R A N D O M: V

When nothing else works, random does. 🙂

I’m sure Random will inspire me to write good articles and new stories in the future. I had been blanking the ‘Stories’ section for too long now. Speaking about stories, yesterday a friend compared me to Chetan Bhagat first, and then to Jug Surraiyya (when I told him I’m interested in writing columns. Comparison with Jug was a BIG one though). In fact, in the last few months I have received quite a few compliments (so it seems) that I can be a Chetan Bhagat (I mean a writer like CB). I dont know if it is a compliment. I’m personally not a big fan of his (or his writings). I think his style of writing is very easy one. And I dont want to match it at all. Without being critical of him (since I dont like to criticise people in the creative field), I’m in fact trying to evolve a more complex and intriguing style, myself. Some thing that will keep the reader glued and guessing (Some one said Robert Ludlum, eh?). And apply the same style to my love stories. Ha! That makes some sense. (it is supposed to make a sense).

(Too many bracketed disclaimers)  🙂

Have you bought a house? I have. By no means I want to look down upon you, in case if you haven’t. In fact I would look up to you. At least you are saved of the ‘EMI ka Phera’. When 60% of your hard earned salary goes into paying House, Car, Education load EMIs and another 30% on household expenses and bills, that is when you realise how dreadful is the Phera. It is an absolute, humongous, capacitive, redundant force that stops you from doing almost every thing you want to. You cant just plunge into a business unless you have a contract in hand. Even if you have, you compare the earning with the value of the EMIs. You cant think of an alternate profession. You cant fight with your boss. (what if he fires you? Who’ll then pay the EMIs?). You get nightmares that recovery agents are banging your door. You cant think of any thing but that… You cant this… You cant that… You cant blah… You cant bloop… !!!

Waiiiiiiiit a minute!

Now I know why I’m not able to write good stories for last few weeks. Good that I have found out. The sinking feeling is going to sink now. I’m going to be right on it. Tell me, do you also face such randomness? Just splash some water on it and you’ll feel fresh. 🙂

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Movie Review: 3 Idiots

I’d personally like to thank Chetan Bhagat for the two sensible things he did since becoming ‘the popular guy’ in India amongst the youth. One, writing and converting his immensely popular novel ‘5 point someone’ into a movie script and then choosing (or rather getting chosen by) Rajkumar Hirani to direct 3 Idiots. For this movie is sure to become one of the greatest hits in recent times. This movie, although having a ‘bollywoodish’ touch to it, does strike a chord deep within. I so much remembered my two other favourite movies in recent times, Rock On and Guru while watching the movie. No, 3 Idiots doesn’t even have a slightest of resemblance with any of the two. But like the other two, it not only makes you think, it makes you act as well. I always believed that a movie should be a work of art. It should take you on a journey of your own, within you. 3 Idiots sufficiently manages to do that.

There is a difference between getting educated and becoming knowledgeable. A dialogue in the movie says, we should learn and study to become worthy and not to become successful. Success should automatically follow. And I believe, to be a knowledgeable person, some where within you need to have that rebellious attitude. An attitude that has a capacity to challenge the ‘as is’ and invent, innovate or evolve into some thing more, some thing new and some thing better. I remember during my engineering days, me and my classmate Sanjeev were struggling to get a paper presentation topic. There was a contest at IIT, Chennai and we HAD to get selected and participate. After many futile attempts at trying to learn the already presented brain heavy papers on structural engineering, we decided to do some thing on our own. We ended up presenting some thing that caught even the IITians unaware, a most economical way of building the stone columns in a marshy land. Although we didn’t win, it did receive a special mention in their record books (I suppose it is still there and has been researched by now). I cant explain the surprised look on the faces of our teachers back in our college when they learnt that two guys, one with average grades (Sanjeev) and one with non-mentionable grades (me) could do this. It was that rebellious attitude to do the difference that has carried me through all these years.

Anyway, coming back to the movie. 3 Idiots is loosely based on the novel by Chetan Bhagat, 5 Point Someone.  Loosely because the theme, the characters and the premise is the same but the story line has been altered a bit to suit the Bollywood audience (which is actually not so good). Unlike the novel, which revolves around 3 main characters, 3 Idiots revolves around 1 lead and 2 sub lead characters. Aamir Khan plays a guy called Rannchhoddas Shyamaldas Chanchad, a rich and brilliant guy, who has a central tailored role where as R. Madhavan and Sharman Joshi play Farhan Qureshi and Raju Rastogi respectively. They are all studying in Imperial College of Engineering a.k.a. IIT Delhi, headed by Dr. Viru Sahastrabuddhe (Boman Irani). The rest of the movie is about how Rannchhoddas or Ranchoo’s rebellious attitude and out of the box thinking often lands the three best friends in a soup, and as always, how every thing gets turned into a happy ending. After all, in the end ‘Aal Ij Well’. The story here bears a striking resemblance to Rajkumar Hirani’s earlier protagonist, Munnabhai MBBS. In fact, there are few sequences where you feel as if Raju has served the old wine in a new bottle. Ranchho’s altercations with the dean, his love angle with the dean’s daughter (Kareena), his overwhelming generosity, his out of the box solutions… every thing looks like ditto Munnabhai.

Coming to performances, except for the 3 Idiots and Boman Irani every one else has a short role to play, including Kareena. But all of them have done well, especially Chatur ‘Silencer’. They ensure that there is never a dull moment in the movie at all. Music by Shantanu Moitra is good. In fact ‘All is Well’ is topping the charts already. I’ll not be surprised if it has surpassed the popularity of ‘M bole to…’. If there is a healthy dose of funny moments and good songs, there are also some grey overtones where you almost feel for the characters. Raju has effectively tried to deal with the suicides and the excessive pressures of studies. The film in fact tries to give us a message, a message to follow your dreams and not some one’s expectations. It may not be strong enough to challenge the ‘Doctor ya Engineer’ typecast society and education system in India. But it sure asks questions… in fact plenty of them. Go and watch it for sure, even if you have the answers or not…

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 my  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.

One call @ night’s center

Role: You are a manager in a smallish but very unique and a positive company. You handle a team of 5 executives. You have a very cooperative and loving boss. 🙂 And you have a beautiful and extremely caring wife. 😉

Situation: One of them manages to fix a conference (sales) call for you. The call is in the pacific time at 12 noon. You are based in India, so its at the stroke of midnight.

Story: Since you have to prepare for the call, you decide to stay back in the office. But your wife is too worried, you haven’t had lunch. You haven’t had snacks. Coffee machine in your office is not working. So you, as a dedicated husband, go home for dinner. On the way it rains. You take time to reach, and more time to come back. You don’t get time to prepare for the call. Some how you manage to reach at the stroke of midnight. You are not able to log in to the call. You are late. The customer gets irritated. You take a deep breath and remember god. And give a flawless presentation over the phone. You answer all the queries. You manage to convince the customer. He agrees for off shoring his work. You are ecstatic. You dial your boss on his mobile, forgetting that he is in Singapore. Its 3:30am there. Surprisingly, he picks up. He listens patiently and… He is ecstatic too.

Climax: You managed to close a deal worth (hold your breath) $3 million just on a phone call. You are happy. The company lives happily forever.

Hey… 🙂 All I wrote is not a story from a movie or an idea to Chetan Bhagat to write a new book. This is what happened with me yesterday. I just narrated you a part of my Biography 2050.

Any comments?