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Archive for December, 2016

If Wodehouse would have been around in our turbulent and protectionist times, his next whodunit would have surely contained some juicy references to the political environment of the day. Perhaps he would have made Bertie Wooster comment upon Brexit and the US politics in his unique humour-laden manner!

Relish this post on the author’s political comments in ‘Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen’ and elsewhere.

Plumtopia

A response to the critic Emsworth

Emsworth, that worthy critic with an equally worthy name, suggests “P.G. Wodehouse had hung on too long when he wrote The Cat-NappersThe Cat-Nappers being an alias for the work known to British readers as Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen. Emsworth provides some good evidence that this 1974 work of a nonagenarian is not Wodehouse at his finest.  For those unacquainted with Emsworth’s excellent piece, I suggest reading it for yourself.  When my considered response (however unqualified I am to make it)  ran to half a page, I decided to post it here instead.

Wodehouse was a careful and proficient editor in the habit of  re-working his stories thoroughly until he was satisfied with them. I wonder whether this book received a less scrupulous reworking than Wodehouse was accustomed to. Perhaps Wodehouse felt he was running out of time…

Emsworth’s comments on…

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(This is a dramatized version of the experiences of Prof. Sandeep Mann while he was at UBS. It is built around some facts furnished by him as to his movie marathon experience of those days. Inputs from him are gratefully acknowledged.

The narrative below is penned – or, key-board-ed, if you prefer – on his behalf. For bouquets, if any, please feel free to contact him. As to brickbats, you may risk hurling those at yours truly.)

Much before one of our learned professors started sharing with us, the batch of 1990, the nuances of Decision Making Under Uncertainty (DMUU, in short) and statistical models of exponential smoothening, we had figured out that two of the most high-risk businesses that beckoned us in the post-UBS phase of our lives were Politics and Movies, not necessarily in that order. Both need deep pockets, a very high risk appetite and, of course, the kind of obnoxious approach to human relations which many of us were not quite comfortable with.

Be that as it may, endeavours in both fields need as much support as they can get. The support may be in the form of either adulation or vitamin M.

Learning DMUU from movies

I confess my approach to learning Decision Making Under Uncertainty was by simply trooping in to movie halls and making my humble contribution to keep the hapless producers afloat. As the lights within the hall faded, I could readily identify myself with the kind of uncertainties the hero and the heroine faced in their lives, and how they managed to overcome the same.

poster of chandni

This is precisely the manner in which I focused my energies on supporting Bollywood in my own humble way. Bollywood’s financial stress was pulling at my heart-strings and I did my very best to cheer up our dream merchants in days which were so very obviously distressful for them.

Anyone in my place, exposed to an all-male batch listening to monotonous lectures inside class rooms, would have preferred the company of the likes of Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Kimi Katkar, et al.

khoj-hindi-film

From the 1st of July 1989 till the 30th of September 1989, in 92 days flat, I saw 104 movie shows. Quite a few were repeated several times.

The Just-In-Time approach

Here is the general schedule I used to follow:

11 AM: KC theatre

3 PM: Jagat theatre

6 PM: Neelam theatre

9 PM: Kiran theatre

The Just-In-Time approach always worked. The fact that three of the theatres mentioned were located within a walking distance of each other made the project feasible. The shoeshine boys outside these halls contributed their own bit by providing tickets as and when the same were not available through the official channels. As to meals, these comprised ‘samosas’, ‘bread pakodas’ and sandwiches dished out by the theatre canteens during intervals.

ram-lakhan

The Guinness Award which never came

There were several perks that I enjoyed in the process.

With all the brisk walking and jogging between theatres, a healthier glow suffused the physical frame. My interpersonal relationship skills got honed up, what with the extent of networking with ticket counter clerks I had to indulge in.

Each night, during sleep, dreams came of the motley gang of heroines seen on the screen, somewhat filling the void created by a singular absence of the delicately nurtured in our batch. Some dreams were about terrifying encounters with villains and their henchmen. During day times, I would imagine myself to be one of the dashing heroes, though I never dared to bash up any gang of broad-chested males I encountered on and off the campus.

honey_i_shrunk_the_kids

I am still baffled though as to how I was never contacted by any pretty lass from Guinness, offering me a kiss on a cheek and a nomination for holding the world record in watching so many movies back to back.

The magic of movies

The movies seen then remain a string of blurred imagery in the deep recesses of the little grey matter I can boast of.

when-harry-met-sally

Come September, and the priorities of life changed somewhat. The task of supporting Bollywood was left in the safer hands of the average person on the street, while the budding manager in me strived to catch up with my academic pursuits, so as to not cause a distress to my family.

No frivolous pursuit, this

Mind you, this was no frivolous pursuit. UBS indirectly enabled this with a deeper purpose. Several management lessons were learnt from the movies seen. The value of perseverance and hard work was understood. As the lights dimmed, one learnt the art of suspension of disbelief. Appreciation of arts led to an expansion of the consciousness. This led to some degree of spiritual upliftment.

eeshwar-film

The mind could get back to the all-male boredom of the classroom with some degree of freshness. The tyranny of the classroom became more bearable. The academic content could be absorbed better.

With me being literally off the campus for 92 days, peace prevailed. The delicately nurtured, giggling around at the Student Centre and hassled in general elsewhere, breathed easy.

tridev-film

Reorienting Management Education

People like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, R Balki and Rajkumar Hirani can teach us quite a lot about the techniques of managing uncertainty in our lives. Actors of the stature of our current MP from the City Beautiful, or her famous spouse, Anupam Kher, could also make us understand the nuances of managing careers rather well.

Lessons from literature, fine arts and movies have already become a part of the curricula at the premier institutes of management. I heartily approve. That is indeed the right way to make the young minds to get reconnected to their hearts and blossom even better. Absorbing the academic inputs with a dash of fine arts.

Mandarins who design courses for aspiring managers would do well to take note.

(Have a juicy anecdote to share with the alumni of UBS? Write to yours truly at akb_usha@rediffmail.com)

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/10/01/the-class-of-1976-how-it-managed-to-get-suspended-for-a-week)

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Here is a delectable list of some Christmas movies. Which are the ones you would see added here?!

The Phil Factor

Every holiday season I post this list and it evolves based on readers suggestions and new movies that come out. If you have favorites that didn’t make the list please add them in the comments section and maybe you’ll influence next years list.

love-actually-original-soundtrack-cover10. Love Actually:(2003) This is the best Christmas movie there is about stodgy British people trying to get it on, but it’s a favorite with the ladies, so it made the list. Around the holidays the ladies get what the ladies want.

Scrooged (2)

9. Scrooged: (1988) A modern re-telling of the Charles Dickens classic starring Bill Murray. I think that even Dickens would agree that this is way better than the original.

die_hard_christmas_movie8. Die Hard:Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie. If the phrase Yippee Ki Yay M-F-er doesn’t make you think about Christmas, then I’m not sure we can be friends. And if Bruce Willis…

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When the script offers a chance, talented actors do not shy away from portraying different characters in the same movie.

Here is an interesting article on those who have portrayed triple roles in some Bollywood movies.

My Views On Bollywood

By

Sharada Iyer

To play a triple role in any film is a rare phenomenon for an actor and not every actor gets this unusual opportunity during his/her career. For the actors it is a wonderful challenge to test their acting prowess and make the characters stand out as three different personalities. For the audience it is fun watching their favourite actor/actress in different get-ups playing different characters.

Understandably the story for triple roles does not offer as much variation as that of double roles and most of the time the script revolves around a revenge saga with the actor getting to play the father as well as his twin sons. Sometimes the actor plays identical triplets and sometimes the story may have three identical but unconnected look-alikes and in these cases it may lead to confusion galore or ‘comedy of errors’.

While the industry has been kinder to male…

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Bound to your bookseller, leap to your library,
Deluge your dealer with bakshish and bribary,
Lean on the counter and never say when,
Wodehouse and Wooster are with us again.

Flourish the fish-slice, your buttons unloosing,
Prepare for the fabulous browsing and sluicing,
And quote, til you’re known as the neighborhood nuisance,
The gems that illumine the browsance and sluicance.

Oh, fondle each gem, and after you quote it,
Kindly inform me just who wrote it.

Which came first, the egg or the rooster?
P.G.Wodehouse or Bertram Wooster?
I know hawk from handsaw, and Finn from Fiji,
But I can’t disentangle Bertram from PG.

I inquire in the school room, I ask in the road house,
Did Wodehouse write Wooster, or Wooster Wodehouse?
Bertram Wodehouse and PG Wooster,
They are linked in my mind like Simon and Schuster.

No matter which fumbled in ’41,
Or which the woebegone figure of fun.
I deduce how the faux pas came about,
It was clearly Jeeves’s afternoon out.

Now Jeeves is back, and my cheeks are crumply
From watching him glide through Steeple Bumpleigh.

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Did you hear that Roberta Wickham and Stiffy Byng happen to be the First Fellows of the Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies?!

If you happen to be a marketing wizard on the look out for an exciting career opportunity, read this post very carefully. You could otherwise be losing a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to improve the world around us!

ashokbhatia

'The Thinker' : Rodin ‘The Thinker’ : Rodin

The Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies desires to hire the services of a Director Marketing who would assume the responsibility of aggressively marketing its unique range of technologies and products.

The Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies is an ISO-certified international academy of goofy schemes which are designed to resolve ticklish issues afflicting our society. It does so by promoting and propagating non-violent techniques of registering protests and wreaking vengeance upon those who profess views which are at odds with those of theirs. The Academy brings together the world’s leading scientists, engineers and technologists to advance and promote excellence in innovative methods designed to secure socially desirable results.

The First Fellows of the Academy include such illustrious figures as Roberta Wickham and Stephanie Byng. Researchers and innovators of all hues continue to be inspired by their inimitable schemes to pursue the lofty goals of the Academy.

Some…

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The Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies is hereby pleased to announce the results of its ambitious research project mooted four years back to come up with out-of-the-box ideas to treat the dreaded affliction of depression.

The results are based on an extensive study involving 5,100 adults of all age groups, conducted across as many as thirty countries of the world, spanning all the continents.

The study was spearheaded by Roberta Wickham and Stephanie Byng, First Fellows of the Academy, under the direct supervision of eminent loony doctor Sir Roderick Glossop, a Royal Fellow and also the Dean of Academics of the Academy.

Part of the findings have been vetted and endorsed by such celebrity spouses as Bingo Little.PGWodehouse

Some Plummy techniques to beat those blues

Denizens of Plumsville are already aware of the following techniques to drive depressive tendencies away:

  • Devouring the soothing works of P G Wodehouse. Curling up in bed with one, with a tissue restorative on the side, guarantees freedom from depressions of all sizes, shapes and hues.
  • Savouring the pick-me-ups dished out by Jeeves.
  • Gorging on delicious offerings of Anatole, God’s gift to the gastric juices.
  • Scrupulously avoiding the following: (a) Diet Charts dished out by Madeline Bassett, (b) Overdose of the juice of an orange.
  • Following the Ashe Marson Manual of Fitness, which recommends Larsen Exercises, brisk walks and cold baths.
  • Cultivating pals like Bertie Wooster who would go to any length to help one out of distress.
  • Learning the art of pinching helmets, umbrellas and silver cow creamers.
  • Visiting antique shops to register scorn at the silver cow creamers on display and declaring those to be of Modern Dutch origin.
  • Starting new enterprises under the mentorship of Joan Valentine and Sally.
  • Undertaking such delicate tasks as restoring scarabs to their real owners.
  • Enjoying the antics of such kids as Master Thos and Seabury, after having bought protection for one self.
  • Catching up on one’s beauty sleep in accordance with the Augustus Technique of Rest and Recuperation.
  • Taking a supercilious view of humanity in general, as per the Bartholomew Code of Conduct.

Shopping Therapy to beat those blues

One of the key findings of the study, applicable to all Homo sapiens, is that of the effectiveness of Shopping Therapy in beating those depressive blues.

Universal Appeal

Shopping Therapy involves active splurging of the funds at one’s command. It has been found to be an effective tool to beat the blues, irrespective of caste, creed, religion or nationality.

Even though the Shopping Bug hits the human civilization with heightened severity around festival days, the virus remains active throughout the year.

The latent desire to browse through and add more items to one’s shopping cart – whether physical or virtual – has a universal appeal.

In mild cases of depression, Window Shopping is found to be equally effective.

In some cases, a Plain Outing Therapy or an Attending Religious or Spiritual Congregation Therapy has also been found to be half as effective.shopping

Enhancing the Effectiveness

Shopping Therapy is likely to be twice as effective when the money being spent happens to belong to persons other than the shopper herself.

The effectiveness of Shopping Therapy is directly proportional to two factors: (a) The non-routine nature of the object being shopped, and (b) The novelty of the place where the act of shopping takes place.

Matrimonial Harmony

Shopping Therapy is highly recommended for depressed home makers who are facing blues owing to the sheer drudgery of routine work within the confines of the four walls of the place euphemistically called ‘Home, Sweet Home.’  When administered at frequent intervals, matrimonial harmony prevails. The dove of peace continues to flap its sonorous wings over the couple’s abode.

The risk of Induced Depression

Shopping Therapy is found to be more effective in the case of those belonging to the tribe of the delicately nurtured. When administered to the so-called sterner sex, its effect is found to be rather limited.

Should the members of the tribe of the sterner sex be exposed to Shopping Therapy, care has to be taken to ensure that they are not accompanied by those from the tribe of the delicately nurtured.

If so, the effects are often counter-productive, leading to higher levels of depression amongst the so-called sterner sex. This kind of induced depression is especially acute when the debit or credit card being swiped belongs to them or even when they are called upon to lug around a cart load of shopping bags.

Handling Induced Depression

Some techniques which are found to be effective in mitigating the effects of induced depression are as follows:

-Permitting them to catch up with a favourite sports show on the smart phone while sipping a cup of strong coffee,

-Granting them a temporary license to study consumer behaviour by gawking at well-dressed and well-proportioned specimen of the shopping public around.

-Buying something to suit the temperament of the party of the other part.

Tolerance of the primary shopper towards disinterested ‘Oh’s and distracted ‘Ah’s emanating from the secondary shopper when a new dress or a new set of jewellery is being tried by the party of the first part helps.

Shopping Therapy plus

Shopping Therapy, when combined with either Eating-Out Therapy, Multiplex-Popcorn Therapy, or Kid-free-time Therapy, or a combination thereof, has been found to be thrice as effective.

Motivating Employees

Organizations which offer lucrative ‘Expense Accounts’ to their key personnel as part of their compensation packages have been found to be having higher motivational levels. Their retention levels are better. Their attrition rates are lower.

The motivation levels are even higher in cases where the privileged employees are not required to furnish proof of purchase to their respective Accounts Departments. 

The perils of Shopping Therapy

 While administering Shopping Therapy, due care has to be taken to avoid some of its pitfalls.

  1. An overdose, leading to the family finances being left all of a twitter.
  2. Habit forming, especially for those who make impulsive decisions.
  3. Manifestation of kleptomaniac tendencies, such as those exhibited by the likes of Bernadette Clayborne, when out shopping.

Shopping for a detailed report?

The Academy is pleased to offer detailed report of its study on the subject, duly authenticated by its Director General, Rupert Psmith.

Those desirous of shopping for a copy of the same are hereby advised to visit the website www.ragt.com for further directions.

(Note:

The Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies is an ISO-certified international academy of goofy schemes which are designed to resolve ticklish issues afflicting our society. It does so by promoting and propagating non-violent techniques of registering protests and wreaking soft vengeance upon those who profess views which are at odds with those of theirs. The Academy brings together the world’s leading scientists, engineers and technologists to advance and promote excellence in innovative methods designed to secure socially desirable results.)

(Illustration courtesy the world wide web)

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