Letters from Iwo Jima

This war movie tells the Japanese side of the WWII story. A must watch for war/history freaks. And luckily unlike Jodha Akbar, it does not distort history.


Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young teenager (Juno) makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child. She plans to bear the child for adoption and the entire movie starts from pregnancy and ends with delivery of the child.


12 Angry Men (1957)

It is a must watch blank and white movie. (if you are in Bangalore, then you can pick the CD from my place)
Its a extremely simple, low budget movie as the entire movie is shot in a small single roam and there were no costumes or expensive sets. The movie revolves around 12 strangers who as members of the Jury need to arrive as a unanimous verdict on the fate of a Teenager accused of murdering his father.


Another good movie to watch is Presitige

This is a movie about the dark side of obsession. 2 rival magicians (showmen, not real abstract stuff) are desperately trying to unravel the secret behind the other guy’s tricks. In this quest, they use treachery, deception, lies and ultimately bring destruction to themselves and the people around them.
My response after watching this movie. I need to watch it again!


need of rating NGOs

Livemint today published a wonderful article emphasizing that NGO need to be accountable to the donors and there is a need for rating them. Their argument that when people know that their money is being well spend, they like to give more. Hence rating agencies like GiveWell can really transform the way NGOs manage themselves.


CAT Exam: Targetting the blind to the world

A professor from IIM Bangalore asked me to comment on this article which was recently published in Indian Express and criticizes the students that are shortlisted for this exam:

Target B-school, blind to the world

For some years now, I have been interviewing candidates for admission to one of India’s top business schools. It’s just half a day’s work in a year, and I started volunteering for the job because I thought it would be nice to meet young people and see how and what they think. But every year, I come back worried.
These are young men and women who have outscored 99 per cent of all the people who sat for the written test, which is the toughest of its type on the planet. Only then can you reach the interview stage. They are the fittest who have survived. Yet, in the eight or so years that I have been doing this, though I have met some marvelous minds, the majority appears to be singularly unaware, unidimensional, and armed with only academic knowledge. And before you decide I am just another grumpy old man, let me explain.
The group discussion is usually on a global or political issue. The interview is very general; the aim is to check for the aptitude to be a successful manager through questions that probe intelligence, well-roundedness and life skills. So questions could range from cricket to philosophy to hobbies; anything at all. And the first thing you discover is that hardly any of them read anything but their textbooks.
One classic example. We asked a candidate (an IITian) whether he read books. Management books, he said promptly, though the fact that he was reading them even before he had got into B-school was perplexing (many of us didn’t read management books even when we were in B-school!). Does he read any fiction? No. Has he ever read any fiction? The young man thought hard and deep, till we feared he would pop the veins on his forehead. Finally, he surfaced from googling his memory, and said: “When I was in Class V, I read a book called The Valley Of Adventure.” Ah, Enid Blyton, we said.
“Sir, author’s name I don’t remember,” he replied apologetically.
One young lady was asked whether she watched films. Yes, she did, but only “fiction films”. That’s OK, we assured her, what percentage of people watch documentaries anyway? Then, seeing some confusion on her face, we asked what she meant. “Fiction films have stories that can’t happen in real life, and non-fiction films are close to reality.” Example of fiction film? Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. And non-fiction? Lagaan.
A few years ago, the group discussion topic was: “The state is the biggest terrorist of all.” A young woman took the lead and spoke impassionedly for half a minute, but we on the panel, for the life of us, couldn’t figure out what she was talking about. Then it dawned. She was arguing that the United States was the biggest terrorist nation on earth! The very concept, The State, was something she had never heard of!
I can give many more such examples. Yet, you ask them what their ambition is, and most tell you that they want to head a multinational corporation. How do you explain to them that those positions don’t come to people with zero awareness of the world, that these are extremely complex jobs where your academic knowledge won’t help you much? These young men and women are good people, ambitious and competitive, but a lifelong blinkered pursuit of topping exams has made their minds and experiences extremely skewed. We, as a society, have put so much pressure on them to excel in studies that we are creating generations of Indians who are curiously stunted. Do they go out and play? Do they go on dates, or at least try and fail? Have they ever tried to build a radio or write poetry? Sadly, their characters seem to be missing, other than mere characteristics.
In fact, one wonders if many of the better minds of this generation are not being able to get into the country’s best institutes simply because they have a life apart from just swotting away like beavers. The coaching classes for these entrance tests have, also, I think, cracked the format of the test papers. So a person of average intelligence but a capacity for dogged hard work can just mug his way through while the brilliant multifaceted candidate ends up scoring less. I hope I am wrong, and that the sample of interviewees I have seen is not a representative one. But I wonder. Or maybe I am just another grumpy old man.
(Sandipan Deb, former editor of The Financial Express, heads the RPG Group’s planned magazine venture)

Being naturally infuriated by the whole article I wrote the following response:

Risking being branded as naive and arrogant, these would be my views:

Have you ever looked at the application form of CAT examination?
Its a 1A4 page OMR sheet and Candidate’s name and address occupies half of the space. I can bet that even after going through the sheet a 100 times, you can not tell me even a word about that candidate, yet somehow IIM selection committee is able to shortlist candidates based
on it.

I agree there is a box to fill in the number of years of work exp the candidate has, but that is a mere formality. That form gives equal weight-age to spending years in a matchstick factory doing some
repetitive monotonous work as to pursuing something more meaningful. The article talks about people lacking hobbies. Well that OMR sheet never asked for one. They did not even bother to ask for a simple 1 page resume.

Almost all the faculty members make fun of the ignorance and stupidity of the candidates, but they never stop to ask why is it that these candidates are being screened and called for interview? All the screening process cares about is the Matriculate marks that the student obtained some 10 years ago, and then the marks obtained in an IQ test called CAT. Hence no wonder all they are able to shortlist some amazing state of the art computational machines. These wonderful machines of flesh and blood are then sold to Wall street at astronomical prices by the employment exchange called IIM. A institute which get more than a 1000 brilliant applicants for every seat it offers is spoiled for choice, and they get what they seek.

Do you think this response was a bit too harsh?


warren buffet and derivatives

Today I was surprised to read that the Financial Wizard who used to say

Derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction.

lost more than 1.6 Billion USD. Isn’t it odd that people do not practice what they preach?

Humor Thoughts

Till Death do us apart.

This post is one of my lame attempts to create some humor during boredom and explain why a woman cries during a marriage while a guy laughes and celebrates. But please do not try to seek to seek any deeper meaning to this post.


Truth in Journalism

The liberal news media is always spinning stories to their liking…..

A biker is riding by the zoo, when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion’s cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the eyes of her screaming parents. The biker jumps off his bike, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch. Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back letting go of the girl, and the biker brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly.
A reporter has seen the whole scene, and addressing the biker, says:
– Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I saw a man do in my whole life.
– Why, it was nothing, really, the lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger, and acted as I felt right.

– Well, I’ll make sure this won’t go unnoticed. I’m a journalist, you know, and tomorrow’s papers will have this on the first page. What motorcycle do you ride?
– A Harley Davidson.

The journalist leaves.
The following morning the biker buys the paper to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads, on first page:



Performance Apprisal

Sorry guys for the past 2 months, I was dead busy and hence could not pay too much attention to the content of ENagar. But I promise things would be better in future


What she really means

This is what a girl really means when she says she hates you.

And stop playing with your food