Thursday, April 28, 2011

1486 : What is but a memory?



I was reading a recent issue of the Open Magazine, which contained an interview with Sandra Samuel, the lady who saved Moishe, the son of Israeli Rabbi and his wife during the attack on Chabad house.

She was the kid’s nanny and she was from Goa. Now she is moved to Israel, has been offered a honorary citizenship, and both she and Moishe are supposedly national icons.

During her interview, she does touch upon the fact, that no one in Mumbai recognizes her, versus, she continues to be hailed in Israel and she gets felicitated with gifts even today.

Her lament is “Mumbai does not value memories. Back there, they continue to ponder over the past, and they place an emphasis on the stories from the passage of time”….or something to the effect.

I found that insightful.

Seriously, think about it, why would a crass commercial place like Mumbai (already brimming and full of itself) value and romanticize a narrative from the past (even if its its own past)…..versus Israel, which knows the (huge) price of history and hence values it. A nation built on top of a pyramid of conflict and fire,  knows that there is no merit in covering its tracks…. instead it eulogizes itself, laying its stories bare….for the journey to be lived, relived…in the saint-like hope that the future will learn from the past.

If we agree with the above assessment, then we also know, why, in (my) bleeding Mumbai, the Poet is a dead breed, a Pariah, who is looked upon as someone who has to too much Time on hand….to procrastinate and ruminate on a (hurried) life…. which most folks (in Mumbai) would otherwise hope, just quickly whizzes past them, in the proverbial flash …...almost a la dying.

The Poet is dead. Long live the City where any memory (kept alive) is nothing but a Ghost.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

1485 : What do they know?

Most banks in US/JP are consistently reducing their leverage ratios. From 30+ pre 2008 crisis, to early 20s in the post crisis.

If we check up today, most of the banks are down to early teens. Except for Credit Suisse which still seems to be at 31, the others are all huddled under 20. Next in line, Morgan and Nomura are possibly the highest at around 17.

Goldman, the survivor, is down to under 12 – and is infact getting generously panned by investors. Stock is down, and yet, the firm resolutely remains unwavering, focussed on (seemingly) further de-risking. Goldman is so under leveraged, it is almost appearing to be  like a retail bank (say JPM or C (Citi)).

That we are the at other extreme, from the 30+, does not seem to be a plausible explanation. If anything at all, we are at a point where slowly the near-death of 2008, is beginning to appear like a distant memory.

Optimism is already back in, at least to a certain degree in all markets.

So, the big QUESTION is, what is causing these big banks, especially Morgan and Goldman to de-leverage so heavily, inspite of investors punishing the stock? And the bigger QUESTION is, what does CS know?

Wonder, if its something to do with 2012 and the world ending Smile. I am going to brace up with a survival kit and some air bags Smile

Monday, April 25, 2011

1484 : In defence of the atheist establishment

I have views on Satya Sai Baba, but I reserve them for a coffee conversation. What does bother me is the approach our state (country) is taking in eulogising him.

My point is, and I have said this before, does a secular state have the luxury of wearing its religious and other affiliations on its sleeve.

Most definitely, we are neither the Vatican not are we Pakistan. But we most definitely seem to be leaning towards the Hindu stance.

If I were a believer (in religion), I would most definitely be perturbed by the government behaviour….as who-is-who in the establishment is falling over each other to schmooze upto the Godman’s legacy.

These are times, when I sit and admire China. At least in this respect it has gotten its foundations right.

Religion, like a brand, is best hidden by satin printed labels 1cm by 1cm on the back of shirts, watches…Smile

Get the drift?

1483 : Sound of music

I find it hard to imagine that 10 months ago, I would have slept through a loud rendition of Raag Saraswati.

Whats more surprising,is my friend, Raavan….yes, the same ten headed and 20 eared guy from the land which is burned every now and then by monkeys… times he participates in this aural experience too.


All his ten heads snore in resonance.

Music definitely knows no boundaries Smile

Thursday, April 21, 2011

1482 : The power of plugs

I was at a tech conference today where Nokia was a lead sponsor and it won “an industry award” – guess which one ???  – the best mobile development platform for “symbian”.

In case you have been hibernating in recent times, Nokia has decided to kill Symbian. This happened over a month ago and was publically widely read (and announced).

Delightful irony. I guess money allows the dead to be anachronistic Smile

1481 : Even I am ashamed !!

Usually I am not apologetic about things around me, or my people, culture, or country….but!!….so, yesterday, I flew our national airlines (Air India), after about 10 years maybe….and… was just so appalling.

I don’t think it should bleed to death (which it is doing), I think it should be swiftly terminated. Not euthanasia, but electric chair Smile

The staff is terrible. They are downright bloody rude. Infact at one point one of the staffers commented on another’s “mother and her carnal habits” to another loud enough so that all passengers could hear and partake of this show of man to man respect.

Sitting there, I was going….what next?….will they now shag each other?

I was tired, it was a red eye flight, all I expected was a good seat to sleep and the flight to be on time. The flight was bloody late by over an hour, the drive from the Mumbai gate to the parked plane, took 22 mins – I am not exaggerating – timed it - I got into the plane and immediately entered deep slumber – only to be woken up “shaken and stirred” about 30 mins later to have a sandwich and kissan sauce thrust at me.

If I was not sleepy enough not to argue – I was going to tell the stewardess – “but I was sleeping”….but I guess to her, it did not matter. In all probability, by the looks of things, she would have interrupted me for the not to be missed “sandwich and sauce”,even if she saw me making out and fornicating with a hottie Smile

Conclusion - The maharaja’s staff consists of dated, lousy, rude, belligerent, anachronistic, eye sore(s), staff who think you need a salmonella peppered sandwich at 230am right in the middle of your slumber.

The king is alive. Long dead the king.


Monday, April 18, 2011

1480 : Of the topic of diapers, hurt men and pads

Grown up men, don’t ever cry, they simply keep bleeding periodically Sad smile

(Now thats experience talking. Maybe I should start using “Whisper with Wings” Smile)

1479 : (Don’t) Do me a favor….

“I did all of this schmuck for you,and you return this by XYZ.”, if this drill sounds as familiar as “Et Tu, Brutus”, I won’t blame you.

Not only do sisters, mothers, fathers, sons and the ilk pull this on this relationships – but this happens in a corporate world as well. How often do you hear a souped up boss telling you “I worked so hard to get you this promotion, and now you are thinking of moving on.”, muttering this with an facial expression of being “sodomised”.

Well – I have sisters, mothers, fathers, sons and of course bosses. All the time, I decide to do things which impact them in a positive way – but very rarely, if ever, have I ever done something exclusively for someone.

I buy a good purse for my sis, she needs to upgrade Smile, but more importantly, I buy it, because it makes me very happy knowing that she will kiss me in her head – everytime she deals with the purse.

Get the drift?

I have always been the bigger benefactor of every act I have ever done – including what might be classified as “random acts of kindness”.

So I never had to do this “you screwed my backside” drill on someone….

The next time, someone does this routine on me, I am almost tempted to say “My name is Brutus. And I always carry a steely knife inside my vest. Count your blessings and move on.”

1478 : 2am soiree

Its 2am at night, and I am listening to a composition in Raag Lalit – by Rajan - Sajan Mishra

jogiya mere ghaar aaye, ghar ghar alakh jagaye. 
kanan kundal gar biju se li. anga babhut ramaye

Roughly translated, with my limited grasp of Avadhi (or whatever dialect is this!!)….(Jogiya=hermit, alakh=the infinite, kanan=left, kundal=curled up)

The hermit who has come around, is lighting up the infinite in every home
Lying curled up on (our) left, he/she is stirring up (our) bodies.

If you detect a faint slight of eroticism there, don’t feel abashed, thats the nature of Hindustani music – its almost sufi like in its structure. It refers to love and the quest for the infinite almost interchangeably.

And oh by the way, this is a stunning piece of music – one of my favorites in Raag Lalit.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

1477 : The Malinga effect

I have been walking in my apartment complex, where, given the school holiday season, and the India WC win, and the fact that I live in India…. kids are invariably playing cricket.

I was pleasantly surprised to see young 4-6 years old, bowling with a sling action and screaming – “here comes Malinga”….

On one hand, I found it funny….very funny actually to see these tiny tots….on the other hand…the serious cricketer in me…wants to go and correct them. There is no replacement to correct technique…and the MSD, Malinga are far and few examples.

(I once played very good cricket….and even took pro coaching. Of course, I am not just jaded, I am faded tooSmile.I plan to send my kid (when he comes!!) to a cricket academy.)

1476 : I have nothing if I dont have you….

A line running through my head is from Quiver (Tarkash) by Javed Akthar…..

Ek Haath mein hain jeeth uski,
Aur doorse haath mein tanhayi…

In one hand he clutched the spoils of (his) victory,
While the other was left holding onto (his) loneliness

1475 : Its never easy

I have said that before, having to see your parents erode away (before your eyes) is never easy, even for someone as bloody cold and unemotional as me.

Its is a messy process, it plays tricks with your mind and drains blood from the heart….and you cannot feign myopia.

1474 : The dormant leukaemia contained within the poet’s life…

Many moons ago, when he was told that he might have cancer of the blood, the Poet had laughed his heart out….almost sticking his finger at the doctor….knowing fully well that his body was in harmony and the pronouncement was unfounded.

I was talking to him yesterday, and he confessed, this time without that belligerent bellow….that his biggest disappointment as a Poet, had been his failure to read That metaphor correctly. He was referring to the same pronouncement…and its subtle undertones.

He spoke, avoiding my eye completely, and said –“You know you are dying of leukaemia, when you recognize that your very own Blood is out to get your grain.”

He seems to have detected it in the accelerated blast phase Sad smile

Saturday, April 16, 2011

1473 : You are in too deep when….

You start dreaming (in your sleep) about your work. Now thats a first for me, and I am not quite sure whether I like it Smile

Saturday, April 09, 2011

1472 : Diction is everything

I was overhearing someone yesterday, who was referring to either his wife or daughter (presumably so) as Bur-ka. I am assuming her name would be Barkha- the full bloodied “kha” like the English word “thorn”.

My own diction is not the best – owning to my South Indies roots and Bumbai upbringing.

Yet, I at least (think so) that I make a sincere attempt to learn the right enunciations (an act of proclaiming versus pronouncing) from folks like Prashant or Mum.

If it was indeed his daughter, how do you give someone  beautiful name like Barkha, and then call her Bur-ka.

My lament is, not that he was wrong, my real lament is….we think its perfectly okay to be wrong…and there is no reason (in this modern world of twits …ha ha!!) to get any better at language, pronunciations and the spoken word.

1471 : Back trade

On my way back from airport in Bangalore on Baglur Road, read a wall painted in background yellow – in which a large font was screaming in BOLD and red -


I am assuming this is actually meant to be ANU’S TRADING COMPANY….else it would be one of the smelliest businesses to be in. 

1470 : Calling in sick:-)

I had been very ill for the past two days, and was almost tempted to call my manager and inform him that I wont be into office.

While I contemplated that, I could not but meditate on the modern world of excuses. There is an inherent distrust between humans, and hence inadvertently the subordinate feels it upon himself, the additional burden of providing details to the manager which otherwise he would abstract…..almost making his request for a sick leave sound subservient.

As an example, often, I get mails, which go to details like “my left ball is severely swollen, going to a doctor, a leading scrotum specialist,  at Indiranagar, waiting time expected 2 hrs, appointment at 11am, hence wont be into office.”

Every single time, I feel like replying – I trust you, please take care of your health– don’t want to know about your weighty issues.

BTW, when I apply for “sick leave” – I just mention “ill heath”, no mention at all of my sac sizes.

1469 : In which Anna gives it those ones…

I was reading an article by Kiran Bedi calls Anna Hazare subversive….and I was like “thank you lady”. Yesterday in office I was having the very same argument.

My view is, Anna(used as a symbol) is no bloody Jasmine. Jasmine is a symbol of speech where none is allowed. Versus Anna….who is subverting a democratic process, questioning the will of a populace (albeit an idiotic one!!)….

How can we sign up for a fast which is essentially questioning not the government or its corruption, but idiots like you and me, who elect this government. We are missing the real target here…the stone is not against the politicos, its on you….and its a stone…its not a paper.

In a democracy, the populace decides the government and the powers to be….to change that…we need to go back to the people….and not to a single person….who fasts to death.

If Anna wants to change the world….especially by remaining within the ambits of democracy, then he has to form a group(a party) and he needs to drive mass opinion to align with him.

Case rests. I refuse to be a brigand…not yet, at least.

(Anna is just a symbol in this article. As a person….I respect him, just as much as I adore folks like Medha Patkar, Sharmila Irom, Arundhati Roy and Dr. Binayak Sen.
The title of the piece comes from Arundhati Roy’s In Which Anne Gives It Those Ones, a play.)

Monday, April 04, 2011

Sunday, April 03, 2011

1467: Why I need to be gifted “Facebook for Dummies”…

On the back of two conversations I had with Prashant and Mum. Its no secret that I struggle with Facebook and Twitter and the ilk.

What do I struggle with? Well…its the transactional bit. “Changed into shorts right now” will get tagged as “like”. My view is – I don’t want to know your attire at this point.

What I crave for instead is meaningful conversation. I am in the old world aristotle mode – nothing stirs me up like a good old fashioned debate.

Facebook is not about debate. Its instead about urinary commentary.

Whenever I am at Bombay – I drive back home with mom – thats like a good 2 hrs to have lazy conversations. Now thats an example of what I crave for – lazy ambling going-nowhere conversations – with my spouse, sister, mother, father and kid(and I miss that with quite a few !!)

Will I never join Facebook? I will, in probability, someday soon. The peer pressure is too much to resist.

That said, I look forward to a future with less chattiness, more meaning and deep connect with my social network Smile

1466 : I still remember

Contrast this with my previous post.

I still remember in 1994 – Michael Schumacher stuck in 5th (or was it 2nd gear) at Catalunya, Spain – and he finally came second to Damon Hill.

I also remember Sachin in 1989(or 88) hammering Abdul Qadir…..for 4 sixes in an over.

And yet, cannot remember much about 2007 WC Smile

Point made. Full stop.

1465 : The cup of my world

I watched the last 10 overs of the WC finals yesterday with family. I must admit, I did not feel a thing through the match. None of the passions – and that is not to say I don’t understand cricket (I almost played cricket professionally – so know a thing or two!!) or my heart does not beat for my country (which could be partially true).

Truth be told, I am overwhelmed by the hype and the hoopla around cricket. I can bet no one will remember 28 years later – the names of the team members who won this WC.

Contrast this with BS Sandhu taking Greenidge out with a beauty of a inswinger; the catch of Richards by Kapil which has become a legend in itself – Srikanth scoring a dogged 30 odd runs…..and the fact that we remember so many players on both sides….must say something of the longevity of the memories associated with the game today.

No – I am not grudging the win, neither am I underestimating its effort – I am questioning its historical significance and longevity.

Time will tell Smile. Lets touch base in 2039.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

1464 : Not black and white at all

Picture this. There is this prime plot in your city. A builder buys this and decides to build 5 and only 5 homes there. Now the whole world and their mothers and wifes and daughters want to have a piece of this cake. The going rate for this property is 10L and at least 10000 folks want one of the houses.

By some quirky twist in fate – you lucked in. You landed a house at 10L. Next day you get a call from a few others who are willing to offer you a premium to buy it off you. Some are willing to offer as much as 20L….a cool 100% you shall make in a day. You decide to bail out.…you will use this 20L to buy a grand village house.

Technically you used a skewed demand – supply equation to your advantage – and this whole transaction is considered perfectly legal in every sense of the word.

I have been pondering, how different this is from – me landing up with 2 tickets to the WC final, and then deciding to sell it at a 100% profit. Why is that considered illegal, a “black marketeering profit”?

Wonder wonder.