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Showing posts from December, 2009

3 Idiots over 3 D anyday

I slept through most of Avatar a few days back. I was sleep deprived. I had a heavy lunch before watching the film. But to be honest the story didn't engross me.

I watched 3 Idiots this afternoon. I slept late last night. Didn't have my post breakfast Sunday nap. The show coincided with my Sunday afternoon ghoomor siesta... sacrosanct to the Bong Bhodrolok.

I did not sleep in the movie.

Yes, it took off from where Tare Zameen Par left. And the second half was MunnaBhai3. K feels it had every cliche possible and that it is no Dead Poet's Society or even DevD.

But I liked it. It was not new yet refreshing. There were cliches but it also made fun of cliches (the art house treatment of the Rastogi family poverty for example). The film oozed melodrama specially post the samosa break. Yet you could feel that the script writer hadn't left the building.

The message of 'excel in what you are passionate about and success will follow' is something some of us talk about. But it…

Happy Holidays

Out of office replies of offices shut from the 24th of December to 4th, in some cases 12th Jan, have begun to come in from the West. A few months before we begin to get ten day long OOOs from the Far East for the Chinese New Year. And then seven days for Ramadan and 30 half days from the Middle East.Pity that we don't have the concept of vacations in Corporate India. In fact we are the first to criticise ourselves about the number of holidays that we have. Yet what do our OOOs read like? One day here and at the most a three day weekend there. Even the apocryphal shut down in Calcutta for Durga Puja is actually for three days which could include a weekend too. But then we have made self deprecation a fine art haven't we?It's sad that life has passed India by.And thank you Lord Clive for this three day weekend.Merry Christmas.

The importance of being 'Nyaka'

'Nyaka' is a Bengali term which beats translation. It could mean coy, coquettish, scheming, la di da. There is no one word which captures it. The term is used in a pejorative context and has a sarcastic tone to it. Used a bit more for women than for men. Has a feminine context when used for men.I posed the challenge of translating 'nyaka' into English to fellow Bengalis in Facebook. Here's a sample of the answers that I got.I have removed the names and kept the statuese as is, hope it's not too difficult to read

Bong man 1Coy.....but that does capture the essence
14 December at 14:37 ·

Me
No ...not entirely. A colleague just suggested precocious. Maybe its too intrinsic a Bong trait to be translated :)
14 December at 14:50 ·

Bong woman 1kol-lan, difficult to get a english / hindi word for nyaka.
14 December at 15:11 ·

me
that's the point
14 December at 15:15 ·

Bong woman 2
oh, i think the essence of the word 'nyaka' will be lost in translation. just like gettin…

The creative race

I was quite intrigued to find that there was only one Bengali at the fag end of the list of the top 20 influential people in advertising. This was in the Brand Equity Ad Agency Reckoner 2009. There was no Bengali in the list of top ten folks in creative in the same report.The reason for this slightly parochial post of mine is the disconnect between the rankings in advertising and the Bengali image, or self image, of being a creative race. While definitions of creativity abound, there is no denying the fact that advertising is one of the most prominent, with it and organised creative professions around. Old timers or industry watchers bear me out on this but weren't there more Bongs influencing Indian advertising earlier?Assuming that Bongs wielded more influence earlier I wonder what led to the current Bong famine in the peaks of advertising. Could it be the ascent of the Hindi language in Indian advertising? Or the migration of clients from Calcutta at a pace which was faster tha…

'Meat in the room'

A friend of mine gave me a DVD of In The Loop to watch recently.

It's a modern British political satire. The twenty first century inheritor of the legacy of the Yes Prime Minister and the Yes Minster series. It is cutting and irreverent as only the British can be. I guess there is something for being a race that swears by the stiff upper lip. My friend said that the film has been described as 'the Sistine Chapel of profanity'.

The film is set in the context of British and American polity and the build up to an Iraq like invasion.

I found an interesting concept there, that of 'meat in the room'. Apparently the Americans don't feel that a meeting is a meeting unless there are at least twenty people in the room. So Simon Foster, bumbling British minister, is asked to attend a joint US UK meeting. He is there to make up the number. Or as the British apparently say, to be 'meat in the room'. He is given strict instructions to remain mum and to not draw attenti…

Carry on doctors

Being an orthopaedic surgeon's son I have grown up playing with X Rays, little hammers to tap people on their knees, injections, stethoscopes and seeing my dad make plaster casts out of white water (POP). I learn lessons from my mother about not breaking the time sequence for medicines, not stopping antibiotics mid way, not taking medicines without doctor's prescriptions, getting tetanus when you get cut, dissolving Dispirin in water and eating something before taking a pain killer. These are the standard 'facts of life' lessons which most Bengalis get.Imagine my plight when I come across the Wild West of Mumbai medicine. My first encounter with a Mumbai doc was when I had fever and my P G aunty recommended that I go to the doctor she went to. This fine disciple of Hippocrates examined me and then gave me a set of coloured pills. Pink and blue at night. Yellow in the afternoon. This was the equivalent of going to the village Shaman to a person who is used to talking to…

Mera Karan Arjun Aayega

Once upon a time there was a company called Bajaj. It used to make something called scooters. The entire Hum Log segment of India used to dream of getting one and would pray for years to be allotted one. There was another company called H M. It used to make a car called the Ambassador. The Polo Playing set of India would queue up for decades to get one of these.

Meru and Mega A C cabs were a boon to those frazzled by the stinking, dusty smelly black and yellow cabs of Mumbai. Folks who were willing to pay a bit more for a better ride. Good cabs which you only got to experience as a tourist in the Far East. Without the ridiculous fees charged by the scamsters who run Blue Cool Cabs.

Tons of folks jumped into these cabs and soon the demand exceeded the supply. That's when the problems started. Call centres which wouldn't give bookings for short distances. Huge waits to get through to the call centres. Cabs which never turned up despite committed times and driver numbers. Drivers c…