Delhi Street Food

Moment I landed in Delhi today, I had craving for the famous Delhi street food. I started with a round of kachori + aaloo at Nehru Place. Nehru Place incidentally is the largest electronics and computing equipment market at least in India. I followed it up with chole + kulche there only. I had to then eat two Veg Puffs at a Café Coffee Day because I was accompanied by a friend who hates street food. Moment she left, I had an awesome rajma + rice, again at Nehru Place.

Moved onto NOIDA and had this awesome Egg Roll. The rolls are called Calcutta rolls for some reason. Logic and assumption tells me that these rolls probably originated in Calcutta. Topped it up with a kulfi + falooda from another vendor. Met another friend over another cup of coffee (this time at Barista). And finally had some home made Daal Makhani. Now if you dint know, a daal makhani is not just any daal topped with lots of butter, but daal makhani is left to cook overnight.

Went to another friends place and since he is a fruit freak, I had to eat an orange. I know fruits are fun but I am not really a fanatic. Finally on my way home, I ended this small street food sampling exercise with Gol Gappe and Tikki from my neighbourhood stall. This guy has been serving Gol Gappe in my locality for last 15 years and people stand in mile long lines for an opportunity to eat his gol gapes.

In next posts, I shall be talking about few famous food joints in Delhi. I would talk about Karim’s in Darya Ganj, Paranthe Wali Gali, Karol Bagh’s Roshan di Kulfi, Pitampura’s Bittoo Tikki Wala, Nehru Place’s famous Rajma Rice.

All these cant really be compared to Mumbai’s late night chai, vada pavs, samosa pavs, omelette pavs, pavs with ketchup, pavs with chutni, basically pavs with anything and everything. They are class apart. Wondering if Delhi food can stand the formidable challenge of Mr. Pav - the staple food of Mumbai .. ?

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The day for Junk Food

MDI students to advice Indira Nooyi

Just In, Three students from MDI have won a contest among all business schools in India to win a chance to advice PepsiCo CEO Ms. Indira Nooyi. They would be flown to NY.

Copy pasting the news item from

Students from a Gurgaon-based business management school would now advise PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi after winning a contest.

The students - Supreet Kaur, Anand Trivedi and Anand Mohan Sharma, part of the team called Midas of Management Development Institute (MDI) - won a contest entitled "Taste the Success - Become Indra's Advisors".

In the competition, PepsiCo India invited business strategies for unlocking the latent demand for beverages in India from the leading management schools.

Kaur, Trivedi and Sharma would be flown to PepsiCo headquarters in New York in April, where they will present and discuss their case solution with the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Inc.

If the business strategy is found feasible, the team may get an opportunity to engage as advisors on an ongoing basis with PepsiCo to operationalise their ideas.

The first runners-up team from Faculty of Management Studies of the Delhi University received a cash award of Rs.100,000 and the second runners-up, another team from MDI, received a cash award of Rs.50,000.

The top six teams from MDI, FMS and Indian Institute of Management Indore will get an opportunity to appear for a pre-placement interview without going through the initial screening process.

Three cheers for MDI. As we said back then, MDI rocks.

For the record, I passed out of MDI in 2006.

Kishore Biyani - Future Group - India Tomorrow

Kishore Biyani is a model businessman at least for me. He is sowing seeds into a lot of interesting businesses and when the time comes, he would reap rich rewards. He is displaying the true spirits of entrepreneurship. In the process of building his companies, he is helping his customers realize his dreams. His way of creating a company is dreaming big, getting the right people on the board and backing all efforts with solid research and relying on intuition and insight.

Lessons to be learnt? Get the right people on the team, let them take risks, invest in the future and try to empower your customers.

Today in Economics Times article, he made clear his thoughts when he said,
...we want to create a strong sectoral play to capture the transition from a savings-led economy to a consumption-led economy.

Now this small piece of comment has a lot to say about Mr. Biyani and his thought process. He has identified, at the right time, that Indians are changing the way they live. There was a time when they were saving more than 50% of their earnings and living on basis necessities. Now slowly and gradually they are living lavishly and often spending the entire monthly earnings before a month is over. They are now more confident about opportunities and their economic well being.

I can easily see Future Group leading the new India.

And by the way, look out for BCCL (NO, not the cricket board but the Times of India group) and TV18 group also in times to come.

Food For Thought

Yet another blog (located at This time, I shall be talking about technology, businesses and perspectives of customers.

Here is a brief QnA with myself about Foo For Thought.

Why a new blog?
I realized that War of Words is a personal blog with too many things that a reader might not want to read. Hence a new location and a new start.

How is it different from other similar blogs?
First and foremost, I would not be peddling news like a lot of other blogs. I would talk about things that I think are relevant for businesses and what most people often ignore. These are softer issues related to how humans use and interact with businesses. I would act as a customer advocate, an eager student and an egomaniac visionary.

Are you trying to say that you are a visionary and an evangelist?
Not at all. I am not an expert and dont want to be one. I just want to meet new people, interact with them and learn from them.

What tools would you use?
I would use the most potent tool of them all - commonsense. Then I would rely a lot on feedback and observations. I would also use few examples from history, biology, anthropology, physics, politics, economics, design etc. One of my gurus taught me the importance of multidisciplinary thinking and Foo For Thought would echo that.

Keep watching it for action. I would give occasional updates here also.

Please leave your comments and thoughts.
(As if there are going to be a lot of visitors)

Tetris Ice

Another thing to add to the wishlist. Can someone gift me this one?

Tetris Ice on


For my work, I have to make a lot of presentations. And lazy me takes the first shortcut available and calls all my presentations with the default word - Presentation1.ppt.

Today I was asked to hunt for a file and I keyed in .ppt on the search bar. I got a list of some 20 presentation1.ppts. No points for guessing how happy I was with the search results. I did not get the work done and now I am renaming all those files to something that is more searchable.

The key lesson here is that search plays an important role in the way we humans work. More than search, retrival plays even more critical role. It is so easy to stuff a closet with million things and it is equally difficult to retrieve one particular thing from that heap of million things. No wonder Google has done so well as a company. It makes the entire process of retrival so easy and intuitive. Google for me is more of a retrival compay rather than search.

And this leads me to my lesson # 1 for the day. Any business that I get into will have to have a minimal search cost. I define the search cost as the amount of effort on part of end user to identify a service provider (as one of the alternatives to fulfill the demand). And by virtue of this definition, lesser the search cost, easier it is for the end user to find your service.

In fact advertising is a way to reduce the search cost for consumers. Your product might be the best in the world but the customers will never be able to find it if the search cost is too high. The good news is that there are ways to reduce or eliminate this search cost. Case in point, Bisleri. Bisleri by virtue of age has now replaced "mineral water" in vocabulary of Indians. Search cost for Bisleri is hence zero.

Now this concept of search cost can be extended to any business activity. Take for example hiring. You are a growing company. You want to attract and eventually hire the best talent. There are two problems now. One, you dont know where to look for good talent. And two, even though you might find awesome talent, the talent might not know about you. He hasnt heard about you and in all likelihood he would join one of the better known brands.

Think about the Internet. On Internet, a lot of things are noise and a very very few are actually signals. Search cost for anyone on Internet is very high. All of us use feed readers, aggregators, social bookmarking etc. to discover content. Discovery is getting more and more difficult as more and more spam blogs are being published.

How do you then reduce this search cost? How do you make yourself as the default choice for any customer? Is advertising the only way? Is this the core function of advertising?

Any thoughts?

Flash Fiction: The House of Cards

SG has decided to set upon a very difficult task. He wants to erect a house of cards. There is nothing new about house of cards. People have been making houses ever since a deck of cards was invented. Yet, for him, making this house is a mammoth task.

No he is not a "differently-abled" kid. It's just that he lacks one of the biggest virtues of humandom – patience. He is one of those few people who can't sit at one place for more than a minute without some distraction. He is not fickle-minded or easily distracted.

He is of the opinion that humandom offers so many things that in achieving expertise in something particular is waste of time. He thinks that in order to be called an expert by the world at large, you don't experiment and experience a lot of other things. He thinks there is more pleasure in being jack of all trades rather than being a master of one.

He knows that the time he can spend at humandom is very limited. It is only one life after all. And this is what he wants to change. He wants to live more than just a life time at humandom.

This house of cards is his attempt to start a task and finish it. It is similar to a lot of other experiments he keeps doing. All the other tasks he has ever taken have been left unfinished. He doesn't know where would be get inspiration from, but he is determined.

So he sets upon this task of placing cards one by one.

Other Flash Fiction
The Bus. Stopped.

Questioning Unity in Diversity

Go to South India and talk about North Indians, interested things would be said and heard. For North Indians, anyone from south of Mumbai is a Madrasi. They dont know about Mals, Telugus, Tamils or Kannadigas, leave apart Aiyers, Aiyengars and others. All they know is one single word. Madrasi. The entire nation looks at East Indians as chinks. They are as Indians as anyone we can be. They are still laughed at, mocked at in public places. Now in Maharashtra, Mr. Raj Thackery is proclaiming that North Indians should be driven out of Maharashtra. There have even been incidences of violence. One person actually lost his life. Greater than any economic loss.

I think we need to remind all these people that an Indian citizen has been granted a few fundamental rights by our constitution. These fundamental rights are very critical pillars of our democracy. Pillars of the Republic of India.

Why is this happening? Is it good? I am keeping this post open for more perspectives from visitors. Please send in your comments.

Appu Ghar being shut down

Someone once said that only thing constant in universe is change. Old has to make way for the new. There is no escaping for even things as iconic as Appu Ghar in Delhi. Appu Ghar is being shut down to make way for Delhi Metro.

Although I have not been to Appu Ghar for about 10 years but I have some really wonderful memories of Appu Ghar. I still remember a vague map of Appu Ghar. I sat in an electronic car in a closed ring for the first time. I entered a house of horror for the first time at Appu Ghar. My first visit to a water park was at Oysters at Appu Ghar. I was and I still am scared of rides like My Fair Lady and Appu Columbus. I shot air rifles at colorful balloons for the first time in my life at Appu Ghar. I still remember that I bought a box full of magic tricks from Appu Ghar and while going home, I lost one of the cigarette tricks.

Every time I went to IITF aka Trade Fair, my parents always took me to Toys and Games Hall, Good Living Hall and finally Appu Ghar. Last time I went to Appu Ghar was after my 10th standard CBSE examinations. For the record, I took my 10th standard boards in 1997.

There are now umpteen number of amusement parks now in India but no one comes close to Appu Ghar. Personally, I share quite a few things with Appu Ghar. Appu Ghar is not just a place I liked visiting but it also gave me my nick name.

Appu Ghar being shut down is a really sad event but I am all for it and hope more places like that would be developed in the heart of the city. More and more kids are now opting for indoor games, Internet and other virtual entertainment avenues. They are loosing out on the experience of being with a real community, meeting people face to face and arent getting enough exposure to be street smart.

There is one coming up at NOIDA with even better rides and water games. Dont know how many of us would still go to NOIDA for those rides. Dont know if there would ever be a sense of belongingness.

And in the end, Appu Ghar is more than just a place for Delhites. It was and will remain an integral part of everyone's life. Appu Ghar will be missed.

Please send in any pics you might have. And if you want to share an opinion or thoughts, please comment.

Appu Ghar official website

Indian IT programmers - where are thou hiding?

Disclaimer: I would be slaughtering a lot of sacred cows in this text. Please avoid reading if you cant stand negative opinions.

About 5 months ago, I got this wonderful idea that could have potentially changed the way we used the Internet. It was something really useful and it did not rely on advertising as its revenue option. I spoke to quite a few people about it and everyone was excited about it. In everyone's opinion it was bound to be a hit.

But there was a hitch. I could not find enough coders to help me create that application. I thought finding coders would be easy. Day in and day out we hear about the greatness of Indian techies. Media, Professionals and even politicians had no doubts on the coding prowess of us Indians. It was looking like a cake walk.

Confident of finding these coders fast, I tried everything from colleges to IT training institutes (NIITs, Aptechs of the world), mailing lists, online and offline networking events, referrals, outsourcing but I could not find enough people who could work with me. I was ready to pay any kind of salary or project fees or even stake in the business idea. And I did not want to develop a complex application like a new operating system. It was a really small application that would have taken a team of 3 coders about a month to complete in PHP.

Initially I thought I am unlucky that I cant find talent. When I spoke to other people trying to start their own IT companies, I was surprised to know that they also faced the same problem. They could not find enough quality programmers.

Coming to real issue, what happened to all those lakhs of students that passout from thousands of engineering colleges spread across hundreds of locations in our country? What about those uncountable number people working with giants like Infosys, TCS, Wirpo? Where do these companies find talent from? Do they go to a different planet to hire them? Or do they compromise on the quality of intake?

I distinctly remember that when I passed out from my college, every engineer was being recruited for software profiles irrespective of fact that his specialization was chemical engineering, metallurgical engineering, mechanical engineering or even biological engineering. They were sent to special training facilities generally located at Goa, Kerala and other holiday places. And in three months, they came back tanned and ready to take coding assignments of any kind.

We might argue that Indian IT companies have the intellectual capital to pull off anything. And we offer a cost advantage compared to rest of the world. Companies started outsourcing their things to hubs like Bangalore and Hyderabad (btw Bangalored is now officially a word) I have only one question. If we dint have the cost advantage, would we still remain competitive in the global market?

I am not saying that everything that we do in India is a waste. In my humble opinion bulk of work done in India is sub-standard. We do not innovate on anything. We just copy things done by others and make it cheap and hope for people to buy it. I keep on hearing interesting things happening in Indian IT space and how the new generation of Indians are reshaping the economy. How all the PE funds and VC firms are bullish on Indian IT. How every engineer and a management graduate wants to open his own firm. I am not doubting the intellect of Indians for a single second. What I am questioning is that we don't really hone the talent well in the country. Much of our talent goes for a toss ...

We take pride in saying that half the Microsoft staff is Indian, half the IBM staff is Indian but do e realize that all those people left our country to go settle in other countries and contribute to their economies?

Try thinking hard, can we come up with a list of 10 great software innovations in India? Is the future bright?

Related to this is my earlier post on Perils of Indian Education System.

Brief Bio

I created a brief profile to be uploaded on few websites. It is attached below. And I stand by every single word that is written below.

Saurabh is yet another typical Indian who thinks that he can change the world and in the process, become filthy rich. His interests range from reading, writing, computer gaming (Yes counter-strike and Quake 3 Arena), travelling, photography, trekking, advertisements, entrepreneurship, talking, cartoons, eating, technology, blah, blah and more blah.

He believes that one life is too short a time to live. He is on a never-ending quest to find perfection and wants to learn everything he can. He is 26 and wants to retire before he is 30. And finally he is a firm believer in sifr.

Saurabh has a technology background and is a MBA from MDI, Gurgaon. Was hired by a large MNC for their Young Leaders Development Program. The program lasted 12 months and it taught Saurabh how large companies function, how egos are important and how pleasing the bosses is the only bottomline. Unable to understand this dichotomy between ideal-world (and much talked about) functioning and real life functioning of businesses, he decided to move on. He is currently with Creativeland Asia, an advertising agency based out of Mumbai and looks after new initiatives, strategy and consumer insights function. All opinions expressed on any public forums are his personal only and his employer might or might not subscribe to them.

I would like to reiterate that opinions expressed are solely mine and not of my employer. > Review

Playground Online is yet another entrant in the Indian e-commerce space. It retails sports related media and equipment. They currently offer books, CDs, equipments, apparel etc. This is probably first of its kind online store in India. I took PGO for a spin and here is my feedback.

What I like about PGO?
First and foremost, although they want to sell things online but they have put a lot of focus on customer friendliness and costumer interaction. Things like polls, news, forums can make this website a default place for sports enthusiasts. These initiatives help build a strong and loyal community and eventually garner sales.

The range of products on PGO is really wide. From a t-shirt worth Rs. 280 to a bicycle worth Rs. 46000 (obviously for a professional), PGO had a lot of things for offer. I could not check if this range is comprehensive but everything I could think of was either there or they were accounted for and being worked upon. This is a good thing for an e-commerce business. I can think of people visiting PGO to find out more about sporting goods and then buying it offline. Challenge will be to convert these information scouts into customers.

The website interface is impressive for an Indian startup and they have used a good mix of traditional style web design and Web 2 functionality. They still need to work on few things though. Like for example when you are trying to signup, the errors are reported in a pop-up box. This should ideally be a Web 2 pop-up where errors are notified the moment they are encountered. I should never get a Windows pop-up.

PGO has been started by a team of 4 people with average work experience of 15 years. Experience of 60 man-years could be a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. With experience comes rigidity; you might start shooting down ideas even before you give them enough time to fruit. You start living on assumptions. You are scared of breaking out of the mold.

And with experience one develops the knack of running businesses. The team is experienced enough to know what is to be done to make the business run efficiently. Looking at the website and they have used their experience well.

What I like about their team is the fact that all 4 co-founders have different and diverse backgrounds. From client relationships to technology to marketing to customer insights, they have it all. The roles could thus be clear and they can concentrate on larger things.

They don’t seem to have one large competitor right now. However they compete with bookstores (fabmall, om books etc), apparel stores (rediff, sify) and obviously with traditional retail stores. The business model is new in India and looks lucrative. There should be many more players in the market soon.

Payment Options
One of the key reasons why e-commerce is still in nascent stages is lack of adequate payment options. Credit cards penetration is still low in India. People are still skeptic of using their cards online. And finally they are not really convinced about credibility of these websites.

At PGO, there are limited payment options currently but they have mentioned that they are working on more methods. I would love to see them implement a cash-on-delivery method. COD gives an online merchant immediate access to people who dont have cards and people with cards who are scared of using the cards online.

What more can PGO do?
Comparison between brands and products. When buying a product, people love to understand the features, benefits and differences. I don’t see a link for comparing two items. If they can somehow implement a comparison, it would be great.

User community. All the ecommerce websites have been adding users to forums. If PGO is really convinced about sports as a leisure or a lifestyle activity in India, create special interest groups of people with similar interests. Give them things like competitions to participate in, platforms to talk about their interests etc. Basically in one word, give something more than a typical forum or a social network.

Final thoughts
PGO has done a good job with their store. The only thing that might let them down is the very acceptance of the business model. If I was a VC with money, I would have invested in the business, obvisouly after talking to the owners and looking at the projected cash flow statements.

And finally, since we are talking about ecommerce, lets try to see what can be sold successfully over the Internet? Something that is standardized. Something that you are confident would be similar irrespective of place you bought it from. Something like an airplace ticket. Something like a computer. Something like a book. Sporting equipment – I am not sure. Lessons for other players? Make the products standardized, eliminate shopping pains and have in place an awesome customer service.

Questions to ponder on?
Are sporting goods similar to airline tickets? Books?

Advertising online?

Adlab has posted this comScore press release on banner clicks. One of the most important observation is that
a very small group of consumers who are not representative of the total U.S. online population is accountable for the vast majority of display ad click-through behavior.

What does this mean for online advertising industry?
For brands: Advertising online might be a good idea but its still far from generating the revenues.

I am using a study conducted in US to base my opinion on. This study might not be relevant in India.

Logon to Internet to meet your neighbors

IndiaPRWire reports that a website is being launched in Bangalore that would allow users to "... know each other in a better way and expand their network. On your CommonFloor, you can celebrate festivals, organize parties, meet people who share your interests, make your interaction more open and friendly and make your real life as vibrant as you can imagine."

I love the business model. After all I have been advocating all my life that social networks focussed around common interests and activities are far better and are expected to be more successful than "friendship" networks.

But the point is not the success or failure of this particular website. The issue at hand is larger and deeper. Portals like this simply imply that as some places (like Bangalore) we have reached a point where I need an Internet portal to speak with my neighbors.

We as Indians have our roots in things like choupals, community kitchens and joint families. Entire families, clans and villages loved personal connections and spent time with each other. They would care for each other, spend time for each other and if need be die for each other.

And now we have evolved to a society where we have to logon to Internet to speak with our neighbors. People dont have the time to know their own neighbors. How many of us know the names of our next door neighbors? At least I dont.

I am not against the advancement of culture and society but this is totally unacceptable. We have reached a point where the sense of community and belonging is loosing out fast. And moment people loose out on this sense of belongingness, the home stops being a home. It becomes a house with four walls. Everyone seems to be in a constant state of flux. People are just drifting from one city to another and eventually end up with lots of addresses and no homes.

I know I cant force anyone to go meet their neighbors or get involved in the community but in the end everyone losses out. And without realizing everyone becomes the part of the rat race.

Thoughts anyone?

iGot MacBook

Finally iGot MacBook.

Finally I am proud owner of a MacBook. My work at CLA grew beyond a desktop and I was entrusted with a MacBook.

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Leo Burnett Speech - When to take my name off the door

Raj recommended this speech to us. And it is worth the time.

Somewhere along the line, after I’m finally off the premises, you – or your successors – may want to take my name off the premises, too.

You may want to call yourselves "Twain, Rogers, Sawyer and Finn, Inc.".. or "Ajax Advertising" or something.

That will certainly be ok with me – if it’s good for you.

But let me tell you when I might demand that you take my name off the door.

That will be the day when you spend more time trying to make money and less time making advertising – our kind of advertising.

When you forget that the sheer fun of ad making and the lift you get out of it – the creative climate of the place – should be as important as money to the very special breed of writers and artists and business professionals who compose this company of ours – and make it tick.

When you lose that restless feeling that nothing you do is ever quite good enough.

When you lose your itch to the job well for it’s sake – regardless of the client, or money, or the effort it takes.

When you lose your passion for thoroughness ... you hatred of loose ends.

When you stop reaching the manner, the overtones, the marriage of words and pictures that proudest the fresh, the memorable and the believable effect.

When you stop rededicating yourselves every day to the idea that better advertising is what the Leo Burnett Company is about.

When you are no longer that Thoreau called "a corporation with a conscience" – which means to me, a corporation of conscientious men and women.

When you begin to compromise your integrity – which has always been the heart’s blood – the very guts of this agency.

When you stoop to convenient expediency an rationalize yourselves into acts of opportunism – for the sake of a fast buck.

When you show the slightest sign of crudeness, inappropriateness or smart –aleckness – and you lose that subtle sense of the fitness of things.

When your main interest becomes a matter of size just to be big - rather that good, hard, wonderful work.

When you outlook narrows down to the number of windows – from zero to five – in the walls of your office.

When you lose your humility and become big-short wisenheimers…. a little bit too big for your boots.

When the apples come down to being just apples for eating (or for polishing) – no longer part of our tone or personality.

When you disprove of something, and start tearing the hell out of the man who did it rather than the work itself.

When you stop building on strong and vital ideas, and start a routine production line.

When you start believing that, in the interest of efficiency, a creative spirit and the urge to create can be delegated and administrated, and forget that they can only be nurtured, stimulated, and inspired.

When you starting giving lip service to this being a "creative agency" and stop really being one.

Finally, when you lose your respect for the lonely man – the men at his typewriter or his drawing board or behind his camera or just scribbling notes with one of our big pencils – or working all night on a media plan. When you forget that the lonely man – and thank God for him – has made the agency we now have – possible. When you forget he’s the man who, because he is reaching harder, sometimes actually gets hold of for a moment - one of those hot, unreachable stars.

THAT, boys and girls, is when I shall insist you take my name off the door. And by golly, it will be taken off the door. Even if have to materialize long enough some night to rub it out myself - on every one of our floors. And before I DE-materialize again, I will paint out that star-reaching symbol too. And burn all the stationary. Perhaps tear up a few ads in passing.

And throw every goddamned apple down the elevator shafts.

You just won’t know the place, the next morning. You’ll have to find another name.

Text from: CIAdvertising

Cannes Lion for Advertising

I saw a Cannes Lion for the first time ever. My team won a Cannes Silver Lion in 2007 for their awesome work for Travel Corporation of India. It arrived today morning and it was awesome. And its one of those things that moment you see them, you want to own them. It inspires you to do more and better.

Other things in the same category (things-to-own) are the ipod, razr, goodies at thinkgeek, Playstation 3, few books, some movies, Simpons episodes, 24 episodes and a very long never ending list.

As far as getting a Lion, I will earn it. And if anyone wants to gift me things off this list, please drop me a line here.

Mithya - Movie Review

What do you expect out of a low budget movie with no "stars" and yet another actor making his debut as a director and no item numbers to attract the masses? Probably nothing.

And this is where Mithya takes you by surprise.

Mithya is easily one of the best movies I have seen in recent times. Better than Om Shanti Om for sure. And if not better, at least on par with Taare Zameen Par.

The story is very simple. The biggest underworld don and a small time actor look strikingly similar. As all other dons have, this one also has his share of enemies. These enemies find this actor and replace the don with this actor. What follows is an awesome story and screenplay. There are times when you are laughing at few original visual jokes. There are times when you are guessing whats going to happen next. And then there are times when you feel bad for the characters. The movie is perfect blend of comedy, mystery and drama.

First time director Rajat Kapoor has done an awesome job. Written by Rajat Kapoor and Saurabh Shukla, the story is flawless. No where in the movie you feel that story is lacking. The screenplay is also coherent.

Although Ranvir Shorey is the actor in lead, his character is not very powerful. Apart from getting the most airtime and footage, there is so much that he could have done. Special mention to Harsh Chhaya. Powerful acting, excellent dialogue delivery and probably understanding of the role makes his really stand out. Naseerudin Shah, Vinay Pathak, Saurabh Shukla, Neha Dhupia and others have also done justice to their respective roles.

When the movie ends, you come out of the hall happy to have spent those 200 bucks on Mithya. If I spoke anymore, I would be giving away the plot. Go watch Mithya. Its worth your time and money.

I will give Mithya 4 out of 5.

Poster Credits:

P.S.: Can someone post in comments the real meaning of the word Mithya? I think mithya means an illusion or a lie.

EDIT: Rajat Kapoor is not a first time director. Edited after Naveen pointed out error. Verified with IMDB.

Invalid Battery: Motorola Razr v3i

I got this interesting message on my phone today. It reads "Invalid Battery".

Can someone explain this message to me?

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Breaking News on Amitabh Bachchan

This is yet another example of ridiculous state Indian Media is in.

I respect Amitabh Bachchan for whatever he has achieved in his life. But Amitabh Bachchan ko thand lagi is beyond me. Is the matter of national importance? Can it be breaking news?

I have said time and again that Indian media needs to move beyond popularism and profit motives and start behaving responsibly. Younger generations literally consume media and whatever is on media would shape up the country.

Related Posts > News or Sleaze?
Star News reports on Dhoni !
The Times of India - Comedy of Errors

4 years of blogging

January 18, 2004, I posted my first blog post. It has been more than 4 years and 400 posts now. Would this make me one of the first Indian bloggers? I dont know. Has this helped me? Certainly it has. Would I keep doing it? Yes I would. introduces Train Search

My favorite travel site has come up with yet another feature. Train search. Now I have alternatives to irctc and indianrail.

Try it here.

You cant book the tickets just now. You can just see a list of stations the train would go through.

What does it mean for cleartrip?
1. They move beyond just air fares (and occasion hotels) and go a step closer to being a complete travel solution provider.
2. Get more traffic (of people interested in trains).
3. More conversions from train travelers. If cleartrip could introduce another widget right next to the train search results and show the traveler that air travel is real cheap, bookings rate would shoot up. And I can bet, this feature is on its way.

Currently, apart from IRCTC, offers trains. But they also are limited to rail tours. They don't have a listing of stations (the way Cleartrip has). After all the hoopla about train bookings, looks like Cleartrip has emerged the winner. Yet again.

Keep watching. The online travel operator war is just beginning to start.

Related Links
Online Travel Agents in India earning report

President and Vice-President of India

I randomly asked 10 friends who is President of India. Dont be surprised with the results ... Only 2 out of 10 knew who Mrs. Patil is. And for all the readers who don’t know the answer, it’s Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil.

Then I asked the same set of people who is our Vice President. And guess what.. no one knew. They had no clue at all. When I told them it’s Mr. Haimd Ansari, they were as confused as a kid in a nude bar.

India Shining?

What seems to be the problem?
One is that I asked people who are my age (25 +- 2 years). These people are so-called future of India and would drive the economy and country in the years to come. Most of these people are more bothered about the kind of money they can make rather than the kind of difference they would make to the country.

Second is that media - the driver of intellect and thought in India is really pathetic. Media in India is a business. With profit motives. As I have said earlier too, gone are the days when media would want to educate, inform and evoke thoughts from the citizens rather than pursuing profits generated by advertisements, sensationalizing news and paddling

How has this shift happened? Why are people less concerned about the state of affairs? Why are we becoming yet another society where politics is left to people without jobs, oldies, influentials and other larger than life people?

Thoughts anyone?


Microsoft to buy Yahoo for $44.6bn? Why?

Yes, Microsoft has offered to buy Yahoo for $44.6 Billion.

This is not a news anymore. Every living soul on this planet would know it by now. But why are they interested in Yahoo? And this is after Microsoft valued Facebook at $15 bn.

Few immediate thoughts
1. Race to own the Internet and eventually the world.
It is not hidden from anyone that Microsoft is not the best when it comes to Internet. They are third when it comes to search engines, social networking has never been their forte (LIVE failed miserably and probably the sole reason for Facebook stake), Google Adsense is the most widely used advertisment platform, Yahoo mail is used more than any other free email service,

2. Online advertising is too lucrative a business to let go.
Obvisouly, with Google taking bulk of search traffic, there were only two options. Come up with a better, faster and easier search engine than Google (which is becoming increasingly dificult - even mahalos and wikias of the world are finding it difficult to do) OR d something drastic. Trying to buyover Yahoo is nothing less than drastic.

3. Time is a factor.
With every passing day it was becoming too difficult for Microsoft to complete with Google. With Google infringing upon the software arena, the core business of Microsoft was in danger. Every passing day they were loosing ground to Google. Microsoft needed to take on Google. And fast.

What remains to be seen is if Microsoft can actually buy Yahoo. And if there are any counter bids from Google (hehe) or any PE firms. Frakly, PE firms dont really have a lot of money right now due to fears of recession and all. Only person who can take on Microsoft as far as Yahoo goes is Warren Buffet (obvisouly, he is not keen on technology companies - just wanted to throw his name).

On serious note, even if the merger goes ahead, a lot of things would have to sorted out including the identity crisis, culture mix, gaps and above all business.



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The Nidhi Kapoor Story

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