Your Job Interview is a Beauty Contest


There’s a scene in Satyajit Ray’s vastly under-appreciated classic “Pratidwandi” (the Adversary) where the protagonist, Siddhartha is sitting in front of an interview board. Siddhartha has had to quit his medical studies because of a death in the family and desperately needs the job. He is then asked by the suited and booted men on the other side of the table:

“What do you think has been the most significant human achievement in the last few years?”

Now Siddhartha knows the answer he is “supposed to give”—which is “the moon landing” (The movie was released in the early 70s). Yet being honest and also somewhat of an idealist , he gives an answer that not only reflects his own beliefs (and individuality) but is also logically more nuanced than the “stock answer”.

Siddhartha considers the Vietnam War to be the greatest human achievement of the last few years because given the advances in science and technology, the moon landing was inevitable—the only suspense being whether it would this year or the next. However, the fact that a group of uneducated, disorganized peasants could keep at bay one of the World’s superpowers by dint of their determination was in itself a far greater “human achievement” because it was unexpected and unprecedented.

Siddhartha does not get the job. The bosses suspect him to be a communist despite the fact that it does not take a communist to appreciate Siddhartha’s line of reasoning. Rather than interpreting his answer to be the mark of an intelligent, original and essentially honest man, the bosses took it as “How dare this man not give us the standard answer !”

This is something that has never ceased to amaze me. HR people and administrators claim to covet people who think differently (or “out of the box” whatever that means) and claim to value people who come across as honest and innovative and yet time and again I find that during interviews/job applications/statement of purpose evaluations, its always the hackneyed, done-to-death, predictable answers that are the winners.

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Que Vadis


As I write this, India is being hammered by South Africa, Agarkar has given 41 runs in 5 overs bowling on a track that Cricinfo calls “surprisingly green” —in other words, for a long-suffering Indian fan, its business as usual.

But what was exceptional was the lead-up. And everything that was not going on in the field of play.

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The Death of Honesty


Manjunath Shanmugham (27) , an IIM-L alumni and IOL employee, was killed by the owners of a petrol pump he had recommended be shut down for adulterating oil.

At the time of writing, only one mainstream newspaper has carried the story.

Some bloggers have pointed out the callousness and total loss of focus on part of the mainstream media for not carrying the story of a man who died for his honesty. I am not going to do that.

On the other hand, I would like to thank the mainstream media from shielding us from this piece of disturbing news.

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With An Audience Like This


How many times has it happened that you sit down to watch a Hindi movie, find the first half entertaining and then slam your head as the plot degenerates into infantility? Yes I know that there are movies where this head slamming starts from the first scene itself but I am sure you get my point.

So the question is why do Bollywood directors lose the plot? It’s not as if the story is original in the first place. If you are copying your story from a decent English/regional movie, then why do you exert your creativity just on the ending—why not just copy everything?

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In Praise of Molls


Premi kisi se darte nahin
Premiyon se khud hi darte hain log

(Lovers fear noone, its people who are afraid of lovers)
—-Suraksha (Monica Bedi)

Especially if the lovers answer to the name of Abu and Monica.

I have always been fascinated by molls. I would like to make a distinction here between molls and vamps—molls are the villain’s girlfriend(s) while the vamp is simply an evil lady. A vamp can be the evil saas or the jilted lover and somehow I never had the hots for Lalita Pawar.

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Insignificant Us


Yesterday. The ultimate heist. 4 of India’s most dangerous criminals meet in a shadowy bar in Delhi (Bar-ista)—-the sinister Vulture , the recurring 2.499999 and 2 other people whose name we cannot divulge. And there was another man—a mysterious figure calling himself James. For those who have seen the legendary “Chamiya” , this name inspires terror. Those who have not seen it, you are better off not knowing.

Today. The Times of India comes out with an expose. Yes they may have missed the match fixing scandal, the shadowy defense deal. Hell they may have even missed Shakti Kapoor’s “Aooo sharmao mat” come-on line. But never too late to start—-so here it is. MSM goes under cover to bust a Blogger’s Meet.

Confused? Don’t be. Delhi Times reporter James aka Ranjan Gumnam sorry Yumnam pretended to be a newbie blogger and attended a Delhi blog meet. Deep undercover, he asked some questions and came back and wrote a less-than-complimentary piece in TOI. I shall link to his blog first where you can check out his justification and his piece. [ Note: A single post blog reminiscent of a few “we love ponytails” blogs that sprung up with one post in October.]

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"No More" Machaye Shor


An extract from Natwarlal ‘s blog “Mere paas aao mere doston ek kissa suno” somewhere in the blogosphere.
– ———————————–
I miss the good old days. Siyaram Kasturi used to do the groceries, R Dhanbaan used to cut the onions , Moonekay Gandhi was a model in a towel, and Indura was India. Television was under our control, the PM used to be the RJ-in-chief on Akashvani and I used to sit, legs curled up behind me thinking of 20 points for the latest garibi jamboree program.

There were two superpowers in the world, the people who took money from both of them called themselves the “Non Aligned Movement” and all our conversations consisted of the “North South dialogue”, “the have and the have nots” and ” Get rid of poverty”.

Committees were called Politburos and “Gimme Red” meant another suitcase full of cash had arrived from the Kasturba Gandhi Briddhashram (which the world used to know as the KGB).

You needed a license to scratch your balls and red tape held the country together. And most of all, there was respect.

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