Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The koward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!"
                     oscar wilde , the ballad of reading gaol

When was the last that I thought of you...I know not...but am I the one who goes alone on this path...and should I but care only a little for the souls that follow or those as march ahead?

Mode C is a way of life, perhaps my way of life: C for Cool, C for Cold, C for Chaos, C for Calvin. Ultimately, all of it boils down to the way you look at things. Are they not how they are but just how they appear?? No...and yes...Almost all the seriously critical fundamental concepts of life...aren't they just the bogies under Calvin's bed that he is afraid of? Miss Wormwood, Susie, Mom and Dad, and of course above all, Hobbes...aren't they all merely the means that he uses to attack these bogies?

Reflecting on 'living the Calvin way', I have started to believe that life and our reaction to it can only be explained by a number of Calvin and Hobbes strips combined together. The philosophy, as I like to call it, is to know that you are not alone. It is not just my perspective alone that is going to help me fight my bogies. I will be able to inch towards the Calvin way only when I perceive the other perspectives on my way.

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My Past
Loyola High School Patna
Delhi Public School RK Puram
Institute of Technology BHU
Infosys Technologies Ltd
IIM Kozhikode

My Present
Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.

My Future
My Life

Project Nanhi Kali for the girl child

Movie Reviews at Mode C

Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire
Batman Begins
War of the Worlds
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Bunty aur Babli
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Veer Zaara
Phir Milenge
Kyun! Ho Gaya Na
Mujhse Shaadi Karogi
Spider Man 2
Main Hoon Na

Book Reviews at Mode C

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish
The Inscrutable Americans
Harry Potter - Half-Blood Prince
The Monk who sold his Ferrari
Angels and Demons
Life of Pi
The Da Vinci Code
The Tristan Betrayal

IIM Kozhikode Bloggers

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Alok (Class of '05)
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Amit G (Class of '07)
Beena (Class of '08)
Chirantan (Class of '08)
DAR (Class of '07)
Deepak (Class of '05)
Dhananjay (Class of '05)
Divya (Class of '05)
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Firdaus (Class of '07)
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Narayanan (Class of '07)
Manandeep (Class of '08)
Meren (Class of '06)
Nilanjan (Class of '06)
Paromita (Class of '07)
Pragna (Class of '03)
Pranay (Class of '06)
Prashant D (Class of '05)
Prashant JK (Class of '06)
Pratik (Class of '07)
Priya (Class of '06)
Rahul (Class of '08)
Ramesh (Class of '06)
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Tity (Class of '05)
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Other B-school Bloggers

Chandoo (IIM Indore, Class of '06)
Nishith (IIM Lucknow, Class of '06)
Ravi (IIM Ahmedabad, Class of '06)
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Sidin (IIM Ahmedabad, Class of '05)

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Bollywood Blog
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Sepia Mutiny
The Movie Blog
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Innocent...who, me???

The morning class of portfolio management was at 7:00 AM today and after the way Dr. Uday Damodaran had ended yesterday's interesting class in typical Ashok Kumar's Hum Log style (ab tak aapne dekha ki feasible aur efficient frontiers kya hote hain aur kal, kya hota hai optimum region...dekhenge Hum Log :-)), I couldn't have possibly missed today's class. This would logically mean that I should have gone to sleep early enough last night to be able to attend class (even in the condition of being only fitfully awake). Early enough I did about 5 in the morning and before you start saying your prayers for the lost soul that you must think I have become, please do reserve your judgement for a while as I was not, as you might have thought (even for a while), studying.

There were more pressing matters to attend to and the top of them all was the blogosphere, specifically my own blog and that of Aditya aka Indiagenie. It all started with some innocuous (seemingly) comments on the fruitfulness (or the opposite) of putting the movie review of Anniyan on my blog. It also went on to discuss the changes that have come in Indiagenie's blog and actual deliberations on writing a term paper in the final term (in Human Resources stream, for those who are interested) on the psychology behind blogs and bloggers.

Regarding my blog (which is what I am interested in right now), while one opinion maintained that the Anniyan review was just a filler and had it been the older Mode C, either the review would not have appeared at all (for no lack of bloggable masala in my life) or even if it had, the treatment would certainly have been different from what I have been dishing out over the last few movie reviews that I have daringly (because of my incapacity to review, of course) put my hands in.

This difference, it was said, is most obvious in the increasing mention and discussion of technical aspects of the movie in my reviews and not, as earlier, of what I personally liked or disliked about the movie. In effect, I have been playing to the audience which I did not do earlier...or so was mentioned. Also, doing a review of Anniyan and neglecting a movie like Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi that would have been normally closer to my heart and home and emotions, consequently, just goes on to show how much have I been able to change the nature of my blog. It is no longer, they say, my space but has become what others would like to read.

The blog posts, too have become of a particular type and although it was admitted that it is still difficult to predict what is going to come next, the style has become fraught with filters...filters that decide what I am going to write and what I am not, thus killing the freshness, exuberation, joy, sorrow, and the innocence that Mode C had when it was unaffected and raw. In fact, the only instances when I came close to the earlier Mode C lately, it was said, was when I put down the posts about the long face and the why not the trip (the regular readers, if any, might remember the said posts).

Though I did disagree to a lot of points that were mentioned quite particularly, right now I will not like to go into the arguments that I put forth. Rather, I just want to jot down a few pointers on what I believe most of the bloggers feel when they start a blog and sustain it through highs and lows of their lives and in the process, realize the consequences of their writings on their own and their close ones' psyche.

First off, it is naive to think that a blogger does not realize the consequence of what he/she is writing. Even when (s)he is writing something scathingly bad or excruciatingly sweet about somebody, (s)he knows what that can lead to and before writing, (s)he weighs these consequences with his/her acceptance threshold. (S)he always asks, "Is this something I can afford to put up?". The answer depends largely on the emotional state of the person at the time being. If the person has not had the realization dawn on him that the blog that (s)he is writing can touch more chords than (s)he had imagined when (s)he started the blog, the threshold will obviously be quite high and the consequences will not matter. A more mature blogger, however, will not write something similar as his/her threshold might be quite low (due to experiences, reflections et al).

This, therefore, means that the blogger has not changed any filters or applied any new ones...filters are the same old ones, re-calibrated. Once I say this, however, one logical and I would say prejudiced opinion would be that the blog posts are driven by the realization of these consequences and more often than not, consequences drive what is written and not vice-versa. I would beg to differ and though I do accept that at times, a blog does become a medium of conveying your message but all the same, there is a very thin line between trying to modify readers' perception intentionally on one hand, and expression of self on the other.

To bring this discussion to a logical conclusion, I would like to say something fitting even though I don't remember if I was able to do something like this so forcefully in the last night's discussion but then that is one of the benefits of writing a blog...unless the comments start coming, no one can dispute you. As for the blog, therefore, as a final remark, I do maintain that most of the sensitive (and sensible) bloggers (not that I claim to be one) first think on what they want to write and then look at the consequences as far as they can, in line with their emotional maturity at the point in time. It does not happen the other way around unless one is really out to gain brownie points by praising someone to the hilt or be extremely vengeful by washing someone's underwear in public.

Posted at 10:37 am by Nitai

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Monday, July 11, 2005
Is it wrong to be right?

He who comes from Hell
is not afraid of the ashes

Shankar, One of the costliest directors in Indian cinema, brings another of his opulent movies to the screens and like previous occasions, seems to have succeeded this time, too. Right from re-creating the famous Thiyagaraja Festival to shooting the songs in Amsterdam and getting the best of visual effects for the action sequences, there has been no stone left unturned in Anniyan. A progressive idea but deep rooted in the Indian psyche is the formula that Shankar has been using for a long time. Be it Boyz, Gentleman or Anniyan, the director has kept at what he does best, and has come on the tops time and again.

Anniyan, literally translated as "The Unknown" is the story of Ramanujam aka Nambi (Vikram, in a terrific performance) who is a straight laced Brahmin lawyer who believes in principles and doing things the right way...always. As expected, he does not get his way too often and even his close friends rubbish his good ideas. Nandini (Sada, in a rather plain appearance and without much scope of a performance), the neighborhood girl he loves, does not find him attractive and is fed up of him being a stickler of rules. Having seen his sister die in childhood due to negligence of the electricity department and having grown seeing his father's helplessness in not being able to change the world all alone, Ambi's frustration with the system has been building up for quite some time.

The widespread corruption, small things that each one of us do to avoid unpleasantness, get the work done, etc are all observed by Ambi whose silent anger with it all makes him turn into Anniyan, the avenger who does not differentiate between wrongs on the basis of their intensity. Whatever is wrong is punished by Anniyan, whether it is the person who refused his taxi to be used for getting an injured person to the hospital or the contractor who supplies sub-standard food to the railways. Anniyan follows the Vishnu Puraanas to find ways and means to punish the wrong-doers as he puts himself into Yama's shoes and brings hell's fury on to the earth.

Once bitten by the Multiple personality Disorder bug, Ambi does not waste time in changing to the fashionable Remo, who is a ramp model and has no problems in wooing Nandini off her feet. Also, the expensive song and dance routines are facilitated by the arrival of this character and some of the songs (especially "Remo Remo" and "Nokia") do deserve the focus for their shear brilliance of execution, if not anything else.

In the midst of all the executionary powers that Anniyan has taken over, there is minor resistance, as well. The police officer (played by Prakash Raj rather effectively) who is handling the case is as puzzled by the entire episode as the common folk but that is only till he starts using the latest techniques like DNA tests to find the identity of the cruel judge that Anniyan is to him. By the time he gets to Anniyan, however, the movie is almost over but for the climax which has to be seen to be appreciated properly. Kill Bill and Matrix combined, the action sequences can give any movie a run for its money and even the logical conclusion to the movie's central theme which is a relief, in a way, after seeing so many good ideas getting undone due to a weak climax.

The movie can truly be said to be Vikram's best performance till date. Right from the Undertaker style get-up Anniyan to the dashing Remo, Vikram is in his dream performance. The ever flexible changes of character that he performs towards the climax are really full of good stuff. Sada looks amazingly good in the songs but minus that, her role is rather wasted not just due to the story's demands but also due to a weak performance. Rest of the actors do not have much to do in terms of the stage presence but of the support cast, Prakash Raj as the police officer impresses with his expressions, both when he investigates the case as disguised prankster as well as when personal angle comes into the case after Anniyan murders his brother.

Shankar is in his element as usual and performs an all round job. With all ingredients of a masala film, the treatment is appropriate, too. Although the social message is all there and the climax has Vikram waxing eloquent about why we should all stop doing even small things wrongly, but in the process, the director has not lost sight of his focus, an out-and-out commercial venture. Cinematography, aided by the brilliant action, stunt, and dance choreography is a treat to the senses. The visual effects, one of the best in the contemporary industry, add to the overall impact of the movie.

Anniyan is not about something novel. Multiple personality disorder has been broached upon by Indian film industry earlier but the way Shankar does it in this movie is what has finally mattered. The voice inflexions, the songs and dances, the costume design, the sets, and of course the brilliance of Vikram help him achieve the effect that few others have been able to touch upon.

Posted at 07:48 pm by Nitai

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Sunday, July 10, 2005
A page in my journal

It's been a long time since I posted something about what has been happening to me and my life. In fact, ever since I decided to change the shape of Mode C and make it what it can possibly be - my face to the world, I have been writing stuff that is as far from my life as possible. This helps me avoid any unpleasantness that inadvertently occurs when I get too close to my emotions and feelings about something that has been happening around me. It helps me avoid absolute (negative or positive) references to real events and people and thus, exonerates me from the sins of life blogging...or that is what I would like to believe, and that is what has made it possible for me to retain Mode C in whatever form it exists today.

All the same, in nature with the public vehicle that Mode C has now become, there is another angle that can be touched upon and that is, to let people (who are interested, of course) know what has been happening in my life without going any deeper. So here is an account (warning: those not interested in me or my life may skip this post right now and wait for my next movie review :-)) of what's been up since I landed at IIMK and moved into G hostel (which is the last Mode C knows about my life)...

The juniors have come to the campus, one hundred and sixty six of them (minus a couple who have left for greener pastures) and they certainly have made the campus more colorful in terms of their shear number and of course, the initial enthusiasm that a generally high work-ex batch brings with it as a part of the two year holiday package. There are quite some married people in the batch and one couple is actually staying together on campus (and no, not both of them study here). They have been doing the usual, getting bulk deals on laptops (a good deal they got, too), arranging for the lowest possible bank loan interests (which has been dealt with properly, too), and of course getting involved in the politics as committees start getting nominations and the election dates come closer.

Talking about elections, Backwaters received 43 nominations amidst widespread allegations of misconduct by Backwaters committee members in trying to influence the nominees' choices. sTrEAM Backwaters, of course, maintains that the large number of nominations was all due to the "different" presentation they had made to the junior batch. Getting that presentation together had been a delight, of course. I had a basic idea which was further sharpened by the sTrEAM's inputs (especially Pakow's Troy idea). Although there was initial skepticism about the entire thing, the team that we are, all of us got round to executing the thing with full gusto and the result, a presentation that was something that has not been done before. Although it could have done with some editing, I am still proud of my sTrEAM and the way they believed in a vague idea and made it a reality...a small thing for some, perhaps but not at all inconsequential as far as I am concerned.

Konnect had a presentation, too and although I had decided to remove or at least minimize my association with Konnect, somehow I got involved in this one, too. Another something that has not been done before...more of a performance than a presentation. With editing proving to be our nemesis yet again, the overall impact was nevertheless, quite decent.

Recently, I have been inching away from Konnect to make sure that it gets owned by more people in the batch and does not end up being the dream of an individual. For me, it can never be an individual initiative and unless the batches here take note of it and start setting foundations for Konnect, there is no chance of any tradition being born. There will be problems galore and some of them have already started creeping in. Even as of today, Konnect is not considered official (not a committee, neither an interest group) and perhaps, it should not be made official by force or persuasion. Perhaps, there is much more to be done yet before the current batch realizes that there is no other option but to give a standing to Konnect's popularity...but as I said, unless this dream is owned by more and more people, there is no going forward.

Once I have started on Konnect, let me bring things to the logical sequence by talking about the Treasure Hunt that Konnect organized a few days back. I had to get into the thick of things yet again despite having yearned for seeing people take the entire thing up by themselves...but there has been progress, no doubt with more people joining the Konnect bandwagon. Kudos to the Konnect Team for organizing a splendid first event of the year and kudos to those who participated in Kaptain Konnect's maiden voyage (especially people from the senior batch who proved the dictum wrong that only juniors participate in anything requiring enthusiasm and seniors either sleep or sleep soundly).

Things have actually come to a passť as history repeats itself and my over indulgence in public activities (read taking random initiatives) once again received flak from unknown sources. Like in college, there has been nothing directly spoken to my face (how I wish that had happened, instead) but there have been what can be called feelers (direct or indirect) that point to the futility of it all. Kdio had not been my idea but I had taken it up for the good initiative that it was. After the most polite of hints that I received from some body who wants to know "how many people think Kdio sucks", I was pissed off but later, saddened...more due to my lack of understanding than that of the person(s) involved. Now again, I am going into my emotions which I had promised I will not. So let me end this particular episode by saying that counter to that one action by one (or few) individual(s), there have been so many supporting me that I am sure I will be back with Kdio (and other such initiatives, of course) sometime soon.

In the meanwhile, classes have been pretty sporadic and given the schedule of the visiting faculty for most of the courses, the trend is likely to continue. None of the marketing subjects that I have taken this term have started yet and it has been a dosage of finance that has been keeping me busy so far in this term. Fixed Income Securities, Management of Banking and Financial Services, and Portfolio Management have all started and apart from FIS, I am comfortable with the other two and of course, with the compulsory Strategic Management course. As far as FIS goes, I have to brush up more of my basics (well, almost all of them) if I am to enjoy and utilize the immense knowledge and experience that the course faculty brings to class.

Posted at 08:55 pm by Nitai

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Saturday, July 09, 2005
Here now

Uski aankhon me baatein, baaton me jaadu
Jaadu me kho gaye hum, ho gaye bekaabu

Dus has star power, no doubt and with the kind of treatment given by the director to the characterisation of these stars, the star power has been used, for a change, effectively. An effective treatment does not mean that Anubhav Sinha has been successful in making a quality movie because apart from the slick sets and fast-paced action, the movie can not really be said to belong to class. However, the effectiveness is brought out in the way the actors are made to carry the aura of the movie around their characters. It is this aura that adds to the glamour and attitude of the movie and ensures that if nothing else, Dus will be a commercial success.

Siddhant (played by Sanjay Dutt with his trademark swagger defining the character's I-don't-care-as-long-as-I-believe-in-it attitude) heads the Anti Terrorist Cell which has received information about something big planned by terrorists on the 10th of May (thus Dus :-)). His officers and comrades-in-arms include Shashank, his brother (played with unmatched confidence by Abhishek Bachchan), Aditya (Zayed Khan in a role that he has been almost type casted in), and Aditi (played by the ravishing Shilpa Shetty with a bat tattoo just above the tail bone and a figure to die for). Danish (Suniel Shetty looking good as he does not have too many lines exposing his poor dialogue delivery) is an officer of the Canadian police who is forced by circumstances to help the ATC (anti terrorist cell) officers in their mission.

On hearing about the imminent danger from the terrorists, Siddhant sends Shashank and Aditya to Canada where their agent, Neha (Esha Deol who does nothing more than walk around in designer tights) will help them find and neutralize Jamvaal (the unknown and face-less terrorist who has planned the 10th May attack). In Canada, the two officers (each of them carrying dollops of attitude and style) meet Danish who is separated from his wife (Raima Sen who does not get any chance to display her talents) and is willing to take on crime and criminals for the principle of it.

While Shashank, Aditya, Neha, and Danish are hot on the tracks of the terrorists and their cronies (including Pankaj Kapur in an amazing display of acting that overshadows even the biggest of the rest of the so-called stars, and Gulshan Grover in an act that does more staring than talking), there is something else being hatched in Delhi at the ATC headquarters. Siddhant's sister (Dia Mirza who hardly appears in more than a few frames) is kidnapped with her to-be-hubby and the terrorists, in association with a mole at the ATC office, want their arrested colleague back in exchange for the sister and sister-in-law.

One action sequence follows the other till the climax shot in a football stadium in Canada where all the players of the drama make their last appearance. Obviously, good finally wins over evil but the way it does is what is going to make Dus a hit with the masses. The movie may not be able to do sustained business but the kind of opening it is already receiving is going to be enough to make its fortune. Apart from the huge star cast, the other plus that Dus carries is, of course, the style and the slick nature of the flick that is made clear to the audience right at the beginning when the credits roll in along with the immensely popular Dus bahaane song.

Audience starts expecting a certain kind of treatment from the movie once the trailors show four immaculately dressed people in black suits toting guns and coming out of stylized cars. Dus succeeds in meeting those expectations...almost. The first sequence where the squad diffuses a car bomb (and where Shilpa Shetty gets to execute her much discussed kick) really seems to fit the image and expectation right to the tee. In fact, the entire first half is racy and even the initial moments of the second half are watchable for, if not anything else, the masterful performance of Pankaj Kapur.

The movie, however, starts going downhill as the climax starts getting uncovered. Lots of loose ends, a screenplay gone awry, sequences out of context including spoiling the racy and action packed effect by mixing it with some typical Bollywood sentimental-ism, unncessarily subduing the evil to make sure that all of it ends happily and yet, providing an out-of-context jerk to the happily-ever-after proceedings, all give an impression that the director is done with showing what he wanted to, and is now in a hurry to finish things and go home.

The music is already topping the charts and even the placement of songs is just right. The cinematography adds to the style and glamour that the movie is counting on to cover its weak points. Ditto for the actors, with Abhishek Bachchan stealing the show through another confident display of what success can do to a talented but unlucky actor. The direction is adequate and Anubhav Sinha, in an attempt to try something he has not done before, manages the routine quite well. However, he is not able to come out with something fresh owing to the screenplay that is rather unfitting and cripples the director and the movie.

There was a movie called 16th December that came a couple of year back. It was the story of how an anti-terrorist special force led by Danny and comprising of Millind Soman and Sushant, among others, prevented a terrorist attack at a crowded place scheduled for a particular date, which was 16th of December. Dus has almost the same story line but with a difference (stars, style, attitude and a little more) and the difference is what made 16th December forgettable and what will make Dus a force to reckon with for at least some time...time enough for the producers to go happily to the bank.

Posted at 04:26 pm by Nitai

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005
It's ok but why?

I wanted to go, too...I so badly did! (okay, you wanted to go, so what...did you tell anybody about it?)

Why didn't I go then? (they never even asked me)

They might have thought that if I were interested, I would contact them (why not, I love being the unwanted guest)

But...perhaps they did not have enough space (but didn't someone say they had space for one more person?)

They might not have found me online or on messenger (they had my phone number, na?)

Oh come on, the plan was made in such a you expect them to wait for eternity and call the entire batch up to ask them if they wanted to go? (hmm...that sounds reasonable. After all, I take so much time to get ready that they would have had to spend another day waiting for me to get up and going)

They might have thought that I will be busy with classes (yeah, considering the whole second year has no classes, that is a realistic probability)

They might have thought that I will be busy with Konnect or Backwaters (oh yes, I can not live without Konnect or Backwaters, they are my sweethearts you know!)

They might have forgotten that I exist (ah well...ummm...but they, of all people?)

They might have remembered what I am capable of, when unleashed (if it's that, which I think/hope/pray/wish it is not, well...I have nothing more to say about it)

There might be a substantial reason for it that I can not think of and anyway, why the hell did I expect anything from anyone? (I know but I feel so hurt...but then, this, too shall pass :-))

And yeah, I just remembered...didn't I say myself that I did not want to go to any more trips? (yes I did :-(( )

Posted at 03:38 pm by Nitai

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