idiots wouldnt test me cos the govt allows only to test critical cases. I was wearing a mask and fought with the doc wearing a mask, seeking justice, both of us still dont know how the other actually looks.

My bro performed Ganesh Chaturthi pooja, by playing the Ganesh Pooja CD in his PS3, and i was given the duty of ding-dong'ing the holy bell (pooja mani), i got bored after sometime, gave the bell to bhabi and slept for 5 hours. She fed me kozha kattai and ulundhu vadai. May Ganapathi bless her.

Had quite an enlightening chat with my father over the phone, will blog about it. My dad is my ultimate teacher, except when he asks money for the education loan.

Yay! I finished my education loan!

Need to stop blogging about work life and rather write more about better things, for that i need to experience a lot more, I feel like a mass of cow dung at times, that's drying up.

September looks promising with a Hyderbad, Chennai and Bangalore trip in cards, Going to Chennai this weekend. Yay!

It might be a quite an eventful month for personal life.. hope its for the good. The Slog overs of the game has arrived, And in walks Sachin!!!

Thanks for your time, Happy Septemeber rowdies, rascals and pickpockets!!!

Mak boy!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Former : Latter

Religion is to God
Education is to Knowledge
Goal is to Awareness
Marriage is to Love

We lose the way dealing with the details of the former, that we seldom remember the latter


Mr Chandru (name changed) was quite a character, he worked in the media for more than 10 years and was a planning director for an ad firm in UAE He took a sabbatical for 5 years, learnt music, visited countries and learnt yoga.. An old colleague of Chandru insisted he come back to media and act as an independent consultant for the firm he was heading. And so, he was back in action. I had to meet him and had to update him on certain planning related stuff.

As I went about my usual rigmarole, Chandru interrupted “This trp, grp, frequency is all bull shit in the larger perspective of life, you know” he began, “I have seen a doctor yawn in an ICU room and brood about how thankless his job is, you know” I was puzzled why he brought this topic in but I let him speak. I soon realized, this was going to be the story of the day.

“Ok lets go for a smoke” he stopped me.

“Do you smoke?” he asked.

“No” I replied, “I do drink but” I told just to ensure he doesn’t think am too much of a innocent kid.

“I think you should smoke too, when you are 40, you realize you ought to have had more fun.” I was blank.

So as he took a deep puff of the cigarette, he resumed his monologue

“You know research is all humbug...

Its like this, a researcher had whiskey and water on Day 1; he had a bad hangover the next morning. So the next day he had vodka and water, he still had a bad hangover next morning, the third day he tried rum and water, the hangover still seemed to be there. And so he concluded, ‘since I had water all 3 days and I had hangover all 3 days, water causes hangover’”

I laughed in agreement. What he said was true, When you look at correlations and patterns, common sense takes a kick, many a time.

And then the topic shifted to mythology, Mr Chandru seemed to be an authority in Mahabratha and Ramayan “See, Krishna gave this bhagvat gita gyan to Arjun in the battle field right, lets do some numbers here, there are 700 verses, each verse atleast requires 2 minutes to recite, so make that 1400 minutes, (that’s 24 hours) does this mean when the war was happening around them, these 2 were busy discussing the truths of life for 24 hours non stop??, who are they bull-shitting?? And the kurukshetra war had 21,870 chariots, 21,870 elephants, 65,610 horses and 109,350 foot soldiers (source wiki), what the hell was Indian population then? The entire Kurikshetra battle field cant hold more than 10,000 people even now.”

He then told me about how the actual Mahabarath was a literal porn, “you wouldn’t find such cheesy porn even in the internet these days.” But the version we get to hear is all sugar coated and totally censored.” He then narrated an anectode of how a bird carries a sperm from the guy and drops it in the river, which a fish takes and deposits in the lady to finaly create the author Vyas. That was news for me!

“If they show the actual uncensored Mahabarath in TV now, the TRPs will sky rocket” I quipped wisely. He chuckled.

And with more such gyans of this and that, and after a mild argument, which he settled with a “Don’t get too worked up, there are plenty of opportunities for that in life!!!”

I went back wondering what to take home from the day. This guy just made mockery of research,. Ofcourse research isn’t all that bad, without looking at the past, and understanding what we really are (which is research) one cant move into the future.

And as I map my thoughts that night, “What is intelligence, Is making inferences from the past and present and predicting the future, intelligence? or using one’s instincts (the unique 6th sense) to know whats the next big thing called intelligence. I somehow am slightly biased towards the intuitive intelligence, the idea being the difference between a trend setter, and a trend follower"

This chap made me think, afterall!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

A day at the b school..

I had been to a b school the other day to give a gyan workshop on measurement science and media basics. I had to travel from dadar to mira road (around 50 Km), change a train at bandra, to eventually reach the place. After having a specially made south indian lunch at a colleagues place that included cabbage, sambhar, papad, a paneer preparation, sweets, butter milk and the like, I proceeded to the 4 hour session. I was nervous and sleepy. Especially after a lunch like that, you really don’t want to be talking to some b schoolers who can throw jargons at will and give that business-like look, which I fail to read.

After some smiley talk with the Hod, I entered the session, 54 students applauded in unison and one chap held the microphone as he gave a clich├ęd “we have distinguished personality with us bit" and gave me bouquet. I was chuckling inwardly, “Wait dude, am not distinguished, I came here because my company people asked me to and maybe there was no one else available” but the inflated ego dint blurt it out, I just told them don’t call me sir and started the session without giving any introduction about myself. Not even my full name. ‘You guys think, am some big shot, so be it’ I reflected, as I spoke of things that they might want to hear.

As the session rambled, I could notice a bunch of the last benchers in the world of their own, with no interest in whatsoever I was telling them. They somehow figured out ‘this guy is bull shitting’ and got back to their own world of chits and comments about how my nose looked maybe. The nice looking girls and the spectacled guys in the first 2 rows were all enthu and bombared me with questions. I had no complaints. I found my audience.

The colleague of mine, who accompanied, started asking questions to the last benchers based on what I was teaching. He was class monitor like. I felt uncomfortable. I told him in the loo to not torture the poor kids. I was a last bencher always, or atleast the one who never focused in the class. Whenever someone was trying hard to teach to me, I only felt the teacher was acting as a hindrance to my cause. If someone asked questions, one had to focus to avoid embarrassment, hated it! If someone isn’t interested in your session, it isn’t your fault. It’s just that the other person has better interests or better things to think of.

After a nice talk with some really worried, recession-hit students after the session got over, I told one girl who wanted to be a brand manager in a travel based company “Don’t put any pictures up there with respect to your career, be shallow, something will work out”, It wasn’t what she wanted to hear. She gave a helpless look. But I was right. I spoke of an intuitive wisdom. Who the hell knows whats in store. That girl might turn out to become my boss one day. I proceeded to another colleagues place to have some snack, play with his nieces and take the 2 hour journey back home.

Although the ego massage of being called a "Sir" was definitely good, there was an inward sense of troubled pleasure. I felt bad for all the teachers to whom I had given gross/funny nicknames. I went back home, met an old friend who had come from kolkota, and a couple of creative guys from advertising, went to a pub in bandra, nice beer, and slept like 2 AM placing the bouquet in one corner of the bed.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

News Prprpr! My name is Con!

As Sharukh Khan stresses on the fact that he was frisked, tortured in the Newark airport, one cant help notice how many times “just because my name is khan” appears in his press and TV interviews. As news channels splash this bit as headlines and news papers give it a liberal 1stpage, you and me, we have been made a ch***thya!

Why such a stunt? Was this entire stunt paid or free? Did a consultant make pie charts and suggest you this? We all know you are making a movie on how Muslims are being tortured in USA (are they any happier in India?), and that the entire premise for this karan johar saga would be revolving around your name being “Khan”, Sharukh Con suddenly acts like a messiah, as if he is ready to take on the US government. Mr. Karan Johar gives interviews supporting Sharukh.

Bollywoods obsession with free PR is irritating, remember when Aamir Khan was doing something in Narmada issue? And remember Rang de basanti was running in theatres?

Like my all time favorite Vadivelu says “Idhellam Room Pottu Yosipaangalo”

Friday, August 7, 2009

Settling in Mumbai

We all start out with exotic dreams, to be film stars, rock stars, sportsmen, super cops and lottery ticket winners, we want to live in that exotic island with blue beaches and bickini babes, It’s an exciting thought, until suddenly you realize (or someone wakes you up) you are reaching your 25th year and that you are none of the above and that given the choices you have made, your karma like every other person you know is… to Settle.

Yep. Settle in Life.

You suddenly see your colleagues talking about rates of the 1 bhk and 2 bhk. About home loan interests, and one of 'em even forwarded a “Home Loan Calculator” with the subject as ‘awesome link’. The link works like this, you type in how much loan you need and the calculator in turn says how much EMI you’ll need to pay the bank for next 20 years. Times of India splashes one page ads on ‘Never Before Recession Rates’, 1 square feet at 4999/- only. They call this the 2006 rate and people are excited. “All the money is in the real estate”, they declare triumphantly.

None of this excites me. It makes me uncomfortable.

Mumbai city is like a pyramid, with the tip of the pyramid being the South Mumbai. People from the larger bottom part of the pyramid (North Mumbai which lasts till almost Gujarat), move towards the elite south (famous for Gateway of India, Marine Drive and Kasav) as they get their promotions and dowries.

While the South Mumbai is the commercial hub (where the office is), the working class get their houses in Central/North Mumbai, travel for more than an hour to reach to the office. And the rates funda goes like this

Office to Home 30 min -> 1 bhk -> 50 lac+, 2 bhk -> 1 crore+

Office to Home 1 Hour -> 1 Bhk -> 30 Lac+, 2 bhk -> 50 lacs+

Office to Home 1.30 hour -> 1 Bhk -> 20 lac+, and hey 2 bhk costs 35 Lac+

Even house rentals are going to be in similar proportions, You get a 1 Bedroom flat for a rent of 20k if you are to travel half hour to your office.

Now most of the mumbaikars I know would marry and then buy the 2bhk at 35 lac, and travel 1.30 hours a day. They are excited about the additional bedroom for the next 20 years, and are least bothered about the additional half an hour up and down for the next 20 years.

Their life becomes the morning 8:05 train fast local and the returning evening 7:45 train Borivalli local. They discuss the train stories incessantly with you and its not hard to notice how much people talk of the train in their daily conversations. The Mumbaikar train friendship stories are legendary. People exchange breakfast and sweets. Invite one another to the functions and weddings. Its beautiful in a way. If you are ok with that kind of life that is.

Now lets do some calculation, 2 hours a day= 1 month a year

(meaning 2 hours/day = 60 hours/ month = 720 hours/year = 30 days/ year)

So simply put, our friendly colleague is going to spend 1 month of his year, just going and returning from the office. Gosh! Scary! And considering the 20 year loan period Almost 2 years in the 20 years goes in the train.

Lemme tell you this, I’ll never choose a life like that. Time is too precious. Too many things to do. Too many places to see.I don’t have the patience.

And heck why do we need to settle, a wise friend of mine once said “Only Dust Settles”. I’d much rather be a trailblazer, who never settled his base and who never travelled not more than 20 min to his work and never settle in the same city for more than 3 years!

And whats the obsession with the additional bedroom. My father is of the opinion that smaller the house, more closely knit its members. And I believe in that. A bedroom is more expensive than we think.

I think we have to blame our perceptions for this, we quantify happiness and qualify money.

Any Opinions?


Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Question : How does Mumbaikar A wish Mumbaikar B a Happy Raksha Bandhan?

Answer: Happy Raksha Bandhan, Behen Ch**d!!! :-D

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mean, Median and Me

I’ve always been an average Joe, you could call me an average Arun, considering the we have one Arun thriving in every square mile. I may rise above, I may descend down, but I eventually get back to the average position, the straight sweet line which you use for reference. It’s like a sinusoidal wave; a trough and a crest and in between I rest.

The idea being am always the guy who took pride in this comfy equilibrium position. The fulcrum looking at the extremes see-sawing in a detached amusement and amused detachment. You could call me the 80% guy. While 95% made me insecure and shy, 70% embarrassed me and again shy. And when I get the 80 am like, yeah baby, that’s me.

‘The nothing spectacular about me, and hey wait am not that bad as well’ is a mode of living I would advocate for majority of my people. Amidst the people in pursuit of the trophy and the ones who play the role of the weakling and get kicked out of the first round, the average joe gets to the finals and smiles and applauds the winner, even semi final would do. Heck even quarterfinal would. Let the achievers make the big money, I’ll read about in the papers and make funny comment about how you need to pay more taxes.. or take it in another tangent and talk about how we get obsessed with tangibles like money ahead of intangibles like camaraderie and peace.

In my 14 years of school education, that I completed 7 years back, countless would have been the times I scored the 10th rank. It happened like a rule. No matter what the class strength was, Arun gets the 10th rank. I took pride in this specific rank, Sachin had 10 written in his t shirt. I reflect with pride. And also the 10th rank guy is the sort of guy who is the potential, he never poses a threat to anyone but he has the potential you know.

I guess the trend still seems to be continuing, the threshold of the average has gone up. You could call me the 85% guy, but my boss still wonders “why the hell is this guy not doing better”, “he isn’t proactive” “too laidback” “he wants to run home””too much time passing”.”gives too much gyan” “he is in his own bloody world”. yes sir! I am all that, I agree and that’s why you gave the not too satisfying appraisal. And hey I was merely sticking to my 80% rulebook ;)


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Music as i understand..

The new Ipod nano coming into my life has been a welcome change. The old one, a cute white shuffle, gifted by the sweet lady in love was hardly used thanks to that missing charger cable. But the new one, a video nano, which I got as a prize, she is a beauty! And it has revived my musical sense. Such cool mp3 players sing to your soul. They find their way through your cochlea and strike a chord with the sinews of the heart.

And lemme confess am no expert in assessing music, but given the ear, cochlea and the heart and ofcourse the ipod, I thought I would explain what I think about music and also raise my grouse against the music composers of today.

Music like anything else has beginning, middle and an end. But our composers hardly seem to care beyond the first stanza, They give the song a sehwag like start. And then midway the song squeaks and merely leads to the end, which again yawns and stops.

Let me give you a recent example, am just returning from this movie love aaj kal, decent attempt I should say.(Deepika! Deepika!), but what stayed on my mind and lingered long after the movie got over was this song, “Yeh Duriyaan”. I like the way the singer in sadness serenades the initial lines and hopefully says “Fanah ho sabhi dhuriyaan”. Wow! I liked that line. I run back to my laptop. Download the song. Load it onto the ipod and here I am listening to it.

The song begins with a stylish whistle, and the nice bit I mentioned earlier. Now what happened! I suddenly feel too many unnecessary instruments coming into the composition. Like a sudden symphony kind of an arrangement and then from nowhere a peppy flute for a pretty long time towards the end (this bit reminds me of some song of rahman) and to make things worse few carol singers yelling something in english, Come on! where is the connection. “There is no flow in this presentation” An angry boss would have exploded and laid you off. All these pieces make sense separately, but together, No! This is manipulation. It’s a commercial hit riding on a beautiful start.

I think many Hindi songs follow this trend, Tamil songs too. Harris and Yuvan, Awesome start and that’s that. I guess that’s what software music can achieve. The composer can layer in a lot of instruments and is too absorbed in showing it off. Doesn’t every carnatic raga have a beginning, middle and end. So would Hindustani or classical I presume.

And then there are songs like Saawariya from Swades, a normal low profile start, but the way it builds up, Gayathri Joshi seems to be liking Sharukh more with every line, Woah! the second stanza is better than the first and the final one just took me to another plane..“Jabse mili sajna, tujhse najariya”, nobody can sing those lines with their eyes open, she must have sure prepared herself for this late onslaught!, what a song, Who is this singer? Alga Yagnik?

I think Illayaraja orchestrates the better compositions. I just finished with “Mandram Vandha” from Mouna Raagam and “Kaadhalin Deepam Ondru” from Thambiki endha ooru (yes the one where superstar walks and sings)

Each song has a life, one line leading to the other, I, the listener, am waiting for the next line am actually looking forward to it. Music ought to be a mere facilitator in the entire scheme of things .

I cant remember the second stanzas from Rahman’s ghajini songs or his compositions for Shankar movies (I like uppu karuvaadu and yen vittu thotathil!), but do clearly remember the middle and end portion of Kadhal Rojave, Pachai Nirame or Kannamoochi yenada. While the former is merely notice worthy, the others engage you all through.

Ok next song please…!