Monday, May 30, 2005

Aisa koi saga nahi, jisko thaga nahi

Ye world hain na world, isme mein do tarah ke log hote hain, ek jo blog likhte hain aur doosre wo jo blog padhte hain
ye main nahi, ye wo dono kehte the.. aur kehte kya the, karte the.. aur aisa karte the jaisa na kisine kiya, na shayad koi kar payega

This year's first musical starts promisingly enough with a song which introduces Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee as youthful and energetic with big dreams and almost no means to achieve them. Imaginative choreography, peppy beats and nifty camerawork make it a treat to the eyes and prepares you for an engrossing time ahead.

After the excellent and critically acclaimed Saathiya, Shaad Ali returns to present a light-hearted, immensely entertaining offering that turns quite a few movie making norms on the head while showcasing the new India's willingness to enjoy stories with the lead characters being on the wrong side of the law and not being apologetic about it at all.

Bunty aka Rakesh Trivedi, son of a Train Ticket Collector stays with his parents in Fursatganj and cooks up impractical schemes to become rich and famous while installing a shower on the roof of his home when the water pressure is so low that everyone in the area has to go to a community tap to get water. He has to go for an interview the next day to become a Ticket Collector like his dad.

Babli aka Vimmo, a Sikh girl with dreams of making it big and destroying quite a few clothes in the process, lives in Panaki Nagar and is about to be married off.

With things not quite to their liking, they run off to Lucknow and met at the station after their plans were thwarted in the city. Shaad Ali even managed to shift the Harcourt Butler Technical Institute (HBTI) from its original location in Kanpur to Lucknow. What was the need for doing so remains beyond me. And since when did selections for the Miss India contest start being held in Engineering Colleges (HBTI) ?

A hilarious sequence at the Lucknow station later, they decide to move to Kanpur to try their luck and start off on a series of joint exploits,all over UP,my favorite being the one where they rent out the Taj Mahal to an American businessman for his wedding for $250 Million, that eventually leads them to Mumbai where they run afoul of the eccentric, delightfully Bihari-accented Hindi speaking DCP Dasrath Singh (Amitabh Bachchan) who vows to catch the duo.

What ensues is a montage of sequences that are hugely entertraining and left me a bit afraid that the ending will perforce have to be rather tame because of the compulsary need to bring everything to a logical conclusion. That the ending came as a rather pleasant surprise is ample testimony to the amount of thought put into this courageous labour of love.

The dialogues are really well written with sparkling fresh humor strewn around liberally. A few scenes stand out for their spontaneity.

Amitabh Bachchan is drunk on free drinks provided by a hotel owner on the occassion of selling his hotel to Bunti and Babli (B&B) and is trying to indulge in some shayari. Here is the masterpiece.
mat pila sharaab muft mein...
mat pila sharaab muft mein...
mat pila sharaab muft mein...
hotel kaise chalega !

Another scene in the same hotel has Bunti asking the bar tender for a drink and then asking him to put Whisky, Vodka, Gin and Rum in the same drink prompting Amitabh, who is nursing his own drink at the bar, to ask
kyun miyan, chaand pe jaana hai ?
Bunti retorts
kyun, aap ticket bech rahe hain?

On way to Mumbai, Babli gets nostalgic about her home and starts sobbing. Bunti asks her to sit down for some time and get the memories done with. She takes a bit longer than he expects and he gets irritated and asks
tum jara jaldi nahi kar sakti?
Babli replies
kar rahi hoon na.. yaad aa rahi hai, bathroom nahi..

Abhishek Bachchan's directors are usually unable to resist the temptation to mention his link with Allahabad, and Shaad Ali proves to be no exception.
Amitabh:Kahan ke ho ?
Amitabh:Shakal se hee dikhte ho.

Amitabh and Abhishek's chemistry on-screen is fabulous to watch. Special mention has to made of the peppy Qawwali Kajrare Kajrare, sung amazingly well by Alisha Chinoy. This was Aishwarya Rai's much vaunted 'item' song and frankly I was not impressed. I could not help wishing it was Sushmita Sen doing it. But what brought the house down was Amitabh and Abhishek's dual act attempting to seduce the damsel. Amitabh defies his age and conventional norms to dance with gay abandon and shows he can still shake a mean leg. Abhishek,never known for his dancing, tries hard to keep up, coached well by Shiamak Davar, and manages to put up a decent show. My favorite actor of this generation keeps getting better.

Which brings us to Rani Mukherjee. Arguably the best actress in a past few years, she proves yet again that she can deliver the goods. With rumours about her romance with Abhishek flying thick and fast, fuelled by their steamy show in Yuva, she is probably the only mainstream Hindi actress to have kissed an actor (Abhishek in Yuva and Bunti & Babli) and his father (Amitabh in Black). Would be pretty embarassing if she gets married to Abhishek and then the Bachchan family sits down to watch Black. Ouch !

Coming back to the movie. This one is a winner. A must must must must must watch. I give all the stars. Go watch the movie and listen to Amitabh kicking a suspect into confessing about his role in the Taj Mahal plot.

Saale, Taj Mahal bika hai, teri taxi nahi

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Evil Bill & EPIC

The third member of my childhood friends duo, Shashank Shekharpati tripathi aka Mukul aka Mukki came to Bangalore yesterday morning from Hyderabad where he is doing his Summer training as part of the M.Sc. Geology course from IIT Kharagpur.

This meant that our trinity of Mukki, Deepak Nautiyal and yours truly was together after about 3 years. What it also meant was the next 2 days were going to be filled with lots of catching up, opinionated discussions, super-heated debates and lotsa gossip sharing about old flames and other sundry matters.

We spent the afternoon roaming around Brigade Road where Deepu joined us and then we proceeded to buy a pair of shoes for Deepu since his current ones had to be compulsarily retrenched due to inability to perform duties to satisfactory levels. We also bought tickets for the next day's noon show of Bunty and Babli, a movie which we were waiting for since a long time since it was the first time Big B and not-so Big B i.e. his son were appearing together in a movie. The evening was spent drifting around the Residency Road area while incessant rains threatened to make it difficult for us to reach the IIMB campus where I am staying.

A short break in the downpour enabled us to get to IIMB where we proceeded to Khana Khazana, a North Indian Dhaba-style eatery closeby, for dinner. A thoroughly filling eating later, we were back in my room in IIMB. The usual much-acclaimed IIMB Saturday Night L-square party was not happening so it was relatively quiet in the hostel.

The rest of the night was spent in discussing the ethics of Microsoft's practices in dealing with its competition with both my friends passionately espousing the cause of Open Source and other related causes while I waged a lone battle in defense of Bill's methods. Six hours of heated debate later, we were nowhere close to a conclusion but it was fun to debate heatedly on issues close to your heart and not worry about the repurcussions thereof.

We spent another couple of hours playing our favorite card game, Coat-piece.

While playing we were also surfing the net and came across this flash presentation on a possible future of computing and the net as we see it. It was thought-provoking, interesting and a bit scary. Here is the link to the page.

Going for the movie now, lets see how it turns out to be.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Blogging suspended - Rainstorm in Bangalore

There is a raging rainstorm going on in Bangalore right now. Blogging service is suspended.

rukawat ke liye khed hai.

Then and Now

from Anirban via email.

Image hosted by

So very apt. More power to us !

Alagaava ke chhe ansh

anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries

This theory, called Six Degrees of Separation, was first proposed in a short story by a Hungarian Author.

I came across this tidbit in Wikipedia.

In 1967, American sociologist Stanley Milgram (see Small world phenomenon) devised a new way to test the theory, which he called "the small-world problem". He randomly selected people in the American Midwest to send packages to a stranger located in Massachusetts, several thousand miles away. The senders knew the recipient's name, occupation, and general location. They were instructed to send the package to a person they knew on a first-name basis who they thought was most likely, out of all their friends, to know the target personally. That person would do the same, and so on, until the package was personally delivered to its target recipient.
Although the participants expected the chain to include at least a hundred intermediaries, it only took (on average) between five and seven intermediaries to get each package delivered. Milgram's findings were published in
Psychology Today and inspired the phrase six degrees of separation.

To know more about how close could you possibly be related to someone, Read on.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

the day NooYark became Allahabad

Cant believe someone can call New York, the eternal city of money, power and the trappings thereof, a romantic city. But then if it is Suketu Mehta who says so, who am I to argue ?

So just go ahead, sample this and if you are intrigued, read the full article here.

It was a steamy night; men walked around without their shirts; women came out in their shortest skirts. People trying to catch the trains to the suburbs realised they couldn’t make it, met other commuters, and made impromptu dinner plans with them; ate pizza by candlelight and slept together in the parks. A record number of babies are going to be born on May 14, 2004.

I know its old, but who cares. Sit back and enjoy as he paints an evocative picture of the day New York became Allahabad, darkened by a power cut,rarer than a solar eclipse.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Flights and mobiles

Due to some foreseen (a special someone travelling) and some unforeseen reasons (a friend's special someone travelling), the past couple of weeks have gone in my becoming a sort of expert on complete telecom and aviation solutions.

In other word, I seem to know more about the GSM/CDMA/WLL options available in Bangalore and their relative merits than your average Joe. Similarly my quantum of knowledge regarding flights to and from Bangalore, mostly from and to Mumbai and New Delhi has has increased explod-entially*.
*I added something to the next edition of the Oxford dictionary, yay.

So here is the extract of my extensive P.hd. grade research on both.

If you have a special someone residing in a state (to be precise, mobile circle) different from yours, then one of you has to go for the Reliance 'Next Gen i-phone' that retails for Rs.2266 (only on the ads, you will never get it for only that much, Rs.4000 is about what you will shell out) and the other one must take a Reliance CDMA mobile phone, the cheaper the better.

If this other one also has significant calling requirements beyond the special someone, then he/she must choose the Joy 399 rental plan of Reliance which offers a flat rate of Rs. 1/ min for both local and STD calls to mobiles (both GSM/CDMA). If a signicant chunk of this calling is likely to be to Landline nos., then the Joy 499 plan can be considered since it extends the Rs.1 rate to Landlines too (even STD).

Now at a combined rental of Rs.1099 (Rs.700 for the i-phone and Rs. 399 for the CDMA phone) both of you can converse with each other to your hearts content. Any calling outside the two of you will attract extra charges, of course. Cootchie-coo time.

Coming to my second thesis level research on aviation solutions, the best way to fly into Bangalore from Mumbai currently is the Kingfisher Airlines at an invitational price of Rs.2999 which includes flight + okay food + good dessert (black forest pastry) + juice + TV for every seat + a really cute bottle of water + complimentary Pen, Keychain, chocolate, Imli candy,some more candies and a Pouch for all this. And of course, how can one forget the awesome hostesses and the flight safety demo by Yana Gupta herself. Good bargain, I say. Go grab your tickets before its too late.

In case you are headed towards New Delhi or are coming to Bangalore from there, then here is an insider tip. Jet Airways has a flight leaving Bangalore at 2:35 p.m. everyday whose advance fare is only Rs. 2160 ! Don't miss it.

Contributions achnowledging gratitude for the immense amount of money you will save due to this professional consultation can be directed to

Friday, May 20, 2005

Ravi Girdhar & Al Pacino

No, no. This post is not about Ravi Girdhar's acting or Al Pacino's prescient abilities. To know about what this post IS about, you will have to read on.

Well, a few words about Ravi first. He is one of the few twats, alongwith Baba, who has been reading my blog even before I started writing it* and was the first one to comment on my blog.
*exaggeration is very much acceptable in my book on how to blog

So, honoured by his contribution to my blog and his ability to guess the answer to the toughest query I could pose to him, I hereby dedicate this post to him. Cheers Ravi.

Having reached my IIMB hostel room much earlier than usual, I decided to do something productive like do some serious reading related to my summer project or work on my presentation or some such thing. After giving an appropriate amount of time to mull over all the possibilities, I chose to watch a movie. And then, one more.

Started off with Jim Carrey's The Truman Show. Brilliant Concept, professional execution and Jim's endearing performance ensure full paisa-vasool. Thats not saying much, coz I spent zilch on it, as I was watching it off the network. However that must not take away from the quality of the movie. What uplifted it from the routine Hollywood trash into the realm of the special was the extreme attention to details.

Small details. Seemingly minor details. Details like the way the camera on the trashcan wobbles with the old man's walk. Like the way, the phony Bus to Chicago has passengers who just rush out on cue when the fellow says that there is a problem and the bus can't go anywhere. As I said, full paisa vasool.

The next one on the menu was a movie which, I realised this half an hour into the movie, I had already seen ages back and had almost totally forgotten about except for the climax and a critical scene, what we Indians luuuuurv to call the turning point.

I am talking about Al Pacino's Scent of a Woman. Boy, and girl, what a movie ! Al Pacino rocks like he's never rocked before. While his performance as a blind ex-Lt.Col. is exemplary throughout the movie, his outburst in the climax is mindblowing. Despite a meaty performance by the young boy who I am too lazy to find out the name of, this movie belongs to Al. All the way. If you haven't seen it, run.

Balls, and bats, to you

Rahul writes about his trip to the SG factory in Meerut, the foundry where bats for Sunil Gavaskar, Ricky Ponting (no, not the graphite lining ones) Damien Martyn and Michael Clarke are made. The stickers on the bats themselves may say something else though.

I think I ended Golden Age of batting

This post is, though, more about the story behind the balls that are also quite useful in the game called cricket. Rahul also predicts that India's batsmen will soon be getting better at playing bounce as well.

Interesting read.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

B-Skool inturrbhoo for Dummies

A member of the interview panel at a 'leading' B-School from Mumbai explains what he looked for in the candidates. Good reading for both CAT aspirants and the already-made-it-to-B-School junta who will appear for placements etc. some time later.

Two young `techies' working in well known IT services firms left the best impressions when it came to clarity of purpose. A young boy, an engineer from a good university, said he was writing code for a large insurance project that was underway in the US. While that was okay for now, he was really keen to understand the insurance business itself and get a feel of his project's role in it. Then on, perhaps drive the project the way he saw it.

All this was the project manager's domain, and these chaps, according to him, were all MBAs. Having worked for a year and a half in his present role, he had a distinct feeling that this is what he would keep doing were he not to get out and `add value' to himself, preferably in the form of a MBA degree.

The other, young girl, who had an unusually incisive understanding of her company, the project and her role in the grand scheme had a similar tale to narrate. Being an engineer, she was on a good starting wicket, but the future did not look all that bright, unless she moved on to a managerial position quickly. “I am a computer engineer but I don’t understand a balance sheet,” she summed up.

Students who’ve worked with BPOs are pretty much up there in terms of perspective*, better still, I learnt that many of them self-fund their courses nowadays. Most importantly, they come with high energy, a customer service orientation and often, the exposure to world class systems and processes*. B-Schools, particularly beyond the IIMs, could thus be positively inclined towards such students. So, a decent BPO stint beforeheading to a B School may not be a bad idea.

*emphasis added.

Yipppeee. Now I hope the HR people from the cos. who will come to recruit at IIMK next year read this and look at BPO guys with respect and maybe give them a slightly higher billing than they deserve ;-)

sankchhipt sandesh seva

Deccan Herald reports yesterday,

Deepak Sahrma of Ludhiana now figures in the Guinness Book. He SMSed 1,82,689 text messages in one month. Airtel have sent him a 1,411 page bill !
*emphasis added

182689/30 ~ 6090 SMS/day ~ 253 SMS/Hr ~ 4.22 SMS/Minute
assuming he messages round the clock.
What in hell was he sending ?

And couldnt he have chosen some unlimited SMS plan, most likely from Reliance, before embarking on this textathon ?

Why,oh why, did he have to waste 1,411 sheets of premium quality BILT grade paper ?

Couldn't Airtel have sent him the bill via a series of SMS's too, consider this fellow's penchant for them ?

Imagine getting about 10.000 SMS's from your service provider detailing every SMS you've sent and other details. That would teach him a lesson for sure !

Monday, May 16, 2005

Chai is definitely my favorite tea here

In the course of my incredibly hectic work here at IMRB, I cam across this rather old blog post.

So then I tried my best to eat up everything on the plate. They brought out more food, spicy, egg omellotte, and more dahl. My stomach was about to burst and then Prakash only finished half of his plate then he gave it to his wife. That was my chance to hand my plate to her also! After lunch, they served me some hot Chai tea, which was absolutely delicious. Chai is definitely my favorite tea here !!!

I am glad I read it. My knowledge about the various types of tea has increased manifold.

this page is drunk

Came across this site recently and landed at the familiar page not found URL. Only, this one had a twist. Have a dekko.

The page is too drunk to be found

The page you are looking for might be passed out in a bar, crumpled on the steps in front of its apartment, or is temporarily sleeping it off by its sister's house.

Please try the following:

  • Make sure that the Web site address displayed in the address bar of your browser does not contain any alcoholic content.

  • If you reached this page by clicking a link, please contact the Web site administrator to alert them that the page is on a bender again and the keys to its car should be hidden promptly.

  • Click the Back button to try a sober link.

HTTP Error 404 - File or directory too drunk to be found.

Technical Information (for bartender)

  • Go to Wine Product Cooling Services and perform a refrigerator search for the words Johnny Walker and 404 proof vodka.

  • Open your beer, which is accessible in LIQR manager (liqrmngr), and search for topics titled Bottle Opener, Getting Trashed, and Removing Carpet Stains.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Eerie or what ?

Ab kya kahen ? Yet another reason why September 11th was jinxed ?

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Jo bole so nihaal

I must admit, the posters of the latest movie that is being touted as the one that will restore Sunny Deol to the top of the heroism heirarchy, Jo Bole So Nihaal, had me intrigued.

Not for the funny pathan policeman costume, neither for the severely constipated expression on his face. What I found interesting was the tagline - No If, No But, Sirf Jatt.

Catchy, sure but what in hell does it mean.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, once more, the truth has dawned on me, courtesy my trusty ol'e aid to deciphering the world's meaning, internet radio. Old faithfuls will remember the Laloo yadav masterpiece of some days back.

Anyway, so back to this Jatt mystery. Apparently, there is a song in that movie whose lyrics go like this -

main yaar punjabi jat-ta
fit kar dun tere nut-ta

ho tu yaar punjabi jat-ta
dont touch mainu peechhe hat-ta

maar na baby tu angrezi
main to jaanu sirf desi
na IF jaanu na BUT-ta

I am overwhelmed.

The Day of the Phoenix and coconut powered chases

Hang on, wasn't the last post supposed to be about this wonderful day I had ?
Who the hell asked me to get carried way ?

But then, it was all for a good cause, so its fine. Deepu, you deserve it. Perseverence pays off in the end, though that idiocy 7 years back could have been avoided in the first place ;-)

Well, so to continue the story of 'The Day', Deepu woke me up and then we planned a rendezvous at IIMB, my residence for my summers, where he arrived by noon and then we chatted about hazaar useless, and hence closest to our hearts ;-), things and then decided to move out for some grub since we were getting a bit hungry.

While waiting for the bus, we decided to see some movie and since both of us are complete suckers for movies with exotic names like "Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi" and even more exotic heroines like Chitrangada Singh, we suddenly got pretty excited about it and went in search of a newspaper to find the show timings at PVR which was the only place it was running in Bangalore for the past 3 weeks. Alas, a quick perusal of Deccan Herald informed us of the sudden and untimely demise of the movie from Bangalore.

Not to be put down, we decided to go to Rex, my favorite theater in Bangalore, due to sheer nostalgia if nothing else, and the fact that it is one of only two theaters in Bangalore in which I have ever seen a movie, the other being the now dead Sangam theater at Majestic. It will also displace Gautam theater in Allahabad from the top slot in the list of theaters in which I have watched movies most often. Today was my 7th trip to Rex and since I have quite a few weekends left here in Bangalore, I reckon it has a very chance of crossing Gautam's figure of 10 trips :-)

The movie of the day at Rex was Flight of the Phoenix, and I am sure Baba will review it pretty soon, but for now, suffice to say that I liked the movie, the special effects were awesome, the storyline hackneyed but still containing some innovative bits and did not stretch the credulity too far. Competent performances from the actors and crisp editing made for some compelling viewing and it was only at the very end that the necessity to end the movie in some way forced the director to lose the plot and come up with such a contrived ending that left Indian potboilers to shame.

Nothing bad about that though ;-) Everyone rise and shout "Hail Mithun-da"

Trivia Question : What do you do if you are Rajnikant, a police inspector waiting, in the shade (?) of a coconut tree, for the villains to pass through so that you can chase them down and you finally see them zip across you in a car ?

Answer: You take your service revolver from the holster, swing it in circles in Rajni's trademark style and then shoot skywards. The bullet will hit a coconut, it will fall straight down on the kick-start, and off you go in pursuit !

Can Hollywood even think of that ???

serendipity and chopped email ids

Today was one of the most enjoyable days I had in a long time. It started off with a call from my school time buddy, crime partner, sounding board etc. etc. Deepu aka Naughty aka Deepak who landed here in Bangalore this monday in a series of serendipitious incidents over the last week to join IBM.

It was a fruitful and most satisfying end to his four months of hard work that he put in during his training at IBM during the course of which he managed to salvage a comatose project and got it up and running. His Team Lead was so impressed by his performance that he recommended him to some higher-ups in IBM and after a whirlwind of negotiations and discussions between Deepu, IBM and Deepu's only ;-) bargain counter Xansa (who had also offered him a job) he was finally made the offer on Saturday in Gurgaon and was asked to join the IBM Bangalore office on Monday morning. He also managed to appear for and clear his SJCP certification last week.

And as if all this run of luck was not enough, he got to work in the same IBM office in Bangalore (among about sixteen thousand others) where his elder sister works too. Talk about co-incidence !

So tonnes of congratulations to Mr. Deepak Nautiyal, B.Sc., SJCP.

The only downside to all this is that IBM's deployement of Lotus Notes does not allow IDs longer than eight characters which means his IBM email id gets curtailed to which is bound to cause all sorts of trouble for ever, since the crucial 'l' is missing at the end.
Well, you can't have it all, can ya ?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

bada hi tej hai ye akhbaar

Ok, I wish I could call it funny. Only, I cannot since it involves the Times of India, the newspaper (can we call it that anymore ? ) a website specialising in ,(d-uh) what else but spoofs, does one on Aishwarya Rai where it claims that Ash will appear on a special version of "Jerry Springer: Too Hot For TV" episode where the beautiful actress will fight with a 380 pound woman in a trailer over some guy with a mullet, no teeth, and a 7th grade education.

It also quotes Roger Lodge, described as the host of "Blind Date" America's No. 1 TV dating humiliation show – as having said, “We’ve booked Aishwarya Rai to appear on a show segment where she will date Lorenzo -- a former stripper who wants to be a stay-at-home dad. He’s tired of the superficial dating scene, but wants to form a love connection and score on the first date. We’ll have to see how far he gets with Aishwarya.”

So far, so good and a bit funny too.

Now TOI, goes ahead and rips this bit of "news" and goes to town touting it for fact.

They put the "news" up on their website but later pulled it. Unfortunately for them, google had managed to cache the page before that.

What a pity. If only TOI would restrict itself to making a mockery of the front page of a supposedly "serious" newspaper by putting wierd artwork on the entire page every now and then.

sleeping with someone 7000 miles away

But under jet lag, you lose all sense of where or who you are. You get up and walk towards the bathroom and step into a chair. You reach towards the figure in the other bed and then realise that she's 7,000 miles away, at work. You get up for lunch and then remember that you've eaten lunch six times already. You feel like an exile, a fugitive of sorts, as you walk along the hotel corridor at 4am, while all good souls are in their beds, and then begin to yawn as everyone around you goes to work.

This is Pico Iyer, one of my favorite authors on travelling and the mystique accompanying it, writing about jet lag in his own immitable style. Here is more -

And when I return from California to Japan, I return by way of some strange Asian city - Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Hanoi - and, for my first few nights of discombobulation, prowl the dark. Were I to go to anywhere that resembled home, I'd be keeping everyone up by going out for lunch at 3am -and would, in turn, be thrown out by them as I turned in for a good night's sleep at 11 in the morning. So, embracing the traveller's first rule - everything is interesting if you look at it with the right eyes - I use the sleeplessness to try to see a world, a self, I would never see otherwise.

Some idea that. Will try it sometime. Read the entire piece here.

anyone for outsourcing to Pakistan ?

Came across this link via India Uncut.

In a chic downtown lobby across the street from the Old Executive Office Building, Saadia Musa answers phones, orders sandwiches and lets in the FedEx guy.

And she does it all from Karachi, Pakistan.

As receptionist for the Resource Group, Musa greets employees and visitors via a flat screen hanging on the lobby's wall. Although they are nine hours behind and nearly 7,500 miles away, her U.S.-based bosses rely on her to keep order during the traffic of calls and meetings.

The article goes on to explain exactly how a new emerging Pakistan is trying to get onto the outsourcing bandwagon to prove that they are as good as we Indians are, at doing the work of the western world at a fraction of the costs.

So, is it time to start raising the bogey of Pakistan as the new threat to India's supremacy in the outsourcing arena, replacing China ?

I dont think so. The reason can also be found in the same article.

Consider the cover of Newsline, a popular Pakistani magazine: three women, one clad in a burqa, another sporting a sequined, leather mini-skirt and the middle filled by a call-center worker donning a headset. The headline implores, "Will the real Pakistani woman please stand up?"

It is going to take quite a lot of time before this paradox is resolved in the minds and homes of Pakistan. And by that time India would have moved on from being primarilry BPO service provider, essentially low-end, to a KPO* biggie, the true high end of the value chain.
*Knowledge Process Outsourcing

As they say, Ameen.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Good morning Sunshine !

Its a beaaauuuutiful morning here in Bangalore right now. Right after posting the exclusive conversation between Shah-yuck Khan and Karan 'Koffee' Johar, I stepped out of the room and was greeted to one of the coolest breezes caressing the skin as I basked in the gentle glow of the early morning sun. It had rained for a long time last night, just a slight drizzle but rain nevertheless, and it contributed to the remarkable drop in temperature.

It feels good after so many days of suffering the heat and humidity.

Good morning Sunshine :-)

jee to karta hai ki saale ko...

Location : Some corner of the white house clone built on Bandra Land's End named Mannat - also known as the residence of India's Hero no. 1, Shak-yuck Khan.

Cast : King Khan himself of the Home Trade ambassador fame, Karan Johar of the Koffee with Karan fame.

KK: Hey KJ, howdy !
KJ : Hi KK, me doing fine, thanks to you.
KK: So what's up? Dont tell me you've come here to shoot yet another episode of that Koffee with Karan of yours. I mean, I know I am the best and all that, but you must interview others too at times. Have you tried that chhokra from Virar.watsis name ?
KJ: Well, yeah I did. But he is an MP now. He says he will oblige only if he gets the role of a Prime Minister in my movie Kabhi Jeet Kabhi Haar - ek election ki kahaani. I told him that I have already cast you in the lead roles of my next 41 movies but he refuses to accept that, kya karen?
KK: Hmm, tab fir kya karne ka socha hai?
KJ: Karna kya hai, he is a politican now, I will bribe him, he will have to accept.
KK: Ha, ha. tum saala director log bahut chaloo cheej hai !
KJ: He, he. Kya karen, pet ka sawaal hai.
KK: Achcha ye bata, mere paas kaise ? Dont tell me you want me to bribe that Virar fellow, my International SIM Card does not connect to Virar.
KJ: Nahi, nahi. I still have a MTNL Tarang handset,that is perfect for Virar. Cheapest Rates, you want one ?
KK: No, no. I like my Airtel. It has ER+.
KJ: Wo kya hota hai?
KK: Pata nahi par Sachin ne desh mein shor macha rakha hai, ER+,ER+ and we all know Sachin in God.
KJ: Hmm, wo to hai. Achha listen, I came here to talk to you about a movie that I am thinking of making.
KK: Oh ho, already ? So who will be doing the roles of the father, mother, daughter etc ? Main wohi Amitabh Bachchan ka beta ban ban ke thak gaya hoon. Aur waise bhi ab Akshay Kumar mere se better AB's son ka role kar leta hai.
KJ: No, no. This one is different. There is no father,mother in it. In fact there is no son or daughter too.
KK: Eh, then?
KJ: There wont be a castle or mansion. Manish Malhotra will not design the costumes for the servants too and there will be not a single Swarovski crystal anywhere. What the heck, there wont even be Kajol in it !
KK: What !?! KJ, paagal ho gaya hai kya? pichchurr bana raha hai ya Doordarshan ke liye Vrittachitra*?

*documentary, for the linguistically challenged.
KJ: No, no. This one will be different from anything anyone's ever seen before. I told you I want to make something different this time.
KK (cynically): That Different, eh ? So fine, we will make something different.Jara hatke. We wont go to switzerland then. Lets go to Siberia. That nangu Khan is in the limelight these days for getting 'lucky' in Russia. We'll show him who's boss, yeah ! (growls)
KJ: No yaar, This one can't be shot in Siberia. It will be shot in Uttaranchal.
KK: Uttaranchal ? Is that the new studio in Aarey Milk Colony* ?

*Aarey Milk Colony is a protected area in Goregaon, Mumbai where a lot of movies and most television serials (i.e. Kekta Kaaapooor serials) are shot.
KJ: No its a new state carved out from UP.
KK: Oh ! So we shoot there because of the tax incentives we get there for developing the region. Hmm, you are getting smarter by the day.
KJ: No,no. There is no tax incentive for shooting there. In fact, the place where we have to shoot is protected. Its a national park.
KK: Which means its a park for the entire country's public.Just like we have Shivaji park here in Mumbai where Sachin used to bat when he could bat, i.e. before he started to challenge me for showdowns on TV.
KJ: No baba, this movie will be shot in a forest, a real forest.
KK (eyebrow shooting up): A forest? What kind of movie is this? Where do I dance? On the trees?
KJ: There will be no dance in it. It is the story of a maneater and some fishy stories and a ...CENSORED*.
*err.. cant reveal that, can we ?
KK: And who is the man-eater ?
KJ: A Tiger.
KK: Oh, so what is my role?
KJ: Who said you have a role?
KK: What ? Since when did YOU start making movies without me?
KJ: Well, I dont have any role that suits a star of your stature apart from the CENSORED* and that role I've written with Ajay Devgan in mind.
*arre bola na, cant reveal that !
KK: Ajay Devgan. ok, he is not a threat to me.
KJ: Exactly, and he can act too.
KK: Yeah, yeah, but then why are you telling me all this?
KJ: Because you are my lucky mascot and it has to have you in it.
KK: But you just said there is no role..
KJ (cutting in): No role in the story, but then we can always go beyond that, can't we?
KK (mulling) : Hmm, quite possible, quite possible.
KJ : What I am thinking of is an item number for you, you've never done that before, have you?
KK: Well,I did one in Shakti...
KJ: which was a movie no one saw, so forget it.
KK: OK, if you say so.
KJ: Right, so we will show off your newfound biceps and ribs...
KK (getting excited): Can we get Malaika as well, I like ogling at her...
KJ (thinking): Well, I had Kajol in mind, but come to think of it, Malaika does look a better option.
KK: Good, good. So thats done then. Now tell me who else are you casting apart from me and Malaika.
KJ: Well, there are quite a few roles which require very specific attributes..
KK (cutting in) : like?
KJ: Like, I need this 'Researcher' who works for National Geographic and stays in a random forest with his wife who wears shorts and halter tops. He has long hair and races and wrestles with Anacondas on his vacations. He should be capable of wrapping the anaconda around his body when he recieves a call on his mobile in the middle of the forest. He also has a Sony Vaio laptop that draws power from the Sun.
KK: Wow, looks a solid role. Who have you thought of for this one?
KJ: Well, I need someone who should have the same expression on his face throughout the movie. Right from the beginning where he wrestles with the anaconda to when he has a fight with the other hero to when he is in mortal danger to when his wife dies (oops..gave it away a bit,didnt we?) to when he finally runs for his life, we need one wooden expression and I think the best man for this role is...
KK: John Abraham ?
KJ(incredulous): Wow, you are clairvoyant !
KK (dismissively): What else?
KJ: well there is this other hero, whose every second dialog is "jee to karta hai ki saale to jaan se maar doon" which he may or may not be able to complete at various points depending on the situation.

He also has to say "cut the crap" about 115 times. The remaining time he either stares in horror or bristles with rage and mouths inanities like "dubara aisa kuchh kaha to jaan se naar doonga" or utters profundities like "jo hame maarna chahata hai, hum use maar nahi sakte aur hamari jeet isi mein hai ki hum yahan se zinda nikal jaayen". Very brave, this fellow.
KK: Well, I can't think of anyone other than Vivek Oberoi for this one.
KJ: Wow, we think alike. Do jism, ek jaan. Lets hug and..
(They hug and..)

KJ: Next we have this wife of the 'Researcher' who has a very powerful role. She is required to bring the phone to her husband when it rings and she also has to take it back when the call is over. She is also supposed to pull her husband away from any duel that he and the other hero keep getting into and of course, she is his ace photographer as well though she will never carry a camera in the entire movie since that might cover her assets which we want to showcase.
KK: She is the one with the shorts and halter right?
KJ: Yes and I think only Isha Deol can do justice to this "meaty" role.
KK: Yeah, she IS quite meaty. Good choice.
KJ: And then we have this other girl who has to look pretty, tired and terrified at the same time. She also has to oscillate between varying viewpoints as per the demands of the script, ..err... the director.
KK: What do you mean?
KJ: Well, she has to get hurt in her leg at one point and will be carried in a stretcher while everyone is running. Then they will take shelter at one point and once they realise that they are not out of danger yet, they will start running again but this time she will run alongwith them, leg injury be damned. Once the running is over, she will go back to limping and whimpering about her leg.
KK: Wow, some role, this has to be ...
KJ (cutting in, exults): Lara Dutta !
KK: Well, I was thinking of Priyanka Chopra or Diana Hayden but it doesnt make a difference either way. Any of these are equally good at this sort of a thing.
KJ: I already have Ajay Devgan as this CENSORED* in a role he has never done before.
*offo, nahi bata sakta bhai !Non-disclosure agreement hai, khush ?
KK: Any other characters?
KJ: Well, there is this driver who will laugh for no rhyme or reason and who will drive this gypsy over all kinds of places and keep wrecking it despite claiming to know the area. I also have this Guide who will laugh for no rhyme or reason as well.

And one thing more, before I forget, just to make this movie TOTALLY different, no guy in this movie will board a gypsy the proper way. All of them will either jump into it or use the wheels as steps or some such thing. Whats more, atleast one person will always be standing on the gypsy, even though there is ample space for sitting.
KK: Wow, that IS different.
KJ (smug smile): Well, you know me.
KK: yeah, but still it might fail. People are used to Karan Johar presenting a particular type of movie.
KJ: You think so?
KK: Yeah, I do. I dont want the famous KK-KJ reputation to flounder.
KJ: Me neither. Ok, I've got an idea! I'll put my asstt. Soham's name as the director. Then if it bombs, Soham gets the blame. And if its a hit, well everyone knows how ghost direction works.
KK: you ARE sneaky.
KJ: he, he.
KK: OK, done then, and where will my item song be?
KJ: Well, that is the problem I came to talk to you about. It can't be anywhere in the movie. You think we can release ONLY your item song as a movie?
KK: Well, you can, but I doubt if many people will turn up to watch.
KJ (crestfallen): then?
KK: Well, put the song in the beginning itself.
KJ: But the 'researcher' is supposed to wrestle with the anaconda in the beginning.
KK: Offo, put it even before that.
KJ: But thats the credits roll, where I love to put the background music of my lucky mascot movie 'Kuchh kuchh hota hai' ka song 'tum paas aaye' !
KK: Ok, then put this song in betweeen your 'tum paas aaye' and the anaconda.
KJ: OK, final then.
KK: When do we start shooting for the item?
KJ: Well, we have to start tomorrow morning.
KK: But, the costumes, they will take time.
KJ: Arre, yehi to issue ho gaya ! When I told Manish Malhotra that he wont be designing the clothes of the cast for this movie, woh mujhse rooth gaya aur ab Ramse Brothers ke liye costume design kar raha hai.
KK (dismayed): fir mera kya hoga ? where will I get another happy and gay designer ?
KJ: Dont worry. We've got into this tie-up with Roopa underwear people and you will be wearing their latest 2005 all-year baniyan collection. They are really HOOOOT, trust me.
KK: Wow, you mean I get to show off all this new muscle to millions of guys on screen ? Ah, my dream come true ! Tell you what, I'll do it for free.
KJ: oh Wow! thanks King Khan.Thanks a lot.
(bows and leaves)

Saturday, May 07, 2005

the mystery visitor

One pizza in the famous IIMK night canteen for guessing the person who hit the 1000 mark on this blog.

Only one attempt per person. No proxies please ;-)

Friday, May 06, 2005

dreams fulfilled or rape ?

"When the mother of a 14-year-old boy, who went missing, filed a kidnap case against their neighbour, a 22-year-old woman, last year, she had hardly expected how the case would turn. The ‘‘couple’’ who had eloped, were found in Rajasthan, married with a 6-month-old daughter. "

The complete story can be found here.

The gist of the story, is that a 14 year old boy and a 22 year old girl eloped from Delhi and were later found by the police in Ajmer, Rajasthan living together, with a 6 month old daughter. The boy's family have accepted the girl as their daughter-in-law and have withdrawn their initial complaint against the girl of having kidnapped the fellow. They have also gone ahead and posted the bail for the girl.

Now I know there will be the usual cries of "Wah, kya kismat pai hai ! 14 ki umra mein 22 ki ladki ke saath.." etc etc. but what I am unable to figure out is that if the genders were reversed here, then the 22 year old boy would have been arrested and castigated for seducing, raping and probably illegally marrying a minor girl.

Assuming the law of the land applies equally, being one the fundamental tenets of our constitution, why shouldn't the girl be held, tried and found guilty of statutory rape ?
The question of consensual sex, i.e. the boy might have been a willing partner, is not applicable because he was a minor and the law recognises such a union as statutory rape, no less.

When will we ever learn?

At the same time, we also have to grapple with the fact that there is a 6 month old baby, a female, added to the equation now. Which means that whatever course the future takes, care is taken to ensure that while justice is done, the interests of the child, however unwilling it might be to be a party to this sordid affair, are taken care of.

jo beet gayi so baat gayi

While browsing through Rohit Kaul's blog, I was pleasantly reminded of this Harivansh Rai Bachchan poem which I reproduce here, copyrights be damned ;-)

Jeevan mein ek sitara tha
maana vah behad pyara tha.
Vah doob gaya to doob gaya.
Ambar kay angan ko dekho
kitne iske taare toote
kitne iske pyare chhoote.
Jo chhoot gaye fir kahan mile.
Par bolo toote taaron par
kab ambar shok manata hai.
Jo beet gayi so baat gayi.

Jeevan mein vah tha ek kusum
the us par nitya nichhavar tum.
Vah sookh gaya to sookh gaya.
Madhuvan ki chhaati ko dekho
sookhi kitni iski kaliyan
murjhaayi kitni vallariyan.
Jo murjhayi woh fir kahan khili.
Par bolo sookhe phoolon par
kab madhuban shor machata hai.
Jo beet gayi so baat gayi.

Jeevan mein madhu ka pyala tha
tumne tan man de daala tha.
Vah toot gaya to toot gaya.
Madiralay ke angan ko dekho
kitne pyale hil jate hain
gir mitti mein mil jaate hain.
Jo girte hain kab uthate hain.
Par bolo toote pyalo par
kab madiralaya pachhatata hai
Jo beet gayi so baat gayi.

Mridu mitti ke hain bane hue
madhughat foota hi karte hain.
Laghu jeevan lekar aaye hain
pyale toota hi karte hain.
Fir bhi madiralaya ke andar
madhu ke ghat hain
madhupyale hain.
Jo madakta ke mare hain
ve madhu loota hi Karte hain.
Vah kachcha peene wala hai
jiski mamta ghat pyalon par
jo sachche madhu se jala hua
kab rota hai chillata hai
Jo beet gayi so baat gayi.

In other news, this blog is poised to hit the 1000 visitor mark, so if you are the lucky one (check the counter on the left sidebar) then you can treat yourself to your favorite snack from your favorite place. Do not forget to message about it though ;-)

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

badhiya nazm ki umda misaal

Just heard a song from dunno which movie/album but the voice was either our own Laloo (of the chaara chor & kulhar fame) or someone trying to sound like him and that makes me suspect that this song is from the movie Padmashree Lalu Prasad Yadav.

I am posting this after collecting all the pieces of myself that had rolled into various nooks of the room while I was clutching my stomach and laughing hysterically.

Here go the lyrics -

beware: Please ensure there is nothing sharp/pointed close to you before you start reading. You are liable to fall on it or feel compelled to use it ;-)

chidiya chidiya o son chidiya
badhiya badhiya bhai bahut badhiya.

o teri ka kamar ka chhalla,
tere ghunghar wale baal.

tujhe pata nahi chala,hum hain tere sanwariya.
chidiya chidiya o son chidiya,
badhiya badhiya bhai bahut badhiya.

jadoo jadoo koi jadoo chala de,
mushkil ko meri tu asaan bana de.
o main hu bada bekarar,
mujhe tera intezaar.
aisa kab tak ginunga main ye ghadiya.
nchidiya chidiya o son chidiya
badhiya badhiya bhai bahut badhiya.

budhiya budhiya tang kare budhiya,
chal de den usko jahar ki pudiya.
o hame karna hai pyaar,
is ashiqui ko lag gayi kiski nazariya.
chidiya chidiya o son chidiya,
badhiya badhiya bhai bahut badhiya.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Mere paas cheque hai !

And the good news doesnt stop around here. I just recieved a shiny crisp cheque of my first 4 weeks of incredibly hectic work at IMRB. I have already started dreaming about ways and means of spending it.

Hang on a sec. Thats an A/C Payee cheque drawn in my name, payable at Bangalore. I don't even have an account in Bangalore. Which means my bank will deduct money to clear it. Damn, why can't companies give uncrossed cheques or Demand Drafts ?

In fact, in today's ICE Age, why can't they do an online transfer into our accounts ?


My Blog goes National ! yippee

Today is a red letter day in the history of this blog.

For the first time ever, I have a visitor to this blog from an IIM other than K and what's more, the honorable visitor has been kind enough to even post a comment here.

The gentleman in question is from IIMC and is doing his summers at E&Y in Delhi and has already developed a warm relationship with our Kans Goyal. Here is a conversation between the two as proof -

IIMK Girl > Kanika
Me > The visitor

IIM K girl : "Hmm..I have to go see my doctor this evening "
Me (with heartfelt concern): " Oh ,your daughter doesnt stay with you?".
IIM K girl : "Hmmph....I said DOCTOR."
Me (with heartfelt guilt): " sorry..i heard daughter."
IIM K girl : " n you thought its possible ..".
Me (with heartfelt curiousity): " So it is .Isnt it ?".
IIM K girl : "Loser....Were you born that way ?"
Me : " Nah ! I actually was almost normal fr the first three years of my life but then a flowerpot fell right on my head n I have been this way since then."

Oh life! It has its own ways of bringing some smiles all around.

Update: Its raining visitors to this blog. I have yet another comment from another visitor followed by a comment from the old pest, Nitai ;-)

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