The abandoned station

At last a train was in sight. She had waited all through the dawn of her childhood, the morn of her youth and the noon of her middle age. In the eve of her life, her walls black and floors dusty, she cared no more for trains. That was not her purpose she had concluded.

Writer's note: My first ever 55 fiction inspired by stations I had seen in Japan built just for sake of simulating the economy without any true utility. I wanted to compare it to qualified employees in jobs not getting the work they deserve for so long that they finally give up by the time they get the work their qualification demands.

Related Post: Fool

Twelve month wonder

That was a really weird dream”, thought Sanket. “ Maybe because I felt asleep reading that strange book. Talking of the book, I seem to strongly remember taking the book out when I was here the first time. “ But the book had been back on the table by the bed when Sanket had returned the second time. This was the 12th successive month he had come to this cabin in the woods on the full moon day. Somehow he had instinctively known that the cabin would be visible only on full moon nights. The cabin seemed to have a strange charm that seemed to attract him every full moon nights.

But he was not complaining. Ever since he had started visiting the cabin, his entire life had changed. From an unknown employee in an IT company, one of a quarter million employees, he had become one of the most powerful men in the country. All thanks to the magic of the cabin. All his dreams had come true. He was not interested in solving the mystery of the cabin. He belonged to the school of thought that believed ‘Let sleeping dogs lie’. He was not going to do anything to upset his extreme good luck. He never met Hanif ever again. He kept his visits to the cabin a secret from all his friends and even his wife.

As he lay on the bed he reflected how every visit to the cabin had improved his fortunes. After the first visit, he got a chance to make client presentations for the first time. Apoorva, the one who was the one who usually presented had had a minor mishap, but a costly one it had turned out for him but a fortuitous one for Sanket.

Usually one would take 2-3 years to become a client relationship manager. But then when George had to be removed from the company for his sales practices that went against the company values, Sanket was the only one who had sufficient relationship with the client to take up the role. Sanket had to thank himself for taking interest in the junior members of the team and educating them on the importance of company values. The whistle blower had apparently learnt the lesson very well.

And Sanket was not the first choice for the client relationship manager for the company’s most prestigious account – one of the country’s largest industrial conglomerate. But when the most preferred choice suddenly decided to resign to serve the society, Sanket was the only one available at such a short notice to fill in. So it came about that Sanket was rewarded for the noble thoughts he had awakened in the mind of his senior colleague. After all don’t good happen to those who do good to others?

A key to a succesful relationship is putting the interest of the other person before your own. And Sanket had been a very good relationship manager – he had put the client’s interests above his company’s. So much so that client realized that with an efficient IT manager, they could themselves hire engineers and get IT solutions implemented much more cost effectively? And who better than Sanket for the role of the IT manager?

Maybe the chairman of the group was genuinely impressed with Sanket’s initiative or drive or maybe he believed in the dictum ‘Keep your friends close, your enemies closer’. But whatever be the reason, Sanket soon found himself the executive assistant to the chairman.

In addition to giving an overview of the entire business, the position afforded Sanket an opportunity to interact with the chairman Mr. Agarwal on a personal level as well. This included getting to know his wife and only daughter Vaishaka as well. And Sanket the good Samaritan always willing to help others had made it his business to find out about her fiancé’s dalliances with other woman and apprised her of the same. The match had broken and Vaishaka was left heartbroken. But then Sanket was at hand to fill the void in the heart of the damsel in distress. And so it came about that before long he found himself the heir-in-law to the country’s largest business fortunes.

As good begets good, evil begets evil. So it happened that Mr. Agarwal soon got his deserts at the hands of disgruntled workers of his tea estate. The poor tea estate workers had silently borne the exploitation for years. But luckily they had been awakened to their rights and the person who had reminded them of their rights was none other than their chairman’s son-in-law. Once the idea got into their minds they soon organized themselves and one day decided to approach the chairman to ask for a raise in their wages. Mr. Agarwal had got scared seeing the huge mob approach him. But luckily his son-in-law ever concerned about his safety had warned him to always have his revolver handy. His act of brandishing the revolver at them,  tipped the the angry workers over the edge and in their anger and fear, they had set the car on fire and burned Mr. Agarwal alive inside his car. And so it came about that responsibility of the country’s largest business empire fell on Sanket's young shoulders.

And to the cabin he owed all his good fortune. Sanket was always able to think clearly when he was in the cabin. He always got brainwaves after a good night’s sleep in the cabin, some kind of a divine inspiration it seemed like. And every one of these ideas had contributed to his advancement.

It was time for Sanket to return to the city. He had a very important meeting with members of the country’s biggest political party. He still had a long way to go. Though all time measuring devices stopped working within the cabin, Sanket always knew when it was time to leave.

Previous Episode: Return
Next Episode : To be Continued



The sun was blazing away in all its fury as if to boil all the seas and bake the entire earth into dry powdery cakes. The wind had gone berserk huffing and puffing in fury hurling the sand all around, scattering it all around. Under the combined onslaught of the sun and wind the land lay wasted. Wherever one looked, all that could be seen were huge expanses of sand. There was no sign of life to be seen anywhere. It was just the sands stoically bearing the pain inflicted on it by its tormentors. Amidst the swirling sands, one could trace a distant figure - A lone falcon in the sky.

The falcon braved his way through to the center of the sand storm. In the center of the storm, stood a strange four legged creature with a curved pointed snout, slanting eyes, square tipped ears, red mane and a forked tail. The falcon alighted on the ground and turned into a man with the head of a falcon. The beast immediately lunged at the falcon man. But the falcon man was an equal match for the grotesque beast. Man and beast fought on tirelessly. Neither seemed to tire! As time passed the fight grew more intense. Their fury eclipsed that of the sun and the wind.

The sun had actually toned down its intensity and the wind had become mild as if both were bowing down in respect to the true masters. The two were so evenly matched that it seemed the fight would never end. Unless there was some intervention, a divine intervention! And the intervention came in the form of a jackal -a ferocious looking one that was lumbering through the sands towards the combatants. When it reached the two combatants, the jackal struck its head on the floor and emerged as a man with the head of a jackal. With the coming of the jackal man to support him, the falcon man clearly had the edge and soon the beast was vanquished.

"You are now defeated, Seth. Stand up and face the punishment for your evil deeds, you vile creature."

The defeated beast now transformed into a man with the head of an animal with a pointed snout.

"You also want to be a God slayer like me, Horus? Come. Kill me. Avenge your father. Or would you want your bastard brother Anubis to do the dirty work for you?"

"You think you can trick us in to sending you to plague the world of the dead from the world of the living? That you shall not! Nor will your vile stench foul the world of the living. You shall be suspended for infinitum in the stasis between the world of the living and the world of the dead! "

Thus saying Horus seized hold of Set and began to drag him away, floating through the air. After what seemed like days, they found themselves in the midst of a dense forest. Right in front of them, they could discern a faint image of what looked like a dwelling lodged between the trees a few paces away. As the silvery beams of the full moon fell on it, the silhouette of a log cabin could be seen.

"This is the cabin of Anubis, the portal between the world of the living and the world of the dead. This is going to be your prison till the end of time. Your mind shall be bound on the side of the living and your body on the side of the dead."

Thus saying Anubis thrust Seth into the cabin and recited some incantations. Seth disappeared. Having accomplished his mission, it was time for Anubis to return to his half brother Horus.


One could see beads of sweat glistening on Horus' falcon beak. He looked very anxious. "Are you sure he is safe?"

"As safe as our laws allow. Seth's powers are limited to Anubis' cabin. He can have mental influence on the side of the living and physical influence on the side of the dead. The dead are beyond any physical harm and I doubt any human will ever come within the confines of the cabin to fall under Seth's mental influence. The cabin is visible to the human eye only on a full moon light. And on such nights, my devoted jackals will guard the cabin to keep humans away. So no way a human will ever enter the cabin"

"But what if a human does enter the cabin on a full moon night getting past the jackals?"

"If a human were to enter the cabin, Seth can communicate with the human, can influence him or even take full control of his mind. But the control will last only within the confines of the cabin."

Horus was still not satisfied. "This seems perfect. In fact too perfect, which you know if not allowed. Any creation must have a tiny flaw at the core of its existence as per the ancient and inviolable law of the ancients. So what is the catch here?"

Anubis nodded knowingly. "Well. If a human were to willingly carry the mind of Seth into the world of the living, Seth can have influence in the world of the living through the body of the person as long as he is alive. And on his death, Seth's mind will join his body in the world of the dead. However the human has to willingly invite Seth into his mind. So Seth cannot control the mind of the human and influence him to take him into his mind. So the minute Seth takes control of a human entering the cabin, he himself closes his one door of escape. Subtle, isn’t it?"


The door of the cabin opened. The young man had returned. The mind of Seth seemed to welcome him joyously. Perhaps his redemption was at hand. At last, the time had come for Seth to return.

Previous Episode   : Wish
Next Episode        :  The Twelve Month Wonder


"I wish I get the opportunity to make the client presentation" Sanket sighed wistfully. Wishes were not horses and even if they were Sanket had no desire to ride horses. He was pretty happy with his car. He knew he would never get an opportunity as long as Apoorva was there. Apoorva was his boss' favorite and he was the one who always got to do the client presentations. And Sanket had to grudgingly admit the presentations were definitely a class act and so far their team had been enjoying a 100% success rate with clients.

Sanket adjusted his seat and leaned forward as Apoorva looked all set to add one more feather to his cap. Apoorva looked smart, cleanly shaven, hair nicely set, and in his dark blue custom made suit. He had already made an impression on the client without uttering a single word. His appearance itself worked wonders. He switched on the projector and his lap top screen came up. there was an open folder with a single file called 'Bank of America Presentation.wma'. Apoorva always added stunning special effects to his presentations. The media file opened and the screen came to life. But the special effects were more stunning than usual. There were a man and woman on the screen. They were in bed - naked. The woman's moans filled the room. Apoorva's face was a sight to see. It took a moment for him to recover and stop Jenna Jameson's  'stunning special effects'. But then the damage was already done. The clients were looking horrified and George their boss' face had turned white. Some of the team members were having a smug satisfied look on their faces. Apparently Apoorva was not very popular.

The clients got up to leave. "You seem to be having issues with the presentation, Mr. Mammen. You probably have a pressing internal discipline issue to attend to. Please attend to that. We have to attend the other vendors' presentations."

Apoorva had lost all his confidence and poise and looked as if he was going to burst into tears any moment.

"I don't know how this happened, George. There has been a mistake somewhere."

"Yeah. It was mistake to have reposed my confidence in you."

"Please, George. Give me a chance."

"Ok. Do you have presentation for Royal Bank of Scotland for the evening ready?"

"Yes, George. Here it is"

The screen came alive again. Apoorva and George looked on with anticipation. Luckily this time the presentation was the right one.

"Sanket, do you have your pen drive?"

"Yes, George"

"Then take the RBS presentation from Apoorva's lap top. You will be presenting today evening."

Apoorva could not believe his ears.

"But George..."

George ignored him and continued to address Sanket

"Apoorva has another engagement this evening. So he will not  be available"

The puzzled look on Apoorva's face clearly indicated that he was not aware of any such engagement. George also probably realized that. So he turned to Apoorva.

"I am scheduling a more important meeting for you today evening- with the anti sexual harassment initiative (ASHI) committee.They will be interested in knowing the reason for the presence of pornographic content on your office lap top"

Apoorva realized it was futile talking to George when he was in this kind of mood.

The presentation in the evening was altogether a different affair. The presentation had been a rousing success and George had asked Sanket to work on a couple of more client presentations coming up the following week.Sanket's fortunes were on the rise and his wishes seem to be coming true.

A month had passed. Apoorva has been let off with a warning. But George would never forgive him for the loss of face he had suffered in front of the clients. Now Sanket was his new blue eyed boy. Sanket had lodged himself firmly in the position hitherto occupied by Apoorva. They say there is a tide in the affairs of men when seized takes him sailing on the high seas. Apoorva asking him to help him connect his laptop to the projector while he had gone for some pre-presentation discussions with George had been the tide in Sanket's life. He had seized it with both hands and now he was sailing on high seas. Wishes never came true by themselves. One had to seize initiative to make wishes come true.

Previous Episode  :  Hidden
Next Episode        :  Return

Web site review:

Reviews have been the most popular genre for bloggers, be it review of books, movies, gadgets, tourism, websites or other blogs. Blogs specializing in particular kind of reviews are most popular too as it is very useful and informative. Somehow I have so far not got into reviews much expect for reviews of a couple of books and movies. And those were critical reviews But I guess there is a first time for everything. So here is my first factual review meant to showcase a website run by a close friend of mine, a person very passionate about ancient Indian culture and traditions.

The website is meant to be one point of contact for Online Pooja  bookings, Astrology Predictions, Online Classes, Vedic Homams & Yantras. Right now one has a choice of over 60 different poojas that can be ordered online covering almost all popular temples in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. Pooja rates vary from 500 to 1000 Rs. The site also has videos of some of the Pujas being performed from earlier offerings in case someone wants to see how the Pooja will be performed. 

In the Astro Counselling section, the site has 9 offerings as of now: Career Report, Complete Horoscope Analysis Report, Computer Horoscope, Financial Report, Health Report, Horoscope matching - computer generated, Horoscope matching - Detailed Analysis, Marriage and Marital Life Analysis Report and Prashna - Ask your question. The prices vary from as low as 100 Rs up to Rs. 3000 based on the scope of services requested.

Yantras were something new I was introduced to in this site. As per the definition on the site "Yantras are sacred amulets prepared as per scriptural injunctions given in the Tantra texts. They are then worshipped and energised in a temple for a minimum of 15 days with the chanting of the appropriate mantra associated with that yantra and its presiding deity. Some Yantras are placed in the home or office at the altar and worshipped regularly. Yantras drawn on thin plate can be folded or embedded in a silver or gold locket to be worn on the neck or tied on the arm with a sacred thread of specified colour such as red, yellow or black etc" The site offers Yantras for avoiding accidents, for education, for appeasing specific planets, to overcome enmity, for wealth and prosperity, to overcome terminal illnesses, for progeny, marriage and career.

Overall the website is a reliable solution for people who have faith in these ancient Indian traditions and would like to have ritual performed. One no longer has to be beguiled by charlatans on the roadside and be assured that the requested rites will be performed as per the scriptures. Of course the effectiveness of the respective ritual in accomplishing the desired result will depend on faith. After all every religion has a mystic side to it that works on faith that still lies outside the horizon of present day science.  So anyone interested can check out the wesbite here

The wesbsite also has an accompanying blog that gives interesting information regarding ancient temples and the significance of some of the ancient traditions. Even if one is not in interested in any of the products , one can visit the blog to get to know some interesting things about Indian culture. 

Love & Indian Society

Love has been a four lettered word in conservative Indian households for more reasons than just the actual letter count. But that was 30 years back. Things have been changing rapidly with the onset of globalization. But India is a complex multi layered society with the changes penetrating at varied extent at different strata levels in an already highly heterogeneous society. This land has a unique heritage of Kamastutra, Buddha’s ideals of celibacy and monasticism, Islamic ideals of protecting the women’s modesty and the Victorian hypocrisy. So it would really not be fair to present a single unified view point as Indian society’s attitude towards love. Nor would the limited space afforded by a blog offer sufficient space to do full justice to the various facets. So what I would attempt is to present how a typical conformist individual from a conservative middle class family would find love. I have tried to use the medium of English nursery rhymes to portray the same to keep the narrative a bit lively.

Let us start where it all begins: when the parents feel their children have reached marriageable age.

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said 'What a good boy am I”

At this stage, the boy and girls are rather naïve and obedient. Or at least the parents expect them to be so. At this point, the process begins. The parents approach a matchmaker.

Match maker, Match Maker, where have you been?
I've been down to Chennai to visit the girls’ dad keen.
Match maker, Match Maker, what did you there?
I frightened a little girl, under her chair

Once the match maker finds a match, the parents of the boy and the girl interact.

Bah, Bah a black Sheep,
Have you any Wool?
Yes merry have I,
Three Bags full,
One for my master,
One for my Dame,
One for the little Boy
That lives down the lane

The black sheep (the girl’s dad) promises goodies for the master (the boy’s dad), the dame (the boy’s mom) and the little boy who lives down the lane. (The bridegroom) Next it is time to introduce another key actor in the process: the astrologer.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high, 
Like a diamond in the sky

The astrologer consults the stars and decides if the stars want the marriage to take place or not and on what date and time. With this done, we move to the next phase: the girl and the boy begin to interact over the phone. The girl is very curious about her future husband.

Johnny Johnny
Yes papa 
No papa. 
No papa
Ha ha ha

I would like to mention here that in some of the south Indian states, young women are addressed as papa. Once this phase gets over, we approach the actual day of the marriage.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again

On the day of the wedding the bridegroom would be placed on the marriage altar in front of the fire place like Humpty Dumpty. And who said one can only fall in love? One can fall in marriage as well. Once he is into it, his whole life changes and no one can put him together again. With the marriage done, the girls’ parents sadly bid farewell to their daughter.

Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,
And can't tell where to find them;
Leave them alone, And they'll come home,
Wagging their tails behind them

The girls’ parents are left feeling like Little Bo-Peep having lost their daughter as the daughter heads for the honeymoon with her husband.

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.

With the budgetary constraints of a middle class family, the honeymoon can be a bit too adventurous at times and the newly married Jack and Jill may have to overcome quite some obstacles. And then tiding through various obstacles they manage to sail through one full year.

Mary had a little lamb,
little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
whose fleece was white as snow.

The stork comes and delivers the little lamb to the family as love finally begins to blossom between the couple.

With such a long and elaborate pre love process, no wonder from here on love has only one direction to go: up. That is why here marriages still last a life time unlike the west, where people change spouses like shoes. With all its weaknesses and flaws, one must admit the Indian arranged marriage system has been somehow working and millions of people still find love through this system: a love that lasts a lifetime.

Related Post: Great Indian Bride Hunt

Why give a damn to T20 World Cup?

So India repeats its dismal performance in world cup, eh? Players seem to care more about IPL? So what should we do? How to make players more interested in world cup than IPL? Before trying to answer that, let us consider if that is the right question to be asking. Instead let us ask why should players be more interested in Twenty Twenty World Cup. As a spectator ask yourself, which was more entertaining - IPL or twenty twenty world cup? Twenty twenty world cup is just another drab event. All of us have to support the same team. Most of us except the die hard cricket enthusiasts are uninterested in matches India does not play. Zero glamor quotient. Compare it to IPL. Even within your family, you can be supporting two different teams. You don't have natural loyalties to any particular team. So most of us end up watching all the matches. Even if our favorite team looses, we can support the next favorite team. And then we have the extra X-Factor from Bollywood. And then you the other frills such as being able to watch the matches in your own city in the stadium environment and matches screened at film halls in 3 D.

Sportsmen are but basically entertainers and they get paid for the entertainment they give. So what is wrong if they prefer to reserve their best performance for the tournament that gives better entertainment to their country men? And as far as national pride etc. goes, we have one day and test cricket for that. Why one more form of cricket for the same? I also fail to understand why cricketers are not seen as what they are - entertainers and instead given the high pedestal of national heroes.Even if India were to become no.1 in all forms of cricket, what is the great national pride in being no. 1 in a sport that most of the important countries of the world do not play. If it were soccer or tennis, which almost every important country in the world plays or Olympics, then we can talk about national pride in besting all other nations of the world in at least one sphere? But cricket ! Give me a break. Let us acknowledge cricket for what it is - just entertainment and enjoy it in the form that gives us maximum entertainment which is of course IPL and appreciate the players who gave us those few weeks of fun and escape from the rigors of day to day life instead of blaming them for their world cup performance.

Related Post: Cricket me: My Trysts with India's National Passion


Very often we feel frustrated with our work and lives. often comparing ourselves with others. This poem tries to bring out a similar feeling of a court jester from medieval times also known as fool.

1. The King and the Fool

In a land far far away, a time long long ago,                          
Of regal blood of the wise ones of the lore,
Of might and foresight, but no trace of ego,
Reigned a king a reign of prosperity galore.                

The king's court adorned one score and one more,
Master of art and craft, of the word and of sword,
Of healing and dealing; those of wealth and stealth,
But the one the ruler's heart doth rule was the fool.                    

Of heart pure, the fool; Of his loyalty, very sure,the king;
Merry the tunes from his lute, astute the wit in his verse;
Doth one and all in his art, not just revels, reveals also he,
The truth, through his foolery, that they fear to bring forth.

2. A Fool's Lament

Inky stinky hankie, a king had a donkey;
To the kingdom's fortunes hold I no key;
The cow even, can jump over the moon;
The fool uneven, is but a stupid old loon.

Not a healer of wounds am I, an interpreter of maladies;
Not the master of sounds am I, a composer of melodies;
Not a general vanquishing foes am I, a veteran of wars;        
Not a merchant sailing the seas am I, a trader of wares.

Not much learning have I, just a heart full of yearning;
No fame have I, just for seekers of mirth a fair game;
Nor gold and lands have I, just a pair of funny hands;
No influence have I, just a tiresome  life of diffidence.

This life pell-mell hell, the fool fell in a well.
A fool from his folly yell only a death knell.
The land of angels, of eternal bliss and joy,
Is calling; I shall no longer be a court's toy. 

3. A King's Lament

Over the entire realm a dark shadow cast,
For dear fool, thou hath ceased to amuse.
Over time shall memories of thine jest last.
Beloved child of Thalia, of comedy, muse.

Greater the need for healing, hearts laden with sorrow.
Sweeter than divinest music, melody of merry laughter.
Sharper than the sharpest saber, wit of the clever fool.
Rarer than egg sized rubies, hidden words of wisdom.

What learning can teach a rustic fool his native wisdom?
What fame can win a place in the heart of the emperor?
What wealth can buy one wisecrack or a pun, random?
What influence can, the control over a laughter, mirror?

Wisdom had you deserted, my friend.
Else, would you your heart have rend?
For is no trade in itself, small or great.
In his own mind, man decides his fate.

Related Post: Three things I want to change: I, me and myself

Writer’s Notes :
The King and the Fool creates the setting. The first stanza shows the king to be a wise and able ruler like Akbar or Ashoka. Second paragraph shows the king’s court and the 21 talented and/or powerful courtiers like the 9 gems in Akbar’s court and the high place ‘The Fool’ holds in the king’s hear among this talented bunch. Third paragraph introduces the Fool and his valuable contributions.
Fool’s Lament is described by the Fool. The first stanza shows a broken heart amidst the foolery. Thats why mixture of sad and nonsensical lines.The second stanza the Fool compares himself with other courtiers, here a doctor, a musician, a warrior and a merchant. Third stanza the fool decries his worthlessness saying he has no fame, wealth, power or education, the things most people value. Final stanza indicates his committing suicide. Thats why his words of foolery get nonsensical in a hysterical sense.
The King’s Lament is the King’s reaction to the fool’s death. The first stanza indicates the loss the king feels and the high esteem he has for the Fool. The second and third stanzas are partners to the second and third stanzas in The Fool’s Lament. Each line in King’s Lament has the answer to the respective line in The Fool’s Lament. In the last stanza the King summarizes the moral of the whole poem with a few final words of wisdom.

Confessions of a writer wannabe

I have had different ambitions at different points in life but to become a writer was never one of them.But seeing my passion for reading, my friends in different stages of life had suggested I try a hand at writing. After resisting for a long time, I finally decided to throw my hat into the ring and started this blog in April 2008. Though I am still even nowhere near becoming a professional writer, my journey into the world of writing so far has been fascinating nonetheless. So as my blog is nearing its second Birthday, I wanted to reflect upon my experiments with writing.

When you begin to start writing the easiest thing to write about are opinions. As the crude saying goes opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and they all stink. The saying might be a bit harsh but giving opinions is the easiest thing. The key things to take care in expressing opinions is to structure ideas in a logical flow and to back your arguments with sound examples. Some humor and an anecdote can add a bit of spice to the otherwise bland piece. The main challenge with these type of writings is that it usually matters more who is saying than what is being said. When Brahma Chellaney the professor of strategic studies at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi talks about India's foreign policy, he has credibility. When an obscure blogger who calls himself 'The Fool' talks about China's intentions and why India should not be talking to Pakistan, nobody cares.

Once one gets into writing grove, personal experiences are the next easiest. This is more difficult than opinions however  because one would have to use words to bring to life the green experiences in one's mind.Unless one has a way with words, some of experiences that feel so exciting to oneself may look mundane to the reader. In this type of writing, there is a risk that one might go overboard and share too personal experiences. Everyone likes to peer into other people's lives. That is the core reason for people's love of tabloids, gossip and reality shows. So one might end up putting up one's own personal life on the stands for entertainment. The writer's purpose is to entertain with his writing and not to sell out the personal moments of one's life. So utmost caution is needed to ensure that the writer's description of an event is the source of entertainment and not the personal details.And the other drawback is there is only a finite number of interesting experiences one can draw upon and soon they run out. Take Chetan Bhagat for instance. His works based on personal experiences - '5 point someone' and 'Two states' were the most popular ones. Now that he has exhausted personal experiences, I wonder what he is going to come up with next. Maybe one on the world of investment banking. After that, what next?

One of the key components of any story is perspective. In real stories the difference in perspectives are subtle. But it is easy to understand perspective if one were to consider perspectives that are really divergent. I experimented with really skewed perspectives such as an ordinary event in present day viewed by a person from the past or the future, a film hero as a difficult company CEO, the election manifesto of a cow belt politician with ludicrously regressive ideas etc.

The most difficult aspect of writing is creating a completely imaginary story totally consistent within itself. It will have a healthy mix of different pieces from author's personal experiences blended with ideas from other works that the author might have read cemented together by the author's imagination. In doing this one has to freshly create the setting, the characters and the events and ensure consistency. For the past 2 years I have been waiting for my writing to gain sufficient maturity before I venture on a full length short story. Recently I came across a online story writing contest. I decided to take that opportunity to make my first foray into the field of short story writing.I managed to put together 'The Lonely Bus Stand' and 'Mohiniattam'.

Going ahead if I am able to manage these stories well, the ultimate challenge would be science fiction and fantasy stories. Whereas in regular stories, one tends to take the basic laws of the world as constant,in fantasy and science fiction one gets to vary them as well and see how that affects the interaction between characters and the event possibilities. Novels of course are a different league and writing an grand epic like 'Lord of the Rings' would be a dream for even established best selling authors.

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Reservations Policy : My views

Reservation has been a bone of contention in our country from the time of independence. There have been views for and against. As they say opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one. I too seem to have an opinion on this one and what better dump for my opinions than my personal blog. So here goes.

Lot of people totally oppose any kind of reservation except railway ticket reservations. I am not really in the same train compartment as them. I rather believe affirmative action in form of reservation can be a positive social force but am totally against the unscientific and crude way in which it is being implemented. Let me first present the reasons why I support reservation and then the way I believe is the right way to do it and conclude pointing out what is wrong in the way it is currently being done.

A big nation like India is a conglomerate of multiple social groups. And it is a fact that people like to stay within their social groups and their future is tied to that of their social group. Clearly some social groups have managed to acquire a greater share of opportunities than others and try to exclude members of other groups. In this situation, it is imperative for the government to intervene to ensure a fair representation for all groups across spheres in order to ensure in the long run the group identities disappear and there is only a national identity. This can happen only if members of different group get to work with each other and interact across spheres. The easiest way to achieve this is reservation.

Having given my justification for reservation let me move on to what I think is the best way to do it. There should do a holistic nationwide survey to see what the social groups exist in the country. Government spends so much money on so many other things. I am sure they can spend money on this. This may also be an opportunity to give at least temporary employment to thousands of unemployed youth. This survey should give accurate figures of what the logical social groups are and what percentage of population belongs to these groups and what is their percentage representation in different spheres such as schools, colleges, government jobs, parliament, administrative service, white collar private jobs, blue collar private jobs etc. It will show which groups have representation that is less than their percentage population. All these groups should get reservation in the respective sphere equal to 50% of their population percentage. Say Muslims are identified as a social group and they constitute 18% of the population but in various spheres they are found to be less than 16-17% (90% of 18%), then they should be given a 9% reservation. This should be evaluated every 5 years and continued till they reach the 16-17% mark. They should define a creamy layer and exclude them from reservation. They should set minimum entry criteria. If enough candidates from the social group are not found satisfying minimum criteria they should open the seats to the creamy layer of the same group. That way it will be a focused and scientifically controlled program.

Now I will point out the flaws in the current system. Firstly one does not know if the caste based system represents the entire ground reality on social grouping. The next flaw is that they have broad grouping called OBC, SC/ST which may not represent the actual social groups which may result in certain groups within SC/ST or OBC garnering greater share of the opportunities than what their numbers mandate while others going unrepresented. Third the percentage are all arbitrary and do not have a basis on accurate data. And last but not the least, the way it is being implemented. An issue that has to be handled sensitively has been politicized a lot and given an image of caste struggle against oppression. Some leaders have even begun to give an angle of revenge to right historic wrongs against their social groups. So instead of seeking to destroy social groupings, reservations have become a tool for accentuating the social groupings. Leaders have emerged for every group and claim to fight for increasing the group's rights and share of opportunities. This has pitted one group against another and it is going to lead to an endless struggle with no resolution in sight.

For the solution described here to be put into action, one needs a strong single party government at the center with a vision and a true desire to work for the country's progress. The perceptive reader may point one flaw in the system I have mentioned- it gives incentives for certain social groups to increase their population and if social groups are based on religion to promote conversion. To avoid that, the government should bring strong population control laws and laws against any opportunistic or forced conversions.

That is my view on reservations.  I look forward to any arguments with a strong basis in reason against my views.

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Swami Nityananda incident : A few uncomfortable questions

The scandal involving Swami Nityananda has gripped public attention for the past 3-4 days. The TV channels are all abuzz with discussions regarding fake God men. But to me it raised a few uncomfortable questions of a different nature regarding the state of the country.

First let us see the facts of the case. What we have seen is a television footing of a so called saint in compromising positions with an actress. Let us assume for a moment that the video was not doctored. In that case what right does a public media have to air a video of private moments between two consenting adults? And then the reactions. So called members of public vandalizing the ashram property and government instituting probes to confiscate his wealth. All this happening within 2-3 days. Doesn't all this smell fishy? Consider some of the other incidents involving other individuals as a case in contrast.

We all have heard of the case of this senior police officer who molested a young girl and then continue harassing her ultimately leading to her suicide. Now 18 years after the incident, inspite of being convicted by CBI of at least the molestation, the man is roaming free. Except for a mentally deranged youth from Ahmedabad, no members of public attempted to cause him any harm nor is the government talking of confiscating his property. Then there is this case of the film star, who has reportedly raped his maid servant and medical tests have at least proven the maid servant's assertion of him having had sex with her. But no mob seems to be interested in attacking him or the government in seizing his property. Instead he is still continuing to act and I doubt if the public will boycott his films. And then we have this corporate honcho who is supposed to have embezzled millions of Rupees of shareholder money and adversely affected the life of so many of his employees. I don't see any move from the government to confiscate his wealth and give it back to the shareholders and employees. One can keep going over more and more such examples. And I have not even talked about politicians. Let us leave them aside for they are above law.

And as far as prosecuting him goes, under what law has he done something illegal? Are there Sanyasin law boards laying down what is right and what is wrong for a Sanyasi similar to Hindu and Muslim law boards. Talking of which I can't help but think about the hypocrisy of these religion specific laws. Whereas a man is allowed to marry more than one woman because his religion allows, he is not penalized for consuming alcohol which the same religion considers as one of the 70 deadliest sins. One member of the community does not receive any punishment after killing a person driving a vehicle drunk. Even if that is acceptable, what does one say about him continuing to drink even 7 years after the incident? Let him walk free and act in films and make money. But can't he at least be handed over to his religious leaders for a public flogging every time he drinks?

And then assuming the government go ahead and seize his property. What are they planning to do with it? Trace all the donors and give them back their money? After all aren't they the affected property if it is taken as a case of cheating? Or would there be well defined poverty alleviation programs for which the government would use the money? Or at least give it to the poor chief minister of a northern state who having spent all the state funds for building statues and memorials is desperately in need of funds to support stampede victims? I doubt. I am sure we will never hear what happened to all the seized wealth and no one will ask.

Thinking of all this, I begin to wonder if there is really a rule of law in this country. I don't think one needs to look far to see why Naxals and Jehadis are getting public support.As far as the case of Swami Nityananda goes, I don't know if Nityananda is genuine or a fraud and what will be the final outcome. Nor do I care. If he is a fraud, there are so many in the country and in the world. One more or one less hardly makes a difference. If he is genuine, I am sure he will happily accept his fate like the great martyrs and I am sure martyr's sacrifices ultimately do not go waste.

A reader who has read up to here may be tempted to ask "Ok. We accept all that you have said. But what is the takeaway?" Something similar to what my first manager asked me "Why do you always come to me with problems? Why not you come with solutions instead?' I have thought about a few solutions. Most of them may seem crazy and otherworldly. Maybe I will pen them down in my blog sometime. But how to make them actionable on ground, I still have not worked out. Maybe one day I will. As of now I only crib and theorize in air. If any of my regular readers feel these kind of ramblings have no value add, do post your views on the blog. Probably I will steer clear of such topics in future. After all I write to be read and only comments will let me know what will be read and what will not.

Chicken Soup for the soul from Bollywood

There are movies that make you laugh for 3 hours, temporarily forgetting all your worries. Then there are movies that transport you into a different world giving you an out of the body experience. And then there are those that elevate your whole spirit to a different level. Of the first and second kind, I can think of plenty of Bollywood movies. But of the third kind the ones I can recollect even Ekalavya can count on the fingers of one hand even after gifting away the thumb to his Guru. In this time when people are listing out their top 100 movies of all times, top 75 movies of the decade, top 10 movies of the year etc., I lay before you the 4 Hindi movies that really moved me. In my mind these 4 movies stand far apart from the rest, the only ones that could really evoke strong feelings in me.

Interestingly at a conceptual level, all the four movies have exactly the same theme – ordinary people trying to play the part of much nobler person and in the process undergoing a transformation ascending to live up to the high standards of the person they are trying to emulate. The four movies I am talking about are Guide (1965), Main Azad Hoon (1989), Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006) and Rang De Basanti(2006). The protagonists of all 4 movies are ordinary people. A lovelorn tourist guide, a penniless vagabond, a local ruffian and a group of fun loving youth. Circumstances force them to act out parts mainly for selfish reasons - women and money. The guide becomes a saint and the vagabond a social revolutionary for the want of money. The ruffian becomes a Gandhian and the youth freedom fighters for the want of a lady’s approval. These men set out to take on heroic roles. But they soon discover that instead the roles have take them on. As they are thrown into situations that call for heroes, these pretenders rise to the occasion and stand up to be counted as true heroes: leaders in the true sense of the word, who put society above self. A drought in the village gives the guide an opportunity to become a true saint fasting for 12 days to pray for rains sacrificing his life in the process. The plight of the poor farmers and factory workers converts the vagabond into a true social revolutionary who gives up his life willingly for their cause. The ruffian becomes a true Gandhian who uses Gandhiji's ideals to defeat the ploys of a corrupt builder. The death of a friend, a patriotic pilot transforms the fun loving youth into freedom fighters who lay down their lives for their country in their fight against corruption.

Movies such as these remind us ordinary people that there is more to life than our mundane day to day problems. Maybe one or two movies like that won’t immediately transform us. But definitely the idea is seeded. Who knows? The idea might slowly take root and begin to grow and one day we might blossom as full blown heroes. Till then we can only watch such films, get inspired and pretend to be heroes like the protagonists of the movies. Slowly we might imbibe the qualities of who we are pretending to be and one day when the situation arises, we could also have our day of glory. Till then we can only ‘stand and wait’ as Milton says, concluding his poem ‘On his blindness’.

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The curious Incident of the Dog in the Day-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a 2003 novel by British writer Mark Haddon. It is the story of a boy with autism who investigates the death of a dog. The title came from a statement made by Sherlock Holmes in the story 'Silver Blaze' about a dog that did nothing when an intruder entered the house. Curiously enough even as I am writing this piece,the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ movie has just been released and ‘My Name is Khan’, a movie where the hero is autistic is planned to be released soon. However my intent is not to review either of the movies. Incidentally the hero of the last movie I reviewed ‘3 idots’: Aamir Khan has named his dog Sharukh after the actor starring in 'My Name is Khan'. Goes to show how inter connected the world is.

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth;" writes Robert Frost in his poem ‘The Road Not Taken’. I was in a similar situation. Just that there were three roads instead of two. And the wood consisted of just a single Banyan tree plumb at the junction of the three roads. And to say the truth, I did not fancy any of the three roads, one lined with small shops selling groceries, hard ware and other odd and ends, one lined with small shanties and the third accompanying a gutter flowing with drain water sending out foul odors. The one interesting to this narrative however is the one with the shanties. For outside one of these shanties was the incident that made me curious.

Just outside one of the shanties was an electric pole and to the pole was tied a dog. Whether I passed through at dawn or dusk, noon or night, the dog was always there tied to the pole. The dog itself was none too interesting; just a mongrel, though a pretty clean one at that and could almost be called cute. Nor was the rope by which it was tied: just a normal jute rope. But what was curious was the fact that one would keep a member of the canine race tied up like that day and night. The dog did not look too dangerous and the only thing freely available to all citizens of our country was available to all dogs in general as well: freedom. In fact most dogs in the country have access to food and shelter as well, something that many of their human counterparts lack. But who said food and shelter are the most important things in life? Aren't there better things in life such as freedom and the right to vote for our favorite politician?

But we are not discussing politicians here. We are discussing dogs. So let’s get back to the topic at hand. What could be the reason for the dog to be kept tied up that way? Could the dog be a demon in disguise: a shape changing monster? And the rope an enchanted one cast by a sorcerer to keep the creature bound? Are the shanties and shops and Banyan trees just a facade to hide a school of witch craft and magic? Have I stumbled upon India's own Hogwarts? Maybe the animal in question is not a dog but actually a dragon. After all one should let sleeping dogs lie and never tickle a sleeping dragon. Or alternatively the dog could be a princess enchanted and held captive by a witch living in the shanty. This is getting interesting, isn’t it? It could very well be the theme for Danny Boyle's next movie 'Slum Bitch Billionaire'.

But wait. I think we have dwelt too deep into the realms of superstition and irrationality. Let’s return to the path of rationality and scientific temper. Talking of which I have often wondered what is scientific temper. I remember one of our lady politicians has had acid flung on the face of an IAS officer who had earned her displeasure. Would that qualify as a classic example of display of scientific temper? Hold on for a minute. I need to remind myself that we are discussing dogs here and not politicians. So taking a more scientific view point, this dog could be an alien that has tried to infiltrate our beloved planet. Our ever watchful Men in Black must have intercepted it and be holding it captive. Let us move on from science fiction to real science. Maybe it is a Schrodinger's dog that can be alive and dead at the same time unless constantly under observation. So the owners might have tied it up to ensure constant surveillance to prevent it from going from the state of being alive to the state of being dead between two successive observations .

Let us leave aside these conjectures and try to analyze the issue from the first principles applying pure logic. After all what good is a hypothesis that can’t be proved. What do people try to safeguard? Things those are valuable. So if we prove that the dog is precious then we have the valid reason for keeping it locked up. Here goes the logic. Dog is man's best friend. Diamonds are a woman's best friends. Both men and women are humans. Diamonds are precious. Hence dogs are precious. QED. Not so fast. We still have the anomaly to this theory. What about other stray dogs roaming freely. The free dog anomaly can be accepted if we find at least one diamond lying around in a trash bin. But I am not too enthusiastic going around sniffing trash bins to discover diamonds. That is the jobs of stray dogs (sniffing trash bins) and Professor Arindam Choudary (Discovering the Diamond in You).

Maybe instead of breaking my head over the issue I must take the government's help. What about a petition under RTI (Right to Information Act)? But then I am getting an ominous feeling about how this is going to fan out. The government would establish a commission under a retired judge who would spend 17 years conducting enquires and come up with a 1000 pages report that proves comprehensively that the animal in question is indeed a dog and that circumstantial evidence seem to indicate that the animal was kept tied up. And a dog's life being around 15 years, the animal would probably even be dead by then. If I wanted quick action I should probably get in touch with Maneka Gandhi and her people for animals brigade. They would just cut the Gordian knot. Here the Gordian knot would mean the knot around the dog's neck. The dog would be freed but the mystery would remain unsolved.

I still pass by the Banyan tree. The shanties are still there as are the shops. The dog can still be seen tied outside. The mystery still remains. Perhaps some mysteries in life are not meant to be solved. They are just there to intrigue mankind and simulate his thinking process. Thank God for these small mercies. How mundane and humdrum life would be without them.

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The Aman Ki Asha Paradox

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that certain pairs of physical properties, like position and momentum, cannot both be known to arbitrary precision. Probably peace and friendship are two such properties in the context of India Pakistan relationship that are ideal candidates for the uncertainly principle. If you have one, you cannot have the other. If one were to study the past 40 years of Indo-Pakistan relations one can see every friendship overture has been accompanied by incidents of open aggression or terrorist attacks that distort peace. The most peaceful times have been those of intense diplomatic hostility. Wonder why Indian Government and media refuse to acknowledge something that is staring them in the face and keep talking of friendship and diplomacy. The Times of India Group's Aman Ki Asha being the latest in the series of Quixotic ventures or is it just an instance of media knowingly sacrificing national interest for commercial gains? I feel India should take a leaf out of China's book and learn how to handle Pakistan.Though I sympathize with the Tibetans, from a strategic perspective I admire the way China has handled Dalai Lama, Taiwan and the Uyghur.

Before I precede any further I guess I need to justify why I feel it is pointless talking to Pakistan. First and foremost is the very ideology of Pakistan’s formation. Pakistan was formed based on the belief that Muslims cannot live harmoniously under the Indian State. So as long as there is significant number of Muslims in India, the Pakistan’s existential ideology would imply that a huge number of Muslims are being subject to a raw deal in India. If Pakistan were to acknowledge that Muslims live comfortably in India, that would trigger an existential crisis for them. So that itself puts India and Pakistan as adversarial states at a basic level. Then let us move on to the immediate and proximate issue of Kashmir. I wonder what the people talking about talks on Kashmir are thinking. Are they magicians looking to pull out a solution from thin air where there is none? I seriously wonder what is there to talk. India believes Kashmir is an integral part of itself. Pakistan does not. That’s about it. What else is there to talk? And last but not the least, what is this Pakistan we are wanting to talk to? Musharraf? Zardari? Nawaz Sharif? 15 years back, Musharraf was a nobody; Nawaz Sharif was in charge; Zardari in jail. 10 years back, Musharaf was in charge; Nawaz Sharif in exile; Zardari a nobody. Today Musharraf is in exile; Nawaz Sharif a nobody; Zardari in charge. Nice musical chair they seem to have been playing! What is the meaning in holding talks with someone who is all likelihood is going to end up in jail or in exile within the next 5 years. Why would we expect his successor to honor his commitments? I hope I do not have to give any more reasons to show talks with Pakistan are pointless. And if we are talking of the common man in Pakistan, I would ask you to get real. From when has the common man started mattering in international relations?

To someone who has been following my argument in the last paragraph, it might seem I might seem like one of those warmongers advocating war against Pakistan. But nothing can be further from truth than that. I am in fact a peace pilgrim who does not even consider war as an option. I felt the whole saber rattling after the Mumbai attacks looked so childish and immature. I wonder what India was trying to achieve. Luckily we had a level headed Manmohan Singh at the helm and better sense prevailed. Definitely war with nuclear armed Pakistan is no solution even if the Mumbai attacks are followed by similar attacks in Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. For war would only mean throwing a million more lives after the hundreds already lost in the terrorist attacks. So the best way would be to prevent such attacks in future through more investment in internal surveillance and focus instead on diplomatic warfare.

I detail below how in my view India’s diplomatic strategy should look like. First of all our borders should be impervious. No trains, buses, flights or any mode of transport to be allowed to or from Pakistan. No trade whatsoever with Pakistan. The Indian embassy in Pakistan and the Pakistani embassy in India should be closed. No Pakistanis to be allowed into India and vice versa. Citizenship of any Indian visiting Pakistan should be cancelled and the person should not be allowed to re-enter India. Indian teams should refuse to play any sports with Pakistan even at neutral venues. India should lobby against inclusion of Pakistan on all international forums. Indian diplomats should not engage in any kinds of courtesy exchange with Pakistani diplomats on any international forums. These kinds of measures will build up the heat on Pakistan and solidify international pressure on Pakistan. If we ourselves are lax in handling Pakistan, the international community will keep aiding Pakistan so that they can prop up their failing state and keep causing trouble to India. We should also try to block any kind of international aid to Pakistan and publicly voice support for any separatist movements in the country.

Hopefully one day Pakistan would crack under pressure and we would have separate countries of Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan that have embarked on a fresh start like Bangladesh and no longer carry the legacy of the partition to deal with. Then we can talk about friendship and peace in the same light.

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3 Idiots - The Fool's Review

What do you get when Munna Bhai starts practicing AynRandgiri instead of Gandhigiri? Phunsuk Wangdu, also known as Rancho, Bollywood's answer to John Galt. Some may feel that it is 15 years too late for Aamir Khan to be playing the college kid. But then this was no ordinary college kid. Rancho, like Ayn Rand’s John Galt and Hoard Roark. is a maverick, a revolutionary, a trend setter .Words that have come to personify Aamir Khan in the recent years. A picture can convey more than 1000 words is an old saying. A brand can convey more than 1000 pictures should be the new saying. So brand Aamir it had to be. And as far as making Aamir look younger, the solution lay in a problem solved by Birbal centuries back. The emperor had asked him to make a line smaller without erasing any part of it. Birbal had immediately proceeded to draw a bigger line next to it to make it look smaller. Similar once you put a portly Madhavan nearing his 40th year next to him, Aamir seems to drop 15 years.

The film has it all - humor, action, drama, romance, songs, a moral and a happy ending. What more can you ask from a film? No wonder it is breaking all box office records. One can wax eloquent about good things in the movie. This so many other reviewers have already done and I doing it again would be as meaningless as the definition of machine given by the character Silencer in the movie. So instead of focusing on the hundred good things I am going to dwell upon the single major flaw that is going to ensure that this film is not going to find it place in eternity. The one slip between the cup and the lip that is going to prevent it from standing up to be counted among the Munna Bhai MBBS’, ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ ,‘Taare Zameen Par’ and others.

What is appreciable about the movie other than the humor is that it tries to convey socially relevant messages. This is something really creditable in this age of meaningless movies such as 'Race', 'Wanted' and 'Rab Ne Banadi Jodi'. But the problem with 3 idiots is it went on to convey more than just one message. In contrast if you see Munna Bhai MBBS, it had a single coherent message - 'A humane approach in dealing with people is more important than technical excellence in one's profession especially in a profession dealing with human lives such as medicine.' Similarly ‘Lage Raho MunnaBhai' highlighted the message of non violence and peaceful resolution of issues given by Mahatma Gandhi. But ‘3 idiots’ gives out at least 3 strongly distinct messages. There is this humanistic message of eternal optimism of 'All is well', probably coming from Raju Hirani, the humanist. Then there is this message riling against the ills of excessive competition and meaningless slogging, probably coming from Chetan Bhagat's original work. And then last but not the least there is this message that one can achieve success by thinking differently from the masses, most likely coming from Aamir Khan.

Before I proceed I would like to take a detour to dwell upon the message that Aamir Kan is trying to convey through his movies. Both in this movie and ‘Taare Zameen Par’, Aamir Khan supposedly tries to convey the message that listening to the dictates of one’s heart is more important than meeting societal norms of success. But then it is clearly not something Aamir Khan an intensively competitive person believes in himself. That’s why Ishan in ‘Taare Zameen Par’ had to win a painting contest to prove his worth. Aamir Khan also had to share the prize with him as Aamir Khan can be second to none, not even in a movie to a character created by him. Similarly in ‘3 Idiots’, Rancho had to stand first in the very flawed education system that the movie tries to deride, win the special pen from the highly competitive Principal and also win the bet with his bête noire Silencer. So his real message is not that success does not matter but that one has to think laterally to achieve success, something that Aamir Khan himself has done successfully to gain an upper hand over his bête noire in real life Sharukh Khan.

So getting back to the topic, we have 3 distinct messages coming from 3 strong personalities, a bit too much for a single 3 hour movie. So to summarize the problem briefly, as they say the name says it all – ‘3 idiots’. As too many cooks spoil the broth, so do too many idiots spoil the movie. Given the limited role played by Madhavan and Sharman, I am inclined to believe Chetan Bhagat and Raju Hirjani are really the other 2 idiots referred to in the movie title. And that was the problem with the movie - Two many idiots

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For whom the bell tolls

A book of faces