18
Feb

Auschwitz – A Mirror Of Our Failure

Auschwitz

Summary:

1. Auschwitz is the global name of genocide. 
2. What have we learnt from Auschwitz? Nothing! 
3. Auschwitz is a moving experience if you can visualise and understand the pain. Else it is another tick in our bucket list. 
4. Auschwitz had more tourists than learners. Unesco site has led to a huge influx of Instagram generation tourists. 
5. Human beings are capable of the most inhuman crimes to their brethren. 
6. Popular and majority view do not mean correct view – Hitler was popular and he led this genocide. 
7. Why was the world silent when this was happening? Where was the greatest nation on the earth?  Why did Allied forces not act earlier – Auschwitz continued for several years!
8. What would be the mental make-up of soldiers? You question how can one set of human being butcher another set of human beings which include children, women and senior citizens? Amy in war and Police in combat situations can kill but how can you kill innocent people – often fooling them? And that also millions of people. 
8. The allowance for Jews for the life-move to the so called better place (Auschwitz) was 20kgs. Our cabin luggage is between 7kg to 10 kg – so imagine how can you carry your life in 20kgs?
9. More than 1 million people were killed. The youngest person was 2 year old. 90% were killed in gas chambers on arrival. 10% were kept as inmates. 
10. Birkenau was 20 times bigger than Auschwitz and was designed to exterminate people quickly. More than 10,000 people were killed in a day. 4 crematoria were not sufficient and people were burnt in open. 
11. Auschwitz is a shame on humanity. It is our failure. But it has happened several times after that as well. 

Additional Points:
12. McDonalds and KFC – Globalization icons welcome you as you enter Auschwitz. A brand is a living thing – then context specificity and sensitivity are important. 
13. Movies to watch: The Pianist, Schindler’s List, The Boy With Striped Pajamas, Life Is Beautiful. 
14. Vegetarian and Indian restaurants were very popular in Krakow. Glonojad is a clear hit with huge queues and Hindu ran out of food. I had one of the best samosas of life at Glonojad.

Auschwitz Diary 

Auschwitz – the global name of genocide and human hatred. It is the place associated with the darkest chapter of modern human civilization. 

Auschwitz was one of the places that was on my mind for a long time. Since my arrival in London, I had regained interest in this chapter of history. After Nordic Noir, Holocaust movies were a topic of my personal research. I had watched all the important movies and documentaries around this dark chapter – The Pianist, Schindler’s List, Life Is Beautiful, The Boy With Striped Pajamas etc. It was natural that the trip to this important historical centre was in the making. It was my desire to visit this place with Vipoobhai and I was very happy that he agreed to visit with me during the month of November. Travel is about destination, journey and the company as well – So I was lucky on that front.

Auschwitz was a one hour drive from Krakow. It was a small town that was physically 60 kms away from city but philosophically in a completely different world. Even today, people live in the town of Oswiecim (The Polish name is Oswiecim but Germans had renamed this as Auschwitz). Actually, there are three concentration and extermination camps in the region – Auschwitz, Birkenau (Auschwitz II) and Monowitz (Auschwitz III). However, Auschwitz is the most famous one though Birkenau saw the maximum deaths and murders in a very industrial and scalable way. 

We were speaking to John, our companion cum driver, about the Auschwitz. He said that he has visited it only twice – once a student and once as an adult few years back. He found the place very difficult and depressing. He informed us that for inhabitants of Oswiecim town, Auschwitz and its memories are a part of their daily lives. As we entered the town, we saw KFC and McDonalds – the global symbols. I thought it as a case of confused branding. Brand is a living being – that is what we marketers believe. It lives in the hearts and mind of the audience. But here these ads seems out of context and out of sync with the audience’s sensitivity.

We reached the Auschwitz camp (now converted into a museum) and we had to stand in the queue till 10:45 am. There were huge crowds and it took us one hour to clear the security checks and meet our guide for the tour. The guide mentioned said that these crowds were negligible. Auschwitz had been getting popular and last three years had been phenomenal. 2014 saw 1 million plus visitors and it rose to 1.5 million visitors in 2015. During 2016, the visitor count has already crossed 2 million. And we were visiting in cold November and yet the crowds were enormous. 

I was aware of the basic history thanks to my reading, movies and discussions. The Jewish and anti-Nazi regime protestors from across the Europe were brought to the concentration camps in Auschwitz. As soon as the trains arrived, the people were segregated. Healthy men were directed to work while old people, women and children were led to the gas chambers. Often, these people were dead within few hours and their death was never recorded – creating a case of missing and forgotten people. People were led to believe that they were going for bath for disinfection and the poisonous gas was leaked onto the naked people. Often all the trains were directed straight to the gas chamber without carrying any selection. The dead bodies were stripped of hair, gold teeth, watches etc. were removed and sold to finance the war economy – often with army personnel pocketing multiple things. The bodies were burnt in the crematorium and the personl documents of dead were destroyed. The conditions in the camp were pathetic and people were shot for minor offences. 

Our tour started with the guide explaining us the history of the place. Auschwitz was originally built as a prison for Polish political prisoners. The first batch of Poles reached in 1940 from Tarnow prison. It was an army garrison at that point of time. But with passage of time, it became the prime centre for extermination of anti-Nazi protestors and Jewish people. It also had people from Roma, Soviet Union and other places. Auschwitz soon ran out of place and Birkenau (Auschwitz II) and Monowitz (Auschwitz III) were built. Birkenau was 20 times bigger than Auschwitz. All the camps were isolated from the world and thick barbed wire fencing surrounded the camps. The camps were run by the dreaded Secret Service (SS) and German state financed it.  

Why was Auschwitz chosen as the location for these concentration camps? Three reasons:
1. It was one of the well-connected junctions. People from all over the Europe could be brought here. People were brought here from even Oslo. 
2. It was easy for Nazis to hide their crime in this remote place. 
3. Poland and Krakow had a sizeable Jewish population. About 30% of European Jewish population was in Poland. So, it had the right population to start with. 

More than 1 million people lost their lives in Auschwitz – though the unofficial figure could be even higher. Many more people were killed and these statistics were not even recorded. The youngest person to be killed was a 2 year old child. Out of the million plus people who were killed, 90% were killed on arrival. Rest were kept as inmates and killed later – by shooting, hunger, bad weather etc. 

As we entered Auschwitz, I saw those famous words on the gate – ‘ Arbeit Macht Frei’ – ‘Work brings freedom’. People had to work and work hard to avoid death. They were lonely and alone and without family. They had poor food and nutrition and had to toil hard. These words were a slogan and a motivator. 

Auschwitz camp was a huge place. We saw the different blocks. Originally, it had 21 blocks and inmates built more blocks during their stay. One block could hold more than 1000 people. It was a rainy winter day that day and I could imagine what it would be without my warm clothes and shoes – most prisoners had to live in pyjamas and they were given only one set of uniform. They had to wear it everyday. Often people died of harsh and cold winters. We later saw photographs of people who survived only one day in the camp – either they were shot for minor offence or they must have died due to harsh situation. 

The blocks had very tiny rooms and hundreds of people had to live in them. There were barracks and three level of bunks. Often they had to fight between them to ensure that they got good place to sleep. The floor was not heated and in winter it was a big problem. The floor was damp and lices and rats were there as well. There were limited toilet blocks and it could not be used in night. They were given a single bucket in the single for usage. The toilets had no water or tissue papers. Hundreds of people lined up for toilet every morning. People were given limited time for their daily needs and hundreds of people had to queue for toilet etc. outside the block in cold or rainy weather. It was sheer humiliation. Some sanitation condition improved after 1943. 

We visited Block 11 where many prisoners were kept in a very small cell and they could only stand. Nothing else. It had a tiny hole for air. They had to crawl to get in and get out. Often prisoners were kept hungry after a hard day’s work – they had to work more than 12 hours a day. They were given tea or coffee in the morning, soup in the day and bread/burger/sausage in the evening. The quality of food was pathetic – soup was often of rotten vegetables. Inadequate food led to malnutrition and many died because of hunger. 

Nazis had to save money as the war was a costly affair. They used the work of prisoners for industrial work. Women worked for bullet making factories. Inmates were slaves for SS. Long working hours and fatigue also led to deterioration of health. Nazis also sold the hair and belongings of killed prisoners for financing the war expenses.

SS officers regularly gave punishment for simple things like trying to get more food or not obeying them. They were flogged in the public. And killed by shooting many times. 

In one of the blocks, the belongings of the Jewish inmates were kept. The inmates were told that they were taken to a better place to work for. They were given hope of a better life. Hence many came with their belongings like utensils, personal grooming products etc. In fact, the irony was that many actually paid to come to Auschwitz as it promised a better life and they could escape the atrocities back home. But here they were cheated. As soon as people landed, there was a selection process. The camp doctor would classify people into strong and weak. One sign of hand of the camp doctor and the fate was sealed. The camp doctor would immediately send the weaker people and children and old people to gas chambers. Or phenol was inserted into their hearts. Hence their belongings remained at Auschwitz – we could see many kitchen utensils, shaving brushes, shoe shine, shoes, luggage bags, bags of kids etc. Each item had a life story. It was sad. 

Going back to the above topic, the Jews in the cities had to first move to the Jewish ghettos. They had to give up their property etc. They had to work hard in only licensed work. They were given ID card and had to wear Jewish star. There were restrictions on what they could read, write and watch. People were killed under slightest pretext. Later they were moved to Auschwitz. But they were given a false impression of the Auschwitz. For the trip to Auschwitz, they had to carry entire life’s belongings. They were only allowed 20 kgs. So most of the people took chair – the chair was versatile and could help them for various purposes. And of course at Auschwitz, they had to undergo a selection process at the unloading area. Families met for the last time at the unloading area. After that families were separated. 

For the people arriving to Auschwitz from other parts of Europe, often the journey was for 4-5 days or more. The journey was in rail bogies and the bogies were cramped with hundreds of people. There was no window or toilet inside the bogey. Many people died in the journey itself. Often the bogies would be full of dead bodies only – when opened at Auschwitz. 

Many healthy women and men were also selected as guinea pigs and the camp doctors did various experiments on them. Women were experimented for various sterilisation methods and many died in the process. Block 10 was the place where camp doctors conducted several experiments. Prof. Dr Carl Clauberg, a German gynaecologist, conducted several sterilisation experiements and many died from the treatment they received. Many were murdered so that the autopsies could be performed on them. Few people survived and they continued to have permanent injuries.

The area between Block 10 and Block 11 was the shooting wall. People were shot dead. The windows next to the wall were covered with wood – so that inmates could not see what was happening. They could hear but not see. In one of the blocks, we saw an entire floor full of hair of dead women. These hairs were collected to sell in the market for textiles and other purposes. The 1 kg of hair was sold for a price that was equal to one quarter price paid for cigarettes. 

In Block 11, more than 250 prisoners were killed by Zyklon B in one of the first case of mass extermination and it was then repeated often. But soon they realised the need for a dedicated crematorium. 

We finally came to the gas chambers. Nazis were finding it difficult to kill so many people everyday by shooting. It was also affecting morale of some soldiers. So they wanted to find new means to exterminate the Jews. They were given the solution to kill people by gas.

The people arriving at the railway station were directed straight to the crematorium. The people were tricked and they entered the gas chambers assuming that they were going for a shower bath. They were asked to get naked and their belongings were taken away. They were told that after the bath and cleaning wash and disinfection, they would be given appropriate jobs in the labour camps. Even the existing inmates left their uniforms outside. Once the Jews entered the chambers, the doors were closed. An SS officer in a gas mask would take off the chimney lids of the crematorium, open the Zyklon B cans and release the contents onto the heads of the victims. The inmates cried and died within minutes – their cries were shut by engine of nearby lorries. Then their bodies were burnt continuously. The smell conveyed it all to the other inmates. The output of the furnaces was low as compared to the death and corpses were also being transported to Birkenau and buried in mass graves. 

After Auschwitz, we went to Birkenau- it was 20-24 times bigger than Auschwitz. Wherever your eyes could see, you could see the camp. It was much bigger and designed to exterminate more people. 10,000 people could be killed in one day. It was the extermination factory. It had 4 crematoria but they were not sufficient and people were burnt in open as well. There were several prisoner volunteers and SS officers who worked hard for extra cigarettes and liquor. 

We saw the huge gas chambers and the crematoria. We saw the block for women. The block had minimal room and 600 women were cramped into it. The irony was that there was only one bucket for toilet and 600 women had to share that for their needs. Women were suffering from diseases and diarrhea. Women had three level bunk bed and top was the best place – because on ground or mid floor – people could get wet due to stool from above. Many times women were left out in the open courtyard – and they died in winter in 2-3 hours. 

Only about 200,000 people survived the concentration camps. Last year, during the celebrations of 70 years, about 2000 people were present. Many people do not talk about this dark chapter of their lives. 

Nazis later destroyed the records and exterminated the witnesses. The mass murder apparatus was terminated. These buildings in Birkenau were destroyed by the Nazis themselves as they feared as their crimes would be exposed. 

We asked: what did we learn as humanity from this? Nothing!

Auschwitz is a shame on humanity. It is our failure. But it continues….

18
Feb

Blockchain – The Trusted Ledger Of Everything

Blockchain - The Trusted Ledger of Everything - Image2

Digital is redefining everyday lives. Our life experiences are shaped by digital forces. The artificial intelligence and internet of everything are on the cusp of becoming a daily reality. However, the financial and economic transactions in our digital lives are still ruled by old paradigms. The need for a third-party intermediary to verify our identity and intent still exists. It creates a slow, old, vulnerable and expensive system which has been the basis of our financial world. Blockchain aims to redefine this antiquated system.

Blockchain is the breakthrough technology that is revolutionizing the world economy. It is essentially an open-source distributed database. The digital database uses state-of-the-art cryptography and mass collaboration to authenticate and settle transactions. The ever-expanding chain of computers form the network and everyone on the networks approves an exchange before it is verified and recorded. It is truly open source, peer-to-peer and highly secure – thus becoming the platform of trust.

Bitcoin was the first use case of Blockchain. The power and potential of Blockchain lies in its ability to represent anything digital – rights, goods and property. The emerging use cases of Blockchain include:

1. Property Rights / Land Records – Governments can avoid fraudulent deeds, manipulation of records and conflict of ownership by leveraging Blockchain

2. Electronic Medical Records – Healthcare industry has multiple stakeholders accessing patient information. Hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, governments etc. can be confident that they are working on secure, encrypted and genuine records using Blockchain

3. Certificate of Authentication – Fraudulent transactions will be avoided as every transaction is recorded and distributed on public ledger.

4. Certification of Compliances – Everledger has authenticated more than 1000,000 diamonds using Blockchain. It has developed a system of warranties that enable mining companies to verify that their rough-cut diamonds are not being used by militias to fund conflicts. Thus, it ensures compliance with Kimberley Process. Bye Bye Blood Diamonds.

5. Share Ownership Registry – US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the use of the Blockchain as a share ownership register for online retailer Overstock.com.

6. Micropayments: People wanting to read just one article or subscribe to 2 channels on Cable TV can use the Blockchain Infrastructure. ChangeCoin allows instant transfer of value irrespective of size. Similarly, Chain allows to give tip to a blogger or car share driver – very useful in a sharing economy.

7. Data Privacy – Estonia, the leading European country in digital services uses a Blockchain implementation to manage and protect its citizens’ data across about 1,000 online services.

8. Patents & Innovation – Authentication and verification

9. ESOPs for Employees

10. Wills

11. Tax Collection

12. Remittance of Funds to Unbanked

It is not surprising that all the leading companies in the world are working on Blockchain in some form or the other. Microsoft has built multiple offerings on Blockchain by leveraging its Azure platform. IBM, PWC, UBS, Bank of Canada are other organizations working on Blockchain. Who’s Who have joined Hyperledger – including Amex, Wells Fargo, J P Morgan, Intel, IBM, BNP Paribas, Samsung, Intuit etc. R3 is leading a consortium of 75 world’s leading financial institutions including Wells Fargo, Barclays, UBS to design and deliver advanced distributed ledger technologies. Billions of dollars are being invested in Silicon Valley startups working on Blockchain.

Several institutions including financial organizations will be severely impacted by Blockchain as it bypasses the traditional channels. Governments, legal agencies, enforcement organizations will need to understand and embrace this technology. Often the ignorance of the potential of Blockchain and understanding of its working causes skepticism about the technology. Blockchain enthusiasts need to educate, inform and demonstrate the benefits in action.

The rise of Blockchain is imminent. The speed of the rise will be determined by social, legal, political and human acceptance.

Image Credit: Blockchaintechnologies.com

31
Dec

The Best Of Bollywood – 2016

aligarh_manoj

Mediocre is the word to describe Bollywood in 2016. While I was reviewing the noteworthy movies of 2016, I could only count a handful of great movies. In the past few years, there was an abundance of good movies and we were spoilt for choice. I did not experience the same luxury this year.

Bollywood saw shutting down of a few corporate studios as the ignorance of golden fundamentals and reckless decision-making proved costly. Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil brought politics back into Bollywood stream. Aditya Chopra’s directorial venture did not burn the cash registers.

Please find my picks for top movies of 2016:

1. Aligarh: An empathetic portrayal of a retiring academic who gets involved in a controversy. The restrained and internalized suffering of the humiliation and contempt is presented in a very sensitive manner by Hansal Mehta. The movie has several layers – Homosexuality, A Maharashtrian professor in Aligarh Muslim University, Professor befriending Rickshaw Puller, University Politics etc. Rajkumar Rao played a pivotal role and continues to rise. Ultimately, it was the best ever performance of Manoj Bajpayee as Professor S. R. Siras that gave Aligarh its strength and power. Movie of the year!

2. Dangal: A great blend of meaningful cinema and entertainment. Mahavir Singh Phogat’s story was given a winning treatment by perfectionist Aamir Khan and Nitesh Tiwari and team. The movie proved to be a universal hit and won hearts and appreciation. (Read My Dangal Review)

3. Udta Punjab: One of the most controversial movies of the year, Udta Punjab was a gutsy movie. Abhishek Chaubey’s drama brought out the depth, indifference, helplessness and industrialization of drugs menace. An honest mirror on the ground situation, it was strengthened by sleek film-making style and strong performances of its actors. Alia Bhatt once again stole the show with her heart-rendering performance.

4. Dear Zindagi: Gauri Shinde’s Dear Zindagi is fast food wisdom and philosophy on the tap. Alia shines and SRK does a great support act – a welcome move. The movie has a feel good effect and it is an easy watch. The movie has its moments of confusion as it cannot decide about its portrayal of Alia.

5. Neerja: An impressive biopic that built a slow and steady tension in the hijack drama of the year. Sonam gave us an inspiring and authentic performance in a complete de-glam fashion.

Notable Mentions:
1. Kapoor & Sons:
2. Phobia
3. Waiting
4. Pink
5. Sultan

alia-udta-punjab

30
Dec

Making The World A Better Place!

mountains_camping

Nothing can be as contrasting as traveling to Auschwitz and Cannes between two weekends. Auschwitz and Cannes paint polar portraits: Introspection & Illuminati, Guilt and Glamour, Prayers and Party. One starts questioning a lot of things. One starts wondering a lot of actions.

Amidst these different shades of thoughts, I was traveling in Nice and we were passing through the beautiful beachfront in the French Riviera. It was a sunny day and the beach was bubbling with life. Inevitably, we started talking about the elephant in the cab: A few months back, this was the place where the terrible terror had struck. The happening Promenade Des Anglais had turned into a cemetery within 4 minutes on Bastille day. The cab driver started describing the details of the terror attack and impact on the local people.

I asked the cab driver about the upcoming elections, the rise of the right and if Marine Le Pen could indeed win the presidential election in France. We had already seen how the world has been changing and getting divided. Brexit results had sent the first shocks in June 2016 and US presidential election results in November 2016 had accentuated the rise of intolerance and rejection of globalization.

The cabbie told me the what happened was unfortunate. It is leading to further intolerance and promotion of stereotypes. But he does not believe in politics.

I asked him what is the way out. He has a simple philosophy and he promotes the same philosophy in his family and neighborhood. The society is a good place if you do the right thing. If you are a good citizen, work hard and care for your family and neighbors. You automatically take right decisions and help the poor and needy. The world becomes a better place with you. Simple, deep and wise words.

I guess as we embark on 2017 and a difficult environment across the globe, let us make the world better place starting with us. Let us do the right thing. Doing the right thing may be difficult but it will save us from future Auschwitzs and create more Cannes.

Happy New Year 2017

Image Courtesy: visitnc.com

30
Dec

Are You Ready For The Robo-Revolution?

robots-vs-humans

The Robotization topic has moved from moved from tech unconferences to boardrooms to factories and warehouses. Organizations are implementing the Robotization use cases across the industries. And this is happening fast along with machine learning and improvements in artificial learning. 

Recently, I visited one of the largest milk dairies and saw that less than 15% of employees are employed as compared to previous few years. The control center did not even have a machine – if things go wrong, it will have start an alarm. McKinsey has predicted that within eight years, one-third trucks on the road will be self-driving trucks. So, will the truck-driver be an anachronism? (Truck driver is one of the most common jobs in the US with 3.5 million people in US.)

Robotization is for real. How will its spread impact jobs? Already people are suffering from unemployment and discontent across major economies which have created political challenges. Will this create further joblessness? Will this lead to more Occupy Wallstreet? Will self-driving trucks render drivers without work? Will politicians stop targeting immigrants and target robots for job losses? Will it raise the case for universal basic income or profit-sharing policies? Will it create new public policies? 

Lot of important questions are to be answered. On the other hand, there is a fear psychosis being created – ‘Half of the jobs will be lost to robots’, ‘Robots will take over jobs by 2025’, etc., etc. How do we address these wrong fears?

One more important thing, this time the robotisation of work will eat into more knowledge-based jobs as compared to low skill jobs alone. Accounts jobs can be taken by software. Robot-advisors will help with portfolio planning and investment decisions. Robotization and AI can threaten best of the jobs! Uber already raises invoices automatically, classifies it as a business or personal expense and send it to you. The software can receive these invoices and file them electronically. 

So, since the white-collar jobs are at stake, there are more predictions of doom and gloom. But one needs to understand that automation and process improvements have always existed. The invention of the steam engine to the wheel to robots – all are the part of same technological progress. Technology has always been a net creator of jobs. 

Of course, there are short term challenges but in the long run, everyone is better off. It will create opportunities and help reskilling of people. It will drive employees to high-value jobs and force skill upgrades. Data scientist, creative visualizer, UX expert, social media guru, search engine optimization etc. are the new jobs. As IBM CEO Ginni Romety quoted, the future of job creation is no longer white collar vs blue collar – its new collar. Or there is no collar, only hoodies :)

Robotization is not be feared but to be celebrated. It frees us from high risk and day-to-day drudgery. It allows us to do more meaningful work. It helps us to evolve as a society. Of course, we need to make more decisions as a society and control our destiny. How much automation is good? What skills do we value? How should people spend their time outside of jobs? If they are working less, how do they live a more fulfilling life? What is the new definition of a job? Will the world economic production be on auto-pilot while we are working on creative and imaginative high-touch passions? Will we move to artisan and creative industries? Will it lead to more self-actualization? 

How do you deal with the new normal? How do you get ready for the Robo Revolution? 
1. Accept the change. Do not fight it or challenge the change – it is a futile effort. 
2. Burn the box. Discard the status quo. Work on cultivating new skills. Problem-solving, creativity, judgment, team skills, digital and social skills will be never out of fashion. 
3. Invest few hours every day in the emerging technologies – it will give you the headstart. Organisations will support the change-agents and people willing to upgrade. 
4. Start small on new skills and emerging technologies. Work on small projects. Create new modules and build on the success. 
5. Create learning groups and share the journey – difficult questions, fears, hacks, tips etc. It is much easier when we are together. 
6. New processes and new styles of working will also create new opportunities. Identify those. Have a break-through idea or a radical thought – build on it. 
7. Finally, do not panic. If you have good work ethic, are disciplined and willing to change, things will be fine. This too shall pass. 

Academia, organization, society and governments have an important role to play to prepare the talent for right skills for the future. Training and collaborative approach is a must to avoid mass unemployment and skills gaps. That alone will help people to be more confident for the future and allow everyone to work to their competitive best. 

What more can we do? How can we live where robots rule? I have asked my robot assistant to research on this and come back on the topic. 

25
Dec

Dangal: A Movie With A Right Heart

Aamir Khan hits the sports-based patriotism and universal message formula once again. While Lagaan was his tryst with sports-based patriotism, 3 Idiots & PK delivered a social message with entertainment.

dangal

Dangal has its heart in the right place. The story of Mahavir Singh Phogat has been dramatised for entertainment purpose, but his and achievements of Geeta and Babbita are indeed inspirational. As rural and less-educated India learn to celebrate the female child, this is the strongest endorsement for the fairer sex. Especially coming from Khap-ridden state of Haryana.

The story is simple and everyone knows the eventual outcome. Mahavir Singh Phogat is a wrestler who gave up the sport for practical realities of life. But his hunger for winning the gold for the country remains and he aspires for a son to fulfill the dream. But the fate has other plans and he is blessed with four girls. An accidental altercation of children gives him the brainwave to train his daughters for wrestling and the rest of the film is about their journey to gold and glory.

The film scores on all areas – script, direction, casting, acting, authenticity (wrestling scenes) and succeeds in delivering the overall message.

Aamir Khan once again excels and proves why he is the best in the business. He lives and breathes the character of Mahavir Singh Phogat. It always has been his strength – to bring alive the characters but here he has set a new benchmark for himself. His physical transformation definitely creates an impact but it is his attention to detail (clothing, mannerisms, conversations, angst, hope) that steal the show.

The actors playing both junior and senior Greta and Babbita excel. And Amir Khan gives them space to shine – which is a triumph. Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar deliver great performance as senior and junior Geeta and Babbita respectively.

Pritam’s Daler Mehndi title song gives you the right adrenalin rush. Director Nitesh Tewari and the scriptwriters have done a great job to bring life to a predictable story. The father-daughter differences have been beautifully captured and strongly brought to life by the actors. The initial differences were brought out in a light manner but the young bride’s food-for-thought discussion make a transformative effect. The differences at the later stage get one of the strongest impact creating finale in a father-daughter fight. The emotional distance and the disappointment that follows has been beautifully captured.

The movie is a great watch but it is not a masterpiece. The editing could have been much crisper. The community stigma for girls wrestling as well the sports apathy in the administration are real challenges in India but they come across as common stereotypes.

As noted by Malay, we also saw people standing for the national anthem with pride during the Indian triumph scene in the movie. This act is more powerful than forced standing up for Indian anthem. Respect comes from within and can never be enforced.

Dangal is a great watch but it is not the perfect film. But is a movie with the right heart and the message that needs to be spread. Watch it!

23
Nov

Attitude For Gratitude – Happy Thanksgiving Day

One of the most under-rated traits is an attitude for gratitude. We receive so many gifts from people and the world around us but we never acknowledge it.

It is nice to be intelligent, smart, kind and efficient but it is equally important to be thankful. Attitude for Gratitude matters. So let us be thankful for everything that we have got.

Thanksgiving season is here. More than the festivities, it is time to recollect our wonderful times and blessings of amazing people around us.

I wanted to acknowledge and thank all my friends and colleagues for the continued support and encouragement. Wishing you wonderful family celebrations with friends and family.

Have a memorable Thanksgiving!

macgpic-1444047508-97975536257662-accroche

29
Oct

Happy Diwali & Prosperous New Year

Wishing You And Your Family A Very Happy Deepawali & A Prosperous New Year!  

Have A Sparkling Diwali & A Bright New Year !!!

Warm Regards
Karania Family

happy_diwali_karania_family_2016

29
Oct

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Review

Rituals Of Kali Chaudas Include Visiting Crematorium or Smashaan. Also One Has To Kill Evil And Laziness.

I Visited Karan’ Johar Movie At The Theatre & Was Disappointed Today By Bollywood’s Laziness. Karan Johar Was Trying To Be Brave In Exploring Mature Relationships But Was Confused & Stuck To Several Stereotypes. Invoking Too Much Bollywood Nostalgia Was Sign Of Weakness.

Anushka Was Good – The Dependable Rahul Dravid. Fawad Was Definitely Wasted. Ash & Ranbir Will Need To Work Harder To Come Out Of The String of Bad Movies – Karan Johar Does Not Help Them.

Foreign Locales, Stunning Lifestyle, Great Music – Was All There But Something Was Missing. The Movie Sounded Fake. The Only Saving Grace Was The Title Song.

I Think Raj Thackeray Actually Was Helping Promote The Movie…….

Ajay Devgan’s Shivaay Was Already Doomed & Cannot Gather Courage To See It….The Movie Poster Always Tell Us Something…

I Saw ‘Court’ & ‘Dhanak’ On Flight A Few Hours Back And Now This…I Pray That Bollywood Kill Laziness & Become More Courageous….Happy Diwali

22
Oct

Dilbert’s Simple 9 Point Investment Plan

Financial Planning and Money is a very important subject. One one hand, people are very casual about this and on the other hand, they over-analyze with complex books and expert advice and long formulas.

Simplicity is often not given the merit it deserves. Dilbert’s Scott Adam has curated the investment wisdom and put it in a simple 9 point plan. And it is very powerful indeed.

Here are the Scott Adam’s 9 Point Investment Plan:

1. Make a will

2. Pay off your credit cards

3. Get term life insurance if you have a family to support

4. Fund your 401k to the maximum

5. Fund your IRA to the maximum

6. Buy a house if you want to live in a house and can afford it

7. Put six months worth of expenses in a money-market account

8. Take whatever money is left over and invest 70% in a stock index fund and 30% in a bond fund through any discount broker and never touch it until retirement

9. If any of this confuses you, or you have something special going on (retirement, college planning, tax issues), hire a fee-based financial planner, not one who charges a percentage of your portfolio

One has to follow the above in the step by step by order. The Indian equivalent of 401K and IRA would be PPF and EPF – not 100% same by near.

The Money Equation In Life

The Money Equation In Life