Sunday, April 29, 2007

God, parachutes and Wall Street

This one's for you, Mariachi. Hang tough, my friend.

From his book "Straight from the Gut" this is Jack Welch. Extract from Chapter 15 titled "Too full of myself".

Where God parachutes us is a matter of luck. Nowhere is that more true than Wall Street. There are more mediocre people making more money on Wall Street than any other place on earth. Sure, there are some stars, and some earn every nickel they make. They crowd they carry along with them is something else. Wall Street might be the only place in the world where a $100,000 raise is considered
a tip.

When you handed someone a check for $10 million, they'd look you in the eye and say, "Ten? The guy down the street just got 12!" "Thank you" was a rare expression at Kidder.

The outrageous pay in a good year was bad enough. It really drove me nuts in a bad year. That's when the argument would go something like this: "Yeah, we had a tough year, but you've got to give them at least as much as they made last year or they'll go across the street."

This place had the perfect we-win, you-lose game.

Wall Street had to have been better when the companies were private and the partners were playing with their own money rather than "other people's money." The concept of idea sharing and team play was completely foreign. If you were in investment banking or trading and your group had a good year, it didn't matter what happened to the firm overall. They wanted theirs.

It's a place where the lifeboats carrying millionaires were always going to make it to shore while the Titanic sank.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Do not disconnect the call

Currently bogged down with work, but checking in with this YouTube clip (link via Serendipity) on a call made by an HP Media PC owner to a call center. Quite funny. Not in the rip-roaring LMAO, ROFL way, but definitely funny. This caller is one patient dude.

And talking of call centers this is probably a good time for me to tell Standard Chartered Bank that I do NOT want their credit card. I mean, in the last 2 days I've got 65 calls from this StanC call center guy/girl peddling the Titanium credit card as if it's the gift of life.

These people go "A very good morning to you sir, and how are you feeling today sir? Yes, I can hear the birds chirping and the fishes swimming near your desk so I'm sure you're feeling great sir. I would like to take 3 minutes of your valuable time to tell you about the StanC Titanium credit card, which gives you free credit for 50 generations. So you can spend all you want and your grandkids will have to pay the bill in 4,321 instalments, all at 0.5% interest per year. So tell me sir, are you interested? we're also offering an all-expenses paid free cruise to Bali, where your host will be Priyanka Chopra...."

Yes, it's one of those days.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Kahi Puneri Patya

...was the title of this mail forward I received today, attached with some hilarious sign-boards (all in Marathi) from Pune. I can understand the anguish that could have gone behind some of them. My learned Maharashtrian colleague tells me that the perpetrators of most of these warnings will likely be "Konkanastha Brahmins" known to be..well..."khadoos". Whoever they are, hats off to them. There's must've been a lot of anguish behind some of those signs. Oh and I've not translated them....takes away the fun.

Now why couldn't anyone in Bombay think of something as brilliant as this?

One of the best...the last line reads "Mudvyaadhich aushad meedhale"

Update: That intrepid Mumbaikar, Abodh, has left me this link for many more patyas. In fact, and as he correctly points out in the comments below, most of the above are from this website. Click here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

That Jerry Maguire Moment

Those who've seen - and loved - Jerry Maguire would recall Tom Cruise's face, when he gets a brutal reply to his "it-would-take-a-tank-to-stop-your-dad".

This leads him to the path of, um, greatness and his mission statement, titled "The Things We Think And Do Not Say (The Future of our Business)"

Mr. Maguire's face when the Kinko's guy (making photo-copies of his statement) tells him "That's how you become great man. You hang your balls out there", is a study in horror. But I digress.

Since I'm in a...well, certain frame of mind that I'd rather not write more about, I'm reproducing the text of the tank scene below (taken from here)


Remo's 14 year-old SON (JESSE) confronts Jerry outside the
hospital room. He's a hulking kid, a Pop Warner football
player himself. His voice is in the process of changing.

This is his fourth concussion.
Shouldn't somebody get him to stop?

As he talks, Jerry's cellular phone rings in his bag.

(glib, easy)
Come on -- it'd take a tank to
stop your dad. It would take all
five Super Trooper VR Warriors,

The kid stares at Maguire. It feels as if the kid is peering
into his soul... and all he sees is trash.

Fuck you.

The kid turns and exits in disgust. He leaves Jerry standing
in the hallway. Devastated. Music.

You can also see this scene here (video quality is sad)

Now, the Kinko's scene (which starts from the middle of the Mission Statement)...

SHOT OF SENTENCE: We must embrace what is still virginal
about our own enthusiasm, we must crack open the tightly
clenched fist and give back a little for the common good, we
must simply be the best versions of ourselves... that
goodness will be unbeatable and the money will appear.

He pauses, and wipes his eyes, still considering the sentence.

Hey, I'll be the first to admit
it. What I was writing was
somewhat "touchy feely."

He deletes it. And then -- zip -- he restores it and
continues on, boldly.

I didn't care. I had lost the
ability to bullshit. It was the
me I'd always wanted to be.


Jerry in T-shirt stands proudly watching copies pumped out.
Wired college students, band guys, other Copy People of the
Night nearby.

I printed it up in the middle of
the night, before I could re-think

Industrial, multi-pierced Kinko's copy guy examines the first
printed copy of the Mission Statement. He nods approvingly,
taps his heart in tribute. He slides a copy across the
counter, for Jerry's approval.

(The Future of Our Business)

That's how you become great, man.
You hang your ba11s out there.

Jerry nods. It's 3 AM, and this guy sounds and looks like a
prophet. In fact, everyone in Kinko's at 3 AM does.


This is Jerry Maguire's Mission Statement, which never gets read in the movie, beyond its original title.

And finally...Tom Petty's "Free Falling". Ho boy. Now we're talking.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

On Bambai Nagariya

Laakh Roz Aake Bas Jaate Hai
Iss Sheher Se Is Dil Laga Ke Phas Jaate Hai
Sone Ki Raahon Mein Soone Ko Jagah Nahi
Shola Hai Ya Hai Bijuriya Dil Ki Bajariya Bambai Nagariya
Utar Jaaye Ragon Mein Jo Toh Teh Nasha Hai
Iski Aadat Jo Pad Gayi Toh Yeh Saza Hai
Aise Bhar De Ke Khaali Kar De
(lyrics from the song “Bambai Nagariya” sung by Bappi Lahiri in the movie Taxi No. 9211)

I said it then and I say it now. I’m addicted to this mad city.

The thought for this post came when I was watching Taxi No. 9211 for the x-th time on TV. What a super Bombay movie. Besides a lovely soundtrack, I really liked the way the characters were etched, the performances, and of course Bombay in the movie.

Taxi No. 9211 also takes me back to this comment by the good Filmiholic,

One other thing.... have you noticed the central role that the city itself plays in some recent Hindi movies? Bluffmaster, Taxi No 9211, Sarkar, just to name a few.

In the "Making Of" segment on the DVD of Bluffmaster, Rohan Sippy said that they saw Bombay as another character in the movie.
That comment led to the “Reel life Bombay” series, where Filmiholic and Punds were kind enough to guest. That was one of the most fun series I’ve had on this blog.

But, coming back to Bombay, love and addiction…

See, I'm addicted to Bombay. Which is a bit different from loving Bombay, because loving Bombay can get a bit dicey. I mean, sample these oft-read, oft-heard p.o.v.s -

The outraged view – how dare you say this about a city where a woman can go home at three in the night and be assured that she’d reach home safe? a city whose cab and rickshaw drivers are so honest? a city that is so efficient and quick? with such a vibrant night-life?

Or, the are-you-a-dimwit defense - how you can love a city where traffic is so miserable, politicians are corrupt, real estate end rentals are a joke, infrastructure collapsing everyday.

Or, the “Hi-I’m-from-Fortune” move – Bombay is a city of contradictions. Skyscrapers brush shoulders with slums. Mercedes engines talk with bullock-carts. Cows walk along-side Chihuahuas.

And finally, the I-will-always-love-you gambit – oh, I’d die for a vada-pav on a rain-soaked evening at Marine Drive. Or have bhel on Chowpatty with the waves touching my feet. The hazaar, yummy, road-side food joints.

Here’s the thing. Bombay is all of that and then some. But then you already knew that.

Is that enough to declare undying love - or for that matter disgust - for this city? I don't know.

And is there a truth about Bombay? I don't think so.

So, for the record, I’ll say it again. This city is a drug and I’m an addict.

Utar Jaaye Ragon Mein Jo Toh Teh Nasha Hai
Iski Aadat Jo Pad Gayi Toh Yeh Saza Hai