Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mindgames: Emulate the Lord!

If he can play, why can't I?
He has the world as his playground,
I have my little life! And my emotions.
Let me dedicate my life to his game!

He builds and destroys at will;
I cannot be as versatile, but can't I try?
He accepts and rejects my desires and wishes.
Likewise I play on: synthesize and rip apart!

Outrage yes I play with outrage!
Suprise myself and others.
Like source, like channel!
Follow in his footsteps!

There are good players and better players!
All that you come across are your playthings.
Sometimes you get bruised, injured, sometimes you team up;
Sometimes you compete, rules change as do his seasons!

Emulate him. Game on!
As he plays with us, join in!
Earn points, karma whatever. Dive Deep.
Or play at the surface if you wish to!

Play and see, there is nothing to lose.
Nothing to win. It is all a game and
Serious or frivolous - all the same.
It is all in the game!

Life as it were, would make no sense if not viewed as some sort of a game - 'leela' as it is referred to in religious philosophy! It is a game of constant change and reinventing yourself! Otherwise life itself would be so banal and insipid, boring even ...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Diwali - The Conjuror!

A chill descends on the streets ...
Invaded by bursts of radiant lights,
The night beckons with a cold touch!

Diwali's cousin 'Winter' whispers:
"Here I come".

As the cracker-sounds
Drown out the whispers;
The change in intensity is

A mild shiver, a longing for warmth
That these fireworks conjure up!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Never ever underestimate anybody, treat them as equals - - I AM OK, YOU ARE OK!! Everyone has hidden within themselves the greatest of potentials!! When we underestimate or over-estimate someone, we lose the balance and that can have a cascading effect. Trace back to any of the inter-personal conflicts, problems - it will always be a superiority or inferiority issue/thought/action/mindset. Most dangerous is when we feel I AM NOT OK and YOU ARE NOT OK that is the death-knell and you start falling downwards headlong ... !!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dreams, Strategies and Irrationality

If you have an idea or a dream that is irrational it can be brought to fruition by following reason.
The high impact, disruptive and big ideas are always going to be based on feelings, emotions and desire!!!
They are best that way and should be that way by definition. However implementation needs a dogged, determined pursuit. Dreams need not be curtailed and must remain. Build castles in the air then build the foundation underneath...
It is like a funnel, the lowest level the tactics or the implementation is achieved through reasonable steps that are much simpler.
But as you go towards the top of the funnel things become complex and can be unreasonable, unpredictable and plain crazy when viewed in isolation.
Like the cells which in turn make up the organs of a human being, bricks make up a complex architecture! Each component structure is a simple entity with basic functionality.
What we often try to do is try to understand what those simple steps are and identify and utilize them through activities or tasks!
Order, out of chaos is a misnomer (actually it is like a cyclic process:
Big Idea ---> Breakdown to tasks ---> Implement [Build - Reverse of Breakdown] ---> Achieve the Big Idea) when you are trying to implement a really crazy, a near impossible idea.
Implementing such a strategy (which sounds irrational) which is a big hairy audacious goal is often times complex and has nothing to do with logic or reason or rationality. It is driven more by a desire or emotion which in itself is not in the realm of the perfectly reasonable! We are given emotions in order to take big steps and reason and logic to implement them and get down to nuances!
Getting the dream going means having a plan, or at least a logical end to achieving things, else the dream will fall apart or remain a dream!
The big picture or the unreasonable, irrational goal can also sometimes be an insight which is quite impossible to envisage or even fully comprehend forget convey!
Deep thoughts are needed at the idea implementation level once the idea is hatched! However going too deep is not called for in everything ... Certain things require a quick, dirty and shallow approach! Engage-Disengage. The multiple levels of 'Why?' 'What else' 'Is there more to it?' 'Real meaning' etc can be done away with once tasks are decided for the implementation stage. Otherwise it can be counter-productive. Insight from Bertrand Russell's essay ... and other experiences in life.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Queues, alum, herds and peanuts: Games we play and rules we break!

The BMTC bus lurches to the right, missing the road divider by an inch. It crosses over to the wrong side of the road; the traffic on this side should be coming towards our end. Instead the bus continues to move ahead on the stretch, as it is now completely empty. It zooms forward as the traffic on the left side is at a complete standstill. The bus driver looks at the left side of the road with glee. The cars, bikes, and other vehicles stand motionless, bumper to bumper. He has beaten them all and has come to the front of the road blockade. The road is blocked as there is a railway crossing and a train is to pass by any moment now. After a while a train chugs along and the barriers lift and the vehicles start moving on either end of the road.

The bus I am sitting in had crossed all others thanks to the driver’s ingenuity! Ingenuity? Ok, then should I say he was smart! Smart? Or did he break the rules as all others followed the rules and were stuck. This bus driver at the nick of time took a turn and shifted to the right side through a gap in the road divider meant for pedestrians. So I agree he made the others look like fools stuck in the traffic. So, was he wrong in bypassing the rules of waiting in the queue, or was his move or initiative legitimate? He played, he dared and he won - story over! Who are we to judge him, for he had the smarts and could get the better of the system! Or was there scope for system to improve? Wider roads perhaps, however that is another story! When the railway gates opened he caused a block for a little while on the right side of the road and had to listen to a few expletives too! He could have avoided this by skillfully maneuvering to the left at the point the gates open before the others started moving but that was again not amenable to those stuck for so long on the left!

As I continued to sit through the melee suddenly a thought occurred to me on what would happen if we were to extrapolate the above story. The debate that came to my mind to be frank was the innovation vs corruption debate in a society dominated by capitalistic tendencies. Ingenuity or breaking the rules and going ahead is alternately called innovation. Breaking the logjam! A capitalistic society demands such ingenuity, however does this somehow lead to corruption or disregard for the rules and hence the need for regulation? If everyone were to get equal opportunity would that not be a socialistic society? I know it is always a hybrid and a black and white view is never possible/is not the reality either. Your views are welcome on this! What would your opinion be? Was he right? And what implications would this have on society if everyone were to behave like the ingenious / errant driver? Things would be better or worse? Each one fends for himself and survival of the most intelligent, imaginative, manipulative, smart or the fittest (contextually). Or is it the case of those who follow the rules get peanuts, the corrupt get ahead and make millions through illegal means. Is that trend right for an apathetic society that can go either ways depending on the predominant mindset? So do movements such as ‘India Against Corruption’ etc lead to a slowing down of growth and innovation, a blockade of liberalization and a return to the inspector raj of yore? Or will a spotless person like Anna Hazare act like alum gathering mass support and turn things for the better? The spectrum is broad and I know there are shades of grey ... Yes, yes!

Friday, August 19, 2011

'Ambar tak yehi naad goonjegaa'

'Ambar tak yehi naad goonjegaa' - brilliant song by Kailash Kher. This Janlokpal movement is bringing out the best in people, especially the youth - the good, the creative, the activism, the energy so essential for nation building after years of the 'cancer of corruption and its stench in the form of apathy and complacency and even the horror of mute acceptance'. The anger will cleanse the system without violence like in the Naxal movement, the corrupt can no longer sit on top - the pyramid will be inverted! As Chetan Bhagat was mentioning the true nature of humans is basically good - that cannot be curbed for long within a system that requires embracing corruption for anyone to thrive and as a form of repentance for the insensitivity towards the country, the support for Anna is swelling!

Respect Kejriwal, Hazare, Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan and many others like Paranjoy Guha Thakurta for spearheading the movement with tacit or explicit support/leading from the front!

Aao milke saath mein,
Aaj ke haalaath mein,
Laane hain naye ujaale.

Behoshi ki aadat ke
Jhoot ki ebaadat ke
Aakhon se hataaon jaalein!

Haan ab meri baari hain,
Meri zimmedaari hain,
Aankhen gaadhe Sach ke saath hoon khadaa!

Mitne ki tayaari hain,
Ab toh lambi paari hain,
Sar pe josh ab hosh ka chadhaa!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Harish Hande, MD SELCO at Eximius 2011 - IIMB's Entrepreneurship Summit

It was a fitting finale to Day 1 of Eximius 2011 @ IIM Bangalore. I am referring to the keynote lecture by Harish Hande, MD Selco Solar. His thrust on helping asset generation for the rural poor rather than just selling to them struck me as crucial.

Starting on a humorous note with ‎"At IIT Kharagpur I ragged Saurav (Prof Saurav Mukherjee), Arvind Kejriwal ragged me and now he is ragging the country ... " Harish Hande, Magsaysay Award winner went on to highlight the areas SELCO works on and how his journey started.

He focused on the importance of market linkages, technology and financial products for the rural or urban poor. "I told him straight on his face that the concept was exploitative. You take money from the poorest at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) and pass it on to the wealthy top of the pyramid without enabling any asset creation at the BOP", Harish Hande referring to his conversation with Prof C K Prahalad on Fortune at the BOP.

A recording of the talk here:​us2011/b/292491928

How SELCO is spawning off entrepreneurs:

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Requiem for the two flowers.

Both flowers wilted before they could bloom!
One 27, another 28 - too soon ...
One a close friend,
One an international celebrity!
One suffering from pain,
Another's pain self-inflicted!
The spreading affliction out of control for one,
The over-powering addiction out of control for the other!
Gutsy, Vibrant, Spirited, Friendly she was!
And Gifted, Talented, Inspiring was she ...
Words I dedicate for both of them!
We can only remember and feel for them.
Through their words, memories or music;
The void they have created in this world,
Irreplaceable all the same!

May their souls rest in eternal peace.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A great new week!

Had a great week having joined IBM India Pvt Ltd (Global Marketing Center) as a Competitive Marketing Manager, a role that will involve product marketing and competitive marketing. A great company to be a part of - feels good.

Also it was quite a pleasant surprise to get questions, comments and queries from students on the case handed out to the 'Consumer Behavior' electives class at IIMB. The Application exercise has the Ivey 'Dhonuk case' assigned to a few folks!! Looking forward to some good analysis 2009 and 2010 IIMB PGSEM students!! Analyze well ... :)

And totally loved the energy and talent and the atmosphere at Pehel 2011 (new PGSEM batch cultural program). Some very spontaneous/talented performers - actors and musicians in the new batch!!

Sunday, July 03, 2011


'AGNT22643001-AGNT22643200 - FLYBACK. 19:56 HRS. MOSQ06052025-ASSAULT-OP-OVERANDOUT. STAT: TRGT ELIM' flashed on the screen.

It was June 2025. An unusually humid evening among the shrubs in an arid, parched land. The Al Quaeda mastermind Bin Saleh sat holed in, in his well hidden balcony. The walls in front of him were 12 feet tall, he was hidden from anybody's view from the outside. He heard a few buzzing mosquitoes. One or two landed on his neck. Before he could squash them he collapsed on the floor and lay there motionless! That evening news spread on all major news channels that Saleh had been terminated.

The year was 2025, 2001 seemed like the distant past. The scale of the attack in 2021 had been much larger. It was called Flame Down - actually The Statue of Liberty had been hit. The new mastermind was being hunted for, like the olden days.

In 2011 when Osama had been at Abottabad there had been a radar evading Apache helicopter based operation. With a few dozen Navy seals who went into Osama's mansion and took him and his associates down. Bin Saleh was a much more elusive personality, undercover since Iran and Pakistan had been neutralized back in 2018. His presence was only betrayed by the few Youtube videos that his supporters would release. Nabbing Saleh had been a very difficult proposition.

The suspicion was as usual on Pakistan. However an operation like 2011 was no longer necessary thanks to a new technology that an Indian inventor Vir Amar Chatterjee and his team had developed. It was codenamed Mosquadrone. It was back in his home town Kolkata that Vir Amar had flash upon this idea. Later at MIT Labs he brought it into reality after being funded through a DARPA contest. The high secret project had immediately been sanctioned after about an year of the 2021 terror attacks.

Actually Vir Amar was sitting in his apartment balcony back one day in 2019 when the idea hit him, actually bit him! Too many mosquitoes - he could no longer sit here, he thought to himself and then when he went inside he found a sting still hurting. That is when an idea flashed in his mind, the sting had venom or could even have a lethal dose! And the mosquitoes were small. The next day he prepared a small report on what he thought could be achieved.

This mosquito that bit Saleh was a nano assembly and it could be controlled using very low power equipment from nearby areas. Near invisible and very small the size of a real mosquito. The sting of the flying nano bot was actually a lethal dose of cyanide. And there were not just one but a squadron of these mosquito drones (Mosquadrone) that transmitted a video image of the area they were flying in.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Research paper accepted for COGNITIVE 2011 Conference.

Our research paper (which I wrote along with Prof B Shekar of IIM Bangalore) has been accepted in the 'Autonomy' track of the Third International Conference on Advanced Cognitive Technologies and Applications - COGNITIVE 2011, Rome, Italy!

The research paper submission being accepted itself comes as a great positive feedback. Now it is the rest of the processes that are quite complex!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Operation Fast-Until-Death.

  • Imagine a scenario where,  as most often is the case, the entire team of India Against Corruption is in one place - Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Shanti Bhushan, Santosh Hegde, Kiran Bedi, Swami Agnivesh and others. 
  • My fear is the initiative he has launched is going to threaten many high profile people not only in politics but also in the underworld and the corporate world with substantial clout and the will to stoop to any level - overt or covert.
  • And seeing what happened to one of the people who spoke against A Raja - Mr Bachha who's suicide note was not very convincing!
  • Imagine now one of the parties (not political) threatened by the IAC movement plots a very unique way of eliminating the members in one stroke! 
  • Or in the garb of a terrorist strike. 
  • From what I observed this entire IAC group moves around without too much security cover. And to reiterate they (the IAC team) are all mostly together ... and they do not have the necessary level of security as on date. 
  • Baba Ramdev has commandoes and it serves him right as he is fighting a battle against real big and bad goons - the black money racketeers. 
  • Chilling? Far-fetched? 
  • No. Very much in the realm of the possible ... And what if the ruling and the opposition parties collude to get this done? Since the Jan Lokpal Bill is in the long run going to make them all wash their hands from looting the public exchequer and cut off their kickback routes.
  • Imagine what can then happen if the people go berserk and are out on a violent revolution. Emergency is declared?
  • Till now the IAC movement is not such a big threat to the corrupt as the Govt is pussyfooting on all the major issues related to MPs and judiciary. Also the impact is being questioned by many as loopholes are always there to be exploited. Several sceptics even dismiss it as tamashaa. But soon it may not remain so ... 
  • Once the threat is real to those whose lives depend on the money flowing in from corruption the counter-threat becomes real too!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Signing the INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR ASSIGNMENT with Richard Ivey School of Business Foundation, at Richard Ivey School of Business, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario for the business case study and related teaching notes!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fleeting moments of heightened whatever …

EPILOGUE: Uttarakhand Diary

Have you ever felt that eruption of a crush? As if someone has just squeezed your heart and all the blood has reached your head! You start floating around in space even though you are standing right there on the ground. It is nothing but an anticipatory chemical surge. You got to blame the chemical dopamine. So what? I say! It feels real and it is – we can define real later on!

The bus for Rishikesh had started moving when there were voices heard, someone was yelling from outside. The conductor asked the driver to stop for a minute. Two women came into the bus and seated themselves and the bus started off again with a lurch - the dusty landscape soon giving way to narrow, congested roads.

She was now sitting in the bus with her mother. She would have been around twenty five or so, well endowed and taller than her mother; as she sat there she wiped the sweat beads off her dusky forehead with her dupatta!

Princess is what her mother called her (the translation from Hindi). It was during the stopover at a temple - a large white one that I faintly remember was related to some goddess that I came face to face with Princess (P in short).

The mobile phone is one device, one marvelous invention of mankind! Leading companies fight over market share and mobile memory share. All its advantages of mobility and tons of ridiculous features and then some! However it can sometimes be a real pain, if you ask me.

As we were walking down to the temple her mobile rang and after that she continued speaking forever... Later the guide kept explaining something on the efficacy of Rudraksh - a dry herb and P kept speaking on the mobile. I kept looking at her once in a while - she realized my gaze at one point, that didn’t deter me – she was quite beautiful!

It was inside Choti-waale - a unique hotel at Ramjhulaa (Rishikesh) that I first spoke to her. Actually she spoke to me!

"Have you missed the bus?” she asked me suggesting that we had not seen the guide again as promised.

"I hope I haven’t", I quipped.

We waited for sometime after which we actually started walking towards the spot where the other visitors were.

"So you are from Haridwar?", I asked her keeping the conversation going.

"Yeah, you?"

Bangalore I said and then she started to speak on her mother's sister's husband being a software engineer in Bangalore, and her wide eyed wonder when I said I wasn’t exactly employed and was running a small startup. She wouldn’t believe as if in the Mecca of jobs - Bangalore it was impossible for me to be an entrepreneur! Is this common for all girls?

We continued speaking once in a while when we would get a chance. She smiled when she spoke, and I'd admire her in my mind. Her mother was a woman of few words and just smiled and nodded once in a while.

We had lost the way and we crossed the river Ganges at the Ramjhula bridge and as we chatted along we got an auto and reached the spot where the return bus to Haridwar would be. In the bus we hardly spoke as I was sitting in the end and they were sitting in the front. When we went to the final temple we met for the last time. They went in one direction and I went in another.

I could hardly sleep that night and then the alarm woke me up at 3:15 AM! And that’s the end - if I meet her again I may not even recognize her - the little fallacies and joys of life!!

The dopamine overdose washed out as we in the bus started climbing the hilly terrain on the way to Badrinath. The breathtaking views erased every last residue of memory of the beautiful damsel!

That should explain why dopamine attacks are alternately termed as Maya in Indian spirituality and literature! Humans (men) are tuned that way to be on the lookout. And as long as they don’t cause any damage, no harm!

Ties up with the rest of: Uttarakhand Diary

Monday, May 09, 2011

Dr H K Kejriwal inaugurates Tagore Hall at Jayamahal Sarbajanin Durga Charitable Samiti, Bangalore

Photos Courtesy: Sounak Sinha.

08 May 2011, Sunday - On the eve of the 150th birth anniversary of Nobel laureate and poet Rabindranath Tagore, Dr H K Kejriwal the renowned art collector and philanthropist inaugurated the Tagore Hall at the premises of the Jayamahal Sarbajanin Durga Charitable Samiti. The hall is decorated with visual copies from H K Kejriwal's collections of Tagore's letters and paintings along with a few artworks from the Bengal School (Gaganendranath Tagore, Abanindranath Tagore, Jamini Ray, Nandalal Bose). The event was initiated with recitation by Dr Kejriwal of Rabindranath Tagore's poetry and was followed by a talk on Tagore by Debasish Banerjee and Rabindra Sangeet by Shamit Bagchi, Debolina Dutta, Srila Banerjee and a few other artistes. The Jayamahal Samiti Presidents B K Pal and Bijan Majumdar were present and addressed the gathering at this joyous occasion. The artifact collection/decoration was conceived and executed by Tapan Dutta, Shamit Bagchi and others under the guidance of Dr Kejriwal.

More here:
And here:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Sperm-Ovum Model of Creative Effectiveness in Advertisements.

An article I had written earlier.

An analysis of creativity can be done from two different perspectives. One is from the angle of the marketer in alignment with the ad maker. In this case the inducement of trial or an increase in propensity to buy the product or buy in the message is the ultimate dream of the ad maker/marketer.

However from the perspective of the user most important is the emotional connect. For high involvement products too TV ads show that the quirk in the ad has to ultimately connect. For the user if this does not happen then it will never translate to sales or a brand embrace.

Creative effectiveness can be depicted as a 3 phase analogical process:

The first one is the creative blitzkrieg or the clutter breaking usage of drama, the heightened use of extreme/odds and maybe even a slow narrative (the first 30 seconds in a TV ad). Customer’s attention is drawn at this stage. It is not a sequence but more like what happens in the mind of the viewer as he is going through the advertisement. So unless attention can be drawn the very perusal of the ad by the viewer falls into jeopardy.

The second stage is the touching the customer’s heart, when the emotional connect happens. With a little more exposure maybe first time or on a subsequent viewing this can happen best. The imagery maybe negative or positive but the emotional connect is almost a necessity, the ‘connection establishing’ is most important. This stage for the viewer showcases the ‘real creativity’ and nuanced and painstaking details that have gone in tandem with the creative team behind the advertisement.

Almost like the pairing of the marketer and the user the third and the final stage is when the effectiveness comes into play and the child of this pairing (of viewer’s emotional connection and ad maker creativity in strategic message delivery/imagery/narrative) is born as the behaviour change. The sperm of strategic intent and the message that the adman is trying to convey fertilizes the ovum of the receptive viewer’s mind. This receptivity flows from the earlier stage of emotional connect that the marketer has been able to establish.

This is the zone of ‘creative effectiveness’ when the viewer fully understands, and embraces the brand and its message and ultimately what it stands for. ROI is almost a measure in the long run or in the short term brand establishment, strengthening, user generated viral campaigns, social buzz etc can be the direct result from this stage.

Either the ad itself becomes famous or the product is utilized more effectively.

The very basis of this effectiveness established above is to understand the target segments’ realistic expectations. With the advent of social media on the internet this is becoming more important as honing on the target segment is becoming easier. The ad must then package the same in a visual, message that will establish this in the minds and induce a behavior change. However there is no one way of doing this so the routes maybe many.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

What we are made for and invisible guiding hands!

Sometimes we are kept away from certain people, places, ways and things in life as if by some invisible hands because we need to be taking/exploring exactly the other paths which we are almost forced traversing ... Call it destiny - but it can be very positively energizing and fortuitous! It helps us discover what we are made for!!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Making a fool of oneself!

It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
And when you make a fool of yourself, the joy that you get by seeing faces all around you light up in laughter: a tonic relief from all pains of life, is just addictive. Well, yes it is all part of a selfish act! - Shamit Bagchi

Monday, April 04, 2011

Emotional-Rational Spectrum.

So if emotions are bad and utility everything, then ideally I should be a robot who executes tasks with zero distraction, I should have perfect control over all parts of my mind and should operate at near optimal efficiency - is that the intent for any human being? The key question remains - what am I trying to achieve - and why am I doing all the tasks that I am doing and with what purpose? Rationality is mere cause and effect and we get bound in myopia if we take that as the only arbiter. Am I an automaton performing tasks, duties and responsibilities earmarked for me and is that the end of it? I think not! Emotions act as triggers, lubricants and contemplation is what leads you to the next level perhaps providing that shift into the next big thing on the path of evolution - individually and as a group activity! Or is it supposed to be a balance as per the autonomous decisions of an individual - what part is rational and cognitive and what part is emotional, sensory, contemplative.

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Last Raaga

A numb feeling,
Like perhaps what a mother feels;
A day after the baby has left the womb?
Postpartum depression ...
Not that I would not come here again
But this odd sense of woolly headed, blurred lights.
As the taxi whizzed past the dark shapes of trees.
For a moment I started humming a tune
No, actually a raaga that I had discovered
They say the emotion of a raaga is most important
If somehow one can get the raaga purely based on emotions!
That is greater than technically learning music.
It is like picking out the strains from the substratum of aural fabric
Generated from the mind - intuition driven,
Instead of being learnt through analysis - bit by bit.
I dont know if I had discovered a raaga for late evening
Or one for an emotional state evoked by my alma mater!
"Alma Mater - Nourishing Mother" - Intellectual.
In thought and openness of ideas...
Fed for close to three years.
Now I felt drained and yet euphoric.
Comfort in ambiguity,
Of the life ahead and the city.
I felt sleepy and cyclic bursts of emotions
And finally a calm as I continued to hum the last raaga
Adding newer dimensions, and notes like tributaries!
Till I was home clutching the certification - a material vestige.
The rest was all smeared in my neural circuitry,
The raaga was perhaps a tribute to those days, the people, the atmosphere
And much, much more ...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

'Certificate of Appreciation' from IIMB

Selflessness, creative thinking and commitment reads the 'Certificate of Appreciation' from IIMB towards PGSEM Student Affairs' Council initiatives... !

I am honored!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Oh! Whom shall I trust in? Ain't it a wretched world?
"Trust yourself first!", came a voice from within or without I know not!
"And wretched it shall no longer be."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bool Sheet and 'Hawaa Hawaa'

The puffed rice seller was tall and gaunt, with a wispy stubble on his chin. He was aged roughly about forty five. He’d sing as he went about the neighborhood with his sack! And the song he would always sing was ‘Hawaa Hawaa Aye Hawaa’, a Pakistani song, quite a hit during those times in India. His name was Amjad. Bool Sheet was then in his early teens and he along with his friends would play gully cricket on the streets or lagori – a game involving a tower of stones and throwing a ball around hitting each other with the ball and all that junk. It was a welcome distraction as Amjad passed by always singing!

The year was 1996 and it was the month of December, Bool Sheet and his friends would as usual get back from school and then the games would begin on the streets in the evening, loud noise and shouts rang in the air. It was routine and yet it was fun and around 5:30 in the evening regularly the sound of the song ‘Hawaa Hawaa’ would come floating in. Bool Sheet and his friends would often taunt Amjad with loud shouts of ‘Hawaa Hawaa’ sometimes singing more of the song along with Amjad mixed with general tomfoolery!

Something happened in the second week that December and all schools were shut down in the neighborhood. There was some sort of panic, and Bool Sheet and his friends were not allowed to even play on the streets by their parents lest something untoward happened. It was something about Babri Masjid and Ram Janmabhoomi that Bool Sheet didn’t care about but had learnt about when the TV blared on and his dad sat rapt, catching the news.

For a few days the school and games on the street routine was disrupted. And the kids got restless at homes. Playing cards and chess or carom (which Bool hated) became the norm. There was news that there had been violent clashes near the market which was less than half a kilometer down the main road. Clashes among people of the main religious communities - Hindus and Muslims but it had come under control as no one wanted disruption in business and all this would only lead to losses as Bool heard some wise man tell his dad!

One winter evening Bool Sheet sat thinking about the unexpected holidays he had got from school – it was fun and not so fun too. However one sudden observation he had was that Amjad had not been seen after that period of turmoil. The schools had resumed after a week or two and so had their games on the streets, but what about Amjad? A chilling thought came to Bool Sheet’s mind as he was prone to thinking extremes. Had Amjad…? There had been some news of burning of shacks and shanties on the other side of the temple. Is that where Amjad lived? Had something happened to him? Next day Bool Sheet asked his best friend Wimp Keed. Keed also noticed that Amjad would no longer come in the evenings, singing ‘Hawaa Hawaa’ and that was quite unusual he agreed. Probably people had stopped eating puffed rice he hypothesized. “Bullshit”, thought Bool Sheet but he was scared, he even asked his mom and she couldn’t give a satisfactory answer either.

That night as he slept he dreamt that he had reached heaven and there as he was entering the portals of Jom’s world he saw a single, lonely person seated on a chair among the rows and rows of empty chairs. A familiar tune was being played out in a slow symphony in the background. The person was seated with his head held in his hands and face down. As Bool went towards the man and touched him on his arm, he raised his head. It was Amjad and in the background as if the slow symphony started playing louder it was the same tune “Hawaa Hawaa”.

He narrated this to Wimp Keed and Keed couldn’t stop laughing for the next one full minute as Bool’s cheeks went red in anger and he left Keed in a huff, still laughing. Keed was usually silent and listened carefully to Bool but on this occasion he was so terribly insensitive! What Bool Sheet I say thought Keed in turn. The problem with Bool was he’d often go off on stupid, imaginary worlds like this – quite usual for him.

It was about a month later when they were in an intense game of cricket and Bool’s LBW decision was being heatedly debated that they heard the familiar tune of that gruff voice singing and Bool just forgot all about the cricket match and ran towards that sound. As Amjad came towards them hunched forward, with his grimy off-white plastic sack lugged over his shoulder, Bool stood still in front of him but could say nothing.

“Kaisa hain Bool babua?”, “How are you Mr Bool?” said Amjad touching Bool on his cheek.

But Bool wouldn’t move and continued to block Amjad’s path and stood there staring at his face.
It was as if some sort of a human bond of familiarity had formed between them and Amjad could sense it.

“Arre main badhiya hoon, no peeroblem”, he said as he gave a toothy smile. He meant ‘I am fine no problems whatsoever’.

After a while Bool held Amjad’s hand and squeezed it to see if it were really Amjad. Amjad patted his hand and Bool ran back to his buddies to argue out the LBW decision suddenly aware he had been given out unfairly.

In an instant again his doubt surfaced and he wanted to really, really make sure that whom he was seeing was really Amjad! Then he did an even more bizarre thing - he actually went back, held up Amjad’s arm from behind as he turned around and bit him.

What Bool Sheet!


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I wanted to and I am doing it - Online...

by Shamit Bagchi

I wanted to sing but no one would listen,
Or there was no occasion except a few!
So I now use Muziboo -

I wanted to act but no theatre group that I ever joined
And longingly I sat looking at the actors on stage.
So now I play different parts: of victim, expert and joker on Facebook -

I wanted to write and I did
And then one day the urge died!
But I still blog at

I wanted to read but the books strained my eye.
So I now use audio books man - WTF!

I wanted to travel around the world - the mountains, the seas...
But it was too costly and I was too comfortably seated to move!
So I now have virtual tours on the net and read Lonely Planet/
Watch Discovery/NatGeo/TLC

I wanted to help but ...
Now you can use kiva -

And I wanted to draw/paint, create art and wanted people to appreciate it!
So I created Dhonuk -

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

I wanted to ... And I will.

I wanted to sing but no one would listen,
Or there was no occasion except a few!
I wanted to act but no theatre group that I ever joined
And longingly I sat looking at the actors on stage.
I wanted to write and I did
And then one day the urge died!
I wanted to read but the books strained my eye.
I wanted to travel around the world - the mountains, the seas...
But it was too costly and I was too comfortably seated to move!
I wanted to help but ...

But sing I will in the bathroom or my house!
No occasion needed all right.
Act I shall everyday - action!! Lights, camera or not.
And I write... what the f*** do you think I am doing now?
Read I will have to - the voracious reader demands and yells within!
Travel I will some day...
Right now I am traversing my mental landscape!

The will is weak, the perception vivid.
Imagination at a peak, but inertia gets us frigid.
So finally I have acted!
And here, I give you a poem.
In the name of whatever.
A help and a thought,
An inspired lot
That you all are
What else do you need from me?

Sometimes I see no reason for doing anything in particular and find most of the causes for which, people are prepared to act and suffer, profoundly uninteresting. I can't be bothered with them, for the good reason that I have better things to 'think' about. (Adapted)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Late Night Meditation.

My mind was very disturbed yesterday at the time I went to sleep. Late at night around 3 AM or so I woke up for some reason and then tried meditation as I lay down. Focusing on my breath as I meditated - I went into a deep peaceful state within 10 minutes and as if all the impressions from the day were washed out... Later I slept peacefully too! 

GOODNESS ME!! Black Swan & Natalie Portman’s performance.

This is like the most fantastic movie I have ever seen, mind-blowing stuff, no exaggerations. Period.

Oh! Well, I have to write some bit about it, I have to. Natalie Portman deserved the Oscar like no one else ever did. I am shocked and in awe of what I just saw as the movie concluded. She has been able to perform in the movie Black Swan to perfection. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

The docile ballerina, a perfectionist whom the company's choreographer keeps taunting by saying, you are too weak and frigid and you need to let go, it is not about perfection and control etc etc. The transformation from the White Swan to the Black Swan is what the movie is about. In this process she takes another person as her imagined arch enemy and to reach that ultimate perfection on stage you get to see what happens to her personal life.

Even if I have spoilers from the movie here it does not matter –you would have to see it to believe it. You would not believe what you see in that movie though. This beats all levels of acting, raving about it would be a mild term.

The last part is not just riveting it is spell binding. I was left completely spell bound and shaking like I haven’t been in any other movie till date. This IS undoubtedly in my memory the best movie I have watched till date simply because of what the brilliance of acting from the lead actordoes to you as a viewer. It draws you in – near complete!

The climax is set up to resemble some superlative crescendo. The power of the medium has been harnessed well in the screenplay too – and I saw this on my laptop and yet this effect – on big screen it would be quite extraordinary!  

As the very end of the movie nears, a series of events just pump up the adrenaline and your mind goes into a tizzy (my mind did) and you figure that she has been delusional at one point yet has performed in her first and final act with such expression that you cannot forget it for a long time.

First of all you know the actor has done a marvelous role when she makes you feel for her, as if anything untoward that may befall her you don’t want it to happen. She makes you become a part of the narrative – the acting has this sense almost of the tactile. Touching is the word.

It was an ultimate connect to the character not just the character in the movie but as if the reality of that character and you start panicking or sweating alongside the actor.

During the last few scenes of the movie, we see a series of occurrences in the film, some disconnected yet very engaging, passionate scenes and that is when the mental machinery of the viewer goes into a thumping overdrive. It is not like the cool and chilling Anthony Hopkins of ‘Hannibal Lecter’ fame in the Silence of the Lambs – this is intensely dramatic, superbly artistic, and powerfully seductive!  The final Black Swan act is absolutely mesmerizing as when you see Portman you just can’t believe it is the same actress, the transformation is so complete! The accompanying music and sound effects does justice too.

It is like a buildup that is quite unseen - the true meaning of the word ‘climax’ in any movie if there can be this defines it!
It is not surreal or fuzzy, but taunt like the string of a bow and equally hammer-like.

And the whole thing especially her acting is anything but natural and exhausts all superlative adjectives. I kind of realize now that the movie portrays that she remains a White Swan until the end!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Daa Adbhentures obh Bool Sheet: ‘Getting Out, Getting in’ or Prof Ongko & Telepathy

Daa Adbhentures obh Bool Sheet:
‘Getting Out, Getting in’ or Prof Ongko & Telepathy

“It is like this”, Professor Ongko Bannujjay, was showing it, waving his hand to show the n-dimensions. Then he started moving both his hands like an orchestra player.  Prof O we will call him - the mathematical wizard or just O.

Bool raised his hand, his skinny arm didn’t even register in O’s  n-dimensional far sight of a vision. He continued on drawing 3 matrices simultaneously on the board, bored the students started jotting down the tableaux.

“Taabloo”, yelled O suddenly animated and then went on to blabber more. “Do you get it? The fact that multiple such planes intersect and each of them are convex, yes what?”, he asked Bool in between repeating his previous point. He had spotted Bool – his arm intersecting one of his imaginary planes – and interrupting his train of thoughts - disgusting.

Bool felt trepidation and the area around his bladder tightened, constricting any chance of liquid flow. It was a strange sensation, he felt he had to run to the toilet yet the body took an autonomous decision as if as a counter measure!

O’s jowls were as fiery and red as a raging bull’s. “Yes what is it?” he yelled out again.

Bool started to speak, when his mobile rang. A ringtone that was of some Bengali Rabindra Sangeet, written by the famous poet Rabindranath Tagore and unknowingly set as a ringtone by one of his stupid cousins yesterday when he had gone to their place. These next gen kids were ‘pod pakaas’ – sharp ass, as in overzealous! Bool felt as if the ghost of the poet with the white flowing beard had kicked Bool in his backside. He fumbled to shut off the mobile, but the sound subsided – it was only an SMS – Shit Messaging Service.

Ongko was now livid. He made a caustic remark, “How callous are you fools”, he said addressing all in general but Bool in particular. “First of all it takes you hours to understand the simplest of concepts that I understood back in secondary school - calculus”. “And then you don’t even turn off your mobiles in class – how did you morons get into this prestigious institute?” So callous and calculus registered as words in Bool’s mind as nodes of an associative map tightly entwined that he would never forget!

“Sorry Sir”, Bool managed heads down ashamed and that’s when he happened to glance at his mobile screen. It read “Take me in”. He was shocked, Ashok it was who had messaged him.  What did he mean?

Bool now stood up and with great courage managed to ask “Sir you mentioned multiple planes intersecting and all of them being convex, but what if they are concave?”

Prof O thought for a minute and started scratching his head! He suddenly ducked and then paced back and forth on the elevated platform for almost thirty full seconds. By now Bool had forgotten his question and was busy reading the SMS from Ashok trying to fathom its meaning!

Also by then Toothy Shashank had peeped into his neighbour’s mobile and seen the SMS and giggled!

Coming out of his deep thoughts, Prof O shot back a look of anger at the class, who dared giggle at him, he would answer the question all right! He started pointing his right hand’s index finger at his head an almost reflex action, as if commanding his mind to throw out an answer. But the answer eluded him. And this got him even more animated and his speed of pacing around quickened.

The message had spread in the class like wild ants; the students were flabbergasted by two equally comic happenings. Ashok sending Bool a message saying “Take me in”, for extra kicks someone had spiced up the SMS as “Take me in tonight” – and the way Prof O had reacted to Bool’s question. The lanky and muscled Peter even whispered into the ears of Sriram ‘Tilak’ Iyer that he thought Bool was a gay, he had always thought so!

All of a sudden something quite extraordinary happened. Prof O raised both his hands and sighed loudly, “You’ll have to give me five minutes”.

He jumped down to the door, unlatched it and stormed out. As soon as he had stormed out Ashok stormed into the class.

He was five minutes late to the class and Prof O was so strict (finicky most students thought) that he would lock the door, latch it from inside two minutes after the time the class was supposed to begin. Then he’d dust his hand as if he had just punished some criminal who was left outside and smile at himself for a moment and then get back to being a tough professor!

“Dude please take me in, ask the professor to open the door, I got delayed by a minute” read the next message from Ashok that reached Bool a little late… And by then he had actually managed to do exactly that. Bool later boastfully claimed it was: Telepathy.

Plus several toppers including Sriram ‘Tilak’ Iyer congratulated Bool on his near-impossible feat that semester more so than the genuine question Bool had raised and Prof O had answered in the subsequent class!

Incessant taunts for Bool on the message from Ashok and its distortions died out after a while. And so did the incessant praises for having sent Prof O out of the class with his mind blowing question.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bool Sheet & The Jom Bees - A short story

Dedicated to all my PGSEM'08 brethren giving exams this weekend!! Especially the bongs will understand it best! :)

Bool Sheet always liked to imagine he was the most creative and never followed the crowd. He liked to look down upon the Jom Bees - The Fiery Bee, The Fighter Bee, The Queen Bee, The Sloppy Bee, The SharpAss bee, The SharpTongue Bee, The Shy Bee and all the other future IIM Bees.

So one day Bool Sheet thought why attend the Saza-e-xams like all the sleepy and studious Jom Bees instead he struck upon a plan to go and destroy the evil Jom's Palace. At the Jom Err Daar - the massive gateway he was stopped by Jom's guards Mosh and Rouhs! He wanted to capture the core of the power center - the mighty palace itself, kill Jom and have all the Jom Bees under his control.They gave him a Saar-Bhey an ancient weapon of mass destruction - and told him to feel it. As soon as Bool held the Saar-Bhey it started to emit powerful green Likert rays! And then Bool slumped to the floor unconscious.

The evil guards dragged him to Jom - the evil king - the most powerful of them all in all realms and splashed Jal Jeera on Bool's face to give him a sweet-sour justice and Bool was wide awake.

He pleaded to Jom to allow him to go back to the Jom Bees. That is when his eyes fell on Sec C May Aye - she seemed to be waving at him! She was making a sign which he couldn't understand when the booming voice of Jom reverberated all over the massive courtroom of the palace. 

"Did you feel it?", he said loudly.
"No Sor Car", managed Bool in his feeble voice. What was he supposed to feel he wondered.
"Feel it now, and if you get the wrong answer I shall behead 'U'"
That is when Bool understood what Sec C was indicating.

The Saar-Bhey had a single Maaltee-C Ques Chan, much more agile and spirited than the Jackie Chan. Bool felt a shiver go down his Sheet!

But Bool knew this was a question of life and death and he could not Bool Sheet here, so he took out his magical Sheet and started doing rapid and vigorous calculations... whatever he remembered from what Mugger Much had been loudly rote learning in their Shared Moor, when he was trying his best to sleep - pillow on his ears! He felt a greater chill ..

Two aeons went by as a few Kal Koo Laas fell - several of them and other Seem Balls died and were reborn! It was a sight to behold.

Sec C was now back in the Hostail (the harem of the evil king Jom)
But she was agitated - what if Bool had to lose his head, I mean really...
She grew ever so impatient and started to pray in 140 letters walking hither and twither!

And then, and then ultimately came the moment and Bool was in a position to give the Ques Chan a befitting reply.
He held up his arm like a CP King (stupid Jom bee, bored Jom Bee etc adopted this policy often as a defensive ploy) in one of the classes ... and blurted out:
"Ass Saar"

"What did you call me ? An ass?", thundered Jom, bringing out his sword with a clink!!
"Ass Saar"

Sec C was back by now and tried to explain:
"He means A, my beloved king!"

"Oh! Is it correct?", he turned and asked his favourite court finance guru, Meri Lynch Lo.
"I will have to ask the DeeVaaR sir! He is the most knowledgeable".
"Oh your EffBee DeeVaaR - go ahead do it now, I cant wait any longer"
After kraaood shorshing Meri Lynch Lo brought out a bottle full of invective laden Komments, squirming inside of the bottle. Some red, some blue, some black and blue...

"Lo and behold Jom saar, I have transgressed them and the correlation says..", he stopped, fearful that Jom might behead him immediately - sword in hand he looked utterly frightening.

"Say it out now, you fool!"
"Sir the boy is right. Bool Sheet is absolutely right. He got an A and my results also show an A", he concluded.
Jom's face was now weirdly contorted, how could he get it right, he wondered. There is some conspiracy. Bool Sheet how on Earth - I mean how in Jom did he get it right???
That is when his eyes fell on Sec C staring at Bool and Bool staring back at her and he roared.
Sec C fell off the chair and somehow managed to regain her composure.
Bool was now happy - his latest A meant he had a total of 2.0009 as See Gee Pee Aye - The scrolls of the INDAH STREE The wife of the Kaar Purrate, could now no longer harm him although he was thought of as being creative (in other words weak)!

Staring back at Jom undaunted he raised his hand and cried "I have the Power! PGSEM." He made a finger-ful guesture to the imaginary INDAH STREE...

Jom now trembled, before he could raise his sword - a yellow stain marred his white pajamas and eventually the whole of his being turned yellow and the fearsome Jom dissappeared into thin air!

Bool Sheet and Sec C lived happily forever! 
And all the Jom Bees were set free... They are also referred to as IIM Bees now, or Free Bees, or May Bees.

See Stem Treeked. End O Stow Ree.