Saturday 24 December 2016


"Zat fish," Cloiseau said, "is not a suspect, but 'e definitely knows somezing about zis case. We should interrogate 'im. 'E is a poisson of interest."

Professor Higgs was certain now. This sub-atomic particle was not the one they were searching for, but he needed to question it carefully. It was definitely a boson of interest.

That clergyman wasn't the one who buggered the choirboys. But he does know the bishop, so we should question him. He's a parson of interest.

Those fried-&-dried snacks from western India aren't the culprits. But bring them to the interrogation room. They are farsans of interest.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

How many queues must a man wait in?

At a concert on Saturday, our Prime Minister quoted words of protest written by a certain Robert Zimmerman back in 1963. That reminded us of this more contemporary work by Balbir ‘Bobby’ Dhillon, who owns Noble Lorry 8 Pvt. Ltd. (‘We have no brunches’) and writes a bit while he’s waiting in line to withdraw cash to pay his drivers.

Come gather ’round people
It’s not time to roam
While you whined the lines
Around you have grown
Just accept it that soon
You’ll be tir’d to the bone
If your savin’s to you are worth drawin’
Then you better start queuin’ or you’ll be all alone
For the notes they are a-changin’

Pressti …wallas and critics
Who editorialise often
Do keep your eyes wide
We’ll change the rules again
So don’t speak at all
You can’t counter my spin
Here’s one more RBI notification!
Don’t try to figure it, you just can’t win
Hah! The notes they are a-changin’

You UPA Congressis
Don’t get it all
I’ll use your best schemes
And rename them all
I’m sure it must hurt
To hear all my trolls
Being ‘offended’ and ‘hurt’ and ‘outragin’’
And while you’re trying to figure it all
The notes I will be a-changin’

Grand-mothers and -fathers
A separate queue for you
And ’cause I sympathise
Take Saturday too
Your sons and your daughters
They will have to stand
Out on the road slowly agin’
Yes it’s your money, yes I understand
But the notes they are a-changin’

The line it is long
Do have a blast
The slow queue now
Will never be fast
You resent me now
I am aghast
Is your nationalism fadin’?
Alas your cash stash is now ballast
’Cause the notes they are a-changin’

Sunday 20 November 2016

One Art

(May the shade of Elizabeth Bishop forgive me)

Mitron, brownnosing isn’t hard to master;
just say (and again) how good was the intent,
never mind that it looks like a disaster.

Praise something every day. And drink gaumutra.
Hours in queues are never badly spent;
patriots never doubt the lord and master.

Then practice cleaning farther. Like the taste, eh?
Remember the soldiers freezing in their tents!
Say that to all who call this a disaster.

Keep Mother India swachch. Don’t think! Sweep faster!
So much easier than teaching civic sense;
yes, this art is a fine and good one master.

How can you doubt him? Traitor, go eat pasta!
To Italy — no, Pakistan — you’ll be sent
for implying that this is a disaster.

No, don’t think of the economy (we aren’t)
and don’t think of your money that you can’t spend.
Mitron, brownnosing isn’t hard to master;
Just remember (Write it!) it’s no disaster.

Sunday 13 November 2016

Achche Din

I was chatting with my neighbourhood kiranwala. After telling me how tough it was to manage his 'rolling' cash, he told me this story.

One of the people he deals with, a wholesaler in the Govandi area, one of the poorest sections of Bombay, saw that many of the disadvantaged who live there — particularly those without bank accounts and proper ID — were literally doing without food because the kind of grocery shops and hole-in-the-wall eating houses they would buy from wouldn't take their under-the-mattress money. So this guy mobilised his network of partners and supplier and arranged to get whatever sub-500 notes he could. He then exchanged these with the people of the area, taking a 10% margin on average.

He disbursed Rs 25 lakh in a day and made a tidy 2.5 lakh profit.

Mera numbering system mahaan

If we insist on using the Indian numbering system, why stop at crore and wind up with clumsy stuff like three lakh crore? There are legit larger number names: arab, kharab, neel, padma, shankh.

1,00,00,00,000 = Arab (instead of one hundred crore)

1,00,00,00,00,000 = Kharab (instead of ten thousand crore)

1,00,00,00,00,00,000 = Neel (instead of ten lakh crore)

1,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = Padma (instead of ten crore crore)

1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = Shankh (instead of ten thousand crore crore)

Or to put it another way:

Arab = billion

Kharab = hundred billion

(Ten kharab = trillion)

Neel = ten trillion

Padma = quadrillion

Shankh = hundred quadrillion

Saturday 12 November 2016


Praising the demonetisation and calling it a surgical strike sounds dead wrong to me. It sounds like whoever said that doesn't understand either surgery or warfare. Any surgery that did this much damage to the body would be grounds for a medical malpractice suit.

What it is is a dirty bomb. or rather an atom bomb. Deals the 'enemy' a serious blow, may even give you victory, but look at the huge 'collateral damage.'

Friday 11 November 2016

Go well, Leonard Cohen

"Well Marianne it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I've always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don't need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road."

An idea of America

There's this idea of America I've had, which I'm now wondering about. That this … abstraction was always well-intentioned. One could disagree with this abstraction, not like some things it did, find it often patronising, often clueless, too often convinced of its own solutions. But there was the feeling that it meant well.
That sense of America has taken a bit of a beating the last couple of days.

Wednesday 9 November 2016

Overheard in the bank queue

What is the difference between all of us wanting our own cash in our hands and a light bulb?
A light bulb can be unscrewed.

Gandhi: Be the change you want to see
*All Indians turn into 100-rupee notes*

What is the effect of demonetisation on journalists doing what is the effect of demonetisation stories?



I think I know why this government disbanded the Planning Commission. They have no idea what planning means.

India edition of Monopoly. You give all your currency to the bank and then nobody moves.
(The new American edition is now called Diplomacy, and its based on where the president has hotels all around the world.)

Cashless is broke

"He was throwing money around like a BJP insider at a ladies bar on the 8th of November."

People: We can't buy bread!
M. Antoinette: Here, take laddoo.

All over India, they wander, searching; gaunt, emaciated, eyes full of pain. The bhatakti hui atm.

Bhagwan aapki ATM ko shanti de

Clear out your browser. We need a cacheless economy.

₹1000 Na Milega Dobara
Cashmir Ki Kali
Hum Bill De Chuke Sanam
₹1000? O Khwaishein Aisi
Pink (no, heheh, change required)
Kab Tak, Chhappan?
Cheque De, India!
Bungle BanDe
mahATMa gandhi, a film by rich aatanna baro
(More from friends)

(One Art, with apologies to Elizabeth Bishop)
(A-changin', with apologies to Bob Dylan)

Saturday 29 October 2016

#DhanDaan♿: sharing the wealth

I’m on the advisory board of Wheels for Life which brings together those who need wheelchairs with those who’d like to gift them. I’d like to do something to raise awareness of Wheels for Life, since it’s very new. And so I made an offer on Twitter (slightly edited, merging several tweets):
Not very original, but I’m only copying myself. Some of you may remember this (also here) which I did for @prathambooks? If you promise to make a donation to Wheels for Life, I’ll write you a silly poem, just for you. Most probably a limerick.
You don’t have to donate ₹5000, the cost of one wheelchair (but it would be super if you do). There’s an option to donate via cheque/DD. Or you could choose to volunteer if you prefer: Whatever works for you. Just help me get the word out about Wheels for Life. Oh yes, they haven’t asked me to do this; they don’t even know I'm doing it. (Now they do.)
So this is my personal offer:
Tell me where you’re from, and one thing about you, and get a silly poem, In return, you support Wheels for Life in some way.

I also emailed a number of friends, shared a set of fund-raising ideas, and asked if they’d like to offer their skills, time or goods to donors for Wheels for Life. Several people said yes. I posted their offers, and then several more people got in touch with offers. More people saw those, and… you get the picture.
It’s all getting rather complex on Twitter at the moment, so I thought I’d do one post that collected all the offers in one place for easy reference. Here they are.
But first, the terms.
If you’d like to take up any of these generous offers:
• Reply to the offer tweet.
• The person making the offer accepts.
• You make your donation at Wheels for Life’s donation page. WFL takes donations in multiples of ₹5,000. ₹5,000 is the cost of one wheelchair ♿.
• Tweet the transaction number at the person making the offer, me, & @nipunmalhotra, founder of Wheels for Life, who will confirm receipt.
• Person making the offer gets in touch with you and you get your return gift.
• You can choose to donate but gift your offer to someone else; let the person making the offer know who it is.

Want to make an offer? I’d be happy to add a few more slots. If you’d like to join in, tweet your offer at me, or email zigzackly at gmail. Make it quantifiable and precise, please. For example: X numbers of a an item you make; Y number of hours/minutes of your time consulting on Z. And include the total number of products or slots you have the time or inclination to give away, or the time up to when your offer is open. For example, X such products or Y such slots are available, up to the end of Z. Also specify things like: any geographic geographic restrictions — only in Bombay, for example — and whether you can email or courier a product; should what you offer be picked up; whether you can provide the service over phone or web chat.
There is a version of this list on Facebook as well, here on Wheels for Life’s page (make sure to follow them there); that page also has a few Facebook-only offers by people who aren’t in Twitter. Of course you could follow the sequence on Twitter, and see the various replies as well, starting from here.

This person… …Is offering this… …If you give this # of ♿s Links to tweets Still open?
01. @surekhapillai, comunications professional and Twitter star, and also the person who persuaded me to try once more to open this up to more people. One hour of consultation for your start-up, via phone or online call. One, two Closed
02. @MaryTKurkalang who has worked 20 years consulting on arts/culture in India and abroad. An offer for aspiring arts professionals.
One hour, via phone or online call on how to pitch an art / culture / book project.
One, two, three Closed
03. @MaryTKurkalang again An offer for aspiring arts professionals.
One hour, via phone or online call on how to start working in the art management space.
One, two, three Closed
04. @prempanicker, writer, journalist, mentor, man-about-town One hour to consult on anything: writing, editing, social media, messaging, in person in Bangalore or via phone or online call. One, two, three Closed
05. @prempanicker again Lunch or coffee with him (when you’re both in the same city) to chat about anything. One, two, three Closed
06. @prempanicker with an offer for organisations. Prem will do a full-day workshop on editing / communications / social media / writing for your organisation. Offer open in Bangalore, but if you pay his fare, anywhere else too. ♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ (that's 10, or ₹50,000) One, two, three Closed
07. @Paromadiva, who ran communications at Google India and now at SoftBank International. One hour to consult on brand, reputation & internal/external communications, via phone or online call. One, two Closed
08. @anaggh, who is an entrepreneur, mentor and Twitter star. Anaggh has dreamed up #PolaroidWish, supported by @rockymindia. If you make a donation above ₹1,000, they will send you an expensive pair of sunglasses worth at least twice that. Wheels For Life is one of the four listed charities for this campaign. (Read Anaggh's post here). One, two Closed
09. @anaggh also has a personal offer One to two hours of brainstorming or business discussion with him. Bonus: If in Bombay (& in Bangalore in November), this discussion in person & coffee on Anaggh. One, two, three Closed
10. @samitbasu, cult author, @pi_alize, an amazing illustrator and future superstar, and me Samit has kindly offered to share rhyming duties with me. (Same brief: in your reply, tell us one thing about you and where you're from.) And Pi will illustrate your poem. One, two, three, four, five Closed
11. @Meetasengupta education strategist & coach & writer An hour of coaching time on the phone on how to Plan to be a CxO for future leaders; via phone or online call One, two Closed
12.@Aparna executive coach & author Corporate leadership mini coaching: three 30-minute sessions over two months; via phone or online call ♿ ♿ (that's ₹10,000) One, two Closed
13. @Aparna with her chef's toque on A two-hour pahaadi cooking class plus lunch with her at her home, plus a copy of her The Sood Family Cookbook. This offer is Delhi/NCR only. One, two Closed
14. @krishashok, musician, firestarter & brain the size of a planet An hour's lesson on how to compose and record music digitally at home & sound semi-professional; via phone or online call.
(Have you tuned in to his Soundcloud?)
One, two Closed
15. @TheRestlessQuil, editor, writer, and now artist She will send you two watercolour paintings (see Tweets for samples) One, two Closed
16. @NakulShenoy, magician Meet Nakul over tea, discuss & perform magic (in Bangalore, or when you & he are in the same city) One, two Closed
17. @NakulShenoy, magician Get a free seat (or 50% off on two seats) in his magic workshop (Bangalore, Nov. 26-27) ♿ ♿ (that's ₹10,000) Three Closed
18. @atti_cus, lawyer and writer Two hours of legal advice or discussion in Delhi (or via the phone / online call) One, two Closed
19. @RushinaMG, culinary expert, consultant, teacher and writer Two seats (a cooking date!) at a special @RushinaMG Eggciting Breakfasts Masterclass followed by brunch, on Nov 13 in Bombay. One, two, three Closed
20. @madmanweb, chef, writer, singer and, now, portrait photographer A "profile candid package" as described here One, two, three Closed
21. @calamur, TV professional and blogger An hour on script / concept / character development and writing structure for a show or script.
Harini is offering four such (one-off) slots in November. Ideally, face-to-face in Mumbai, or if she and you are in the same city at some point, otherwise via phone or online call.
One, two, three Closed
22. @nilanjanaroy, author, columnist, critic, speaker, aspiring cat-herder, dear friend Nilanjana will give you and three friends you choose an exclusive three- to four-hour walk through literary Delhi. She will arrange transport and meeting location plus light snacks. She is offering three such walks at mutually convenient dates over November and December. One, two, three, four Closed
23. @devangshudatta, friend, polymath, raconteur, finance wiz and much else DD will teach you a basic trend-following technical trading system (approx one hour) over phone or internet video call, or if you're in Delhi & he is feeling sociable, in person.
To those who take this offer, DD is also offering follow-up lessons: 1 ♿ per one-hour session on trading systems / refinements.
♿ (+ ♿ per follow-up session) One, two, three, four Closed
24. @devangshudatta again. (Did I mention he has a ridiculously unfair amount of brains?) This is for chess players (beginning or intermediate). A 1-hour chess basics lesson from @devangshudatta. Example subjects:
- a given opening
- how to mate with B+N
- basic pawn endgames
- basic rook endgames
One, two, three Closed
25. @amritat, author, TV journalist, entrepreneur, activist A one-hour consultation on social media/media outreach/writing via phone or internet video call One, two Closed
26. @amritat again, with her author hat on Be immortalised! Get a starring role in a (short) short story she will write ♿ ♿ ♿ (₹15,000) One Closed
27. @ashoklalla, digital & marketing advisor, speaker, startup mentor For aspiring digital marketing folks and start-ups:
Get 30 minutes of digital marketing business or career advice over a phone call
One, two Closed
28. @ashoklalla again 90 minutes on digital marketing business or advice. Face to face over coffee if in Bangalore (Ashok will pay) or via phone or internet video call ♿ ♿ (₹10,000) One Closed
29. @mahimkajerry, award-winning author, poet, columnist Jerry will read a manuscript you send him over email and offer an edit. He is open to do five such MSes. (One has already been claimed) One, two, three Closed
30. @rucsb, HR leader, mentor, influencer 30 minutes to one hour of career development coaching or mentoring One, two Closed
31. @SanSip, ad guy, book critic and blogger A thorough assessment plus suggestions for improvement, for an unpublished novel or short story One, two Closed
32. @GautamGhosh, HR maven & consultant, pioneering blogger One hour of consultation on HR, social media, HR tech, personal branding One, two Closed
33. @GautamGhosh again An offer for organisations
A one-day programme on social media for your HR team. Offer is in Bangalore, but can be made available in other places if you pay for his travel
♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ (that's 10, or ₹50,000) One, two Closed
34. @saffrontrail, food writer, consultant blogger A 90-minute healthy cooking / salad-making workshop for you & one other person
This offer has been taken. Nandita has time for only one slot.
One, two Closed.
35. @DeathEndsFun, old pal, author, columnist, blogger Dilip will serenade you or a person you choose with songs on his blues harmonica. He says, "Willing to play Jaaneman Jaaneman Sounds of Silence (or any of a number of other songs)."
Offer available in Mumbai, but also via Internet video if that works for you.
One, two, three, four Closed
36. @DeathEndsFun with his author hat on. One hour with Dilip to talk about what he believes will improve your writing. In person in Bombay or via phone or Internet video call One Closed
37. And @DeathEndsFun plays tennis One hour of tennis with Dilip as his guest at Bandra Gymkhana (Bombay). One Closed
38. @rochellepotkar, writer and poet Rochelle will chat with you over coffee for one or two hours, then write you a haibun (a prose-poem) based on your life, just for you. Offer claimable in Bombay or if you and she are in the same city in the near future. One, two, three Closed
39. @KiranManral, novelist and blogger, colleague from so long ago that both of us aren't talking about it. For as-yet-unpublished writers, a one-hour (phone) chat on how to get your manuscript done and how to approach publishers. One, two Closed
40. @LadyAshBorg, good buddy and very successful entrepreneur A half-hour session on founding early-stage tech startups and/or fundraising (or related matters). In person in Chennai or if you and she are in the same city in the near future, otherwise via phone or Internet video chat.
She only has the time to offer two such sessions in the immediate future, so grab them quickly.
Statutory warning: do not make silly jokes about AI, or invite her to speak in a #manel.
One, two, three Closed
41. @amitvarma, writer, blogger, poker wiz and, professional limerick writer A 16-line poem adapted to any context you want. For example, you want the poem starring you and a purple cow duelling Amit? Amit will deliver.
NOTE: Amit's poems have proven hugely popular, and we don't want him to burn out, delightful as his verse is. So we're upping the ante here, and saying THREE wheelchairs for one of his poems
♿ ♿ ♿ One, two, three Closed
42. @udhay_shankar, counsellor to start-ups and co-founder of @thegoaproject A 30-minute session with Udhay in which he will critique your business plan and offer suggestions One, two, three Closed
43. @krisudayasankar, author For budding writers: critical feedback on a piece of your writing (fiction or poetry, up to one thousand words) One, two Closed
44. @PedestrianPoet, poet Get a critique and an edit for your poem.
Harnidh is also game to take up any poetry writing challenge you throw at her, for the same kind of donation.
One, two, three Closed
45. @SumanaMukherjee, friend, editor, writer, f̶o̶o̶d̶i̶e̶ bonne vivante A 1-month, twice-weekly supply of home-baked bread. Choice of breakfast loaves, foccacias, partybrots, etc. Can be customised. (You will have to pick up from central Bangalore) One, two, three Closed
46. @kishiarora, pastry chef, and her mother, @mamaktreats Two brownie cakes by Kishi, plus one Banarasi/Punjabi cooking class by her mum One, two Closed
47. @jackerhack & @zainabbawa, old friends and founders of @hasgeek A free ticket to any hasgeek conference of your choice. Check their site for upcming events, and tag @hasgeek to claim. One, two, three Closed
48. Meghna Gill of @studioGDA, architect & designer. See her company's work here A two-hour design consultancy to anyone looking for interior design inputs for any interior projects, be it residential, office, retail, etc. In Mumbai in person or elsewhere over web chat. One, two, three Closed
49. @SimonaTerron, journalist, writer, voice-over artist, PR & media consultant Her handmade, natural spa products
-Lemongrass Refresher Fizzy Foot Soaks
-Lavender for LaLaLand Massage Oil
-Peppermint Perk Up Body Scrub
She will fill four such orders.
She will speedpost the soak or the scrub to anywhere in India. The massage oil is only for those in Mumbai.
One, two, three, four, five Closed
50. @SimonaTerron again, with her voice-over artist hat on A silly voicemail/festive greeting message in a funny style/accent of your choice.
Mail her the script (under 60 seconds) and required style/accent; she'll email you the audio track within 48 hours.
One, two, three Closed
51. @MissGoobe, a wildlife photographer, A framed print of one of her images. Contact her to see samples of her work. One, two Closed
52. @kritimonga, designer, artist, calligrapher, who I am a huge fan of. See her work here, and specifically her calligraphy here An artwork of your name (or a short phrase / quote / word) in her exquisite calligraphy.
Send her the word or phrase, or a Twitter-style short bio for the name, & she'll draw her interpretation in expressive lettering.
One, two, three, four Closed
53. Sudarshan Purohit @connectmc, translator, editor and critic Sudarshan will critique/edit an up-to-5K-word fiction piece. One, two Closed
54. @JSV76, art curator She runs Indiancolours, which licenses the art of top Indian contemporary artists & adapts them to objects of everyday use, She will give you ₹1500 worth of products from Indiancolours One, two Closed
55. @kkrathlete, a professional cyclist & current national MTB Champion He will do a three-hour MTB trail ride with you, advise you on technique, and chat about becoming a champ. Bangalore area only. One, two Closed
56. Rohit Nayak, who runs @canvasnchrome, an adventure company A free weekend camping/trek trip, from Mumbai or Pune. One, two Closed
57. Arundhati Ghosh​, who has worked many, many years in the arts space. 90 minutes advice on how to raise funds for an arts project. In person in Bangalore if she's feeling up to it, or via phone/web chat Fb link (scroll to the bottom of the post) Closed
58. Rekha Nigam​, former advertising creative director, now a film writer and transcreator Rendition (translation) of any public service message or film into Hindi or any other Indian language Fb link (scroll to the bottom of the post) Closed
59. Rekha Nigam again Screenwriting advice. Rekha will read your subject for a movie, and mentor you on how to structure it. She could read it through various stages and offer you advice on detangling knotty issues. ♿ ♿ (₹10,000) Fb link (scroll to the bottom of the post) Closed
60. @bigfatphoenix, game designer and one of the funniest writers I know. A workshop for you or your org (in Bangalore) on one of these topics
- Game design
- Using a design thinking approach to solve problems
- Guided tour of the history of humour in videogames
♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ ♿ (₹25,000) One, two, three Closed
61. @bigfatphoenix again A one-hour phone/web chat with you on any of those topics
An hour of feedback (phone/web) on the UX of a game or app you may be developing
One, two, three Closed
62. @indianoceanband, a band I adore Attend an @indianoceanband practice/jam session. Delhi/NCR area only. One, two Closed
63. @indianoceanband again Get a personalised birthday or anniversary wish and an acoustic song sung for a specific person by the band. the song can be delivered by phone, web chat, Whatsapp. email ed video, whatever. One, two Closed
64. And again, @indianoceanband One or more band members MAY be able to come over to serenade someone for you. How many ♿s would you donate?
Please note. Though Indian Ocean plays all around the world, they rarely have time in the cities they perform in to do something like this. So, if at all they consider doing this, the (slim) likelihood is that it will be in the Delhi/NCR area, their home base. Please check with me on this before you choose.
One, two Closed
65. @SimmSareen, food blogger Her site: bombayfoodie A goodie bag. Choose from:
- Shortbread cookies + caramel sauce + superfood granola
Any cookies or cake
One, two Closed
66. One more from @SimmSareen A two-hour cooking class for up to two people One Closed
67. @neo_pac shamanic & energy healer & psychological astrologer One-hour healing session One Closed
68. @Mayank1029, journalist & business management graduate who specialised in financial markets & stock pricing A one-hour session on basics of personal finance or finance One, two Closed
69. @Mayank1029 again, this time as a poet A poem in Hindi and English One Closed
70. @sidin, author, journalist & blogger Name a character in Sidin's next novel. ♿ ♿ (₹10,000) One, two Closed
71. @rashmid9, a business coach with over 30 years corporate/media HR experience Two hours of HR/talent advisory &/or business coaching (in Mumbai or over Skype) One, two Closed
72. @SK_Vaze, performance consultant A one-hour session on personal branding / international business etiquette One, two, three Closed
73. @SK_Vaze again: he's a former hotels professional Talk hospitality for an hour One, two, three Closed
74. @strayatheart, canine behaviourist A one-hour consult + email follow up on any issue: aggression, fear, anxiety One, two Closed
75. @jasuja, payments wiz One hour (via phone/webchat) to discuss digital payments, digital commerce in india & trends worldwide. One, two Closed
76. @jasuja again Two-hour crash course (via phone/webchat) in product management for consumer payment products. ♿ ♿ (₹10,000) One, two, three Closed
77. @jasuja, yet again One-hour consult on how to transition from an engineering job > finding your calling in product management Two such slots open. In person in Delhi/Mumbai or via phone/web chat. One, two, three Closed
78. Ayesha Thomas, one of my former interns, now all grow'd up and a theatre professional A two hour drama workshop with 6-8 kids (ages eight to fifteen), but only in January. This is only via Facebook. ♿ ♿ (₹10,000) Fb link (scroll to the bottom of the post) Closed
79. @chhavi, podcasting professional, who also teaches podcasting workshops Get a free seat at two of her workshops (1. intro to podcast 2. editing workshop) or two at either one. Seat value; ₹2,500 each. The workshops are in Bombay (early December) & Delhi (January). One, two, three Closed
80. @rashmid, former journalist and communications professional, now am arts entrepreneur A one-hour mentoring session (phone/webchat) on working in the arts. One, two Closed
81. @rashmid again A a one-hour consult on your communications for your arts/culture project One, two Closed
82. @nehadara, travel writer and editor A critique of two 1000–1500-word travel pieces or one longer piece of up to 2500 words with detailed comments and suggestions for improvements. And a follow-up 15-minute phone chat explaining the critique and answering any questions the writer has. One, two, three Closed
83. @Chinmayi, singer, entrepreneur, voice-over artist First row seats to a Chinmayi concert for you &/or 2 or 3 pals. (Wherever she is performing.) One, two Closed
84. @Chinmayi again A personalised birthday/anniversary wish + an acoustic song sung for a specific person sung by Chinmayi One, two Closed
85. One more from @Chinmayi How many ♿s would you bid for a 30-minute concert, where she will sing free, but you pay her band? Offer in Chennai, or if she is performing in your city. Limited offers open. You can make your bids to Chinmayi directly or via me. One, two Closed
86. Artist and teacher @zaiuranjit He's donating one of his paintings, Dreamscape - II (8x10in, acrylic on canvas). One Closed
87. @AnantRangaswami, former advertising professional, now a journalist and teacher (he lectures in colleges on advertising and marketing Two hours of his time to talk about anything you think he can help with. He's offering one two-hour slot per week, eight such slots, one ♿ per slot One, two, three Closed
YOU Your offer Open
A very happy Deepavali / Diwali to you and yours.

Thursday 27 October 2016

Sell yourself (for your favourite charity or cause)

A little while ago, I did a little Twitter experiment (here's the Storify, but here's the short version): I offered to write bespoke silly poems for anyone who asked, in return for a donation to a good cause.

It occurred to me that so many people I know are in a much, much better position to offer their friends and followers something of value in return for a charitable contribution.

(I did try suggesting something like this as a #DaanUtsavAuction but that didn't take off. This later version was prompted by Surekha Pillai's suggestion.)

If you want to fund-raise or increase awareness for a cause dear to your heart, here are some suggestions. Please take them with my good wishes.

a. Some of you are much better at nonsense poems than I am. Why not offer to do some for your fans?
b. Or you're a poet who wouldn't be caught dead doing nonsense verse. You could offer a short, personalised, sensible poem instead. : )

Some of you are great artists, cartoonists, calligraphers (calligraphists?), photographers. Offer a personalised drawing, cartoon, caricature, a beautifully written name someone could use on their visiting cards or other stationery, a portrait photo for a donor's social media / public photo?

Some of you are in the performing arts, performers or impresarios. Offer a ticket to your next show.

All of you are people with valuable skills. Could you offer an hour of your time? (For example, one friend, who is a communications consultant, has offered to let me offer one hour of consultancy for start-ups on communication issues they may face.) This service could be via email, phone, Skype, whatever you're comfortable with.

Are you writing a book? Offer to name a minor character after a donor.

Do you make films? Maybe offer a walk-on or bystander role to a donor.

If you run some kind of service that requires paid membership, you could offer a limited time membership to a donor. If you run something where people buy stuff, offer a free drink or meal, or a free WhatYouMake,

You're a star, in real life as well as on social media. How about offering a selfie with you to donors? Or lunch with you, or a coffee? Or a certain number of Retweets? Or a follow on Twitter or a #FF recommendation?

Want to do a dare? "I will walk around India Gate shirtless if you donate." "I will jump into a water body fully clothed and post a video of it if you donate." "I will offer Raj Thackeray a visa to Pakistan." (More suggestions?)

Any other suggestions on what kind of stuff generous people like you can offer?

Please do pass this around to people you think might like to do something like this.

Thanks for reading!

Monday 10 October 2016

The audacity of grope

• Called Mexican Americans drug-dealers, criminals, and rapists.
• Belittled John McCain's POW ordeal (whatever your opinion of his politics, or of war in general, the man was quiet a hero in the wars he fought)
• Imitated and mocked a disabled reporter's lack of motor control
• Called for a complete ban on Muslims entering the USA
• Asked his supporters at a rally to knock the crap out of hecklers
• Said he would bring back custodial torture worse than waterboarding
• Didn't disavow a former Ku Klux Klan leader's endorsement
• Mocked the looks of a rival's wife
• Said that a Mexican-born judge wouldn't judge impartially
• Mocked the Muslim parents of a soldier who died fighting for the USA
• Dog-whistled a threat of gun violence to his Democratic Party rival
• Called the current US president and his Democratic Party rival the founders of ISIS
• Mocked refugees
• Mocked fat people
(All of the above on the campaign trail. From stage.)
• May not have paid taxes for 18 years thanks to some slick lawyering
• Shafted shareholders while ensuring he got paid really well
• Got his charitable foundation to buy him stuff and pay for expenses he committed to personally
• Didn't give his own money to his own foundation for at least 15 years
• Got other people to put money into his foundation and then donated that money, taking credit for generosity
• May have raped his first wife
• Has a hearing coming up for raping a minor

And it's only when a tape comes up that catches him bragging about sexually assaulting women that you unendorse him?

What took you so long, Republican party fellows?

ICICI Bank wins over the women

Best thing I've seen today.
The original video was here This comment thread was later deleted by ICIC Bank's social media people, so I'm glad I screen-grabbed them. If you know any of these ladies, please give them my salaams.

The audacity of dope

The truly amazing thing Rump* has done is make chaps like Pence look like reasonable alternatives. Pence. Who wanted a law making it mandatory for women who had miscarriages to have funerals for the the foetuses. Who wanted to divert funds for HIV research to curing homosexuality.

Now where have I seen this thing — the views of batshit extremists being given publicity and then their slightly less batshit buddies look reasonable — before?

*I'm just calling him that from now on, okay?

Friday 30 September 2016

Delhi vs Bombay

Delhi: Jaantaa hai meraa baap kaun hai?
Bombay: Meraa baap kaa kyaa jaataa hai?

Monday 25 July 2016

Mother Goose for start-ups

The numbers link to tweets where I originally posted these.

Jack & Jill
Went up the hill
To fill their Series A
Jack came down
With 100 mill
& Jill got jack.
Y'know, woman entrepreneur.

Twinkle, twinkle, start-up star,
O M G, you've come so far!
You got valuations sky-high,
But boss, where's the R O I?

Humpty Dumpty built a mall
Humpty had discounts for 1 & all
All of the VCs gave him a call
& Humpty exited & had a ball

Little Ms Muffet
Went to the buffet
To get herself some food
This kept her in office
She don't know what time off is
Start-up culture, dude

Rock-a-bye baby: new biz opp
When the wind blows, sales will rock
The bubble'll pop, values'll fall
The investor's problem, not mine at all

This little app's on the market
This little app's made a crore
The little app finds roast beef
So it only works in Bangalore

I'm from IIM-B
Short & stout
Got a Twitter handle
Gimme a shout
That's my Uber calling
Gotta get out
VCs want to buy me out!

Mary had a little lamb
(Her chef was cordon bleu)
Then bought a golden Mercedes Benz
Successful I P O!

Here we go round the mulberry bush
The mulberry bush
The mulberry bush
Here we go round the mulberry bush
Investor meeting this morning

Baba BlackWolf
Have you any wool?
Haanji haanji
Round 3's full
Some for the VC's eyes
Some for the dames
Some for carpet
In my private plane

There was a crooked man
and he went a crooked mile
He found a crooked sixpence
And said, Woohoo! Capital!

Oranges and lemons
Sold for a penny
For the e-grocers
Are so many
The grass is greener
On the e-com side
No it's not career

There was an old woman
Who lived in a shoe
Because she thought bootstrapping
Was the only thing to do

Oh, The grand old Duke of York
He had ten thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill
And changed his business plan

See, saw, Marjorie Daw
We shall have a new master
They booted out the founder CEO
Because he couldn't make profits faster

Where have you been?
I've been to London
To pitch to the Queen
How did you fare?
She got her grandson
To throw me downstairs

Jack be nimble
Jack you prick
Jack must pivot
Really quick
You aimed high
But you jumped low
And now the investors
Want profits to show

Pat-a-cake pat-a-cake
Programmer man
Make me an app
As fast as you can
Code it & load it
And mark it ™
Put it in the AppStore
By 10 pm

Little Bo Peep has lost her peeps
& can't tell where to hire more
She offered SOPs & late-night drops
But they all want to work offshore

Little Boy Blue, pick up the phone
Clients are mad, systems are down
Where is the boy who fixes the F-ups?
In a cafe, pitching his start-up

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner
Coding his new API
"It's Uber for [X]
It's better than sex..
..I think. Wouldn't know, would I?

Two co-founders
Sitting on a wall
One named Peter
One named Paul
Fly away Peter
Fly away Paul
Professional managers
Are taking all the calls

@ashonindia had a firm
A I, A I, Yo
Her software passed the Turing Test
A I, A I, Yo
With a Round 1 here & a Round 2 there
When's the IPO?

Solomon Gru
Idea: Mon
Biz plan: Tue
Angel funds: Wed
Launch: Thu
Bills: Fri
Bankrupt: Sat
Jobhunt: Sun
This is the end Of Solomon Gru

Bold Mama Hubbard
Went to the Board
To fetch the founders a bonus
But when she got there
The board was like "Meh"
& so the founders had none

One, two
An idea! New!
Three four
Knock at PE doors
Five, six
Bloody dicks
Seven, eight
Harness your hate
Nine, ten
Start again

Hickory dickory dock
Overvalued stock
The P:E ratio's 10:1
Where T F is my gun?
Hockery dorkery dick


That moment when what you think about something important — a person you admire, a job, a friendship — changes, drastically and irrevocably.

When you look back at it, cushioned from the pain by years of distance, you realise that it wasn't, after all, a particular deed or word that made the difference; you see that you had been suppressing the knowledge that things weren't the way you wanted them to be, and what that word, that deed, did was throw a harsh light on what you'd been hiding from yourself.

It is acceptance of the loss of illusion.

And then, all those years later, you start forgiving that person, and, more importantly, yourself.

When you accept that it was your perhaps unrealistic expectations, needs, desires, that played a role, when you accept your own fault, then maybe you'll find that that schism isn't as unbridgeable as you thought it was.

It is comfort — small comfort — when you're struggling with more recent turmoil, to know that one day you can reach that point. It would be nice to be able to get there more quickly. Ideally without ageing. : ) But that would take more internal evolution than some of us can manage without the help of the years.

Monday 23 May 2016

An amateur pessimist's guide to the months of the year

A new year. New things to stress about. It's Januworry.

Only one month into the year and you're tired. Februweary.

Screw the dream; you sold out to the system. It must be Merch.

The world has made a monkey outa you. You're pissed. But what are you gonna do about it? It's only Aperile.

It's too hot to give a fuck about anything. Yay. It's Meh.

Your world-view is still jaundiced. Naturally. It's Jaune.

Ethics. Principles. Ju do what ju gotta do. Ju lie.

Couldn't get worse, yeah? It's Arghest.

But then you get Shitember.

And the world is just expectorant in Awk-thoo-ber.

Nothing will work to your advantage. It's Nahvember.

The world will bite you into little pieces. Because it can. And because it's Decmember.

Saturday 21 May 2016

An amateur pessimist's guide to the days of the week

Today is Shatterday. It's when you contemplate the remnants of the dreams of your youth.

Tomorrow, on Shunday, you tell the world to bugger off and leave you alone, because what's the point we're all alone anyway.

Then, on Mournday, you weep for all that is lost and will never come back except in your dreams and then you wake up.

On Twosday, shit happens. Twice.

Ah, here's Whensday. The day on which you wonder if all that you have worked for and planned for will ever come to pass.

Every Thirstday, the arid desert of existence will parch your soul.

Of course on Fryday you wonder if there's anything to the Christian take on the afterlife, because then you know where you're headed.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Museums of Bombay

When I was editing this piece for work, it struck me that I could test right away how much Bombaywallas knew about the city’s museums. So I asked on Twitter, Quick poll for Bombaywallas. How many museums in the city can you name (no Googling)? How many have you visited? And I got a bunch or responses. You can see all of them if you click through to the tweet thread.

I knew about most of these, and have visited a few (but not in a very long time), but some came as complete news to me. I did use the answers I got as a box for the piece, but that didn't get posted to the online version for some reason. So, sharing the wealth here, for those of you who, like me, know of some, but not all of them. Please tell me if I've missed any?

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum), Fort
Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum (Victoria & Albert Museum), Rani Baug, Byculla
Mani Bhavan Mahatma Gandhi Museum, Laburnum Road, Gamdevi
RBI Monetary Museum, Sir Phirozshah Mehta Road, Fort
• BEST Transport Museum, Anik Depot, Wadala
National Museum of Indian Cinema, G Deshmukh Marg (Peddar Road)
National Gallery of Modern Art, Fort
Nehru Science Centre, Worli
•National Maritime Museum (Ballard Bunder Gatehouse), Ballard Estate
Bombay Natural History Society collections (open to students, researchers and amateur nature lovers with prior appointment), Kala Ghoda
• Railway Museum section, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
• Western Railway Heritage Gallery, Western Railway Headquarters, Churchgate
• Dinesh Modi Numismatics Museum, Mumbai University, Kalina
• Mobai Bhavan (dedicated to the East Indian community), Manori
• Framji Dadabhoy Alpaiwalla Museum (dedicated to the Parsi community), Kemp’s Corner
St Pius X College (Roman Catholic artefacts), Goregaon East
The Acworth Leprosy Museum, Wadala

There are also a number of organised walks around the city, where you can get to see parts of our heritage in places that are not technically museums, but which are redolent with history.

Sunday 14 February 2016

(P)ink-stained wretches

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Sources familiar with developments say
I could get exclusive with you


How do I love thee?
Let me file a listicle
That counts the ways


Deadlines don't matter
For you I am aching
If you don't go out with me
My heart will be #Breaking


I'm nuts about you
I have to confess, love
No point denying it
They all know at Press Club


Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
The Desk says no, that's way to clichéd


Hey I just met you
And this is crazy
But I have to file by 10pm
Or my boss will slay me


I love you more
Than press releases
You make me want
To stop the presses


I've searched north and south
and east and west
You're one I want
To be my conflict of interest


You say ink-stained wretches
Have no sense of romance
But I love you more
Than my travel allowance


Do not doubt my love for you
'Tis more powerful than wild horses
I have confirmation
From two independent sources


O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou a flack?
Quit that PR agency or if you won't. I'l quit being a hack


If you were any sweeter, your last name would be fondant
That's why I want to be your principal correspondent


I'll send you all my love by special cargo
And you can keep it in permanent embargo


You and I, darling, have a special accord
Don't you think it's time we went off the record?


Some like Barkha & some like Rajdeep
I'm glad I like them both but, peeps,
I wonder if this channel switching
Is really all that bitching

Or are greater TRPs a sign?
Should I watch Newshour at nine?
Should I choose between anchor & anchor?
Or like the nation, watch that wanker?


Closing time in the newsroom
& I have an idea, my sweet
The paper will soon be put to bed
We should follow toute suite


Roses are red, pink, white, yellow, even black.. Sorry, where was I?


Attn: Desk,
Did I make you wait?
I'm so sorry my dears.
This Valentine ain't late,
It's early for next year.