November 26, 2012

iPad Revelation...

Realized recently that iPad has great potential to substantially reduce materials in your life. Its a good substitute for newspapers, magazines, books and gaming consoles. And I was amongst the people who were vehemently against the notepads for more than a year after their launch. I am planning to switch over to iPad completely for my reading needs, and lets see how the experience goes.

Living In Ivory Towers

I have been reading a few trading books lately, and re-read 'Reminiscences Of a Stock Operator' recently. Taking out the financial mumbo jumbo on how to identify good trading opportunities in the market, there is one broad thing in the book which is missing from our everyday lives now. Almost all the biggest trades where Livingston made a killing came from his understanding of the real world - observing something very common, or after interacting with someone. 

However, comparing that with most traders I know, they all live in financial centers, holiday in Bali or Phuket, and have only brokers/traders as friends. They have kind of separated themselves from the 'real' world completely, and read news/research from the same sources. Most traders have lost touch with actual ground realities of the world, and trade purely on the basis of news flashing on their Bloomberg screens, or some broker ideas. This may be one of the causes of the growing unhappiness in the banking industry - its a circular feedback loop, and unhappiness is feeding itself as very rarely people get an outsider's perspective. 

To correct the situation, and purely from a selfish perspective of making one better traders, one needs to meet more and more people outside the industry. Touch base with a few old friends who work in completely unrelated fields. If not anything, we would learn something new, and feel happy reliving our old days. Social Media was meant to bring people closer, and reunite old friends, instead we have limited it to spam people with smart comments, and random pictures. 

Facebook Babies

How many of us haven't counted the number of likes after posting an album of a recent trips? In today's world, thats the benchmark for how good the trip was, or how good a photographer one is. And we do get depressed (at least I do) if after a couple of hours there is not a single like or comment on the pictures. 

In this mad world of liking, and counting, why do people put photographs of their babies? I mean, its akin to subjecting them to a new kind of competition. Imagine if you can re-live the moments you were born (that would be ages ago), and can actually see who all held you in their hands, and planted a kiss on your cheeks. Imagine being able to find out which of your uncles and aunts wished you what the moment you were born, and the specific gifts they brought with them. The new generation of babies would be able to find this out in a few years when they go through the facebook profile of their parents, and their first pictures. They would be able to see how many people 'liked' it, and who all found it 'cute'. 

The whole scenario scares me a little, and we may be subjecting the little ones to some undue competition (for likes and clicks). 

P.S. - This post has nothing to do with my general dislike for people posting the pictures of their kids on facebook. I mean, all kids are cute, and lovely, but whats it with putting the pictures of a new born? Let him breathe first. 

November 25, 2012

Celebrating The Goodness

There is just so much panic and depression in the world today. In the race of our lives, we forget to see the goodness around. Going forward on this blog, I intend to focus on all those good parts of life we we tend to ignore. This is not too say I won't be discussing about the ground reality of the world, far from it. But the focus would be more on the good, and perhaps the way ahead on the bad things. 

And to get things started, let me start with the movies. This may well be called the Golden Age of Indian Cinema. We were always a big movie industry by any standards, but lately, we have had many talented directors and script writers who instead of making the usual flicks, are focussing on taking the cinema ahead. Thanks to the multiplex culture, now we have an audience who can enjoy all kinds of cinema. Over the last decade or so, bollywood has been experimenting with some really interesting movies. Be it the Rang De Basanti, which almost inspired a whole nation, or one of the very rare female lead movies Kahani, which proved once again that a everyone appreciates a good cinema, irrespective of the stars. I'm not saying that now all the movies being made a very good, far from it. However, now a days we have at least one movie every few months which promises to take our cinema forward. For every south-indian remake we are making, there is one genuine lovable original also. 

One interesting thing about the recent movies is the grey characters in them - we no longer portray our characters in complete black and white, and there is very little sugar coating of language as well. We are turning back the dream world of Raj Kapoor, and putting our movies back to the reality. Ishaqzaadedidn't harp much on the differences between the religions, and more on the differences between the two families. In the movie, there were no caricatures which have been done to death in our movies, and in spite of dealing with a heavy and touchy subject, it was done very lightly and without being preachy at any point. Its a different matter that the movie left me depressed still, not for any fault of its making, but for the true reality it depicted - the fact that such things are still happening in our country. The sad fact that in a country which perhaps makes the largest number of movies in the whole world, and where more than 80% of movies would be love-stories, in real life we are much more tolerant of corruption than of love marriages. And to some extent the fault lies which the movie makers of yester-years who made such dreamy movies that people never considered them a part of their real lives. Those movies were everyone's getaway from the real world, and not a reflection to build upon. 

We now have movies scaling revenues of 100 Cr on almost regular basis now, and this gives the people associated with the industry much more room and space for experiments. After the initial infatuation with the salaries of stars which have already sky rocketed, some part of the money would be spent on technical aspects of movies as well - in the form of better sets, better camera work, and some time in near future better scripts. Hollywood has a culture of adapting popular novels into movies, and we have made tiny beginnings in that direction by having a few Chetan Bhagat novels being made into movies. Its no wonder that of all the 100 Cr plus hits, the only one which wouldn't make us feel ashamed in front on an international audience is 3 Idiots, which was an amongst the very first bollywood movie which is inspired by a novel.