Monday, October 30, 2006

A bonfire of vanities

My State-topper roommate has forced me to come up with a post on a Monday night, which surprises my own self. I’d probably be better off watching stars in the night sky, but let’s not digress.

The issue of what is glamour (I mean, glamour in the job market) has been in my mind for a long time now. If you’ve even been remotely associated with B-schools, have you ever noticed a slight condescension towards IT jobs? It’s not really very pronounced, but you notice it nonetheless. I’ve long wondered what has caused the lost fascination towards this field, and the only answer I could come up with is: because IT jobs are available in plenty.

So, does plenty mean that it’s ‘mass’ commodity?

The way I look at it now: even you perform decently well, you can actually have a flying career. ‘Flying’ is deliberate. I see a lot of people with 2+ years of work experience meeting CxOs in organizations worth millions, or perhaps, billions of dollars. You don’t just get to meet them. You sell your service. You market yourself, and your company, country and everything in between. The margin isn’t in hundreds; not even in thousands. And when the deal is done, you mostly end up sipping fine coffee or, perhaps, cognac in a beach corner in California. Or maybe even in South Korean. When the dawn comes, you commute to office and settle down to work in a chilled environment and meet only, repeat only, highly educated people.

Not at all a bad deal I guess.

I may be over-exaggerating, or may be not, and I know I’ve left off the bad stuff, but my point is not really to glorify the whole thing. It’s just that I don’t understand why such a thing has to be viewed with a smirk in the face. Guess it’s one of the multitude of phenomena that you are never supposed to understand.

By the way, if you want a more aggressive version of the topic, you’d do good visiting Chandoo’s space.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Raise children, all ye women!

says Iranian President.

I relish reading quotes from these people. It’s because I love history and these guys actually give a deep insight into of how primitive people of 1600s should’ve thought. I don’t know how many people actually read this article, but trust me it’s loaded with valuable information – like how prehistoric men view things.
“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for a baby boom to almost double the country's population to 120 million”
Last humanity heard of this kind of stuff was, I believe, in the 1800s.
“Women should work less and devote more time to their ``main mission'' of raising children, he said.”
Are these guys for real?
Mr. Ahmadinejad said: ``I am against saying two children are enough. Our country has a lot of capacity. It has the capacity for many children to grow in it. It even has the capacity for 120 million people. Westerners have got problems.

"Because their population growth is negative they are worried and fear that if our population increases, we will triumph over them.''
This is one fight I'm going to love!

He said he wanted to bring in legislation reducing women's working hours based on how many children they had.
I love life. It’s such a lot of fun!

[Image courtesy]

Friday, October 20, 2006

A big miss at the Oscars...

I watched Mani Rathnam's Kannathil Muthamittal for the third time yesterday, and I’m compelled to post yet again. [I put a post on it a year back when I watched it for the second time].

There are some movies that you like, and some you love, and some you just admire. This is one of them. This movie is perfection exemplified. Every frame is a work of a genius. The nuances of character definitions are impeccable. They just can't be any better.

But then, the only thing that makes me feel bad about the movie is that it never made it to the Oscars. Hell, it wasn’t even nominated. If there is one Oscar material from India (among those I've seen), this has to be it. I mean, yes Lagaan was a good movie, may be in fact a great movie, but it is purely commercial and fictional. It certainly isn’t Oscar material. I think Oscar looks for a genius storyline plus a realistic portrayal of popular culture and times.

But this one is Oscar material from the word go.

Movie buffs that have watched the movie would agree. This movie shows the plight of people in Sri Lanka and the undercurrents of the revolutionary struggle. The story base is frigteningly real and cold - it is actually inspired by the story of an American couple that takes their adopted daughter to another country to let the kid see her blood mother.

Just think about movies of similar variety. Killing fields won three Oscars for portraying the mayhem Khmer Rouge. Apocalypse Now (yes, this one is a class of its own), the most haunting critic about Vietnam got two. No mans land, on Bosnian-Serbian problem, won the Oscar tipping over Lagaan. Several other movies of similar nature (Himalaya, for instance) portraying the struggle of people who are out of world’s news radars, but with a powerful background nevertheless, have been nominated. Hell, even Motorcycle Diaries that shows Che Guevara in his transformation years got an Oscar.

Well, sometimes, you probably need more than talent to make it big. I think it’s the case with other genius work-of-art movies that have a similar story behind them. Shawshank Redemption is one. It was a flop to begin with. And it wasn’t even nominated for a single Oscar. But, through word of mouth publicity, it went on to become one of the biggest sensations in the history of movie moving. You just can’t come out of the movie feeling nothing. There is no way you can don’t-like the movie. Long after it was made, it’s been recognized as the biggest miss in the Oscars. Guess these are copy-cat stories similar to that of Gandhiji not winning a Nobel peace prize!

As for now, let's just wait for Mani Rathnam's next movie (Guru).

P.S: This post's tone might be a lil' out-of-ordinary... that's coz I'm a bit senti about it right now. Recency effect may be...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Happy Diwali everyone!

You know you are having a blast when:
  • Your friend calls up and says he's having trouble choosing one job out of three
  • Your juniors call up and say the placements are going to be a breeze, yet again
  • You see two companies inaugurating their new offices in the city in a single day
  • Economists start publish articles on how to prevent the economy from over-heating
  • The females with the ethereal voices on the FM channels set the mood ablaze with peppy music
  • All the major companies post a mind-and-heart wobbling 50% revenue growth
  • Your mobile turns out to be a great choice after all. :-P
And people come up with posts on how good the times are.

The big festival is in. The mood is colorful. The mind is on a song.
And a lot of us probably never had it so good.

Happy Diwali folks... Have a real-real blast!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The glorified flea market

I visited the much-glorified Saravana stores for the first time. It’s the shop, or rather, the middle class mall that generates footfalls which could easily be one of highest in India. And what can I say about my visit? Its nothing like any store that I've ever visited. No, I'm neither glorifying nor pulling it down. All I say is its very, very different.

Swarming with people - crying babies, shouting men, ogling boys and curious women, the shop is full of buzz that never seems to die down. Every section is full of 'hot' selling items suited to the mass. The implicit message seemed to be: If something isn't attracting crowds, and that in hundreds, or perhaps thousands, it’s off the shelf. Ten minutes into the shop, I was tired of being pushed around and constantly bombarding into people. It really is a flea market with marbled floor, Air Conditioning and lots of decks containing merchandise.

For all the volume of the crowd that throngs the place, it’s surprising to see not much of checks anywhere. Except for sparsely positioned personnel who scan the crowd, probably with the intention of finding people with a mischievous, impish face, there was no sign of metal detectors, frisking, or even video cameras [I might be mistaken here coz I didn't really going around searching for cameras]. Wonder how the whole security apparatus works. It would've been a totally different story had it been in some other city.

With so much going against it, how does the business tick? It didn't take me long to figure it out. Prices. I had obviously heard you get things at a low price here, but the reality is you get things very cheap. This store seems to have taken 'Everyday low prices' to a level that would wake up Sam Walton from his lumber. A sample check. The price of a Sony Ericsson Walkman mobile w550i was quoted as Rs. 10,800 whereabouts in a Viveks store that was around the corner. An online store listing gives a Rs. 10,600 quote. And Saravana stores quoted Rs. 9,900 whereabouts.

But then, after all this, there isn't anything remotely close to a shopping experience inside. You might have to squeeze through people, shout on top of your volume to reach the store guy, and if you are at the front of the queue, and surviving, you might get something at a low price. A very low price, mind you. There is no doubt I'd go there once in a while to check the prices and the market pulse and retailer margins and perhaps buy things cheap, but shopping certainly wouldn't be the word I'd use to describe the experience.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A forced break...

Another inane post.

I log in to orkut today and it says today's fortune: "You are going to have a comfortable old age." What the hell? As though slowly far from teen age ain't enough. Can't they do an age check before placing such messages?

Broadband seems to be an eternal problem. I got one @ home but it ain't working. Taking a rather forced break from blogging. A good friend of mine did a bad thing (guess out of personal grouch) and introduced me to a DVD store that apparently serves to all movie directors. They got all the rare collections in the world. The store guy tells me those director guys get all the movies and make a movie out of all bits and pieces they see. Sounds like Kaavya Vishwanathan stuff. Anyway, am already spending like a thousand bucks every weekend on buying Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Malay (or whatever they speak in Cambodia!), Hungarian, Nepali, Oh-God-I-don't-even-remember-the-language and some English movies. If you think I'm crazy, let's just say you aren't alone. But I guess it's ok coz the DVDs cost 80 bucks and you get all the rare movies whereas I used to watch even stupid movies for 160 bucks every week back in Mumbai.

By the way, does anyone know of good movie clubs in Chennai? The kinds that show good movies on weekends? I really don't want to be a yet another burnt-out-by-work kinda guy, if you know what I mean. Google doesn't turn up anything and the ones I know show movies on weekdays at 6.30 pm. Wonder who the audience is!

Promise to come up with a better, saner post next time around. Guess this would serve as a response to friends who say my blog has lost all the personal touch.