Sunday, July 29, 2007

10 things that I would like to do...

I constantly read about people who have given up the rat race to do something that they have ached to do over the years as a profession or as a hobby. I also do feel now that I should pursue my other interests to their logical end before it is too late. So, here we go...ten things that I would like to do:
1. Write my fact become a writer!
2. Make my own leisure or multi utility destination (well...I don't have the money now...but maybe...)
3. Travel the world...not the luxorious way..but the budget way
4. Make films...write films...
5. Be a Corporate coach for Business Strategies
6. Own a Library cum Restaurant on the foothills of Himalayas (In Dehra Dun maybe)
7. Make a log cabin away from the boxes of the cities!!
8. Become a professional massuer..I am rather good at it...
9. Read more and more and more.....
10. Learn Architecture

Oh..the wish list seems to be pretty eclectic. But, is definitely achievable..only if I am able to do some nifty time management and get down to planning my day creatively and stick to that plan religiously.

What say guys!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

La la land diary!

Two articles that appeared in Maharashtra Herald in the last month - written by moi!!!

I don’t drive my car! I have a very trustworthy person to do the honors, my wife! And no, I am not joking, as she will not take to it kindly in public, being my driver!! Oh, Why, because I am mortally afraid of speed, heights and all other assorted body heaving and mass disturbing things in life. My family decided to, please note that I had nothing to do with this catastrophic decision, go to an Amusement Park while we were in Bangalore on a short but hugely money-guzzling trip. They went willingly and I grumpily and grudgingly. Hello, I am not talking about the expenses that I rightly thought were obscene but I knew that now I had a whole day of tackling, dodging and dribbling with fright of all mortal kinds!
The gates of the Park were still closed when we arrived there. I happily pronounced that probably the park has shut down because of low attendance or some such likely thing. I got evil glares from the young and not so young in my group immediately. I clammed up. The gates opened. The Ticket windows opened too. I was unfortunate to stand in and around that line and suffered my first roller coaster then and there. I have not seen a more healthy pack of vultures since then! I careened towards the counter on borrowed legs and found myself confronting a very colourful counterperson. I had not counted the people in my group. I looked around helplessly only to find my little one all of eight ready with an answer. The magic figure of nine was shouted out. The tickets were in my hand in a jiffy. I was shooed to the nearest entrance by very overzealous Black Cat security cops with all the swish. Vroom, I was into La – La land.
My group immediately became a sickeningly childish bunch of Neanderthals, yelling, roaring, eyes glistening, arms waving and furiously gesticulating at me to join them at some nearest contraption that waved its arms about frantically in glee while some poor unfortunate souls were trapped in the buckets attached to its arms. That was a very angry piece of human invention. I must have done the fastest dash to the nearest seating canopy and found solace with seventy year olds grinning maniacally at my photo finish to the chair. My group was already in queue to get on to the angry arm waver. The wifey waved at me to join her. I waved her on. She is my better half. So, there was no sense in endangering the worser half. If anything had to happen, the worser half could carry on like Hydra, amoeba or some other such creature!
The angry arm waver again started with my group in various buckets. They guttural shrieks terrified me if not the very people who were emitting those shrieks. I did not know how humans could be so terrified and yet so thrilled. I was spilling my guts out seeing the spectacle! The ride ended. My goofy group came back and shriekingly related the stunts once more. They were frothing at their mouths in excitement. I said that we give it a little break and was hollered at, GIVE US A BREAK, MAN!
Next they sat in a contraption where they were just dropped from thirty feet. God, I nearly got a qualified seizure seeing those gravity struck faces. My kidneys were in my mouth. I had to gulp them back. But the children came back dizzyingly happy. Wifey was already gravitating towards a giant wheel going in all directions. Now, I had tried a wheelie while in college with my Kinetic Honda and had landed about ten feet behind my own bike. So, anything to do with wheels was definitely out!
Wheelie boy started and the group went ga-ga. I went guhh-guhh. My muscles were stricken with fright, I was lock jawed just seeing the wheelie boy do the act. It was eternity before the wheel thing stopped. The group came down delirious. My first reaction was to try and take their temperatures, CT scans and other medical health reminders. The group only felt that it was time to move me into action. They chose a simple train ride through a lot of tunnels, valleys and caves. I thought that this would be easy and got on with the Neanderthals. The train started. It suddenly turned right at a fast clip. My breakfast banana started bobbing in my esophagus. We entered a tunnel and the train went into a dive. My teeth and my bile started a war in my mouth. My eyeballs wanted to break shackles of their sockets. The dive eased only for us to turn lurchingly left. Now, the banana, bile, tongue and teeth were fighting for space in the mouth. I could vaguely hear an announcement that the first stage of the train ride was getting over and people uneasy within could get down here. I was out of the train in a flash. The Neanderthals were oblivious. I stumbled out of the platform onto the nearest bench and motioned for the Park staff. They arrived fast sensing disaster. I do not particularly remember what happened after that. But yes, I could hear wifey cursing my senility, age, sex, height, sloth, condition and culture in no particular order as I had deprived her of some Jurassic thrills in La-la land as she had abstained from further entertainment to take care of me. Poor she!
Anyway, the group proceeded to have a great day, irrespective of their tortured elder. I thanked all the gods for keeping me alive that day.
Who knew that one day I had to be running a similar establishment here in Pune!!!

Malls for Voyuers!!!

We are a nation of voyeurs. We love to watch, period. It could be a monkey dancing to the tune of his master, it could be a poor rickshaw driver getting beaten up by a passer by, it could be a man scratching his armpit or it could even be ‘Tulsi’ on TV getting worked upon by one of her great grandchildren!
Malls have come up everywhere and I and my group of Neanderthals have lately been very supple in making our way to one of this hotspots in the city to see and rejoice! Now, you may ask me that malls are for buying, splurging, getting stoned on fashion or some such hip and happening thing. God! How outdated can you be!!
Malls are for checking out, seeing others at play, gazing at celestial beings on earth. Malls are for getting the grand idea of how much we are missing in our daily buns, I mean the slurpy ‘maska’. You guys have still not got it. Let me tell you of my last and lasting experience at one of our leading malls here in Pune.
The Neanderthals and I decided that we should hit this mall at a very strategic timing on a very sunny and sticky Sunday. The car was brought out. As usual, the wifey was driving. The rest had decked themselves up in the ‘loose and let loose’ fashions that are prevalent these days. So, they daintily crammed themselves at the back of the hatchback. We negotiated the mall going crowds on the roads. It looked like everyone was rushing to the nearest mall to take the serious fix of ‘shoppers’ toxin’ and the high that it gave along with the Pav Bhajis, SPDPs, Papri chats, Samosas, Dosas and chutneys that were being doled out at all traffic intersections as if the country was just going to war with Bangladesh and we were like camels stocking adequate rations within our body during the food famines that were to follow during wartime! Needless to say, the traffic was unmoving, what with all the rations being piled onto soft stomach linings!!
We reached our ‘Imposing mall’ only two seconds after one hour later than when we had decided upon when we left home. That was perfectly acceptable. The Neanderthals had, by the way, decided on their agenda in the car itself. The ideal route was always through the bargain sections of the various showrooms. I understood the need for a neat little scramble when the mind and body is fit and willing. So, I gave into this very obvious proposal.
So, we headed towards a very nicely placed fashion store that had 50% discount emblazoned on its 8 inch glass door. The smiles of the Neanderthals were seen to be believed. We waded in. Legs and torsos competed for strategic spaces and everybody was browsing and checking out the choices of the others. The were a lot of people fighting their way to subtly placed Trial rooms and announcing their outfits to the approval or dismay of all the others in the place. In fact, a few women had very strategically placed themselves near the trial rooms and were rushing towards the origins of every approved dress, not worrying about their colors, cut, look and feel. The game was to try the clothes on offer. Of course! The good ones did not have any discounts attached to them and so had to be discarded very unwillingly. The men in the meanwhile had parked themselves near the women racks and were checking out the aisles rather then the racks! It was like the “” franchise had opened right there. A lot of informal checking out was being done, sometimes rudely interrupted by their spouses or lady friends who wanted them to comment on some fashions that they did not have any idea of.
The Neanderthals invaded my sight seeing with some obviously naughty choices. I desisted from commenting. So, they themselves found suitable faults and returned those discount rags to their bins. The idea was to look, not buy. Buying was for the rich, the Bollywood strains of mankind, the Dubai returned. We do not fall in that category; so, we shifted location and now were in a music and book shop that was crowded to the gills because of a Season sale.
The hip and happening suburbia was here looking, clucking, gossiping, laughing and generally disregarding all the rules that a nice bookshop would have. We again banged our way in. I stood perplexed as to which way to go and for what? I could always come back on a weekday for a favorite book avoiding this BO nirvana. But the Neanderthals had managed to set themselves near DVD stalls that promised “Bheja Fry” at unheard prices. Mine was already getting fried for free because of the din. But, as I looked around I could see many groups of watchers avidly ogling away. A group of programmers were checking out a group of Art girls across the aisle. A couple of History middle-aged men were peering over their unopened books at some very fetching twenty somethings near the Fiction racks. And so it continued. I desperately looked out for the Neanderthals. The wifey had settled herself with a Good Housekeeping magazine near the bargain rack and was oblivious to the bargaining stares. I did some muscling and reached her completely hot and bothered. But before I could mumble anything, there started a shouting match near the door. We turned to see that an old citizen who was similarly bothered like me was admonishing a very blond haired specimen who apparently had passed a highly charitable comment on some PYT in there. The crowd left all the readings, browsings, meanderings and other doings to concentrate on the verbal lashings. Good time all around at the blond’s expense!
We banged our way out. Still no Buy!!
The Food Court was nearby. We had to refuel for the rest of the extravaganza coming along. So, we selected a very dirty table and sat down hoping that somebody would take the trouble to clear it. I motioned wifey to order. She, naturally, ordered all the fries, sauces, chutneys and grease that was on offer. Now, we had to serve ourselves. So, while I jostled at the counter, the Neanderthals got back to watching. Yes, that was that people were doing apart from gorging away at grease unlimited. I made a dozen trips to the food counters and somewhere along the way lost all appetite for the gooey stuff. So, amid the ruins of a bad meal I sat and watched my folks go gluttony. When tired of them, I watched the others. The papas, mammas, betas, bablus, pinkys, bhabhis, uncles, annas, bablis and sweetys clamoring for divided attentions.
I saw forlorn shop owners who probably did not get any sale in this entire din. I saw a gift shop shut early for lack of patrons. I saw the caustic look of the shampoo counter girl who had only given away samples but no sale to speak of. I understood the real meaning of a Mall Experience! Just that “ EXPERIENCE”
Thankfully, I look after an ‘experiential place’ and thrive on people arriving to feel the joint.

Monday, July 16, 2007

My tryst with Equity people

I have been meeting a series of Private Equity Investors and getting them to be interested in our landmark 300 acre project in Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, India. I have encountered an interesting observation.

The world is again interested in our lands (read Real Estate). Not for purposes mentioned in our History textbooks, but for pure Investment benefits in a large way. And hat enthusiasm!!
One guy happily told me that if I were to show him the modules of Business Revenue, he would happily invest all the way and stay invested, not seaarch for exit routes at the earliest!

On one hand, this excites me as this is ,going to be good for our business and on the other hand it makes me apprehensive as one does not really know what these guys are going to do!!

Of course, at the end of the day I shall have to respect their strategies.