Sunday, February 18, 2007

Post 247 : Sexuality and Art of Dressing it up

I was part of a raging (hormonal...maybe, yes) debate yesterday - should people in a corporate world dress up 'chic' - I mean should people wear designer wear, fancy silverware....try out modern trends in formal list is endless?

For the un-initiated, most folks working in the IT industry today are in a strange dilemma, they have tons of money, more than they could ever dream about a few years ago, but they are not comfortable with the cash. They just dont know how to spend it right, or live the kind of life - your role demands.

So you should not be surprised, if you see people going out and buying Brown suits.....ill-fitting et al, but still a designer label, costing more than just a couple of grand. So you have money, but you are still getting used to it....get the drift?

Add to this, the fact that Indians by nature are afraid of flouting their sexuality.....(again for the un-initiated, 'sexuality' for me is neither about sex nor about being sexual....its more about being comfortable with ourselves, our bodies, our culture, our thoughts, our habits.)

The Indian diaspora for a large part is built up on a foundation of prudes.....So it would be very odd for to roam around the beach side in swimming trunks....Most others there would be fully clothes, jeans, tops and sneakers......

Is that enough background?
A discussion about dressing chic to office - Indians being prude - Definition of sexuality - Too much money, too little wisdom.

The argument against 'chic' was that if a person dresses well, then he/she stands out in a crowd of 1000 people, highlighting attention, and (to my wit and irony and disgust) maybe even 'distracts;.

My point is simple, you cannot punish a few sensible folks in office who are not afraid of their own sexuality, comfortable with it.

I know someone in office who wears Rolex , carries Mont Blanc, smokes using a Zippo, wears Gucci shoes, Armani frames for glasses..... He is the typical person the argument of ‘chic’ can be used again.

My point is, folks grow up, if we grow up as prudes, that does not mean we remain prudes…..lets embrace sexuality, or at the least embrace people who are comfortable with their sexuality.

The dress maketh the man (and the woman). Other than basic rules like expecting people to wear formals in a corporate jungle, the others should go….’Classy’ dresses all the more better…..Fuck the ‘distraction’ argument, the world was never designed to get comfortable with the Bentley’s and Mont Blancs…..

Friday, February 16, 2007

Post 246 : Whats with the dark glasses?

I find celebrities queer, dyfunctional and sometimes even delusional.

Case in point, is this irritating habit of folks who wear dark glasses in an interview. I can understand dark glasses when Amitabh Bachan or Shahrukh is at Walmart, aids you in moving incognito, but in an interview....?

Whats the point? Are the arclights getting to you? Is it a stupid 'Loooey wotoun' style statement.....

Zayed Khan, Fardeen Khan, Amitabh Bachan, Abhishek....everyone seems to be doing this, surely there must be some frikking logical answer to this one.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Post 245 : The Man who saw the world

Bhandup has meter-less rickshaw's which means anywhere you want to go within Bhandup, it is a flat Rs.9. What additionally happens is, the rickshaw owners are locals, so everyone knows everyone if you long enough. Often, they shall hitch a friend of theirs on the front seat as part of your drop. So in effect you pay for the trip of someone, who gets a free ride.

I have no qualms with this system, its fair, its cheap, its eco-friendly and efficient.

Today, I took the rick back home. A blind man hitched along. It was obvious he was good friends with the owner. The blind man was dressed in a shirt with some red colored designs, a creamish trouser, black shoes and his foldable walking stick. He wore the 'blind' glasses and if not for the glasses and the stick, you would never easily guess he was blind.

As the journey started, he started speaking to owner and telling him in hindi "Let me teach you a bhajan".....and so he started.

He had a melidious voice, he actually sang the raga before he sang the bhajan....It seemed to be a Meera Bhajan. He sang very well, light hearted, genunine devotion, and with all musical sensiblities intact.

The owner was enthralled and appreciative, so was I (though not vocally).

As the journey came to an end, he almost had finished half the bhajan.....

I could not help but feel the irony of my own life. Here was a blind man, totally at ease with was obvious that his life was not as at ease as it seemed, yet his mental state was that of peace. For the life of me ever, I cannot imagine singing with such music sense.....nor can I ever fathom such devotion for a bhajan.

It reminded me again, life is a function of what we make of it, with our eyes or without them.....

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Post 244 : Vodafone picks up Hutch

I think 19bn dollars is quite a steep price for Hutch. My investing skill tells me, that 19bn investment to generate about 1bn year, or even 3bn by 2009, is such a steep Return on investment demand.

I fundamentally like fee based businesses like broking (ICICIDirect), cable (HTMT or SKYB in UK), telecom (Hutch, Airtel, MTNL)...why? because they generate a constant income, does not really pinch someone, but like FCMG, a million people paying 250rs. per month, becomes a quarter billion rupees.

Inspite of this theory, I think fee based business should be built up scratch up, never bought out, esp. in telecoms, where with number mobility coming in soon - the customer is really going to be king - Hutch shall see a churn, and a further shrinkage of margin.

Bharti will be unaffected, since they have probably invested 3bn into it in all- and are making a 1bn per year out of I would say. So would RCOM.

Of course, Vodafone is known to idiotic, who can forget the 150bn+ deal amount they paid to acquire Mannesmann AG in 2000 (Did not sound very irrational in 2000, did it)?

If Vodafone ever got listed in India, I would hammer the stock, they would never make decent ROCE on this deal.

They would have got 5-10% return from a bank, which for 19bn means about 2bn per year.....they could have invested it as Private Equity and made money.....

ROCE on this deal sucks big time. But then again, time will tell.....I am so tiny as compared to Vodafone, UBS (who helped in the deal) and Arun Sarin.

Post 243 : Fractured lives

We all are so busy making money, that we tend to forget our own social needs. I dont remember the last time I spend quality time with my brother or my best friend. Its the quest of money, that separates us.

I am not holier than thou, I am quite mercenary myself.....but sometimes, when sense prevails, I look back and think, to what end?

But then, who likes to be asked difficult questions, esp. by himself?

Should I yearn to experience these simple joys (which really dont need money) or should I just go back to the tortoise - zen shell?

Zen and the Art of deluding yourself.

Post 242 : Movie 10 (Apna Sapna Money Money)

I saw this last week with Vijiamma and Appa. Its a nice brainless (yeah thats a compliment) unpretentious movie.

Ritesh Deshmukh, Chunkey Pandey both are my favorites. Shreyas Talpade is good as well. Watch this movie for some imminently laugable moments.

Some scenes I remember:
1. Sunil Shetty cribbing to the DCP about other officers who were corrupt - saying "unke paas ghar hain, bangla hain, bank balance hain aur...... maa bhi hain"
2. Sunil Shetty screaming at Chunkey, who is Nepali and hence speaks like a Gurkha - Chunkey says "magore (read magar)" in a hindi sentence, which is like a "but" and Sunil says " abey magore hoga talab mein".....
3. Chunkey calling up and telling that he has the girl in his kabza and being told - " bahut acha watchman, aab saheb ko phun do".

I can watch this movie many times over, like I have done with Hungama, Hulchul and other movies.

Rate this 8/10 for being what it was meant to be. Go watch it.

Post 241 : The God that failed

Twice in the past week, I have been made to decide on someone's career, and both times its been someone young, immature and yet so fragile. Both times the call of duty has forced me to take harsh decisions against them. Both times I have been clear in thought and have never wavered, been very unemotional about it, and been very sure what I was doing was right.....

Yet I could not escape the reality that these decisions were harsh and would have scarred these young human beings.

I did not enjoy doing it, but did bite the bullet as a call of duty. Through these experiences, I probably had a small glimpse of how difficult it must be to be a 'fair' and 'just' God.

The Lord Almighty Be Praised.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Post 240 : New phone

I bought a Nokia 9300 about 2 months ago off the grey market. Did not cost me much at all, cheaper than all N Series phones. I have had my eye on it for a long time now. So, when I eventually started using it, it was like verifying the proof in the pudding....

So far so good. I have enjoyed this phone immensely, inspite of some obvious gaffes it sports (like the lack of vibrator, or a backlit for the QWERTY keyboard, or T9 on the main keypad.....).

I was having casual conversation with a colleague a few days ago....and he was asking me "should I go in for the 9300", I told him, "I like this phone a lot - from the build it appears that it will last for at least 4-6 years, post that my next phone shall be the next generation communicator" (and hello no, I did not mean the 9300i, I meant whatever, whenever is the prevailing series then).

Yesterday, my mind went back to this conversation, and I realised how loaded my seemingly innocous conversation was. It made mighty assumptions of perpetuality. Like? Here goes:
1. I shall survive the next 5 years.
2. Even if I survive, I shall be healthy enough to use a phone - ears, hands all ok....
3. Even if I am healthy to use the phone, I shall need to use the phone - what if I dont have any friends....say, I am alone at Hawaii without GSM coverage.
4. Assume I am healthy, need the phone, will I have money to buy the phone?
5. Will Nokia continue its communicator range even after 5 years?
6. Will my tastes remain the same, even after 5 years ? (I have a theory, that most humans change every 7 years, coinciding around 30, and then at 36 years....I shall be 36.... 5 years tastes would ideally have moved on).

Human fallacy makes a lot of assumptions, inspite of living in a fragile world. We do it all th time, most of the times not even realising how presumptive we are, as my earlier conversation demonstrated.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Post 239 : My Clay Model - 2 (Piggy)

Another week passed, another attempt at monstoreity......

I tried to create a piggy....turned out looks more like a fish, but what the heck, will eventually get there, even I dont, I never intended to compete with Rodin anyway.
Sized about 2 in by 2 in, created on 4th of Feb 2007, took me about 45 mins to create in all.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Post 238 : Mint Rocks

I read EconomicTimes for almost 4 years between 2000-2004 before it got me crapped out. Its easily the most crappy yellow (business) newspaper that has ever been produced.

That should not be surprising given the fact it comes from the most mercenary media company in India (Benett & Coleman) who also produce the Times of India (another crappy paper).

My dad subscribes to both Hindustan Times and Times of India, and amongst the two the former scores by a score (A 'score' is 20 ;-))

When HT decided to launch a business paper along with WSJ, that was it, even before it hit the stands, I had cut a check for a year's worth.

Its been two days, and Mint has not disappointed. Its easily one of the best business newspapers I have read ever (in India or abroad).

Loved it every inch of the (printed) way.

So now I have two media outputs which I really like, Mint, Tehelka (and if I must name a 3rd one it must be Fortune)

Post 237 : Silence

I think the noise in my life is reaching crazy proportions. Need to grow a bit more silent.

What will silence achieve? It wont raise any more questions like the one you just asked ;-)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Post 236: Why?

A friend of mine wrote in recently to me asking me stop asking the 'why?' so incessantly. I tend to seem to ask a why for almost everything in life.

Today I reading Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Shunryu Suzuki.....and he has an interesting take on these 'why' questions. He says these lead us to explore more (in the beginning), but then soon we realise that we are not making any progress....this can be frustrating, tiring and boring.....eventually (not everyone though) some of us will break this ceiling only to realise that ours is not to question 'why?'.....when we combine this new freedom with the understanding that we exist not because we live, but because we are just a small cell in a huge interconnected organizm, thats when we start moving towards a Zen state.....

Whew!!! ( That was one long sentence).

Probably all my jingoistic reading did not give me enough wisdom which she innately expressed using common sense.

BTW, Suzuki says books on these 'questy' topics only add noise and not wisdom (which is kind of counter-intutive, because you are reading his book only because you started on a quest.) hee haw

Post 235 : Shahrukh rocks

Saw 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' for the first time today....

Shahrukh rocks. He is so cool as compared Big B. The verdict is out, and the writing is all over the wall (the television actually).

Shahrukh - you have a new fan in town.