Friday, January 30, 2009

Ignorance is Bliss...

A wise ol’ man remarked: Ignorance is bliss. No more than today, do I realise why Thomas Gray remarked such. 

It is so difficult to know something and not speak up. What when what you know is said by someone of someone, both of whom are your closest pals... What when the statement conveyed could alter things beyond a point of no return. What when, you wish you dint know what you know. What when this information is so critical that you feel you are committing a crime by keeping it yourself. What when this information is so confidential that relaying of this info is not just unethical but also unasked for... It is these moments that you realise the meaning of butterflies in the stomach – it’s so uneasy keeping quiet and so easy blurting out “secrets”, but once out, the situations could spiral out of control in lieu of the information leak. If the matters aren’t complicated enuf, there will always be this X-ray vision of the subject that every time you connect eye-to-eye, you avert them lest these be the window to your soul. And then begins the game of cat and mice till the time the mice are in the open and at peace with the cat or else the cat gives up looking for the mice. It is this game that I’ve now become an expert in and have been playing for the past few days...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Science is also "cool"

After an intense, a true-to-my-heart post, I’m back to my miniscule musings. This is one of those posts, where I forget my originality principle and copy the basic theme.

Just another of my arbit searches... I stumbled onto this cartoon strip. 

I’ve so often felt being the Science-Man and lost to the aqua dude and every time I end up asking myself, is it worth it? Shouldn’t I be more the Aquaman and be “cool”. Well it wudn’t take me long to be him but It wouldn’t be me. I love my identity. I love being the science dude – the guy who not just knows the “What”s but also wants to the know the “Why”s.

Ab koi khush ho ya ho khafa, Hum nahi badlenge apni adaa, samjhe na samjhe koi, Hum yahi kahenge – Hum to bhai jaise hain waise rahenge...


Monday, January 26, 2009

The Screamer

I wonder if what I did was right
To let the heart go without a fight
But then, if it were to happen,
What better day than tonight

I’m an introspective person, actually more a retrospective person. I do things and think if they were right. I choose not to speak for fear of repercussions hold me back. But some day the Hoover Dam was destined to break... And that it did.

It was always a monologue, my line
The feeling expressed was truly mine
As usual, in a moment it all changed
As usual, I pretended to be fine
I get involved in many-a-fights and many-an-arguments but this were not one of them. I just spoke the one damned line and it was over. What changed in that one line was something I did not know!!!

I’m quiet when they often say
I’m silent when it is not my way
For a moment I chose to speak
Fell back and see everything go away
I don’t talk of people, just to them. And it is not usual of me, but today I did. I spoke out. I fell back and saw it wither away... The one long arrow of words floating in mid air –interpreted in ways I did not want them to be.

Wonder if I lost at my own game
Wonder if it’ll ever be the same
I’m a blood-flesh human being
A body attached to my name
I so not wanted it this way but it was hot and steamy inside... the words were boiling... They needed escape. And that they did. The human, me, couldn’t hold it. The stimulus was there. But did they burn anything around it remained to be seen.

I ask for one more chance
Give me that one soft glance
The time shall turn backwards
It shall all be just one bad trance


Sunday, January 25, 2009

How Bad Am I? Only as bad as I think I am...

Wow, this week has been a series of firsts... At this rate, I'm sure gonna run out of new things to do... And yesterday was another first – My first western dance class... 

Well, not that I’ve never gone to dance classes before, as a matter of fact, I have. Learnt Bharatnatyam for quite some time in secondary school but back then, it was by force. Yday was the first of my own accord and the difference was there to be seen. I loved every minute of it. The final story will remain that I cannot dance but then, it dint matter for the time that I attempted to do so :)

The cultural society in campus gave shape to what’s being planned for the past term – the dance classes. Hardly anything XL starts on time, this was no exception to the rule, but yeah, I’m yet to see so many people gather in time for the End-Term!!! The instructor is a cool chap from Calcutta with the typical Calcutta accent of Hindi and English.

We start off with Salsa... The basic movements – I think again – Am I in the right place? Should I be going through this? Did I put myself into a wrong position!!! I’m sure Popu, if he’s reading this, would have scoffed and rolled around at this idea of Pudunath attending Salsa!!! But then I look around, “Hey, not too bad. Guys do appear to come from the military school (OK thr’s one sailor who is different...)” After a lot of demos and unintended innuendos, we start on the music... performing the basic routine, shifting partners as we go by... It’s fun after all. Who cares (OK I don’t) if I’m not Michael Jackson on the moon... :)

To end the day, a fast step (ISDT or whatever it was called) sans couples... Attitude and fun combined.

Two more classes to go... First class realisation – How bad am I at dance – Only as bad as I think I am!!


P.S.: To all my partners: If I was too bad, Please excuse me :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A day of few firsts...

It was a day of two firsts – One negative and a few other positives. 

The positives first... It was the second round of Nokia Coliseum, my first corporate presentation – a novice attempt, I must say. I generally have starting problems but today was also my first presentation to a packed hall and I did not stutter in the intro - Did I get the message across, I'm still waiting for someone to tell me tht!!!

The first round was a good success with the video getting a good number of hits on youtube and even getting rated in “top ten (#2)” of videos under the category “Education”!!! The second round, well the results are not out as yet, but according to me, the presentation did not exactly convey the preparation. I had done a lot of data mining to identify segments, their attractiveness and the touchpoints for potential N97 customers. These however were not clear from the presentation. There were a few other shortcomings and thanks to many reviews and suggestions by the seniors, I’m richer in experience if not the 5800!!! How much I appreciate a true critical remark! Win or lose, here comes my first CV point in XL ;-)

And now in one line the negative– I bunked class but was not absent for the first time in life!!!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Launching the DCP Awards...

Dear All,

MBA is all turning waste to gold... or at least selling it as one. That requires a special talent which all MBAs develop over time. Some do that by being too technical and sweeping the other guy off his feet by a simple statement of unstated and often unknown facts. Many try to create qualities that don’t exist. A few small numbers actually try to tell the customer about the product and hope that the product is good enough. The most number however, manages the sale through special use of King’s English. And this is what most B-Schools teach (though unintentional and inadvertent) the best. With the emphasis on learning through classes, a huge window of opportunity opens up for the future managers to practice and hone their selected talented and methodology. This is what constituted class-participation at first... and later took the shape of DCP. But is doing DCP so easy?? Often many attempts go unnoticed. It is these attempts that I plan to capture and burn to memory and recognition. It is these efforts that will get rewarded.

Thus, I (in association with another classmate) announce the launch of the DCP almanac. On a post in late March, we shall have a collection of the DCP attempts and a vote shall decide the winner. Attractive prizes to be won ;).

Current Leaderboard: 
  • Q. What happens when a person goes on sea in ship? Which law is applicable?
    A.” The territorial boundaries of India extend upto 12 nautical miles.”
  • On Intel Strategy and brand repositioning: “It’s not about tangible things but about tangible and intangible things. After 20-25 yrs, no one would like to change their own name.”
  • On Satyam problem: “It is an extreme manifestation of the agency problem.”

P.S.: For non-XLers: DCP has been explained in one of the comments. Please read through

Friday, January 16, 2009

MAXImum Sales Experience...

Another first...

It’s the oldest marketing research fair in India (or the world, I’m not so sure) and requires people to participate for its very existence. And for us to know that people are participating, we need to sell tickets to required people of specific socio-economic class... Now this is no easy task for reasons more than one... Why would anyone pay to be a part of a marketing research, ain’t it being treated like a guinea-pig!!! It’s a Sunday and there are a million other interesting things you could do. It is in one corner of the city which is hardly visited, let alone frequented, by anyone. What is in it for me, a small gift which I could surely do without!!! There is no celebrity endorsing... it’s just another small fest that students have to amuse themselves for a weekend. Its MBA students, the fair must also be for students, in short, I’ll just be the cliche square peg in the round hole.

Convincing them takes a lot of effort... Many cases we gotta tell them it’s not what they think it is. In many other cases, you gotta tell them it’s more than they think it is... In short, market the fair in its grandest form... create impressions that you want them to have; In some cases, correct the correct impression they have to the one you want them to have.

Anyways, what can be termed a not-so-good-not-so-bad type sale, we were able to sell 26 tickets in the specified SEC. Must I add, in a large measure, thanks to my (outspoken) good (looking) partner who used all the prior experience of door-to-door selling into today’s sales... ;)


P.S.: BTW my partner must have been pretty confused today... one lady saw a kid while a gentleman got offended when his wife was referred as ‘aunty’ remarking, "She is not as elder to you".

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Scientification of Myth

Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti is a festival celebrated all over India with fervour and uniformity matched by few other festivals. It signals the end of the winter crop season (Rabi crop). Harvest (wheat being the major crop in the North) is often started on this day across India.

However, as usual, I couldn’t take the festival name on face value. What is “Uttar” in Uttarayan? What comes to the North? When asked suddenly, any person vaguely connected to Gujarat, Punjab etc will say that it is the day the Sun travels and enters the Northern Hemisphere. And here we are not talking of ignorant ppl or even non-science grads... We are talking of science students, engineers of top institutes (IITs and NITs) and managers. What is wrong then? Does anything travel northwards?? (The stock market dealers will surely hope the northward growth is in the stocks ;) )

Wiki says it is the day the sun travels towards the north on the celestial sphere. But I thought, we were taught in class eight that the sun is over the Tropic of Capricorn on Dec 22nd (Winter Solstice). So by definition, the Sun travels north on every day after that. Why is it that we celebrate the “Uttar”ayan on Jan 14th? And, if the logic is that the sun enters the northern hemisphere on Jan 14th, it can’t be true as the sun only reaches the equator on the equinox, i.e., March 21st. Also, it cannot be said that the Sun travels northwards over India (it is majorly an Indian festival) as India lies completely in the Northern hemisphere and thus when the sun has not even crossed the equator, it cannot be over India. Then, sun travels to the north of what is the question that remains unanswered. 

Ironically, while most Indian festivals are based on the lunar calendar, this is based on the solar calendar (few others include Vishwakarma Jayanti). I conclude that this festival is just another harvest festival and an attempt was made to give it a scientific meaning by the pundits (no disrespect meant). Of course, contradicting views with references are invited.

Well, for me it means a lot different, sans all the science and let’s say “Scientification” of myth... A day I get to eat rabdi and til... the eve celebrated as Lohri with a bonfire with typical bhangra around it. Few folk songs and a lot of fun... 

Lohri ki khoob saari Badhaiyan :)

Looking forward to a good SPAXI dinner,

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Of groups and MBA...

Dear Blog,

It’s a part of every subject. It’s a part of being an MBA. It’s a part of working as a manager. It’s a part of being a social being. It’s a part of life. You cannot work alone... God created the man and then realised man’s identity could be harmful for the weaker, his mistakes, and the errors in the otherwise six-sigma universe. He then thought, “Let me create the need for social recognition, the need for affiliation.” Just to ensure his point was well hammered, he also created one Maslow and then a few OB teachers who taught man the importance of group work. And thus, individual pursuit of excellence was curbed to make way for group development.

All fine till now. But then, as with all other things, man took this noble intention to the extreme and decided he needed to build and enforce this group behaviour in every aspect of life and in MBA terms, part of every course evaluation. Thus were born groups and group assignments in management. With those groups came the complex group dynamics. Who forms the groups? Who takes the initiative and includes whom in the group? Including one person may not mean anything but saying no to anyone means doubting his capacities and what is more, it demonstrates your unwillingness to work with a friend if not your inability to work in a team. But including a person means alienating someone else who does not want to be with that person or in not-so-rare and not-so-extreme cases actually doubts him/her. And caught in this are those people who simply do not care what group they are in!!! Their sole objective is to ensure the best they can do individually, enrich the group that they are in and few cases, try to cover-up for the weaklings should there be any. This does not mean that they do not want to be with their favourite group (the concept of impartiality is slightly flawed by its very definition) but that they would be equally comfortable with anyone else...

Thankfully, despite all his efforts, God could not embed a culture of group discussions in humans and thus these were used as differentiating points for recruitment!!!

Waiting for a group-less course,


Your Virtual Self
I always wondered, "Why do companies go to B-Schools and release competitions which cost them large chunks of money and time?" I got my answer yday...

It was the break after the second term I was SACked one day. Nokia had a event Coliseum and selected B-Schools were invited to create a publicity concept and build thereon. The stage one involved building and briefly communicating the concept. As is so very usual, dint start working on it till the last day!!! Then a brief stroke of the creative genius in me appeared and we got the concept. My teammates (must say, much more capable in the field than me) developed the concept into a full-fledged opportunity for an advt.

Then started the work and I realised what the Bollywood missed, XL gained ;) One guy who Rocks On, balances Baddy, his Hep Job and the beautiful partner... He’s surely no less than a hero!!! None of us were accomplished in the area of video recording or editing, nevertheless we set on the mission of making an ad, however good or bad... It turned to be a very crude video with little or no editing (due to shortage of time). However, upto here was very routine and expected...

Then I uploaded the video after some techie stuff... Within the first 1 hour, the video had been seen 30+ times... Out of curiousity I checked wat others had done... And to my surprise, at least some 30-40 videos in the past hour were uploaded which concerned the Nokia N97!!! Ambush marketing at its best... Using B-Schoolers to run campaigns on youtube without letting them knw tht we were actually being used as the advt channel, also free of cost. Also, this ensured that N97 was shown and will be, in the coming few weeks to the perfect target segment – the young rich who have lots of income to spend... the ones who will graduate out of these famous B-Schools and immediately look to buying their first phone bought with their own money. A few of the videos I saw were actually brilliant (both concept and execution) and wud give the pros a run for their money. All-in-All, a very good marketing strategy by Nokia to give itself a very good pre-launch publicity...

My Video: Good Concept but not so good editing... obviously nokia, with all its professional setup, should be able to better it... We call the concept (click on the link to see the video):

Your Virtual Self 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Duryodhan's Diary Found...

Just discovered, the secret Diary of Duryodhana...

One day:
Everyone knows I’m the jack of all master of one... my favourite Gada. Acharya Drona, who I have the utmost respect for when it comes to teaching, has one folly. He has favourites. अगर आज अर्जुन ने बोला होता की मुझे चिडिया की आँख नही, हाथी की आँख दिख रही है, तब भी आचार्य द्रोण ने उसको ही पक्षी को मारने को बोला होता... “good... चिडिया हो या हाथी... तुम्हे सिर्फ़ आँख ही दिखनी चाहिए”

Another Day:
Today I invited, Yudhisthir to a game of chaupad... It was all fun till he became too possessive. I never knew Bhratashri was such a bad loser. People call him dharmaraj but today he proved them wrong. When he didn’t have anything to lose, he pledged his wife!!! Which devil would do that? I was shocked to hear that and thought he was kidding, but then he proceeded to play...

Yet Another Day:
Out of nowhere, भ्राताश्री has started asking for all kingdom to be declared his. इतने साल से मैं रखवाली कर रहा हूँ... Dad अंधे हैं पर एक दिन चैन से नही बैठे... हम 100 भाई दिन रात एक कर देते हैं पर प्रजा को complain का मौका नहीं देते... And आज suddenly... I’m sure इसके पीछे उस कृष्ण का हाथ है... पहले से पांडवो को ग़लत ग़लत पाठ पड़ता रहता था... पर वोह नही जानता की मेरे कारण ही उसकी द्वारका बची है... नही तो कब का attack हो चुका होता उसपे... खैर, talent की कमी नही है बन्दे में... try तो करेंगे उसे अपनी side लेने की... आ गया तो good...

And Yet Another Day:
Today, against all my wishes, I took to battle-field. Arjun में थोडी sense थी... उसे लगा की जो हो रहा है ग़लत है... but वोह कृष्ण फ़िर से बीच में आ गया... कुछ तो लम्बी लम्बी हांकी और अर्जुन ने agree कर लिया... साथ में युयुत्सु को भी पटा लिया... मैं तो बहुत बड़े धर्म संकट में हूँ... कैसे मारूँ अपने भाइयों को... Thankfully, आचार्य and पितामह हमारी side से ही लडेंगे... पितामह हमेशा बोलते हैं की वोह हस्तिनापुर की भलाई चाहते हैं... पर भ्राताश्री उनकी सुनते ही नहीं...

And another Yet Another Day:
आज फ़िर उस कृष्ण ने गड़बड़ की| पहले तो हमनें बहुत ही चतुराई से आज का युद्ध लड़ा... पहले अर्जुन को चक्रव्यूह से दूर ले के गए और फ़िर अभिमन्यु को घेर लिया... पांडव भी इतने कायर हैं की कोई आगे नहीं आया... एक बच्चे को भेज दिया| but last में, युद्ध के नियमो के against, जयद्रथ को मारा... Hypnotism से पहले sunset करवाया और फ़िर सूरज निकाल दिया... पूरा world धोखा खा सकता है... but मैं नहीं. इसके लिए कभी माफ़ नहीं कर सकूंगा कृष्ण को...

The semi-final entry:
अभी माताश्री ने बुलाया था... कृष्ण मिला रास्ते में. उसकी आंखों में वही पुराणी धूर्तता थी. भीम भी जानता है की मुझसे विजयी नहीं हो सकता... आज उसके हारने का दिन है. पर कृष्ण की चाल को कौन समझ सकता है!!! जो भी हो, मुझे अपना धर्म निभाना है, पाण्डवों ने यह युद्ध आरम्भ किया. आज मैं समाप्त करूंगा. धर्म की लडाई थी जो पाण्डवों ने अधर्म से लड़ी. आज मेरे 98 भाई मारे जा चुके हैं, पिताश्री हार मान चुके हैं, पर मैं कैसे छोड़ दूँ. हस्तिनापुर का भाग्य उन पाण्डवों के हाथ में नहीं छोड़ सकता. कृष्ण तो अपनी द्वारका का विनाश कर चुका है... न जाने द्वारका कब समुद्र में समां जाए!!! मैं अपना धर्म निभाऊँगा... धर्मराज को धर्म सिखाऊँगा...

The Final Entry:
मैं जानता था पांडव नहीं लड़ सकते धर्म की लडाई. मैनें हमेशा भला चाह और वोह!!! कृष्ण ने दुनिया को दिखा दिया की दुनिया में भगवान् नहीं हैं. राम चले गए और साथ ही उनकी मर्यादा भी. कहते हैं कलियुग आएगा, शायद यही शुरुआत है... अब कहानियाँ बनेंगी की सुयोधन ने यह किया वोह किया, सत्य हमेशा की तरह लाक्षाग्रह की लपटों में जल जायेगा. क्या पटा मेरा नाम ही बदल दें... मेरे पास ज्यादा वक्त नहीं... अपनी अन्तिम कलम से सब हस्तिनापुर वासियों को मेरा आखिरी अलविदा.

Truth Always Triumphs??? Nopes, Triumphant Tells you the "Truth"

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I'm Back...

Dear Blog,

First of all, mixed feelings getting back to XL... Just when I thought I was settling down and felt there was no difference, I went to the mess!!! Ya this is not the same. Aloo and paneer are back!!!

Getting here was prob more interesting than being here... I thought I’ll travel to Hyd, finish off some job, meet some family friends and then fly to Kolkata. All fine till the planning...

The day of the travel (today) started fine... Got up early and caught the airbus to the airport. And then, at check-in I was informed that the flight was just landing at B’lore while I thought I was late for the flight at Hyd! I was joined by two of my friends and all of us were to catch the train at 2:30pm from Cal to Jampot. Now if the flight were to start any later than noon, the train was sure to leave without us on board. Thankfully, the announcement was made at 11:00 that the flight landed in Hyd; I was a little more assured. As I expected, we took off from Hyd and reached Cal at 1:30 pm. But as usual, Murphy’s Law applied and the luggage took its time!!! We started in a pre-paid taxi (at quite an exorbitant price) from the airport at 1:52 (by my watch which has been adjusted for the one second delay at the New Year). Initially we covered distance fast and then as we entered the city limits, the driver gave up hope... We almost jumped many traffic signals and entered opposite one-ways... As we drew closer to MG Rd, I knew we would make it as the famous Howrah Bridge and the station is quite close. But I was only partially right... We entered the station and with some external help reached the train. My watch showed 2:29. But then the adrenaline took me a lil further... While the train is still standing, I thought I could cover as much as I can on the platform and tried moving towards the coach I was supposed to be travelling in!!! And the signal turned green and without warning the train started moving... Got into the coach that was very close to mine :) Luckily the jounrney thence was not such eventful barring one particularly peculiar comment about a kid (this is for the kid, if she is reading it) ;)

The cold climate (compared to the mid-twenties and thirties I grew accustomed to at home) and the dusty atmosphere and the rustic autowallahs welcomed me... 7:00 pm and the oh-so-beautiful manicured lawns and flower of XL, the iron-guarded entrance to TFEMR and the (differently arranged) mess – I’m Back...

Feeling Good,