Monday, July 31, 2006

Close to my heart!

A heart warming article. Schooled to be different covers what I consider the best way to teach, make students excited about the topic :)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Kazaa to Pay $100 Million, Convert to Legal Downloading

This article reports Sharman Networks, owners of the file-sharing web site Kazaa, have reached a legal settlement with a conglomeration of music industry representatives.

The result will see Sharman pay EMI Group, Universal Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and Warner Music a combined $100 million in compensation. In addition, following in the footsteps of the original bad boys of file-sharing Napster, Kazaa will be forced to commit to legal downloads.

The new HSBC Ads

HSBC in India has been releasing a new series of ads, in print, TV, Radio and the net (as far as I can see). The basic premise of these ads is that they understand the diversity of India and have the knowhow of dealing with the great range of people that India has on offer.

One of the TV ads shows a nerdy looking guy with a telescope, wiping his nose with one hand and checking out some obscure planet and its rings after some really complicated compass work and calculations with the other. While on a loo-break (with a helpful "Men-At-Work" sign outside the telltale door) his roomie - Mr. Smarty-Pants - returns, checks his watch and realising that it is time, disturbs the carefully-set telescope to ogle at a just-returned-from-outside girl across the street in another highrise. The shot clearly shows the girl in an initial-stage-of-undressing. We are thankfully spared the torture of having to look at the hapless girl. Instead we cut to a shot of Mr. Smarty Pants, whose expression tells us all, as he blows his steam off the top of his head.

So what I am supposed to understand from this?

1. HSBC condones and promotes voyeurs aka peeping toms?

2. If I am one, they will open an account for me and understand my special needs (whatever they may be!)?

3. India is filled with such highrise cultural activities and HSBC is out there to capture this special market segment? With loans for binoculars, night vision goggles, X-ray goggles, remote listening devices and whatnot, I am sure HSBC is going to make some serious cash, especially as the Voyuers will be able to sell these pics to porno websites.

4. Guys who look at stars are nerds? Guys who ogle and trespass others' privacy are smart role models?

The ad is disgusting to say the least. It clearly shows the warped mentality and misplaced priorities of the ad-maker and more so of the ad-approver at HSBC. Is this the brand image they want to convey? I wonder how much will they like voyeurs across their street to have such technological advantages? And, I think, it defeats the basic premise that they understand customers, let alone Indian customers. With this ad, I think they put off 50% of the target first of all, the women. And may be a few oversensitive guys like me.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Mero Gaam Kaatha Pare

You can download a ripped version of the song, Mero Gaam Kaatha Pare, from here. It is a not a very good quality rip since I ripped from the movie, available for free download from Yet, a real treat to listen to. It transports one to a village, a folk magic, an era of unhurried languidness! Ah!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Got this in an email...nice one!

Girls' relationship with guys is a bigger mystery than girls themselves. It's not just about boyfriends, we're talking about guy friends that gals have.

Do you have a gal who is just a friend? Are confused why the frequency of calls increases as exams loom closer? Or why she always hangs around with the moron who isn't fit to wear Jeetendra's white shoes? Here's a ready reckoner for you:

Just a friend
Well, you are like a show piece in my house. I will call you whenever I need you. If you call me home the chances are 9 out of 10 times she might say,
"Oh Rahul, I am going out can you call me after 2 days??"
Rahul: "Where are you going Shilpa??"
Shilpa: "None of your business" and bangs the phone.(Useless fellow.Hmmph!).

Good Friend
You are like a TV remote control. I need you and I know that. But I try using you when I really need you.
Rahul calls: "Hi Shilpa",
Shilpa: "Hi Rahul. I am going out with family I will call you back. Bye"
(Shilpa calls back after two days)
Shilpa: "What do you want Rahul? Why did you call that day?".
Rahul: "Generally".
Shilpa: "Oh ok. I got to go out. Will call you later. Bye."
Will call when she needs lecture notes or some concert tickets.

Very good friend
Well you are like the pressure cooker safety valve for the girl. She will need you when she wants to bring out her pain or anger on someone. Basically, she wants to talk to you. And you are special to her.
Shilpa: "You know Rahul, Shekhar is not eating. He doesn't sleep and is not able to concentrate on his studies. I think he doesn't like me anymore. And yesterday I saw him with another girl".
Rahul: "Who is Shekhar??"
Shilpa : "My boyfriend."
Rahul: Oh! ok. :-(

Best Friend
You are like the auto rickshaw driver. She can't live without you. And don't be mistaken. You are not her boyfriend. But you are allowed to take her little doggie around the park so that he (not you!) can have fun.
Rahul Shopping.
Rahul Movie.
Rahul Coffee.
Rahul, you pay. I am having fun.
Rahul is now sure that he should go ahead and propose. He dares.
Shilpa: "But I thought we were just friends. We should remain friends Rahul. Plus, I have a boy friend you know that."
Rahul: What?? (Rahul drinks all night).

Best of the Bestest Friends
Ok now you are really special. You are dad-cum-boyfriend-cum-brother-cum-everything. Ultimately you are the darling servant of the girl. You take her around.You make her project. You do her assignments. You are allowed to take her doggie around. You can hold hands on the beach. You can see the sun set with her (because she wants to do everything she drags you along). But but but... don't be mistaken. She has a boyfriend who works for a huge software company and earns 3 times the salary you earn and has a flat in Poes Garden or Boat Club or Hiranandani area.
Shilpa: "Hi Rahul. I am getting engaged to Shekhar. Shekhar this is Rahul, he is my bestest friend".
Rahul: Hi Shekhar . (Hand shake. Shekhar breaks Rahul's wrist).
Rahul is now heart broken and wrist broken.

Uh... No comments dude. You're already gone.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Rags to riches

A very motivating and inspiring story of a man who fails and rises!

Subramani Ramachandrappa

Have a look.

Proverbs from around the world

Nodding the head does not row the boat.
-Irish Proverb

Hold a true friend with both your hands.
-Nigerian Proverb

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.
-Yiddish Proverb

If a dog's prayers were answered, bones would rain from the skies.
-German Proverb

Whatever is good to know is difficult to learn.
-Greek Proverb

Don't count your fish until they're on dry land.
-Chinese Proverb

Learning is like rowing upstream; not to advance is to drop back.
-Chinese Proverb
How True!

Money talks, but all it ever says is goodbye.
-American Proverb

The Gods too are fond of a joke.
-Greek Proverb

Take care of your pennies and your pounds will take care of themselves.
-Scottish Proverb

Take care of your pennies and your dollars will take care of your widow's next husband.
-American Proverb

Take care of your pennies and your pounds will take care of your heirs and barristers.
-English Proverb

Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.
-Burmese Proverb

Footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down.
-Native American Proverb

If all pulled in one direction, the world would keel over.
-Yiddish proverb

A clear conscience sleeps during thunder.
-Jamaican Proverb

Be not afraid of going slowly; be only afraid of standing still.
-Chinese Proverb

Why spoil a good meal with a big tip?
-Jewish proverb

A dog is a man's best friend because it wags its tail - not its tongue.
-American Proverb

The palest ink is better than the sharpest memory.
-Chinese Proverb

If what you say is something you wouldn't write down, don't say it.
-Hebrew Proverb

Monday, July 24, 2006

Ha Ha!

There are two insults which no human will endure: the assertion that he hasn't a sense of humor, and the doubly impertinent assertion that he has never known trouble.
-Sinclair Lewis

Man is the only animal you can insult by calling him an animal.

The economics of Kanwarias

If you live in North India, then you are not untouched by this phenomenon called "Kanwarias" during the month of Saawan.

An article analyses the phenomenon well. I do not deny the devotion many people have and can come to terms with their religious sentiments. I also agree with the the viewpoint of violence and aggressive Hindutva.

However the article misses out on a major point. The real reason for the swelling number of Kanwarias every year is actually economic. The free food and excellent servics available make a large number of people take up this ardous task. If one were to remove all the free food from along the way and make people pay for it, then the number of devotees would come down to half or may be even less.

I am not saying that food should not be served. Just that a large number of people would not go if it were not for the free food. If the food were paid, a large number of people, who can afford the food, would still not go.

Till this yatra flow subsides, Delhi traffic is a nightmare. I recently spent 1.5 hours for a 13 km journey. What a nightmare, sweating it out on a Delhi road :(

Bhole Baba, Kuch Hamara Bhi Khayal Karo!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Himesh Reshammiya - Update

President rejects clemency appeal by Himesh Reshammiya.

Telematch back on Television

Well! What a surprise!

I was flipping through the channels on Monday afternoon and saw Telematch on Hungama TV. Telematch was a fantastic show made by Transtel. I have mentioned it here. The commentator of the show was poor and could not match up to Javed Jaafri of "Takeshi's Castle", currently being aired on Pogo.

However, it was really refreshing to watch the program, after almost 15 years!

The Economics and Politics of Autorickshaws

I live in Noida, a suburb of Delhi. Noida is in Uttar Pradesh and is one of the fastest growing urban areas in the country, due in part to its proximity to Delhi. Gurgaon, in Haryana is a parallel example.

Over the last 1 year or maybe even more, there is a lot of problem regarding Autorickshaws between Noida and Delhi.

Delhi Autowallahs refuse to go to Noida and Noida Autowallahs refuse to step in Delhi. While I am personally not affected by this much, since I have my own mode of transport since 1998, it has affected me whenever my car broke down, and it does affect many more people of Noida and Delhi.

I once did a bit of research of my own into this and discovered some astonishing (or not) facts.

Delhi requires licensing of Autos, as for any other vehicle. However, unlike private vehicles, which can be registered in practically any number, public carriers follow a quota system. Under this, only a certain number of vehicles are allowed on the roads of Delhi, ostensibly to make sure that the pollution and road-space norms are not violated in the metropolis.

So, because of this, the number of Autos has remained roughly constant in Delhi, over many years. The Delhi government, through its Road Transport Authority refuses to issue any new Auto registrations in Delhi, except if the old Auto is de-registered and taken out of circulation. So, when Delhi switched over to CNG Autos a few years ago, the number of Autos remained roughly the same.

Buying a new Auto in Delhi seems impossible. At the same time, driving one in Delhi seems fairly lucrative. That is why a 3-year old Auto, along with Delhi registration number , is available for the princely sum of Rs. 1,75,000.

All went fine for a long time, till the UP govt. released a new quota for Autos in Noida. A new auto in Noida costs, all inclusive, Rs. 1,16,000. Why does a new auto cost 33% less than a 3-year old Auto? This is so because this the price of a new auto! The Delhi price is a very high price, which is primarily due to the premium paid for a Delhi registration.

Because of the high rates of Autos in Delhi, Autowallahs overcharge. They need to recoup their investment. They are notorious for their overcharging, something that I have experienced personally. A 21 Km Distance, for which one should be charged appx Rs. 80, is conveniently overcharged at Rs. 150-170. People pay, because everyone overcharges, and there is no convenient alternative to them in Delhi for personalised public transport. Buses are overcrowded and Metro is not everywhere, as of now.

When the Noida Autowallahs entered Delhi, they charged a more resonable price. While the running cost for both the guys is the same, one's fixed cost is much less. This made a dent in the collections of the well-entrenched Delhi Autowallahs. They screamed MURDER. Local politicians and Autowallah Unions colluded and in the garb of not-from-Delhi Autos, made sure that the police caught these Noida Autos in Delhi and levies a heavy fine and even goes to the extent of impounding them. Had these Noida Autos overcharged, as their Delhi counterparts, the Delhi guys would have had no/much less problems.

So the Noida Autowallahs gathered their Unions and their politicians and made sure that life for any Delhi Autowallah in Noida was worse than hell. Thrashings, on being caught, are common.

Let's look at this chain of corruption and collusion.

1. The Delhi politicians provide "protection" to Delhi Autowallahs. In return, they get their palms greased. They also get fairly militant support from the autowallahs. Have a look at the backside of most autos and you can see some or the other auto union poster, which is in turn affiliated to some political party.

2. The Delhi politicians make sure no new quotas are released. This creates an artificial scarcity and makes sure that in abscence of competition, prices of Autos can be kept artificially high through cartelisation. Most of the Autos are owned by a small number of large businessmen and politicians, even though they may be registered in various names (Benaami). These businessmen grease the politicians' palms further. Most of the autowallahs you see, drive the autos on a daily rent basis (ranging from rupees 250 to rupees 400 per day).

3. The artificially high rate of autos makes these drivers overcharge. The consumer suffers as he has to pay more.

4. They make sure that any attempt at competition is kept strongly at bay.The consumer suffers as he has to change autos at the border of Noida/Delhi. Sometimes, even that is not a easy task. Imagine carrying a young baby in strong sun or rain and doing that.

5. Violence and goondaism are further sub-effects.

The solution for overcharging has been proposed as helplines, which are ineffective at best. Nothing really works. All overchargers pay bribes to Policewallahs, which further fuels corruption.

The solution is open quota for autos which can break the artificial monopoly/oligopoly of a few businessmen, which induces cartelisation. Once that happens, rates of autos, as well as rates of auto-travel will fall to realistic level.

And Noida autos should be allowed in Delhi, of course by paying a small annual fee and vice-versa for Delhi autos who wish to go to Noida. That will take off some urbanisation pressure from Delhi. Many people feel that Noida commuters are a harried lot.

In fact, a side effect is that call-center cabs, which travel empty on at least 1-2 journeys per day, are doing a roaring side-business by ferrying consumers who gladly pay 10 rupees for a 15-20 km ride in A/c comfort!

A similar story is on these days between Delhi and Noida buses. More on that, later!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

So true!

In the 21st Century:

Our communication - Wireless
Our dress - Topless
Our telephone - Cordless
Our cooking - Fireless
Our youth - Jobless
Our food - Fatless
Our labour - Effortless
Our conduct - Worthless
Our relationship - Loveless
Our attitude - Careless
Our feelings - Heartless
Our politics - Shameless
Our education - Valueless
Our follies - Countless
Our arguments - Baseless
Our boss - Brainless
Our Job - Thankless
Our Salary - Very Less

Monday, July 17, 2006


Couples who have lived together a long time have their own way of communicating.

A woman overheard her aunt and uncle one day, "What are you looking for in that closet?" she asked.

"Nothing," he answered.

"Well, it's not in there. Look under the bed."

Friday, July 14, 2006

Himesh Reshammiya

How to sing like Himesh Reshammiya

Step 1 - Grow a beard.

Step 2 - Grow a paunch.

Step 3 - Wear a cap - all the time - mind you.

Step 4 - Wear your wife's long coat.

Step 5 - Take a clothes pin (chimtee) and clamp your nose shut.

Step 6 - Believe you are Saraswati's Incarnation.

Step 7 - Start singing(?).

To his credit, his voice is fit for the ocaasional song or two. He should recognise that most music directors liked to sing but only ocassionally, i.e. when the voice suited the song, not all the time. I am a great fan of RD Burman's music, and his ocassional voice in songs like Mehbooba Mehbooba from Sholay etc. Hemant Kumar sang occasionally, so did SD Burman. The songs they sang were suited for them. But if they had sung every Kishore, Rafi and Mukesh number, I am sure they would have killed the beauty.

I hate his nasal voice in most of his songs, but really like the closing song of Phir Hera Pheri - Ai Meri Zoharzabeen. His voice suits in that song. In fact, the video is awesome too :)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

World E-book Fair

The world's first Online Book Fair has started on 4th July 2006. This book fair will go on for a month. The website claims that there are 1/3 million e-books available for free access/download. Those of you, who are interested in readership, can make use of the opportunity.

World eBook Library Catalogs and Collections
The World eBook Library Consortia Collection shelves more than 330,000 PDF eBooks in 100+ languages contained in 112 of the finest eBook and eDocument collections published on the Internet today. The mission of the World eBook Library's Acquisition Department is to add new eBooks 24/7 to our shelves.

You can access the fair at

Monday, July 10, 2006

How old are you?

A nice one from a site that I am subscribed to - Mountainwings

How old are you?

When someone asks me that question, four answers come to mind, because I have four different ages.

1. The chronological age:
This is what most mean by, “How old are you?” They mean how many years has it been since you came out of your mother’s womb? That’s a simple measure of years and it is the easiest one to figure.

2. The physical age:
You can be 40 chronologically and 20 physically or vice versa. How old you are in years can be totally different from your age as reflected by your physical body. Some at 60 have more energy, vitality, and health than many at 20.

I rode my bicycle for 40 miles recently on the bike trail. As I was nearing my starting point and the end of my 40-mile ride, a man passed me like I was standing still. No one during the 40 miles had passed me but this man zoomed by.

When I got to the parking lot he was standing there talking to friends. I overheard him say how far he had ridden. “Excuse me,” I said, “I couldn’t help but overhear you, did you just say that you rode 65 miles?” “Yep,” he answered. “Do you mind if I ask how old you are?” I asked. “I’m 60,” he replied. What he meant was that he was 60 chronologically but his body was far younger. Few 20-year-olds were in his condition.

Some cars have 200,000 miles on them and are 20 years old, yet they run and look almost like new. So it is with our bodies. As we age, how well we have maintained them shows our true physical age.

3. The intellectual:
Our IQ, exposure and experience determines our intellectual age.

4. The emotional/spiritual:
Some are babies in grown up bodies with big degrees and plenty of money, but emotionally and spiritually immature. Some are teenagers but yet have the wisdom of sages.

How old are you?

Italy wins the world cup

I am writing this entry, precisely 69 seconds after Italy's victory in the WC Final!

Congrats to them. I feel sorry for Zizu though - his red card was deserved, but sad. May be he was provoked. Why not a red card for the other fella?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The man on the top of the mountain didn't just fall there

Everyone who is no. 1 in his field, got there, because he aimed high and tried his best.

The people who become best try their very best. Anyone who tries his best may not come out on top, but will come close to it. On the other hand, those who think they cannot do it, because they do not have the required capabilities, can never accomplish anything, as half-hearted efforts have never put anyone in the top position.

So your attitude should be one of the best in whatever it is you are doing, whether you want to become a politician, or businessman, a scholar or a professional.

Try to become top in your field, set your aim at becoming no. 1 and give it your everything; for the harder you try, the better are your chances for success.

Plaigrised in toto from a poster I recently saw.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Mosquite Menace anyone?

A solution for the mosquito menace is here!

Space Colonisation

Space Colonisation anyone? Well, some people may be interested. And more people become interested if they are told that a person, no less than Stephen Hawking himself advocates such a move.

Take a look here to get a grip on this mind-boggling phenomenon!

Sports Journalism

Sports Journalism is an interesting creature. Many people have been great fans of people such as Neville Cardus or Jim Swanton. Sports Journalism in India is a forgotten art, with the likes of Navjot Singh Siddhu taking over. For crying out loud, the man does not know how to talk. Can't someone please shut him up?

I recently chanced upon an article in The Hindu by Nirmal Shekhar. I don't know his credentials and antecedents, however, a look at his work made me reflect, ponder and think! e.g., have a look at this. The first two paragraphs point out the man's thinking process and I quote:

At the highest levels in sport, sometimes you have to forget who you are to become who you want to be. A sort of self-inflicted temporary amnesia helps when your self-identity itself turns out to be mental excess baggage.

Whether you can actually switch on such a changed state of awareness at will is debatable; but if it were possible at all, Maria Sharapova would certainly like to give it a go.

How True! Many of my motivational points come from the world of sports, a world which most students can relate to, and of course, it has all the elements of WAR, nothing short of the CAT paper itself! I really admire his point about "forgetting who you are in order to become who you want to be". That is so true!

Way to go man!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Lots of Random Quotes

I have finally found the key to happiness. Unfortunately fate had the locks changed.
- Anonymous

Amusement is the happiness of those who cannot think.
- Alexander Pope

If you wish to be happy yourself, you must resign yourself to seeing others also happy."
- Bertrand Russell

Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat, until he eats them.
- Samuel Butler

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
- Chinese Proverb

Nothing seems expensive on credit.
- Czech Proverb

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.
- Greek Proverb
(This is so true!)

Never put your hand out farther than you can draw it back again.
- Irish Proverb

No horse goes as fast as the money you bet on him.
- American Proverb

News from my Alma Mater

The new batch at MDI has just joined. I was called as a part of the alumni, to address the fresh students. Most of them seemed eager to learn. Met a lot of my own students, which, to say the least, was a gratifying experience. Seeing someone succeed, is a great thrill!

Caught up with two seniors and that was nice :)

Met a large number of juniors and was glad to see their enthusiasm. An interesting point I realised was that sometimes, one is not aware of something that is very common knowledge. I have a vast repository of common and uncommon knowledge, but for some reason, I had never heard of Bain (a consulting firm), which is supposed to be the third largest firm for strategic consulting in the world. Since it is supposed to be a famous name, saying that I am not aware of it, was a kind of shocker to some people, especially the guy who was working in that firm :-O

In other news, MDI has started a new course called the International Management Program. The Hindu reports: -

Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, has entered into a tie-up with European School of Management (ESCP-EAP), France, for the postgraduate programme in International Management to give students an exposure in global markets. The programme, designed to meet the pace of change in the markets, will give students a chance to get experience in different continents.

The programme in International Management, ESCP-EAP will facilitate students to get paid during their internship in Europe for four months. This will also enable the students to get experience in a multi-cultural business environment. While students will study in Gurgaon for six months, in the second phase they will join ESCP-EAP in Paris, London or Turin. In the last phase they will be required to pursue the cultural and business immersion experience with paid internship in Europe for four months.

Other details are available here and here.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Good Article

NY Times ( has this excellent article on Chinese Censorship and its comparison to Soviet Censorship and propoganda.

I am surprised (or not!?) to see a great parallel between this and the proposed law by the UPA govt. to impose severe restrictions on the media in the country. Free press, the fourth pllar of a democracy, is being put on a leash, a muzzle...not a very healthy situation. Thankfully, due to the free press, ipso facto, such a law is unlikely to pass muster.

Long live freedom of speech!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Fanaa Shayari

I am inundated with hits on my blog, by people searching for Fanaa Shayari. Seems like lots of juntaa liked them. So as a social service in the national interest of the country, here is a link that has some shers!

Fanaa Shers

Theodore Levitt Passes Away

The famous marketing guru, Theodore Levitt, passed away last week. His article, "Marketing Myopia" which was published in the Harvard Business Review in 1960 was a great influence on my marketing studies and life. Particulary, as an entrepreneur, I was always able to focus on running the business properly, since I did not suffer from that myopia!

I feel a sadness for his passing away. A moment's silence, folded hands and a prayer for the departed soul.

Mckinsey Quarterly, published this.
Theodore Levitt, a Harvard Business School professor and marketing expert, died last week. Levitt was perhaps best known for his article "Marketing myopia," in which he advanced the idea that companies often fail because they define themselves too narrowly. He argued, for example, that railroads "let others take customers away from them because they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business instead of the transportation business."

The famous article can be seen here and a PDF version is available here.