Friday, December 25, 2009

Looking back on 3 Idiots!!!

The entire IIT Bombay campus is getting up from the sleepy hangover of Mood Indigo 2009. An extravaganza in itself, it deserved a fitting finale, a finale as delivered by the awesome trio of Shankar Ehsaan and Loy on the last ProNite show of MoodI last night. The entire OAT was up and rocking for 2 hours as we sang ourselves hoarse and danced till the body could take it no more. At that point I could never have thought that anything else could go one up on that show that evening. But then there was the premiere of Mr. Perfect Khan's "3 Idiots" to contend with!!!

 Well not many Bollywood movies move me enough to write a blog post about them, and those which have done are for all the wrong reasons but "3 Idiots" deserves to written about, talked about and felt good about so here goes....

 To start off, the passage to the movie hall itself was a thriller, what with a hitched ride to the IIT Main Gate and a Bollywood ishtyle sprint to get on to the running bus, all of which enabled me to reach the place about 10 mins in advance. Only one thought ran in my mind ...this movie better be worth all the running around!! But after having read Chetan Bhagat's 5 Point Someone, frankly my expectations weren't very high.
But then if we take one of the finest acting talents in Indian cinema and mix it with the directorial talent of the legendary MunnaBhai series, fireworks are guaranteed.
3 Idiots has masterfully uncovered the dirty underbelly of the Indian education system. Right from unrealistic parental expectations and peer pressure all the way upto some of  the drastic steps that students are forced to take, all of them have been dealt with seriously, delicately and passionately.
The storyline is not straight of the novel, which is good and makes it a TRUE 'adaptation', with a few unexpected twists and turns. The screenplay is crisp and the songs make sense ( and will be on your lips, on your way out!!!), and probably the only place where the script falters is towards the end, where the entire childbirth scene is a bit too much to handle. Apart from that I guess there are no gaping flaws in the movie.
Coming to the actors, well.... singing anymore praises to Amir is a waste of time because we have come to expect him as being nothing short of real, fresh and brilliant. To quote Amir aka Rancho from the movie itself... "strive for excellence and success will follow you around." and he has proved himself right. Madhavan as the narrator is restrained and yet full of energy, while Kareena as Pia is a deadly combo of sweet and sexy!!! After seeing him play the dean in Munnabhai, one would have thought that Boman Irani couldn't go one better but he has actually outdone himself with the potrayal of Virus, a hugely competitive and eccentric professor but also a defeated father. The chap who does the role of MadanMohan..or Millimeter is also good.
 But for me the best performances came from Raju Rastogi (Sharmaan Joshi) and Chatur Ramalingam. Typical rags-to-riches boy, Raju is torn between his responsibilities towards the family and his loyalty to his friends and this internal conflict is reflected in all his actions in the entire movie. Sharmaan's ability to make those straight faced jokes really brings alive the character even though some of the jokes in the movie are oft-repeated college humor. Chatur Ramalingam is the quintessential padaku, a person who has mastered the current system and is so sure of tiding over any anamolies like the 3 Idiots with supreme arrogance and sheer weight of memory power. However, like all good Hindi movies, the supremacy of our hero is emphatically stamped on this rote-machine and he accepts defeat with a traditional salaam at the end. The balatkar speech delivered by Chatur will surely become part of college folklore for years to come.
 The  Kareena-Amir chemistry deserves special mention for its vibrance and "chooo-chweeet" factor. So much so that by the end of the movie you are almost rooting for Kareena to slap him and seal it with a kiss ( which she does). And to think that moi was sceptical about the pairing initially!!!
Who should watch the movie?? Well almost everyone, the junta studying in engineering colleges, people passed out of engineering colleges, people who couldn't make it to engineering colleges and of course, all the parents who decide at their child's birth as to what their child should become.
Amir and Raju Hirani have given us a great movie to savour and also maintained their tradition of delivering a strong message underneath a light, fun-filled experience.
 As we all agreed last night after the movie... it gets a 4 out of 5 and is a must watch for everyone in the country!!!
"Ohh Bhaiya.. Aal izzz Well!!!"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mummy... I want a state!!! Plz can I have one too?

The post was written on the day Govt declared creation of the Telangana state. The delay in posting was caused by lack of access to Internet.

This is the third consecutive day when I am posting on my blog. Understandably the amount of time on my hands is worrying for both me and the Saptarishis. Infact in relation to my previous post, I confided to a close friend that becoming a writer is a serious career option. But then that was yesterday.
 Today, of course, India and the world woke up to one of the boldest blackmail heists in the history. As if right out of a Calvin & Hobbes strip, an unruly kid foregoes his meals to get a better Christmas gift and the hapless parents agree. And, of course, that carving out Telangana will motivate other such power-hungry ruffians to go on a fast and demand smaller states from the existing ones, is none of the Central Government's business. 
 I guess given the current state of 'bovine excrement' the Centre has landed itself into, is the perfect impetus for all the separatist movements. An the potential outcomes of their 'humble' requests can be quite interesting, coming primarily from some of the most productive lunch table group discussions. Lets have a look at some of them:
  • Possibly, we'll end up 545 states, where each constituency is a state in itself. We'll hv a small matter of 500+ state governments, potentially be renamed "The United States of India". Sounds cool, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's hardwork done to dust!!!
  • How about a spate of Union Territories, acting as regional headquarters and you can form whatever number states you want. So Mumbai is separate from Maharashtra, Hyderabad is separate from AP (Telangana..go figure this one!!), Bangalore is separate from Karnataka. I am sure the kids in school will hate it.. Imagine the enormous amount of gyan they'll have to memorise because of our politicians, some of whom actually never bothered going to school anyways.
  • Third, and this I find to be the most plausible, is the case for dual citizenship. I am sure this gives one Mr. Thackeray a smile on his face. People moving between states will have visa interviews and will have to clear exams with fanciful names like Test in Tamil Speech (who's acronym can't be written here!! Imagine if you had a guidebook to the exam saying "Ace your T&^*") or Test of Marathi as Professional Language.
  • What if the motivation for creating states changes? Currently states are formed according linguistic, cultural and of course, political considerations!! Imagine what happens if professional considerations are taken into account. What if the huge mass of software engineers strewn across country goes on a hunger strike demanding creation of niche states only for IT professionals? What will be the name of this state ... Soochna Pradesh will be unacceptable to the Madrasi anna while IT Nadu will be indigestible to the bhaiyaji!!! Some problem there. One thing is for sure Mark Zuckerberg will be proud!!!
Probably we could also pack up all these useless separatists into one state and build huge fences around it so that no one ever escapes from there to more conundrum in India. In the meanwhile I am planning to go on a hunger strike demanding creation of a state for all Priyanka Chopra fans!! Can anybody tell me if this wish will be granted?? Plz Mr. Prime Minister!!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The King(s) of the Good or the Bad Times... who cares!!

As I mentioned in my previous post, it is indeed disturbing that I have so much time at my disposal. With the approaching placement season, we are all to work our posteriors off figuring out the nitty-gritties of Finance and try our best to untangle the mess of HR (Hamara Rape) questions. And rightly so, I must add.
From the interactions I have had with members of the industry and my brethren from the student community, it actually seems that Mr. Porter and his famed 5-forces of bargaining power have undergone a tectonic shift in the recruiter-recruit landscape. Bad timing one would say but as is my wont to take a look at things from unusual (read useless) perspectives, let us try and understand how the fina preparation of a final year MBA student would vary from the Good to the Bad times.
Before starting on this rather controversial, and yet soul-searching, quest lets set some benchmarks to demarcate the Gooooood times from the Bad ones:
  • Good times are HR-killers, Bad times are Placecom-killers
  • Average packages are cooked up in Good times, they are cooked harder in Bad times
  • Good time gossips include packages, locations, profiles, parties, Bad times gossip is just one question "sab place ho jayenge?"
  • In Good times entrepreneurship is a fad, in Bad times it is a different perspective of looking at life
Apart from remonstrating on the various differences that exist between the Good and Bad times, I did get one striking similarity in the two times. The preparation enthu of the students. Yes, come what may the students have distinct apathy towards "placement preparation". The Good times cause this phenomena by virtue of the euphoria surrounding everything in the world while the Bad times bring upon you a depression, almost resembling decay.
Most of the time is spent researching (read Google-ing) the Web in search of some arcane topic, which eventually gives way to "Top 10 ______ movies of all time" where _______ is filled by a particular genre, depending on your mood. In Good times, the genres are comedy, romance while in Bad times the focus is on drama and crime (possibly as an alternative career choice!!). While the students live between meals, new passions like untried sports, photography, poetry (the sad type, especially) are cultivated, which we hope will earn us brownie HR points. Sleep knows no upperbound while all the requisite books are neatly stacked near the bed, untouched.
Come Boom or Bust boss... we are the King of all times... Good or Bad who cares!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Long and Short of a Haircut!!

If I remember well, it was Mark Twain who once lamented on the ignominy of sitting helplessly in a dentist's chair. The other day I experienced the same sense of powerless subjugation while sitting in the chair of none other than our campus barber.
Somehow these trivial incidents make me think deeper than usual, a skill that can be disturbingly attributed to the amount of free time at my hands. My chain of thoughts centred on my impatience, helplessness and of course, the implications of a bad haircut on the impending placement season performance (how can that be missed!!!).
Ever since a boy reaches class 3 ( this is a hypotheses i am working hard to prove.. for now u can take my word for it!!), he is taught by his environment to be the alpha male, the uber cool and the person in control. Seldom of course are guys taught the opposite... to put complete trust in somebody else to handle the situation. And yet there are so many situations where the alpha male concept goes for a toss. The surgeons are a case in point. Not only does their hand writing beat you so does their talking. All you understand is that you are gonna be cut up and set alright. But then the alpha male is no less troubled by the barber. And you can see the parallels between a surgeon and a barber.

  • You have no clue if they understand your case and are qualified to handle you.
  • You can only pray to God when they wield their instruments
  • You have to bear the brunt of their mistakes
  • Finally, you hear so many horror stories about both professions, doing to something to someone, who was a friend of somebody

Except for the first question, "cutting karna hai?" not many performance guidelines are sought by them and given their destructive nature of work, questions like "zyada chhota ho gaya kya?" are rendered immaterial. Infact delving deeper into the topic (as the barber was closing in on my scalp!!) I started regretting the existence of the barber himself. Our ancients could have certainly done with the advanced surgeons but i hope whoever invented this concept of barber-ism (pun intened) is roasting in the deepest furnaces of hell.
Some of my friends might argue the futility of this post, coming from me, a potential heir to lot of real estate on my scalp (read "baldness"). But again, my ample time and imaginative thinking was already creating arguments as to why this helpnessness in the barber's chair is a sign of other potential problems areas for me.
Suddenly a voice broke out.."Saheb ho gaya, aapke zyada baal nahi hain na, isliye aur chhota nahi kaat sakte!!!" Great, apart from keeping me in mortal fear of disfiguration, this guy also decides to take potshots at my hair (or the lack of it!!).
"Haan haan theek hai..kitna hua?"
I duly paid him the 30 bucks and vacated the chair, just as thoughts of therapy, herbal oils and wigs engulfed the space vacated by the alpha male, barber-ism and other utopian philosophies.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The future of user experience on Social Networking sites

The following forms part of the work I did with AB, Sushant and Mandar for the Net.Works competition at Confluence'09 IIM-A. Though the actual paper is more detailed I thought of posting some musings I had while working on the topic..... feedback is welcome

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”

– Arthur C. Clarke

Indeed to a person from a few decades back, the idea of connecting with lost contacts, collaborating across geographical boundaries and obtaining expert advice on a universe of topics, all at the mere click of a mouse would have seemed magical.

Today we live in a world of increased connectivity, more computing power and more social networks. Originating as a fad across college campuses in the United States, Facebook now has more than 300 million users, using 70 languages, half of which login atleast once in a day. The average user has 130 friends and 2 billion photos are uploaded each month on the site even as more than 70% of its user base resides outside the United States. Mind boggling numbers aren’t they and yet we have just talked about only one of the leading social networks of the world The proliferation of social networking websites in the past three to four years has led to the widespread discussion on the future size and form the networked world.

As every individual discovers the power of “communities” and innovative entrepreneurs take notice of latent business opportunities, the question that begs answering is will social networking remain the same, even a few years down the line? Will it become a substitute for the human interaction just as the email has killed the picture postcards? In a culturally diverse country like India, what will be the look and feel of social network with 500 million users? Are the current channels of delivering the network value sufficient or will see a radical shift in the way social networking happens in the years to come? What about the content offered to social network users, will we be happy updating statuses and sharing photos or do there exist opportunities to create new services, new applications and possibly even, new avenues to network in? How will the government and policy makers respond to this avalanche of information and public opinion?

The user experience on any social networking site will arise from a set of contributing factors. Each user will find his ideal experience from a unique combination of these contributing factors. So while we do try to create a scenario for the ‘ideal’ user experience, our task should be list out the contributing factors and figure out how they interact with each other, how they can be tweaked for each user.

In trying to understand I tried to list down what I feel would be the contributing factors, please feel free to add on or debate upon any of the existing items. The factors are:

  1. accessibility – how do I get access to the platform
  2. UI -- how does it look when I log in and when I am using the platform
  3. Applications – okay so I have logged in, what do I do now, how engaged am I in the platform and what it has to offer.
  4. Security – How secure is my profile, my data and what control do I have over this exposure
  5. Network effect – how many people I know are on the platform, how connected am I with these people
  6. Diversity of the content – for 500 million people a plain English medium will not suffice nor will they be content with their preferred language

The accessibility is aspect would come into the picture because imagining a broadband penetration in India of 500 million is impossible and we are probably talking about mobile access, not only through WAP and GPRS but potentially even through voice and text apps. The medium of usage will heavily impact usage experience.

The apps part will include photo/video sharing, games, quizzes and other forms of content creation. This is an area where I feel lot of futuristic thinking is applicable and our survey findings have revealed insights into the broad fields on which the future apps could/would/should concentrate.

UI will be an important aspect of experience coz while it needs to be crisp and uncluttered it should also bring forth all the functionalities that are present on the platform and there is a potential use of analytics to see what kind of UI should be made available for what kind of user.

In the area of security we might be looking at futuristic account verifications like biometric systems, especially if we are talking about financial transactions happening on the platform.

As mentioned the network effect will involve my interaction with other members of the platform, my friends, family and members of online communities. The concept of collaboration and how futuristic we are in imagining the collaborative levels will determine how we use this factor to create the intended user experience.

Finally, diversity of content is a factor/challenge that is very India-specific because of our cultural diversity. I am looking at multi language support, real time context based translation and other such opportunities.

Unlike what I had set out to do in the beginning, writing about my ideal user experience, I thought this way of looking at the problem might also provide some insights to what we are trying to do.

What I have been unable to accomplish here is to state the interactions between various factors. For example, the more the modes of access, the greater will be the security risks. Similarly I think we can come up with more offsetting scenarios where some sort of compromise has to be struck. If you guys think this approach might lead some where then that would be a potential candidate for further analysis.

Once we have explicitly (or at least with some level of clarity) expressed the interaction levels of these factors, we might go about discussing how to tweak them to satisfy various user classes (we might have to do some user segmentation in this regard)

Apart from thinking of more ideas to enhance the social networking experience of the future network, I think it would also be a great value addition if we could provide a theoretical framework for future developers to understand how the network can be enhanced to improve the user experience.

Going back to the six factors which I had mentioned before the ideas, I feel we could land up with some kind of user segmentation on the basis of these factors. Thus, we can club the six factors into two major categories as follows:

a. the intangible/aesthetic aspect: consisting of the UI experience, content diversity and the network effect

b. functional aspect: consisting of accessibility, availability of apps (easy navigation) and security

Thus the total user experience = aesthetic appeal x functional ability


Carrying on from the above thoughts, I have few ideas, which can potentially improve the UI experience of the user and also be monetized for financial viability.

Theme based UI: Though theme based UIs are already available and for free, the idea is to link ads for theme related activities and goods with the themes to create a holistic package which will then be available to the user. While the user uses the theme for free, the theme creator gets paid by the advertiser and the platform gets a share of the revenue based on the usage of the particular theme. While the theme creator is free to invite as many advertisers on their themes, they have to balance it with keeping the UI experience simple and unobtrusive to ensure user acceptance.

For example, with the growing following of Barclay’s Premier League in India, suppose the user in India is a fan of the Manchester United football club then he would select from one of the ManUtd themes available on the platform. The theme creators can tie up with advertisers of sports merchandise or agencies which can offer match tickets (with the possibility of these teams traveling to India in future). Taking this instance forward, it offers scope for the official website another channel to reach out to its followers by broadcasting messages through widget based broadcast messages. Similar theme based activity can be used for popular artists, political and social causes etc.

Online Partying: While social networking gurus contemplate on the latent potential of the network, the origins of the phenomenon still reside in the fun and bonding aspect. So it is not difficult to imagine the potential of organizing online parties on the social media, with the DJ and related effects. The party can be by invitation, where you might need to authenticate your navigation onto a webpage, or simply walk-in, or click-in, and open for everyone in the network. The monetization model is similar to how it works offline, with a host bearing the expenses. The party-page can be visualized as having a shoutcast app, another app to post requests to the DJ and apps to create visual effects on the webpage, which will be visible to others in the party.

Similar to the offline scenario, this can give rise to party/event managers specializing in services for this genre of partying. The online party will be especially interesting for India as it has got a huge expatriate population and this provides them an occasion to join their families in the celebrations in a more personalized manner than just viewing a webcast.

P.S.>> Sorry for the images.. cdnt do a better job!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

To Un-learn Social Networking!!!

Today was a wonderful experience. The Marketing Continuum at the Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, IIT Bombay was a grand success with loads of illustrious speakers and many videos impressing upon us the true nature and color of the marketing profession.
One of the speakers was Mr. Paritosh Joshi ( follow on Twitter @paritoshZero) and he gave a wonderful seat of pants lecture, w/o the aid of a ppt on New Age Marketing. Apart from witnessing some stunning advertisements and marketing campaigns (yes!!! there is a helluva difference between them), we also witnessed a deluge of mentions and praises for Facebook and Twitter, most notably Burger King's campaign that left many people without friends but with loads of Whoopers and of course, the honorable mention of Twitter in bringing the Iran protests.
But amidst all the hosannas sung to social networking and crowdsourcing, I am trying to play Devil's Advocate to the heroes that Facebook and Twitter have become. I am not prophesizing any near term overkill of these phenomena but am wondering whether in the middle of the good these are doing, what is the price we are paying for it.
Of course, the most evident is the absolute lack of privacy for the user besides the issues of identity theft and unsavory incidents of accounts being hacked. On a stratospheric level, these interactions are actually replacing real interactions at the local chaiwalla and not only is that poor guy not making money but we have also lost the personal touch in the middle of the Tweets, RTs, # tags, pokes and quizzes etc etc etc and God knows wat else.
Many of my friends have lamented my absence from Facebook but I have strictly limited myself to one general networking (Orkut), one blog, one microblog (Twitter i.e.) and one professional network (LinkedIn) and if you feel that its insufficient connectivity then its your problem.

/*i have resumed this post after 2 months and in the meanwhile have opened a Facebook account and am regularly playing games and quizzes on it. */

So now with egg on my face I resume my crib about social networking overdose. I have developed a permanent fixation for checking updates on Twitterfox as well as FB and am looking for therapy to cure this.
I am sure many people need it!!!

Posting at 4am is not very good for my health so I'll sign off now!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

people of different flavors..

this is gonna be a short one...
created a video abt diversity at SOM... uploading it here. hope u like it!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Welcome to Second year of MBA education

Hi Junta

Despite my prolific presence on Twitter, I had a lingering feeling of neglect towards my primary passion of blogging here. So here I am at the doorstep of second year of management education in a stifling, congested hostel room ( which btw doesnt belong to either of the occupants) and all I want is to write something silly to appease my blogging appettite.
We had our Finance Continuum today and we will be having the Marketing Continuum tomorow to round off a packed weekend and give the junior batch a taste of things to come. The list of speakers was, as usual, illustrious and the experience was enriching. Though I have somewhat become tired of people cribbing about the recession and how everyone's backside is aching because of it, a couple of fresh perspectives did emerge from the day's proceedings.
One was that everyone talked about inclusive growth, something the policy makers have talked about since Independence and I have come to appreciate since my internship days. Secondly, a specific thrust on the SME space by the banking industry was also visible throughout the day. Glad to feel that I have worked and learnt some aspects of both these issues during my internship.
There was also a huge hue and cry about the budget and to put in my 2 cents to the pandemonium, I guess the FM missed a trick or two by letting the deficit balloon, taking the excuse of the recessionary period. It would have been a good idea to set things rolling on Public-Private partnership, specially in sectors like infrastructure. I think an oppotunity for implementing infrastructure partnerships on the build-operate-transfer model and enhancing the environment for such partnerships to prosper, has been offered and it should not be passed up in favor of the tried and tested, albeit risky proposition of public spending.
Thus, the government could have simulated demand and allowed private sector to participate in this effort to bring the country out of this hole.
Finally, it was heartening to hear our junior batch asking enthusiastic questions to the speakers. Some of the questions were really wonderful and I am hopeful that it'll be a great experience for us during the next year.


P.S: Am working a organisation structure for firms based on technology platforms.. haven't been able to finalise it. Once its done that would be my next post. so keep waiting... Meanwhile started re-reading the book "Arab and Jew" while at home and am going good with it. Lets see if I actually manage to finish it this time.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

India: The Hindu Nation

There has been a sincere effort from my side to keep this blog apolitical and hence, before you read any further, you would be well advised to take the following paragraphs as a comment on the social philosophies prevalent in our times and not link them to any political ideologies.... Thanks in anticipation

This weekend really began well for me with a good, albeit long, walk around the fairytale landscape of South Bombay. While my romance with the place might form part of some other post, I was at loss when I quizzed myself on one of the people, after whom a landmark was named in the area. Then interesting enough I encountered the same name in an article I read today. It was then settled that I had to find out more about Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, and subsequently, Veer Sawarkar.
It was intriguing for me read about these people, who had sown the seeds of Hindu nationalism and in the context of the article I had read, I could understand why these people appear to be, or are made out to be, hardline fundamentalists. Of course, these leaders form convenient ideological benchmarks to classify people in to secular and communal citizens of India but viewed without the lens of political manipulations and hippocracy, they also represent a truth that we are unwilling to accept.
To say that India is a secular country, will be a gross contortion of ground realities. For a country that is the cradle of 2 major international religions and has a huge following of 2 others, which were brought to it by the rulers of the times, we can not be serious when we say that India doesn't identify itself with any religion or we, as Indians, are ambivalent to all religions. Given the fact that so much of religion is intertwined with our social fabric, it is impossible to keep religion out of daily life, the way we eat, the way we greet each other, the way we celebrate birth, enjoy weddings, mourn deaths or almost anything we think. This obviously goes on to affect our interactions with other members of our society, depending on whether their habits are same or different, or if their actions are guided by the same principles as ours. This eventually gives birth to affiliations to some groups while giving rise to discomfort about certain others.

Now that the whole "secularism" rhetoric is out of the picture, let me talk about the Hindu nation. Mind you, a Hindu nation is not a country of Hindus or one practicing Hinduism alone, it'll be completely unethical, and most importantly unHindu, to deny other sects a rightful place to prosper and rightfully propagate but what it also must, and does, emphasise is that India consists of 80.5% people following Hinduism as a religion and a recognition for this fact is long overdue. As promised at the beginning at the post, this is a completely unpolitical post but the social scenarios that have resulted because of the political hubris, has left many Hindus bruised and disaffected with the whole concept of Hindustan.
The concept of a Hindu nation doesn't mean painting the whole country saffron, as has been routinely promoted, nor is it acceptable. A Hindu nation just reinforces the belief of the majority of people of the country that they haven't been converted into eternal sacrificial lambs at the altar of socio-political appeasement in the country. Too long have we been hearing our "secular" social beacons talking of the rise of Hindu nationalism, much in the same vein as the rise of an epidemic and have been warned of religious genocides, that will ensue should the nationalism take hold.
I wish to ask these great luminaries, what good has been their pessimistic acknowledgement of Hindu nationalism? If nothing, it has deepened the gulf between the majority and the minorities and the resultant chasm has been taken up by pea-brained "idealogues", willing to exploit every situation for their petty gains. The Hindu nationalism plank has till now only been used to paint a bleak picture for the minorities and present a "you are atleast better off now than in a Hindu state" excuse to cover up the spineless administrative shortcomings. Any possible constructive implications of a Hindu state have never been examined neither advocated and when such voices do rise, they are invariably branded as marauding fascists, whose sole aim is to create another holocaust and "cleanse" the land.
My closing statement, if at all there is one to this debate, dwells on the "how" and not on "whether". It has been oft said that Hindutva is a way of life. Thats as good as teaching my mom to operate the Hubble telescope. Its time that the advocates of Hindutva operationalise it, put down every inch of its components in tangible form and freely express the intangible ones. Only by practicing it, can we propagate it and remove apprehensions regarding it, among other members of the society. Lets keep in mind that no model or philosophy of life can sustain itself, if its intolerant and rigid in the face of change and amalgamation, thus Hindutva will evolve, should evolve and accomodate other parallel philosophies.
The success of any great nation always hinges on its people... and people means ALL people, not majorities neither minorities alone!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Summers of 2009: A mid-term review!!!

Just to prove that my blog isn't dead, I have comeback from nowhere to post this. Two major reasons for staying away for so long are, one that idiot FakeIPLplayer, because of whom, no other blogs were to be read or followed for the past 40 days and secondly, I began my summer internship at a leading organisation in the financial sector.
Ironically enuff, the IPL's over and simultaeneously, my wall of patience has been breached by the rigours of the internship so I am back again to wreak havoc with words and give FIP a run for his shadowy money.
Well, frankly, I got nothing against the company... they have been gr8 to me, right to the point of expecting me to deliver on all commitments in one month so that they can give me more learning assignments. Talk about "9-wives-1-month-pregnancy" but I have been humbled by their faith in the bumbling, stumbling buffoon that I am, who's job no. 1 during the internship is to get appointments from the concerned people and then adjust all prior appointments for this latest one. So wat put me really off today was the fact that after 3 weeks, when I want some guidance on the faint gleanings of a solution, I am told that I have been running behind the wrong the target segment. If I felt like a vegetable in my marketing lectures, I really felt like cowdung during this meeting. I cried out all four letter expletives, at the top of my voice, within my mind and eventually, slowly and almost in hushed tones, promised better results next time round, which, by the way, is day after.
This event actually opened a barrage of emotions within me and hence, I decided to pour it out on this post. Dude, I mean seriously... the only good things that have happened to me in the last one month have been, number 1, the fact that I have befriended the DJ @ Jugheads, to the extent that he concedes one request per weekend for moi and number 2, I have discovered that weekend trips to Jugheads are also a license to ogle wolfishly at beautiful (read sexy, hot... and all other synonyms for stunners!!!) girls, who are least bothered about a random pack of pariahs salivating, while they down drink after drink.
Coming to this point in my post, I suddenly remembered that its the month of May and that this month has historically been unkind to me, so probably its a fitting thing that this May of 2009 be no different. But sorry for the diversion, let me get back to my rantings so that you pervs can get enuff fun off it.
So coming back to my work, there is not much of it actually. All I am supposed to do is to gather data and think about the data. I was, of course, dumb enough to ask around for data. It seems we are supposed to get the data but no one has a clue as to who is supposed to give the data. In this intense game of "ricocheting-balls" syndrome, alike pool, I have already been reminded of my limited time here and that I should now start thinking with watever data I have and let the remaining data, rest in peace. And so I start thinking now, which is somehow too big a task for me and all I can think of is the coffee machine, the water cooler, the loo and lunch time (not necessarily in that order).
Funnily enuff, I luved the title of the project first up and was already dreaming of all the frameworks I could apply in this particular scenario, similar to our marketing case studies. All my dream of SWOT and Porter's 5 forces vanished eventually when I discovered that applying these would effectively dig my grave because I can never get enough data to defend half of the points that I had written on a sheet on the first day of project discussion. The paper was put to its best use next weekend, when I wiped off 2-3 thick layers of dust from the Bible by Mr. Kotler, thus effectively taking away 1 year of my MBA education with all the slime attached to it.
From the dreamy-eyed expectations of becoming Mr. India to the real-life struggle of staying afloat inspite of the teen-guna Lagaan my summer internship has come a full circle in half the period. Of course, this is again in keeping with my company's theory of high expectations.
Finally, what keeps me going. I have asked this question myself and the only answer I get for this is a glass of sugarcane juice and malai-wali lassi.
P.S: All facts, statements, people and feeling are completely fictitious and modified suitably for reading pleasure. Their resemblance to any real fact, statement, person or feeling is impossible. If you still wanna believe this post I hold no obligations regarding setting things right later.

P.P.S: If you are wondering that why I have written such a post only to deny its truth, then keep wondering, its your own sweet time. I am off to make my 1baby with my 9 wives .. (all notional creatures)

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Hand of Gods!!! ... a first hand account

Nothing infamous about this one.
We have been having our own football league, which we call SOM Premier League (SPL), in the hostel 1 grounds over the past week. I am part of a team called the Thunderbolts and though we dint start off thunderously in the tournament, we have been able to find our feet after the initial hiccups.
And it so happened that due to a manpower crunch, resulting out of corporate internship inductions, I got to play. I had played a total of 20 minutes in the last 3 games and that too in defense, something which I have never done. After much deliberation and strategising, I was asked where I'll be comfortable playing. In a team of 5, with one goalkeeper, you dont get much choices but still I ventured out and said," I'll play forward." Well, that really did change the evening for me.
I dont remember the exact timings of all the goals but I do remember how I scored them. Atleast 2 of them were good and 2 were plain dumb luck, while 1 could be put down to a defensive lapse by opponents. As I told everyone present, I was just lucky to be at the right place at the right time. The scoreline at the end of the match read 5-2 for Thunderbolts, with all 5 coming from my boot (OK, one was a header, make that 4+1!!). I felt that if I could just hang up my boots and walk into the sunset of my footballing career I would still be happy (lolzzz!!! nt much of a career actually!!). Anyways, most importantly, I had loads of fun and tons of laughs as I recounted the goals in my mind and probably thats wat counts the most. To borrow a term from my friend Ajit... Joga Bonito!!!!

Talking of Ajit, we have discovered our very own combination of Steve McMahon, Paul Masefield and Shebby Singh in this bloke. I wonder if he should take up sports journalism in all the right earnest... this is wat he had to say about the match...( mind you he was the opponent so the accolades are all the more special!!!)

A 5 star Parsu performance

It was Parsu's day out on the field as an unprecedented 5 goals from him helped Thunderbolts crush Gunners 5-2. The manner in which the goals were scored were noteworthy with each one being different from the previous. Although a couple of them were scored as a result of the generosity of Gunners defence, whose performance left a lot to be desired, the first of his five stood out for his positioning and deft touch. A goalmouth scramble following a corner led to the ball rolling to Parsu who had stationed himself at the farpost, one deft touch and it lobbed over Amit into the Gunners' goal. That opened the flood gates as Parsu completed the hat-trick
in just 18 minutes, a record that will surely stand for many SPL seasons to come.

The Gunners showed signs of a comeback with Ajit pulling a goal back at the start of the second half. However, a bad mistake at the goal post led to them conceding a very soft goal and the match was all but over. Bala soon made it two for the Gunners but it was all too late.
The limelight belonged to one man. With this wonderful SPL performance, he has surely qualified for the next GPL session.

Man of the match: Parsu

Gud going Rocky... just dont sue me IP.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Back on bang.. no fizz...

Its been a while since I wrote anything. I almost feel like I should consult a doc regarding this writer's block but then nobody is to be blamed but me right!!!
A lot has happened since my last post ( which seems like an eternity!!!). I have scrambled like crazy for 4 days during the Admission process of the batch 2009-2011, felt nostalgic while giving presentations to aspirants, got sullied in mud during Holi, drank straight from a bottle of the OLD MONK ( i nvr thought i was cut out for the neat stuff but necessity - to be read as lack of Coke - is the mother of all invention), paced around SOM like an expecting father with the Consulting Continuum around the corner.... huff puff... still more... huff puff... suffered the ignominy of a CD in HR and (finally!!!) am struggling (again!!! as every term!!!) to keep up with the academic rigor.

Now I really hope all that absolves me off not being regular with my blog (one of ma secret New Year resolutions!!). This same time I have also discovered a love for Game Theory and plan to finish a small matter of 400 pages text on it amidst the acads here. And of course, I started with Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" online but lost interest in it because I can't hold the book while reading ( yeah am that finicky!!!). Discovered a new coffee shop nearby (only regret..visiting the coffee shop with a guy!!) which i cant afford in near future and revisited Pink Panther before watching Pink Panther2, which is good but nowhere near the first part (more because of the ingenuity.. in PP2 u trust Steve Martin to do something stupid... kills the fun!!)...hmmmmm... hmmmm... nw i cant remember...
yeah !! India won the first test match in New Zealand handsomely and the farewell for the senior batch is up next week (after the minor issue of 3 midterms and 3 cases, that is!!), have to be controlled with the booze as we are paying this tyme ( ha ha ha!!) and thats pretty much about it.

If you are wondering why did I return after so long to make this completely irrelevant post then I would attribute that to my habit of random browsing. While browsing thru blogs, I came across this wonderful term "Just Another Random Post" or JARP so this is my first JARP and i'll tag it so!!!
Besides important time of the year.. need to choose electives so i guess I'll renew my interest in energy, sustainability and Hubbert's peak theory!!!
For now I am sitting on a utterly distasteful piece of reading called "New Product Adoption and Diffusion" and am expecting no gains out of it. To top it all, I have a meet in another 10 mins!!!
So for now Adios Amigos....

Monday, March 2, 2009

The long and short of Delhi6!!!

It feels so good to be back on Blogosphere. With the exams over and a couple of chill days before I get down to work again, I thought I'll write about this really pathetic pot-pourri of Swades, national intergration, women's liberation, MonkeyMan and Ramleela.
That in short is Delhi-6.
Some RDB elements are found, crisp camera, realistic locales, amazing picturisation of songs except for one (why did they mete out cruelty to "Genda Phool" song?)... and then there is Sonam Kapoor... but Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra forgot to put in a plausible story line to tie all these together. In short, the movie was technically sound but what good is it without a sensible story.
Ofcourse, I did sit through the whole ordeal even though I was itching to run out of the hall during the last 30 minutes, with all the preaching and screaming...yaawwwnnn!!! It was only because of beautiful... nah... beautifullest Sonam Kapoor as Bittu Sharma that I stayed back and who was just about my only inspiration to weather the tirade of cliched dialogs, tearjerking auntijis and jalebis with its various connotations.
The pic above is the latest to adorn my desktop and hence, Sonam Kapoor has joined the elite company of Catherine Zeta Jones, Neha Dhupia, Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta, who have all been there.
Coming back to Delhi6.... Do watch it but do not expect chest pumping nationalism of RDB or the serene realism that was embodied in Swades but because in its own sweet way it makes you fall in love with Dilli and thats just about it. No great harping about it otherwise...
Ciao all ... got some non-blogging writing to do!!!

As an afterthought... Delhi6 is also a gud lesson for every student of Marketing as to how overkill can damage the efforts of clever product placement in movies... Clue:AB's fone!!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lessons from Introduction to Marketing!!!!

Today has been a strange day. I got up early for once... rushed to an unscheduled marketing lecture only to watch a garam bhajan on Mitsubishi (DC++ users should get that pun), came back and got fooled into watching Boys in Telugu. Phew!!!! What a day.
A roundup of news informed me that the World Mobile Congress is going on in Barcelona and its difficult to keep track of all the new things they are coming up with... like a James Bond style wrist phone. Another interesting article was this.
Well another pathbreaking headlines for the day is that today was the last class of our Introduction to Marketing course. Yippee to that!!! Given the amount of cases, readings and surprise quizzes I have faced for the course, I have surprised myself that I haven't ranted (read blogged) about it yet!!!
But in hindsight (yeah, the most powerful and useless tool available to mankind) I find that it was the most realistic course in our term, and that's a scary admission. More so after reading the book by Trout and Riese "22 immutable laws of marketing".
The power of brand comes to fore every time I flinch at Pepsi, when I have asked for Coke. Valentine's Day is an exercise in positioning by all eligible (this topic by itself merits a post) and what to say about consumer buyer behavior, easily understood. The only issue with studying the course has been to reconcile all these innocuous acts with hair raising frameworks and psychological factors. The huge ocean of terms doesn't help the cause either. Why do I care if someone is an opinion leader or chief opinion dispenser (wow!!! i made that up) .. its just a guy whom i listen to!!! Plain and simple huh!!! now try not losing sleep while remembering painful terminologies!!!!
Perhaps the most important piece of truth was revealed in the last class, while discussing channels. The whole concept of buying/ selling value to/from consumers/companies can be laid into 3 statements:
1. Your product doesn't deserve to be bought
2. The customer doesn't think your product needs to be bought
3. Your product is not available to be bought

If we look carefully at the first point then it indicates a possible failure of both market research and the quality departments while the second indicates failure of promotions and marketing efforts. The third is a failure of the SCM guys and in management of channels. Neat huh!!

Anyways the most important point is that hopefully I'll use some of this gyan in my Introduction to Marketing exam as well!!!
Signing off... gotta do lotsa project work!!