Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
I did not know that Anjathey was on a sleeper-hit path to critically acclaimed movie status. To me it is consistently very good without ever being great. It has its good moments but it has just too many moments. There are so many things thrown into the movie, all of which are good, that in effect one thing prevents the other from blossoming into greatness. I suspect the director has thrown almost every idea he ever had into this 3 hour marathon that he may not have any new ideas left for his next movie. Take the first opening frame for instance. It shows us the sky as if the camera has been placed on the ground and facing the sky. Its a grass/earthworm-looking-up-point-of-view shot. You see someone working out on a cross bar and another one asking him to move out of the way. The thing is this stands out. You do notice this. Very innovative and you wonder 'wow' - I may have never seen such an angle before (I think Agni Nakshathram had a similar frame). But you never see such stand out angles again in the movie. The rest of the movie is so different from this first shot that you wonder if the same technical people were involved.
There are three arcs to this movie. The first one is about two friends. One who performing well in life, hard working and is positioned to actually have a career. While the other is a bum who seems to be squandering his life so much that his father asks him to drink the urine of the other guy in order to mend his ways. The second arc is that of two friends. One who rejects an offer to be part of a dark underworld of kidnappers and rapists. While the other accepts the offer and moves into that world out of sheer career frustration. The final arc is about a man who learns the inner-working of the life of a police man. A realistic portrayal of how bad people really work and how the police can/cannot help people who are impacted by the kidnappers and rapists.
The three arcs are good enough to be a movie in its own right. The director has melded them into a single 3 hour story and done a fantastic job in bringing about reasonable cohesion to the narration. The sudden twist in the first arc, where the career fortunes of the bum and the hard worker take a massive turn, was very innovative. We are shown most of the story from the perspective of the bum. And this is interesting because we are forced to change our orientation towards 'who is the hero'. We are forced to piggy back on a hero who is not a 'hero' in a conventional sort of way. There are negatives to this movie too. The climax was long-drawn, unnecessary and was very manipulative with the involvement of "kuruvi" and a host of other stuff. I suppose it has been added to 'mass effect' and I think that is a sensible thing. And as mentioned before there is just too much stuff going on. More than necessary.
Naren, for 90% of the time, shows this i-am-shocked-out-of-my-wits look. Every frame has him giving a shocked and dazed semi-drunken look. It suits the story well because almost all the time he has to play a character who is out-of-depth with the situation. But given the 3 hour length and the sheer amount of time Naren has to look shocked it gets monotonous. Then there is this villain, curiously played by Prasanna, the Police Inspector, Mottai Boss, Kuruvi, Love-interest, Pandiarajan, hostages, parents of hostages. Its like Naren and thousand other characters. I liked Pandiarajan's role because for a while I did not even recognize that it was him. My god! have times changed for James Pandian? I thought Prasanna was unconvincing as the long-haired villain, his acting and his context came out as contrived. The head-scratching mannerism of that inspector was annoying. All in all the biggest downer was this "experimentation" with too many things and giving extra ordinary detail to every character you see on screen. Unfortunately that is also the movie biggest plus point. This movie is a good watch.
From a movie that deliberately does not fit into any one genre to a movie that really does not know what genre it wants to be. This is a very different revenge movie with a narrative that is unconventional. It looks poor and cheap though. Like they didn't have enough money to make the real movie so made a For-TV kind of movie. This movie also so despo'ly wants to be a comedy movie. Ends up clearly being a poor man's Michael Madana Kama Rajan. Parts of this movie has really sour MMKR elements. Saadhu Mirandaal is revenge story mixed with mistaken identity, chaos and comedy. Prasanna is impressive in this movie and gives out this 'i am paavam' thing throughout. The long-and-short: There are five aspects to this movie, two bank robbers, a minister whose money-in-bank is robbed, the bank manager who gets robbed, a hostage who is executed and some completely unrelated characters. The movie mixes and mashes all these elements to keep us entertained for 2 hours. Some parts of it are really funny but overall the movie is pretty mediocre.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Searching for a job in Business School can be considered painful (or as they say "challenging") because the point-of-no-return hits you very fast. The lead-up time to internship campus interviews is very small. School starts in September first week and the first Internship Campus interview happens in Jan 2nd week. That's like 3 full months of school to (a) "decide" a career path (b) prepare to get jobs in that path (c) network with recruiters (d) do courses and (e) get yourself on the interview list. Internship Campus interviews start in January and continue up to March, After which you can search off-campus on your own until either May or Intern offer (whichever comes first). This is just first year of MBA that I am talking about. 2nd year is equally if not more painful. Full-time interviews happen immediately after 2nd year MBA semester/quarter starts. School re-opens for 2nd year on 1st week of September and full-time interviews start in last week of September/first week of October. This goes on until November end. If you don't get a campus interview offer by Thanks Giving (Nov 20s) then you are left to search for a job on your own off-campus.
Recruiters begin to visit campus and check out students very fast during the first year of the MBA course. They are evaluating you when are really new to school and still haven't lost your 'blue eyed' face. More specifically for Investment Banking (IB) internship jobs, they are in campus by September. This is barely a few weeks after school starts. Most students are still grappling with courses, housing, accommodation, culture-shock etc. The tribal knowledge is that IB recruiters want students who "hit the ground running" and who are very decided on what they want from B School. Such students know they want to be in IB, get quickly oriented to new environments, don't have start-up problems, and are well prepared to meet and talk to recruiters. Management Consulting (MC) recruiters are typically second batch of recruiters to arrive on campus. They start trickling in October (which is when your first quarter final exams are in progress) and keep visiting until first week of December. Tech Companies, Consumer marketing companies, corporate finance folks typically make one appearance in the month of November. Most ennrolled MBA students throw their hat in the ring for either an IB or MC job. If a school has around 530 people then around 420 will be either competing for an IB or an MC job. In most business schools there will be either IB type students or MC type students. Candidates rarely throw their hat in the ring for both IB and MC. This is considered a risky thing to do because each stream, on its own, is enormously time consuming. And most Rambo-types who try both end up falling nowhere.
Students who are pursuing either IB or MC have a back up plan. They are stupid if they don't have one. In the top 10 schools the contenders::job-offers ratio is really competitive and pretty much the same across schools (Last I analysed this Kellogg was an exception). In Michigan, where student population is around 450 - more than 200 students compete for around 40 MC jobs. From anecdotal evidence - in Wharton, where student population is around 900+ - close to 550 students compete for around 100 MC jobs. So a back up plan is usually a key thing. While the first plan is typically (not always) IB or MC - The back up plan is usually a Marketing Job in Tech world, corporate finance job in Tech world, finance job in the banking world, marketing job in non-tech Consumer products world, and finance job in non-tech Consumer products world. If a school has 500 students around 450 - 475 would broadly land in (a) IB, (b) MC, (c) Tech Finance/Marketing (d) Consumer Finance/Marketing and (e) Banking corp finance/marketing. Options (c), (d) and (e) can sometimes come masked as a General Management job (where candidate rotates across various areas). The other 25-50 would be in Sales & Trading (S & T), Wealth Management, Investment Management etc. Very few to negligible people ever enter Private Equity/Venture Capital world immediately after MBA.
In the following posts of the same series, I'd probably describe in detail the individual career path (probably do a post per career path) and the campus interview challenges in that career path.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
"Sachin met me and suggested I know you don’t interfere with the team selection but you please tell the selectors not to include players of my generation in the Twenty20 squad. Give an opportunity to the youngsters.’ Now who would come and say ‘don’t induct us’, when that means losing a few lakh rupees?"
1. I don't interefere with selections. So I am good
2. I am good liar because I said, in the third para, "I told him I would not interfere but would definitely convey it to the selectors" and had the horse sense to cover my ass consistently by later quoting Tendulkar as saying "I know you don't interfere.."
3. Although I never interefere with team selections, every issue I did not interefere with was consistently implemented by selectors. Wow! What a coincidence?
4. Although we play a sport, we also double up as a sacrificing-for-each-other family like you see in the mega serials.
Friday, March 21, 2008
I have written one (or two) in my blog. I now feel very ashamed about it. Every open letter I read makes me cringe. Open Letters are usually defined as letters read by everyone else except the intended recipient. Mainly because the writer does not have the 'vakku'/ is not important enough to attract the attention of the intended recipient.
I think Rediff started it and Internet based writers use it a lot. The main reason people write it is because they want to say something to someone important. Since the important person is never going to read it, the writer wants at least someone/anyone to read it.
Futility. Desperation. Sigh.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
So, in about a month a big batch of 2008 BE graduates from thousands of private colleges in India will get done with college and happily look forward to work life. These are the set of people who have "Job Offers Before Graduation". A cool thing to have. Given the IT boom and all the associated jazz, this is not a headline-news material. But these kids don't know a teeny weeny bit of fact. The fact that the offer letter they have from the said IT services companies is not really an offer letter. It does say that they have been offered a job and it does mention a salary. But it does not mention a start date. What it does mention - and in very fine print - is a set of words that in one way or the other mean "job offer is contingent upon candidate successfully meeting pre-job training requirements".
What does that mean? It means that the flimsy little offer letter that these folks have does not guarantee them a job but just another round of interview with the said company. The offer letter also does not have a definitive start date. So you could be waiting at home, twiddling your thumbs, for an email from the company. Chances are you will get that email a year from now - like Feb 2009. Once you get called, you will be shipped to an arbitrary place. People in Madras could go to Gurgaon, Trivandrum, Mysore, Bhubhaneswar and Hyderabad. No problem. "Need Job Will Travel" is a time honored philosophy. Once you get shipped - You are put in a lodge type place and enrolled in a "technical training program". At the end of the 2 month technical training program, you are given a test/interview. Flunk it - and you have to pack your bags and leave the lodge in 5 days. It is 1 year after graduation, you don't have a job, no work experience certificate and
That is okay. Jobs in 80s came wrapped in a similar plastic cover. No need to develop a sense of entitlement here. However there is one thing that bugs me. When you are student, once you get that flimsy job offer letter, you can't interview in campus anymore. Why? Because you "have a job". And the draconian campus interview law stipulated by your college takes you off the system once you "have a job". But do you have a job? Depends. If all the companies who visited your campus did the same thing then you have no choice. But what if some of the companies gave you a real job offer? One with no technical-training-test-strings attached. Can you distinguish those companies from the ones that give "job offer letters"? What if the real-job companies came to campus after you got your fake job offer letter.
I am fascinated by the HR innovation that allows these IT services companies to lock a candidate without closing down the option of not hiring the candidate. If the market is down, start dates get postponed. If they don't need you, then the post-training interview bar becomes "high". Once you really hire them, you can always have a tie up with a bank, make the new-employee-candidate take a 2-4 lac loan from that bank, absorb the loan money and pay it back to the candidate over a period of 2 years. It is not a bond because bonds are illegal. But if the candidate leaves the company before he puts in two years of service, he owes the bank some money.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
Desi students in America on F-1 visa who talk incessantly about US politics.
This category is 10 levels worse than jobless tea kadai vettis talking about Indian politics. You know the people who'd attend every panchayath meeting just for the gossip. 50,000 levels worse than people who idolize cinema stars. Because the other categories know that they are vetti. These US politics analyzing F-1 desis ( I am willing to excuse all other categories) think they are doing some super intellectual stuff. They constantly are on my face advising me that I will get 'Jenma Sabulyam' by knowing US Politics. If Gaundamani met these folks he would have said "vote illatha naaye. Unakke ivalavu pecha. Mudittu poda". Its like a Rajinikanth fan telling me that its my national duty to watch first-day-first-show. For people who are trying to impress a fellow desi, a fellow desi with no US vote, the importance of US politics - Just Shut up. You don't have a vote, I don't have one, what you are saying is not funny or entertaining. Its certainly not useful to me. Politics is boring. So - Just Shut up.
Let me level-set my knowledge here. I don't know what 'left' and 'right is in politics. Someone spoke to me for 30 minutes trashing the 'right' 'wingers'. He had gone on with such gusto and such seriousness that I felt sad, when I interrupted and asked him if he was a 'left-handed batsman'. His voice faltered and he got a little unsure and said he meant the political-left. I asked him "what the hell is that?" and he didn't know. He said CPI(M) and something about Russia, world map but he didn't know. I didn't know. So what were we talking about? I told him "Look! I buy 'The Hindu' for the Sports Page and to know which cinema was running where. I have never read the first page". That was it. As soon as I said that - I was regarded as a person with no depth. What depth? Why are these 'paaltics' makkal so obsessed with converting others into political analysts? Reminds me of boring kazha-bolt old people who would never switch off news and let me watch something fun.
Very many years ago, I was finishing up on grad school, was doing the thesis thing, was sick of student life and was generally looking forward to joining the work force. There were bums in my batch who talked about things like 'American Vs Indian culture' and 'why dating is bad'. They started talking about it in the International Student Orientation as soon as they landed. They didn't stop even when their house in the desi ghetto was quarantined by a health inspector. They would constantly have these strong opinions and on what everybody from Rashtrapathi Bhavan to Saravana Bhavan should be doing. They'd give advise to US President, NSA and all those people on what should America do about this issue, what should India do about that issue. They'd actually give advise to someone who is trying to become the president of a country.
One such student was my favorite. He was an idiot much like our Sabnis fellow but slightly more coherent. He would accost hapless white folks (some were just white not even US Citizens) and ask them "why did the US do this policy?" and bore them to death with politics. He would assume a single US guy represented the entire country of America, the country's politicians, its policies and argue with that fellow on all the dimensions. He would also assume he represented India as a whole, whenever he got into arguments with the white man, and use the "we" word 50,000 times ("etho India'la ellarum ivane kettu senja mathiri") - like "we implemented this policy strategically" or "we thought long and hard about SEZ". Apparently 'we' refers to India and he is talking on behalf of the country. Who would have guessed that? I initially thought he joined with his worn-out non-stick tava, his porn-filled second hand PC, and Jasmine rice bag to form his own country. But No. He was referring to a larger country with actual people and stuff. The truth is nobody except his aaya and school principal knows him in India. The lab mates would run away from him and for next 10 days they'd be watching out for him and avoiding him. They'd phone me and ask if he was around before coming to the lab.
P.S: Dear disgruntled Sabnis blog readers. Food for thought. He has called people not interested in Primaries as "jackasses". I suspect 99% of you folks who read him aren't interested in the said Primaries. Are you jackasses? :-).
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Looks funny now - these videos. Although, I think Chappell failed and made a good case for getting fired based on sub-standard results and cricketing facts - I never subscribed to the average desi's hatred for Greg. As these documentaries will show you - the worst thing about Greg's term was nobody was talking about the game anymore. It seemed like we were ushered into the age of cricket soap/mega serial age. Things deviated so much away from the topic of cricket during Greg's term that we had to see a comical mega-serial like "voluntary resignation" that was as voluntary as the "voluntary resignation" of Kapil Dev as coach. Both were extremely funny. Somehow when people "angrily" express "feelings" about "Chappell's sacking of Ganguly" - I am amused and reminded of Sathyaraj kicking out Manivannan in the movie Amaithipadai. Masala movie material. Not cricket.
If you condense the 6 parts and ignore the ambient noise - and there is a lot of needless noise about controversies, hype about "cricket religion, cricketers gods" and all that nonsense - there may be a few interesting observations one can make. However, the sour taste in the mouth that a documentary on a coach can be so devoid of actual 'coaching' stuff is irritating.
Exit Greg. Enter Gary.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
These 'minority few' ladies were trained to focus only on details that their limited brain functions could pass an opinion on - details that they could actually pretend to understand. Improving the business and the 'real' drivers behind their job and the success factors that paid for their lemon rice and eggs - were, quite simply, beyond their grasp. They didn't even pretend that they understood stuff that went behind the inner workings of their daily jobs. It was assumed that those were things they didn't have to understand. Of course they unfailingly called other women, who were interested in such details, as 'bitches' or 'women of loose character'. It was their nature to negatively brand their tribeswomen who deviated from "normal" behavior. Such ladies blotted the reputation of women in general. Slowly, men began to associate 'gossip' with women. The managers of such ladies and other ladies in the office who were keen to learn the work and move up the ladder looked upon the 'gossipers' as a necessary evil. Almost with a sort of a sympathy that you reserve for the last rank fellow in class - "I wish he would improve but then I need a few people to get poor marks so that I can look better". These women permanently blotted the records of other women who were, you know, actually intelligent. The time has come to stop this. Is there a correlation between women & gossip? No, I say. The truth is that - there is correlation between stupidity and gossip. If you create an environment where women don't exist or have negligible presence - does this mean that the 'gossipers' and 'dim witted' folks will cease to exist. No. They will still remain.
Those ladies will simply be called - men who write about cricket.
The recent trip by the Indian team to Australia, if not anything else, has shown one thing for certain that the Australian and Indian media/spectators are intent on pursuing the 'T.Nagar ladies club' tradition of focusing on the 'gossip'. The Age, Sydney Morning Herald - The Oz Media contingent; Rediff, Hindustan times - the entire Indian Media contingent, Bloggers et all have become the 'ladies' who spend hours together discussing things that have no relevance to cricket. "Hayden called Harbhajan a weed" (can be replaced with "enna kozhuppu paaren pa avanukku. ippadi sollitaan") says one while stuffing 2 kgs on Lemon Rice in their face. On the other side "these rich people BCCI, have no respect for the game" ("enna pana thimiru paaren pa avaanukku. mariyadhaiye illai") says the Aussie while making mashed potatoes.
The cricket players , who strategize, train hard, discipline themselves and do things that form part of cricket skills pause and look at these 'ladies' and wonder "Do they even know what cricket is?". Probably they look at these gossipers with sympathy reserved for retarded folks and they think "thank god! these folks are so retarded. I get to play for India and earn a million dollars". Rahul Dravid in a recent interview made this uncharitable comment to Atherton about the Indian Media and cricket watching public:
"The media in India have been changing rapidly. I actually enjoy reading the papers over here because I’ll get criticised for how I actually captain the team, the bowling changes I make and the field placings I set, rather than, for example, how many times I clap my hands and something equally irrelevant.”
This is exactly what I am talking about. My point is - it is just not a few sections of the media - it is almost everybody. The average cricket watcher's brain is, by evidence of the articles and blog posts, fairly limited. He does not focus on things that are really 'cricket'. All that is irrelevant to our gossiper. That's because this gossiper does not understand cricket. His limited brain function can talk at length about BCCI's money power, Tendulkar's "choking" ("he is selfish player") and how Bhajji "proved everybody wrong"? This is the processing capacity of the average cricket viewer. Australia is no different. Dumb people is not India's birth right. 95% of media coverage in The Age has not been about cricket. It has been writing stuff that should appear in "Personal Column" section of Femina and Women's Era Magazines. High School girls wouldn't be this gossipy and irrelevant. Couldn't be even if they wanted to be. Quotes such as 'He called him this' - 'oh! but you called me that' is the mature discussion of cricket that the bloggers and Media are indulging in. Whats next for these people? - a pillow fight and tickle competition.
Look at this idiot for instance. His first para blabbers over some cliches. That's the only "cricketing thing" he talks about. The other paras talk about profound things like 'who showed the finger' - 'what hayden said' - 'does ponting look like bush' - and he includes a high school like "Nanananananana...hahahahahahaha... we won the CB series, and you guys didn't." This lady does not surprise me. Someone who uses the word 'menopausal' more times than a generation of gynecologists put together (and probably celebrates her menopause anniversary with cakes and candles) is expected to say this. Not everybody understands the game and can talk about its nuances. However, I am more concerned with the rather "high quality" media folks and bloggers who are focusing on high school gossip instead of writing about cricket. At a minimum we should at least stop calling women 'gossipers' and stop stereotyping them because the new brand of cricket writing, I can safely say, is far worse. Has the collective cricketing intelligence of 2 of the biggest cricket crazy nations gone down the drain? Is the youtube generation limited to talking about cricket in terms on things they understand - gossip and silly pillow fights? India won a tournament down under after 1985 and actually won a test match in Perth. Shouldn't there be more cricketing logic to that than just 'getting back at Ponting'? Is this what makes people enjoy cricket nowadays? You tell me.
About 10-15 years ago there was a series of articles on the air dynamics that cause 'reverse swing' in 'Saturday Sports Special'. I am pretty sure if that is published again no one will read it.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
A naive business school student, who had no job and no prospect in sight, was interviewing with that firm and had cracked 2 out of the 3 interviews in the final round of on-site interviews. His last deciding interview was with, who else, a partner who gave him a 'how to expand cricket' market-entry type case. 'Ah the stars are in my favor' he thought, his eyes lit up, he used all his county cricket -> Ranji trophy -> Habib Bank knowledge and made several recommendations that might have actually worked. The student ignored all hints that were given to direct the case in favor of Twenty20 and was more intent on showing off his cricket knowledge than getting a job. After all $140,000 in debt and joblessness was better than an unknown person thinking you didn't know cricket. While ICL and IPL is now doing its best to shrink cricket into one country, a year ago the student got a phone call where the caller used the word 'unfortunately' at the beginning of a sentence and a 'your resume is in our database' letter.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
I see you lurking there on the periphery of my vision.
But when I try to look at you, you scurry away.
Are you shy, squiggly line?
Why only when I ignore you, do you return to the center of my eye?
Oh, squiggly line,
it's alright, you are forgiven.
Mavane! This video of Symmonds reminds me of what I felt about India immediately after the test series. If you cannot show 'veeram' in areas you should and you try to fill the void by showing it in every irrelevant place you can - you've lost it. Focus on your cricket. Loser.