I liked what Kamal, a versatile film-star (legend), had to say to four budding, and very promising, directors in a TV show. He was saying “the more ethnic you become, the more global you get!” – I liked the way he thought about how a “world-class” movie should be made. To make a movie that will excite audience worldwide, you don’t need to go to exotic locations across the world, use latest technology etc. You just do a movie showing interesting characters that are soaked in taken culture. You normally do this right when you take your own culture. A fan loves to see Japan as it is and that goes to any other place. In his opinion, and I tend to agree, virumaandi, naan kadavul etc are world-class because they get more ethnic and hence world audience would want to have a peak! I have appreciated similar cultural portrayals in Memoirs of a Geisha, Troy, Aviator, Spanglish etc etc….

I thought this was interesting – don’t go elsewhere for glory, search within!

In a way this philosophy is good even for many other cases of identity building where one goes out of the board to differentiate without recognizing if you just be, you will be different! This goes to one as an individual (say professional), an organization in monopolistic competition (say restaurant), in children’s upbringing… almost everything I can think about!

Let me briefly explain the examples I took so as to illustrate the pattern. Individual – never try to be someone else to be noted. If you just be, you will be different. God never made any two men same! Restaurant – there is nothing better that explains ‘get more ethnic to get more global’ than a restaurant. The more authentic you get with food, ambience, experience the more global reach you will get! Upbringing – Don’t raise an American in India or an Indian in America – either will confuse the kids. Both are great cultures, just make your choice and teach core values – what I term as values are all single word adjectives (Honest, Open, Brave, Hard-working, Kind, Fun-loving…). My point about upbringing is that: don’t go broad across cultures rather go deep in one culture along with acceptance of other cultures.

Note: the beauty of getting more ethnic to get more global is based on the premise that people “want” and “like” multiplicity in – restaurants, cultures, people etc! So don’t loose it as a fanatic when you get more ethnic ;)

I welcome any thoughts on this – this topic roused interesting debates in my recent discussions with friends: best of both worlds is better? Spineless followers of west (or east)? Ethnicity is necessary but not sufficient condition? Get the hell out of your hole :) Etc etc….Pretty interesting stuff. Many valid observations but a man has to make his calls and I made mine :)

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I was starting from Chennai to Madurai. It was going to take 8 hrs by train and I will reach by 8:30 PM. So my anni (bhabhi) gave me a box with lunch. Usually I am against carrying such stuff. But perhaps ageing (31) has changed me a little bit. I did not make any fuss and accepted the “tiffen box”. There was only one request – “don’t forget to bring it back” :) I have to give some background here. I have a notorious reputation of forgetting things (in fact it’s so common among my bros that all bhabhi’s gang up on this topic when we meet together). My brother came to rescue, “amaa thanga thatta koduthu vidura” (hmm… that is a golden plate or what). I promised myself that I will not forget and decided that I will be “double” careful. My bro gave me a tip, after eating put the box in your laptop bag!

When I reached railway station, I realized my e-ticket for AC chair car got cancelled as it did not move. I decided to take an unreserved ticket and travel with the crowd so that I did not have to wait longer to see my son and wife. In a way I did want to enjoy going in unreserved compartment. :) After 7 years in US one misses a few things I guess. I was lucky to get a seat. I was trapped in a seat with so much crowd standing that moving out of seat for say going to loo was out of question. The problem with unreserved compartment is that food or pantry services are not available when the train is in motion – partly because of the crowd and mainly because the unreserved compartment is cut off from the rest of the vestibules without a connecting path. So the personnel from pantry car can’t come to UR compartment. So the tiffen box was a boon – really! I felt hungry in between the journey and ate the delicious contents of the tiffen box. I had a good habit of thanking people then and there. So I called up my anni and conveyed how tasty the food was and how I would have had to stay hungry had I not carried it in unreserved compartment.

I stacked some more “Manapparai” murukku, a delicacy from the place I grew up (Manapparai) on the way, in the bag I carried for the tiffen box.   Because of incessant rains, I reached Madurai one and half hours late. I just had to get in the crowd and the next thing I found myself in the platform ;) Took an auto without wasting much time and was on my way to wify!

Half way thru a lightning struck! What the heck? I had forgotten to take the bag with tiffen box and manapparai murukku!!! I asked the auto to turn about and go back to station. It was not about the monetary value or anything just that when someone had been so kind I can’t be so careless. I was so ashamed that I spent about one hour searching, walking all the way to the end of the train to the unreserved compartment, asking people whom I should talk to for “lost and found” service(in Indian Railways unreserved compartment!!?? I just lost my sanity). My efforts turned futile. Not losing hope I went to the railways police station and gave a verbal complaint (!!! Come on) b4 leaving to my in-laws place. This time I did not want to take an auto instead took a public bus. I felt so bad that I wanted to deprive myself of any comforts!

I started lamenting to myself on my way. What the heck – I called her up thanking when the true thanking wud have been to bring back the box thoughtfully filled with other delicacies and then thanking in person. If only I had not forgotten! After two stops in the bus one thought came to my mind. Was calling her less important than not forgetting? Isn’t it a paradox that when reflecting on past we always want negatives to have been avoided and take the positives for granted??? Like in this case, I should have avoided the “forgetting”; calling her back was not a big deal against not forgetting. Let us for one minute think of the vice versa: Negatives would have happened and the positives doesn’t happen. Had I not called her on the way, I wouldn’t have had the face to show up and say “I forgot”! Since I called her in between that at least gives a true picture of me – that I am careless in some things and I am caring (show love/thanks) in other things. Wud our life be better if we don’t take our positives for granted and be over critical on our negatives??!!

Amid all the number crunching in corporate finance and financial markets, happened to read this and liked it:

bg: Tom is an executive from France deputed to Delhi for six months to set up the MNCs Indian operations….

As darkness enveloped the neighbourhood surrounding his townhouse, Tom sat in his living room reflecting on his job. Outside, the night was filled with the sounds of barking dogs and the piercing whistles of the estate’s security patrol. “Each family here has its own security gaurd,” he explained. “But because gaurds fall asleep at their posts, our neighbourhood association hired a man who patrols the neighbourhood blowing his whistle at each gaurd post and waiting for a whistle in response.But now the whistling has gotten so bad that some families have begun paying this man not to whistle in front of their house. Incredible, isn’t it?”