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Saturday, December 24, 2005


One Night @ The Call Center
-Chetan Bhagat

RATING : 4.0/5
Before starting let me ask you a few questions (as Bhagat does in his new book) :
1)Are you tired of reading self help (gyaan-gambhir ) books?
2) Is it that you feel that these self help authors have no right to manipulate our lives on their way to minting money?
3)Are you a die-hard fan of Yashraj Films/Harry Potter/Melodramatic fantasies ?
4) Are you a big time patriot/or have huge anti-American ideas?

[Before reading this li’ll piece ,which decides whether you read the book or not or otherwise, kindly take this exercise seriously and answer the questions ]

Well, hoping that you have answered the li’ll quiz, you are now ready to hit the book (or the author). ONACC is a book that righteously deals with majority of the issues the youth faces today or gets into. Right from entangled relationships within n outside the families to self awareness. It takes a look at workplace attitudes and friendship gratitude. The suppressing challenges faced against the rebellious revolutionary craze. The feel of doing something great contradicting to practically doing the very typical. All this might just sound a bit vague but will light up your day (probably night) if you try to empathize and that one essential pre-requirement for you to take on the book. The other one being : a majority (or at least equal no of ) “YES”s in your answers to the quiz above.

The story of 6 call-center employees who get screwed up one night @ their workplace due to reasons ranging from work/family pressure , career apprehension, dumped relationship, lack of relationship, dumb-ass boss and THE AMERICANS !!As the entire story twiddles around this one night, we come across the authors fantasy of GOD counseling the kids into a more meaningful life ahead, and it really works so (but again, only if you are able to empathize).

The book is a thorough entertainer until the call from GOD, from where it takes a rather BOLLYWOOD flick where everything worthwhile happens at the fag end of the story and the hero is more of a time-crux slogger (just like the MU engineers).The end is where the book takes the form of a self-help guide. But no my friend, this is not like the typical one’s . Bhagat has written a self-help book in the ‘fiction-style’ and hats off to him for that (save the drama in the book).

To sum it all , this book is a must-read fore everyone under 30 .The simplicity in the language makes it a cakewalk even for the novices in reading . Just the two pre-requirements : 1)Ability to empathize 2)Ability to ignore the irrational .
And you might extract loads out of this book.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005


“The biggest power of money is to give it away.”
- Mr. Narayana Murthy(Chairman and chief mentor Infosys) in conversation with Mr. Bill Gates and Mr. Pranoy Roy

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Heard of Jumbo King??
Ok what about Yellow’s ??
Jay Sandwich ??
If these names sound bizarre, then probably you’re of the kind that hogs at no less than a 7-star (he he then why would you be reading this dumb blog of mine???)

# Well Vada Pav is a popular Maharashtrian fast food delicacy : the Indian counterpart of the burger. Jumbo King is a local Mumbai firm started by an MBA duo(The Guptas) who, well as they say ,”have branded Vada Pavs

# Now Yellow’s is a chip maker (not the logic base you nerd !!) .It indeed manufactures banana chips and have named themselves probably on the color of the chips. This enterprise was started by an IIM –L duo somewhere in the southern parts of India and have literally branded banana chips –
a widely popular choice amongst majority of the living human taste buds was sadly left for the roadside vendors to sell until Yellow’s took form.

# The students of RD National college, Bandra, Mumbai always envied a “JAY SANDWICH”, which was once started by a college student (of course JAY) and still is counted among the most popular sandwich vendors in the city.Many students of the neighboring colleges have been inspired and many vowed to open a”Karthik Samosa (KS)” or a “Karan bhajiya (KB)” or a ”Shreepad Vada pav(SVP)” on the lines of ‘Jay Sandwich’.

So what’s the whole fuss about ??

Three dazzling examples, the first two being laid by book smarts and the third by a street-smart who inspired several book smarts. All three examples have one thing in common (apart from the’ smartness’ and the fact that they are featured on the same blog)…
FOOD !!!
Food to satisfy hunger .. yes definitely, but also..

Well the likes of Karthik Samosas , Karan Bhajiyaas and Shreepad Vada Pavs just don’t come into existence is because these things begin to seem very petty as one gains more education and thinks about the ROI and the fame-factor of being associated with plush offices and so on. Why the fuss in this?? . Many would give an economists point of view saying that we need to grow up to get our economy big, the era of globalization has taken up, the world is shrinking where is India? Blah blah blah.

Sounds pretty cool to be concerned about one’s motherland (if not the fake patriotism then for the sake of proving that Value Education was pretty useful in school huh?) Heh!! if we really want to do something good to get our economy shaken , then it is to look into ourselves and see what the heck is our USP?? That is exactly what the 3 guys in example above did.

We indeed need to feed our minds to generate the logic that these entrepreneurs created. India’s biggest and probably the most unexplored asset is mother India itself-(the soil that these folks in Rang De Basanti wail about in the title track) Agriculture and correspondingly the opportunities in the food industry is what India is looked upon for a long period of time and it doesn’t require geniuses to explore this field. And as far as those with an urge to work in plush offices are concerned : make up something to give Frito-Lay a tough time and believe me it’d take you lesser hassles than building up a chip-manufacturing (this time it’s the logic chip mate) plant, which you’ve been dreaming off since ages.

The crème de la crème of the sound thinkers , another of India’s assets , have done enough to bring about a software revolution in the country and so have the one’s who’ve been noisy about the availability of “cheap” (I prefer cost-effective) “labor” in the country- as this has led to the rise of the BPO world off late.

If you still reading in full consciousness,(give yourself a pat on your back) and get some food- FOOD FOR THOUGHT and then go in front of the mirror to hunt for your USP !!

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Saturday, December 17, 2005



Roy (Bachhan) ,an invincible conman dupes a raging producer who is currently a loser because of his director-son perpetually failing to make his artists work up a good movie. He proposes and gets Simi (Priyanka) into marrying just to break up on the day of their engagement thanks to his victim ,who turns out to be Simi’s uncle. On his way to get her back, he bumps into Dittu (Ritteish) and Dr.Bhaleram ( Boman Irani) and here begins the plot. Dittu , a small time thief tries to dupe in Roy and Bhaleram just to discover that Roy actually is a Guru in the game he’s trying to play, and so he starts taking lessons in ‘connery’ from Roy. The bondage grows as the events pass and finally they’re up against the big whale- Chandrakant Parekh (Nana Patekar). The hide n seek with Chandru within the last 90 days of Roys life, who’s apparently dyeing of brain tumor, packs up the second half with a punch which suddenly loosens up at the climax :which reveals the actual ‘BLUFFMASTER’ along with several complimentary questions.

Ritteish seems to have come up a lot but is some how going to be typecast with roles like this one. Bachhan has done an amazing job and seems to be making up for his earlier movies like Refugee with every coming performance. Nana Patekar and Boman Irani were at their usual best.

The story sailed smoothly and so was the background score although there were some misfit songs. The dialogue/script writer deserves a round of applause for his witty one-liners executed perfectly by the foursome (especially Nana Patekar)All said and done ,when I walked out of the theatre, I had One Last Question:“How the hell was ‘THE MOVIE’ made??????????” To get this question (and probably its answer) you’ll have to walk into the nearest cinema hall.

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Friday, December 16, 2005


A visit to the dome at IMAX ADLABS, Wadala, Mumbai makes you feel heavily expressive and also a bit lighter on the pockets. The worlds largest dome theatre is huge enough to overwhelm your stress transforming it into ‘a high’. Just when I got this sought after ‘kick’ , I realized the lack of something – an interval !!. The 2.5 hours of non-stop “Goblet of fire” ( the latest in the Harry Potter series) at times made me feel as if I were under the ‘Cruciatus’ curse being tortured without food ( as I had missed my lunch to attend a meet before the movie)
Yet ,the experience was worth a thousand burgers. The quidditch world cup, the first task where Harry flew on his broomstick dodging the dragon, the scene over the lakes where the owls flew, the task under water surrounded by ‘not –so -pretty’ mermaids are some scenes I distinctly remember being ‘carried by’ with the movie( and literally so). Such was the 3-dimensional effect of the dome , although it used only 75% of the screen for this movie (it not being an original DMR format movie). Even after stretching and twisting my neck for the entire length, it wasn’t a ‘pain in the neck’ – thanks to JK Rowling(the author), (the director), the engineers who’ve created one helluva place somewhere in the remotes of Mumbai.
The government started promoting multiplexes around three years ago in a drive to cut short the space occupied by single screens. They offered them a tax-free regime till about five years ( which aren’t yet over) .This ‘tax-free’ offer enables the developers/owners to make up for their investment i.e. in a way guarantees the multiplex creators a sure-shot ROI (Return On Investment), which implies that these multiplexes can make enough money even if they charge the folks with the ordinary ‘single-screen’ rates. The junta wouldn’t have minded even if they charged a little over the standard prices, but what they do charge us is approximately twice the amount. But 3 yrs is a lot of time and now people are pretty used to these charges and even pocket-money clad students find it pretty normal (except on weekends). Why and How?---- Thanks to the Chalta hai attitude.
A post show survey at many multiplexes (which supposedly helps them relate to the masses better) consists primarily of a questionnaire (which requires you to have a pen) asks you about various facets such as service ,security, ambience, cleanliness, sound quality, seating, food, and other likes and dislikes generally gets a hats off salute from majority of the folks filling the questionnaire (although some of this majority like the others of the minority have issues with the prices , it being the only debatable facet in a multiplex). Overhearing several discussions and being a part of many entitles me to say that although the folks aren’t really satisfied they would show-off as if things are pretty mundane. HOW and WHY? –The same Chalta hai attitude.
As a matter of fact these are the people who took over the ‘baniyas’ when they started charging a buck extra for serving a chilled soft-drink, and even more some dragged them to the consumer courts for that extra buck. HOW and WHY? Nahin Chalta hai- attitude.
Here is where the pseudonorm lies, the ‘Oh-so-cool’ “Chalta Hai” attitude is basically hypocorism metaphorised and exist in most of us.
If we carefully look inside each of us somewhere or the other, somehow or the other we are a ‘put-on’… A wannabe !!!

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