Friday, December 30, 2016

My New Year Resolutions

When in school, our teachers made us write our new year resolutions. Once done, they forgot about it, and so did we. As a result, I never fell into the trap of making & abiding by new year resolutions. Now that I have realized old age creeping up, I want to make a fresh beginning. Beginning with new year resolutions & here are mine for 2017:

Wake up early: I have always taken great pride in being a slow runner. But when even the mornings run out faster than I do, this becomes a concern. So, this is my #1 goal for the new year. And I will see to it that I do so at least 7 times in 2017. Okay, I will not count the days when I go to sleep as the sun rises; is that fine now?

Visit the ATM regularly: Ready that as twice a week. Because I always end up rushing from one ATM to the other when I am out of cash. It has taken me days to finally get into one with enough cash to last my turn. But not from next year onwards. On the appointed days, at the earmarked hour, I will be at the nearest ATM with a queue in front. Irrespective of the outcome (this turned out a pun!) for, has it not been said, Karmanye vadhikaraste Ma phaleshu kadachana

In praise of Modi: Okay, he is the PM, the authority, the establishment. And a neta too. And, netas can’t be painted black & black. There should surely be some shade of grey & next year, I will look for one in all the netas (Modi was mentioned simply to catch your attention) in the coming year. Wish me luck, guys, for I am no Bhakt (of whatever kind).

Read, Read, Read: That is, more of printed word & less of forwarded messages on WhatsApp. And this does not also include the nanoliterature, aka tweets, whatever be its literary merit. Nor the wisdom of Encyclopedia Philosophica, popular called Facebook (you all know what stuff facebook saints fwd on WhatsApp). But it can very well be comic strips or menu card, for I need to complete at least one task.

Pick up a hobby: All work & no play makes Jack a dully boy. So, my types, who do very little of work need to pick some activity as the excuse for whiling away our time. Something like exploring the retail environment, or sending online behavioral data to data miners, analysts & e-marketers, or even redistributing unauthenticated bits of spiced up news.

You may call the last one as loitering about in the malls, being wedded to the mobile or gossiping. But isn’t it a beginning? You can always suggest something better when the next year ends. You have the whole year to think about it. But this year, I am going to wake up feeling better & resolute. And not only because bootlegging has gone further underground in Baroda.

Wishing you a great year ahead! Have Fun!! Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

When Viru got Basanti

Corporate trainers & consultants are, without an exception, infatuated with the film Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (ERHF). Whether it is about Communication, Negotiation or even plain Managerial Skills, no training programme is ever complete without this film, or its clippings, being shown. While I have nothing against ERHF (in fact, I like it when they show the whole film as it means less of the lecture sessions), I believe they have missed out on an equally inspiring piece of film. I am alluding to the famous scene from Sholay, where Viru makes out a case against Mausi so forcefully that she is compelled to let him marry Basanti.

Here are the lessons that we can draw from this short movie sequence:

  • Pick your spot/moment well: He climbed the water tank, where he was visible to everyone & no interruptions too. There was only one voice to be heard – Viru’s.
  • Make a pressing case (an interesting one too): From top of the water tank, with a bottle of partly drunk country liquor & at a risk of falling down any time, he announces his intention at the beginning itself (and you found “soocide, soocide, soocide” hilarious?). He creates a tamasha that the village loves to watch.
  • Give the whole picture: When he talks about calamities (drought, epidemics, etc.) befalling the village, he is informing about potential (frightening) consequences. He presents them with options so that they make an informed decision.
  • Focus on the objective: He marks out his target & the fate that awaits her (you know, “chakki peesing & peesing & peesing”), so that the well-wishing villagers can ask her to fall in line.
  • Go all out for the kill: The proposal already rejected once, this is his last & only chance for a reversal. It’s all or nothing & he stakes his life for the desirable response. 
But the beauty of this film scene is that it is not just about the communication/management lessons we can extract. It also has philosophical connotations. Life is full of highs & lows. As PG Wodehouse has often reminded us, “unto each life some rain must fall”. When one is down, one has to fight (or just stick it out) till the things turn around. If not, there will be no getting up. Take Devdas, as an example. He hit the bottle & then just could not get over it. He ended up a sad, dejected, frustrated lover. (If you have watched the 3rd hindi version starring SRK, you would have found him a totally sad, over-dejected, over-frustrated drunkard.)

But Sholay is different. Yes, Viru too needs the support of the bottle. But he does not give up. In the face of adversity he rises to the occasion. In the literal sense too, as he goes atop the highest point in the village. And gets what he wants.

Likewise for us too. We can either get demoralised upon seeing this big hill of a problem in front of us or go ahead & climb that peak. As my brother, Vikas, is doing. He is attempting to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the highest one can go. Let’s all support him on this mission.

(For details of his expedition, or if you would like to go to Everest Base Camp with him, pls visit

Saturday, December 3, 2016

When words lose their meaning

In the world of social media, a Troll is someone who pursues persons (most often, celebrities) with a different opinion (on social media sites) & posts aggressive messages to provoke or harass that person. But it also meant at different times in different places:

As you know, (spoken) language is ever evolving. So today if we think of a troll as an online person (often under a pseudonym or false identity), in future Narendra Modi going on about Maa-Bete ki Sarkar & Arvind Kejriwal jumping up every time Modi says/does something could also be considered as trolling. 

Now, all these definitions of troll made me think of words or names that acquire a totally different meaning or change the original meaning itself. There are many of these but I will touch upon only three.
Take for example, Colgate. Many years back when scooters had to be booked months in advance, you never asked for a toothpaste. Instead, it was always colgate. But over the years as other brands acquired shelf space & market share, the good old Toothpaste regained its space in the popular vocabulary. This helped Colgate to a great extent when another term with a slightly different pronunciation & a totally different meaning hit the headlines. Had it been a weaker brand, Colgate would have been forced to relaunch itself with a different name, when the previous UPA government gave us #CoalGate. The power of the brand has been proved by the fact that #CoalGate is dead & waiting to be buried, while Colgate thrives & rules the retail world.

Another example of such a power brand is Nirodh, the first widely publicized contraceptive in India. It literally means prevention or detention. Come on, you can admit you didn’t know this. I didn’t either and looked up on & One would think the meaning fits the brand to the T, but only if one has not witnessed its use as a balloon by the more mischievous ones at college/university auditoria. With increase in literacy rates, these qualified students soon made a mark in the field of politics. I think it was at behest of these bright ones that the government came out with adverts on TV to educate us of the actual name of the product & how to pronounce it correctly – Con-Dom.

While the above two were examples of brands unintentionally acquiring different meanings, there are some who acquire a name for the meaning of the word but become so powerful as to obliterate that meaning itself. Like Google, which is a play on Googol. Actually, googol means 1 followed by 100 zeroes, or what the mathematically inclined would call 10 raised to power of 100 ( But today, google has a totally different connotation in popular lexicon. Apart from being the brand name of a tech giant, it is also used to mean “to search”. e.g. It is ironical one has to google the real meaning of Google. During my younger days when I was into quizzing, if one was looking for an answer the easiest way out was approaching fellow quizzers. Someone was sure to know. When none did, we went to the library & searched it. But today we only need to go to google & even as one is typing it, google gets us the answers. Many fear that the likes of Google could soon make human intelligence redundant. Not really, for there are so many answers that are now ingrained in our memory. Like, ask anyone which is the highest peak in the world & the instant response would be Mount Everest.

Speaking of Mount Everest, my brother (Vikas Dimri) is attempting to climb the summit next year (April/May 2017). He has been working towards this for quite some time now. You can read about his passion, preparation & past achievements on the campaign support website ( While you are at it, pls loosen your purse strings & contribute towards the effort. 

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