Transition of Thoughts

Weaving thoughts into words

Month: April 2010

Book review – Dork

Dork is the story of Robin Verghese (Were Geese) or “Einstein” who passes out of WIMWI (Well Known Institute of Management in Western India – IIM A) to get a job in Dufresene Partners. It’s written by Sidin Vadukut. First things first, Thankfully its not the usual boy+girl+other hot girls+thinking of sex etc etc etc kind of novel which youngsters nowadays have come about to write. It is a journey of this Malayali guy into the corporate world and then to stardom.

The book is really amazingly written. Its witty and funny throughout with not a dull dialogue in between. The fact that its someone’s diary entry makes it even more compelling. The first part about the placement where Robin wants to get into Goldman Sachs and a day zero job is so real life which anyone of us MBAs can easily associate with.

His mottoes like not making friends with people from the same state, keep the code of ethics of Dufresene and some others are really awesome. The way he handles his clients problems maybe a bit melodramatic or filmy but its nicely put. Some may say that the life of consulting firms has not been exactly shown or maybe a bit changed like for eg: how he fools the boss about putting a statue for the dog, but then guys its a novel and really good at that.

I am sure people would say that the end is filmy but its apt and very nicely done. All in all an enjoyable and compelling read for the youth of today. Awesome stuff! Way to go Sidin!! I am sure its gonna be a treat to read your future books..


Rating – 4.5/5

Sania Mirza – An enigma who promised much but hasn’t been able to deliver consistently!

Sania Mirza – A name that has evoked millions of feelings of love, hate, anger as well as pride for the country today stands somewhere lost in the sands of time. Sania Mirza began her tennis career in 2003 and went on to play for the Indian Fed Team winning all the singles matches. She also won the 2003 Wimbeldon Doubles Championships with Alisa Kleybanova of Russia. She was awarded the Arjuna Award by the Government in 2004. Now you would be wondering how come she managed to win the Arjuna Award just after one year of playing tennis. Even I am stuck in this thought!

In the meantime she rose up the rankings from the 500s – 700s to a career high of 27 in singles and 18 in doubles. She created many firsts in sport as well as in tennis for the Indian woman by crossing never before reached milestones. Till date she has reached 5 tournament finals winning 1 – Hyderabad Open, won 12 doubles titles and 1 mixed doubles titles. She was even awarded the Padma Shri in 2006 for her achievements.

But sadly despite her achievements on the court a lot many people chose to target her for something or the other. Be it her wearing short skirts which made Muslim groups across the country issue fatwas or her being in a controversy for disrespecting the national anthem or her getting injured on an off, she has had to face a huge number of problems. Whether she may agree or not, these problems have surely affected her game. Especially in the last two years since the controversies about her dressing style died down, her injuries have decreased her participation as well as affected her winning percentage in all tournaments.

As time went by, She became the role model for the women of today. She became more than just a player. Sania started earning money similar to cricket stars as she started getting endorsements by the dozen. Her shirts with special lines or slogans started alongwith her looks started attracting more attention than her tennis.

Her marriage with Shoaib Malik may just be the final nail in the coffin. Sania has a very good game to be successful on the women’s circuit especially her forehand is one of the best. But sadly due to a combination of public hoopla in our country alongwith her poor physical fitness, and her seemingly lost desire to resurrect her career, it seems on a downslide. Though she has said that she would continue playing for the country even after marriage, only time will tell us what is in store.

But if she does plan to retire after marriage, it will be a really sorry end to a career which promised a lot but failed to live up to the promise. She is still just 24! Can she comeback?

PS – In the meanwhile, her namesake or shall I say with a similar name but different sport and rank (Saina Nehwal ranked 5th in Badminton) has interestingly done beautifully!! and that too without any hype or awards or trophies conferred upon her!!!

Is there any limit to the commercialisation of cricket?

Karbonn Kamaal Catch, DLF Maximum, Citi Moment of Success – you may really wonder whether I am talking of cricket or advertising for Karbonn Mobiles, DLF or Citigroup but that’s the state of affairs of cricket in this country especially IPL – The Tamasha of Commercialisation of Cricket! After every six, catch, four or any good piece of cricketing skills, one keeps hearing the commentators saying – for eg: “And thats a Karbonn Kamal Catch!!”. Give us a break guys! We know you are paid for saying this and we know its crass commercialisation but the least we wanna hear is a catch being called Karbonn Kamal..God!

An MRF emblem or symbol which is there at every ground is shown every few minutes and the commentators keep blabbering something or the other such as some players being brand ambassadors or it being the academy for cricket in the country blah blah…Common guys! At least 90% if not 100% watching the game knows what MRF stands for and its whole story. The least you can do is keep quiet when it is shown and talk more about the cricket going on, on the ground rather than such crap. Then there are the so called “strategic time-outs” which are 2.5 half minute breaks to include as many ads as possible. Do teams really need these timeouts? I am sure the captains can give the best answer. Many times at these strategic timeouts, one or the other team is almost in complete disarray. The only strategy which they can have then is how fast to win or how fast to avoid losing.

The worst of all is incorporating advertisements in between balls! Yes guys you heard it right! Be it INQ from Aircel, Maxx Mobile, Blackberry etc, Mr Lalit Modi has become probably the first guy to incorporate ads in between the match! OMG!!!! Isn’t that the limit?

Then there are the IPL parties, best catch taken by a person who would get a Karbonn Phone and 25,000 bucks and what more. My point is making money, building partnerships, signing deals and things like these are fine. But why spoil the game? I am sure people will say why am I watching the game. But guys wouldn’t you agree that such things are making the cricket purely for money? Even in world cricket such things don’t happen.

Naxalism – How long will we do nothing about it?

Guys, Girls and all other people who think that terrorism from Pakistan is the biggest threat to the sovereignty of our nation – THINK AGAIN! Naxals or Maoists who are a group of far-left radical communists, supportive of Maoist political sentiment and ideology control approximately 220 districts in twenty states of India accounting for about 40 percent of India’s geographical area, They are especially concentrated in an area known as the “Red corridor”, where they control 92,000 square kilometers.

The rebels claim to operate in 182 districts in India, mainly in the states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal. The area affected by Naxalism stretches from the border with Nepal to Karnataka in the South (2006). In West Bengal areas west of Howrah are affected by the insurgency. Chhattisgarh is the epicentre of the conflict (2007).

Areas governed by the elected Communist Party of India (Marxist) in India such as West Bengal, specifically those of Jangalmahal and Lalgarh, are some of the worst affected by anti-state violence by Maoist terrorists who cite the accumulation of unaccounted wealth in hands of CPI-M leaders and specific failure to counter problems they were elected to address such as caste discrimination and poverty.

The Naxal insurgency started as a peasant rebellion in the eastern Indian village of Naxalbari in 1967 and has now spread to a large swath in the central and eastern parts of the country. In 2004 the Maoist rebel organisation People’s War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre of India merged to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Naxalites claim to be supported by the poorest rural populations, especially Dalits and Adivasis. They encourage conversion of backward class Hindus to Christianity and have killed Hindus who resist Christian missionary activities. They have frequently targeted tribals, police and government workers in what they say is a fight for improved land rights and more jobs for neglected agricultural labourers and the poor and follow a strategy of rural rebellion similar to that of protracted people’s war against the government.

Many self defense forces like Fear Vikas, Green Tigers, Nalladandu, Red Tigers, Tirumala Tigers, Palnadu Tigers, Kakatiya Cobras, Narsa Cobras, Nallamalla Nallatrachu (Cobras) and Kranthi Sena have emerged in Andhra Pradesh over the decade. Salwa Judum which is pro – government and anti – Maoist was constituted after the Maoists unleashed a campaign of violence against the tribals of Chattisgarh. But as usual as things happen in our country, it had to be stopped due to a campaign by so called “HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS”.

There is a strong correlation between areas with extensive coal resources and impact of the insurgency. Naxalites conduct detailed socio-economic surveys before starting operations in a target area. If we see they target small towns, tehsils and villages where even the basic facilities are not provided. You wouldn’t even see a minister visiting anyone of these places. The guerilla warfare tactics which they have mastered over the years make them one of them most potent forces ever. There was a time when the government used to think that these people fight with bows and arrows but it’s not the same anymore by some distance. Due to this, they have easily managed to overpower the CRPF (Central Reserve Paramilitary Force) be it in Dantewada or in Silda or anywhere else.

The biggest problem of all which this fight faces is inefficient reporting by our media and lack of importance being given to it by our ministers. Until 1-2 years back, to tell you the truth, even I didn’t have any idea about this struggle. And to think of it, it has been on from the past 43 yrs! All our media concentrates on is the threat from the innumerable terrorist groups Pakistan supports or the nuclear deal with US and things like that. What about our internal security? Does anyone care? First and foremost, the government should work to stop the money and support these people are getting be it from politicians or outside the country and then comes other measures like Operation Green Hunt or talks. With the Naxals having arms and ammunition, they can do anything.

The Maoists have warned that they will soon attack cities. We are soon reaching a point where we may be forced to attack our own people like in Sri Lanka or Pakistan? Will we have to do that? Only time will tell!


Reality shows on Indian television – Anything but reality!

Reality shows like Who wants to be a Millionaire, The Weakest Link, American Idol and others have been very famous in the West since a long long time. We Indians as usual have been amazing at copying the West in every way possible be it their culture, their way of living, their movies and so it wasn’t a surprise when the Indians started copying their prime – time television programs.

Kaun Banega Crorepati (Who wants to be a Millionaire) was the comeback vehicle for AB Snr and it also brought the concept of reality shows in the country. Everyone wanted to be famous, everyone dreamt of meeting AB Snr, everyone wanted a lot of cash. Then came Indian Idol (American Idol) which gripped the nation like never before. Everyone irrespective of whether he / she could sing or not wanted those few minutes of fame and obviously cash. Earlier on, most of the reality shows were interactive like game shows, singing and dancing shows etc – that is the people could easily take part, vote via SMS (Rs 3 for one vote) and thus become famous.

As time went by the attitudes of the people also went a sea change. The reality shows started including regression therapy, emotional relationships, challenges, weddings etc. Is Jungle Se Mujhe Bacchao with celebrity participants having to go through various challenges to win the top prize and with Shweta Tiwari and Negar Khan taking bath in their bikinis, Rakhi and Rahul Ka Swayamwar (the most publicized weddings), Sacch Ka Saamna (one of the biggest examples of people deriving vouyeristic pleasure in others sorrows and life), Emotional Attyachar (a show where the partner conducts a “loyalty test” on the other one) to name a few have become very popular.

While making such programs, the television media tries to fool all of us by saying that the TRPs (Target Rating Points) of their shows are so and so and that indicates how popular their shows are. TRPs are measured among JUST about 2000 people totally in 6 metro cities of the country. Does 2000 make a big difference among 1.2 billion? The answer is NO. So there is nothing to prove that a particular audience is watching a show and that’s why channels should make such shows. There’s no doubting the fact that more and more people do watch such shows but the way the channels fool people in the name of TRPs is shocking.

One thing which connects all the reality shows is that all the laughs, happiness, tears and even acts of fighting are staged (if not all – at least 99.99%) to attract audience. I am sure some may not agree.

But in the end the moral of the game is “Agar Tamasha nahi dekhaoge, tab Kuch nahi bikega!” That’s why I say “REALITY SHOWS ON INDIAN TELEVISION ARE ANYTHING BUT REALITY!”

Movie Review – Love Sex Dhokha (LSD)


First things first, Love Sex Dhokha (LSD) is an experimental movie and an amazing sign about the progressive times our Bollywood movie industry is going through. When one saunters into the theater, he/she doesn’t know what to expect and what not to. This fact coupled with hearing/reading either completely positive or completely negative reviews about the movie and just seeing 8 people in the movie hall (me included) made me seriously wonder as to how the movie would pan out.

But as the scenes unfolded one after the other, I knew that I was witnessing something so different never before attempted in Indian cinema. If I am right, this is the first time that an entire movie has been shot with a handycam. This gives the movie a grainy, fuzzy and a rather original in-house kind of look and feel putting it in the leagues of Paranormal Activity or Blairwitch Project. All the actors seem normal people like you and me. One factor could be that the director Dibankar Banerjee (of Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Khosla Ka Ghosla fame) didn’t want big stars while the other more valid facor could be that big stars don’t have the guts to act in such movies.

Even the stories depicted – that is honour killing (Love), the MMS Scandal (Sex) and Sting Operation (Dhokha) have a sense of reality attached to them. None of the scenes in them look forced and the way the actors act, it feels they aren’t acting at all and its reality. Even the sex scene may seem titilating at first, but when taken with the movie into account, it does take the story forward.

The film does have its share of negatives with a use of a hand held camera causing a lot of grainy footage throughout the movie, all new actors and things like that.

But then this is a film which does signify the progressiveness and the willingness of our filmmakers to go beyond the obvious song and dance sequences in our normal movies.

Rating – 3/5

PS – The movie is made for a very niche audience (the multiplex crowd specially and in that also for a very select few who like to watch different kind of movies)

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