Lucky !?!

Luck ? “Luck” is my Second Name. First Name is “Bad”

-Definitely Not Me

July 17th, 2012, I had just cleared one of the coveted exams in the world.

I had never been studious. Never cared for marks. Never tried to appear Intelligent in front of others. So clearly being the underdog, lot of people, when they called me to congratulate, told me “you are soo lucky”

Somewhere in 2006, I landed in Mysore, Back in my home town. After living for 5 years like a monk and completing my schooling, I was ready for what the world could through at me. Boy the World was ready as well! I enrolled directly to become a Chartered Accountant, without waiting to complete my graduation. My parents, as did everybody else, thought I could never clear the exams. So I had to enrol for my graduation in Evening College. And in addition to that, I wanted to help my dad in our family business, which was our livelihood, as he was looking after it all alone.

Work was cut out for me.!!!

Oh yeah, I forgot, I had this crazy Idea to start a youth magazine, with my friend, and we jumped into it without a second thought.

I had to run to the office where I was doing my mandatory internship, get back to the shop to relive my dad for lunch, go attend my graduation classes all the way on the other side of the city, come back to close the shop, and get home. And then if I had time left, I had to study for my exams.

All I had was my bicycle in which I used to ride over 30 Miles per day, and some pennies in my pocket, in case I had a bad tyre.

Was I Just Lucky??

Scene 2

It was our school reunion. I was meeting all of my friends after a long 5 years (after my monk life). and due to living in isolation, I was generally akward around people, especially around the opposite gender. I was like Raj from The Big Bang Theory.

And there she was standing, in the corner, with a group of friends.

I never dared to talk to her, and the reunion was over.

As the “fate” turned out, we did connect on Orkut (sorry millennials) subsequently and started getting close. Rightly said, the power of love can change a life, and I slowly started to shed my cocoon and become social. I was getting more comfortable with people in general.

Years passed, we hardly met a couple of times. But the bond grew stronger. There was pressure from her parents. They all liked me a lot and had no objection. But they couldn’t wait any longer. I had to Marry. And she never wanted to disappoint her parents. We suffered silently but could`nt do anything about it.

And I Cleared my CA Exams then. The whole world assumed I was So Lucky. But the fact was I was reeling from a severe heart break!!

Was I Lucky??

Did I Wish I had a better childhood? Did I wish I was lucky in love? Ofcourse I did. But do I regret my struggle? Never!!!

Because I was brought up in a strict household, I learnt the value of freedom.

Because I come from a scarce background, I appreciate what money represents

Because I had to endure pain, I became an empath.

Because I was heart broken, I could appreciate love in everything else!!.

The only Good Luck many great men ever had, was being born with the ability and determination to overcome bad luck. 

Disclaimer to my family and friends: All the Characters in this story are fictitious. Please dont call me up and dig for details 😉

A Honest Review: Family Man – Season 2

I was a Vocal Critic of Indian TV Series

In all possibility, I never imagined I would be writing a review of an Indian TV series. To start with, I am not really a fan of Indian entertainment industry for its over use of stereotypes, illogical dramas and the story lines that seem to be headed no where. No offence to the Industry, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. I guess the only series I watched was Scam 1992, and that too was since it was related to Stock Market.

But the fact that trailers of “Family Man 2” was making so much of noise in the social media, be it for its perceived racial prejudice or for other reasons, intrigued me. I had not seen the season 1, so had to start there to play catch up before the Season 2 came out.

Couple of episodes, and man, I was hooked. Again, with the Title like “Family Man” I knew I had to sit through some family dramas to get to the gripping “Espionage” Storyline, the reviews had promised. But surprisingly, what got me pressing Play on the next episode, was the timely comedy between JK and Shri. The Chemistry between those too, the Comedic timing, dialogue delivery, is upto the mark with some of the best sitcoms in the industry. The Production values too are Very impressive.

The Writers are sensible enough, to not diverge off in one direction and play the mix & match card with different frontiers of the story line. Atleast for me, this is something which was missing in Indian TV Series. Overall Suspense factor was quite good, although there were occasions where the plot line was quite predictable (or may be I have just gotten used to watching so many Jack Rayns 😉 )

A big salute to the casting team, all the actors are well suited for the roles. New faces, One timers, washed up former stars, or the one guy who always plays supporting characters, all falls into place perfectly. I liked the dialogue delivery of Srikant Thiwari, well I guess no one can use Indian sware words that efficiently.

So, after the fast paced 10 episodes and a cliff hanger (I wont spoil it for those who haven’t watched Season 1), I was now ready for Season 2.

Season 2

I had lost all my inhibitions with season 1, and was really looking forward for season 2.

For a moment when I played the Episode 1, I presumed Amazon has again messed my default language and switched it to Tamil. Only after a few minutes I understood the brilliance of the producers to let the story give a hint of authenticity to the characters. I was egarly waiting for the recap/recall on what happened in the end of season 1, but they kept it on hold till mid of the episode. But no complaints! Its not as if they forgot it completely (like the “what the hell happened in Lonwalla” storyline)

Again, the chemistry between the actors are quite great. The weird boss, who was trying to emulate McConaughey of “Wolf of Wall-Street”, The physco -therapist, The growing bond between JK and Shri, and JK many more expedition for getting out of single life, the typical Indian story of a dysfunctional family. Yet again the perfect Dialogue delivery of Srikanth, fast paced story line and amazing production values (just that one continuously shot scene at beginning is enough to make a point). And to address the elephant in the room. Samatha!! A famous South Indian actor trying her luck in Bollywood, that’s not new. But her transformation to act in such a demanding(may be a little controversial? I will come to it later) and delivering a powerful performance, now that’s something refreshing.

Coming to the plot line, it was really brave of the team to tackle such a taboo subject. But I guess they have done a fairly good job. As the line goes “All South Indians are not Madrasis” the clever dialogues tries to show the diversity of India. Usually In Bollywood movies, they tend to label people based on the ethnicity. Gujrathi has to be a businessmen, Bengalurian has to be a techie, Bengali has to be a Babu and so on and so forth. I feel the show tried to break those line. It was funny enough, for those who understood the reference, with the moves of the PM. As per my disclaimer, I am not gonna touch the topics of a strained marriage, teenage kids, corporate jobs, etc, which too is played well into the storyline.

The most impactful aspect in season 2 is how they try to highlight the fact that in todays world, how good and bad is not as clear as black and white (no, its not a mistake, I switched the colors deliberately). We live in a grey world, where a hero or a villain is all based on which side of the line you are standing.

And there is also a hint of Season 3!!

PS: Any ideas for Similar Shows?

Slapstick Comedies for a good laugh

We all need a decent injection of low-brow comedy now and again. Slapstick is a style of humor involving exaggerated physical activity that exceeds the boundaries of normal physical comedy. Slapstick may involve both intentional violence and violence by mishap, often resulting from inept use of props.

Here are some Slapstick Comedies you can enjoy!

Best Sitcoms to Watch this Weekend

Some research has shown that laugher may increase the number of infection-fighting antibodies and boost immune cells. Likewise, positive thoughts and feelings — such as those released with laughter — have the potential to release neuropeptides, which help fight illness and stress. Dont we all need that right now!!

Here are some Hilarious TV Shows you can Binge watch this weekend!!

PSU Banks in India

In the backdrop of banking sector reforms in India, merger of few banks were announced. After this massive amalgamation, the total number of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) in India has come down from 27 banks in 2017 to 12 in 2021. But its still 10 too many to remember!. Also, for a layman. its a lot of confusion on which bank merged with which. Here is a snap shot of the Major PSU Banks as on date.

9 Feel Good Movies to Wind up 2020

Thanks to the lock down, we have had more than our share of movies for the year. But, the below movies have something, which we all craved for in 2020.

You’ve had a bad day. You’ve had a bad week. You’ve had a bad year!!. And sometimes, you’re not in the mood to watch “the best” films. There’s nothing wrong with The Godfather, but if you’re feeling low, it’s probably not the film you want to watch while you’re down in the dumps. Sometimes all you want is a movie that can lift your spirits.

Trying to find a good movie to watch is hard enough, but trying to find, specifically, a happy movie to watch can be extra difficult. Sometimes you just need a pick-me-up, and the right film at the right time can do wonders to improve your mood. That’s the power of storytelling, especially on a feature-length scale, and Hollywood isn’t lacking in films that make you happy without forsaking quality.

These movies are all terrific, that carry an uplifting message that is earned, thoughtful, and will definitely leave you smiling as the credits roll.

  1. UP

This is a masterwork from Pixar, which is leading the charge in modern animation. The movie was directed by Pete Docter, who also directed “Monsters, Inc.,” wrote “Toy Story” and was a co-writer on “WALL-E” before leaving to devote full time to this project. So Docter’s one of the leading artists of this latest renaissance of animation.

It begins with a romance as sweet and lovely as any I can recall in feature animation. Two children named Carl and Ellie meet and discover they share the same dream of someday being explorers. In newsreels, they see the exploits of a daring adventurer named Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer), who uses his gigantic airship to explore a lost world on a plateau in Venezuela and then bring back the bones of fantastic creatures previously unknown to man. When his discoveries are accused of being faked, he flies off enraged to South America again, vowing to bring back living creatures to prove his claims.

Nothing is heard from him for years. Ellie and Carl (Edward Asner) grow up, have a courtship, marry, buy a ramshackle house and turn it into their dream home, are happy together and grow old. This process is silent, except for music (the elder Ellie doesn’t even have a voice credit). It’s shown by Docter in a lovely sequence, without dialogue, that deals with the life experience in a way that is almost never found in family animation. The lovebirds save their loose change in a gallon jug intended to finance their trip to the legendary Paradise Falls, but real life gets in the way: flat tires, home repairs, medical bills. Then they make a heartbreaking discovery. This interlude is poetic and touching.

2. The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is based on a short story written by Steven King and directed by Frank Darabont. The movie portrays the bond being shared between two men during the years of their imprisonment who share emotions and find solace in each other, ultimately paving their way to salvation. The movie also shows how to maintain one’s self significance in the most disintegrated and hopeless place. It leaves us with “PERSISTENCE AND PERSEVERANCE ARE KEY TO SUCCESS”.  Keep your mind occupied when you are going thru difficult times. I agree the beginning of the movie may be a little depressing. But trust me. Sit through and you are up for a wonderful thriller.

3. Sisters Act

When lively lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) sees her mobster beau, Vince LaRocca (Harvey Keitel), commit murder, she is relocated for her protection. Set up in the guise of a nun in a California convent, Deloris proceeds to upend the quiet lives of the resident sisters. In an effort to keep her out of trouble, they assign Deloris to the convent’s choir, an ensemble that she soon turns into a vibrant and soulful act that gains widespread attention.

Many of Goldberg’s scenes are funny, and there’s an older nun (Mary Wickes) who has some great one-liners, and when the swinging nuns start rocking in the choir, that’s almost as funny in the movie as it was in the trailer.

4. The Pursuit of Happyness

Life is a struggle for single father Chris Gardner (Will Smith). Evicted from their apartment, he and his young son (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith) find themselves alone with no place to go. Even though Chris eventually lands a job as an intern at a prestigious brokerage firm, the position pays no money. The pair must live in shelters and endure many hardships, but Chris refuses to give in to despair as he struggles to create a better life for himself and his son.

Gardner, played by Will Smith, endures homelessness with his young son, with grit and determination. The Pursuit of Happyness teaches us You can’t let people discourage you from your dreams. It’s okay if people don’t believe in your dream as long as you believe in it yourself. We can also learn that there should never be any excuse not to try. And its never too late to start something new. Acting of both the Smith`s is heart touching.

5. Forest Gump

Forrest Gump had a below average IQ of 75, yet he he still managed to teach Elvis how to dance, receive a football scholarship from the University of Alabama, be named to the All-American team, meet John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, receive the medal of honor for his heroism in Vietnam, play in ping pong diplomacy against Chinese teams, have an interview on the Dick Cavett show with John Lennon, meet President Nixon and expose the Watergate Scandal, create the extremely successful Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, invest in Apple computers thereby becoming a millionaire, run across the U.S. just because he felt like it, and in the end became an awesome father. He teaches us to be authentic, Don’t let others to turn you down, channel the pain into something productive, don’t be afraid of being honest, Dedication will take you places, so do what you love.

6. The Terminal

Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have made, “The Terminal,” a sweet and delicate comedy, a film to make you hold your breath, it is so precisely devised. It has big laughs, but it never seems to make an effort for them; it knows exactly, minutely and in every detail who its hero is and remains absolutely consistent to what he believes and how he behaves.

The hero is named Viktor Navorski. He has arrived in a vast American airport just as his nation, Krakozia, has fallen in a coup. Therefore his passport and visa are worthless, his country no longer exists, and he cannot go forward or go back. Dixon the customs official (Stanley Tucci) tells him he is free to remain in the International Arrivals Lounge, but forbidden to step foot on American soil.

Spielberg, his actors and writers (Sacha Gervasi and Jeff Nathanson) weave it into a human comedy that is gentle and true, that creates sympathy for all of its characters, that finds a tone that will carry them through, that made me unreasonably happy.

There is a humanity in its humor that reminds you of sequences in Chaplin or Keaton where comedy and sadness find a fragile balance.

7. Cast Away

Cast Away is a dramatic story of an ordinary man facing an extraordinary situation. Tom Hanks, playing as a FedEx delivery supervisor, whose plane unfortunately crashes into the ocean. He is in an isolated island as the sole survivor of the terrible crash. There he lives a solitary life full of uncertainties and depression. He tries to cope with new environment with his wit and feeble camping skills. As a survivor, Tom Hanks attempts every strategy possible to live on the island. The thought of reuniting with his family becomes his reason to live. The movie celebrates the rediscovery of life’s simple joys as it features Tom Hanks’ struggle with the natural environment. It also signifies the importance of hope and persistence.

PS: 3 Tom Hank Movies in a Row!? No wonder he is called the sweet heart of the Hollywood 🙂

8. The Martian

When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet. Meanwhile, back on Earth, members of NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring him home, while his crew mates hatch their own plan for a daring rescue mission.

9. The Bucket List

Corporate billionaire Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) and working class mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) are worlds apart. At a crossroads in their lives, they share a hospital room and discover they have two things in common: a desire to spend the time they have left doing everything they ever wanted to do before they “kick the bucket” and an unrealized need to come to terms with who they are. Together they embark on the road trip of a lifetime, becoming friends along the way and learning to live life to the fullest. Each adventure adds another check to their list, all done with insight and humor.

Plus, we get to see two Legends sharing the screen for the first time!!

So, Let me know in the comments, how many movies are you watching this holidays!

Saying “No”

“Its only by saying “No” That you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”

Steve Jobs

Being an Intovert for better part of my life, I have always found it hard to say no.

My Colleague: ” Hey you wanna go out in the evening to see Dasara Lightings ? Everyone in the office are headed that way! “(The Entire City I grew up in – Mysuru, lights up every year around Oct for a festival called Dasara)

In my mind ( do I really wanna spend my evening getting smushed in the endless crowd of people? Do I really wanna navigate thru a maze of One ways and restricted roads? Do I really have to bare the unbreathable conditions to get a decent meal at the end of the tour?)

Me: Why not. Sounds fun!

Warren Buffett became the most successful investor of all time by being hyper selective. He owes 90% of his wealth to just 10 investments. For every 100 opportunities that comes his way, he says no to 99 of them.

One of the greatest management consultant who lived in the last 100 years, Peter Drucker, once said, “People are effective because they say ‘no,’ because they say, ‘this isn’t for me.’ ’’

We are all presented with ‘good opportunities’ during our lifetime, but which of those opportunities are truly essential to our lives?

“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying ‘yes’ too quickly and not saying no soon enough.”

Josh Billings

Greg McKeown, in his book, Essentialism, proposes an idea of a “Essentialist”

“A non-essentialist thinks almost everything is essential. An essentialist thinks almost everything is non-essential.”

He puts forth 4 habits which we can develop to be an Essentialist; but before that, lets understand what makes us say Yes, when we really want to say No:

  1. Why do we say ‘Yes’ when we want to say ‘No’?

a. We forget our purpose

When we are unclear about our real purpose in life— in other words, when we don’t have a clear sense of our goals, our aspirations, and our values— we make up our own social games.

Without a clear purpose we’ll default to playing petty social games that provide little meaning to our life.

b. We fear social awkwardness

The fact is, we as humans are wired to want to get along with others. After all, thousands of years ago when we all lived in tribes of hunter gatherers, our survival depended on it. And while conforming to what people in a group expect of us— what psychologists call normative conformity— is no longer a matter of life and death, the desire is still deeply ingrained in us.

2. How can we develop the courage to say ‘No’?

We need to see ‘No’ in a new and empowering way:

a. When we say ‘No,’ we’re actually saying ‘Yes’ to a life of meaning.

Each external ‘No’ is an inward ‘Yes.’ Those inward ‘Yes’s’ strengthen our commitment to our purpose/priorities, defining who we are and what we stand for.

b. When we say ‘No,’ we’re actually saying ‘No’ to a request, not a person.

Everyone is selling something— an idea, a viewpoint, an opinion— in exchange for your time. Simply being aware of what is being sold allows us to be more deliberate in deciding whether we want to buy it…we forget that denying the request is not the same as denying the person. Only once we separate the decision from the relationship can we make a clear decision and then separately find the courage and compassion to communicate it.

c. When we say ‘No,’ we’re trading short-term popularity for long-term respect.

When the initial annoyance or disappointment or anger wears off, the respect kicks in. When we push back effectively, it shows people that our time is highly valuable. It distinguishes the professional from the amateur. Learn to say no firmly, resolutely, and yet gracefully. Because once we do, we find, not only that our fears of disappointing or angering others were exaggerated, but that people actually respect us more. Research has found it almost universally true that people respect and admire those with the courage of conviction to say no.

3. What’s the best way to say ‘No’ without damaging a relationship?

You need to frame your ‘No’ as a ‘Positive No’:

  • Start with a personal ‘Yes’ by stating a personal priority.
    • “I’m currently working hard to finish my project ” OR “I’ve set the ambitious goal of completing this assignment, within the next week.”
  • Continue by stating the conflict with your personal priority.
    • “Because of that, I need to say no to all requests at this time.”  OR “For that reason, I need to let go of a lot of things and devote my time and attention to doing the best to successful complete this project .”
  • Finish by showing that you still care and offer to help out in a small way.
    • “Here are a few resources that I found to help your project succeed.” OR “Although I can’t assist you with this project I can introduce you to someone who can.”

Getting Back to the 4 Habits I mentioned above;

  1. Evaluate the trade-offs

“We just say yes because it is an easy reward, we run the risk of having to later say no to a more meaningful one.”

Each choice has a trade-off. When we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to another. The next time you want to say yes to an opportunity just remember what other opportunities you are saying no to.

“We can try to avoid the reality of trade-offs, but we can’t escape them. Trade-offs are not something to be ignored or decried. They are something to be embraced and made deliberately, strategically, and thoughtfully.”

2. Set boundaries

“Nonessentialists tend to think of boundaries as constraints or limits, things that get in the way of their hyperproductive life. To a Nonessentialist, setting boundaries is evidence of weakness. Essentialists, on the other hand, see boundaries as empowering. They recognize that boundaries protect their time from being hijacked and often free them from the burden of having to say no to things that further others’ objectives instead of their own.”

Create black and white rules, like “I don’t take calls between 7-10am, sorry,” or “I don’t check email after 6pm. If it’s something urgent, you’ll need to call me.” People will initially challenge your boundaries, but overtime, people will respect your boundaries. With the right boundaries in place, you can prevent the non-essential from creeping into your life.

3. Dare to say ‘No’

“We feel guilty. We don’t want to let someone down. We are worried about damaging the relationship. But these emotions muddle our clarity. They distract us from the reality of the fact that either we can say no and regret it for a few minutes, or we can say yes and regret it for days, weeks, months, or even years…Since becoming an Essentialist I have found it almost universally true that people respect and admire those with the courage of conviction to say no.”

Develop the courage to say ‘no’ by remembering what you are saying ‘yes’ to:

  • “No, I don’t want to take on another project because I want to ensure my current project is a huge success.”
  • “No, I don’t want to go out tonight because I want to spend time with my family.”

4. Schedule time to journal

Rushing around all day trying to get things done causes us to lose perspective. The more stress we accumulate during the day, the more we mistake non-essential things as urgent and important. To prevent the non-essential from creeping into our lives, we need to schedule a time where we can disconnect and renew our outlook on life. A reliable way to regain perspective is journaling.

Journaling allows us to get the petty stuff down on paper so we can start focusing on the bigger picture. By spending a few minutes journal each day, we increase our introspection and start to question why we do what we do. “Being a journalist(No pun Intended) of your own life will force you to stop hyper-focusing on all the minor details and see the bigger picture.”

“Our highest priority is to protect our ability to prioritize

Greg McKeown