Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Yesterday saw the end of another chapter in my life – my post graduation. The final bow at the end of the convocation gives me the authority to “proudly” enter the world of managers as one amongst them. Though technically I am not an “MBA”, just a post-graduate diploma holder, the world shall always think so. And I am not sure whether that is a blessing or a curse.

I have blogged enough on my doubts regarding the validity of an MBA degree, or to put it in a more polite way, doubts regarding my affinity towards the managerial qualification. To speak yet again on this topic at this juncture would be a tad clichéd. Hence I shall drop this topic with a small mention of the convocation ceremony.

It had the usual standing in the sun, listening to boring speeches, final farewells to quite a few people, etc…but my gang surprised me (shocked would be more apt a word) by actually turning up at IIMB to cheer me. The experience was so overwhelming that it took a few minutes for my brain to register. If I looked like I was giving my best imitation of a flower-pot, I am really sorry. But I was truly and absolutely speechless! Now that I have found my words, I wouldn’t like to sully our friendship with a Thank you. The expression that I would like to convey hasn’t found its place in the dictionary yet.

Incidentally, yesterday’s getting together of the gang was a momentous occasion for another reason. With Ameya leaving for his 3 month US trip this weekend and The Devil not too sure about his whereabouts in the future, there is a huge question mark on when we would all be together again.

Maybe its time to put into action another roadtrip plan. Guys – Honnemardu – When?

In case anyone is interested in knowing more about my Shabari Malai trip, Avinash has narrated it neatly in his blog. Please check it out. I was laid down with the flu for a week, and that has pretty much taken away my enthusiasm to blog on that trip. Now that I am back on my feet, and have a month’s hols to burn you should be seeing a lot more updates here…damn!! I shouldn’t have said that. Now I am sure to find writing as hard as Ganguly is finding it score runs.

Since cricket is in the vicinity, a passing mention on Indian cricket – in my opinion, the blame for the 3rd test loss falls squarely on Dravid. If he does well, India wins. If he doesn’t, India loses. That’s it. The remaining 10 are just the supporting cast.

Hmm…that small bit on cricket has whetted my appetite. I can see the structure of my next post. I have the data. I have the analyses. I just need to update everything and come up with the final output.

Oh, let me atleast break the suspense regarding the title of the next post – Dravid vs Sachin. :))
(Infy guys should be mightily pleased..eh?)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Well, India couldnt win the Test today and I am pretty disappointed. But all talk about Pak having the psychological edge is rubbish! Throughout the 5 days of the match, there wasnt even a single minute when the Pakistan looked like they were going to win the game. Yes, all credit to Kamran Akmal for his superlative ton, and it definitely spoilt India's chances of an outright win, but we still outplayed them for a major part of the game.

Before the disappointment of the match came the one on the movie we had seen last night. The guys came directly from their respective work locations, while me - the unemployed - got the truck to PVR. On Inder's recommendation, we decided to see Page 3. Thrity minutes into the movie, and we wanted to leave the theatre and leave right then! What kept us was a spate of Akshai's jokes and...hmm...nope no silver lining in the movie. It was just his jokes!

The second half was slightly better in terms of the theme, but the treatment stayed at its abyssmal self. Overall a bad watch. Atleast for us. But this was a movie which had recommendations from a lot of people. I guess its just a case of "one man's meat...".

I am leaving for my Shabari Malai trip early in the morning tomorrow.
Until then, no blupdates. Cya.

Ramayana : My Thoughts

There are 2 ways one can read our great epic – The Ramayana. The first way is to look at it as a religious book, where the protagonist is no less than the Primal Lord incarnate and every action He takes is keeping in mind the larger good. In effect, He can never commit a mistake, and even if He does it is only because He has destined it so.

The other way is to think of the Ramayana as a beautiful work of fiction which would sit easily in the shelves of the fantasy genre. The protagonist has a lot of superhuman powers, but the book still looks at the human angle.

And the latter is my way as well. Hence I was pretty disappointed when I was done with the Kamba Ramayana. On the macro level, Kamba’s version tells us right in the beginning that the character is indeed the Lord incarnate and only Rama alone isn’t aware of this. You can see the obvious conflict that I would have faced while reading the book. With a lot of effort I was able to blank that cynic in me and finish the book. But it still left with me a lot of touchy issues.

Killing of Vali
In what was clearly the best part of the Ramayana, Vali, after being felled by Rama in hiding, reels out a speech challenging the legality, morality of Rama’s action. If Rama had been just a man, this action would have been understandable, though I would still not condone it. All that it showed me was the hypocrisy of Rama. Later on in the story, when Ravana is unarmed, Rama asks him to leave the battlefield and return the next day as it is against Dharma to kill an unarmed person. So, how were the rules any different when he shot Vali from the back?!
There are 2 counter-arguments put forth by Rama and 1 by Lakshmana when they attempt to justify Vali’s killing:
  • Rama 1: Sugriva came to me and asked me for help and I agreed to do so. If I had shown myself to you (i.e. Vali), you would have also asked for my help and I could not have refused. This would have lead to a quandary. Hence I had to be in hiding.
  • Rama 2: You speak about values, but where were your own values when you had no qualms about marrying Sugriva’s wife Tara after you chased him out of his kingdom. Did you know that Sugriva was reluctant to accept the crown?
  • Lakshmana 1: You are a monkey. So Rama firing an arrow hidden is similar to humans killing a deer from a place of hiding. It is akin to hunting, and as a result what Rama did is not the least bit amoral.
I have this theory that whenever a person begins to justify his actions with more than one reason, he is invariably the one in the wrong. He just comes up with multiple excuses to cover all bases of his guilt. But that is just as an aside.
Lakshmana’s justification has to be the funniest. He is trying to get out of this situation on a technicality. Rama’s first argument is absolutely childish. Does it imply that if Ravana had come over to Rama and said, “Can you give me Sita?”, he would have just said, “Oh sure Ravana! Take her by all means. I do not have the power to refuse!”!

Hence the only plausible justification is the middle one – but only if Rama were human. It still doesn’t gel with his god-like stature.

Sita’s chastity
When Hanuman sights Sita in the Ashokavana, he is stunned by her chastity. He listens to her conversations with Trijata (a good rakshasi) and Ravana, and notices the way Sita bears Ravana’s threatening advances and is highly impressed. He pronounces her as the pinnacle of chastity, the reason for the continuance of the world, and other such aggrandized adjectives.

But I don’t get it! There is a curse on Ravana that if he were to even touch a woman without her willingness, he would die. Despite being consumed by lust, Ravana never makes any such move on Sita because of this curse. Its only the rakshasis around Sita who urge her to marry Ravana and become the queen of the world. So here’s my question – what is so great about Sita’s “achievement” of maintaining her chastity?

Is it really that hard to not give in to the guiles of an evil asura? Were there any temptations around her strong enough to make her want to give in?

Or take an extreme case, even if Ravana did force herself on her, how would it be a flaw in her chastity?

Rama’s doubt
This, I guess, must be a contentious issue for most people who have read the Ramayana – Rama forcing Sita to prove her chastity.

If we look at Rama as a God, there cant be a more shameless act than this. And no amount of justification can absolve him of the blame. “I did it not to clear my doubts, but to prove to the world…” is absolute balderdash.

Such an action as a human is more believable, though it would push Rama right down the morality ladder. Apparently there is a spin-off version of the Ramayana where Sita and Ahalya (the rishi’s wife who was in the form of a stone and returned to her original form when the dust off Rama’s feet touched her) argue over Rama’s actions and in the end, Ahalya decides that her lease of life gotten from a person like Rama is a disgrace and turns herself back to stone!

Despite all these aspects, the Ramayana was an enjoyable read. Its obvious to see why it is the forerunner for most fantasy classics of all languages. The inspirations taken from the Ramayana into other language books is highly evident.

I have now begun to read Ramesh Menon’s modern rendering of The Mahabharata. It is a 2 volume 1500 page mammoth with the utmost details of each event. Its going to be one great journey!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Philadelphia 26er

He is the reason why my Hero Honda Splendor looks so out of shape.
After years of bearing him as the perennial pillion rider in my bike, there isn’t more stress that the vehicle can be subjected to.

He is the reason why Channa Bhatura still exists as an item in the menu of most hotels around north-west Bangalore.

He is the reason why gyms throughout Bangalore are open till 11 in the night.

He is the reason why Gillette had to invent a shaving razor for kids.

He is the reason why ETS had to modify their GRE paper pattern, seeing the ridiculous ease with which he cracked it.

The reason for all this and more – Rajneesh aka Cow aka Rajjo.

Yet another member of our gang who turns 26 and here’s wishing him many more years of cracking exams, gymming, gaming at Net4U, pillion-riding, etc.
(And better luck with the ooas)


Saturday, March 05, 2005

“Backhand is the key!”
It is with this mantra that I began my squash games in the morning, and I am pleased to say that it worked very fine. I played 5 games (2 against Inder, 1 each against The Devil, and Malleswaram Gang (2)). And I won them all! :)

As the NBA ad campaigns go, “I love this game!” – and I mean squash.
Not that I do not love the NBA. One just needs to read my very first post to figure that out. (Go Pistons!)

I have spent the last hour trying to fix up the VCR to record a movie that is going to be played on Sun TV. The VCR at home is a relic, a piece of electronic equipment that can easily find its way into museums. Oh, add my Motorola modem to this list as well. Of course, my modem is functioning just fine since the time I bought it – 1996. The amount I had to pay then to buy it (Rs. 13000) would be able to get me around 6 such modems now – that is if Motorola is even in the modem business!

The modem has been through some testing times. Beginning from the days of Shell account (pure-text) to Winsock to “TCP/IP”, it has been one heck of a ride. If it were to write its autobiography, I wonder which memory it would look back on with fond recollection. Methinks the hours of surfing Lycos for content representative of each one’s liking – that would be the moment!

Anyway now that the VCR is set, my mom would be able to record Kannathil Muthamittaal – a Mani Rathnam classic based on the life of a kid who realizes that she is adopted and is actually the daughter of a Sri Lankan refugee-turned-LTTE militant. And she decides to return to her homeland to meet her mother. Mani has tackled the Kashmir issue (Roja), Babri Masjid issue (Bombay) earlier with élan. But he surpasses himself in this exercise on human emotions and relationships using the Lankan strife as a mere backdrop. A must watch.
Also, the God – A R Rahman – won the National Award for his music in this film.

After having begun the post with a quote, let me end it with one as well. I heard this today morning from the PJ King of our gang. It goes something like this:
“We guys were not put in this earth to do banal things like get a girl, etc. God has sent us here for a far greater and nobler cause. And we shall fulfill that!”