Rock on Review: Magik is brimming

Farhan Akhtar rocks! This should sum up the entire review about this intriguing movie. Since I’m a fan of bearable rock music, I loved the way movie is made. After a long time I’m writing a review that is so much unlike any other movie reviews I have written or read till date. And I must admit I’m giving all credit to Farhan Akhtar, Purab Kohli, Abhishek Kapoor and Prachi Desai. After “Taare Zameen Par” this is a movie that has left a humble feel good taste on my mind.

Watching the movie reminded me of my engineering days when we friends used to gather on a rooftop of a friends house and sing songs. Those were the days of dreams, aspirations in our big eyes. Little less than a decade over and I’m still struggling with my ‘so called stable’ job. Following your dreams is important. But some times you never know when and how you are going to cross path with a long lost friend who was once a part of your starry eyed dreamy world. The movie made me to go back to my shelf and read ‘The Alchemist’ again.

“Rock On’ is all about four guys, Aditya (Farhan), Joe (Arjun Rampal), KD (Purab Kohli) and Rob (Luke Kenny) and their quest to make it big in the rock music world. With matching aspirations, they come together to form a amateur band ‘Magik’ with a dream to make it big. However their quest to hunt for ‘that one big chance’ demands too much and hit the dead lock. Magik fails to cast its spell and with all the sacrifices made, they take up different lives in different directions. Having spent 10 years ruing their missed luck, they meet again thanks to Sakshi (Prachi Desai) Aditya’s wife for four years. And the Magik starts brimming again.

Frankly speaking I wouldn’t have watched the movie if some one narrated me this story. However the way its been made, you ought to fall in love. I particularly liked the sensitivity with which the story is dealt. Impeccable timings of songs and rivetingly emotional portrayal of characters by the actors make this movie a must watch. Music is suitable to the sequences and you will like it if you like rock. Almost every actor has done really well. Special applaud to Farhan, Prachi and Shahana since its their first movie.

I’m not rating this. Its too emotional. If you guys know what it is to see a dream and if you have faced the agony of letting it slip out of your hand… If you let your eyes loose because you had to sacrifice some thing… If you were a team that crumbled like a pack of cards… You will relate to Rock On.

Opinions, Criticism and Stupidity

I had a healthy debate with one of my friend and a blogger today. The topic was expressing opinions and criticism. While we didn’t start this as a debate, all I was trying to do was offer him a friendly advice. There is a very thin line difference between expressing opinion and lambasting some one (read criticizing). I tried hard to explain, demonstrate and convince him about how he crossed the line almost every time and why he should be less critical about people around him that are not his responsibility or interest. I know him as a man with possessed intelligence, and I made an honest attempt to advice him to be a little more considerate. In the wake of argument, he pointed out that I had written a post regarding commercialization of god by Swaminarayan sect. He said I was no different at being critical at things too. So I thought this needed clarification.

Let me clarify that whatever I say or write here are my individual opinions. I don’t believe in taking unnecessary digs at people unknown and unrelated to me. I wrote about the swaminarayan temple because I thought the money ($ 19 million) could well have been used for a better purpose. I don’t mind people collecting money in the name of god as long as they are being put to good social use. I have realized that being critical without being helpful is actually delirious. I’m sorry to all the people whom I have criticized. Let me tell that in future if I’m going to raze people in future, I will also make sure I will have a solution or advice for what I think is missing.

2000

Its the number of visitors my blog has clocked since I started blurting out my thoughts about 3 months ago. I wrote a post 1000+ hits on 6th August. Today is 28th and I have managed to double the visitors in 22 days. Although it doesn’t really bother me as I’m not writing because I want my blog to be popular. Neither I have a mission or a vision. I don’t think my blog needs that. I just write what I feel like and what I want to tell those who like to listen (rather read) me.

Having said that, it feels nice to know my writing is being appreciated. Thanks! πŸ™‚

An Idea is changing lives

I have been watching the new Idea cellular campaign with Abhishek Bachchan in lead for quite a few days now. I must say that they are really good. Idea’s focus on masses and taking up the issue of educating children has been very well received. Believe me, some times I look forward to the ad break so that I could see what new ad is making its way to our television sets. The advertisers have very intelligently portrayed the outreach of Idea network in the rural areas while highlighting the best possible social use of the speaker phone in a mobile. Not only they are reaching out to customers in the rural areas, they are effectively highlighting the problem of education in the rural areas. And boy, they do have an innovative solution.

Even in the past they ran an ad campaign opposing racism and caste differences that was well taken too. Hats off to the creative guys who have designed these ads. Hats off to Idea too for taking up social issues and boldly bringing them ahead. Whether its getting them new customers or not is a different issue (at least I have not yet migrated), it is surely winning them praises all over.

PS: I’m not advertising Idea Cellular or its services. If I have unknowingly done it, Idea guys, you owe me some fee πŸ™‚

Me and telephonic interviews

I’m not an expert to tell you how well should you appear for an interview. However I’ve given and taken enough of them to list down things that you shouldn’t be doing in interviews. This post specifically refers to telephonic interviews.

Today morning I had a telephonic interview with the GM of Harbinger Group, Pune. I’m ashamed to tell that after a long time, I actually failed to impress a guy on a telephone. Taking a cue from there and also considering my small experience in grilling candidates on phone, I’m listing 5 basic but very valuable tips things. Read and enjoy.

  1. Do not eat, drink or stand in a place that will invite enough noise disturbance. Your voice is your only weapon. So it needs to go fully into the ears of the interviewer. Munching, sipping will drive him away.
  2. Do not narrate stories. Telephonic conversations are interesting only if they are with your loved ones. Keep your conversations short and to the point. If possible, try to make it interactive. Since you can’t see the person’s face, you can’t make out if the guy is enjoying, getting pissed off or even listening to you.
  3. Do not go under prepared and panic. Telephonic round helps you to keep a reference copy handy (a printed document about the company, latest news and some information about the industry). Take full advantage. If you are being called on a mobile phone, use the hands free. (For technical interviews, you can keep your books and notes open.)
  4. Discussing confidential information about previous employer (say clients, projects) is not advisable. Some companies record the calls for security and training purposes.
  5. Avoid negotiating on the phone. (Salary, profile, location etc.) Its better to discuss this in person.

I hope the points were helpful. Good luck to all hopeful.

Addendum: I have posted the exact Harbinger interview on CE. Interested readers can click here to have a look.

Phoonk Review: Worth a kick

If Ram Gopal Verma happens to read my blog, I want to give a serious advice. I want to tell you Mr. RGV, “Please stop making movies. You are not good enough to entertain viewers any more.”

After all the fanfare and hoopla surrounding the movie Phoonk, it turns out to be a total dud. I’m clueless as to what RGV wanted his viewers to see. To talk about the story, well there is an engineer who doesn’t believe in god or ghosts. A couple, who are his friends, commit frauds in his business. Getting angry, he insults, pushes and shoves them out of his life. They decide to take revenge by casting black magic spell on his 10 yr old daughter. In the end, with help from doctors and a tantrik, they manage to save her. The End. πŸ™‚

The entire movie fails to raise hair even once. Most of the scary sequence are either based on The Exorcist or Bhoot, RGV’s previous attempt at scaring people. His tall claims at giving out 5 lacs to a guy sitting alone in a movie theater have fallen flat within 3-4 days of opening. I have seen people actually coming out laughing at RGV or their own fate (having lost in excess of Rs.200)

On the positive side, both debut lead actors Sudeep (as the atheist engineer) and Amruta Khanvilkar (as a doting mother) have done very well. Ashwini Kalsekar in the role of the black magician is excellent. Even the girl Ehsaas as the affected child is good. One thing I like more is the way the movie has been shot. Complicated camera angles and the light effect really raise the otherwise dead script and narration. The background score sounds good but looks like its been lifted from Sarkar (same buzzing clarinet).

My take, see it at your own financial and time risk. I’m in no mood to give any stars to the movie. In fact, I will say “Phoonk! … and the movie goes out of the theatres!”

An email from Ahmadabad

Have you guys read the new book by Chetan Bhagat, “Three mistakes of my life?” I almost lived in Chetan’s shoes last weekend. This is how…

I was about to wrap up and go home on a lazy Friday when a mail popped up on myΒ  CE account. One Devesh Shah (name changed) had written me a heartfelt request. In his mail this guy from Ahmadabad congratulated me on featuring in the news paper. (This was in connection with the suicide of Sandeep Shelke and the discussion we had on CE. Read here.) He appreciated my views and said he was in a similar situation. His employer was exploiting him. He had an option to quit, albeit he was bound by a service agreement (bond… in layman’s term.) He tried to negotiate but they threatened him to hand over to police and ruin his career if he fled. The guy was running out of options and was seeking my help.

The mail left a morbid feeling in my mind. I gulped some saliva and replied asking him to keep cool. I told him to talk to his manager and also offered to talk on his behalf as his elder brother. The guy replied saying he feared the worst was nearing him. In a feat of fear, I also offered to search a job for him in Mumbai. I wrote a lengthy mail detailing various ways of escape including how to break a bond. This guy didn’t reply and I had no other way to contact him. I couldn’t enjoy my weekend. I checked my mails to see if he replied. He didn’t. My nerves were getting colder when finally on Monday, I received a reply. He thanked me for the support and said he managed to negotiate with his Manager. He offered to complete his project in exchange of relief from the bond. (I forgot he was a Gujrati, hence good at negotiation.)

A breather for me, but this guy sure unsettled my nerves.

God is commercial too?

I got an email today highlighting all the fanfare behind the inauguration ceremony of the Swami Narayan Temple in Atlanta, Georgia in United States. While I’m a religious person myself, I have seen it how ISKCON temples in India are commercialized. The devotees are literally robbed for a feel good factor and so called devotion to lord Krishna.

Here is the proof of the commercial extravagance of these so called devotees in the business of making the black money white.

Some details of BAPS Swaminarayan Temple at Lilburn, Atlanta

  • It is one among the top ten largest traditional Hindu Vedic stone temples outside India.
  • The largest temple of the BAPS Swaminarayan sect in United States.
  • The temple is located on 30 acres of land.
  • The total area of the mandir is 22442 sq. ft
  • The exterior of the Mandir is made of Turkish Limra limestone.
  • The main floor is made of Italian Carrara marble.
  • The ground floor and basement is made of Indian Sandstone.
  • Smallest stone 15 gm to largest stone of 5.2 tones.
  • Total stone material is 8430 tones.
  • Total 40,000 stone pieces.
  • Total stone structure 85,000 cu. Ft
  • The length of the Mandir is 213 feet
  • The width of the Mandir is 122 feet
  • The height from the ground is 78 feet
  • The width of main dome is 23′ 3′
  • The Mandir has tapered ceiling.
  • Inside and outside ‘parikarama’ for devotees to circumambulate around deities.
  • Number of Shikhars (pinnacles) is 5.
  • 4 Small Pinnacles (Samaram)
  • Number of small domes is 6 and one large dome.
  • Number of Torans (arches) is 129.
  • Number of Zarukhas (balconies) is 4
  • Number of Sinhasans (throne) is 9.
  • Number of windows is 14.
  • Number of Pillars is 151.
  • 75 ceilings with 39 different designs
  • Apart from this the Mandir has numerous windows and pillars, which are intricately carved, and also marble steps.
  • Central heating and cooling.
  • Under floor heating with Gel tubing.
  • Fiber optic lighting.
  • Estimated cost of the Swaminarayan temple is $19 million.

Other Interesting Facts

  • The pillars of the temple are intricately hand-carved and each pillar depicts a famous incident from Hindu scriptures.
  • The construction of the Mandir is based on ‘Shila Shastras’ – ancient Hindu text dealing in building and sculpture techniques.
  • Some stones like marble and limestone were imported from the respective countries to India.
  • The stones were hand-carved in India and later imported to United States.
  • Intricate geometric patterns, rosettes, feathers, leaves and other designs which number to more than 500 were hand-carved in India.
  • Each section of the temple weighing from 50 grams to five tons after carving in India had a bar code.
  • Each section thus imported was then assembled in Lilburn – just like playing the jigsaw puzzle.

Where did all the money to develop such a place come from? For gods sake, PLEASE. Do not commercialize god. Stop playing with our sentiments.

Freedom of expression

*Disclaimer:*

If you are a CXO, VP, GM, Department head or any thing else that classifies top management, please stop reading and hit the back button. You are on a wrong page. Others may carry on.

—-

Alright if you are not a part of any management, let me tell you that we all humans are deprived of the basic fundamental right. We come across this situation, and often when we are in our office where the right to freely communicate seizes to exist once we are inside boss’s cabin or the conference room.

Communication should always be two way. “Yes sir…” “Sorry Sir…” “Ok sir…” as answers to every asinine question thrown at you does not classify as two way communication. Of course we are allowed to speak more… but all we can speak is appreciate our bosses for the wonderfully stupid decisions they take. For all job loving family men, speaking truth is not an option.Β  :mrgreen:

Recent example- I was discussing new business strategies with my interim boss. He asked me to prepare a white paper and few case studies on Work flow Management so that we could share it with out prospects and customers. It took me 20 minutes of serene persuasion that we neither have any experience in work flow management nor prospects who need that solution. Poor guy doesn’t know that throwing a jargon or a new service just for the sake of adding a point to the meeting doesn’t work. (Reminds me of Dilbert)Β  πŸ™‚

Anyway, thanks for reading. Express freely! Ahoy!

PS: For all married and committed men, I sympathize with you for losing the right to express freely at home tooΒ  πŸ™‚

PS Again: If you are a part of top management and still read this entry despite warning, let me tell you that I’m the boss on my blog. I have the right to freely express at least here, you dont! Β  πŸ˜›

Second Class Waiting

My journey to Nagpur last weekend was no less than eventful. The festival of Rakshabandhan fell on the long weekend. Moreover some people also had a leave on 19th August. So taking advantage of the leaves and spacious Indian Railway bogies, most of the home going enthusiasts thronged Vidarbha Express (It runs between Mumbai CST and Gondia via Nagpur). I was one of them πŸ™‚

I couldn’t muster a confirm reservation for myself in the Third AC compartment. So I asked my friend who apparently knew an agent to book a tatkal ticket for me. Promptly he helped me with the bogey and the seat number. However there were two others who had sought his help and one of them was handed the ticket. So my first task was to locate them once I enter the compartment. All I knew was his first name. Anyway, so the train romped its way to Dadar station. I was in no hurry to get inside assuming since I had a confirm ticket, there was no way some one else could occupy my seat. I was proved wrong later. Even before the train could halt, the riotous mob was already inside. I some how managed to save my bag and made my way inside through a herd of wise men, large suitcases, crying children and seething ladies already occupying their places. I was up for another surprise… and frustration.

Although I managed to find my accomplices, there were 15 other people trying to occupy the cabin that could only hold 6 of them. Sweating profusely and grinning sarcastically, I pushed, shoved, chided and planted my bum on the whatever available space I could occupy. Beating Mumbai humidity in an extremely crowded train, that too when you have every right to occupy your seat is very difficult. I at least had a right to ask for my place. But imagine my situation if I had been traveling on a second class waiting ticket.

My anger subsided pretty quickly though, I was awed by the comfort and cheerfulness of people around me. They were ecstatic, warm and surprisingly at ease. With hot cups of tea, the communication broke out and the group started discussing Abhinav Bindra, Indian Cricket team, Nuclear deal, Nagpur, Manmohan Singh, IT industry, jobs etc. One of the families also offered us some food to eat. They had a small daughter who was very naughty. She made sure no body slept till midnight. And when I got a chance, I slept on half of the berth with remaining half occupied by the luggage. My generous mates shared a berth and gave the other one to a lady and her son. They were traveling on a waiting ticket.

I could hardly realise when it was dawn already. I reached Nagpur with happy memories. I called up my wife to tell he I was safe and sound and at home. She said, “Honey the train must have been very crowded. How did you manage?” How do I tell her, Second Class waiting was indeed fun.