Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mera Bharat Mahan!!!!!!!!!!

Well, I am holidaying here at home and that’s the reason why I am away from blogosphere. It’s a week since those darned exams got over and I had an uneventful journey back while Mumbai has had an eventful week, which by the way it could have done without.
I was watching this crazy series on HBO titled “Mumbai Calling”. It ranted for an hour about domineering Indian parents and I found it tough hiding a smile whilst all this mummy-papa bashing was going on. Funny the series should worth mention here except that my parents have been fussing over me all this time and I am literally hiding from them, to pen down my thoughts. And yes, I just finished an iconic battle with a couple of cockroaches for territorial supremacy in my room. Full of bloodshed, like a Bruce Willis movie, so lets skip the gory details.
My thoughts are extremely scrambled right now. Unsurprising, you would say but it’s probably got to do with the huge backlog of events or the enormity of the events that actually happened. I have been in Mumbai for 4 months only, having come to love the city for whatever little I have seen of it and this attack (or the set of attacks) left me shocked, searching for contacts frenetically and trying to find out the ground situation. I wish to express my heartfelt condolences towards the deceased and salute the spirit and courage of our security forces, whose efforts thwarted the terrorists from carrying out any more heinous acts.
While I am trying to read a book side-by-side, the events that took place today still jangle my mind. Oh the shenanigans of Indian politics and democracy!!! A major security lapse has been represented as a government failure, used by dysfunctional spokespersons as tool to grab airtime and converted into a mega serial of the “saas-bahu” genre by our venerable news networks. I am left wondering if the Indian people have actually become so gullible that feeding them so much of noise in the form of news will make them forget the actual issue at hand. If so, then God tussi great ho.
While nationalistic jingoism was at its peak when the commandos killed the terrorists and emerged victorious from the “battlefields” and the past few days of frustration against the political classes, I am pretty sure that all this will die down in a couple of weeks. Blasphemous eh?? Well it’s just a question of time before the necessities of life and the challenges of succeeding in a billion-strong populace take hold of us and back we go on our daily pursuits of roti, kapda aur makaan. That this compulsion will be repackaged as the Mumbai or Jaipur “spirit” or the “resilience” of Ahmedabad, telecast back to us and will make us feel proud, has no consequence for us.
We have become institutionalized, and that is the root cause of our bull headed behavior. We are expected to live from one terrorist attack to another. Each time we hope that we are not at the wrong place at the wrong time. Feel bad and forget it, it’s a mantra we have practiced with perfection. But what happens when the luck runs out? Simple. Someone else takes our place, expresses sympathies and goes back to their 24x7 struggle for survival.
Till this attitude remains I have only one thing to say. Mera Bharat Mahan!!!
Now let me get back to my book, need to finish it before the terrorists find me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

60 second guide to Management Consulting....

The last complete book i read was "The Mckinsey way" by Ethan Rasiel. Its a book about life at The Firm and the tips to become a successful management consultant. Most impressive among them being the "MECE" trick... "Mutually Exclusive Completely Exhaustive". While I am not going to review the book and present a judgement on the book (which I assure you is extremely positive), a sudden thought crossed my mind, which I thought best to elaborate here.

Even though it might sound a bit sacrilegious to any Management consultant worth his salt but I feel that any good flirt will make a good management consultant. Though I cant vouch for the reverse to be true, I think the incentive is huge for the consulting community to prove the axiom works both ways. The more i read through the pages of "The Mckinsey Way" clearer it became to me that all the jargons aside the most essential requisite for becoming a consultant is O.A.D. yup ... Obsessive Attention to Detail will get you places in the consulting domain.
Why drive home this simple point with a blasphemous comparision ?? well, there are products and then there are products which sell well. For the latter you need to package it well and thats what i have tried to do.
Well, OAD being the root competency of consulting is easier said than done. The fact you are being called up to clear someone else's mess obviously shows they dont know where to begin and that's where OAD comes into picture. You need to have that animal instinct to pick up a loose thread and it doesn't come easily, read a million cases, follow umpteen principles and build hundreds of reports on your learnings from the previous project but I am pretty sure that a gud management consultant will be sweating his palms on the eve of his next assignment.
When companies call up a management consultant, they generally want a third party view on their set of woes. More often than not, its because they know their processes too well and detailing them will cause them more mental discomfiture than simply off-loading it a consultant.
Sometimes even the most mundane aspects of a process or a product or an assembly line may be the root of all misery, hence OAD can help you get that added edge while going into the project.

Well, as to why I said that a flirtatious guy can make a good management consultant is because on first glance a lot of common things arise between a client and your girlfriend. Both are fussy, confused and need someone to pacify them when the shit hits the fan (of course, going by my brash attitude you would have figured out that I am single!!!) hence, a gentleman who has had the fortune (or misfortune, as the case may be ) to be associated with a few young ladies will by now have developed a genuine obsession towards details. The amount of details involved can give you a headache if you are starting afresh in the consulting industry but if you are in the category just described then any amount of data will appear miniscule in front of all the anniversary's, dog's birthday, three favorite flavors of ice cream, best non-fat topping for pizza and ( this is my favorite!!!!) which PowerPoint Background will go with the color of the dress!!!!
So all those gentlemen who think they have had some success with the fairer gender, feel free to send their resumes to the leading consulting firms of the globe.
happy Consulting!!!

PS: I have to make an apology and give a disclaimer at the same time...
Apology: To all the leading consulting firms. Both for the deluge of resumes that will come your way, with work experience looking some what like this :

Name of organisation (Months)
  1. Rita (12)
  2. Savita (6)
  3. Pamela (3) (present)
and for the crass comparisions made.

Disclaimer: Aspirants in consulting domain are requested to persist with their internships in reputed companies rather than look for greener pastures!!!

Its a certified disaster!!!!

After AB pointed out in my last post that i am no good at proof reading, this afternoon it has been proved beyond doubt that i am no good at Macroeconomics either. It should give you some idea of my anguish that I am writing this post barely an hour after the scheduled close of the exam and had it not been for the miracle called GTalk it would have been much earlier.
There are only two scenarios to the exam which got over at 4.30 pm. Bad and worst. I really need to meet the guy who said that every cloud has a silverlining but before that person I need to lay my hands on this Philip guy and ask him why i should be interested in his curves anyways!!!
Economically speaking I was suffering from an acute supply shock of answers during the whole exam and as it turns out my actual output was nowhere near the expected output, leaving me crucified on the Keynesian cross. If all this sounds over the top to you then imagine my condition while i was sweating it out in the exam hall. Being the eternal optimist that i am, i still hope to escape today's fiasco only if the faculty is ready to accept my answer sheet as my seminal research paper on a new field of macroeconomics, i chose to name... bleakonomics.
All hail John Maynard Keynes!!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sauce Wars, Embarassing Typos and my ruminations on Democracy!!!!!

I have nothing else to do today so i am clearing up my backlog of posts and now i have settled on writing this too. Interesting things have happened in the last 24 hours.
When I went to Pizza Hut last night, fighting with a bottle of tomato sauce was not on my agenda however i landed up doing just that. For about 2-3 minutes I struggled to get a single drop of sauce out of the bottle while my whole body jerked up and down to the rythmic movements of my hand. The sauce finally yielded to my repeated attempts and finally, out came from the bottle some fresh, tasty looking tomato sauce to go with my Garlic Bread Exotica... yummy.. which brings me back to the question... is there is no standard viscosity for tomato sauce ??? shouldn't somebody look into this matter!!!!
Standardisation also involves weeding out the errors to maintain conformity. I was never a fan of proof reading, blame it on my impatience, but this stance has changed over the last couple of hours. If you have been patient enough to read through my story "Coffee Machine" i have used the word "pantry" a number of times and a crazy typo, in JUST one place, left one of my friends moist eyed, flushed and out of breath, because she (yeah SHE!!!! can you believe it !!!)couldn't stop laughing... If you have understood the whole situation I expect you to be in a similar state as she was and I am now the newest member of the "Proof Reading is Essential" fan club !!!
Tragedies apart, there is an eerie air of political activism in my surroundings for the past few days. Suddenly the most insignificant members of the group are becoming the most-soughtafter souls and words like agenda, responsibility, voting, lobbying and parleying have become common day parlance. Welcome to the world of elections and democracy!!!
The strength of democracy rises from the representative nature of power in the system, "Of the people, by the people, for the people" as it is often referred. It, of course, goes on with the assumption that all people have equal access to the power and the utmost willingness to exercise the same. What this idealism discounts is the inherent self-centred nature of the people and the various "facilitators" that thrive in the system, acting as if on behalf on the masses while in fact serving their own agenda. These "facilitators" are whom we call the politicians and should not be confused with the great leaders of yore, instrumental in envisioning the system. The great leaders of previous era have been replaced by this self-serving polity because the next generation of kurta clad, dreamy-eyed, ideological evangelists could never graduate to leading from following and were promptly replaced by a breed of sycophants, weak on idealogy and unyielding on ambition.
Thus, the failure of democracy lies in a short-sighted bourgeoisie, a legion of self-serving, power hungry polity and most of all, the inability to create a stream of leaders, who are ideologically lofty yet grounded hard in political reality.
It might intrigue people as to my ranking of the three major causes of democratic failure. It has been debated quite frequently, and none less in management circles, as to the procedure that will ensure a steady stream of leaders. Leadership has been mystified over the times and worse still, deformed. However, in its original form, it is the primary responsibility of leaders to envision long term goals and help the bourgeoisie understand the same while marginalising the self-seeking political class. With the advent of leaders, a dramatic power struggle is imminent. The bourgeoisie has to play its part in this drama, no doubt, and so will the incumbents, the current holders of political power but as of now, the stagnation in democracy is resulting from a major crunch in leaders and huge influx of politicians!!!!
Hope the times throw up some good leaders. Amen!!!!

PS: Article has proof read. If you still find typos, please feel free to slaughter me!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

वो नज़्म और तेरी उन आँखों का पानी

My first try at writing something substantial in hindi...
Based on a true story!!!!
but dont mistake me for a sad love failed loner... ha ha ha... its just the way it came out for me.

वो नज़्म और तेरी उन आँखों का पानी
याद आ गयी आज मुझको तेरी कहानी
हथेली में मेरे था तेरा लाल कंगन
कहा था जो मैंने "ये है जन्मों का बंधन "

वो लम्बी सी राहों में दिन भर का चलना
वो छुप छुप के महफिल में नज़रों का मिलना
वो चाय की चुस्की पर मीठी सी बातें
मुझे मिलने आया आज मेरा वो माजी
वो नज़्म और तेरी उन आँखों का पानी
याद आ गयी आज मुझको तेरी कहानी

मेरी रुखसती पर तेरे दो बूँद आंसू
लफ्जों में लिपटे बेवफाई के आंसू
कहा था तुम्हे "कभी तुम न रोना "
तो तोहफा दिए तुने मुझे वोही आंसू
वो नज़्म और तेरी उन आँखों का पानी
याद आ गयी आज मुझको तेरी कहानी

ख्वाब था तू , ये दिलासा है मुझको
मगर आज दिल को फिर से फुर्सत मिली है
सर्दी की रातों में अकेले ठिठुरना
ज़रुरत का कम्बल या तेरी कमी है
वो नज़्म और तेरी उन आँखों का पानी
याद आ गयी आज मुझको तेरी कहानी

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Back to home turf!!!

Its been a while since i posted anything here aint it ?
I was active on the AVENUES08 blog temporarily before going off the radar completely owing to Diwali and my own insipid interest towards typing... yeah thats all.
So what do i talk about now ? During the time i have been off the blog, i made a presentation on a very powerful book "Power Shift" by the legendary Alvin Toffler and was introduced to the idea of a "knowledge worker". Owing to my ad hoc reading habits, the next book was "The Effective Executive" by Peter Drucker, which has been suspended due to end-term presentations, and there too i found mention of the phrase "knowledge worker".
I suddenly visit my blog and have this whole clutter of drafts lying around that it becomes absolutely impossible to move ahead without moving the mess. So I have done that and now i hope to be a bit more regular with the blogging.
Time to pay proper tributes to the AVENUES'08 blog. AVENUES'08 blog was a wonderful place to be and it really felt great being a part of the pack, crazily posting all sorts of information, trivia and behind-the-scenes action. Special thanks to AB (Aditya Banerjee) for handholding the blog, Vishal (Vendetta) for his contributions and a certain Avenues_Rocks for being the first to post....
For those who missed out on the blog here it is... AVENUES'08
Job well done guys!!!! Hope to be back next year better than ever!!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Daily Scribblings....

Maintaining a diary seems ridiculous at this frenetic pace... I cant afford to update the blog about what I am doing daily.. Because I will miss out on the fun while I am spending time twirling fingers over the keyboard... still my best try... date followed by whats hot on campus...


The orientation and hostel allocation left me bugged up initially but I am getting accustomed to things slowly. The seniors of SOM'09 batch have been really helpful ... not to mention the ice breaking activity (which also helped me discover the masseur within me!!). Though we still havent come to grips with all the things on campus and classes are yet to begin (ohh shucks!!!)
I think we'll b havin a gr8 time here....


And finally they begin... bole to...classes. after 2 years of slogging it out in the offices its really difficult to sit out a lecture that too for 2 hours.
But its fun, gettin to learn new things, acknowledge the fact that some ppl in our batch have a lot more understandings of the topic being talked about
and to find our feet amongst this knowledgable crowd. and yes, its finally sinkin in.. the feel of an IIT campus, both in its enormity and its vibrance.
our first real interaction with seniors has started... dekhte hain kaun kisse pahle pakta hai.
watch this place for more on life@SJMSOM


First weekend of active life @ SJMSOM and boy did we want it ??
so much to do and so little time, volunteered for one more committee.. and now I am beginning to wonder if 24 hrs will be enuff to take in the fun I am having here ...

details abt the weekend will follow.. gotta rush for dinner... planning to sleep early today!!!!


Its getting scary now. I have done nothing of note today yet I am huffing and puffing to fulfill all commitments on the calendar.. tomoro got another round of presentations and thereafter I need to start preparations for my own presentation.. first assignment of Bschool life and I can see a couple of rocking days ahead...
btw today and tomoro are supposed to be weekends ... notionally i suppose because the mail doesn't stop working on weekends... and ya last nite's plan to sleep early got deferred by some 4 hours. hopes of making up the lost sleep seem slim ..in near future atleast ..
but bottom line I am having fun !!!

PS: Almost forgot.. it never stops raining here... big problem...


Weekend over... first weekend in recent years where I hv slept an avg of 6.5 hrs only. Attending presentations by clubs and running around for the business suit. Right now busy with the assignment.. God knows wats gonna happen with that. Lots of plans for the weekend remained just that, mere plans!!!! no sleeping like a log.. no reading financial reports of company.. lots of Googling though... guys around me are getting their laptops now... all latest configs. makes me feel like an archaelogy professor in quantum physics class!!!!
Weekend's over..whew can't believe it!!!
gotta go ... need to prep for the assignment...


yeah yeah yeah.. its been one month but its lucky that i have made it thus far. spent sleepless nites fillin value added questionnaires.. dreaming up resume bullet points and running from class to club meets... nt to mention the continuums, L!ve meet and hundred other arbit works.. its no wonder that i have been away from blogosphere. next weekend term ends can u believe that.. even i cant but thats the way it goes.. hope to scribble something soon.


I wont say there was nothing to scribble about in the past three months but just couldn't get any time off. Approaching the end of another term and with this we are no more novices to the intricacies of B-School life. Next term expects us to stand up and be counted as we start the mantle from our senior batch.
yeah abt the exams which are going on now... u can understand my level of preparation from the very fact that I am blogging rite in the middle of the exams..


Exams suck big time!!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pagalguy ka infamous video and moral policing ki maa ki &**^!!!!

I am an ardent fan of the concept of Pagalguy. Besides being a wonderful platform for all Bschool aspirants , it all provides growing Bschools an oppurtunity to connect with prospective students. Above all this, student community trusts PG and treats it with reverence.
A recently posted video, showing girls of one premier Bschool hurling abuses at the students of another premier Bschool, has created quite a stir. As the people incharge of PG have come out with a well timed riposte to all those accusing them of sensationalism, the broader question of moral degradation and moral policing have largely been left unanswered.
There can be no absolute standards when it comes to morals... and hence, whats ok/right/normal for me might be despicable/stupid/obnoxious to you. Moral policing is possibly the most customised and dynamic consulting industry and also the shadiest of regulatory systems. And surprisingly just as the biggest question in morality is "where do we draw the line?" the biggest question in moral policing is also the same. At what point does any moral brigade turn into an obstructive force and by virtue of its actions become a liability to the very society it seeks to protect.
Now people may argue that the case in point here, PG's infamous video may be a trivial incident in the magnum opus called "moral policing" and that debating the bigger question in light of this incident would be irrelevant. I agree we have seen bigger cases, and with more serious consequences, of moral policing but then since this issue has generated nothing short of a controversy on a reputed forum like PG, automatically qualifies this as a candidate for discussion.

The whole prelude above, kind off simplifies the question I wish to answer here... Where does moral policing draw a line in a country, which is keen on discarding its sexual inhibitions, discovering the joy of being expressive and finally not afraid of calling a spade a spade ??

As a introduction to this, let me introduce you to the biggest sham (of course, we discount the democratic system, we claim to have) running around in the country. Welcome to the world of the B-schools. Every year students of prestigious B-schools get into the limelight with million dollar packages and a never-ending grin on their faces. Almost all TV channels line up outside the haloed portals of certain traditionally great B-schools to get those beaming faces on camera, talking about Wall Street jobs, Hollywood lifestyles. Brain drain probably was never more glorified, I guess. The constant bombardment of these faces creates a dreamy eyed aspirant in almost every home, which has a TV. Of course, in a country where you either need that kind of a lifestyle or a politically motivated reservation quota to take you somewhere, there is not much of a choice. But spare a thought to the trials and tribulations that beaming face on the news channel faced during the 2 years, and even before that, to get to that place. There have been tears, anguish and tempers have flared, words have been exchanged. To say that the competition is cut throat is an understatement.Listening from first hand experiences, I can evidence that the guys ( no gender bias here...just that it comes more naturally to me !!!) are no angels, not out of their predilection for selfish behavior but more because of the system's structure. Hence, higher we go in the value chain of B-schools we have more competition and everyone wants to be that beaming beacon of capitalistic glory. It doesn't matter how many heads are crushed as you step over them or how many backs have been stabbed en route. It is natural that such journey will leave you bruised, battle-scarred and with scant respect for your fellow mates or competitors (whichever way you wish to see them!!!).
Should our sensibilities get hurt when we see girls leading the way in hurling abuses at mothers and sisters of others ? Well these are well-bred, well-educated girls coming from reputed families. Families similar to that of ours, perhaps someone we know. Surely the morals imparted to them by their families can't be so shallow. It sounds male chauvinistic rhetoric but if the role models of the country, our cricketers, can go around swearing on their competitor's mothers then such an incident can't be too far behind. Indeed it is strange that the same country which once supported its cricketers swearing on the field as a rise of the new world against against old-world capitalists, has now abandoned the same reasoning to gain moral high ground. Can't the expression of emotion have been a heat-of-the-moment act ? Even if the event was preplanned then it just represents the off-the-field maneuvering which happens in against every guest team by home team supporters.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

First Impressions @ a Bschool!!!

It is extremely unfortunate that these days we need to be diplomatic everywhere. Every word ever uttered by us has to be insured against any misunderstanding by issuing "Disclaimers". So here I am "disclaiming" that the views expressed below are personal to me and others might have had a different experience. Thus, the description below is just for knowing what are the scenarios people can face when they are new to a B-school but certainly no definitive guide towards the teething troubles of any fresher in B-school.

I came to SJMSOM (to the uninitiated it is Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, hereafter referred to as SJMSOM or SOM) with a baggage of mixed feelings. True that IIT Bombay had been my dream college but that dream had evaporated 6 years back and now I was coming back to my "old flame" to do my Master of Mgmt.
If it wasn't bad enough that I hadn't got into the IIMs the picture was turning gloomier each time I had to explain to some "Uncleji" that I was going to an IIT to get a management degree. I resigned myself to this state of uneasiness about an "engineering college" giving a MBA degree (the phrase of course, is borrowed from a very respectable Uncleji ).
In due course of time I get my date of joining and orientation schedule and all arrangements for my Mumbai travel are done. Parents of course, are happy that their son is going to an IIT for his higher education and so are all relatives and well-wishers. In the midst of various warnings about Mumbai's lifestyle and the lure of various earthly pleasures, I was also offered a few words of inspiration by one and all. It seems to the collective responsibility of the neighborhood to make the life of people like me, who are travelling out for jobs, education etc., miserable with infinite tales of distant relatives and son's of family friends, who went all wrong the moment they landed in a metro. well thats just about it... finally this heavily taxing ordeal of giving my farewell ended and i set off towards this uncharted territory called SJMSOM..and more importantly, a degree in Management.

2 words to describe my first day in IIT B... "pissed off" ..ha ha ha surprised na... but then we stuck out like a sore finger in the batch of PG students. We couldnt find a mention in the speeche s of most speakers nor were our courses listed on most of the forms provided at the time of joining. The last straw was the hostel... we knew that the accomodation would be for 2 people in a room but the rooms were not exactly in the ideal condition.... I have no words to describe the sinking feeling I had when I was lunch on the day of registration. It was akin to being promised a luncheon with silver cutlery and being given porridge with a wooden spoon.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Coffee Machine

I seem to be obsessed with IPL so I need to get out of it. Besides there is this other thing that has been going through my mind for quite sometime so let me tell you about this.

Its this coffee vending machine placed in the pantry in my office lobby. Not something downright beautiful right ?

Anyways, there is this particularly ancient looking coffee vending machine. First impression it seems the machine was always there and has stood witness to many office gossip and a multitude of tea-time chit-chat. I have been in this office for the last two years and the coffee machine looks like its grown roots in its place and is immovable. Initially, I approached the machine with all the insensitivity I could have towards an inanimate object. No more than a occaisional thought about its pathetic state-of-affairs and the obvious criticism of being the most-replacable item in the office building.

Remember how people grow on you ? Strangely, the coffee machine has grew on me and I looked to it every morning and afternoon for support, succour and gentle mischief played out between friends. Now that suddenly things stand where they are, I not bemused but rather shocked and aggreived as if struck by the loss of one of my kin.

Let me start by describing my dear coffee vending machine. Big burly mass of steel, this gentleman must never have had a whiff of the word "elegance". Four nozzles entrusted with supplying hot milk, water and decoction for coffee this machine is the only option for the people who do not wish to settle for the ultimate torture of the insipid ready made tea. So workman-like and unsophisticated was my first impression of Mr. Coffee Machine.

As happens to most people in any office, I was entitled to my share of romantic attachments in office and in my case, I was lucky enough to find one in the wing right opposite mine. Hence, not only did we share the same lobby but we also shared the same pantry and guess what, the same coffee machine. As it so often happens, every love story has its share of villains, often so very powerful that the hero has to wait for divine intervention to make his presence felt in front of the girl.

One fine day, without any warning, she appeared, with this apparently close "guy" friend of hers, in the pantry, obviously looking for some refreshment. This guy was obviously the most important obstacle in my life for the moment and I was ( fruitlessly, I may add!!) plotting his downfall when the divine intervention happened. There came a spurt from the "Hot Milk" nozzle drenching him waist down in hot, steaming milk. I had to make a genuine effort not to laugh at the guy going "hot in his pants" in front of the girl, who was the bone of contention between us. He excused himself to the wash room and there was this golden chance. The dream girl all alone with me in the pantry. Something told me that this was time to go broke, before my tongue dried up as it had on a dozen previous occasions. Come on!!!

"Huh.. (clearing my throat!!!)Hmm.. Unfortunate that should happen to your friend", I started. Inside my heart, I was laughing at the guy's condition and hoped he was going to lose more than just his girl here. "Well, yeah!! Infact now I am afraid to use the machine",she said meekly. Thats my chance. Thank you, God. If this goes well I will start visiting the local Balaji temple every morning for the rest of my life. "Hey, that shouldn't be a problem, you just need to be careful with the nozzle. Be gentle while turning it and it'll behave fine." And I let out a big grin, all the while thinking if this was some devilish plot of destiny to make me look idiotic, with hot milk on my trousers and egg on my face after that sermon." Slowly, and the slowest slowly of my life, I turned the nozzle open and there it was, the smooth flowing hot, steaming milk that came out of the nozzle and filled the cup. God be praised. "You just want the milk or would like some coffee to go with it ?", I enquired. "Well... I dont know. Generally I stay away from coffee." was her reply. "Well, then you should get closer to it, believe me, its a good thing. Here let me make one for you", I was a gambler on the gambling highway placing bets at breakneck speed. She shrugged and agreed. Fortunately, making coffee four times a day helped me in this situation and I managed to dish out a decent cup of coffee. "Well... its nice and maybe you are right, I should start drinking coffee more often, now on", she said and smiled as she left the pantry.

If I was dumb enough to miss the point in her statement, her smile left me beyond no doubt that if I did not goof this up extraordinarily then this was going some where. Puffed with happiness, I grabbed my own cup of coffee and was preparing to leave the pantry, when I stopped instinctively, turned to the vending machine and blurted out a "Thanks" to my new found friend !!

Thereafter, the coffee machine became a constant companion in my early days of courtship, as it was the starting point of many a meetings and dates. My girl never understood why I got grumpy when someone complained about the coffee machine but then brushed it off as one of my idiosyncrasies related to coffee. Our coffee never took less than half an hour to make and surprisingly, her "friend" always had to bear some misfortune with the coffee machine. One particular instance was when he literally challenged her that he can make better coffee than me ( you know how we guys are rite!!!!) and magically from the milk vent, instead came out hot water ,thus, completing ruining my rival's challenge. I later saw him arguing with the housekeeping staff and threatening him with escalation, all the while glancing at me and the menacing coffee machine, as if looking at some rampant elephant being harnessed back into control by his mahout, while I made a fresh cup of coffee.

It all must seem extremely coincidental to you. It should. And yet, surprisingly, to me it all seemed natural. Maybe the fact that the resultant circumstances were favorable to me caused it but then did I really care. My morning started in the pantry, with a gentle good morning tap to the machine, before Sanjana arrived expecting me to be there. If she thought that I was always there before her so that she wouldn't have to wait for me then she was mistaken. I didn't want my daily ritual to be seen by anyone and that was the actual reason. That she thought otherwise didn't hurt matters.

Apart from my blossoming romance, the machine was also witness to my first tiff with the boss, and also the second one on the same day, my first effort at two-timing, which the machined ended effortlessly, my first appraisal rating and its consequent discussion. It approved of my decision to quit the company and my decision to propose to Sanjana.

This eternal bliss continued till I stayed in the company, and on the last day, with my very last cup of coffee, i paid silent homage to our friendship and may be a loud "Thank you!!!" actually escaped my lips. But as is the wont of Mankind, out of sight is out of mind and this applies to even inanimate friendships... so soon was forgotten Mr Coffee Machine and the interesting friendship i shared with it.
Then it was suddenly that one day Sanjana text messaged me... "Hey new vending machines in pantry, spunky and kewl. that old thing is gone. U wd hv loved the new ones."
Well would I hv loved any other "vending machine" I doubt and thus, I pay homage to "that old thing" and our unique relationship. Rest in Peace, Mr. Coffee Machine.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Climbing the mount...

There I lie battered and bruised
Not to die, But just to rest….
I climb the mount, in front of me
Its height lends flight to my conquest.

That is made of ice, mine of steel
It sneers at me, loathes my will.
Worried, it charges at me…
Can’t break me though, try it will

To die now, nay be a martyr
It’s no use, because victory is mine.
I am bloody and aching no doubt!
All I want is to bide for my time.

The day of my conquest will not bring it down
The mount, so proud of being strong and high,
It will rest silent beneath my feet,
An animal tamed, when I take off for the sky!

Friday, May 16, 2008

IPL ---- the mid season review


After my first post on IPL , even before it started, I think its time for a mid-season review. However, the flurry of matches and the rate of six-hitting doesnt permit me the liberty of an exhaustive review. Rather lets hold an awards function a.k.a the Oscars (or the Raspberry awards in some cases... ). We'll discuss the nominees on the way and eventually decide who is the winner under each category.

16. Best Venue : Well, this will always be a tough one to judge in India. Because the crowds throng the stadiums most places and they support their home team almost with fanaticism ( ya, even in Bangalore). But my top 2 candidates will be the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai and the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The latter has been well entrenched in Indian cricket folklore with some memorable moments but the DY Patil facility at Mumbai came as a real good surprise, with people not only thronging the stadium even though it is far from the city centre but the even the authorities (read Lalit Modi ) placing faith in the wonderful facility by asking them to host the IPL final. The Eden, on the other hand, can boast of the most partisan crowd in the league and the frenzy of a 60,000 strong crowd can not be imagined let alone matched by some of those purists watching the New Zealand-England test match at Lord's. However the pitch at Eden for their first match against Deccan Chargers was a howler and hence a major drawback for the ground... Hence the Best Venue Award goes to the DY Patil Sports Stadium, Mumbai.

15. Best Cheerleaders : This is a potentially inflammable one.... and controversial too. Firstly, does Shahrukh Khan also count as Knight Riders' cheerleader (because then there's no competition then..) and not to forget the cultural police, with their raised brows, who have potentially stifled the competition with calls for bhangra and bharatnatyam in place of cheer girls. However, once you remove all these superficial contenders (including the proposed bar dancers for mumbai cheering squad..thanks but no thanks) the winner is the Royal Challengers Bangalore with the Washington Redskins being flown in for them. Mr. Mallya is surely the king of Good Times and he knows how to spread the joy. Infact the only high (pun intended!!) point of the RCB campaign has been the cheerleaders. More on that later.

14. Best Team Owner : Well Shahrukh Khan can legally participate in this one. Infact he would be a front runner, with all his energy oozing into the Eden garden crowd and his over the top celebration at Eden, after their victory over Delhi, lulling most into the belief that his team just won the league. Unfortunately, most other owners haven't had the panache neither the intent to match up to him (can they, even if they want ?). Preity's comment that her involvement is restricted to appearing at the stadium for every match doesn't earn her any brownie points with the awards and other corporate buyers have displayed no special flair at it. Infact, Mr. Mallya's chances slipped dramatically after the foot-in-mouth syndrome hit him and he started washing all that dirty linen in public. However, my pick for the Best Owner will be Mr. Mukesh Ambani of the Mumbai Indians. He hasn't been shy of spending the money, has kept his mouth shut very wisely while his team lost, patiently waited for his captain to come back and has been there most often to support his team on weekends or has been represented by his family. So the Best Owner for me is certainly Mr. Ambani.

13. Best Presenter: No this is not for the good ones, which means Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri are automatically excluded. However without these two and their wonderful skills at presentation the award has no takers unless you are looking for a one-eyed jack in a pack of blind people. Throw in a television channel which is more bothered about airing commercials than letting us know what is the decision of the third umpire and we have a complete package of incompetent people stepping up to microphone. The regularly references of unearthing young talent at IPL ( even for Rajat Bhatia who is 28 and has played 8 first class seasons), the irritating mentions of those obnoxious moments-of-success and ya, not to forget the cheer leader act the presenters get started with. Sometimes you wish that we could just put the TV on mute and watch the game alone. And to see Harsha Bhogle sit in one of the dugouts, I really feel he could have made himself more useful. I reserve my judgement on this.

12. Best Controversy: I would be doubting your IQ if asked you for nominees on this. Even though Shane Warne and Sourav Ganguly tried their bit at getting in reckoning, the original spoilt brats showed them their right place. And hence, this award goes to Bhajji and Sreesanth for the Slapgate. Just to vindicate my choice, I can say that Bhajji has put Sreesanth on the right track with his mouth sealed shut (ok..compared to his past) and mind on the game, while Sreesanth's little schoolboy-robbed-of-his-comics trick has finally made BCCI see Bhajji for what he is and the threat of a life-ban should really make the gentleman think twice before even opening his mouth.

11. The Critics Award for Best Bestman: This award basically means you are good enough for Test Cricket and just that. You are not fit for T20 and stay away from it if you don't want your ego bruised. And yet inspite of what you think, the award doesn't go to Rahul Dravid. That goes to VVS Laxman. Not so much for a chink in his Very Very Special armory of shots but because we are pained to see him labor for runs in a fashion as alien to him as a pasta is to my grandmother. Go on VVS, we'll still love you for what you have done to the Aussies. This is just not worth it. As for Rahul Dravid, that's a different story altogether and I think that has got nothing to with his batting.

10. Best Youngster/Young Talent (Indians alone!!! ): If I hadn't declared this category, I would be crucified for not having appreciated the main aim of IPL , to develop the young cricketing talent in India. This category has many nominees too because in India it takes only one good performance to be hailed as the next-big-thing. Also, Piyush Chawla can not be considered for this, can he ? Manpreet Gony would have done his chances well had he not fed Jayasurya those sumptuous balls outside off the other day and Amit Mishra despite his 5-for is a one-match wonder (and his 31 against Kolkata came when they were really not in the game). My pick will be Dhaval Kulkarni, who has bowled wonderfully in a team with Pollock and Dwayne Bravo. Pity that the team is doing not so well at this time but then they certainly have the talent to do much better.

9. Best Turnaround : We all talk about the vagaries of the shortest form of the game and hence, here is one dedicated to that. Nominees in this category include the Royal Challengers Bangalore for snatching defeat from jaws of victory against Chennai, Shane Warne for his 17 run burst in the final over of Symonds and the Nayar-Harbhajan assault which nearly brought Chennai down to their knees. However, the winner according to me is the Shoaib Akhtar show not only for its sensational display for pacy bowling but also for showing the strength of the human resolve. To be destined to the gallows only to rise up and deliver a Man-of-the-Match performance, revives the era of Botham, who came back from ban to capture the Ashes in the 80s. There is only one thing I need to ask Shoaib here. "Dude, who writes your script ?"

8. Best "Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag" : This is an award for the most evident disaster of the IPL. One which was foreseen yet acted out and has been cried foul over for quite some time now. No prizes for guessing this one. The Royal Challengers Bangalore take this one hands down. And I have no other competitor for them. Pity, a team with Kallis, Dravid, Misbah and Boucher had to land up with this but then a team with Jaffer, Sunil Joshi, Kumble and club-level local talent can't ask for anything more.

7. Best Surprise Package: I so very nearly gave this one away to the Deccan Chargers. Given their team and the nature of the game, one would have thought that they sat with the powers-that-be to frame the T20 rules. And they really have surprised us by managing to not qualify for the semis and going out of the race so early. Again highlights the view that cricket is a team game and can not be sustained by individual brilliance all the time. A point which does eventually bring us to the winner of this award, the Rajasthan Royals. A team with few big names and "Pathan's brother" (as if he aint a Pathan himself!!), it was destined for the last spot even before the IPL started and if it hasn't proved everyone wrong then it hasn't done anything in the tournament.

6. Best Individual Innings: Now that the trivial is out of the way, lets get on with the biggies (as if the players give 2 cents about winning or losing!!!). This one has to be one of the centuries but which one. Gilly's special effort was welcomed but not unexpected while Jayasurya just had to set the law of averages in order. Hussey had a tailormade pitch in Mohali for himself and Symonds had no one else to blame for letting his century go away in vain. So that gives us our winner. Brendon McCullum played a innings which put the pyrotechnic show to shame. Cometh the hour and cometh the innings at a place that has been attributed with the worst pitch apart from the worst team itself. We all knew he could play but just how well was in question. Did he answer that or what!!

5. Best All-rounder : What exactly classifies as an allrounder will always be shrouded under clouds but according to my whole judgement I am going give this award to MS Dhoni. Gone are the days when a keeper was a keeper today he has to be a batsman too. So unlike the batsman-who-can-bowl and bowler-who-can-bat concept, here is the player who bats and keeps well. Keeping to the guile of Murali has been accomplished wonderfully, an achievement surpassed by his batting, which inspite of glaring technical glitches as one Mr. Warne will tell you, has taken him to the top 5 batsmen list. Add to that the captaincy hat and then you understand why he is the costliest player to be bought in the auction. Captains are made but leaders are born and when Matthew Hayden calls him a great captain you just shut up and listen. And ya, sorry Shane Watson I really wanted to give you this one but then this was one of those photo finish races, if that is of any consolation.

4. Best Bowler: This award's winner can really walk with his head held high because T20 expects bowlers to be nothing more than the passing references, while we harp about the batsmen's heroics. However, when Irfan Pathan bowls you know who is the protagonist in the act. The talent was never in question but what was probably missing was the heart, a lion's at that, to survive in this heavily unbalanced game. Now with his mind and run-up in the right place he has shot right up to the top of the wicket takers list with an economy which is under 7. First up, he has swung it to scare batsmen mortally and in the slog overs, he has mixed it well enough to escape the fate of other bowlers. We can safely say that he is the best bowler in business when it comes to taking telling wickets and keeping their cost down. How this contest would have ended had Brett Lee stayed back is for us to ponder over. Did anyone whisper IPL window ?

3. Best Batsman: This is the toughest. No answer will make all happy and I agree everyone has already made up their mind on this but then these are my awards and I'll go ahead and give to Shaun Marsh. I don't care if he is a long way behind Gauti but then he has also played only half the number of matches as Gauti and his team's fortune has closely followed his own batting career in IPL. Admittedly, I dont know much about the guy's Aussie exploits but looking at him bat I can imagine he would be a force to reckon with wherever he goes. His handling of Murali was good and if it is any indication of the guy being Mohali's Atlas, then it was his dismissal that triggered their defeat against Chennai. Oh ya !! who would have won if Hayden, Hussey and Symonds had stayed back? An Aussie certainly but why is this IPL window chorus echoing around me !!!

2. Best Captain: Shane Warne hands down. I wont even pretend I had any other nominee even though MSD was awesome, Pollock inspiring and Sehwag tactful. That is because Shane was all these three and more, rolled into one. The surprise element, the clever change of bowlers and sudden shifts of the batting order have all paid off for the gambler. The junior members in his squad have almost taken to idol worship, not speak of the profuse words of praise from foe-turned-friend Graeme Smith. If the selection of Asnodkar was a brilliant then promoting Yusuf Pathan as opener against Deccan was a master piece. He has handled the fragile Shane Watson brilliantly and when the time for finishing off things came he put his hand up and snatched 17 runs from a Symonds over to get an unlikely victory. As has already been debated, maybe he is the greatest captain Australia, nay, world cricket never had a chance to watch in action. And ya, if I had missed out on this, he has bowling well too.... as one Vijay Takawale and he'll tell you all about it.

1. Best Team: The daddy of all awards. Should it blindly belong to the table topper. Maybe not. But certainly among one the top 4 deserves it. Chennai have started deceiving after flattering earlier and the fourth position is too unclear to get a single nomination. So Mohali and Rajasthan are at logger heads for this. Mohali have ridden on their big performers. The best bowler is from Mohali and so is the best batsmen, add to that Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Yuvraj, Sreesanth and you ought to have the best team in the tourney, which not only has the weight in the resumes but also performances on field to prove. But then look at the Royals, poor souls, being the cheapest franchise, Warne doubling up as their coach and a motley crew of local talent resembling almost a Lagaan-like story. It is to this Cinderella story of the victorious underdog that I give my best team award. Its a romantic story to say the least that has created heroes out of mortals and made huge marks on the psyche of the Indian cricket fan. That in the presence of all the bigwigs, the well equipped, the well cash-stacked franchises, this team has managed to get to the top of the tables with proper application of cricketing knowledge, shrewd captaincy and urge to succeed. I dont care who goes on to win the IPL from here on but even at the end of the IPL it will take some serious brain storming to unseat Royals from the Best Team position.

And hence ends the list of my mid-season IPL awards. Surprisingly, no Tendulkar, no Ganguly and no Ricky Ponting make to any of the lists but then we still have significant contributions from McGrath, Jayasurya, Pollock reminding us of the old adage "Class is permanent and Form temporary". Hopefully by the time the season ends we'll have many new contenders for the good ones and the ugly ones will be happily discontinued due to lack of nominations...
Till then I deliver my verdict in favour of IPL, which with all its brazen marketing and branding has indeed come up trumps this time!!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My IIT Bombay Interview... SJMSOM , March2008

Here goes my GD/PI experience...
Slot : 2nd March, 7.30 AM( unearthly hours !!!)
Journey: From B'lore to Mumbai... reached on 1st afternoon..1 whole day ... bad experience by the time i reached IIT B .. interview was the last thing on my mind. just wanted a quite room to sleep after the noisy crowd i had to travel with The Nite before. Refreshed by evening and dinner done. Met some other guys who were in the same slot as me.. gt abt chit chatting. Then it was 10pm and seniors invited us for an informal discussion. there were abt 7-8 seniors and fielded questions patiently.. above all instead of painting a rosy picture they gave us all the info and told us to make the decision....this went on till midnite.. then realised that i gotta grab some sleep ( which eventually i didnt get.. was sittin in bed from 4am waitin for the alarm to ring @ 5.30 am..) and returned to my room.
The D-Day: Got ready...reached SOM building.. usual process of registration and presentation.. then my group was called for GD...
Panel: Admissions co-ordinator, he is also an IT entrepreneur, thn 2 other ppl.. one doing his phd and 3rd an alumnus..only panel with 3 ppl...
GD: It was a case study, HR kind in nature, abt a lady moved to a new division and nt given proper training..big sad story ( we nicknamed it Madhuri ki Kahani )... some questions at the end of it were to be discussed... In general, began well then we lost steam as the case didnt offer too many points ( we felt..).. enuff time to speak for all though few gentlemen took it upon themselves to speak for the grp always and then urge us nt to make a fish market ... me came in 2-3 times with decent points...tried to resolve a couple of conflicts.. thats all... cd have spoken more but then didnt want to really get into a acrimonious discussion as it was becoming... eventually things sorted out well...
General tip : dont attack the questions directly...look at the problem holistically... then set abt answering the ques... (yeh gyan mere kaam to nahi aaya...)
PI: was waiting for nearly an hour for it as some guy wanted a reschedule coz of his flight and all... seniors were very helpful... ( 1 bottle paani khatam kar diya wahan !!!)... went in and here's wat followed:P1-- iit prof P2 -- phd guy P3 -- alumnus M -- who else is left
P1 -- XXX company eh ??? wat kinda product development do u do ???
M -- tld him ( been doin this for 2 years !!!)
P1 -- hmmm.. so wat language do u use ?
M -- using C for final product..currently working prototype in Python..
P1 -- why ?
M -- tld him ..
P1 -- so confident in C ? I can ask u questions ?? ( he was from IT sector )
M -- sure sir ( wat else can i say )
P1 went on to ask abt string functions, arrays and their indexes, memory allocation and stuff.. basics ... M was confident...Finally he gt bored of Cing me ... looked over to P2.
P2 -- so tell me wat do all locos run on...???
M -- (clean bowled..) dc motors sir ( sheepish grin !!)
P2 -- (laughs... pakda gaya !!!) sure??
M -- nt very sure but i think so... ( tried to laugh off this pathetic reply ...)
P2 -- (laughs) ok wat is ur feeling abt the budget... ???
M -- started with a disclaimer that i was travellin so cdnt really keep a tab on the budget but still wd answer to best of my knowledge... then gyan for next 5 mins... tld abt cut in excise duties which has made industry happy
P3 -- ( gr8 entry) which industry...
M -- manufacturing..
P3 -- which section of manufacturing ??
M -- automobiles to be specific...
P2 -- asked abt the changed taxation and all...
M -- told ..
P1 -- u said u hv nt followed the budget properly still u are tellin us most of the things...
M -- tld him abt my habit of watchin budget speeches and all ... ( i think they gt my point..)
P2 -- Is the industry unhappy abt something ?
M -- loan waiver affecting banks, capital gains tax increase, no spl sops for IT services !!( all Ps smile.. )
P2 -- wat do u feel abt the Ram Sethu Proj ?
M -- ( abe ye kya tha..) sir it is a controversial issue... and i feel India can do with one less controversy...!!! P2 smiles even more...
P2 -- wat abt the alternate sources of energy...wats ur take...?
M -- talked abt nuclear... hydro ..
P2-- nt hydro and all...wat abt the future...
M -- fuel cells ka gyan.. stressed on scientific capability to develop such fuels
P3 -- (again interjecting!!) do u think these are viable solns ? electric cars and all..after all we are still polluting the environment to get that electricity...
M -- agreed with him ..said only finding the fuels is nt the soln but ppl shd be more active for eco friendly initiatives..talked abt car poolin and proper public transport... quoted swaminathan at a couple of places...
P1 -- u r electrical rite ? so i cant ask from satellite engg..
M -- No sir, i am nt very aware abt that subject (this was prob my most confident answer)
P1 -- (laughs... ) gud gud... u tld us before hand wat u dnt know !!!
M -- ( smiled..nt much else i cd do )
P3 -- wat specialisation will u take ?
M -- gyan... SOM gives flexibility to choose in 2nd year.. so will wait till then..
P3 -- wat abt ur coding job.. wd u completely leave it...
M -- well nt completely...still do it when job requires..teaching juniors and all... but may not be as involved as now...!!!
P1 -- do u want to ask us anything ?
M -- asked abt the staff ... and aviation mgmt programme they are gonna start..
All Ps smile back.. took that as an indication to leave ..gt up and came out .... big sigh of relief...

My interview Experience from VGSOM, IIT-Kgp 2008 March

Hi Folks,
My GD/PI experience follows:
Date/Place -- 15th March, 8.00am IISc B'lore

Prelude: Bad Friday and bad health... zilch preparation for the interview due to tuff week in office virtually scared abt the interview...Reached at 7.30 and damn !! not even the watchman had turned up to open the Choksi hall by 8. eventually things got underway by 8.30 am.. cool types presentation... by a prof (surprisingly!!) then we had 2 alumnus coming over to field few questions... overall the college gave a laid back approach ( may be a camouflage!!!)

GD: Case of Mrs Sethi, environmental compliance officer, typical case where u hv to enumerate various scenarios and come up with a mix and match kinda solution... thoda sa this and thoda sa that... Initially 5 mins to pen dwn thoughts and a minute for each speaker (randomly) then open for discussion ( if it becomes a fish market then the panel intervenes .. we hd it once !!) ... overall 15 mins for this i guess .. I got the chance to speak first , and in my one minute tried to smash thru as many pts as possible...
Overall self rating of GD -- Average...
PI : 2 ppl -- P1 -- same guy who gave ppt (senior prof @Kgp)P2 -- Maths prof M -- bakra
P1 -- hello
P2 -- Hello, Hwz life ??
M -- busy sir, been busy with office ( chalo kisi ne to dard samjha !!!)
P1 -- u gt a gud rank in JMET... we dnt see many 2 digit rankers...
P2 -- IIT B eh ? (smiled)
M -- smiled back ( wat can i reply )
P1 -- so why MBA ? just because everyone's doing it eh ?
M -- No sir, career growth... started gyan...
P1 -- (cut short ) so working ...hmm ..where ?
P2 -- (lookin @ profile sheet ) XYZ ... so hwz the job ?
M -- work-ex related gyan ....
P2 -- (pointing to profile sheet ..) watch cricket as hobby..?
M -- yes sir... i like to understand various technical aspects of cricket....
P2 -- only watch ..dont play ?
M -- nothing serious level...like harsha bhogle
P1 -- wat details in cricket ??
M -- like swing bowling and all ..wat happens ..and why ?
P1 -- so tell me hw it happens...
M -- told... ( i knew where this was going!!!)
P1 -- u know wat physical principle its based on..
M -- Bernoulli's theorem...
P1 -- tell me abt Bernoulli's theorem...
M -- gyan ...gt stuck somewhere ... P1 helped out... all ends amicably..
P1 -- U hv an unusual name .. U kno who the original Parasuram is ?
M -- Yes sir, started... mahabharat, ramayan and stuff...missed out some anecdote which P1 knew... he also joined in...
P1 -- So u r a mahabharat kind off guy...
M -- No sir, but if i carry such a name then its imperative that i do such research...
P1 -- so tell me abt family ???
M -- Blah blah...P1 -- so u from TN... can u speak Tamil ? (M nodded ) read ?? (nod) write ?? ( nod with grin!!)
P1 -- so u dnt know...
M -- I can write small words..hence i wont say i dnt know..
P1 -- write ur name .. no no ... write my name...
M -- i can write my name.. but wont write urs...in case i get it wrong u'll b offended ( kya soch kar bola pata nahi..)
P1 -- ok go on...
M -- wrote ... showed him the alphabets...
P1 to P2 -- this looks like the indian literacy campaign ad... painstakingly each letter...
M -- (sheepish grin...) Sir wat ever it is .. i kno lill bit. enuff for sustenance...
P1 and M discuss abt Tamil script ( most of my friends will kill me if they come to know)
P2 -- (was silent for a long time) so u hv any questions to ask us ??
M -- asked them abt their so-called locational disadvantage wrt SJMSOM and IIT D...P1 gave some cool answer...Smiles all round...Thanks a lot... shake of the hands...Came out with a gud feeling.. but still u are never sure if the panel is always smiling .. same with me in SJMSOM..self rating -- Gud
PiTips for junta --surprisingly the maths prof was silent in my interview... but he did drill some ppl... gauss integral, gauss elimination and Newton Raphsons method poocha...just in case .. brush up ur maths... Cheers !!!

PS : My adventure with Tamil went all wrong... on the way back home I realised I had written my name wrongly... Hail my Tamil knowledge!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Why Bangalore is not a metropolitan ???

It pains me as I write this. I wonder a 100 times if I do want to write this but then to "call a spade a spade" is no crime and here I let go.
It is said that travel broadens horizons, and how. Lately, I have been doing some amount of travelling ( to the extent of bankruptcy) to the 2 truly metropolitan cities in the country, Mumbai and Delhi, with the effect that I decided to sit back and take stock of the situation prevalent on home turf.
People may argue that I am no authority to talk about Bangalore, being a "outsider" and of course, the fact that grass is always greener on the other side. I cant get into a justification mode, just read the post and decide for yourself.
Bangalore was always the retired man's paradise. With lush gardens and laid back lifestyle, you couldn't ask for more at the age of 60 to rest till you are handed back to nature. But then something happened. With the economic forces of globalisation and cheap skills coming into play, it was but obvious that Bangalore, with its strong educational framework, will be the fulcrum of activity for all knowledge based industries. Bangalore rose, and how, in the books of all corporate houses and with the government all the more happy to oblige, we witnessed a growth unheralded, unbelievable and most importantly, unplanned.
With the increase in economic brawn, Bangalore witnessed a strong influx of people from all parts of the country. Not that the city wont welcome us with open arms, it did but what it lost in return was its tranquility and innate serenity. Soon Bangalore was bustling, not in the arms of traditional theatre and drama but in the sweaty pubs and discos.
The scene with Mumbai and Delhi has been different. They have been the big cities, always. The growth of these cities had little to do with a cost-cutting phenomenon in the West and more with the genuine surge in economic and political rise of the country. As such, the growth story of these two cities has been more organic and as a result, more planned.
The present day Bangalore is a picture perfect example of what can go wrong in urban planning and development. The overcrowded roads, the new airport controversy and the haphazard construction of the metro are only aggravating the agony of old-timers in Bangalore.
Bangalore suddenly looks like the illegitimate child of the Indian growth story, trying to earn brownie points with one and all through cheap labour and cheap liquor, while the "real" family is the toast of many a high-society dinners. This is not to blame the city for its current state nor am I taking any credit away from the stupendous IT story that has become synonymous with Bangalore. I , like many others , have been the beneficiary of the boom that's Bangalore and am positive that Bangalore deserves its place in the echelons of the high and mighty but its still a long way from the home run in that race.
And so here I left my story a month back... time to pick up the threads again...
Lot has changed in the period though, I am destined to go to Mumbai in a couple of months and now my observations on the city will be derided as a parting admonition and act of selfish what-might-have-been stories... but as I stated before I cant afford to get into justification mode.
Adding to the turmoil, the political environment has displayed a distinct distaste for public welfare (don't get me started on the Airport thing...reeks of small town conman ship). They have been distant from ground realities and mud-headed in planning. The resultant of their hubris is the dislike exhibited by old-timers, or should i say Bangaloreans, towards the breed that is us ... the new entrants or the immigrants ( isn't that the truth!!!).
That just about brings me to the actual reason for penning my thoughts here. I started at the time when MNS was wrecking Mumbai with a Nazi-like temperament and one day a colleague actually narrated a story about his friend being harassed by some locals. It seems the local people were not interested in robbing him, their only intention was to cause harm to the person amid almost violent chants of "you IT people". That really set my engine running... why are we being blamed for all this ? What is my fault if I am asked to report to office along with another 40 thousand people .. leading to traffic jams and packed buses ? Is it my fault that the flight costs have come down so I want to fly back home for vacation and hence the resultant high load on the old airport, has "forced" the government to shift the airport to a new place, which takes me more time to reach than probably the air journey itself ? Please tell me if it appears that I am having fun shelling out extra money for each and every auto trip, when funnily the trip costs more because of my profession rather than the distance travelled.. ?
A metropolitan is a term used very loosely these days... population has, for all practical purposes, been used as criteria. But then at the rate India is growing in numbers we can look forward to many metropolitan cities can't we ? A metropolitan is a microcosm, which when we enter showcases the whole country for us...
Bangalore, unfortunately, is going nowhere with that. If it is truly representative of the country then it can be worrying for India. It shows a cluttered country where the old-order dislikes the new and the new could care less... where the host is distrustful of the guest and the guest has become indifferent, a feeling arising from the fact that no amount of persuasion will work with the host. The life goes on with a under current of distrust, which will one day find expression under some stupid pretext. And till such day we'll pretend that we live in the country's coolest metropolitan...
The staunch believers ( and I hope there are many) will refute me stating the recent events in Mumbai... so should Mumbai be stripped off the metropolitan status too ? Maybe yes, that would obviously depend on the level of involvement of the real Mumbaikar in these protests, which in turn tells us how much the real Mumbai believes in the cause and thus we can gauge whether the same under current, that I talked about here, exists there too. In that that unfortunate case, we can sadly label Mumbai too as an impostor. Maybe someday I would sit and analyse Mumbai as a metro after I have spent some considerable time there.
But even then I would love to come back to Bangalore and check out if it has outgrown its regionalist robes and donned the real colors of a metropolitan city...

Monday, March 17, 2008

IPL and wat it means to me...

I never had the patience to blog... restless as I am. But then I have put my head down for this and will talk abt something close to my heart. Cricket !!!

The Indian Premier League... BCCI's fiefdom, has left many ppl, like me, smacking lips at the prospects on offer. The plethora of talent, the star power involved and finally the sheer pull of Indian cricket's latest darling T20 cricket.
While many a debate have raged on about the management of the event, about the money and how it will cement India's place as the high lord of global cricketing arena, I will steer clear of all this and talk about what it means to a simple guy who will switch on Set Max on 18th April.
For long we have been living under the heady influence of the English Premier League ( or is it BPL ??) wat with our footballers coming to naughts at more places than one. Now is our turn to give it back. Funny it might seem but how dearly would I love to see the Barmy Army glued to their TV sets in some sports bar in London, cheering for the Mumbai team just like we go gaga over Man Utd ( thats just a personal choice!!!). Will some guy in Sydney swear by Dhoni's hard hitting just like a Bangalorean singing hosanna's to Christiano Ronaldo or will we see a guy in Cape Town wearing a Jaipur team jersey just like we see Arsenal T-shirts with Thierry Henry's name ?
And what about the Indian viewer, so paranoid and yet, eternally supportive of the Indian national team. Suddenly, its not about the country anymore. Its not playing for pride but for big bucks and bigger hoopla. Interesting to see how will this country welcome Andrew Symonds, undoubtedly the biggest villian in recent Indian history(personal views may vary !!).
Imagine a scenario, when Symonds smacks Bhajji for a last ball six to win a match for my team. Should I cheer for Symonds and my IPL team or should I go on to rue the fact that Aussie dominance has been proved once again, and that too against India's eptiome of racial equality and loose language ??
My mother has never understood how a guy from Portugal can play for an English club, more so when he was instrumental in the sending-off his club mate in a crucial match between the national teams. The case in point being, Ronaldo and his Man Utd team mate Wayne Rooney. Imagine IPL had started a year back. Now will I welcome back Symonds into my IPL fold with open arms after the racism row. Will I boo him or will I root for him so that he takes my IPL team to victory??
Will I stand among thousands in the Eden Gardens and sing the anthem of Kolkata Knight Riders just as the Theater of Dreams reverberates with "Glory Glory Man U" ?? I have only questions and no answers yet. One day I'll surely know, whether dads in India pass on IPL heritage in their genes, whether people take up cudgels for their teams and whether we are ready as a nation of cricket hungry people to accept the valiant efforts of gladiators, irrespective of their nationalities.
Maybe the answers to all these questions and many more will decide the future of the IPL and for a better part, of world cricket. Till then I luv Man Utd and I continue to cheer for the Red Devils, all the while hoping I will have my very own cricketing anthem to chant...
Ohh if only time could fly and April 18th could just be now....!!!!