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You talking to me

16 May


A choice.

Or a compulsion.

I don’t like to talk.

Or maybe I have nothing to say.



3 May

In year 2000 I joined an advertising agency erstwhile FCB Ulka. I was a novice and an idiot. as some people thought, having joined advertising from the client side.

That’s irrelevant right now, for its not my story, it’s a story of my friends.

In FCB I met four individuals, Sudip Bhattacharya, Sourabh Mukerjee, Pratik Seal and Anupama Ramaswamy.

Five of us could not have been more different –

Pratik – Intellectual, well read, recite passages from classics from memory

Sudip – More of a simian less of a human

Sourabh – The idealist

I – The idiot of the group


Anu – The elitist.

I other three I got to know quickly and became friends soon enough but the snob Anu would keep to herself, the elitist refusing to interact with us the hoi-polloi. I realized she actually has a heart that sometimes beats for the downtrodden when I went to her with thumping heart and great trepidation for some help after everyone refused.

And what I got from her was actually poetic.

The girl who was a question mark gave me an ad with a large question mark.

That was one fucking good ad.

The question mark raised my eyebrows and threw some interesting answers.

To cut the chase, we became friends.

And we spend many (and trust me there were many and more) drunken evenings on her terrace.

This story is about those evenings, when we used to talk about changing the world, at least the advertising world. Creating earth shattering communication. Ads that would be mainstream, yet award winning. That it was possible to great work. Compromise is for the weak. When the opportunity came we would not waste it but put our thoughts and words into action. We will prove it that it is possible, feasible and not a fool’s dream.

We were not unique, in that industry at least during those days everyone used to talk like that. It could be like that even now, just that I don’t know, having moved back to client side many years back.
Years passed, most of us forgot those dreams. Those promises. And those words stayed what they were words.

We compromised.

I forgot all about them.

I forgot that I had ever said or even thought of such thoughts.

Except one.

She remembered.

That quiet girl who used to sit in a corner remembered.

And she made sure, those were not just words.

Words are actions that one can live and make true.

Well done Anu.

And thank you.

I too shall remember to remember my dreams again.


In more ways than one.



26 Apr

I sit on my seat. Opposite through the half opened blinds two arms rising peeping above the prisoned closeted cubicle trying to escape the confinement, eyes peering possibly into a lit screen, two men walking by in an alley between the spaces, engrossed in a chat, discussing a moment, co-conspirators of that moment, a chair showing its back disdainfully as if hurt by some unsaid words, sulking, angry, muttering unheard words, a bag bulging contouring an early morning, hiding aromas of afternoon meal, door open like welcoming arms of a lover or a hell’s angel inviting, scaring, luring, overhead engraved in the false ceiling incandescent lights lighting up the gloom that descends on the souls, voluntary imprisonment, at a distance beyond the green grass, behind the shrubbery cars slowing down and undulate like a camels hump over a swelling on the road like life ceased by fate, empty mug with slush at the bottom in a corner with a marker for company, a silent phone awaiting to hear that someone remembers its existence, bin full of lost battles, forgotten thoughts, gloating in failure, half scribbled words, sentences in hiatus on way to destination, unevenly placed chairs evoking memories, clues of visitations, now vacant like stations after the train has left leaving the platform empty yet with smell and sounds still hanging in its stale air of recent past, a clock ticking in an unending cycle trying to match the beat of the heart, a thirsty flower begging for relief, searching for sun, unopened forgotten books decorating a bland colorless shelf, board decorated with stolen thoughts proclaiming false ownership. I sit in my office.


18 Apr

The beauty of reading lies in it’s duality and duplicity. As a friend recently commented on my blog that reading is living vicariously, seeing the world from someone else’s eyes, in case of reading from the eyes of the writer.

Yes the book has characters, different personalities,each having different views and opinions, yet end of the day they are a creation of the writer’s imagination. And with that imagination the characters are both limited as well as enriched.

But at no point should the reader forget that he is engaged with the personality of an individual and he is seeing the world from the writer’s point of view. A world of his creation.

The reader at no point should forget this duality.

There are two stages of reading, firstly is when you are in the world of imagination and secondly when you disengage yourself from that and become yourself once again. The problem with many readers and I consider it a limitation, is that they are always themselves. They are unable to leave their world, they have an inability to see the world from the eyes of the writer. They don’t have that duality. To give a simple example, if a blind person describes his world in words, the reader has to be that blind person for without losing the sight yourself, the reader will never be able to understand the writing, it would be just jumbled words and meaningless reading. Reader can view, contemplate, argue, disagree or whatever else he wants to do is after he has disengaged himself and is no longer a writer, a creator of that imagination but a reader who read someone’s imagination and is now viewing it with his understanding.

Imagine I’m a writer and who is only interested in the internal world, the world of the mind, where names, locations, settings are meaningless and only thing that matters to me is what makes the mind tick and I believe in the universality of human weaknesses and believe that by giving geographical, physical, symbolic, tangible or intangible manifestation will reduce the thoughts universality, then does that make me a less writer if you the reader likes to have a setting. That you need a reference point or a peg to hold the thoughts, is that my limitation or the readers shortcoming.

The simple parallel of this is, someone being unable to experience to romance of the rain with the sound without getting drenched.

Duality is mandatory.

If you cannot feel that the words in front of eyes are written by you, you don’t deserve to be the reader of that book.

Does it hold good for every book?

Yes for every book, reason some books have no readers as there is no one except one who says it is mine.

Hope You enjoyed and my views were understood.


Asses in Corporateland

23 Mar

“My company does not respect performance”
“That guy got such an underserving promotion”
“Woh chaat chaat kar….”
“Let’s see how far he goes without talent and through favoritism”
“So fucking unfair”

Today morning I was driving to office with a colleague and the conversation veered towards the above mentioned sentiment. He started sharing with me his corporate sob story of how he has worked so hard and for so many years yet another guy who is so very underserving is rising up and the usual associated shit, which I am sure you can easily hear in your head. We all in our course of work life have said and heard these refrains and laments in the past.

How can people be so dumb?

What do they think corporate world is?

Some fucking NGO??

Ram Rajya??

Some idealistic society???

For some reason people tend to consider the corporate world to be a perfect society. There are two mistakes in it, one is to think it has a parallel with the society and it is a miniature of the outside world they live in, the so called society.

I don’t have much of patience on this issue and will put my views succinctly and please don’t think the argument is a censure of the capitalism in any manner. And just my views.

Three points-

1. It is not a mirror of the society. It has rules which are independent of the society justice system. Do not mistake it as a perfect world where all things that happen are just and right.

2. The world does not operate as a barter system in its relation with its customers. It’s only smoke and mirror. In a way it is closer to the crime and criminal world in construct. The things it offers it tries to extract a price as high as possible in comparison to its actual cost of manufacturing. It in a way is a con game. And the ones that bluff the best are the winners. It requires a different kind of mindset to succeed, if I can think of an appropriate world, it will illusion.

3. If illusion is the reality of the corporate world outside the same will also hold true inside. The guys who can create the best illusions inside will succeed. What goes outside must happen inside. And it is best for the organization to succeed. It needs such people only. It doesn’t need honest, hardworking, committed people; it needs con artists who know their trade the best because dear friend, that is the business.

So stop cribbing and go find the best artist in the trade and become his or her apprentice if you have desire and ambition to succeed in this parallel, alternate reality universe.

And this argument is a con trick.

I dare you to find the flaw.

Argument for argument

1 Mar

I was recently accused by a friend of being argumentative in my writing. He suggested rather than writing arguments I should rather focus on imagination and creativity that fuels fantasies and creates dreams. It somehow implied that what I write was I won’t say unimportant, his accusation was even more serious, he considered it as a very trifle, flippant pursuit; a meaningless action.

Writing for jollies; to sum up his point of view.

Another friend, surprising as it may seem I do have lots of friends and all very concerned about my physical, mental, social, material and spiritual wellbeing, said that I am very argumentative in my social interactions, I make discussions as right or wrong, win/lose situations, personal and in the process lose the larger aspect and raison-d-etre of that interaction.

Now the second charge is accurate, I discuss less, argue more and bicker the most. I have been conscious of that fact and am trying my best to curtail or at least minimize it to the maximum (don’t miss the wordplay there, maximize and minimize, hehe, ain’t I smart??).

But argument being meaningless is a much serious charge and I definitely take offense on that.

What is an argument?

A contrary point of view.

Some definitions of arguments

1. an oral disagreement; verbal opposition; contention; altercation: a violent argument.
2. a discussion involving differing points of view; debate: They were deeply involved in an argument about inflation.
3. process of reasoning; series of reasons: I couldn’t follow his argument.
4. a statement, reason, or fact for or against a point: This is a strong argument in favor of her theory.
5. an address or composition intended to convince or persuade; persuasive discourse.
6. subject matter; theme: The central argument of his paper was presented clearly.
7. an abstract or summary of the major points in a work of prose or poetry, or of sections of such a work.

Some famous arguments (not an extensive list, but an indicative list)-

1. Earth revolves around the sun (an argument against what’s written in the bible)

2. Earth is round (argument against popular belief)

3. Women also have a right to vote (argument for equality of sexes)

4. Right to abortion (argument against religious beliefs and tenets)

5. Gay marriage (argument against social mores and norms)

There are obviously many other examples but the point I’m sure is understood.

Arguments by their very nature are contentious and never comfortable. It is not a question of it being right or wrong but it is different, different from the belief that the other person holds.

Now it might be possible that my friend meant that my arguments are frivolous and don’t merit effort. I possibly can employ my efforts in more gainful pursuits.

Daughter “Daddy, I want to study more, I want to work, marry late”
Father “Hahaha.”

Women “I can do what I want, I am an independent woman.”
Men “Hahaha.’

Indian “We want freedom”
British “Hahaha”

Hitler “Aryans are superior race, I think I should go for racial purity”
World “Hahaha”

Any thought, howsoever ludicrous it may sound, and it will sound ludicrous if it lies beyond your zone of comfort, should not be treated with disdain. It is the arguments that change the world. Arguments in that sense are not answers, they truly are questions. They might get recited as definitive answers, beyond doubt by the propagator but in truth, he is asking you to reassess your position, see the same differently. He shows a new path, as he himself must see the new path when confronted with the other thought.

Arguments against conventional wisdom are the most important one for those impact the future.

And if you are not creating arguments for yourself, you are denying your imagination and dreams.

So dear friend, don’t laugh at my arguments, don’t deride my thoughts, they might not sound important to you but it won’t harm to mull over them in your spare time, sometimes.

And I will leave you with a world changing question “Why do people dig their noses while driving?”

Just an opinion

28 Dec

If you have kids or have interacted with kids, they have a very interesting facet of knowing everything. Like my daughter came to me the other day and said that she doesn’t have to go to school now, so I asked her why that is? And she said that she knows everything and started reciting all the alphabets and numbers that she knew. And also challenged me to take her test.

Now compare this with the attitude or reality of truly knowledgeable, you can take any field but for the argument let’s take scientists. Now science probably is the epitome of human curiosity and the specialist aspect of this arcane knowledge challenges the depth of human spirit. It in its own way is a combination of imagination, observation, experimentation and creation. Now if you interact with people from this field and I was lucky enough to study under some of the best brains during my college days, the interesting aspect of their personality is their humility and acknowledgement of their ignorance. The deeper they go in their studies they realize the more they need to learn and know. This understanding makes them always open to other ideas, different opinions and views contradictory to their beliefs.

Now the same is true in possibly every other field.

The truly curious always believe that there is so much to know and so much to learn and their growth is a product of them staying students all their life.

So the contrast that is being established is the child belief and the adult truths.

Now that serious aspect and background of the post has been established, now we jump to the buffoonery part of this post, which takes leaf from the above established corollary.

Now against this let’s now contrast the corporate world. As one climbs the corporate ladder, it makes people regress to being kids rather than adults. They start believing that their opinions, which end of the day are nothing but opinions as superior to that of the people who are at lower designations. They assume a title is equivalent to knowledge. Though it is true that it is through performance (in an ideal world) one grows to higher positions but at each level they also get exposed to new realities of business. But the knowledge that is required to perform at each level is not like a data transfer, you hook in your brain to your laptop and now you are ready for the role.

An organization end of the day is like a brain, where different knowledge is stored at various points and each has to work in a synchronized manner to have the completeness of knowledge. As I read the best description of how brain works through the analogy of an orchestra.

“Let’s look at the brain as an orchestra. In an orchestra, you have different musical sections. There is a percussion section, a string section, a woodwind section, and so on. Each has its own job to do and must work closely with the other sections. When playing music, each section waits for the conductor. The conductor raises a baton and all the members of the orchestra begin playing at the same time playing on the same note. If the drum section hasn’t been practicing, they don’t play as well as the rest of the orchestra. The overall sound of the music seems “off” or plays poorly at certain times. This is a better model of how the brain works. We used to think of the brain as a big computer, but it’s really like millions of little computers all working together.”

The same is also true for organizations; they are a large brain with knowledge stored with the individuals working across the organization and unless they don’t function as complete units they are bound for failure.
But the true reason for failure is certain individuals who operate as independent nodes that control the overall system. As we have the orchestra analogy, the analogy for this system can be understood from cricket. The bowler cannot operate as an individual player, he needs to understand the overall field setting, the situation of the game, but if he bowls by what he believes is right, he will make the whole team fail.
Individuals as they grow must open up to ideas beyond their beliefs and develop an ability to process and assimilate knowledge and not just impart opinions.

Opinions, dear friends, are not knowledge.

Mind your business, as many would say, so I would finish here.