Yet another terror attack… who cares?

terror-attack-on-taj-hotelMore than 40 hours ago, Mumbai was attacked by a handful of terrorists believed to have traveled from Karachi in Pakistan. They came through the sea route, dodged every possible security measure and entered the city laced with AK 47 machine guns, hand grenades and large qualtities of RDX. They ran ruckus at the CST, the busiest railway station in Mumbai, firing at will, throwing grenades and killing innocent passengers. Some of them turned their gaze to ‘The Taj Heritage’ and ‘Oberoi Trident’, one of the finest hotels in Mumbai. Some of them even posted themselves at the Nariman House, The Kama hospital and ran a fire cracker show at the Metro Cinema. Oh did I say it was one of the biggest terrorist attacks on the city of Mumbai?

Both the hotels were engulfed in flames even as the fire personnel were desperately trying to avert further damage. The NSG commandos and army has been summoned to prevent further attacks and gun down the terrorists. The last news came that some people are still trapped inside both the hotels, being held hostages. 7 of the terrorists have been killed and 1 was arrested. All this melodrama staged by the stooges from across the border has already claimed about 150 lives and injured more than 300, including some foreigners. A local newspaper in Mumbai also bore stories of brave policemen, notably Hemant Karkare (ATS chief), Vijay Salaskar (ACP) and Ashok Kamte (ACP) and how they laid their lives fighting for us.

Brave my foot! Are we making a mockery of ourselves? I would have loved to read stories involving these officers on how their premptive actions averted a possible terror attack on the city. Today they lay there slain by some mediocre brain washed bull heads. There are guys killing innocent people at will. There is vengeance in their eyes, for reasons known best to their preachers. What was the NSG doing when these guys vehemently sailed under our nose and inside the city? So long we have been hearing stories of Indian Navy and their heroics against the pirates. But when we ask them how could these guys slip inside our waters without being noticed, they couldn’t answer. An explanation wont do any good here. The brevity of their responses and the melancholy in the national security camp bears the testimony of how incompetant we are in protecting the lives of our own people. A bunch of guys are still out there… making a mockery of our system. And we just cant do anything… we just cant!

The entire episode has left me with a bitter feeling. A feeling of angst against the growing power of the minority terrorist outfits and a feeling of guilt for not being able to help it myself. I no longer have faith on my country’s security system. I have stayed in Mumbai long enough to witness all the major attacks in recent times. Frankly speaking the people of Mumbai are now habituated to such odd things happening every now and then. It was a day of horrors yesterday. But it is business as usual since today morning. Mumbai is back on its feet. People know that nothing is going to happen. There would be inquiries, police raids, some arrests, some trials that will last for 15 years and then there would be some convictions. But things would go on the way they have been going. There is no dampening of the spirit of Mumbai. The terrorism is here to stay and the ‘Mumbaikar’ knows it. Today we are lucky to be alive. Tomorrow we might be one of those deceased… who knows? There is nobody who’s going to protect us.

PS: If there are policemen reading this, dont feel bad. We dont want you guys dead. We want you to be alive and protecting us.

Love Stories

PS: This is sticky post.

Let the romance in you flow out of bounds. You have five love stories to choose from… all written by me. Tell me how did you find them.

Beyond Memories, A Date to Remember, Its never too late, Fatal Attraction, Arti’s Story: The other side of ‘It’

Fiction or Philosophy?

philosophy-humorI was in a discussion with my wife yesterday. The topic was, “If given a chance, what kind of book will you write?” I obviously vouched for fiction. I have a thousand stories running in my brain all the time. Its quite obvious from the fact that I watch and review so many movies. I feel it like the normal philosophy of life. We like to read (or watch) what we want to be… or wish to be.

My wife, on the other hand, like philosophy more than any thing else. Although she is a big movie buff herself. She argued that we should read stories that teach us some thing. We should always be on a look out to find ways to live our life better than the way we live right now. So she’s got authors like Dr. DeMartini, Napolean HIll, Rhonda Byrne and Jack Canfield. Whereas my collection is adored by Sidney Sheldon, Geoffrey Archer, Dan Brown, Robert Ludlum and the likes. The only two authors lucky to have found a common shelf space between us were Ayn Rand and Paulo Coelho.

The big argument that broke out as an outcome of this discussion was, “Do such books really teach us the philosophy of life?” I had a one word answer, “No.”  I couldn’t possibly relate to all the good willed quotes and sentences full of gratitude. I’m too practical to get inspired from some one’s preaching. After all, how many of these authors have had a perfect life? I would rather read about a perfect love life, a perfect marriage, a perfect lady or a man, an exciting adventure, a luckiest and bravest guy… list is endless, so is imagination.

I would like my readers to tell me, “Do you really believe in the philosophy of life written by some one else?”

Dostana Sucks! It really does!

Aint no body like my Desi Girl.

Right! Because there aint no body like Priyanka Chopra, the only highlight of this otherwise reckless, pointless and vehemently vulgar movie. We aint no American Pie and this aint no Miami. This is Mumbai and we love our guys and gals the way they are.

dostanaTarun Mansukhani and Karan Johar’s Dostana takes a dig at the gay and same sex couples in US. The movie is a portrayal of two fool hardy young folks (Abhishek as Sam and John as Kunal) fighting to rent an apartment in Miami. They pretend to be a gay couple so that they can share an apartment with the sultry svelte Neha (niece of the owner) played by Priyanka). The film moves into a series of ill palpable jokes bound by an extremely loose script and very hazy story line. Our folks obviously fall for the girl in between, yet struggling to tell her for the fear of being kicked out of the apartment. Enter Abhimanyu Singh (Bobby Deol) as Neha’s boss and later the love of her life. What follows is even more sickening when these guys bring heaven and hell together to woo their girl back.

Dostana must have originally conceived to literally rip the funny bone, forget tickling. But it looses much of its plot with limited or no comic punches. Moreover there is too much flesh on display without making it sensual. Its actually sickening. Tarun probably saw too much of ‘Full Monty’ like movies and wanted to replicate them. But he’s got it all wrong. Absence of a good script adds to the wows. Some of the scenes have been very badly written. Especially John’s griha pravesh and then the absolute stupidity towards the end. Don’t play with our emotions Tarun, we have had enough. And you Mr. errr Whatever Karan Johar… uff! Forget it.

Amongst the positives, Priyanka probably is the only highlight. She’s looked sexy, she is likable and very pleasant to the eyes. Its so much contrasting to her ‘Meghna Mathur’ figure in ‘Fashion’. Priyanka’s come a long way. Abahy Deol is okay, Boman Irani and Kiron Kher in cameos are totally wasted. John has managed to show off everything (almost) expect going completely nude. Abhishek is a brilliant actor, but he is handicapped by a malnourished script. Background score and music is good but generic. Desi Girl is topping the charts and Jaane kyun is also good. Rest is forgettable.

All in all, I wouldn’t give it more than a 2 out of 5 that too purely for Priyanka and the songs. Otherwise Dostana Sucks!

How to be a Great Sales Guy

In one of my recent interviews a guy asked me, “What are the qualities that make a person a great sales guy?” I said, “An eye to spot opportunities day and night, a tongue to speak about your product/service in a way the customer wants to hear and ‘an ear and a gut’ to digest the insults volleyed by the customer after the sale.” Difficult to understand? He didn’t understand it either. Still he complimented on my communication skills. Eventually the company found out that I was too expensive for them and the offer subsided.

Anyway, that is history now. But it has indeed inspired me to share the 5 best qualities to become a great sales guy. Of course, these are my views. You might disagree or want to add a sixth one. Please feel free to do so. Here we go…

  1. As I said, an eye for opportunity is very important. Lot of us feel that business arises when your prospects have a need or a pain area. While its true, most of the needs are actually created by companies and their astute marketing guys. (Think of these- mobile phones with camera, inflight entertainment)
  2. Be very hungry for more. A sales guy is never satisfied. His energies never get exhausted. The last thing a sales guy should do is to be complacent.
  3. Upgrade your knowledge. It is understood that you know every thing about what you are selling (if not, its a crime). But you are more than that. You are a friend, philosopher and guide for your customer. Tell him whats best for his business apart from what you already do for him.
  4. Always be happy to help. Customer is your god and you are answerable to him. No matter what, remain cheerful and truthful to him. Do not cheat him. You might close business once on a wrong note, but he wont come back again. Repeat business is the best business. You might need only one third effort to close business from an existing client than from a new client.
  5. Last but not the least, be very articulate. You cant possibly win business if you cant speak or write well. So speak out, it helps.

Best of Luck!

The Scot Who Loves Nagpur

Posting a comment from a Scotsman Andrew Nanger, who loves to be here in Nagpur. Great to read that my city is being loved and admired from some one who is not even an Indian.


What a nice tale of a return to the Orange City from one of her own! I too have enjoyed Nagpur, having had small business there from 1998 till 2004.
Apart from the City, for me there was also the plaesure of meeting so many Nagpurkars, who were mostly kind and caring, and so many of whom became my friends, still to this day.
I am from UK: born in Scotland, and it was so nice to see that so many Scots who had come before me, long ago, had left their mark. The Agnes Henderson School for Girls is but one example of this.
I used to stay in Tuli International Hotel during my regular 3-monthly stays, and even inside that fine establishment one could find the true Nagpur hospitality. I have been away too long: comming back soon! Need a coffee at Poonam Chambers, and some shopping at Sitabuldi.
Many regards to Nagpur. Be safe and well.

Who’s that girl?

Here are two eyes for your eyes on the dash board. Can you guess who the above female is? Its actually very easy. Hint: She’s a famous actress.

Have a go. 🙂

Astrologers, Anyone?

Disclaimer: I have most eminent respect for any thing (or any subject) that can be classified as science, great admiration for any thing that can be classified (by me) as creative and utter disregard for anything that gets forcibly believed as political.

Astrologers, numerologists, palmists, tarot readers…… and so on normally have had profound effects on lives, homes, names of people and whatever you can imagine in a split second. So long we have seen people changing spelling of their names (or the names itself), changing the direction of their homes, changing colors to be worn, changing boy/girl friends(?) 🙂

Its a real pity. I have complete respect for the subject and its study. But I always fear the outcome when the study is put to use. It is as good as experimenting with making a bomb and ending up blowing the house. I have paid visits to quite a few of the experimenters (courtesy my parents and now my wife). Every time I came back with a different ‘me’ in me. They suggested me various ‘Doshas’ like they do it to every one else. Surprisingly all these ‘doshas’ were always curable by a pooja or a yagna. Anyway, for the records, I’m going to live for either 50, 67 or 72 years (I was at the prognosticators behest.) One of them says I will have a massive heart attack when I’d be 39. One said my best period would start at 21, the other said it would start at 23. I’m 27 now and still waiting. Now the predictors have gone ahead and glued my success with birth of a daughter. I couldn’t help but laugh. When the astrologer told that to me, I asked him to look at my wife’s birth chart (without telling him who she was) and tell me if she would have a daughter too. Thankfully the answer was yes. 😀

May be I should believe my mother and start thinking that I’m not lucky enough. As she says, I usually have to struggle a lot before I get some thing. May be I should rue my luck every time I lose a table tennis match, which is often by the way! astrologyHmmm… believing in luck eh? So should that mean whatever I (rather we all) have achieved till date is due to favorable luck? Or due to favorable stars? The lines on our hand? Forehead? Here is a naughty thought. In my teens, we boys used to talk about how is going to be our first sexual experience. And how long we would take before we actually have one. The ‘how long’ was long enough, as long as it is for most of the Indian males.  May be I should believe in luck… may be.

So what next? Stones? Rings? The science says there are vibrations out of the stones we were which affect us. Obviously the positive ones do a lot good. Amitabh Bachhan wears quite a few stones. Ekta Kapoor wears twice as much. Look at where they are. We should wear it too. Very right, look at how many Amitabhs and Ekta Kapoors we have. Wow! Stones do help. Ha!

Guys! Take my word. Nothing but you, your intelligence and perseverance helps. Get that right and no star in this universe can do any bad to you.

PS: I’d have had sex even at 10 if I could. Par chance nahi mila na… wahi to!

From ‘Can Do’ to ‘Will Do’

Going down the memory lane, I remember how I was during my teens and early twenties. I had a lots of ‘can do’ thoughts that never materialized. For instance I never wanted to be an Engineer. I wanted to be an architect. I used to think I can get into the ‘big’ schools easily. But I didn’t and ended up being a civil engineer. I thought I could be an actor, because people appreciated my comic acts. But I couldn’t. Then I thought I could get into a ‘big’ MBA institute, pass out with flying colors and work for a ‘big’ MNC, or could have been a business man. Today I’m a sales manager in a small company. There are probably 1000 other instances where I thought I ‘can’ but I couldn’t.

I’m not regretting though. I don’t rue my chances or the lack of it. Just that I never had the ‘will’ in me. I always thought I can do things but never ever fully committed myself. I lacked determination.

Better late than never. I have now started speaking the ‘will’ language. As a starter, it pumps my confidence. Well begun is half done. Let there be action and let the actions speak now… “i will… I will… I will…”

Mee Migrant-kar

I met a guy named Bilal couple of days ago. I had hired him as a carpenter for fixing up some stuff while shifting to my new apartment. Here is his story. Have a good read.

Bilal hails from a small village on the outskirts of Giridih district, now a part of Jharkhand. He is a carpenter, a profession and skills he inherited from his maternal grandfather. All of 22 years, Bilal too is a migrant in Mumbai.

Little over 3 and half years ago, Bilal came to Pune, Maharashtra for the first time. In his small town , he had heard about the IT boom in the city. He dreamt of capitalizing on the opportunities he thought existed and set a foot here. However, struggling to cope up with the local language, bad work and home sickness meant he was back to Giridih within 6 months. But as they say, dreams never die. An opportunity and luck brought Bilal back to Mumbai, the land of dreams. Its been 3 years since he came here and has never looked back.

Bilal used to work with a furniture shop in Goregaon earlier. But for 1 year, he has developed enough contacts to start working on his own. He went back to his town only twice. Once for his first Diwali and then last year when his mother died of recurring sickness. His face sulked when he shared this to me. He believed if he had enough money, he could have taken his mother to a big hospital in Patna or Lucknow and saved her. So he decided to quit his job and start on his own after coming back.

BIlal’s father workes in a school as a chaprasi (house keeper). He was studying in the same shcool but had to leave after VIII as his father needed economical support. He has a younger sister who too left studies after HSC (XII) and a younger brother, who now is in his VIII. His mother wanted all three to be educated and become white collar employees. He, however, has sacrificed that dream.

Bilal knows nothing about the communal hatred, and he doesn’t care to know either. He has seen enough of it in adjoining villages of Bihar. However he was warned against getting into dodgy situations with locals and policemen as soon as he came to Mumbai. He is a Muslim, a Bihari and a migrant. The combination couldn’t have been worse for him. It also made him change his name from Bilal to Babloo for the professional purpose. He stays in a Muslim dominated locality in Jogeshwari (E) where he shares a room with two others, also from Bihar. One is a taxi driver and other works with him.

Bilal didn’t know much about Raj Thackeray till february this year. He was working for a lady in Matunga, carving a sofa set. But the lady’s husband was connected to politics and feared Bilal’s presence would hamper him. He was paid little amount and asked to leave. He feels he was lucky not to get beaten up, unlike some others he knows. He has made attempts at learning marathi and speaks some broken sentences too. He is obviously upset at the shody treatment given to people from his state. But he is helpless. He retorts at the government saying they just want to squeeze people so that they can be rich. His exact words words were, “Mazhab ke naam pe maa C**** hai saale. Sab ke sab harami hai.”

Bilal wants to marry his sister in a wealthy family in Lucknow and fund his brother’s education. He wants his brother to study engineering. He wants to buy a house in Giridih, put an easy chair in the porch and let his father sit and read early morning news paper. I asked him what he wanted to do for himself. He kept mum. He still mourns the death of his mother and said there were more important things to do in life today. Whatever they may be, he has got dreams and he has the will to fulfil it… like most of us sitting in the offices or homes, reading this and calling each others ‘a bihari’ or ‘a marathi’ or ‘a gujrathi’.

61 years after India became independent, it is really sad that we still have regional boundaries as a cause of hatred amongst us. Its time we become ‘we’ in true sense.