Friday, November 28, 2008

War (i)n Peace...

Dear Blog,

Not a very happy thanksgiving...
This I write even as the operation to drive out the terrorists from the Taj Hotel in Mumbai is underway. The attack on hotels is a recent trend in terrorist attack history. Call me a conspiracy theorist who just spends time in finding coincidences where none exist but I don’t think this one can be rubbished off. Hotels are the major private properties where terrorist attacks take place.

Lemme have a look at the hotels I remember have been the target of the terrorist attacks. (The source of this info is limited to my memory and inconsistencies with actual facts must be forgiven)

August 2003, Indonesia: Hotel Marriott is bombed in Indonesia in a suicide bomb attack. Marriott was a common centre for US Independence Day celebration in the past. Though conspiracy theories point to CIA hand in this attack as many US bookings were cancelled just hours before the attack, Jakarta Police had found links to the Bali blast as far as I remember.

June-July 2005, Egypt: Ghazala Hotel is bombed in a suicide attack. The bombings take place at the height of the tourist season... At 1pm in the night when the bars and clubs are busy...Victims included foreign nationals as well.

Late 2005 or early 2006, Jordan: The Grand Hyatt was the one of two or three hotels that were the target of terrorists. It should come as no surprise that the hotel was frequented by foreign tourists. If I remember correctly, there was a wedding ceremony taking place in one of the hotels at the time of the attack.

January 2008, Afghanistan: The Hotel Serena in Kabul is bombed. A Norwegian delegation is put up at the hotel at the time of the attack. A foreign journalist is amongst those killed. Modus operandi – suicide bomb.

September 2008, Pakistan: Hotel Marriott is once again the target but in Islamabad. Again, the hotel is a regular amongst the American tourists. Photos of destroyed cars are shown on the front pages of various dailies. More than 40 are killed. Once again, mode of bombing, suicide car attack...

That brings me to the unique and outrageous Mumbai attack: Two major hotels taken under siege. Foreign tourists held hostage. More than 45 hours later, the battle is still on. More than 100 people have been confirmed dead. That includes the chief of the anti-terrorist unit, an Addl. Commissioner amongst others.

The whole of national media has everything covered... so much so that everyone forgot the hundred killed due to the cyclone Nisha in Tamil Nadu. And there are citizen journalists sending videos and pictures of the attacks on the internet. And the India TV phone call received from one of the terrorists holed up in the Taj... And with it the hall of shame for the media... senior journalists airing on 'news', clues that terrorists could easily use for their advantage, asking families of hostages about how they are feeling... yeah right.. #*$^@*#, one thing's for sure, they not are as excited about TRP and airtime as you are...!!! For once, the political parties have not politiced the issue and have come out in solidarity condemning the attack and offering help and not indulging in the usual blame game. Keeping Fingers crossed...

Waiting for it to end,


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving...

Dear Blog,

What a nice way to celebrate thanksgiving for the unfortunate souls trapped in one of the most prestigious hotels in Mumbai, Taj and Oberoi!!!

Terror strikes India again... This time, once again, it is the heart of Indian economy – amchi Mumbai... 

Since yday evening, I’ve been following the news and am shocked to see the scale of the attack. 26 people sneak in through boats (Courtesy: armed with heavy armoury and laden with explosives, Some take two hotels under siege... 

Simultaneously, the other operatives cause havoc in public locations like the railway terminus.

This comes at a time when Indian players have expressed concern about playing in Pakistan. How safe are we in India? The very players who have refused to play in Pakistan might well have been in any one of the hotels on an unfortunate day... I’m sure there were other dignitaries (some even more important than the cricket players) in Taj when the terrorists struck. No, I’m not saying that the players should play... Just that do they consider themselves safer in India than Pakistan!!!

What this leads to is a question of what can and needs to be done at a time when you are safe nowhere!!! How does the government keep a tab on the rise of terrorism? The government accepted it was completely clueless and had no intelligence on the issue (Courtesy: Live news from The inaction from the government has left the country in a situation where terrorists anyways have the whole country in a hostage situation. Why do terrorists go for an attack without laying demands? Come in the open... declare demands and hold the country for ransom..!!!

For now, it seems to be coming to an end... people coming out of Hotel Taj. And tomorrow, the city of Mumbai, the gritty city of Mumbai will be back to normal... each person hoping when the next attack happens, he’s not in the eye of the storm.

For now, homage to the unlucky ones who could not make it alive to the other end of this dark night... Respects to the ATS chief and other policemen who succumbed to the attack.


P.S. Read a Similar Post from the archives...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I love to hate it...

Dear Blog,

What generally inspires people to work is a positive interest in the field... What inspires me is pure hatred for it...

I was 10 when I started hating the concept of praying someone ‘coz he/she/it could shower blessings on you... It was more a hatred against the peripherals and not the core concept. Nevertheless, that inspired me... I delved into Hindu mythology, read up a lot and drew parallels across the domain... Compared different philosophies... Identified self-contradictions (The Hindu Mythology is replete with them... situations modified to get the desired results and results modified to match situations and learnings). Basically, my hatred towards it made me work for it and I was richer in knowledge of the subject... And ultimately learned that it did not deserve my hatred... it was just a few people who try to use it to their personal gains, not just in the present ages but from the age of the kings.

Then I hated computers... they were just machines taking away credit from human intelligence, ability and creativity... There were programming languages which were designed to confuse the common man so that the computer geeks could maintain their supremacy... This hatred made me learn about computers... fiddle around with them until I reached a stage where I couldn’t be away from them. I learnt to use the computer such that I don’t overpower the human aspects while just using the complex power of the device. I decided to work on original stuff (most of my design work consists of self-designed posters and not ones which just have a flick-off from one site and one from other).

My most recent hatred is “Finance”. 

What do the brightest minds of the world work on – it’s all complexifying the basics, i.e. accounts!!! Giving complex names so that the I-Bankers can make money out of duping people with their "higher intellect" and "View"... Speculating performances of markets and companies some without even knowing the business of companies. How do you believe in a method that relies on neck-lines and shoulder-lines!!! Now I’m sure, there is some logic (or is it) to all this but as earlier, I’m yet to delve into the field. And once I do, I’m sure I’ll start hating it less for all goods it presents. But there is one big problem here; the field is very vast and interlinked... There is no C-language which will give me the basic of all others... There is no Krishna, who, while epitomising slyness, taught the otherwise fa(LU)natic Hindu the art of pragmatism and strategy. Also alas, I’m yet to find myself a mentor who will let me into his/her fin know-how and be ready to tackle Puneet at his sarcastic and analytical best... who will push me question the concept and learn along... one who would be willing to use this novice's views and research for his work...

Looking for my mentor,


P.S. Statutory Disclaimer: My hatred for finance doesn't relate to any association, event (past or forthcoming) or person.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Here I go

Dear Blog,

Far from the emotions of humans
Close to the depth of emoticons
Far from the ignorance of fun
Close to the of joys of ignorance
Far from the fear of being me
Close to the anatomy of fear
Far from the silence of solitude
Close to the sound of silence
Far from the triumph of longing
Close to the bliss of triumph
Far from the gloom of the desolation
Close to the alienation of gloom...
Here I go!!!


Saturday, November 15, 2008

“Democracy” – An Excellent mockery of governance

Disclaimer: The following piece of literature presents hypothetical systems. Any similarity or reference to any existing government machinery (or incident) is purely coincidental and unintentional.

Dear Blog,

Many score and many years ago, Ab Lincoln talked of a democracy “Of the People, By the People and For the People”. What he proposed was a utopian society where every man was equal. Lemme analyse how further wrong could he not have been...

You have the right to elect the leaders but no right to govern their actions. What if the majority government unilaterally enacts a legislation (with all suitable amendments and clauses) heavily inclined against the common populace?

One fine morning, ToI first page: In lieu of the 900th amendment to the “Winners of Lottery Act, 2008”, the ruling government reserves the right to the largest amount in any lottery. Any wealth collected vide 900th amendment to the “Winners of Lottery Act, 2008” will be termed legal. This amendment will supersede all other contradictory articles and amendments in the constitution.

What right does the ordinary man have to prevent the government from doing this?

Defence by the government, “The ruling has been made by a popular government. The voter has the right to NOT-CHOOSE the government the next time it goes to vote if he unsatisfied by the government and its bodies.

Will someone tell me how many times does a common man win a lottery? What happens to the wealth accumulated by the ruling government in the period till the next government comes to power? Can it not be used to further influence people?

Well, to appear just and not unilateral, the government gives the voter the option of impeachment described below:

If motion proposed by minimum 1/8 of population (1)
    If minimum number of attendees to the motion equal to 7/8 of population (2)
        Voting valid --> Decision taken by simple majority. (3)
    Else End of Process
Else End of Process

Brilliant. The government is responsive. The government is so open. The government is so just.

Second look: What if 6.99/8 of population is in favour of the motion? Condition 1 satisfied. What about condition 2? To further compound the problem, what if 1/16 of the population is not in town to vote? That’s not good enough. What if 1/32 of the population is direct stakeholder against the motion? That leaves only further 1/32 of the population to actually abstain from the voting to get it declared invalid. What a democracy – 87% of the population v/s 2% of population and the 87% is considered invalid because the 2% are absent from voting!!!

Which government will modify this legislation, a legislation so inclined in the favour of the ruling government; a legislation that empowers the government to commit any crime and ask for solid proof (which again is ratified as acceptable by the same government!!! Y am I not surprised...)?

Probably, George Orwell got it more right when he said, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. And when the mistakes of super equals are brought to fore, they retaliate in a manner which makes the other equals feel these super equals were better off ignorant of the mistakes (Putting it mildly against “crimes”). That these super equals will do anything to protect their exalted status is the essence of modern democracy.

The democracy is “By the people” when the government is formed, “Of the people (the neo-super-equals)” during its existence and “For the people (the super equals)” in its functioning. For the rest of junta, kat raha hai...


P.S.: Any Law (Civil, industrial or watever else) students/professionals, please correct me if I've overlooked any provsion(s) in Indian constitution which is in direct contradiction to above. There is a possibility that the whole article is incorrect, in which case, please provide me links to suitable literature.
P.S2.: The limit on quorum is 10% as known to me. The specific example of the impeachment procedure is a known violation of the rule used to prove a point

Friday, November 14, 2008

Requiem for a (G)Dream


Today we gather to pay homage to a once-preferred mode of short-listing candidates. He was a technique, a method and over all – a true judge of person’s abilities to work in a group. However, in face of zillions of websites and coaching centres trying to make group workers out of overzealous individuals, our poor chap lost out. Now what remains is a group but hardly any discussion ever takes place. Saddest of all is the fact that he was betrayed by his own tools. 
For me, he was not just a GD, he was more... he was a G(m)D.

  • Initiation: Initiation was seen as a positive sign of a person being able to take initiative. But now everyone knows this. Result, when the initial few minutes are given to think and jot down key points, participants are more looking at their watches than thinking. 5 secs before the actual time, all start – “Friends.... blah blah” It’s pure luck who sustains this...!!!
  • Team skills: Commonly heard in GDs I’ve been part of – “Taking his point forward... blah blah” when the point being made is not even remotely connected to the previous speaker and in many cases contradictory....!!! “As my friend (Remember, u can’t call him names in GD) said... blah blah” and proceed to make a point which is a polar opposite of his actual point.
  • Listening: Lesser said the better. Stop a GD midway and ask the next speaker to not make his point but reiterate the previous point and half the time he/she would just mumble.
  • Assertiveness: Yeah right... Shout and be heard. Repeat “Friends friends friends...” till someone with more sense than you stops and lets you speak.
  • Knowledge: Does it even matter!!! As long as you can speak English, it shouldn’t matter. IR guys trying to explain fin fundae (That was brilliant!!!) and bummers talking of labour laws, rights of workmen and court procedures (Even more so!!!)... Marketing – well that is anyone’s field anyways... you just need to think customer is a fool and you know more than the marketers of global conglomerates (Kotler sure had an uneasy day!!!)
  • Reasoning ability: Yes. That is still present in GDs. “Friends... let us first try to understand the reasons behind blah blah....” is what all GDs start with. This forces me to assume there is some reasoning going on behind the brains (though the content that follows often defies the reasoning)
  • Leadership skills: Stopping one person making a valid point to give a non-participative member a forceful chance to speak is bringing out the best and thus demonstrative of leadership skills. “Friends... I think let us hear what Mr.XYZ here has to say” even when Mr.XYZ has no particular point to make. Mr. XYZ also starts making a “valid” point when in his mind he is thinking, “Dude! What are you doing? Why do you want to make a fool of me? I know nothing on the topic and am only waiting for the moderator to say ‘summarise’. If I speak now what will I do then!!!”
GD was a good man but overuse caused a total burnout leaving no purpose in his existence. Though HR pros still think they can use his services, what they are actually doing is reducing their workload due to absence of any other bakra. May the G(o)D rest in Peace.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

An Experience to Remember - The Concluding Part

Dear Blog,

After the GBM, it might be seen as repetition... but I dint feel that justice was done by a mere applause... The effort put by the seniors was exceptional to say the least.

It started with helping people turn empty sub-standard CVs to masterpieces which were often self-deceiving... each one formatted to perfection... more like being crafted to exquisite forms of art...!!! Thank you dear mentors... Then there were individual interviews and GDs. Not just any GDs, there were “Chairman’s GDs”, case GDs and every other type (though most of them turned to a common fish-market was another matter). As the forms started pouring in, Gyaan followed.
And this was the beginning...

The first call to SIP was given by a melodious rendition of “Bhayee Bhorrrrr”... And as we entered the holding area, biscuits and juice packs awaited us... Served on a platter, we knew we were in for few days of pampering... Team services had all planned for all of us... to meet all our needs at all times of the day... all with a faces lit by brilliance of a 1000W smile. From the early morning snack to the late-night munchies, Services made sure no person was left wanting.

One certain incident which I shall never forget... I was down... just not out... I wished to eat a sandwich... made a request for it... five mins was all I waited for me to be served... thts it??? No... Not just one senior to help me out with my mental state but two of them... Suddenly I felt pity for the companies that rejected me... A feeling of being important engulfed me... I felt wanted... Too bad the companies couldn’t gauge my potential... A smile lit up my face and I spent the day happy though I couldn’t manage to sign-out!!! One fine morning, as I entered the holding area, I was offered a biscuit but what made my day was the feeling attached to it. I decided today was gonna be my day... And so it was!!!

There were moments when people vented their pent-up anger on the team services and all the team did was smile back and say... did u have food? Want anything else... some juice, cold drink? Outside the holding area, you could see the tension and fatigue on their faces but all they had for us juniors was the famed smile. But for team services, GAK how many more people would have broken down and found themselves in abysses they could never have recover from. There might be numerous allegations against every other team... every other person... But Team Services was simply loved by all. Kudos to the team...

Then there was the Team-Controls. I dunno wat software they designed... and thankfully did not have to know it too... for they functioned so efficiently... brilliantly managing multiple parallel GDs, interviews along with maintaining pecking sheets and databases... all with the calm of the deep sea... The target of most abuses, team controls was impeccable with their job.

And last of all, the StuCos and CoCos... they were the last point of contact before a candidate entered the gallows. They ensured the prospective candidate was well prepared... more mentally than factually. The last bit of confidence-boosting was done by these seniors. How can I forget the invaluable tips I received from the CoCos before the numerous GDs I attended (I must have let them down for I went to more than 15 GDs without success.... Gawd.. how bad a learner am I)

Revelling in the experience of SIP,


P.S. Also in the series: Part 1 - Prelude, Part 2 - The beginings, Part 3 - The process

P.S2: PlaceCom and CRISP - I dont feel qualified enuf to put into words the part played. No appreciation is good enuf.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

An Experience to Remember - Part 3

Dear Blog,

The last post ended with, “Retire for the day”... Did that mean Sleep?? Hardly... For those lucky souls who managed to “sign-out” on day 1, it was ecstasy while for others, it was anticipation and tension. 

0500 Hrs: SAC heard again – “Good Morning Juniors”... but the Cactus tree was pushed into oblivion. Whether it was due to unavailability of lead singers or due to sheer sense, it was welcome. Nevertheless, the whole XL was assembled in the holding area at 0600 hrs. There were more companies slotted for the day... more shortlists(extended and otherwise), more GDs (and more loud voices) and more PIs. And to make matters worse, there was desperation in those loud voices too. But then, as they say... jaako raakhe saaiyan maar sake na koi... the hand of god waived and some voices signed out... 

1400 Hrs: My third GD of the day and I lost track of time...

The situation was a prime case-study for any psychology student. While some students were joyous, others were indifferent and still others were angry (at themselves, process, authorities or anyone who could be blamed) and the remaining had plummeted to depths of despair. That the results were withheld (due to “sound logic” to avoid “process complications”) only added to the problem. It was the day the first signs of eye-swells started showing up. The rivers behind the lacrymals were ready to pierce the dams guarding them. Night dawned, but it was only virtual. There was no end to the process that day or for the days that followed.

As they say, it is the times of despair when you seek the quantum of solace... It is these times that bring the best of relations to forefront. The best of friends can become staunch rivals in face of adversity but SIP was different. Each second round interview shortlist was greeted with applause despite people not finding themselves on it. There were people who kept getting shortlists (I tracked mine till 20+ before I lost count) some kept converting GDs (hail the GD gods and goddesses) too... The sign-out was still a long way. It was time when people who once having prided themselves on having got into XL starting doubting if they were actually worth it. People who thought they had seen life enough were in for a shock. Amidst all this there were old ties being strengthened and new relations being formed... 

And once again, I found my best pals right beside me... but this time, there were many more... and boy, am I glad for that!!!

I didn’t hear my name being called out for sign-outs... But the call for treat at Regent (which I shall undertake someday) told me, I dint need to spend another night thinking what I was doing wrong... or another day thinking what I could do right!!!

What remains to be mentioned is the mentoring and a lot more I received through the process... And owing to the sheer size of task and emotion, that merits a new post...


Earlier in the series: Part 1, Part 2

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An Experience to remember - Part 2

This post, I’ll post about the SIP experience of the juniors in the little chill times (i.e. Day 1)

The first of November, while many states of India celebrated their official state holiday, XLers had a busy day. Pecking discussions, slotting discussions and also sometimes, subject discussions... If teachers were around, they would surely ask the admin to have a SIP process every term so that the students actually take up books and study. And this continues right into the “Holding Area”. The whole campus is decked up for the impending arrival of the corporate India (and world).

Lights... Sound... Camera... ACTION!!!

0500hrs Nov 2nd: Heard all over XL, “Good Morning Juniors”... SAC is finally heard!!! For once, no one was seen frowning over the not-so-rude awakening (literally) to the SIP... Eyes half closed – but smiling faces. Cactus tree Rox J

Sabko pata laga “Bhayee bhooooooooorrrrrrrrr”... The suits come out of the closets... Everyone u meet is a “Man-in-B” (where : B=Black, Blue, Brown). Shortlist (extended or otherwise) or no, XLers assemble in the “Holding Area”. It’s time for GDs and PIs to begin.

GD is one experience that will remain etched to me like a birthmark on my skin. Some people are loud, some people are intelligent, and very few are both. And it is these the second in the list who suffer. But coupled with the shrill in the voice and inability to listen (aka. active participation), it is the first category who rules the “Discussion”. More on GDs in another post sometime...

Then there are PIs. PIs are the opportunity for the candidates to prove how far they can stretch their imagination... making a mountain out of a mole-hill does require an elaborate effort. That all your hard-work through 20 yrs of life can be negated by one wrong example (seemingly) is something that I learnt, albeit the hard way.

Anyways, Day 1: Thru the day, there was the lone “sign-out”. Evening came, more sign-outs. Reputed names shoddy games. Notable in the “Well” – congratulations and allegations...

2300hrs: After a long day’s work, there’s pecking to be done. The taps of Gyaan open again... Mar-focus, Fin-focus and for most of us, simply Job-Focus...

Late in the night: Retire for the day.


Earlier in the series: Part 1

Monday, November 10, 2008


Inebriation is the best form of awakening. Inebriation is the best form of freedom. Inebriation is the best form of truth. Inebriation is the best form of bonding. Inebriation is the best form of true love.

Inebriation is the best time for jokes. Inebriation is the best time for games. Inebriation is the best time for making lasting friends. Inebriation is the best time for telling the world you are what you are.

Spl when it’s the other person who is in the subconscious, truthful, frank and elevated state...

In light of personal experience of the same, I rest my case.


P.S.: Successor post to "An Experience to Remember - Part 1" shall come soon...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

An Experience to remember - Part 1

There are experiences you have which u remember for a long time... Some good, and also some not-so-good (Note: NOT bad; just “not-so-good”). The SIP process was in the second category. This process, a new learning for me had so many moments that shall remain burnt to my memory that I shall distribute them over multiple posts – each looking over one aspect of the process. This shall be the prelude post.

It was end of September... the days had started to get shorter and longer at the same time. The sun set early but XLers worked late. And surprisingly, it was the start of the term. Why then, would students strain themselves? It was the term where the SIP would take place... SIP – an acronym for many different names (including “some idiotic process”) is the life of a B-Schooler in his second term. Two months before the start, CVs get ready. They are resurrected from depths of mediocrity under the special guidance of the experienced seniors. That they never are perfect is another matter!!!

Then there are the company PPTs. Each trying to woo the students with promise of “live projects”, “structured processes”, “hands-on experience” and some with pizzas and goodies (which btw remain the only point of differentiation after a score of PPTs...). If there is one purpose these accomplish, it is to let the students know that we are here and we want you. XL is a brand. XLers carry along with them a name tag which is worth a lot. Xlers have a responsibility to fulfil. And the XLers resolve to continue the legacy. Xlers shall put their best foot-forward.

Then there are special GBMs called for giving a feel of the process, mock (ing) process and GDs and interviews. Each GBM institutes a sense of fear and anticipation in the junior junta. Gyaan is dispensed off with ease. And yes, a lot of it is actually for the purpose it is depicted to be (others just exercise their put options ;))

You know its SIP time when things start to heat up, when tension rules the roost, when class-strength grows thin, when BFA, Kotler, Law books come to the fore, when the library sees some off-take of books and some in-take of students, when Classrooms (LH1,2) are lit up with people working even in the wee hours of the night, when the marketing blogs and investopedia replace the chat windows and even the FRAXers are seen with “things-to-do” lists.

That Diwali came and went was pushed into oblivion... Noone remembers what they did on Diwali, which btw, was less than a week back.

And thus began SIP... To be continued


Read other parts here: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4