Kya Surat hai! Kya Soorat hai, Harshad Bhai!

Image by Harshad Italiya himself

Harshad Bhai Italiya from Surat, this is how I identify this ingenious man. My introduction to Harshad was under very strange circumstances. One day, when I was busy in some mundane routine office work, I got a call from an unknown BSNL number. The person on the other side, speaking Hindi with a heavy Gujarati accent, introduced himself as ediamondsrt and thanked me for helping him. When I asked what I did, he told me that I wrote some thing on CE, which he apparently read and was impressed. He wanted me to organise a meet in Surat. I guess it was 2 years ago. Since then, Harshad has remained in my inner CE circle and I now consider him a good friend. Here I present you an innocent but a very innovative gujju, who I’m going to call Surat ka Soorma from now on!

Harshad, or should I call Madhav? I’m pretty sure your friends call you Surat ka soorma! What do you think? What is your public image?

Yes, Why not you can call me Madhav as my most of friends call me with this Name. Madhav name comes into my life when I was living in Hostel Madhav Gurukul at Vallabhvidhyanagar during my Diploma. Continue reading


I could not find a right title for this interview. And then I thought ‘Attitude’ is the word that goes perfectly with Sachin Patil. An old colleague and friend, he exudes the perfect blend of passion, knowledge and attitude you would look for in a person who you want to be around every time. Most people on my blog know his as Bruce. Here I present him to you in a very candid conversation. I hope you like it.

Tell me about yourself is a dreaded question. But I’m going to ask you anyway. And the answer I’m expecting is the one you have never given to any one. Go on… who are you?

Let me first thank you for considering me for this initiative.

Tell me something about yourself is a Femina Miss India Question, however here it is in the right context and hence let me tell you something about myself.

I am a simple God fearing, Mom fearing, Boss Fearing and Wife Fearing man who wears the mask of being a fearless (Dabangg, as you may want to call it) person 🙂 I live for very very mundane things in life and I enjoy things that most of the people around me do that includes two (or more) pegs in peace, chicken sukka (preferably with Neer dosa) and sound sleep ( I enjoy sleeping in the afternoon when I am home )

I like making an impression of being an arrogant and blunt ( on the face ) type of person but I am not that kind. Please refer to my intro above 🙂 I actually enjoy being given importance in my social circle though I create an impression that I give a damn about it. My secret desire is to be a Rock Singer and I fantasize doing all the crazy acts that my Gods e.g. Bruce Dickinson, James Hetfield do in concerts and sometimes I do those in front of mirror when nobody is at home 🙂

I can’t get more candid than this 🙂 Continue reading

One Man Army!

My first interaction with Prateek was when he was just 20 and already a front runner to become an associate editor of For a boy just out of his teens, he showed great maturity and had more knowledge than what his other 20 year old mates had or probably what we had when we were just 20. Few years have flown past and today I feel proud to interview him. For I know, with interests in NGOs, Engineering and armed forces, today I’m talking to a future business leader.

Who’s behind the rather reticent, shy, complex yet arrogant looking Prateek Varma?

That is a bit difficult to answer because you are asking me to open up which I hardly do. The truth is that there is no one behind it. I am shy and reticent but also loud and talkative. I am a contradiction i.e. I keep contradicting myself. By nature I am shy and reserved but on occasions or when the situation demands I can be the most outspoken and outgoing person you have known. I have to be the centre of attraction and once I am, I start looking for an escape route

Complex because I have shown different personalities and I change from one to the other with ease. I grew up alone and that has a lot of benefit in a way that it gives you ample time to develop your creativity and imagination. I created different worlds and personalities through my imagination that I can go to at will. I know it baffles the other person but I seem to enjoy it.

Arrogant yes, because I have to believe that I am better than everyone around. It is some strange quirk that I have to be physically, mentally and psychologically superior to everyone else.

If I ask you to choose a persona, what will you choose and how will you describe yourself as? An unemployed graduate? A money splurging spoilt brat? A radical activist with extremist views on Politics, Kashmir and Corruption? Just another human being?

I am already all of these. But I would rather be none of these and certainly not just another human being. My fantasy would be to rule the world but in the long run I would like to be known as the man who changed the world. And I would rather not have extreme views.

You are from a family with a military background and war heroes. Don’t you think the hindrances and threats to India’s growth as world power and world economy are more internal than external?

Yes I do believe that. First reason is that we are not united. We are divided according to religion, region, creed, sect, caste etc. It was this disunity that allowed the English to rule us for 2 centuries and we have not learnt any lessons from history. Today, it is the politicians who divide for vote bank politics. Divided we fall.

Second thing is that we don’t have a strong leadership. Self interest is given more priority over national interest. Every person in power thinks that they have only 5 years to plunder the nations resource and they do that. Plus no one is ready to hold the bag, they would rather pass the buck. The way Mamata Bannerjee is misusing her portfolio as Railway minister is just one example. Beaurocracy and grass root level corruption is a big problem too.

Third is that we are a democracy only on paper. In reality our politics is like a monarchy where the child of the king is the next in line to the throne. Democracies don’t work like that. And I am not talking only about Congress; almost every party is like this.

Do you often ask yourself this question, “What next?” What answer do you get?

Actually…..No. I define a long term strategy for myself and continue with new tactics and changing old ones as I move forward. My usual question is “Did I finish the things I had planned today?” answer is usually “No you started many things but left everything in between.” There is a minute moment of depression and then another voice says, “What the heck? Go to sleep now. We will see it tomorrow.” And the cycle repeats like an infinite loop.

Quoting a dialogue from a popular movie, Paycheck. “If you remove suspense from life, even the hope fades away.” Your comment please!

It is true. If you already know what is going to happen then you have nothing to look forward to. Take an example of a cricket match. When India requires 50 runs from 5 balls to win, people start leaving the stadium. They know what is going to happen and they have lost hope. Even the players on the field know that. Similarly when India needs 1 to win from 5 overs with 5 wickets remaining, people are happy but there is no suspense. Heartbeats don’t stop; it’s more like a relaxed happiness.

But when they need 5 from 1 ball, there is still hope though very minute and every supporter and player clings on to it like their life depended on the last ball. There is suspense and hope and that makes the moment exciting and worth living and remembering.

Thank you so much for your time. Would you like to refer me to some one who I can interview here?

You are welcome. I was hardly doing anything worthwhile anyway. 😉 By the way thanks for featuring me. I know many people and naming one will be quite difficult. I think will choose the diplomatic path and skip this question.

In the Delhi(zen) Zone

Pallavi Walia, or Delhizen, as she calls herself came to my blog in search of love stories. Today she has become an eternal part of the readership and a very good friend. She lives and tells the perfect PunjabiDelhi lifestyle. Very effervescent, lively and bold, I know her as a person who believes living on her own terms. I’m presenting this interview as a birthday gift to her. Belated happy birthday Pallavi. I hope you had a great day.

Punjabi’s are known to be brazen and bold, not only in their demeanour but also in their attire and style. And the Punjabi kudis? Well I dare not say it in front of one here. What makes you Punjabis so vivid?

Two things you will always find across the world no matter where you go are Potatoes and Punjabis, such is our charm! It is said, Punjab was-is such a rich land that happy go lucky attitude became a part of our DNA.

Everyone says when in Rome do as the Romans do- Punjabis believe- no matter where you go create a mini Punjab and feel at home! Everything has to be colourful, full of life and high on calories for us… Size is sign of prosperity- bigger is better… Look at the number of Mercs we have to the quantity of ghee dripping halwa we consume. We look for reasons to celebrate and make merry and must add we rub our affect on those around us too! Continue reading

C for Crazy, K for KK

I have known Kaustubh Katdare for 11 years now. I continued to know him since I met him because I liked him playing guitar and singing Kishore Kumar for us, we liked walking, eating bhel and mocking at people and because some where our thoughts were alike. In fact I was probably the first person to laugh at him when he joined a GRE class in Pune. Little did I know that I’d be interviewing him in the form of a budding entrepreneur. The_Big_K is the apt way to start the interview series. I hope you enjoy it.

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i. Your superblog has been a popular stupidity buster. How stupid do you think people thought it was? What kind of reactions you faced?

K: I started blogging because corporate world forced me to. I sincerely believed that my managers were insane. In corporate world any simple decision would mean : Decision to call for a meeting – Time wastage in getting the right conference room – Time wastage in asking the co-workers to vacate it so that we could get in no later than 10 minutes after our scheduled time – dialing remote team’s conference phones – waiting for them – reading out agenda – resolving disputes on agenda items – tackling everyone’s intelligence – finally arriving at a consensus defined by the manager – assigning ‘task’ items and documenting them all in the name of ‘process’. I needed a place to vent out my frustration and blog was my secret place to do it. I observed that the shabby looking, never smiling and always ‘busy looking’ coworkers were rated higher in appraisals and got better paychecks. Slowly, I started realizing that people exhibit stupidity almost everywhere in various forms and levels. Continue reading