Current Show by Perumal Murugan

May 11, 2017

Current Show_webIn his first book written more than a decade ago, Perumal Murugan immerses the reader in a world of innocence exposed to abject poverty. Some parts of the story are reminiscent of the upsetting bits depicted in ‘Pather Panchali’ while others are strikingly original, both in plot and language.

Well, first the story without the spoilers:  We know how Eminem romanticized confinement of his life within 8 miles. Well, Sathi and his friends spend their life around a rundown cinema hall. This is where they create their dreams, face their demons and earn a living, however meagre it is. There’s The Hulk, Muthu, Mani, Natesan and some other boys who run errands for the many ‘one-cot’ shops around the cinema hall.  It is Natesan, who at times holds Sathi and nurtures him out of his hurt while at other times, the roles reverse.  Current Show portrays a world comprising of heartless transactions – even between friends. For instance, they never seem to neglect an opportunity to throw expletives (or themselves!) at each other. Yet, in part owing to these transactions, there’s a world of cohesion between Sathi, his friends, their ‘masters’ and the surroundings. Everyone here seems to have a trade born out of desperation – even the cinema owner himself had created this movie hall out of desperation for some acknowledgement from his keep. This desperation has a role also in objectifying their perception of things – even Cinema – they analyze cinema solely on the basis of who’s been cast. The things they can’t objectify: they shun or they shy away from, at times, they block themselves from affection of their own…

So, what is Sathi to do when the fine balance of his ecosystem is destroyed?

We might be tempted to think that there’s only so much that seems to happen around our traditional cinema halls. Well, I for one will never view any Cinema hall without thinking about the myriad of small worlds around the complex languishing in dirt, desperation, lies, torment, and all sorts of bad tidings. Especially when I see some children, I will know that their innocent eagerness to hope for love in any shape or form leaves them exposed to be preyed upon by devils who thrive in the same world – a world surprisingly devoid of any ambition but overflowing with friendship, curses and hunger. One can’t help but wonder, time and again in the novel, the age of these kids, depending on the harshness meted out to them.

After reading the book you would smarten up to a battered aspect of life

Arrogance eats up your grey cells more than Love does

October 14, 2007

There is a Spanish couple sitting in the next cubicle and the man wants the woman to get his point of view. He really does. His desperation reflects in his voice as he moves distinctly from articulating his thoughts to raising his voice. How vain that is, I think.

Love is exciting because:

You found someone who you could reveal your complete self to – like my friend said “this was great because before meeting her, I felt like I was stifling many thoughts inside of me that, if nurtured, may have given me self fulfillment. Also, the thought of holding someone in my arms gave a feeling of belonging.” Also, I am sure it felt so good to finally have the freedom to be one with someone that you found worthy of and who found you deserving of her. And he continued, “Suddenly, my feelings were not just my own! Someone else felt remorse when I felt sad and at times, she felt joyful with me. It felt so nice to pick her up when she least expected to be lifted, to feel her feminine waist and her porcelain skin … and then kiss her lightly while she slept.”

“And then I wanted to believe that I was the only one who she had loved with all her heart. So I wanted to know everything about her so I could love her more than she had ever been loved.  I was up all night waiting for the call that never came. I felt alone again. Then she called and she emailed and it felt good for a while before darkness set in again. I was too passionate. She was methodical. I thought love was irrational. Not methodical. Then I pleaded to her – I was weak, I said, I wanted her love around me as much as I loved her. She said it was okay if I loved her more because she wanted me to. So I was left alone trying to figure out the exact maths that go into loving her more than she did. I started keeping balance sheets and accounts of our transactions.”



“And then it died – faded shamelessly after being flared up by my passion of a thousand suns. Not fair.  I keep trying to tell myself to think about it later. I wish this was just prose – not the story of my lost love.”


May 12, 2007

Time flies here.

This short preamble must have suggested that THIS IS GOING TO BE THE QUICKEST BLOG EVER. Reason: My schedule is busier than what I was ever prepared for. But that does not mean that I will leave without posting a YouTube clip. In fact, I will post 2 videos this time. Though I know that even this will of course not come close to compensating for the lack of my beautiful prose.

First, the updates:

Academics: Did NOT do well at all in P1…tried to catch up in P2

Social: Sadly, the bad P1 results did not keep me from making a drunken fool of myself at every INSEAD party

Misc.: Got elected as a member of the Student Council!

Career: Got interviewed by Google, a bank and some consulting firms. I don’t care about others but Google decided not to take our relationship further.


Bollywood 101 for westerners:

For you, my readers, I am putting my integrity at stake and giving you another video.

For all fans of Steve Irvin: I am a fan too. It was a treat to see his enthusiasm. In fact, when people sometimes ask me (sometimes=once per year, but isn’t this the most important question of your lives?) “H.G., what is the all important criteria to choose a profession?”, I say “do what you are most passionate about.” May Steve R.I.P.

For all budding consultants, this video might prove useful:

Senses and Actions

March 7, 2007

I had a difficult time deciding between having “Exams are Over” or “Senses and Actions” as the title to this post. While I was slacking about it, I came across this video in youtube and if you want to know why I selected “Senses and Actions”, then see the video:

Anyways, lets start from the beginning. P1 exams got over today. The past 2 weeks were stressful enough for me to start reconsidering my notion of INSEAD being a “party place”. We basically covered enough material taught in 4-5 months in other business schools. P1 has been, in general, 2 months of exceptional learning for me. I learnt about the importance of time and setting priorities. I understood the meaning of Spiderman’s philosophy “With great power comes great responsibility”. Most importantly, I came to know a lot about myself and my alignment with the world I want to be in. Ah! genius is boring you with futile generalities. Alright then me hearties, let me wear my pirate suit…

My P1 from a pirate’s eye (the uncovered one) was housing problems – conveyance problems – study group conflicts – social scene mess-up – more housing problems – academic nightmare. With P1, most of these problems seem to have vanished. Today after the exam, the bar area actually looked like it was hosting the mardi gras in France. Beer and nick knacks all over the place. A couple of hugs – people leaving for their ski trips or to see their girlfriends and boyfriends in London. I just went home and slept a couple of hours then I was back at INSEAD replying to emails and talking to my folks back home. I think I will not go to the party at “Bakardi” tonite just to spend some time with myself. Ah! And now genius is so vain. Well, maybe genius just needs some more sleep! 

Its all about fun and work here

January 21, 2007

…and the twain do meet at INSEAD, its just a matter of employing the concept of “tradeoff” (we learn that a little too early here, much before our first class of “prices and markets”).

Anyways, my consistently ignorant punjabi brethen in California posted this video last year which basically made fun of a certain sect of people:

Though I condemn it, I have been told that it was made in good humor. And one of the casts is actually applying to INSEAD to refine his temperament.

I like French better than Americans + bonus: first few minutes at INSEAD

January 8, 2007

So I guess I’ll have to explain the title in detail. I am about to leave for my first round of introductions with fellow Fonty INSEADers. I am excited. I found this opportunity to fill in my blog because I know I am going to be influenced by this experience of meeting for the first time, people from 70+ countries in a single day. So, before this effects the content of my journal, let me quickly give you my “top 3” for France vs US:

  1. The French are soft spoken. I heard an occasional “wei” but at the airport I did end up appreciating how quiet and respectful the French are
  2. France is undeniably more beautiful
  3. Unfortunately, France still derives its entertainment from American movies and a little bit of music too. Throughout the airport, I saw French versions of trailers of popular Hollywood movies. But the French have still retained a liking for their own music

That’s all the insight I can give you right now, this is only so much I have gathered through my limited stay here. Yesterday, around the same time, I went out for a stroll to see my neighborhood, and hit the Veneux Les Sablons train station. Lo and behold, there it was just 2 stops away – Fontainebleau. My woes actually started when I reached Fonty and was told that INSEAD was not walking distance from the station. So I waited an hour for the bus. When I finally got there, I was surprised to find a lot more Dec 07s had come to visit Fonty before our opening day. More surprised to see that most were Indians. I met 2 Jul 07s who were jovial and fun, maybe because a harder part of their MBA was over. They gave us great insight as to what we can expect to happen in the next few days. Made me wish I had not been lazy and actually done a bit of pre-reading.

Then I met some more – who else, but Indians! After introductions we decided to head out for Lunch. Again, it took us quite some time to figure out an appropriate place to get lunch. There were 2 ladies leading the pack – one Indian and the other American, and I guess that was part of the reason why we went hungry for a while 🙂 . This was also the first time that I realized that maybe I shouldn’t have come because I was freezing to death (remember, I intended to be out of my apartment for a stroll and ended up at INSEAD campus)

Another thing about life…

October 21, 2006

Just preliminary thoughts…

 * no rationality – love Or God

Where is the world’s collective conciousness headed to?

Guide to Socialising

October 10, 2006

update: I met a couple of ppl appreciative of my blog and I like that! but here is my official position for this year: I intend to get it on with books and studies at INSEAD – nothing else. So I wont be blogging much.

First off, I am unwillingly posting this blog. One of my friends said to me “HG, you are on your way to become a great consultant, will you please analyze why desis don’t seem to get it on with ppl?”. In a weird way, he did make sense. Nevertheless, I intend to keep this short and sweet. Actually the heading should have read “for Desis” in the end. But I recon some of my advise would be applicable to many other communities (of FOBs) as well. You as a reader will probably have the following questions (in the following order). Here are my answers:

“Genius, what credibility do you have (concerning the topic) ?”
Having lived in the US for about 5 years, I have mostly used my time to learn the culture. The culture, in brief, is all about socialising. I was a part time DJ in Dallas (I actually just helped setup equipment and changed tracks when the main DJ went out for a smoke) and got to meet some of the most wonderful ppl.

“How are your experiences relevant to what I want?”
My experiences are not relevant to you if you fall into one of these categories:
(a) You are a desi nerd whose idea of outing is going for groceries to the Indian store
(b) You are happy dating your computer
(c) You linger around other desis and talk to your male friends hours in a row. 
I am an ardent follower of Friedman and his “The World is Flat” theory. I think the only other “force” he omitted to mention was the force of friendship between people of different races.

“Ok, I can barely wait, what were you going to say?”
First, please burn your beliefs – walking with your stomach out, chewing with your mouth open, feeling up your male friends, smelling like onions, staring at body parts, talking loudly on the phone, etc – is not sexy in the global context.

Second, join some kind of community classes or activities…that way you will not only learn a lot about the local culture but also meet terrific ppl. If you are really in a hurry, join the alcoholic anonymous groups – these groups always have ppl looking for a shoulder to cry on. Don’t take my word for this one – I’ve heard this from someone.

Also, I guess, what I am saying is that “let ppl speak” and be a good listener. Read this:

Well, I did not mean this to be a very long post. I just wrote this quickly in a couple of minutes. To give you last words of advice: be true to yourself – contrary to what others think, I don’t believe its important to know in advance what you want out of your relationships with friends and family.


MBA – A Haven for an Escapist Or A Bigfoot Step to $$$?

October 10, 2006

Here’s a list of top 3 “eat-shits” in my life:

1. Obliging a complete moron with status reports, etc. Because he happens to control 15% of the variable part of my salary
2. My absolute loneliness. Coupled with growing frustration (these are related so I will not have separate points for each)
3. The fact that I am growing older without enhancing the quality of my life

You, avid reader, obviously identify with the above or at least think “genius-at-large is fecking pathetic” but you are certainly not without a myriad of feelings. So 3 months ago I decided to change my frustrated life. I started working out because one day I saw 2 of the prettiest girls in the gym, as I was walking by. On my second day at the gym, I lost my iPod. Since then, I can’t bear to go towards the gym because it just reminds me of what happened to me when I thought “positive”. “Positive Thinking” is the latest “eat shit” in this world. People should learn to see things for what they are not what they look like when you cover them with icing.

So I tried staying home. I tried getting certified in Project Management Certification. The people at the interchanged my first name and last name and 2 weeks into negotiations, they were still not convinced of their mistake. (Added on 31st Aug->) As it turns out, there was a major confusion about my records. The certification is a stringent process which requires you to have managed projects for thousands of hours and also undergo a formal training in PMP. The procedure is organised. And I finally got a green signal to take the exam, that I scheduled for 31st Aug.

INSEAD: To cut the long story short, I got my offer letter today! Now I look at the facts. It’s going to cost me way more than a ferrari. Then, getting a >$200,000 job is not guaranteed. Worse, I’ll have to move from the US, sacrifice my green card.

My life has certainly taken an interesting turn and lets see if I make millions or if I eat more shit.

Why are Stupid People Talkative?

October 10, 2006

About 20% of you will believe in the title. Other 80% of you reading this post are talkative.

I am a small town guy who found himself in a big town school one day. And before I could say “Wha…Where…?”, I landed in one of the biggest cities in the world, NY. I needed things to slow down so I took a step back and got my boss to transfer me to Chicago. There, I got all the time to do what I always wanted to do. So I googled these keywords:

harvard admitted students class of 2006

And one of the links that showed up on the first page was “A Day in the Life” I was re-directed to this site:

Okay, so I see Les singing “Hallelujah!” to his life in Harvard:

7:00 a.m. The alarm blares. I hit the snooze button.
7:07 a.m. The alarm blares. I hit the snooze button.
7:14 a.m. The alarm blares. I hit the snooze button.

As you can clearly see, the 3 very things that he does even before he wakes up in the morning are done with precision one after another. Lets skim right to 8:30

8:30 a.m. I high-five the cafeteria workers as I navigate through the fresh fruit bar and the English muffin station, grabbing a cup of water and a to-go bag as I dance out of the cafeteria in a frenzy. I was so wrapped up in e-mail this morning that I forgot about my study group review, which began at 8:10 a.m. No worries, I’ll catch them tomorrow.

Like Les says above, why worry about studies at Harvard; I am sure he based his decision on the fact that an alumni of Harvard is the President of our country, and “he is talkative, just like me!”

Okay, readers, lets go to 10:20 a.m. now where Les draws a parallel between a corporate high performer and a professional sportsman! Here, I have no words of praise for Les because his reasoning is flawed. He overlooks the basic fact that the first example talks of Employer-Employee relationship and the parallel he drew (very proudly) was of a Colleague-Colleague relationship.

I was devouring the “Day in the Life” of Les at Harvard when at around 12:00 p.m. my ADD took over and I impulsively closed his blog. Before doing that, I couldn’t help going through the word “grab” in the post. If you do a word search, you will see Les has “grabbed” food articles and weights about 5 times in his “Day in the Life” at Harvard.