Thursday, April 26, 2012

What a watch – Vicky donor!

What an awkward name ‘Vicky donor!’ I thought to myself, the first time I read the name while scanning the morning paper and enjoying my first strong cuppa. My ‘couldn’t- care- less’ eyes and already distracted mind gave the review a cursory glance and moved on to run through the rest of the paper.

However, I was soon to learn that ‘Vicky donor’ would actually show me ‘Paani da rang,’ which  - till I watched the movie - was one of the many mysteries of life that I had been unable to solve. Anyway, coming back to the movie, I loved it for not only coming to my aid to solve the puzzle about the exact colour of water  but also for the fantastic idea/story! 

I was so happy with the movie that I decided to write about it and er, per force increase your knowledge on the subject. Now don’t smirk or shy away. Read me out. I am almost certain that even you don’t know what's the exact colour of water. Do you think I was going to talk about sperm donation? Nah! I am  going to talk movie alright!

But first things first -

The colour of water is Blue, Green and Red. At least for me!  Of course, it may be that you see entirely different colours. Confused?  I know. Well let me expand on the above. Hopefully, you will appreciate my endeavor to enlighten you on the subject.

‘The world is a sperm….’says Dr. Chaddha, (one of the principal characters) towards the end of the movie. For him the world indeed revolves around sperms. 

Shocking! Crazy! Shameful! Everybody calls him that. Even some of his own patients.  

Oh! I forgot to properly introduce you to Dr .Chaddha. In the movie, he is the fertility expert, running a fertility clinic and a sperm bank in Dariyaganj, New Delhi, which guarantees high quality and specialized sperm to couples who are unable to have babies, naturally. 

Unfortunately, he has more failed cases to his credit than successes. So he gets desperate for a healthy, high performing donor. Enters our dashing hero, Vicky, a Punjabi boy living in refugee colony of Lajpat nagar. Vicky has big dreams. His mother, a widow, runs a small beauty parour in Lajpat nagar to somehow make ends meet. 

But instead of easing out her burden by working at his Uncle’s garment shop, Vicky loves to spend money on buying expensive clothes, eating out, playing cricket and going to pubs etc. Not that he is a wrong kind of boy. He feels bad for his mother but wants to work in a proper corporate environment instead of working for a small time ‘uncool’ business house.  

The entire story revolves around the above two main characters trying to outwit each other on the (rather embarrassing), issue of Sperm donation. Strange topic! Funny story! I am sure you too are thinking the same I had thought that  morning when I first read about it.

But the fact remains, the movie boldly dealt with the rather hush -hush and serious topic in the most hilarious way possible. Honestly, I found the movie a  refreshing break. 

With an apt depiction of vagaries of life in a metro, on your face Delhi type humour, (by which I mean that Delhi wala’s will relate to it very well, esp the aggressive body language and not -so -soft  style of talking), Bong – Punju fights, Gol gupps & Chat walas,  pretentious high society Delhi denizens, 42 inch LCD TV price queries, snoopy neighbours,  Lajpat ki galiyan and CR park ke lanes, Love is blind quotes….et al, the movie, through the myriad of colours and emotions refused to budge from that one serious question it provocatively chose to raise and address. 

For the answer about the colour of water, you have to watch the movie. Ha! So much for this? What a tease I am. Actually,I am not. I am just being nice by acting as a stimulant. Go watch  and enjoy the movie just as I did. Oh well, let me be kind and explain how I saw the three colours -

Green –that symbolizes Life, Freshness, Fertility, Beginning. The movie sensitively dealt with the issue of infertility. If gently nudged the viewers to think and ask themselves the question What’s the big deal? Why so much of stigma attached to a profession or a task that would bring forth life in the best possible manner and spread smiles?

Blue – Pain and sadness of not having your own child was experienced best when Aashima, Vicky’s wife, who loved kids’ but found out she could never have children due to some problem within her own body. Blue also symbolizes peace or serenity which can be experienced through Vicky's   state of mind towards the end when he realizes how his actions, changes the lives of so many people including his own.

Red – Colour of love.  Whether it is Vicky’s love for his mother, or his mom’s grumbling acceptance and love for  her mother – in - law or Chadhha’s weird love for Vicky or Vicky's love for Aashima ( the most heart touching + romantic), the movie captured the emotion so well that I kept my kerchief handy.

And of course, I sang ‘Pani da rang’ all the way home…the first few lines in Punjabi, the rest in well…some odd language that only my heart understood.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012




Mishti was used to

having men come and go

from her life

A dark beauty

she attracted them


But sooner or later

they all left her side

Mishti knew
t'was her fate.
And she liked to keep it that way.


Early on in life
she had been
Since then she swore
never to fall in love again.
She avenged herself
by making the unsuspecting men
who fell for her
sign their property and wealth
in her name

The men intoxicated
by her beauty and fine wine she served

had her wishes gladly fulfilled


Once the bond was signed,

she kept the piece of scroll

stashed away

for when she would be of old age
Next, she packed,

the men off
saying she was
no longer in love


Heartbroken and penniless,
the poor men left hiding their
helpless state from the world

Then one day
stood a man
on the entrance of
her small roadside inn
He looked rough and shoddy
with sharp penetrating eyes;
his clothes were muddy
as if he had been in a street fight
Exactly the kinds that fuelled

her long - supressed emotions

Instantly to him she took a dislike

Turning her thoughts away she got
busy serving muffins and tea

to another guest

Briefly she darted a glance at the stranger
found he  too was measuring her up

with a frozen intensity.
Mishti looked away from
the pair of eyes that
looked at her

with a strange nameless feeling

rejected by her mind

The man found himself a table,
took out his cigar
and waited patiently for his turn


His gaze followed her busy figure
as she moved from table to table
with an insolent smile,
she could not help but notice.
‘Coffee please’ he said,
when Mishti finally came to him
‘Make it strong and extra sweet,’
his seductive voice commanded
‘Would you be staying the night, sir?’

she asked him politely, as it was late


‘Would you like me to?’
he enquired with

his twinkling suggestive eyes



‘Well sir ‘tis not up to me to answer for you,’ she responded.
‘Well madam, I want to stay,’
he mimicked her stern voice
‘Book me a room that is closer to your own,’
he added minus a blink
Turning beetroot red
she gave him a dirty look threw him a few half - baked words and walked away.

His mocking laughter followed her gait


Mishti knew
t'was her fate.
But she didn’t want it that way.


That night tired to the core
she went to bed early;

locking her doors well

Somewhere during middle of night
she felt an arm around her.
The touch was warm,
another followed the first.
Too drowsy to move,
Mishti let them stay,
somehow their warmth lessened her old heartache
‘I am going to love you,’
the strange voice whispered
near her ears

'Love is a bluff.
I play bluff master,'
dreamily she retorted

‘Love is faith,
you will love again, she was countered.

That night the whisperer

was made to pack his bags

Just like her previous lovers

Mishti wanted

him gone

from her dreams…



In the morning when she awoke

 found a scroll by her pillow that read:

"Love is faith, I'll come back again."


Mishti knew
t'was her fate.
And she wanted to keep it that way.



‘Love is faith,
you will love again, she was countered.
That night the whisperer
was made to pack his bags
Just like her previous lovers
Mishti wanted
him gone
from her dreams…
In the morning when she awoke
she found a scroll by her pillow that read:
"Love is faith, I'll come back again."

Friday, April 20, 2012


When I sat down to write my own thoughts on ‘Love’ many different yet related terms came to mind - lust, infatuation, passion, care, commitment, compassion, deep understanding, friendship, selflessness or even selfishness.

Not surprisingly, I found the oft used simple human sentiment was quite difficult to define as it encompasses all the above words describing it and maybe more.

In fact, different cultures of the world have different set of meaning for it. In Persian culture ‘all is for love’, In Chinese ‘Wo ai ni’ (I love you), carries with it certain specific sense of responsibility, commitment and loyalty, In ancient Greek ‘Agapo’ refers to a pure ‘ideal type’ of love and ‘Eros’ is passionate love. In our own country ‘love’ comes up with several meanings. A person can love his parents, children, God, car, clothes, food et al. But a man loving a woman is something that is special and is expressed and understood as being ‘in love’.

Now, if I delve too much into its meaning, I will end up being more entangled than ever. So, I leave it to the readers to pick up their own meaning with the few important references provided by me as above. As far as I'm concerned, I believe love is that stubborn emotion that bravely faces the harsh winters and yet refuses to give up .With unshakable faith it waits for the Spring to arrive.

But honestly (& practically), speaking how many of us have known and experienced that kind of love? And with the current mind - set of instant gratification and fast forward lifestyles, who has the time & patience to wait for the ‘right kind of love?’

Generally, this is what happens-- You find yourself strongly attracted to a girl next door or your colleague  at office or maybe even a good friend who studied with you. You two spend a lot of time together. Sparks fly. Terming it as special, you mostly confuse the physical reaction of your body with the term ‘love.’ The girl on the other hand is more cautious (mostly owing to her conservative bringing up and a deep - seated fear of the consequences), and does not immediately reciprocate your feelings. Consequently, your heart aches for her more and you give your best to win her over. Finally, she concedes defeat enamored by your focused attention to her. And like you she too believes herself to be ‘in love.’ (And maybe it is so. Maybe you both are truly in love. But can you be completely sure? It’s a gamble until proved otherwise).

Anyway, during the courtship period both the parties refuse to see, listen or hear anything against each other. This is the so called ‘Love is blind’ phase.

Then comes a time when you both decide to get married. And maybe again another round of struggle ensues. Yet both face this phase boldly and overcome all hurdles to tie the knot. So far so good. Your status changes from being “Single” to "Married”. But if you think this is it... and now both of you can live ‘happily ever after.' Take a cold shower!  The real test of true love starts after marriage.  

 Post the honeymoon period realities of life come knocking at your door. Modern day lifestyles throw multiple challenges to the marriage. And both partners want to shirk away from facing such problems. Neither has the time. Moreover, the modern educated married woman has higher expectations from her better- half. She considers herself equal to her partner in almost every sense and totally believes that she can  well manage   her affairs without depending on her husband. The husband on the other hand, has his own aspirations/goals and feels the wife will understand. But none of them are able to understand the other; despite claiming to be deeply in love. And so they end up either hurting each other or being hurt themselves. Love then is ‘no more blind.’ It becomes a game of 'give and take' which has no clear cut winners.

In my opinion, for both to be winners it is important to keep in mind that, ‘Love expects respect, it expects understanding and most of all it expects love in return. A sensitive, caring and an honest attitude towards your partner is then the only way to nurture love. And understanding develops through communication, dialogues, spending time together, (even if both have to steal it) and preferably away from the regular environment. Couples who respect each other, share a compassionate understanding and are willing to work for the relationship have a good chance of saying ‘Honey, I love you,’ and mean it.

The Rose - by Bette Midler -

Thursday, April 5, 2012

To have or not to have a CSR policy?

The above question is raised almost every time there is a mention or reference to the very popular term– CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility, amongst corporate honchos. Now before we make an attempt to analyze and discuss the relevant issue, it’s important to preempt and get some valid responses on a couple of other questions -

  • What do we exactly mean by CSR?
  • And why has it suddenly become important for a corporate to have a CSR policy?

CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility – is nothing but being a good citizen of a community albeit a corporate citizen. There is no denying the fact that a healthy business requires a strong and happy society. And similarly for a society to grow and develop we need healthy businesses. Both are interdependent. And both have responsibilities towards each other. So if a company has been provided with a good environment and necessary tools to function in and make profits, it becomes important for the company as well to formulate laws, regulations, policies that would have a healthy impact on its immediate environment and the community in which it operates. Any lax approach towards its overall environment will directly or indirectly affect the business in the longer term and the Society at large might suffer.

One example is UK business Gallaher, the world's fifth-largest cigarette-maker -
Its CSR policy means it will not buy tobacco from any developing world producers that use child labour and has firm policies on the prevention of sales to minors.
"It's about doing the right thing, it's not complicated," says Gallaher's group corporate manager, Michelle McKeown.

Importance of CSR Policy – For all those who think that CSR is just a philanthropic activity…that has nothing to do with their business…think again. There are multi faceted benefits of having a CSR policy that is directly integrated into the company’s overall strategy. It takes care of several vital issues that have direct impact on the overall growth of the company.

Increases Credibility – Any product or idea has a perceived value. Companies spend millions in developing trust of the customer for their product or idea. Having a strong CSR goal that is communicated to the stakeholders at every touch point goes a long way in enhancing the company’s image as being a good company to do business with. For example – Maruti Suzuki stresses on Safety. And so under its CSR policy it runs a driving School that not only helps train the marginalized men and women become good drivers and improves their chances of livelihood but also ensures compliance to the basic Road safety rules.

Ensures Sustainability – CSR is all about how do companies treat their employees? How do they do their daily work? How do they produce their goods and sell them? It’s not so much about how much profit they make but how they make their profit? For example – For any enterprise, the first thing that is important is to attract, motivate and retain good employees. And in this highly competitive world if companies can retain talent and have lower employee turnover, it greatly helps in sustaining a business.

Brand building- Brand is the perceived image of a product or an idea. And branding exercises ensures that the product/idea is imprinted in the customers mind. CSR is a great tool to achieve that objective. Let me illustrate this again with the help of an example. As per a study carried out by CRY (Child relief and you), for an insurance company that was making inroads into the Indian market, the research revealed clearly that when its customers were informed about the company’s policy of giving back a percentage of its earnings for the welfare of disadvantaged children it increased their brand image. And in fact the company’s profit showed remarkable growth in a relatively shorter span then they expected.

Improves skills – Here again let’s take the example of Maruti Suzuki. It’s a car manufacturing company. But it values safety. Also, it understands the fact that the Indian roads are unsafe simply because people who drive cars don’t know/understand the basic driving rules properly. By providing them the necessary knowledge and skill they are ensuring three things. 1) They improve the skills thus ensuring greater safety on the road, 2) Their image as a ‘car company that cares’ improves their brand value, 3) with more and more people learning to drive directly from them, the possibility of their own sales figures going up, increases.

Builds relationships – companies are made by the people, for the people and do business with the people. An enterprise that cares for its environment, follows fair trade practices, generates an integrated report that takes into account its social, environmental, economic and financial performance which it then openly shares with its stakeholders ensures not only the continuance of a strong relationship with its past customers but also increases the chance of attracting newer clients and building lasting relationships.

Having a well integrated CSR policy that is in alignment with the company’s overall goal ensures a sustainable business that positively impacts its environment through its responsible actions.  

I leave you all now to discuss and decide for yourself whether ‘to have or not to have a CSR policy’ for your company.