23 April, 2010

Life on Indian TV serials

I’m back home at Bangalore and loving it. The initial college-leaving blues are almost gone. Cut to the chase….I have lunch at home, during which time my mom decides to watch this Hindi TV serial which until this afternoon I thought was ‘Kyonki Saas ki bhi kabhi bahu thi…’ or something like that. Turns out this is totally different and has a totally different plot. Points of parity are as follows:

1. Everyone lives in a joint family in a palatial house and there are at least 4 generations alive. In case they die, we bring them back to life thanks to some unnatural miracle or mix up at the morgue. And why do they all live in palaces. Have they not heard of a 2 BHK apartment and a nuclear family?

2. There is always some sort of celebration which is one among a wedding, diwali or Holi. I almost lose count as to how many sons or daughters keep getting married. The house is always decked up. Turns out someone’s husband, generally the youngest daughter’s, was killed in a car crash and she is marrying his best friend who had expressed his love for her at the last wedding (I think it was the grand aunt’s wedding), for which the great grandfather, threw him out of the house in full view of all the guests. For which our hero swore to be her husband someday. Co-incidentally, while diwali celebrations were on, this woman’s husband died in a car crash. Well, this is the vague story I figured out from the last few days.

3. At any point in time, the women at home are fully decked with jewelry and the works. Even the one who woke up at night to get a glass of milk as she was not feeling sleepy seemed to be dressed in a blue saree, adorned with jewelry and a hint of makeup. The best part is that her hair is so prim and proper, completely straight and unruffled. I’d like to see any normal girl pull that off in real life. And at all times the men are in designer Sherwani, even if they just woke up. The younger boys are generally all mama’s boys and the girls are shy demure people perpetually helping out in the kitchen or serving the grandparents. Doesn’t anyone in the house wear jeans, a Metallica T shirt and headbang?

4. Except for the grandparents (and great grandparents referred to as Baa…yes….that is what they call her…Baa….like in the poem…you know…the one with the other Baa and the Black sheep), everyone are fit and fine. It’s almost like watching 300. All the women have very good figures and none of the men seem to have any signs of putting on weight, not to mention they don’t seem to have issues with a receding hairline or graying hair. Yet, none of them seem to be on a diet. Breakfast is always aalo ke parathe and dinner is a 5 course meal. The helper at home, no matter what age is always called Ramu.

5. There is always one family member who is recovering from some accident or trauma and goes around the house with a plaster. There is always one man who is having an affair with the house maid. He normally gets caught on the day of his daughter’s wedding. There is always one woman who is part of the family but wants to see the family business go down because the two elder borther’s gave her husband a lower share of the profits due to which he committed suicide. One woman is always jealous of the good looking girl whose wedding is going on and does her best to sabotage it.

6. The part that annoys me the most is that everyone is so well behaved. All the kids heed every word their parents tell them and absolutely adore the grandparents. They will even support all the uncles and aunts whole heartedly and never talk ill behind their backs. All the hostility is kept within the generation. None of the issues seem to target under-age drinking, smoking or pre-marital sex. Kids are merely witnesses in these feuds until they get married after which all the drinking and smoking begins because they wished they had some pre-marital sex because their parents married them to some goody-two shoes to whom we need to give a manual. In a real Indian family, a real dysfunctional Indian family, the kids are absolute rebels, daughter-in-laws tolerate their mother-in-laws only so much, and all wives keep telling their husbands to lose weight. This is some uber-psycho world from the depths of the crazy mind of Ekta Kapoor.

7. Whenever there is some sort of feud in the family, mostly a mistaken situation where a woman is seeing coming out of the bedroom of a man (not her husband) at early hours of the morning and everyone jumps to the conclusion that they are doing it, the entire family seems to stand there with an expression that is supposed to be a mix of anger and disbelief…but to me it just looks like they’re thinking ‘I could so do with an Eno salt right now…this gas is killing me’. By the way, the woman had stepped into the man’s room to take the only needle and thread….repeat…ONLY needle and thread in that entire palatial house, to repair her husbands kurta before he woke up. Poor girl is generally court marshaled by the palace elders. It almost looks like the sentencing of Zod to the Phantom zone by the Kryptonian elders and Jor-El in Superman I.

16 April, 2010

The last Blog out of Great Lakes….now what?

Well, I’m at the end of a journey that began 10 long years ago. A simple dream of getting an MBA from a prestigious b-school…..the one thing that would excuse me from all bad exam related performances. And the one thing that remained a steady lighthouse guiding me to shore, and now I’ve reached. Now what? And in a few days from now, I will be graduating…my first convocation. I’m looking forward to throwing those pointy hats into the air. Ladies and gentlemen, doubters and villains, admirers and crushes…the boy is now a man!

And behind these ten years lies a path strewn with madness and points of near insanity because I felt the world was getting away from me and it all seemed hopeless. On that path lie the prayers of a mother who believed in her stubborn boy and a father whose support in more ways than one has made the path ahead stronger. And the friends who have held up this warrior in the best of times and madness. And now, it’s happening. And I wonder…now what? We’re done with the MBA…exams and all, the whole jazz. Where to from here?

I’ve got a good job, as a marketing manager. I could say I want to perform well at work and gain promotions quick, and go up the corporate ladder, but then that’s natural to any MBA. It’s almost like saying, I wish to breathe well. Many people are hinting at marriage, and bets have been placed. To cut a long story short, I’m going to be richer by about 1000 bucks by the end of the year, and would be getting a treat in the Taj. Dear friends of mine, many have lost to me in this regard. But in all seriousness, now what?

I’m not in a band, so I have no Gold record to look forward to selling. I’ve barely begun my writing career. (PS: I am a guest blogger on ideabing.com…please visit the site) So what now? As much as I’d like to think I am the millionaire types, I know I’ll be happy pursuing the more artistic and intellectual things of life like music, travel,writing… but these are hobbies. So what do I focus on? I guess the next few months will reveal a path of action…. Until then I shall quote to self ‘Not all those who wander are lost’.

Things are getting pretty sentimental here at college. It seems just yesterday I was saying bye at the station to brothers in arms, and now once again, I’m at the same place….saying goodbye to new brothers in arms. The hell and heaven our batch has gone through has left all the survivors with a certain sense of admiration for one another. What strikes me the most is that this is the final leg of any formal education I might have. And songs like Papa Kehte hain…all make a lot of sense.Come Saturday, I am leaving what was my world and home for probably one of the greatest years of my life. And I complete my education with a feeble regret that I never managed to get a first rank, but then, I guess life has bigger things in store for me. And this bitter sweet symphony has me wanting to hang on to the safe world I had behind me, while I still want to march into this new world all guns blazing and a ‘Bring it on b*tch’ attitude.

I spent a lot of today listening to Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer’ song…. And Cameron Crowe is to be thanked for making this movie ‘Almost Famous’ which featured the song in a beautiful sequence. I still don’t understand the song, but something about it has me thankful about the past, the friends I have made and keeps me optimistic for the future. I especially love the part in the end of the sequence where the Protangonaist says ‘I want to go home’, to which Kate Hudson replies ‘You are Home’….and this song has that sort of feeling… a concoction that has your head feel you ought to be somewhere else, yet your head says you’re right where you need to be. Song is here…check it out.

Anyway, this is the last blog from the Room G1G at The Great Lakes Institute of Management. The room that was my Fortress of Solitude and was the ground for many a jam session with my band (now erstwhile band). The room that showed me I have inherited the ‘clean freak’ gene from my mom. The room where many an evening was spent reading endless case studies, cursing professors, talking past loves and losses with friends, arguing over the mundane and celebrating over the silliest of triumphs.

And I can’t help but cry, because this feels like a second life... Big Bad World, here comes the great one!

08 April, 2010

MBA grads for football Managers

Here’s a random thought that popped into my head after my much beloved Manchester United crashed out in such un-dramatic fashion from the Champions League (Oh…I wish a plague upon the house of Robben). Now, football is a game of strategy which involves playing the opposition, putting your best combination while striking the right balance between strike and defense and at the same time changing strategy half way through the game based on requirements, injuries and what not.

PS: For those of you who thought,” hey, just like cricket…”I might be generous enough to give the same to test cricket…not the IPL. IPL is just people going nuts while swinging the bat ever so wildly. Do not be confused by the word ‘strategy’ in ‘Strategic Time-out’…it’s just a way to get more advertisements in.

PPS: If you still want to argue, come back to me when EA make a game called ‘Cricket Manager’. We have ‘Football Manager’. So there… (Sticks tongue out at them cricket fans)

Now, instead of getting all these dim-witted managers who could barely play football themselves, and are just looking to prolong their long anonymity into the football world, why not get some of these hotshot MBA types to be managers? If we are as good as we claim, we ought to look at everything from a strategic point of view and be able to put out the best team. Get some of these hotshot Harvard types and see if they are worth their salt….in fact, get those ‘class topper’ types to see whether they can actually make use of their infinite wisdom (cough cough ….puke) with which they would arrogantly sell their soul to some consulting firm to make long winding 200 page reports that could easily be explained in 3 pages. (You consultants do that….and you know it). In fact, here is an experiment, why can’t some of the Indian Football clubs hire the top MBA grads (very tempted to say ‘From Great Lakes Institute of Management’, but that would be too much) and see if these guys can not only win, but also create a brand for football in India? It’s a plan…a business plan….hey! Technically, this is my first business plan while at MBA. Nice! I have learnt well….