Monthly Archives: February 2016

Watsons

From the time it had opened, I’ve had fangirls (and some boys) telling me I really should drop in. But something or the other, mostly the move to Whitefield, kept me from the place. But finally, in a very un-elementary way, it was my desire to push myself out of a post-dengue lethargy that got us to make the long trip to Ulsoor. (map) The map is perfect, and that building is a mini Church Street now in terms of eating options! This place was deserted when we were staying in Cox Town. (2006-08) There is nothing that indicates though, that Watsons is on the fourth floor! We saw floors 3,5 and 6, (those last two are eerily silent and desolate) and finally walked into Watsons at about 6:45. The plan was to reach at 6 and watch the sunset, but we had an Uber driver who hasn’t discovered gears beyond the first. We just about managed to find a table in the corner that offered a great view. I don’t know if they take reservations, but on Saturdays, I think it’d be a good idea to come early and park yourself. By 7.30, there was a constant stream of people waiting outside.

Decor elements are the standard contemporary ‘happening pub’ variety – wall art, dim lighting, a well stocked bar in the centre, a mix of high tables and standard ones, fun posters in the loo and so on. But forget all that, it’s a damn good place to nurse a drink and watch the city skyscape. Sigh. More

Identity Cleft

..and finally, I got myself to see the last episode of Mad Men. I’d been putting it off because the series was the kind I enjoyed so much that I never wanted it to end. The last few episodes were quite ‘meta’ in the sense that through Don Draper, the show’s protagonist, the show itself was searching for a befitting ending.

<spoiler> These episodes saw Don getting rid of his possessions, until all he had left was an envelope with some money (and a ring) and a cover with a change of clothes. He had lived the previous few years of his life as Don Draper – a name that wasn’t his. The idea of Don Draper though was all his, but somewhere in him, was also Dick Whitman, his original name. Every time he made the confession of taking another man’s name, you could sense his guilt, and relief. Maybe that was the freedom he was looking for, when we was getting rid of all the paraphernalia attached to Don Draper.  More

Spoke in the Wheel

Amita Kanekar

‘A novel about the Buddha’ is the way the book is described. Let’s start from that. It’s probably to dispel any ambiguity about the book’s historical authenticity – it is a work of historical fiction. But such is the force of the narrative that it really becomes easy to believe that this version is probably the correct one! It is also the most novel way of presenting the Buddha that I have read.

The book has two parallel narratives. One traverses the path of the Buddha’s life, and the other is set almost three hundred after his death, with a monk named Upali serving as the protagonist. More

Alpha Bets

Yahoo’s seemingly imminent demise, and the flip flop at the very top of the food chain – Apple taking back the title of the most valuable company in the world before you could say Alphabet – made me wonder about the next theatre of war. I’ve been fascinated with GAFA (is that AAFA now?) for a while, though I prefer the title that Scott Galloway gave them a year back – The Four Horsemen. If you haven’t seen his presentation from the DLD conference, you should. It gives a lot of perspective on the scale at which Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple operate, and the impact they are having on every other business there is.

The Four Horsemen symbolise conquest, and that’s what each of them are after. That’s also why I’m inclined to think that the fate of our species is increasingly tied to the fates of these four companies! While they are not busy fighting turf wars with the ‘smaller’ folks like Uber, Netflix, Slack, China etc, they are increasingly encroaching each others’ key focus areas – from shopping to providing internet to health to devices to social to VR to OS (phones, cars, things!) to content to.. you get the picture! This year, Scott’s presentation was on the same subject and titled ‘Gang of Four‘. It makes things even clearer!

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Hangover

First published in Bangalore Mirror

It’s not often that you see a Volkswagen van on the first floor of a building in Indiranagar. That, requires a Hangover. Inspired by Thai cocktail trucks, this is one of the bright spots in the latest addition to Indiranagar’s pub scene. (map) The ground floor seems a little drab compared to the first floor, which thanks to the van, chalkboard and some fancy lighting creates a peppy ambiance.

collage1 More

Hope Trope

An old man lives alone in a house. That’s how it has been for almost a decade and a half. With relatively lesser proof, I believe that I can stay alone for a long duration without feeling lonely. But I could be wrong, and a decade is a long time, especially when you think of it in terms of days. Many times, when I’m outside with friends or waiting for D to get home, I think about him and wonder, how does it feel to open the door of one’s home and not have someone waiting, knowing that this is something that will never change now? How does he cope?

Far away from him, a child is growing up. She is also far from what I’d call her homeland. Will she ever speak her mother tongue? Even if she does, will she be a cultural misfit in both the worlds she occupies? Circumstances haven’t been kind to her parents, hopefully things will look up sooner than later. But time waits for none, and one’s childhood leaves imprints that echoes through one’s life. The first section here is a testament to that. What does the future hold for her? More

The October Horse

Colleen McCullough

I had read the final book in the series – “Antony and Cleopatra” – earlier, so this turned out to be the last book I’d have to read in the ‘Masters of Rome’. That turned out be a good thing because while I liked the entire series, this would be among my top two. An excellent choice of title – borrowed from the ritual of sacrificing the best horse that Rome has. A character compares Caesar to an October Horse during the assassination conspiracy.

The book spends about one third of its pages mopping up the Republican campaign, (rather its remains after the death of Pompey) another third in Caesar’s efforts to ‘put Rome back on her feet’ and the final third in the aftermath of Caesar’s death. More

In Capitalism we bet?

The Book of Life is one of those internet gifts that keep on giving. If you haven’t read/subscribed, now is a good time! One of its articles that I read recently (though it seems to have been written a while back) was On the Dawn of Capitalism. It was about the need for capitalism to expand its scope and address the full range of needs of mankind, and uses Maslow’s needs to frame this. (Reminded me of “Currencies of Engagement @ Scale” from a while back)

The article states that companies are (vaguely) aware of this, and that’s why advertising tries to sell to us with an appeal to higher needs. But, We get promised friendship or love and end up with a 4×4 or a new barbecue set. Our materialism/consumerism is also to blame, but it is attributed to our lack of self knowledge. Capitalism, the argument goes, is capable of tackling the higher, deeper problems of life, and make us more refined, and restrained.  More