Thursday, May 27, 2010

Kites Film Review

A one line review of the film is this: what were u thinking???

Great performers, very good looking, great action, excellent cinematography, great locations... but even these things need at least a sliver of a story!

The failure of this film is sad. It had all the ingredients.. but like a car is made primarily for transportation, and it has to do that right, all additional features are dispensible.. a film is essentially a story told, and we needed a story here.

Barbara Mori was a surprise package - the dame can ACT. And she is good looking, AND she has a character that is just plain superbly crafted by the writer.
Hrithik really should try a different dance style now. It was absolute pain to see the MJ steps again . And Again.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

dont come to me
for shards
of your life.
You will not find
in the sparkle of my eyes
the splinters
that you never had
or created.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

i was pregnant
with the anticipation
of seeing you.
It was
an abortion.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One day, before you know it..

.. your time will have ended.
Most days, we think of at least one person during the day whom we havent called or heard from in a long time "Sometime soon" we promise ourselves, "I must call him/her."
Sometime soon never happens.
One day, there is no more sometime left - either that person's time ends, or ours, or they just move to a place where we dont have their contact information.

Sometime soon is now. Or Never.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The post about technical implementations

Once upon a time, there was an ERP company called ABCD. ERP was a revolutionary concept. It integrated data from all over the business, integrated processes across departments. It was good.

The implementation had 2 kinds of consultants – Functional Consultants, who understood business processes and translated them in ABCD terms. And Technical consultants, who developed applications that the standard could not take care of. These applications were supposed to be the exception rather than the norm, bcs the product was very well researched and prepared to meet most business needs.

Over a period of time, it became apparent that every implementation will have to have some technical applications built especially for that customer.

Over a period of time, it became important to contain project costs, and customers started questioning the existence of 2 consultants – functional and technical. Customers wanted to know why the same person could not do the development.

On the other hand, technical consultants wanted to do something more meaningful, and that “more meaningful” was “functional work” .

Therefore, it made common sense to let the technical and functional consultants learn and do each others’ work. Right? Wrong.

This model overlooked a few small points. These were:

· Coding is like Poker. It takes 5 minutes to learn, and a lifetime to master. Good technical skills cannot be learnt in a matter of a few weeks or even months. Coding is specialized activity. It takes a good coder to write a good code. And the difference between good code and bad code is the difference between Microsoft and Apple. You may inundate the market with volumes. But that will not make you the “customer delight” company. Likewise, you may have years of coding experience, but still not be the coder who writes easy to implement, and easy to update code quickly, effectively, efficiently. Mediocre coding costs more money than most organizations can imagine.

· There is only one way to know what works and doesn’t work with a business process. Its called experience. To know what will and will not work in an technical product, you don’t have to look at the flowcharts or the product features. You have to look at that incongruous being called “The user”. Implementations are a study in user behavior. Users are not a part of most implementation projects. Which means that as the functional consultant, you have to know already what users will and will not do with your product.

· If you combine half baked process knowledge with good coding skills, or if you combine good business knowledge with less than excellent coding skills, you will get the same result – a mediocre implementation, with limited scalability. Which means that you will need an upgrade faster. And because your processes and/or your code are not easily scalable, you can look forward to a nice upgrade project costing just a few million dollars. Because you wanted to scourge on that extra consultant. What was that poem again, for want of a nail, the battle was…. ?

So what’s the point? The point is that one needs to go back to the basics –To be penny foolish and pound wise. To understand the importance of both kinds of skills, and that excellence in both of them has to be valued *equally*.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Name Wanted

For the Esha Theater Workshop, we need a brand name now. For the product. A name that is more exciting than Theater Workshop.. lots of ppl have been suggesting that.

So, please put in your creative energies and come up with a brand name for the theater workshop. To know more abt the theater workshop, please go here : http://www.braillecards.org/faqs.htm.

The brand name should be:
1. Connecting in some way, with the theme of fun and team building.
2. Distinctive
3. Should NOT, prima facie, refer to disability or blindness in any way.
4. Could hint at Theater and drama as a part of the package.

Pls put ur suggestions in the comments box. Please ask your friends also to suggest a name in the comments box. Please dont suggest a name that will unknowingly land us in a legal soup. We are bad at being eaten. ;-)

Thank you!

Well Done Abba - Film Review

A Shyam Benegal movie after ages. Minissha Lamba, Boman Irani in the cast. And why did i miss it? Because the paper review said so. This is the second good film i have missed because of the paper review. Paper, go hang urself. No, actually, yours truly should hang self. For listening to a paper whose paper ream is of more value than the contents thereof.

And what made one realise one's pigheadedness? An sms at 2330 hours from a friend. "Don't miss Well Done Abba at any cost." At 2330 hours?? Sigh! Newspaper, are you recruiting? Please hire my friend as your film critic.

Anyhoo, Well Done Abba is BRILLIANT film. In every sense of the word.

If you have not seen it yet.. please do. This is one of the finest films this year. Or ever.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

26 Summer Ideas for children

These are primarily no fuss ideas for working mothers. Most of them need play dates with other children, but can be done solo also. Best of all, they can be done indoors.

1. Origami - get them a book, buy enough origami papers, and empty a showcase to show their work.

2. Reading and Junior Book Clubs - Junior book club is where children meet once a week, to discuss a book they have all read that week. It cld be Chacha Chaudhri, Enid Blyton or Winnie the Pooh. A shared library in the building is a great idea too. All kids can borrow from each other using "tickets". Meaning , 5 kids get together and start a book club. Each child is given 2 tickets. These tickets can be used to borrow books from other members of the club. When you borrow a book from me, i get to keep your ticket for the time that my book is with you. At the end of the holidays, all children must have their tickets back. Books kept for more than a week lead to loss of ticket permanently. Try it, its a lot of fun.

3. Painting.

4. Theater - Give the kids a story and let them make the play that will finally be staged for all adults. Excellent time pass. A parent with some knowledge of theater can help part time. But no supervisor. Let the kids work it out among themselves.

5. Finger Puppet Theater and Puppet Making - Give them a book, a slightly older child to supervise them, and let them do their finger puppet theater once a day, or once a week. The other puppets that are made can be given to charity at the end of the holidays(save one for memory).

6. Story Telling - Give the children a story. Let them find props from within the house, and tell a story. This is super gud fun.

7. Gudiya ki shaadi (Doll's wedding) - The making of dresses, the bridal jewelry painstakingly made using beads and pearls and sequins. Gud Time pass for everyone. The boys can be the groom's side.

8. Paper Models and Craft Work - Vikas Paper model books are available at a very affordable 40 rs for 6 models. They are worth a try.

9. The usual - blocks, sculpting clay, baking, embroidery, jigsaw puzzles- 300 pieces and above, logic puzzles (try braingle.com) , Sudoku, Scrabble Tournaments.

10. Gardening - For the summer, turn over the maintenance of your garden to the kid(s). Ditto for keeping a pet.

11. Quiz Show - The kids have to prepare a quiz show for the adults of the house. The show is called "Kya aap paanchvi pass se tez hain?"

12. Dance Drama - No, not your regular bollywood jhatkas. The children have to do a dance drama - using just dance, a story has to be told. It can be any dance form - Ballet, Indian, bollywood, anything. Basically, i believe that kids need to know that there is more to dance than bollywood and salsa.

13. Classical Music - Classes at home or in a group.

14. Yoga - Great time to start. Every morning.

15. Prayer - Yes, seriously. They have to learn some part of the scripture in the holidays.

16. Calligraphy - Get them a book to learn Calligraphy, a set, and some blank sheets to practice. Then get your new name plate made at the end of the season.

17. Speed Reading - This is a vital skill for children 8 years and above. Find a class near you and get them started.

18. New Language - The child has to invent a new language and teach it to others in the family. Everyone has lots of fun and this makes for the most memorable summer ever!

19. Stamping Fun - Create greeting cards, books and what not ! Get some rubber stamps made and let them loose with a stamp pad and a blank book. There is Stampit! series available at all game stores, but its more fun to get special family stamps made, esp ones with everyone's names and caricatures. They will make special cards to be sent to everyone that year - Happy Birthday cards for grandparents and special relatives, Happy Diwali and Happy new year cards.. all the greeting cards that year.. and this year, you will send hand made greeting cards AS A FAMILY, without fussing about it at the end because viola! you made them all in summer! (Dont worry abt the beauty quotient of the cards. Their being hand made by grandchildren is quite enough to bring grandparents to tears)

20.Eklavya's Best from Waste - Just make a kiddie group in your colony, give them some of these books by Eklavya, and let them loose. Eklavya has some fantastic books and phenomenal ideas!

21. Dumb Charades - The beauty of this game is that it can be played at the end of the work day, can easily become a family game, and is a great bonding tool. Other things that fall in this category are - scrabble, card games, monopoly, ludo and pictionary. But nothing beats Dumb Charades and the quiet undertanding it creates.

22. Cartoon Strip - The children have to create a cartoon strip. One cartoon every day. They can pick up anything in their environment. But each day must have one cartoon. The characters have to be consistent. At the end of the season, a cartoon book will be created and published and kept in the family chronicles. Drawing skills are not important, but if your kids are sensitive, give them http://www.toondo.com/ . On this site, you can create characters and comic strips easily without drawing skills.

23. Learn Sign language and Braille - This is one education that all children need. Because it will teach them something about their own gifts. How to be grateful for their own senses, and how to treat those who are not as lucky. "The summer i learnt Braille / sign language", is going to be among the most memorable summers for them. Braille can be learnt at the local Blind School (or contact me if you are in Gurgaon, India). Sign Language can be learnt thru online printed manuals. Its easy. Download the manual, give it to the children, then practice together as a family . Easy to do after office hours, and fun.

24. This one comes from a friend - Take an old carton and give it to the children to convert into a doll house or a castle. Her 5 year old daughter managed this! Using cardboard, thermocol, and paint and sundry accessories.

25. Record for the blind - While the kids are reading, they can pick up some books that are not under copyright, and record them for blind students all over to download and listen in audio. There is a serious shortage of books for the blind, and a service like this - where they can just download and hear, is not available at all. As part of Esha i m doing a summer project, requesting everyone to contribute anything, even a small recording, so it can be put up for free download. Please record. All it takes is a simple voice recorder or laptop.

26. Film Festival @ Home - Seriously. Bimal Roy. Satyajeet Ray. Other masterpieces. One film a day. There is nothing better than a film festival, complete with tickets, to budget the TV watching time of kids in summer. Needless to add, good cinema is as relevant today as it was years ago.

What are your summer ideas?