Friday, July 28, 2006

Performance evalution you do not want to get

This stuff ranks up there in the "best insults" category.

Some sources even attribute these quotes to actual stuff mentioned in US Fed. Govt. employee performance reports, while others caution that mail forwards can be inherently unreliable.

Anyways, here goes 32 quotes in performance evaluation that you do not want to get...

1. "Since my last report, this employee has reached rock-bottom and has started to dig."

2. "I would not allow this employee to breed."

3. "This employee is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a definite won't be."

4. "Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap."

5. "When he opens his mouth, it seems that it is only to change feet."

6. "This young lady has delusions of adequacy."

7. "He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them."

8. "This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot."

9. "This employee should go far, and the sooner he starts the better."

10. "Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all together."

11. "A gross ignoramus - 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus."

12. "He doesn't have ulcers, but he's a carrier." 14. "I would like to go hunting with him sometime."

15. "He's been working with glue too much."

16. "He would argue with a signpost."

17. "He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room."

18. "When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."

19. "If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other one."

20. "A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on."

21. "A prime candidate for natural de-selection."

22. "Donated his brain to science before he was done using it."

23. "Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming."

24. "He's got two brains cells, one is lost and the other is out looking for it."

25. "If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week."

26. "If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you'd get change."

27. "If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean."

28. "It's hard to believe he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm."

29. "One neuron short of a synapse."

30. "Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled."

31. "Takes him 2 hours to watch 60-minutes."

32. "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead."

Monday, July 24, 2006

Fit for a prince

A five-year old kid, named Prince, gets stuck in a 50-feet ditch in Kurukshetra (Haryana) on Friday night and is rescued by Sunday evening - when he also turns six-years old.

Most TV channels largely ignore it on Saturday. But come Sunday, families all over India gather around the TV and get treated to a gut-wrenching, emotional overdose of gigantic proportions that would make Karan Johar, Yashraj and the Barjatyas cringe in misery and go green in envy.

You think I’m ODing? Check out these prize-winning captions thought of by the news channels that ran this saga for an entire day.
  • Dharti maan ki god se, sena ki god mein, maa ki god tak
  • Prince ka dhairya, sena ki himmat, maa ki mamta, Zee News ki muhim rang layi
  • Prince ne di maut ko maat, Saare desh mein khushi ki lehar
  • Prince ko zindagi, zindagi ka prince (followed by waah !)
Incidentally, these captions were brushing shoulders with ads for Khufiya underwear, Tope Klass Koaching klasses and GMD Salia (brand names concealed on grounds of confidentiality).

And the press today ?

Headline on TOI (also kind enough to allot 90% of front page space for this news) – “Li’l Prince is born again”. Text then reads - “When Prince Kumar rode out of the black hole in a crane at 7.47 pm on Sunday, the applause was something Zinedine Zidane might have got if he had won the World Cup for France. The four-year-old’s homecoming signalled the end of a human drama that had kept the nation engrossed during the weekend and turned him into India’s most heart-tugging kid.”

Headline on Mumbai Mirror with photo– "Prince wins battle of Kurukshetra"

Headline on HT Junior, borrowing from TOI - "Little Prince is reborn on his sixth birthday"

Also check this google search for international press coverage of this "gripping event"

Of course, the Haryana Chief Minister chipped in his bit by announcing a grant of Rs2lakh for Prince.

Finally, this SMS received by a TV channel stood out in stark contradiction to all the duas and prathanas for Prince’s rescue. It read “What do I have to do to get free education in India ? fall in a ditch?”

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Govt's idiocy - banning blogspot

Currently traveling and regular programing to resume in a week's time.

In the interim I saw that the Govt has done a Big Brother and banned blogspot/some specific blogs. (I've been lucky enough to post so probably I can thank my ISP for that.)

As expected, the blogosphere is raising hell. Head over to
1. Bloggers against Censorship for the latest on this and
2. Desipundit's compilation of the blogosphere's finest venting their ire and
3. that tech guru Amit Agarwal, who - again as expected - has a list of answers to the various how-to's.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bombay blasts

At 2.32am, per TV channels, 163 dead. 11 minutes, 7 blasts.

At 2.32am, per TV channels, Western Railway's locals between Churchgate-Bandra, Vasai-Virar and other routes have started functioning.

I've just come back home after seeing scores of people on the road offering bottled water, parle-g biscuits and even cooked meals in small packets to each and every vehicle they can stretch their hand to. They were everywhere. And they're still there as I type this.

My thanks to that awesome lot at Mumbai Help for making those calls. Bloggers - you rock. Awesome work.

Head over to Desipundit for their sticky post on 11/7.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Reel life Bombay. Part 6

Punds wraps up the series with his write-up on Basu-da's "Piya ka ghar". Basuda was among the few directors who could portray middle class Bombay in a way that the audience could connect with.

Over to Punds, for his take on "Piya ka ghar", in his usual inimitable style.

Piya ka ghar (1972): My idea about Mumbai in the movies was not about showing heroes dancing on the road of Mumbai but showing the "never say die" spirit of Mumbai in the movie. Before Sai Paranjpe's "Katha", Basu Chatterjee "Piya ka ghar" in 1972 tried to capture the life of the common Mumbai folks. The movie told the story of Mumbai that every Mumbaikar would identify with.

Mumbai is big and I mean really big but still space always has been the biggest problem. A city where the middle class lived in a 10 x 10 feet house, privacy was literally non-existent. "Piya ka ghar" explores this very issue of privacy. While "Katha" explored the chawl life, PKG explored the problems of a family living in a chawl.

Jaya Bhaduri plays a village gal Malti, who lives in a big house in her native village. She gets married to Anil Dhawan, Ram, coming from a good family in Bombay only to find out the whole family lives in a small house further divided into smaller cubicles to accommodate everybody. The kitchen of the house becomes the bedroom of the newly-wed.

Malti finds it difficult to adjust to the reduced space but surprisingly finds the rest of the family members living a happy existence. The efforts of the couple to find privacy, intimacy and love in that cramped space forms the rest of the story.

Its been a long time since I have seen the movie but I always remember the one character in the movie. I don't know the name of the actress but she plays Anil Dhawan's sister-in-law. She is the ever smiling woman who teases, makes fun and at the same time supports the newly-wed. Married to Ram's brother for a long time she had made the small house her home with ease and still keeps the romance alive with her husband stealing intimate moments with him.

She represents the true spirit of Mumbai. Sure we have problems and sure life is not easy but we learn to smile in troubles and we try to be happy.

The song of the movie summaries every thing about Mumbai -
Yeh Jeevan Hai, Is Jeevan Ka
Yahi Hai - Yahi Hai - Yahi Hai Rungroop
Thode Ghum Hain, Thodi Khushiyan
Yahi Hai - Yahi Hai - Yahi Hai Chaon Dhoop

Recap - Reel Life Bombay was a free-wheeling series on Bombay in movies and life in Bombay, as seen by my guest writers (Filmiholic, Macushla and Punds) and myself. Here are the earlier posts

Part 1 - Filmiholic on "Salaam Bombay"
Part 2 - My take on "Satya"
Part 3 - Macushla on "Main Madhuri Dixit banna chahti hoon"
Part 4 - Punds on "Katha"
Part 5 - Macushla on "Bhoot"

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Reel life Bombay. Part 5

Today's post by Macushla looks at what lies beneath in Bombay. Here's her rather different take on Ram Gopal Verma's "Bhoot".

Bhoot (2003): A movie about ghosts set in a city full of them. Dead ones and live ones. Present ones and past ones. Real ones and made-up ones.

So, have you heard of the Haji Ali story? A young woman hitches a ride and when you reach her destination, poof !, she’s disappeared. You knock on the door of the address she’s given and the old man who opens it, points woefully to a garlanded photograph.

Or the one about the architect of a prominent period hotel who still walks the corridors checking for flaws?

Or the fav film locale that was once a not so-popular mill in Colaba? Actors have felt a strange, overwhelming presence.

Hotel rooms? The hot spot for suicides where secret liaisons also turn sour and lovers become murderers. I’m sure they’re full of restless souls.

In Bhoot, Swati is haunted by her flat’s previous occupants – Manjeet, a young single mother, and her child. As the exorcism unfolds, so does the truth. Manjeet and her son were murdered by her lusty landlord on account of a rape-gone-wrong.

In real life, we are haunted by much more. Everyone has ghosts because everyone has secrets. And Bombay simmers with secrets as deep as the Arabian Sea.

It’s in the papers every day. Secrets being buried, bartered, bought, sold, exposed. Every one has something to hide. Everyone is willing to pay the price for it. Every one wants to push something into the past, till the past runs out of space and pushes it right back into your face.

But we go on. Still hiding, still pushing. Still creating more ghosts. Dead ones and live ones. Present ones and past ones. Real ones and made-up ones.

Yes. Bhoot recaptures the spirit of Bombay.

Recap - Reel Life Bombay is a free-wheeling series on Bombay in movies and life in Bombay, as seen by my guest writers (Filmiholic, Macushla and Punds) and myself. Here are the earlier posts

Part 1 - Filmiholic on "Salaam Bombay"
Part 2 - My take on "Satya"
Part 3 - Macushla on "Main Madhuri Dixit banna chahti hoon"
Part 4 - Punds on "Katha"

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Reel life Bombay. Part 4

Today's post is being written by guest author Punds who runs his blog - A simple complication called life. Born and raised in Bombay, Punds is now based in Amsterdam. He quotes this Jagjit Singh line in his "about me" section. "Waqt rehta nahin kahin tik kar, iski aadat bhi aadmi si hai".

Over to Punds for his take on one of my favourite movies - Sai Paranjpe's Katha.

Katha (1983): Sai Paranjpe's "Katha" tells a simple story of two people, one flamboyant and the other simple and honest, both vying for the attention of a girl. "Katha" told the story of the tortoise and the hare in a whole new way. "Katha" was a genre of Hrishikesh Mukerjee type of movies which showed simple stories told simply without much ado. "Katha's" high point was the ability of Sai Paranjpe to show chawl life in Mumbai.

"Katha" takes place in a chawl in Mumbai with Naseerudin Shah as the protagonist who is in love with a girl in the chawl, Deepti Naval. Farooque Shaikh, plays Naseerudin's friend, and is a big show-off. In a short time he manages to woo Deepti Naval as well as most of the chawl inhabitants. While what happens is the predictable good winning over evil kind of story, the director captured the essence of chawl life to its fullest.

My home in Mumbai is in a similar chawl-like environment and I could readily identify with the goings on in the movie. A Mumbai chawl is where every news is big news and everyone knows what is happening in everyone else's house. Yet, internal matters of the home remain within the four walls of the house. At one time these chawls formed the major housing infrastructure in Mumbai but are now slowly giving rise to isolated high-rise apartments.

In a chawl, the smallest the of smallest events call for celebration - be it a promotion, child's birth or marriage. The chawl is indeed one big family where you laugh, share, fight and do everything you would in a family. Gossip and food are exchanged over snacks and tea at each other's house, where everyone is invited.

The biggest constraint is the lack of space in chawl. I remember vividly the scene where Farooque Shaikh visits a neighbor who proudly shows him all the furniture which is foldable - the TV cupboard, the coffee table, everything is foldable to save space.

In a chawl your life is open to everybody. Despite that, joint families live together 'adjusting' to each other and at the same time respecting the privacy of each family member.

Sai Paranjpe captured the warmth, the love and never-say-die attitude of the chawl inhabitants and the Mumbai people in "Katha", which very few movies could do as well.

Recap - Reel Life Bombay is a free-wheeling series on Bombay in movies and life in Bombay, as seen by my guest writers (Filmiholic, Macushla and Punds) and myself. Here are the earlier posts -

Part 1 - Filmiholic on "Salaam Bombay"
Part 2 - My take on "Satya"
Part 3 - Macushla on "Main Madhuri Dixit banna chahti hun"

Monday, July 03, 2006

Reel life Bombay. Part 3

Today's guest writer is my friend, Macushla. Living most of her life in Bombay, Macushla is one part O-Ren Ishii, one part Ellie Arroway, and one big swig of Maggie Fitzergald. A writer by profession and a non-conformist by choice, she is currently sharpening her Hattori Hanzo ahead of (hopefully) joining the blogosphere.

Here's her take on Bombay in Chandan Arora's "Main Madhuri Dixit banna chahti hoon".

Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon (2003) is a lesson we must learn that what you see is not what you always get. Behind the gloss and glamour of a booming film industry and the city that feeds it, a whole generation of lives watches their hopes and dreams peeling off like make-up on a weathered face. The pancake hides the scars. The tears expose them.

Watching this film, I was amazed by its simplicity and cinematography and repelled by its overwhelming honesty. It exalted my city with breathtaking pride and crushed it before I even had a chance to get my breath back. My city was portrayed as creator and destroyer even before I was halfway through my popcorn. But then that is Bombay, isn’t it? Dark. Demanding. Diabolic. My city is a parasite that feeds off the hopes of its people.

The truth isn’t easy, and I have no alternative but to face it.

In the film, Chutki, an aspiring actress, danced her way to music and misconceptions. The world was her stage and Bombay was her launch pad. The city would welcome her into its bosom and nurture her ambitions with TLC. One hour and many struggles later, Chutki had to resign herself to the fact that she was, and would remain, a “Biggie of B-Grade”.

Chutki may have never played to packed houses, but she drove a point home. That, this is Bombay city, where the fear of failure is stronger than the fear of death. Or life. Or HIV. Or corruption. Or anything else. That the city seduces, uses and abuses, and you wouldn’t even know the difference. That we are so aware, and yet, so tolerant of its unforgiving nature? Then why do we continue with this?

Maybe it’s because somewhere deep inside all of us, there’s a Chutki still waiting to dance her big dance.

Recap - This is an ongoing series on Bombay on movies mixed with the writer's take on life in the city.
[Part 1 - Filmiholic on Salaam Bombay]
[Part 2 - My take on Satya]