Saturday, August 18, 2007

Thinking aloud

Is cynicism really idealism disguised?
People hurt that the world does not meet thier ideals?

Do people really change?
Are you any different from the kid years ago? You might have wisened up, have heaps of scartissues to show, become bitter - but is your first reaction any different?

Are the people with the answers the most clueless?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Taxed resources

For the past couple of days, I am grappling with the issue of sales taxes. And I have gained quite a mastery of it.
I have proved sometime that the retailer actually makes negative margins because of the taxes.
I have proved that, de facto, tax is a myth.
I have proved many things and I have disproved many others.

But one proof I have established beyond doubt is that taxes and I go together like Scotch and Harpic!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Yesterday, I walked into Spencer's and walked out with a broom. My maid had been complaining about the one I already had. As I stood debating over the choice of the plastic sheaths to choose from - red, parrot green or aquamarine blue - a gentleman in the mall decided to throw a bakhera of shouting and abusing regarding some perceived drop in standards of service. A typical case of feudal mentality hoarding the gizmotic treasures ofmodernity but struggling to grasp the more effort-demanding egalatarian ideas of inclusion, respect for others, dignity of labor and some base equality.

I mused if I could do the same with my broom. Walking up to the person responsible for the aisle, scowling at him and asking gruffily 'How do I know this works?" I could ask him to sweep the aisle for me as I watched sulkily and made him go over certain spots again and again. If not satisfied, I could probably ask him to go over the entire 50000 sq.ft. department. The scene would probably end up in the store manager trying to calm my spit-laden "Iski himmat kaise hui mere se aise baat karne ki!" with a flock of store clerks behind.

We, Indians, understand power only by its abuse.I once walked into a restaurant with a friend who I had, till then, assumed to be very mild natured. The way the gentleman behaved with the waiter that evening prompted me to ultimately leave the place altogether. Even my father would make it a point to work up a temper every time we went out eating.It's simple logic - That guy's job is on the line, not mine. I saw a similar scene in Reliance Digital last month, a store far beyond the standards of the stores we have put up with so far. And yet an old man insisted on shouting down the entire store down.

I feel that for a retailer, the adage that "We serve Everyone" should be taken in a context. If the securitymen had asked the two gentlemen to walk out, you might have lost one customer, but made it easier for several others to decide to walk into your store next time.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Tango and Cash

Last week, I saw two movies. Cash and Gandhi, My Father.

Anyone who knows me would have a good idea of how I would trash Cash, so I won't go there. Enough said that I was dragged to the show and even managed a small nap in between.

Gandhi, my father is definitely a flawed attempt. Great idea but the execution could have been better.

First, the bone structure of the series of conflicts could have been given the flesh of some character development beyond the scope of the conflict. Imagine watching a movie on Gandhi with no Nehru, no Jinnah, no Patel. Harilal's fall could have been shown more gradually. He appears as an inebriated beard-sporting Muslim, re-converted clean-shaven Aryan Samajist and a wild, bearded inebriated beggar in successive scenes.

Second, yes Akshaye Khanna was good blahblahblah. But such intense roles require trained actors. I have always argued that why tolerate a B grade actor when you wouldn't want anyone less than a maestro in other performing arts of this scale. Bollywood has lowered our standards of expectations so much that one-trick ponies (a trick he could never repeat beyond English August) like Rahul Bose are claiming to be thespians! Acting is not about tones only, there are layers and layers of undertones. Akshay has acted well in depicting the effect of a mahatma father in his life but the undertones of his own academics shortcomings, inability to execute and wagairah wagairah are not etched out so well.

3. Lastly, the background music is very uninspiring. In a movie which is explicitly not about the Mahatma in India( remember the missing Nehrus and Jinnahs?) but the father who had to be a Mahatma, the music could have drawn inspiration from quarters other than the expected Vaishnav jan. It might not be Beethoven, but RDB Shakti did a far better job!

All said and done, the effort is commendable and the movie worth going.
Given me 10 "Gandhi, my father"s for every Cash!

Sunday, August 05, 2007


From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.

- Edgar Alan Poe

Looking through the melting glass
As time chooses how fast to pass.
I wonder why were even here
I'm overwhelmed with sudden fear.

I try to speak but only mumble
The walls around me start to crumble
I look down and close my eyes
I cant tell the truth from the lies

Is this real or just a dream
The voice inside me starts to scream
The screaming peaks then fades away
Tomorrows just another day.