Saturday, July 31, 2004

Moneycontrol.com - Portfolio

The day after Nafisa Joseph committed suicide.... She shut herself in a room and used her dupatta to hang herself... over some fight with her boyfriend... whom she was supposed to marry in August, that is, next month....

No, I don't know Nafisa Joseph... I have only seen her compereing the Kala Ghoda music festival at... where else... Kala Ghoda. She struck me as articulate... beautiful... glamorous... desirable, in short. Any man would think of her as fantasy material... that sort. Well, why did such a beautiful girl have to end her life? If not one she could have got many... she had talent... that something that makes her stand out... noticed. There would be thousands of guys swooning... to get a look at her.

But is that the truth of fame and fortune? There is a dark interior to the tinsel exterior.... Another star aspirant also died in mysterious circumstances... the price one pays of fame is great. Some people would go to any extent... it is a tight rope walk... you either make it to the other end or fall... very deeply... and die....

What makes people take this extreme step? The crucial decision to end a life... it is taken, I guess, in a moment of extreme madness... when all else seem to fail and the mind clutches at straws and none of the straws is strong enough....

I have derived great satisfaction from spirituality and faith... it is in such circumstances that I hold on to my faith... and it has given me steadfast relief from the traumas of life... life is hard...

We don't realize how hard life is today... for example... imagine yourself without the things you take for granted today. Like transportation... imagine you had to walk all the way to work... I have thought of this... it would take you six hours to do that... you would have only time to come to work and go back... but then imagine how much work you do before going back... with your hands... organizing your work... interacting... communicating... viciously ignoring negative elements... proactively encouraging good elements... getting back at that bossy bitch (bastard) in the big cabin... with their big perquisites.

It is crazy... have we thought what complexly wired people we are. Our lives are dependent on the many things we contribute, and thereby, get the compensation for. But they take away much of the compensation through credt/debit cards and long distance phone calls and innocent looking service charges... a small service charge for the food you ate... some small amount for the funds you transferred... which you don't mind... but actually should... because nobody gave it to you for free....

Models actresses... what can I say... what do they contribute? They contribute to the gloss that makes products sell... ultimately the service charge that goes to pay their salaries and that of the gullible ones who buy their products... it's a big manipulative cycle... products need promotion... promotions need models... models need cosmetics... cosmetics need... young girls... young girls need products... so eternally the cycle of vanity goes on!

All this goes on while farmers elsewhere in the mainlands of India are committing suicide when the rains fail to fall. They are killing themselves by the dozens. They look at the skies with desperation in their eyes and then go and hang themselves on a tree or something. The cycle is also vicious for them. They take loans... fail to pay them back... again take loans... like models take auditions for better assignments... and one day the hollowness of it all dawns on them that all they have lived and slaved for don't seem to be adding up to anything. Meaning... things they take as definite and finite no longer seem to be... they become vague and fade away....

Life is worth holding on to... if you believe in something first of all... so start believing... if you don't believe... force yourself to believe... if you still can't believe... read... understand... discuss... life assumes new meaning then.... Yes, you believed in animal rights... and animal freedom... what about human freedom... freedom of your soul... is it any wrong to desire that?

Nafisa, why did you have to do it? If only you asked me... on the balmy nigth when I watched you from the thirtieth row from the stage... in the mid section with the strobe lights reflecting in your eyes... the celebration of your celebrity stardom... I could have told you this blunt truth of life....

Monday, July 26, 2004

Newport Cigarettes:Duty free newport cigarettes shop at newport-cigarettes.com

Saturday July 24, 2004

Met my school friends at Ganga's place. Ganga is my friend since 1967 when I first came to Bombay at age 8. He is a big shot advertising copywriter and now creative director of Oxygen Communications. There were five of us including Sarasa, Geeta, Sanjeevan, Ganga and myself. Rest of our friends didn't turn up, maybe, because of the rain!

We sat and chatted in Ganga's spacious drawing room (he has a row house with 3 floors and a wide open terrace, lucky to find such a place in busy Chembur). His dog (or bitch) Julie was eagerly pottering around eating crumbs that we offered. Earlier we had gone to Lambah Tandoori Chicken and ordered tandoori chicken, pomfret fries and sheekh kabab to be eaten with our choice of poison — Rum and coke.

I am a slow drinker but Ganga and Sanjivan are tankers. Sanjivan is a senior manager in Times of India and we used to sit on the same desk in school. He is a very cool, unruffled and collected guy, which means he is a good manager. As the evening wore on (as they say!) Ganga was full of anecdotes... I cracked some jokes... Sarasa had come with her son Krishna... who is doing college....

Ganga's wife Anita was slightly unwell because their only son Akash was away in Pune for the first time, all by himself. I said not to worry, it is the "empty nest syndrome" that is destined for all of us.

Then Ganga came up with Karunanidhi's quotable quote that goes "Sindri mundhikerathu; mundhiri sindhikerathu..." which is him complaining that when Sindri town is getting cement and fertiliser plants and progressing, in the south, that is Tamil Nadu, mundhiri (grapes) are rotting for want of care.... How concise, rhyming and lucid are his words in Tamil... I couldn't but help wonder.... After all Karunanidhi was not a script writer for nothing....

Had a lovely time... I had only two pegs... my ususal limit... we talked about advertising... journalism... how Ganga wanted to be a journalist, but wasn't selected and how he got a break in Trikaya and rose and rose and rose.... He is considered one of the 10 or 20 best creative directors in India... I am proud to know him closely as a friend.

Geeta and Saras split early and we split around 12 in the night and it was lovely catching up with friends of my childhood...

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

John Matthew's Ryze Business Networking Page

Did my first reading from my novel "A Beautiful Love Story" in a meet organized by the Bombay Writer's Cafe, led by author Sunil Nair, a friend. Only eleven people turned up though more had promised to come and all except me got cold feet when they saw the venue!

Seeing the venue must have been a shock to most of us. Called the "Mountainside Amphitheatre" it was an amphitheatre all right but an amphitheatre of a different sort. There weren't any plays being peformed there but a lot of foreplay was being done with couples huddled in all sorts of "compromising" positions.

So we daren't go there and disturb them for fear of being attacked by violent lovers in what could be called "crime of passion." So off we (Sunil, Hema, Vijay, Ratna, Annie, Fiza, joined later by Peter, Meera and Ankur) went slinking to an alcove by the sea, beside a pulullating coconut tree, to listen to my literary oeuvre.

I bravely stood before my audience and read a chapter from my novel... all the time ignoring the onlookers who might have thought of us as some bunch of nuts who sit and listen to another nut, considering we were sitting just beside a coconut tree.

Ratna felt I write too much and should rewrite the whole stuff... Meera objected to "tea water" that appeared somewhere in the chapter... Annie's escort felt I should be more positive about my protagonist... Sunil said the days of "exoticism" was over... Hema wanted to know what exactly I meant by "hypocrazy"... Vijay... Vijay said something which didn't register....

After the reading we had tea and a concerned citizen came and strictly forbade Peter from smoking... poor chap sheepishly put back his cigarettes. Our "tea vendor" kept his kettle nearby and the concerned citizen took it with the tea, and to our astonishment and hilarity, walked away.

The place was swarming with lovers of all types and shapes... a treat for the eye... one of the girls was on my bus to the venue... I had wondered briefly where such specimens go... and discovered... perhaps serendipitously where they go on a sunday afternoon... to lover's point at Bandra near Taj Land's End! Ahem!

Annie volunteered... so sweetly... to organize our next meet on August eighth. We all had lots of suggestions and comments to offer about how our next meeting should be. Which is nice... considering a beginning was made... though we had to sit beside the sea... and the rain threatened to drench us any moment... and there wasn't a freaking shelter within a hundred metres....

In the ultimate analysis, as the cliche goes... it was a great experience!

Friday, July 16, 2004

John Matthew's Ryze Business Networking Page

Sometimes we do incredibly stupid things. Something like that happened to me. I had to get some of my dad's shares transferred in my name. I went to the central stamp office at Town Hall. Imagine the crowd there... there wasn't an inch of space unoccupied by the creations of god and man... the place was bustling... the building was old and unmaintained... and everybody was sweating by the bucketfull.

There is this clerk who will only frank 100 rupees worth of stamps... funny... I asked why not a fraction... like 65 rupees for that was what I wanted... he said no... some funny government rule that says you can only frank there in multiples of 100 rupess... I was so mad I yelled at him and took his name... to complain about him to the Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC)... but then what is the use.... There was this othere queue for fraction of stamps that I wanted and I stood in the long and winding queue... "Long and winding road"... anyone heard that song? It was just like that....

Then this guy... a seedy kind... with enough tics on his face to cover his entire face... says... psstt... I have got stamps... I will give at same price... no problem... trust me... have no worries... the same things con guys always say... and I believed and trusted him....

He took me to a seedy restaurant bought me a cup of tea... the restaurant owner had an expression like he had seen better days... and was now in the evening of his uneventful life... I watched the seedy character before me as he stuck the stamps on my share transfer forms... and I paid him... trusting the guy with the tics all over his face... and there was this waiter who had a face like... like... a stove had exploded in his face or something... and in such macabre setting... I had this shady guy stick stamps on my precious share transfer forms... paid him the money... and came out....

On the way home... I just opened the transfer forms... just to see what it looked like in the light of day... as it was very dark in the restaurant... and I saw... immediately... shockingly... that the stamps were as fake and seedy as the vendor himself... it was the job of some out of work printing press... with sub-standard equiment... the sort of fakes... that circulates easily in India....

The lesson... don't take decisions when you are not in the proper frame of mind... I was mad at the stamp vendor and in a haste... made a decision to trust this shady character... and paid for it....

Also makes me wonder... how much of the things we buy are genuine... Abdul Karim Telgi could manipulate enough to buy a government press... print stamp papers... stamp papers... imagine... the very paper on which legal documents are executed in this country... and could sell it without being caught... then what about share transfer stamps... I have decided not to use the share stamps... and go through the process all over again....

Monday, July 12, 2004

LiveJournal.com

There is this news item on rediff.com that caught my eye.

"Delhi kids set world record in dancing continuously for 55 hours."

Great achievement, indeed.

But for what? You can set a record of anything... walking... smiling... kissing... dancing... intercourse... but what's the point?

There was this program on AXN that showed decent people eating worms for a few dollars! That too crinkling their nose and almost vomiting. Again what is the point they want to make?

All this is happening when the world is being heated up like never before in ambient carbon dioxide and el ninos are lashing and destroying lives.

I guess people would do anything for a little publicity... eating worms included... they think they will be celebrities... famous... the works!

But who the hell cares for someone who did a shameful and ugly manipulation to get into the records?

I wonder... I wonder....

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

John Matthew's Ryze Business Networking Page

The budget blues... don't know why people are scared of the budget... because they will be paying more for all things they buy... but that is inevitable... and what is inevitable should be accepted....

The market showed a brief upturn for the good... it has been down for some time now... the rains are here... so it's back to umbrellas and an old jacket I bought when I was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

My short story "E-slaves" got a good reception from readers of Sulekha.com. I was ranked tenth in their "Hall of Fame"... guess I have to celebrate that... maybe when I get some money....

What is this thing about governments levying 2 per cent cess on all items for education... sounds like madness to me... Education is the most corrupt sector in India and they want to pour money down the drain! Can't believe this is happening!

Parents have to pay through their nose to get their children an education... now they want to spoil things further....

Saw some weary... way out... wacko people on my afternoon walk in the tech park where I work... all of them had pasty complexions and funny hair... wonder what they would do for the future of our nation... by being such software "coolies."

Guess our management policies need some rethinking!