Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Proportionate Response

Israel has bombed Lebanon for the 17th consecutive day. And no wonder the Marxists, Leftists and a few other regional parties are already raising a hue and cry against this punitive action. Their logic is "it is a disproportionate response to the abduction of one Israeli soldier" !

Does this reflect a sense of callousness on the importance of a life of a soldier on India's part and does this by any way explain why India is almost always at the receiving end of any unjust offensive action and that time and again the perpetrators go scott-free and come back to haunt us ? I would think so.

Consider this. Israel's retaliation can be looked upon in two ways. I think, it sends out a very strong message. It says "We dare you. You take one of us, we will take 100 of yours". That is how a country should respond when its soldiers are being abducted. There is no question of being defensive. And the question of proportionality does not arise. For Israel, the life of one of its citizens is important, valuable and their actions have only reinforced that. Unlike us, Indians, callous in our attitude, defensive in our demeanour, afraid to stand up and hit back when we are being hit, willing to go by the 'books' - be politically correct.

For what ?

A country does not have friends, it only has interests. That's the way the game is played. That's the way India should look. So instead of criticizing Israel and clamouring for international sanctions against them, let us unapologetically applaud that nation - a nation so small it cannot find itself on the map, for standing up for their countrymen.

The other point of international debate is that the bombs are being targeted at civilians. Now, what would you do if you knew that those civilians whom all are so concerned about shelter rockets and terrorists ? Is there a difference between people who harbour terrorists and those who actually do it ? Are they any less of a culprit ? If the civilians of a country choose to stealthily adopt such practices, then there should not be any furore when their homes are bombed.

But, as in any conflict there will always be a substantial number of innocent people who would be affected. This is no different. That is the futility of war.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Kind Of Woman

Suddenly,like a bolt from blue, today I remembered my grandmother. The incredible lady that she was, I was just thinking whether I would ever find a woman like that. And more importantly, if I were to find such a lady, would I like to have her in my life. Paradoxically, the answer is no.

There are two reasons for it.

My grandmother was someone who would be happy with whatever you gave her, in fact, even if you had nothing to give she would not complain. Even for a moment. I find that absolutely revolting and inexplicable.She found that natural. I still remember her working relentlessly from five in the morning (err...those were different days when I woke up early !) and after a tiring day full of household chores would promise to play Ludo with us - three of her grandchildren. We would wait expectantly for the exciting post-lunch Ludo sessions. And not once, not once were we disappointed. Imagine, around twenty-five odd people to be looked after and not a grimace on her face. Happy and contended.

Now, how do I make a woman of that kind happy ? If I were to get someone of that nature in my life, I would think that it would be a great injustice to her. Frankly, I have nothing to offer to her that can contribute to her happiness. It implies that irrespective of my existence she would be happy ? Its too preposterous to believe that I may be the cause of that happiness. These people are seldom swayed by anything material. They are the columns on which rests the entire structure of a family. Now that I am old enough to understand some of the nuances of what 'expectation' is, what constitutes 'happiness', what we have to do to have a fulfiling life, I have this irresistible urge to ask her what made her happy. I am not quite sure that I would have had a concrete answer.

Some questions bother me. Always. And just the moment I think I figured out the answer, there would be a twist in the offing which would make all previous calculations redundant (sounds hopelessly like one of those Fin problems!) The perennial question that bothers me still is "What kind of woman would I want to live with"

The proverbial answer is "I don't know" (I think my dear friend SRK would be happy to see that finally an MBA has the guts to say this !) I am too easily bored, too easily irritated, too frivolous to be anchored, too attracted by other women(I discovered pretty late that I actually fall in love with every woman that I interact with!). Its impossible for me to love anyone over a long period of time. I am just not cut out that way. I find very little to speak about anything - am too lazy. Sometimes I don't even find a reason. And when someone keeps on talking when I am not in the mood, I am turned off. Just switched off. Instantly. All of this - they are the recipe for a perfectly cacophonous co-existence.

But, the only thing that keeps me ticking is an intellectually challenging conversation. If by a stroke of luck, I happen to meet someone who has that elusive streak, who would not really cave in - on the face of it, give it back to me as and when required and yet respond with passion, then it would be exhilarating. And I doubt, in fact, I am sure, that someone of my grandmother's nature would ever offer me that.

Somehow, I sort of understand what Souvik meant when he said "I am scared....of myself" !

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Ode to Sarcasm

Somehow or other whenever I speak, nowadays, I really have to try hard in talking straight. In a world, where subtliity is rare, causticism and acrebicism is not appreciated, even in humour, this is an issue. There are a very select few who would always talk back to me in the same language that I speak and its incredibly gratifying to have them around. Had it not been for them, I think I would have had no 'market' at all !

Had it not been for Prof. S.M. Fakih's almost irresistible sense of humour with a lace of sarcasm and instant wit, had it not been for Prof. V. Sivaraman's unique way of putting across things by always using a phrase "it is a good idea to..." instead of "you should do this..." in conjunction with his putting the left hand to his chin, had it not been for Prof. Sandeep Gokhale's astounding ability to make a perfectly mundane activity seem like the most interesting session ever conducted on the face of earth, had it not been Cyrus' (yeah, the MTV guy and NOT the Sahukar one) whacky completely non-sensical comments - life would not have been half as interesting as it appears to be.

Of all the people that I have heard in my life, in terms of ability to invoke a smile even in the most hopeless of times, I think these would, any day be at the very top. I am particularly impressed by the way they express their indignation when something presposterous is thrown at them. All of them - ALL seem to revel in such a situation. And if you happen to give it back to them, the marginal enjoyment of that far exceeds any other 'interesting' conversation that you have had with anyone else.

Contrary to the general trend, these people 'look' pretty ordinary but the moment they start to speak, you realize that you are into something special. To me, life is not about making money, neither it is about being a top-notch business executive and most definitely not about 'networking' ; its about these electrifying moments which are addictive and which are memorable in their very own way.

(By the way, is there a message in there, that all the profs mentioned above are related to Finance ? And 'they' told me that the Marketing guys are the most interesting !)

Coming back to my love for un-straight comments ; this has I think grown as time has passed by and assumed significant proportions after my entry into SPJIMR. As with all other things in life, there is a reason to this as well. It over here that the zzombies are awake the moment a pun is round the corner, that SRK's tomfoolery is enjoyable, the comfortably dumbs are uncomfortable keeping quiet, a monk thinks about owning a Ferrari and dreams about a Renault actually !

I remember the day about a month back when I had this debate with my roommate about the uniqueness of each individual in our batch and I had no inkling of an idea that I was spot on. I really do not believe in destiny, but I have no substitute for that word. How else would I explain this chance encounter with people who sort of understand which language you are speaking and more importantly respond in the same, seldom taking offence for the liberties I take with them?

I am sure, beyond a shadow of doubt, that had it not been for the way WE talk, it would have been impossible for us to be friends. It is at these times, I curse the schedules of a B-school (though for me it hardly makes a difference !) which leaves us with very little time to get to know each other better.

The very thought of having a completely sarcastic day is giving me goosebumps and knowing the others, it would not be a bad guess to say that they are feeling the same !

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Is there anything I can do ?

When people think I am inflexible, when in effect, what I am doing is standing up for what I believe in ?

When people think that I am snobbish when actually that is one attribute which I loathe ?

When people think that I am opinionated while I am only being passionate about my perspective ?

When people think that I lack commitment because I pursue my passions first and care two hoots about everything else ?

When people think that I am rude and insensitive while I am only just being downright honest and truthful ?

When people feel that I don't know how to appreciate them when in reality I am not being deceptive enough ?

When people don't understand implicit signals that I do not entertain certain things and yet they continue repeating the same ?

When people get irritated by my argumentative trait, when what I am doing only, is being rational ?

When people don't understand that it pains like hell and yet I cannot express it ?

When people are not even aware how important they are in my life and do not even bother to keep in touch ?

When I give a gift and people think that I 'measure' them, while, for me, its not a gift and just a thing I wanted to share ?

Is there anything I can do to change the way I am perceived ? Possibly yes. Should I do it ?

Most definitely NO. A resounding NO.

Why ? Because what if the friends that I have had so far in life are because of the very reasons why people do not approve of me ? Then, how does it make sense to trade off those specific attributes for creating a 'business network' ?

It does not make sense to me. So, here is raising a toast to unabashed arrogance and unapologetic individualism ! May I be in the 'not-so-good' books of many and be in the 'best' of a select few ! After all, I was never a "Maruti 800 man" ! Somehow Mercedes makes so much sense !

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Interpretation of Requests

Over the past one year because of the collection of movies I have or because of my association with SP's movie club I have come across a variety of people (or is it the other way round) who have come to me requesting for a movie. On the basis of the lines that they choose to request I would often take a shot at guessing their level of intellectual maturity (ok..ok..just maturity is fine...but this 'sounded' better !); and more often than not I was myself surprised to see that I was not way off the mark.

Here are some of those lines and my interpretation of those. Obviously, no disrespect meant. (hell, why am I putting the disclaimer ? Bulls to that...I dont care what you think)

1. Mere ko ek Achcha sa movie de
This is exactly the kind of question which triggers off an insane urge to hold the guy by the scruff and holler loudly on his ears that what I might perceive as a good movie might not be good in his opinion. I have really given it a long hard thought as to what constitutes a "achcha" movie in their opinion and invariably, almost always I have got it miserably wrong ! I mean, statistically also, by law of averages, I should have hit the bull's eye at least once. But no ! I guess I am giving the dabbawallahs of Mumbai a very stiff competition with 99.9% (in)accuracy !

Generally, those who come with this kind of a request have very little idea about what a movie is. Mind you, they are also equally likely to appreciate a real good cinema if they happen to come across one. These guys are generally open to movies of all kinds - they would not shut out any option before watching it. But out of their own volition they would not explore.

2. Do u have a 'light' movie ?
Even without batting an eyelid, I respond in the negative. Frankly, I don't understand what they want. Or maybe I fail to understand whether they are asking for a Govinda or a Chaplin? (Due apologies to Charles for having uttered both at the same breath) Because if I ask them whether Chaplin is the answer to their requirement - the answer is "Nahin yaar, it is too kiddish!" For once I am grateful that Charles Chaplin is not alive; had he been alive he would have died again ! If I offer a Govinda (which I seldom can) then the next question is an inevitable "Govinda ka kaun sa ?" As if Govinda has acted in some of the most coveted and landmark movies of India and he is choosing one amongst them !

The "lightweights" seriously lack the ability to appreciate subtlety or an underlying theme. I guess "metaphor" is a word which they are not very familiar with and which they do not really appreciate. It can also be safely assumed with some degree of accuracy that they have been born and bred in a healthy atmosphere of Bollywood masala believing that movies are the best excuse to having a popcorn and an ice-cream filled evening !

3. Give me an action movie
I absolutely love them, adore them. Apart from the fact, that civility is yet to cross their path
(how else can the gross admiration for violence be explained?), these people are completely uncomplicated, very focussed in what they want in life, and would not go for any other kind of movie which does not set their adrenaline pumping ! The "Bashers" are never swayed and even an Eigenstein or a Spielberg is incapable of taking them away from their first love !

4. U have a comedy ?
People who have never known what adversity in life is, and who would not have made it to SP had they tried to crack it this time ! They are typically the kind who would want to shut off all that is 'bad, ugly, dirty' in this world and would live in a beautiful illusionary world where there is only happiness, where the sun is always shining, where you can run around trees when you are in love (and have the extras too!), where the dictionary does not have any word called "sorrow" or any of its synonyms. They are enjoyable company but I really cannot see any way how they can add value to my life. Nopes, I am not for them and neither are they for me !

5. I dont want any serious stuff, I don't want to think, just give me a movie, man !
Its only unfortunate that these people are born in the homo-sapien community ! Thoughts or the ability to think and rationalize is the only difference between humans and other animals. If we forego our ability to think, then we might as well be animals. Unfortunately, I have nothing to offer to them. I hope, rather I believe that the ability to always think makes me more humane than anything else and if I am to stop doing that I should only cease to exist !

Sometimes, I think that I am too antiquated, born at the wrong time or at the wrong place. With each passing day, the belief only turns to conviction.