31 December, 2009

Year end review… interesting time!

Well, 12 months seem to have just zipped by this time. I guess its because I have been so busy with life…or life has kept me busy that I really don’t know where time went. I remember just a year ago, I was rushing on a public bus to good old TGIF after a friend got plans mixed up, and here I am 365 days later…still as confused about life as ever. If there is one thing I can remember about this year - it would be the fact that I finally went in to do an MBA degree. This is after 2 years of madness with CAT preparations and what not. I finally came good on my investments. The experience of being rejected from every decent college you applied to based on a 1.0 difference in one subject had me at ends wits. That was probably what helplessness feels like. I think the whole experience has turned me fairly religious….don’t mistake this for me to be donning the orange garb and giving up worldly desires. It just means that I seem to have found someone to talk to in dark times.

Finally, the Great Lakes Institute of Management comes around. And to be honest, I am having a great time. The last 9 months have found me understanding a lot more of myself….my strengths…weaknesses,etc. I also find myself with a whole new bunch of friends who are awesome in their own rights. The interesting characters are cool too. It’s only here that you learn to mingle with people from all sorts of backgrounds, and it is over the last 9 months you slowly realize how awesome a person you can be and how terrible a person you can be.

The year 2009 has been fairly kind with no major tortures, barring the admission process which gave me a fair amount of gray hair. The whole process was too overwhelming, brought me to tears and nearly made me want to give up the whole process. But as pointed out by Dad, this was nothing compared to what is expected to come. At some point, I feel it is all in vain, and really don’t want to go through any of this again. But then again, what’s life without a little excitement.

This year saw the entire gang run-off abroad to pursue a future course in life. A huge chunk ran away to Australia and one got a nice gig for a few years in the US. Good part is, he’s in close proximity to another of us. Home will be very different now. This is one part I am kind of scared of.For Starters.....I do not have company for TGIF and Purple Haze…..what am I to do on weekends now? The friends who remain are moving on in life. People getting busy with wedding bells, engagements, being couples, families….so where do I fit into all this? I really don’t know. And it is frightening me. While all of us are in touch, it still isn't the same...

This was the first year I started feeling that I was getting older, in terms of thought process, and health wise. Things like diet, sleep (or lack of it) tend to show battle scars and take their toll. I am not too happy about that. I like being 18 and irresponsible. I like having life revolve around having enough money to buy stuff, play PC Games, watch football and believe that Rock n Roll will save the world. I don’t think I appreciate all this responsibility towards myself, things like taxes, promotions, emotional satisfaction….and it all seems to be happening too fast for my mind to comply.

Overall, 2009, was a year driven by a fair amount of introspection and self-evaluation. I guess this was the calm before the storm of 2010 when I pass out and get a ‘responsible’ job and look to build the future. God save and God bless!

Theme song for 2009 would have to be John Mayer’s “ Stop this Train” (Youtube link)

No I'm not color blind
I know the world is black and white
Try to keep an open mind but...
I just can't sleep on this tonight
Stop this train I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't
But honestly won't someone stop this train

Don't know how else to say it, don't want to see my parents go
One generation's length away
From fighting life out on my own

Stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't but honestly won't someone stop this train

So scared of getting older
I'm only good at being young
So I play the numbers game to find away to say that life has just begun
Had a talk with my old man
Said help me understand
He said turn 68, you'll renegotiate
Don't stop this train
Don't for a minute change the place you're in
Don't think I couldn't ever understand
I tried my hand
John, honestly we'll never stop this train

See once in a while when it's good
It'll feel like it should
And they're all still around
And you're still safe and sound
And you don't miss a thing
'til you cry when you're driving away in the dark.

Singing stop this train I want to get off and go home again
I can't take this speed it's moving in
I know I can't
Cause now I see I'll never stop this train

30 December, 2009

Forced Mourning

Today, some actor, apparently a veteran, died of natural causes in Bangalore. Now, I really don’t hold much respect for thespians to a point where I would mourn their death, but then, people have their own unusual priorities. Why would I write about an actor of regional film passing away? I have never seen any regional film…not Kannada at least, so why do I dedicate blog space? I want to talk about the fall-out and the shameful display of “fans” (cough…cough…hooligans).

I call up home this afternoon, to find dad picking up the phone. Now, I know the parental unit are having a very good time in my absence, but Dad taking leave was a little too much. All educational institutes are closed and he got the day off. And there are riots? Riots on account of the death of a thespian… well, this would not be the first time Bangalore has witnessed this sort of behavior from what can only be politely referred to as numbskulls whose humdrum lives are filled with cinema. Wait! Cinema is the wrong word….humdrum lives filled with a mere commercial vulgar display in the guise of a movie. The first time around, when the stalwart of the local film industry passed away, all the unemployable and frustrated youth were out on the streets burning cars, beating the police, any citizen they found, ransacking of stores and an overall break down of order. And this was ignored as the government felt people needed to vent grief….on that accord, the next time I am filled with grief, I can burn cars! If the same behavior were done by any affluent taxpaying hard working citizen, the local regional hooligans would be up in arms screaming how we are tainting their culture. Who would then respond by hitting and beating our women and destroying our lives.

And few years hence, another actor dies, the story remains. Bangalore burns and is brought down to its knees thanks to the mob. And there is only one reason for all of this…our good old democratically elected government. A government that keeps the people poor, stupid and hungry. A government that ensures they remain the way they are so that their lives are filled with the inane details of politics and bad cinema. Why should they care for the tax paying citizen, they don’t vote! And if those citizens ever cry wolf, we’ll throw our trump card of culture in their face and do what we feel like.

Hypocrisy has a new definition…the Indian government.

Some actor dies, and my grief is expressed by targeting the honest uncaring citizens. So, in short, if we don’t feel any connection to the actor and are not filled with sorrow, and wish it were us dead instead of him…we will be filled with grief that our city burns. Call me a radical…but sometimes, democracy needs to be forgotten. Shoot a few of the rioters….and hopefully the rest would follow. If they love the actor so much and are so stricken with grief…why don’t they commit mass hara-kiri and rid us of their presence. Perfectly good waste of a soul and a physical body…. Well, at least the government did not disappoint. Trust them to stay silent and blame it all on grief.

25 December, 2009

Twas a satisfying Christmas...

With all the enthusiasm for diwali and stuff, the environment at college seemed morose around Christmas. Well I don’t blame the guys, exams being scheduled worse than the mood swings on a pregnant woman and placement creeping up on us, the times seems a little too overwhelming. Deciding that I would be the Santa Clause and try to spread some cheer, managed to rustle up some funds and got a Christmas tree and the works. Now, this Christmas was special because I have never ever decorated a Christmas tree. So this was all pretty exciting. Took a cab to town and went to this amazing store that was a Christmas exclusive one. I went total nuts in that place with all the Christmas goodies.

I can’t explain why, but I always feel a little extra attachment to Christmas. The whole caroling and plum cake thing, and more so the decorations. Oh, we’re even doing a bit of caroling soon. But then the whole experience of buying decorations, the tree, setting it up was totally fun. I think I am going to do this every day. Now, here is the part where I am looking from some sympathy… I got no gifts this Christmas (like all the others) so this time I decided to buy myself a simple t shirt and gift it to myself. Feels totally weird doing that though. But I guess some care (even from self) was needed.

Anyway, the tree was a total success, we got a huge cake, upon whose gaze - grown men forgot all decency and turned into savage beasts. I think the last time I saw a bunch of creatures move so fast was a bunch of Piranha on the discovery channel stripping a cow to its bones in a few minutes. The poor organizer, yours truly, was left licking a little bit of the icing…which was just before the stray dogs who roam our campus came to lick what I managed to ignore. But the best part of Christmas, even more than the apparent fleeting joy I brought to my classmates was the joy on the faces of the cleaning and kitchen staf to whom I presented a plum cake. The one thing we all seem to forget during Christmas are the people who are nothing to us yet do a lot for us. For example, the chef who dishes out the bland meals day after day is still playing the role of food supplier to us. The staff who ensure that the rooms and washrooms are kept clean…especially after my guys have had a little too much to drink. It’s these people who keep our life on campus a little cleaner and safer. Although it was a small cake, it felt totally awesome giving it to the entire staff who were present. They were obviously shocked….and were quite happy that someone acknowledged them. It felt a whole lot nicer doing the Christmas for them. Its these little things that make Christmas a truly spirited affair a it was meant to be.

Anyway, hoping to get something nice ( wishlist that cant be shared) from the good lord tomorrow… till then, here is the tree we made. I am all in red…the Chennai Santa Clause. Had a red t-shirt, red shorts and the cap on. Was kind of weird…but still…had a satisfying Christmas. Merry Christmas readers....hope you all get what you want. May life be filled with love,food and ale always.

19 December, 2009

Work beckons...

I had gone to town yesterday to get some information for a retail project. As always, I donned my classic Tam-bram accountant look. Well partitioned hair, glasses, got rid of the Tony Stark goatee – much to the dismay of the smitten damsels in college. Our good luck, the guys at Shopper’s Stop were really helpful with all the data and information. They showed us a lot of new stuff. Now the one thing I sort of realized that was happening during the whole Q&A was that I seemed to be thinking better. I seemed to be more motivated to find out data and understand everything. I could not figure it out…but then it sort of struck me later; Office-Nikhilesh is way better than Student-Nikhilesh. Student-Nikhilesh is unmotivated, generally morose, and not too keen to lift a finger or twitch any of those brain muscles. But Office-Nikhilesh, besides looking terribly smart, was thinking on his feet, spoke more coherently, and had a greater understanding of the situation.

This I guess was the case at work too, I never did too well in any of those horrible CAT mock exams, but would do extremely well (at least that was the review I got) and would be motivated, despite the hilarious salary, to do more and improve. There was something awesome about office-Nikhilesh….which is just not being translated into Student-Nikhilesh.

We began placement related work this week at college. As expected, the companies with decent profiles, I don’t seem to match the requirement in terms of years of work experience, and the ones whose roles I match….I really don’t want to work. All the titles given seem a totally humdrum affair. I can picture me being student-Nikhilesh there too. Dragging my feet into work, sit at my desk, make a few presentations and excel sheets with the really expensive jargon that I have learnt, draw a salary and come home to nothing. I don’t seem to digest the profiles they are offering, and the salaries are not that tempting that I am willing to trade all decency of living for a mere monetary existence. But even then, am looking forward to a pay-check again. While the parental unit is being totally supportive financially, I do feel guilty about spending money.

The fest seems to be coming along fine. Going a little crazy, must be the medication, but patience levels seem to have dropped…more so with me than with the rest of the species. Hope all goes well.

15 December, 2009

So much to do….so little time

As always, life decides to get interesting at the same time. Besides the unwanted visits to certain places of last week, back at college, I’m going nearly crazy trying to catch up. Besides this, we have the B-school fest happening. Now, I was warned that the days leading up to the fest would be filled with sleepless nights and tired days. I automatically assumed people were seeing too much of that reality show where they show cased students trying to organize a b-fest and having a tough time. All the politics, the arguments, sex, lies and videotape….ok….no sex or videotapes, I just got carried away on that one. But no kidding. This fest is going to be awesome…so naturally, I pay for awesomeness with sleep.

I am particularly enjoying the arguments we are having with regard to student participation. While some people feel that we as hosts must not participate, many feel we ought to. Well, it has come down to a strict ruling that hosts will not take part. Many are disappointed…there is a lot of moolah to be won. Actual money, and not like when we got ripped off for prizes. I am going to be sore about that for ever. That e-bay pricing of what we won is not worth more than 3 grand…anyway! And being in a b-school. The one thing that comes naturally to all of us is ego…and the clashes are going to get intense. I need to make it a point to sleep….lest I pull a Scrooge on everyone.

But at the end of all of this, I know it is going to be a great fest. Looking forward to meeting folks from other b-schools…. And looking forward to the great after-party for the organizers. Anyway, you folks can keep check out our event website. It's called L'Attitude 13'05...Look forward to more ranting of me getting annoyed with people and then getting annoyed at myself for getting annoyed with people…. Something tells me the fest is going to be Legen….wait for it…..dary!

13 December, 2009

Uncomfortably certain...

Well, the last two weeks of all the pain and hospital visits has thrown up some writable blog moments. Well, this one happens back while I am at the hospital, barely 24 hours, I’m still in a fair amount of pain. Smiling through most of it actually. A good friend of mine comes in to visit. So after all the sympathy, he’s back to being the friend and showering me with all the affections a friend must…which basically means they all get a kick out of putting you into trouble with the parenting unit. Mum congratulates him on his recent announcement of engagement…and wishes that the wedding is in back home in town. So, my friend responds saying that the reception would be in town but the wedding elsewhere.

This is where he should have stopped and changed the topic, but he had to ask, “Aunty!? No plans of marriage for Nikhilesh?” Through all the antibiotics, pain and needles shoved into me, I sense this is going to be a very uncomfortable few minutes. I was wrong. Uncomfortable just does not seem to be an adequate word to describe the same. Mum, quite unexpectedly decides to transgress from her normal reply of “ Let him study first….then we can look at this”…which has sort of become the standard answer to annoying elder folks in the family who think I ought to get married. The answer from mum …she starts the hand thing which most Indians do (Russell Peters spoke about this)…where you hold your palm out as though you would show the number five and move your wrists which resemble someone trying to screw in a light bulb…and mum says,” No…What to do? No girls seem interested in this fellow? No plans even if we wanted to. No one is showing interest”.

Erm…okay…. I am no longer sure if the pain is due to the infection or the fact that mum is mocking the fact that I am still single. Friend could have stopped there….but nooooo! Where would the fun be in that? “ Aunty…you sure he is interested in girls only no?” It’s bad enough I am lying in those horrid hospital PJs….my mum is worried I am single and my friend hints that I might have jumped the fence to the non-straight side. Oh wait…it gets better! Mum’s reply,” No! No! I know he is interested in girls. I have seen the screensaver he has on his laptop…all nice looking actresses and other women I have not seen. Also, Nikhilesh thinks I don’t notice…but I have seen him looking at girls when we all go out to the movies.”

Pain goes up, the needles in me no longer matter. I am not sure of how to feel anymore. This is probably the moment in most guy’s lives when their parental unit discover the stack of dirty magazines under their bed, or questionable content on the computer. Since I have been a fairly well behaved boy and have refrained from either, this is my reward. My mum confirms to all friends that I am interested in women while I am lying on a hospital bed moaning in pain. I haven’t the energy to refute the claim. I do have a collection of simply gorgeous Kirsten Kruek, Keri Russell ,Gul Panag(and others) wallpapers on my comp. But note, all very tasteful, not one wallpaper is questionable in anyway though.

I am sure mum was kidding and just humouring my friend....or was she? yikes!
Note to self: When home, put wallpaper of Counter Strike and not Gul Panag.

06 December, 2009

There was pain…then it just got annoying

I’ve been unable to put up any posts for some time; life has been keeping me busy…and away from the internet. First there were exams, followed by this competition at the IMT in Ghaziabad where my team got the first place…thank you very much. But, the significant event that kept me away was a major attack of appendicitis which kept me in a hospital bed and away from the internet. Now without going into gross details…oh wait…then where’s the fun? Okay….i’m getting into the details and the lighter side of all the pain and tragedy. The acute pain began while I was at Ghaziabad last to last Friday night. I assumed it was gas. Two reasons…one – I’m specializing in marketing, so we lot are full of gas and two – I saw the chicken being served at the canteen there and went berserk.

Right throughout our stay there, I kind of grinned and moaned and bore the pain while we gave our prize winning presentation. I must say, it was nice to beat the chaps from IIM who are absolutely sore irrational losers. We gave the presentation and I ran out to my room. The best compliment I could ever get was from this chap from FMS, “Dude! You’re costing model was absolutely brilliant. Detailed to the last. You must be a finance chap…or else no way it could have been so strong!” I am thinking to myself, “ Me? A finance chap? Really? Holy mother….why isn’t my dad around to hear this?” There is no way in reality I could be a finance chap…all those numbers make me dizzy. Come to think of it, I believe the acute pain might have begun thanks to designing that costing model. Anyway, Sunday evening we are out of IMT, with 10k worth of prizes, which means they gave us absolute crap which we could not divide amongst ourselves as there was no cash involved. Atleast we got certificates and I have something more to add to my resume. Another occasion where I win first place, but cannot enjoy the moment as I am in terrible pain.

We land in Chennai and I manage till college. Next day, hell breaks loose and I feel like I have been shot. Or at least, the description of how a bullet feels in you kind of matched the pain in me. Now, I go to the hospital to get a scan and what not. Leaving aside the details, I’ll talk about the CT scan which was a totally fun affair in my head. First and foremost, the guy asks me to wear one of those ridiculous gowns and then asks me, in broken English, if I have any metal inside me. Uh-oh….not the best thing to ask a geek. I wonder to myself, “Should I tell him about the adamantium that has been infused on my skin? And the claws that would come out and slice him into two if he ticks me off?” (Think wolverine) But then, the joke would have been totally wasted. While the wheels of geekness turn in my head, he stares and asks, “ Sir ,I meant in case you have a metal plate in your head or something?”….Seriously dude? Metal plate in my head? That was the first thing that came to your mind? I look like the ‘plate-in-head’ types eh? You could have asked a million other things…but nooooooo…..plate in my head? What about my titanium hip?

After clarifying that I am metal free, I am made to lay on the CT scan table. While the scan by itself is a boring affair, you can make it fun through imagination. All the sounds and the green lights had the geek-wheels turning again. I am sitting there imagining that the next minute there is going to be a radiation blast and the pain in my abdomen is a anger-gland waiting for a radiation catalyst. Next minute, muscles ripping through the gown, I turn into this big green muscular abomination (Think ‘The Incredible Hulk’). Next minute I am smashing through the walls and running into the wilderness. But then, there is one basic thing missing. All super-freak heroes need to have a dame who still believes that the freakiness in them can be cured. It was the same with Superman, The hulk, Wolverine and many others. Since there is no Dr.Betty Ross right now…applications though are open…. I quickly threw aside the Hulk fantasy. New fantasy….Half Life. Next minute, there is a resonance cascade and a portal to the Zen world opens up through which aliens come through. I am busy fighting them off with my crowbar and gun. But before I can let that fantasy develop in my head, the scan is done. Boooooooooooooring! Nothing happened!

I made my way to Bangalore and home…went to the hospital. Turns out I have this humongous b*tch of an infection thanks to all the travelling and without that being taken care off; no surgery. So I get admitted. Being the quintessential hero that I am, I say that I refuse to be pushed on a wheelchair and that I will walk to my room. 4 steps in, the pain is too much. I give in and call for the wheel-chair. Mum tries pushing…but then, she needs to realize the last time she was pushing me around was in the pram as a baby. I have gained a fair amount of weight since then (Really? No way? No kidding….) Out of nowhere comes this tiny dynamo of a nurse who pushes me so fast that mum had to break into a slow jog to keep up. Where that dainty little thing got the energy to push me ….I’ll never know.

It is also medically proven now, that I am thick-skinned. I kid you not. It took the nurse a fair amount of time to find a vein to shove the extremely large needle for the intra-venous thingy. (It’s a good thing I did not get into medicine…imagine going about referring to stuff as that blood-pumping thingy in your chest…).When a suitable location was found, she pushed the needle in. And it refuses to budge. On the contrary it actually gets bent at a 20 degree angle….The nurse announced, “Sir, you are thick-skinned….I have never seen a needle get bent inside a person.” I can’t help but smile and tell mum that all the years she kept beating me to get me to study was not her fault…it’s just the way I am. Note to my friends too. I am not stubborn….God made me this way. I remember the scene from ‘Superman Returns’ where they can’t administer the injection as he is made of steel. Kind of makes me feel invincible.

Coming to the part that might have the guys interested… NO! I did not have any hot or cute nurses. There were no sponge-baths and the doctors were all male. The one lady doctor in the entourage was old and looked like she was suffering from some disease herself. But she knew her job, and that was important. I did however get one hot intern come and stare for 2 minutes on the last day before I checked out. So some salvation! I am one of those guys who have all the luck when it comes to such matters. Not even a remotely cute nurse. Everyone who attended to me were German….in the sense, not much to look at…but awesome on the service and efficiency. Not once did we have to call to get the saline bottles or antibiotics replaced. They always knew the time. On the other hand, my friend who was getting her eye fixed was getting a fair amount of eye-candy. Ironic isn’t it?

With all this, I did my best to crack jokes and smile through the pain. Mum on the other hand was terribly worried and bore the look. Many people asked if she was the patient. Even as a patient, I could not be taken too seriously. One guard told me to get out of the wheelchair once while we were waiting for the room. I looked too healthy and jovial to be a patient. If there is one thing, I refuse to look morose and on the verge of meeting my maker. People come in with something as non-serious as a fractured toe and look like the good-lord is taking them away any minute. Sad, droopy face with an “I am doomed” look, pleading for the sympathy of by-standers. I refuse to be that. Even if I am going, I going out with a smile on my face as I am grateful for all the little things I have in life to call my own.

On a serious note, I am back home after 4 agonizing days of pain at the hospital. I am recuperating quite well. Mum cracked a joke saying that I am to stop eating non-veg for the next few months. I already more or less drink once in 2 months, have quit junk food all together…. Have quit gaming, stopped playing football, don’t have a girlfriend…I’m better off dead if she thinks I am going to quit my chicken, fish and prawns. I am now subjected to salt less…spice less….hence, tasteless food, but apparently its good for me. The antibiotics make me high and sleepy. I did not bring any spare clothes when I came down from college, and I can’t wear any of the shorts I have as the elastic presses against the stomach. I have to wear dad’s humongous PJs which, besides being terribly large, are terribly short. This makes me look like an ugly hobbit. Anyway, I hope to resume classes by the end of next week and to be back to my normal junk-food eating self soon. Am just praying that they say I don’t require surgery when I go in for my check up on Wednesday. I can’t take any more of those sky-blue hospital gowns, those pista-green walls and the incessant injections and blood taking. So, pray for me whenever you get the time.

24 November, 2009

The Distilled Truth

I really don't know what to say. My entire belief system has gone down the drain... I feel so insignificant now that I know the truth. I had it wrong all along....

19 November, 2009

So that’s what it feels like.

Today I went through what a goal keeper goes through when you somehow manage to pull off saves and bring the game all the way to the end, and that one goal screams past you, the emotions and the trauma – totally sucks. The worst part is that it wasn’t even an impressive goal. The player took a chance and fired…and it just pops in. Totally sucks. We had the finals of the football tournament at college. My section was touted to win…especially since we pretty much won everything else. Thanks to the wobbly knees, I have been goalkeeper throughout the tournament.

I made some really good saves all the way through. An especially good one when the striker of the other team made a one on one challenge and I stopped the ball. Reminded me of the good old days when I was goalkeeper. Quite a few decent saves….all that for nothing, because one went through. After a game like this, one won’t remember the saves…but unfortunately remember that one tricky little fellow who got through. Why is it…that when we win, we quickly forget, but losses seem to occupy the rooms of our head longer than necessary?

I’ve been totally bummed out. All the saves for nothing. And that’s the third time I’ve come to the finals and am returning with the silver. At times like these, I remember a quote from a movie:

You'll come to see that a man learns nothing from winning. The act of losing, however, can elicit great wisdom. Not least of which is, uh... how much more enjoyable it is to win. It's inevitable to lose now and again. The trick is not to make a habit of it.”

But then, there’s another quote in the same movie:

Winning is not everything…it’s the only thing!!!”

So what do I listen to? I like the sound of the second one. I also handled the loss quite maturely…stormed into my room, switched off the lights, turned on some heavy metal and screamed. Now not only do I have a loss on my hands, I have a sore throat and a headache from all that screaming. Nikhilesh scores one for maturity.

15 November, 2009

Got two more years…

I am sufficiently petrified after 2012 for a number of reasons. Spoiler alert for those who have not seen the movie! First and foremost, India is totally wiped off the planet, so that’s a bummer. Secondly, apparently Indians have no place in the new world. In the ships that are to be arks for the new world, where people and animals are taken on board, there is not a single Indian. Poor Jimmy Mistry, the scientist who discovered that the world was going kaput , himself was not invited to be part of the new world. Instead found himself swimming with the fishes…literally. Come to think of it, with his really bad accent of how Indians speak English…and his even more horrid rendition of Hindi, I guess he would not be the best to represent the sub-continent.

Anyway, not a single Indian on board. We’ve got Americans, Russians, Chinese, French…and the Spanish…what were they ever good for except for football and bull fighting? And the French…except for their wine and Marion Cotillard? But not one Indian…I mean, who is going to run your call centers in the new world? I am sure we were still waiting 24x7 thanks to the client agreement…poor old Manjunath sitting in his dingy office in sub-urban Bangalore waiting to pick up the phone, claim he is George Michaels, all in his accent reminiscent of Abu from the Simpsons. Then….the Tsunami hits…While drowning saying ‘thank you for calling us, we understand your prooooooooo……….” (phone goes dead)

Anyway, 2012 has me really spooked. If it is true, I have only two years to get stuff done. Also, think about this…who is called onto the Ark to form the new world? Brushing aside the bullshit about selecting the best from the gene pool, one notices that only the ones with money seem to be getting on board. I am the poor son of a poor father…where will I come up with a figure like one million euros? Am I a great scientist that they will take me on board ? No. Am I a major public figure that would help contribute towards building the new world? No. Am I an engineer of some sort who can set up bridges, roads and other aspects of the urban jungle in the new world? No. Look at it; I am nobody of importance in the new world. And that’s kind of sad. Makes me feel suicidal thinking where the last 25years went. Another reason why I am shocked we didn’t have a single Indian aboard was the question of repopulating the planet. Come on….we’ve proven ourselves. We have the statistics. We hit the billion mark…get a few of us on board and we’re giving you returns like you didn’t expect. Oh wait! Maybe that’s why they didn’t take us on board! Dammit….we Indians and our repopulating ways!

Jokes apart, if the world is coming to an end, I’ve got 2 years to get my camp in order. List of things I need to do:

1. Learn to fly a plane, ride a ship, a motorbike…and a car. (these are skills that come on handy while running away from earthquakes and falling buildings)
2. Get into prime shape…improves survival.
3. Get myself onto the top minds list…or get really rich or influential.
4. Get a girlfriend (someone to hug and eyes to stare into when the major tsunami hits…took that from the movie…kinda corny…but deem it important)
5. Read books on architecture and civil engineering to help out in the new world.

All said and done, 2012 is great on the special effects, story is so-so at best, corny dialogues and sentiment that is laughable.... but the special effects! Totally worth it!

08 November, 2009

Aow, so loverly

I wrote this during class....was doodling while the tune of 'Aow, so loverly.' from 'My Fair Lady' ran in my head.... I've linked the original at the end.

It’s rather dull in college, I think I’ll take me to GRT,
The prof wants an assignment submitted before 3
Me mother says some more I must study!
Mmmmmmmm isn’t it terribly?

Lots of cases for me to do....
Spare time to live, oh so few.....
Assignments, TA’s, dieting....
Aow, so terribly!

All I want is MBA degree....
With a paycheck all for me...
Six figure starting salary…
wouldn't it be loverly?

Lots of books for me to read…
Nutritious meal is all I need…
Warm bed, warm tea,
Aow, wouldn’t it be loverly?

The original...

07 November, 2009

Buying a boat...

I am planning on buying a boat. Please don’t mistake this as a result of my skepticism regarding placements and hitting the alarm buttons and hence trying an alternate profession as a fisherman. No, no… I am buying a boat to get to class. I have heard a lot about the infamous rains down south, but over the last one week, I am witness to the annoying fury. The rain is like when someone in the neighboring room decides to play techno at full volume on speakers better than yours. And you get a headache thanks to the incessant thump techno beat that has been put into a loop. Thankfully, my neighbor at college plays good music...dream theater, Joe Satriani and stuff I don’t mind listening through the walls. Anyway, I am buying a boat to tackle the flood that is building up in the campus.

We are now required to wade through about 1 foot of water to reach class or the canteen. Most people try and be really careful and tip toe through the makeshift bridge so as not to get wet. I prefer the stampede approach. I roll up my jeans till the point where I look like a hobbit and simply stomp through. I stomp a little harder when near the girls…splash some water around and they are sufficiently irked. ( Watte sadist). Just to take the annoyance up a notch, I sing ‘Singing in the rain’ at the top of my voice. I in fact tried the entire Gene Kelly thing…. Picture Frodo in his pants, doing the Gene Kelly dance en route to Mount Doom…actually, considering my size, better consider Samwise Gamgee instead… It wasn’t as fun as when I see it in the movie.

The waters have risen so high, we actually spotted a few crabs on campus. As always, first thing that runs through my head is….Mmmmmmm…..lunch! Crab on a stick! Today was brilliant, the waters were so high that even the makeshift bridge of bricks were almost submerged. Not wanting to get my shoes wet, I’ve arrived in class wearing my bathroom slippers. I feel like a complete villager. I normally prefer to wear shoes or at least sandals to class, but slippers is rock bottom for me. The things I have done in this MBA course. Anyway, I am planning to buy a boat..or follow the guy in ‘Man v/s wild’ on the Discovery channel and build a raft by myself. I can follow Kevin Costner and build a Catamaran. That would be totally cool. Move over guys with your bikes…the dude with the cool vehicle is here. And looking at the whole Global warming thing, I guess this would be a good investment in the future.

On a serious note, this rain had better stop, or I’m going to have a flood in my room and might need to move to higher ground.

06 November, 2009

Yearn for a vintage….

It’s been raining incessantly for the last one week at college. I quite rudely discovered that I am not as young as a I used to be. I got wet in the rain and came down with a bad cold and a fever, probably the only retard on campus going around with a jacket because …oh blimey! It’s freezing down here. I had the entire day off, no class, no assignment breathing down my neck and pretty much nothing of acute importance to do.

It’s been raining outside. I decided to give up trying to figure out cost accounting in the economy of a firm and decided it best to put on some nice opera …Likes of Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo, etc and read a good book while watching the rain drops trickle down my window. Get some nice healthy carrots to munch on, feet up on the table while sipping on some guava juice.

There’s something wrong with that scene. I couldn’t figure it out until late this evening. I didn’t need juice…I needed a good vintage…a fine wine or a long brewed scotch whiskey. My band vocalist recently acquired a bottle of Glen Fidditch (21 years) and had offered me some a while back. Sticking to my diet-guns, I bluntly refused. Now, I want to hit my head against a wall. Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea… out goes the diet and the 6 weeks of sobriety if I give in….and continue with pangs of greed for a fine brew if I don’t…both equally torturous situations. I know they say that the only way to fight temptation is to succumb to it…but the good lord has given a fairly tortured and confused soul. Strong and stubborn when it needs to be…weak when not required. Alas, to avoid the tempatation…I have been slowly sipping on some Green Tea. It isn’t the same.

Lord, grant me a vintage….or good company to enjoy this tea!

03 November, 2009

Ode to the Nice Guys

(This rant was written for the Wharton Undergraduate Journal ....thought i would share it with you all...DISCLAIMER: The article is NOT my own.I can't find the name of the author...so please don't sue...this is your article...am just spreading the good cheer...the things I do, so as not to end up in court.)

Ode to the Nice Guys

This is a tribute to the nice guys. The nice guys that finish last, that never become more than friends, that endure hours of whining and bitching about what assholes guys are, while disproving the very point. This is dedicated to those guys who always provide a shoulder to lean on but restrain themselves to tentative hugs, those guys who hold open doors and give reassuring pats on the back and sit patiently outside the changing room at department stores. This is in honor of the guys that obligingly reiterate how cute/beautiful/smart/funny/sexy their female friends are at the appropriate moment, because they know most girls need that litany of support. This is in honor of the guys with open minds, with laid-back attitudes, with honest concern. This is in honor of the guys who respect a girl’s every facet, from her privacy to her theology to her clothing style.

This is for the guys who escort their drunk, bewildered female friends back from parties and never take advantage once they’re at her door, for the guys who accompany girls to bars as buffers against the rest of the creepy male population, for the guys who know a girl is fishing for compliments but give them out anyway, for the guys who always play by the rules in a game where the rules favor cheaters, for the guys who are accredited as boyfriend material but somehow don’t end up being boyfriends, for all the nice guys who are overlooked, underestimated, and unappreciated, for all the nice guys who are manipulated, misled, and unjustly abandoned, this is for you.

This is for that time she left 40 urgent messages on your cell phone, and when you called her back, she spent three hours painstakingly dissecting two sentences her boyfriend said to her over dinner. And even though you thought her boyfriend was a chump and a jerk, you assured her that it was all ok and she shouldn’t worry about it. This is for that time she interrupted the best killing spree you’d ever orchestrated in GTA3 to rant about a rumor that romantically linked her and the guy she thinks is the most repulsive person in the world. And even though you thought it was immature and you had nothing against the guy, you paused the game for two hours and helped her concoct a counter-rumor to spread around the floor. This is also for that time she didn’t have a date, so after numerous vows that there was nothing “serious” between the two of you, she dragged you to a party where you knew nobody, the beer was awful, and she flirted shamelessly with you, justifying each fit of reckless teasing by announcing to everyone: “oh, but we’re just friends!” And even though you were invited purely as a symbolic warm body for her ego, you went anyways. Because you’re nice like that.

The nice guys don’t often get credit where credit is due. And perhaps more disturbing, the nice guys don’t seem to get laid as often as they should. And I wish I could logically explain this trend, but I can’t. >From what I have observed on campus and what I have learned from talking to friends at other schools and in the workplace, the only conclusion I can form is that many girls are just illogical, manipulative bitches. Many of them claim they just want to date a nice guy, but when presented with such a specimen, they say irrational, confusing things such as “oh, he’s too nice to date” or “he would be a good boyfriend but he’s not for me” or “he already puts up with so much from me, I couldn’t possibly ask him out!” or the most frustrating of all: “no, it would ruin our friendship.” Yet, they continue to lament the lack of datable men in the world, and they expect their too-nice-to-date male friends to sympathize and apologize for the men that are jerks. Sorry, guys, girls like that are beyond my ability to fathom. I can’t figure out why the connection breaks down between what they say (I want a nice guy!) and what they do (I’m going to sleep with this complete ass now!). But one thing I can do, is say that the nice-guy-finishes-last phenomenon doesn’t last forever. There are definitely many girls who grow out of that train of thought and realize they should be dating the nice guys, not taking them for granted. The tricky part is finding those girls, and even trickier, finding the ones that are single.

So, until those girls are found, I propose a toast to all the nice guys. You know who you are, and I know you’re sick of hearing yourself described as ubiquitously nice. But the truth of the matter is, the world needs your patience in the department store, your holding open of doors, your party escorting services, your propensity to be a sucker for a pretty smile. For all the crazy, inane, absurd things you tolerate, for all the situations where you are the faceless, nameless hero, my accolades, my acknowledgement, and my gratitude go out to you. You do have credibility in this society, and your well deserved vindication is coming.

(There is also an "Ode to Nice girls" which was posted as a rebuttal to the nice guys....but I'm going to be a male chauvinist and not put that up...Use a search engine)

So Tweet...

Guess what happened a few minutes ago? Sheesh….how silly of me. If you could guess stuff like that, one – you won’t be reading this blog. And two – if you had such fantastic powers of cognition, why would you waste it guessing what happened in my life. Anyway, I was just tweeting about tonight’s game, when I made this sudden discovery…. I stumbled upon Gul Panag’s twitter account. This is a good start to the day at 1:30 AM….Not only do I find Gul Panag to be really cute with those dimples, she is also really smart. Okay….I am a smitten kitten ever since I laid eyes on her. Anyway, I am totally excited right now to have stumbled upon her twitter account….and guess what…Sidin (The other blogger/Twitterer whom I follow) is also following her tweets…seems they are good friends! If this mallu from the IIM can go through all that and become a writer…. There is scope for this tambram! And hey, I could also know some really smart and cute people (besides myself)

Does anyone else think I need a more serious hobby? By the way, I am on Twitter too. (sorry... need to stop reading Kotler....infectious...can't get marketing out of my blood...)

01 November, 2009

Thank you for not stereo-typing.

We recently had a couple of issues at college. Staying true to my image of being a clown, I sent a mail out to everyone hilariously pointing out benefits of a certain ruling passed at college to my …. For lack of a better word… ‘community’ of people. By that, I refer to the religious creed that I belong to, people who follow, or are expected to follow the doctrines laid down by our honourable ancestors in their wisdom and vision for my creed. Lol….These MBA types no…everywhere ‘mission and vision’. Anyway, it seems I have irked a few nerves among my kind. Apparently, they’ve taken a little too much to heart the stereo-typing and the joke. So far, I have not received any death threats. I could crack some more jokes about death threats and my kind, but then…I don’t want to incur their wrath.

When people ask me questions regarding where the country is going and when we are going to rule the world, I tell them, what country are you talking about? India is merely an agreement among tribes…yes tribes….that we will work towards some common good…or evil. We are still highly skeptical about our region and will kill if needed when someone says anything against us regionally. We’re stereo-types and strong ones at that, who merely agree we’ll field a single team for the Olympics. India is still divided, so what country are you talking about? Russell Peters put it the best – The difference between Indians and terrorists is that terrorists hate the world, and Indians hate each other. Now, you don’t see people taking offence on that statement….don’t lie…I saw you laughing at the joke.

Coming back to the point, when an Indian makes fun of a stereotype, why do people go up in arms? Haven’t we come to a point where we can learn to laugh at ourselves? It’s okay if some firang does it, but not our own. What hypocrisy is this? I wasn’t even making fun of another stereo-type, but my own kind…just because I listen to Metallica and not carnatic music, does not mean I have no respect for our traditions. I just believe that honouring honourable ancestors comes not by following rituals, but using the essence of what I’ve learnt.

Allow me to state some stereotypes, and you know it is true…and if you don’t agree with me, don’t read my blog. Free country! Tams (tamilians) will always be good at accounting…. Look at all the top accounting profs…all tams from my ‘community’. I am the anomaly that they feared. Gujuratis will always be good at business….Marwaris are always good at money-management ( I want to use another word here…but some might call it derogatory…personally, I think it’s a good thing to follow until money starts growing on trees….) Sardars would always be portrayed as lassi-drinking jolly chaps who’d start bhangra at the drop of a hat. It’s all true, you know it. And what is wrong if you are part of a stero-type, it’s a symbol of our culture passed down from our ancestors.

And I am proud of my vegetarian, good at accounting brethren from the community…symbols that we are a highly systematic bunch of people who are accountable – quite literally. I am proud to a point that whenever my Punjabi friend comes up to me and tells me that if I say anything odd, they’ll all come together and beat me. I retort by saying, ‘don’t incur the wrath of my people. We may be demure accountants, but we’ll mess up your balance sheet so bad, we’ll send you to jail for life for forgery and misappropriation of funds.…don’t f**k with me.’ And I mean it. Then why my own people need to frown upon stereo-type statements. In case you feel offended by stereotyping and me pointing out the obvious….sheesh… I roll my eyes and say ….so sowwwieee!

30 October, 2009

The sounds of weight-loss

I am back to the gym on a regular basis now, same old quest of weight loss….sigh….when will it end? Anyway, this is a conversation between me and a friend while I was on the cross-trainer:

Me: Dude, I’m not sure…but is this cross-trainer supposed to make all these creaking noises ?

Friend: Erm, no dude! I do believe this is the first time….

Me: Riiiiiiiiiiigggggghtttttttttt………..

(Friend kept giggling)

25 October, 2009

Where are the poets?

This just randomly popped into my cranium. Where are the poets? Did they all die at the end of the century? Look at our times. We have rockstars, we have writers….now we have bloggers. But where are the poets? Where are those names, whose words can inspire a thought? Words that can tweak an emotion? Where are they all? Did we succumb to the new world? Have we become so caught up in a commercial life driven by advertisements and products, a life so materialistic that it consumes us and obtaining that insignificant object becomes the subliminal pursuit of all our actions? Where are the poets? Don’t people sit down and think any more? Don’t they convert thoughts and emotions into words? Poetry apparently has become a mere talisman of an age of thought gone by which we carry around in books. Young boys in the pursuit of romance use poetry as a weapon to woo a love that herself considers poetry archaic yet romantic enough to let herself be swooped off her feet. But that’s where the story ends? Where is our Wordsworth? Our Frost? Putting a Jim Morrison or a Bob Dylan on the same plane is not the same thing. What happened to our poets? Where is the poet of my time? Will the future generations read only lost wonders of ‘miles to go before I sleep’? Or will they find something a little more contemporary? Where are the poets? Did we just kill them? Did rock music kill the poets?

24 October, 2009

The wedding invite…

Now I really should not be making any fun, but oh well….here goes, I am going to hell anyway. I recently received a wedding invitation from a classmate of mine, from school. Now, that’s a fairly run of the mill affair. People get wedding invites every day. Alright, not every day, bit of an exaggeration on that one. What stood out on this wedding invitation was that it reeked of the unfortunate dependency of IT in our lives. Ladies and gentlemen, the wedding invite was a MS power point presentation. I kid you not.

Most people normally scan their wedding invite and send it across over e-mail. There have been some very unique wedding invites I have seen over the last few years. One very interesting one was a comic rendering of how the boy and the girl met, through the hallowed process of ‘arranged marriage’ and fell in love before they got married.( Kindly go Awwwwww, here) The cartoon was hilarious. Since the guy was a malayali, cupid wore a checked lungi and had a mouctache. (Not stereo-typing…it was the wedding invite) . The comic invite was by far the most innovative invite I have seen till date. The storyline and dialogues in the comic had me in splits. Another one had the guy create a website where they showed pictures of the bride and the groom right from birth, growing up through the ages and how they met and finally decided to get hitched. The style was no Martin Scorsese, but it was really well done. Really non-mushy yet cute website. But I have never seen a power point presentation. Fall out of these IT types spending too many hours at their desk huddled over the keyboard, surrounded by coffee or coke, furiously typing away at code.

The intention of the ppt’, storyline was good, but like a badly executed football strategy, it failed at every count. One might wonder why I am mocking this invite. For starters, I was kind of surprised I got this invite in the first place. Also, I don’t think I am going to the wedding or believe that I would bump into the person concerned. But, honestly? Seriously? A ppt? I know people are dedicated to their work…but this is the limit. I guess I shall send out my wedding invite as an official tender, like and RFP ( Request for proposal) , followed by a press release. Probably have the parents of the girl and my parental unit sign an MOU. The whole problem lies not in the mindset of people, but the way industry has evolved us into mere humanoids whose thinking is limited to a box named work. And there only remain a handful who knows to log off work when they step out of the office. I am running my mouth off; let’s see what sort of wedding invite I conjure up in my head.

PS: In case you are getting married soon, and have taken pains to create a ppt for me, please do send it. We’ll change the invite the next time you get married. There is always the next time.

My good luck and sincere best wishes to the to-be-couple. If I attend the wedding, I would be presenting them with a copy of Windows 7 for better ppts. ( I am going to hell for these jokes...)

PPS: If you think I am being mean, I am sitting in a class at 7 AM, where the prof is talking about supply chain in AMUL, where he just said that AMUL have technology for milk-producing bulls…. I sort of lost my mind after that statement.

22 October, 2009

First Blood…..at the IIT-Madras

Yesterday, I began what I hope is the start of many prizes during my B-school life, at the IIT-Madras. My friend and I were adjudged the best team for a debate on whether India ought to unconditionally sign the climate control treaty at Copenhagen in December. The debate was organized by the IIT Energy research and development cell.

My first reaction upon entering the IIT campus at Madras was “Wooooooooaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!!”. This is perhaps the closest I can get to an IIT. Upon observation, a common thread I noticed was that all the students were generally malnourished, scrawny chaps with unkempt hair and really badly colour coordinated clothes. But then, it isn’t what is shown to the world that matters for these guys. They chose not to wear their designer clothes and party while wasting time on mundane meaningless pursuits like guitar and counter strike. One can’t help feel over-awed by the sheer intelligence of every person in that place. I entered the campus and could not help feel an oddity in the force. Even the air on that campus was pointing at me and saying,’ lol….ordinary humanoid!’. Looks apart, those scrawny chaps are essentially the minds that turn the world. If the world was to end, and they wanted smart people, I believe they would get preference over me. To think, I once actually harbored ambitions of being part of the inner circle.

But then, at the end of all the me going ‘WOAH’ in my head at everything I saw, we won, beating the smarty-pants IITs. They had the data, we had the presentation. Which comes back to the point that marketing rules. If that marketing can be backed up by quantifiable data, even better. Which unfortunately means, I need to start looking at those numbers and atrocious ratios and figures a little more seriously if I expect to get anywhere.

On another note, this winning doesn’t feel great at all. I know I am supposed to be ecstatic and over the moon, but somewhere inside my soul is going ‘So What?’. While I happily smile and accept the congratulations and good wishes from my friends, professors and well-wishers, I can’t help but not care for this too much. Somewhere inside, all I see in this is another point to boost the resume. But at the core, what does this mean? Does it really help me? Am I spiritually a higher person? Am I more learned now? Does it get me tons of money? Does it get me chicks? A BMW? Nothing really. So what was this win worth? Don’t take me for being overly arrogant or extremely humble. Being humble isn’t something I practice. I prefer the SRK approach of, ‘I’m good, I know, it…I have no issues saying it.’. But then, why am I not at the roof tops screaming to the world? Why am I not grinning from ear to ear? I guess, somewhere a sort of spiritual Zen approach is taking over….yikes! I’m turning into an old man!

20 October, 2009

All that remains…

Breaking the myth of some of our beloved street foods and street food chains, our Logistics and Supply Chain Management professor has successfully made many of us think twice about even the so called ‘healthy food’ we eat outside. Now, I am not framing anyone here but am merely passing on information I have received. So please, do not serve me in court. I will give you the number of my Prof, you can sue him…. I am a mere student.

While learning SCM ( supply Chain Management) we discussed how McDonald’s is apparently one of the most hygienic…and healthy brands of food in India. The prof took the example of a certain Vada Pav chain in Mumbai. The chain while famous was once raided and was found to be mixing old spoilt potatoes with the new ones, to cut cost. As thought this was not bad enough, the potatoes were being peeled and washed by the resident beggars of the nearby local train station for a paltry sum. Needless to say, business did not do too well after the expose. Apparently, even the oil used is the one 5 star hotels dispose off, after frying stuff more than the oil can allow. So here we have the cholesterol laden, artery chocking oil. Alright! I can live with that. I can stick to a simple meal of idli vada and chutney….oh wait! NO! I can’t! That’s contaminated too. The oil for the vada is from the same source for the Mumbai ( can’t say Bombay….ushoooooo). And the coconut for the chutney also comes from mixing bits of the old coconut with tons of additives to give it the taste. So, there goes my idli vada.

At the end of the class, what remains is that the healthiest food in India is the unemotional burger from McDonalds. The life less burger that is one of many mere entities in the supply chain. The burger filled with cheese and enough lettuce to give you gas. The ordinary burger with not an ounce of uniqueness in it, all that fatty cheese on the sides…….YIKES! MUMMMY….Food CRAVING!!! Got to go and eat my carrots……

16 October, 2009

A lot of help….No thank You!

I’ve gone back to my old diet of complete abstinence from anything remotely fattening. This includes chips, ice cream,cashew nuts, others and the all important alcohol. I have decided to go back to my old diet that helped me lose 30 kilos in less than 6 months. Lots of raw vegetables and fruits, daily exercise and healthy habits. This includes eating out only once a week and that too in moderation. Why the madness all of a sudden you ask? Well….Just like that! Need to get back my 36 waist and enhance my already dashing looks (Ahem…cough cough)

Needless to say, people sort of assume that I would eat the usual fat food and hence offer me cake, cool drinks, chocolates, and even whiskey…but I say no with a completely straight face. People obviously think I’ve lost it…. And the vast majority are of no help at all.

“dude…you’ll be back to normal in two days….”

“lol…why all this man? You lack the will power…”

“lol…you said no to chocolate cake…..hahahahahahaha….now cut the jokes out”

“ lol…no matter how fit you get….you’re still not getting a girlfriend….your face sucks!” ( Somebody going to get a hurt real bad….)

“eh…oh…holiday syndrome eh?”

“dude…you’ve put on more weight after going home…you won’t be able to lose it” (well Du-uh….that’s why I went home….to eat well and gain weight…what did you do? Starve?)

As always, people have been trying to break me by eating junk food in front of me while making sounds like they are just having a micro-orgasm…. Well, they have not met the resilient me! With friends like this…who needs enemies!

The Poor Donor

Diwali season has set in at college. We have the usual ‘influential’ people going around with a certain bhai-look about them collecting money for the festivities; collections almost reach extortion point. Now, I do remember contributing well both financially and with my time to the last major Ganesh Puja celebrations, however the story this time around is quite different. For starters, I am no longer living off my money, but am at the mercy of the financial resources of the parental unit.

This is kind of sad if you really think about it. 25 year old grown man with nearly 3 years of work experience cannot financially fend for himself. Justifying this would be the fact that I earned a fairly meager wage at my last place of employment, and being the spend thrift I am, really could not save up much. I still do have a good amount sitting in a life insurance policy. Unlike my batch-mates, I do not have the luxury of savings or unaccountability. While the parental unit is quite generous with money, they do expect me to account for it. They won’t say so directly, but would generally hint at it.

And coming back to being accountable after 3 years has left me with a slight guilt in my conscious while spending money that is not mine. So quite understandably, I have become miserly and am cutting down drastically on spending. No more daily eating out and buying expensive rubbish I don’t need. The donations towards celebrations naturally have gone down in value, and the same has not gone down well with others.

“ Dude….what’s this? Do you know what the minimum amount the other people are giving is?”

“ Hmmm….. I honestly don’t care…..I don’t have any money….”

“Dude, give at least another 200 more….”

“…..” (Stares in silence….)

The one thing I am really looking forward to is my paycheck after completing my MBA. Not only would it be a decently fat paycheck, it would mean I am back to being independent…..and unaccountable!

12 October, 2009

Better use of ‘Operations’ and ‘Relationship Management’…

The one thing that distinguishes a true MBA grad from the rest of the live stock is the ability to use whatever you have learnt in everyday life, no matter what part of life it is. And it seems a lot of my budding managers believe a lot in rural development and have put the teachings of many great lecturers to good use. This is evident from the amount of time spent playing Farmville and Mafia Wars on facebook. Two of my batch mates were engrossed in a very serious discussion the other afternoon. From the way the conversation was going, there was a lot of ‘buying’ and ‘selling’ going on. Naïve old me presumed they were talking about something from their recent Investment banking class.

I have been very wise to leave investment banking alone this term. After last terms fiasco of losing my mind once too often, I decided it was better I leave my investments in the able hands of friends who are going to excel in the subject. My fellow students who have taken up the course, for heaven’s sake, do your pre-reads and do well in all your exams. Or else, kiss your ‘investment consultant’ job in my company goodbye.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand – soon enough the conversation seemed all too odd to be about investment banking and stock market analysis. I slowly take a look at the computer screen and lo….there they are…playing ‘Farmville’. Looks like after all the great games that were made in the world, we only seem interested in farming. The discussion was apparently on how my friend sold a kilo of rice for a lower rate than what he would have got….also; he apparently chopped down some apple trees…or something like that! Great way to make use of the not-so-inexpensive education.

Another major craze running around campus is Mafia Wars. I caught two guys talking about getting invites, only then they could go. Naïve old me (again) automatically assumed it was for some b-school fest. Apparently not…they wanted to join some gang and take care of business. ‘Go to the mattresses’ as one might put it. All that we have learnt is to make use of all our ‘relationship management’, ‘operations’,’evaluations’, etc to play games where you’re a farmer. I mean, what happened to good old Warcraft and Counter Strike? All that mindless gore, shooting and hacking? Those made so much more sense. These MBA hot-shot types no…I tell you….good grief!!!! Oh wait….Yikes…I am one of those!

The devil does wear Prada…or a really good suit!

I was on the train back to college and since I had nothing better to do I caught up on few of the movies I had. I don’t know how, but I ended up watching ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. Before you jump to any conclusions, I think you ought to give the movie a watch. It isn’t a chick-flick and it isn’t all fashion. At the end of the movie, it turned out to be a human story. For someone looking to make it big in the world and willing to try whatever it takes, the movie found a certain resonance with yours truly.

How far or how low would one go in their career to get to where they want and to get there quickly? At times, greenhorns entering the big bad world with dreams sometimes find themselves a little lost. You come into the business world with ideals and principles, but you soon tend to find yourself questioning them. The movie is about this girl who wants to make it big as a journalist. To get there she takes up the job of secretary to a Fashion Magazine mogul just so that the name on her resume would get her ahead of the crowd. Sounds fairly simple. Grin and bear for a year and you’ve got your way. But then, the movie would have been quite boring had it all been hunky-dory. Time goes by, protagonist is given a hard time and finds herself becoming the very thing she loathed and made fun of. You’ll get what I am saying once you actually watch the movie.

How many times in our lives have we found ourselves at this juncture? We get so greedy, so opportunistic (which is not a bad thing) that we almost start to ignore the people around us? We become arrogant and tend to think about only us. Some of us ruthlessly get away with it, some don’t. Now, I don’t want to sound like a self-righteous bastard for I too have found myself stepping on people’s toes and maybe ruffling a few feathers to get ahead. Call it part of a vicious circle. Some of us have been fortunate enough to live in a society that has been good to you and has presented you with ample opportunities. You get the inch, you take a mile. But for many of us, the luxury of the inch does not exist. We need to make that inch, and convert it into a mile. And it isn’t unconsciously that one is arrogant, but understands that the world is a mean and nasty place roaming with wolves who will gobble you up if you show any weakness. But even in this arrogance and self-centered approach, how far are we willing to go? Far enough that we become someone else completely? We change so much that we soon become part of this system which we hate, and before we know it, we’ve tumbled far too down the rabbit hole to return? I know of people who would stoop to any level to have their way. To a point where they come off as perpetually kissing the back-side of anyone who’d give them the advantage. Give them boots and they shall lick it.

In the years to come, I know I am going to find myself at this juncture. While I can take every opportunity that comes my way, somewhere, to get that extra jump ahead, would I be willing to become everything I hate. Would I be willing to stab people in the back, people I know and care about? Would I take the high road and choose not to get where I want a little quicker than the other guy? For some of us, we tend to realize where we went wrong, but then, we’re too far down that road to turn back. Soon enough, we have what we want, but at a cost of friends, family, honour and integrity. The devil would tempt us, show us a fat pay package, and that corner office with the cute secretary and a company jet and Mercedes benz…… what would we do? I guess that’s a choice I need to face when the time occurs.

06 October, 2009

Tele-marketing…watte hoot!

Home for the last two weeks almost, I find myself back at my good old favourite pastime of channel surfing. With the new set-top box at home, we’ve got more channels than I can take. We’ve got Australian, Russian, French and even a Nepali channel. But the most interesting one is the perpetual tele-marketing channel, which has been the source of man LOLs,ROFLs and ROFLMAOs over the last few days. Not only are the products terrible, the advertising methods are extremely hilarious, and weak, that anyone buying one of those products ought to have his/her noggin checked by a shrink.

One of the most awesome products is the ‘English Guru’; a package that contains books guaranteed to teach you English, with whose knowledge you can conquer the world. Alright, I believe that the package might help with a basic grasp of the English language, but it is in no way going to make you a king from a pauper. A couple of the tear-jerking (because it is so hilarious) stories are as follows:

i) “I used to be a peon serving tea at an office. I was tired of this lifestyle, so my wife ordered this English Guru package for me. I studied it day and night, even under candle light, thanks to the incessant storm that caused the electricity to be shut off. One day, no one was there in the office. The telephone in the boss’ cabin began to ring. Knowing perfectly well that I am a peon, and that normally peons do not pick up telephone calls, but my boss’ secretary and he were out for a cootchie-coo session, I decided to pick the phone up and tell the MD on the other side that my boss was not around. He was so shocked and impressed that a peon was speaking such eloquent English that he overlooked the fact that neither the boss nor his secretary were picking up the calls and that the peon had no right to pick up calls himself, that he promoted me to junior salesman. In less than a year, my boss was fired and I was made the regional sales manager. All because of my broken English and terribly fake accent that I picked up from watching too many Hindi movies”

ii) “I was always good at studies, I got admission into a top college. I was not used to this lifestyle of people speaking English. I felt desperate and did not have a girlfriend. (The dude actually said this). My brother ordered the English Guru package for me. With determination, I studied the package. (Scenes of boy pumping his fists in the air after reading the first page, followed by him sitting late into the night staring at a book looking quite perplexed, yet nodding his head) Today, my English is really good. And all the girls like me. I have many girlfriends now. (So basically, this dude learnt English to pick up girls….)

The sad part about all these ads is that the guys speaking English generally have really fake accents, by-product of watching too much American television. For a dude who barely knew a word, to a guy suddenly rolling the R’s….what a change! The part that always cracks me up is that the dude in the second case becomes a major player just because he learnt English. By that logic, Mr.Wren and Mr.Martin should have been the most happening people around, but I guess most of their evenings were spent proof-reading their own books. Maybe the English Guru comes with a handbook – How to impress girls with broken English. I am almost tempted to buy that, but the exciting lifestyle of Wren and Martin is far too tempting for me to waste time learning how to mess up my English for the sake of picking up girls. Obviously, the genius who made these ads appeals to a certain ‘stupid’ side of society who believe that a good command over the English language makes women fall head over heels. I know bad English is a turn off, I cannot certify for good English though.

Another hilarious feature of this channel is the brilliant way in which they have packaged religion and faith, put it into little boxes, pasted a price tag and are selling it. I always thought that religion and faith were personal matters and did not really have a price. The number of anklets, necklaces, rings, and other paraphernalia being sold with the promise that it would keep bad spirits, and ill wishes away, is mind-boggling. Another heart warming story –

“I had a huge trucking business. I used to work very hard and soon became successful. One day, I was carelessly counting my bundles of money when my friend Ramu walked in to say hello. I did not lift my eyes up and continued counting money. Ramu was staring at all the money I had. And suddenly ill luck fell upon me. I got a call saying that 3 out of my 4 trucks had crashed. Many of my clients cancelled their orders. My engagement got called off. My father fell ill at home, and my younger brother was not doing well at school. All this was Ramu’s fault.

I was watching TV ( with this really hot woman….who seems to be sitting a little too close to me for comfort….but then, we are good friends only, I was to be engaged to someone else. I must have got her after impressing her with my excellent English from English guru) when I saw this ad for Durga Maata’s pendent which was cast in the kailash mountain when she was fighting the Asuras. I decided to buy the pendant. (I believe this is how Sauron managed to market those rings of doom).

From the next day, my father became alright, my younger brother started doing well at school. My trucking business grew manifold….from owning 4 broken down Ashok Leyland trucks, I now own 25 18-wheel Monster Trucks (just like the ones in the US). And to top it all off, Lakshmi came back into the house. And I don’t mean money, I also mean that not only did I get engaged to this girl called Lakshmi, we got married soon after. I have not heard from the hot girl who was next to me when I made this life-changing purchase”

If it were only so easy, can someone cut me a slice of that pie please? Karan Johar can make a movie out of this....actually, let Sanjay Leela Bhansali do the first half where the guy loses everything, and Johar make the second half where everything is opulent and dandy!

Don’t even get me started on the products for weight loss. I am sure that none of them work. Besides, they always show these well-toned people using them and saying they lost weight. Why don’t you try the same on a Brontosaurus and we’ll see if you’re still talking then? I'm not looking to mock anyone who actually benefited from these products, all cheers to you if you managed to lose 30 kilos in 2 months while learning english after which you got a girlfriend and then bought some religious mumbo-jumbo thingie and became a millionaire. But honestly, is it so easy?

05 October, 2009

Heart has its reason which reason knows nothing of

(This was one of my essays for entrance into college. I found this on my PC, thought I'd share it.)

Blaise Pascal stated one of the greatest mysteries of human kind when he made the above statement. Despite being a physicist and a mathematician, Pascal, a man driven by logic, was keen to notice one of the greatest things about human behaviour, for which there is no logic. The human heart has emotions and reactions to situations that sometimes no logic or rule can explain. Scientists have tried for years to crack open the shell of human emotion but have not even merely scratched the surface.

The decision for our choices need not always be driven by calculating the risks or the possible consequences, sometimes it is merely a choice determined by the heart. Why did Edward VIII choose to abdicate the throne and marry Wallis Simpson? Why would someone choose to fall in love with someone and not anybody else? We can create all sorts of tests looking into the bio-physical, the bio-chemical even the psychological, we will still not be able to come up with a concrete logic driven reason as to the choices made by the heart.

It is the heart that can sometimes over-rule all logic and give us the shot in the arm to go the extra mile despite odds and public opinion. Christopher Columbus would not have discovered the American continent if he were to be driven by logic. All logic told him to turn the ship around and head back to Spain, but it was the desire that drove him to keep going ahead. If Thomas Edison, going by the track record of so many failures before discovering the right filament for the light bulb, had trusted logic and not his will to believe that something is there at the end of the tunnel, we would all probably still be reading by candlelight. The above cases are just a few where the going with a gut instinct has triumphed. There are still cases where ignoring the facts and track record has resulted in dire consequences. Sometimes, it is always a safer bet going with scientific logic. But what sets those men or women apart from others are those who can judge when to make choices based on logic and when to ignore all of it and merely trust in the path shown by the heart.

Getting there or getting nowhere?

I finally got around to seeing the movie ‘Wall Street’ all over again. The difference from when I saw it the last time and this time was that the blinking was a lot less. I still did not comprehend a lot of what was going on, but I knew the protagonist was up to something fishy. If there is one thing that came out of that infernal Investment analysis class, it’s that I actually understood the jargon and at some level the gravity of insider information in the stock market. Not too bad eh?

I must say, I do have a new found respect for brokers and investment bankers after the movie. But, not enough to make me want to become one. The lifestyle looks way too high flying for me. For the MBA types, Gordan Gecko is the quintessential poster boy. No bullshit, all about the money, and the occasional back-stabbing – Ohhh! I’m sorry that my back hurt your knife! While it all seems glamorous, and I am sure quite a few of my classmates are going to go down that line and make a gazzilion bucks, I need to understand where my limitations are. While ‘greed might be good’, blind greed can be fatal. I am not one of the investment banker types, and don’t think any amount of reading books and comprehending the stock market is going to help me become one. I guess the closest I come to being an investment banker, is the fact that, like in the movie, just as Charlie Sheen’s dad kept bailing him out with a money when ever he needed it, my Dad is more than happy to help, but still wants me to be accountable for every penny. Anyway, I too hope to repay him for all the tiny loans taken over time, except that I need to find an alternate route…not investment banking.

I remember the other day, during one of the guest lectures, the speaker asked us as to how many of us wanted to become consultants. Well, nearly 98% of the class put its hands up. I, as always, formed part of the 2%. Now call me clueless, but then does not one need to be experienced for like a good amount of time before you are in the position of giving advice to someone? But, after a fair bit of reading it turns out that one need to have oodles of experience to become a consultant with a top-notch firm. Once again, my touch with reality seems a little blurred. While I hear consulting has good quick money and tons of travel, I wonder if I am really cut out for all that? The last few days has seen me question my motives of life in general. When I really break it down, I feel that I am absolutely clueless and am nothing more than a mere drifter in this rat race. I know I want to make good clean money, but am a little blank as to how to do it. I do know how I don’t want to do it…investment banking is right up there. The only way I know to get quick money is to rob a bank, but I hear that it’s illegal to take other peoples money. So how do I do it?

Everyone has plans, ideas, and a direction…I’m Jack Sparrow with a broken compass. Confiding my fears with the parental unit, dad’s response is ‘study your subjects…cross the bridge when you come to it’. Mom’s response ‘have faith in God….he will show you the way.’ Neither of these options really solves my problem. I need a direction. I need something to work towards…I’ve got my writing; I’ve got my meager guitar-playing abilities…what else? I reckon I really don’t have too many other talents or ideas that can get me the green and get it quick. From here, looks like I become the ’Working Class Hero’ that John Lennon sang about…and I do not like that. I need a plan, even if it is a bad one. I still need one. Preferably something that does not involve studying…..

01 October, 2009

What’s your Rashee?

Alright, so my motives for seeing the movie were wrong. But then, I’m a dude, and Priyanka Chopra is a sedative of sorts. And Priyanka Chopra in 12 different roles is Christmas morning…. Or so I thought. Friend and I land up at the theater, Gold class seats going for dead cheap on a weekday.

“Dude…Priyanka Chopra…Lazy Boys…..????”

So we indulge ourselves and buy the tickets. Opening sequence, Ms.Chopra showing off all the 12 Zodiacs. Enthusiastic clapping from me when the Gemini zodiac comes around, because , besides us Gemini’s being absolutely cool, there is not one but two Priyanka Chopras on screen. That’s a done deal. Taking a joke out of the accountant’s hand book….two for the price of one…Killer!!!!! But then the movie progresses and it just keeps getting more torturous, but then why are we still hanging around? Oh well, one because the seats are expensive and we wish to soak in every minute of these Lazy Boys. And two, we silently hope that the next avatar would be even hotter. Or in some cases, more tolerable.

Movie rolls on. Friend comments after looking at Harman Baweja’s plight of seeing 12 girls in ten days for marriage, going through the standard questions of ‘What’s your education?’ ‘What are your hobbies?’ ‘Did you have a boyfriend?’ etc , etc. Or so these are the standard questions I hear that have been printed in the ‘Arranged-marriage for dummies’ book, friend comments,” Dude, you realize you will be going through all this jazz a few years from now if nothing in life works out?”.

Alas, I am at a loss for words. Friend knows me too well. But, putting myself in the shoes of the …ahem…protagonist, I do not believe that I can go through the standard-operating-procedure with a straight face and would probably burst out laughing. But it is a scary prospect, me and arranged marriage. Actually, I and marriage would be a scary prospect by itself….leave the adjectives aside. Besides, imagine me going about asking prospective girls,’ What’s your Rashee?’ Imagine this…. No I mean it….such a scenario can only be imagined…humour me…. I meet the girl, turns out to be quite pleasant, well-read, etc,etc…the standard requirements parents put up…..by some chance in hell we really hit it off….I ask, ‘So what’s your Rashee?’ …. Girl says, ‘ I’m a XXXXXXXX (fill in what zodiac you like)’ and I go, “ooooooooooooooh….so close….sorry girl…we can never be together.Why you ask? Well because Linda Goodman says Gemini’s and XXXXXXXX are not compatible’.

30 September, 2009

Always Shoes

I’ve never had enough experience shopping with women to generalize buying tendencies, but after this weekend, I believe that all the rumours are true.

“ Women always like to buy shoes, even if it is not for them”

Allow me to explain. I had to pick up a tiny stuffed toy for my friend’s new-born baby as this was the first time I would be seeing the kid. Now, I wanted to buy the boy a Manchester United Jersey and put him on the right path, just in case he grows up to like some team like….I don’t know …. those Arsenal chaps, but my folks thought otherwise. So I guess a baby Metallica T shirt was out of the question. Anyway, I had met some friends for lunch the same day. Since we all finished pretty early, there was not much to do. I thought it was best that we utilize the time and head to a nearby store and pick up the stuffed toy. Mistake one…needless to say, I am a greenhorn in such matters, I happen to take 3 ladies to shop for one stuffed toy. I have learnt my lesson.

We entered the baby store, me in proper gung-ho style ‘go for the kill’, straight to the stuff toy section. My eyes fall upon this absolutely cute Simba cub toy. Now I must admit, I’m a major fan of the Lion King cartoon…..second favourite Disney toon after Beauty and the Beast. I want to take that toy, but then I forget, I’m outnumbered on the opinion poll 3-1 to a bunch of girls who like the Pluto Dog toy instead. I’m there arguing as to which was better, one of the girls glances over at the baby boots section and goes ‘ Ooooooh, why don’t you buy him shoes?’. My mind is going ‘Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?’ The kid can hardly walk, he’s going to be carried everywhere, why shoes? Apparently, it would look cute. Well so would I in a tutu doing ballet….but you don’t see me gift wrapped for a one month old baby. To make matters worse, they fall in love with these tiny boots in the shape of Donald Duck’s feet and keep pestering me to buy them as the baby would look cute.

Alright, it’s bad enough that primary shoe-buying instinct kicked in, you honestly want me to scar that kid for life by buying him Donald Duck shoes. Puh-lease. He’s one of the dudes now. He has his mother to do embarrassing things to him. I don’t want to encourage her by buying those shoes, no matter how cute you think they are. I just cannot do that to one of the dudes, even if the dude is a one month old baby boy. Despite the trying on their part to get me to buy the tiny shoes, I refused to cave in. Why is it that women always end up choosing shoes? There are so many other things in the world…why shoes? Shoes get dirty, old, worn out…some even smell….then why so much love of shoes? To all those hardcore vegetarian girls, shoes are made from the skin of cows….you would be directly responsible for killing an animal…think of that the next time you buy shoes.

Anyway, being the nice guy that I am (cough….cough) I at least gave the girls some leeway and bought the Pluto dog and not the Simba Cub, which still remains my first choice. But why shoes? Honestly?

27 September, 2009

Demon barber of My Street

This is where I sound completely vain…unlike the other times where I am not! I am back home for a long vacation of 2 weeks. Time to re-charge the batteries for the onslaught expected in the months to come. If I had thought the last 5 weeks showed me everything, I ain’t seen nothing yet. Anyway, my vacation got off to a terrible start thanks to that barber, and I have no apprehension in calling him the next Sweeney Todd in the making.

Over the last few weeks, I had cultivated (interesting term) a beard which was very reminiscent of Tony Stark. For those of you who don’t know…he’s Iron Man. Second coolest hero after the Dark Knight. I woke up one morning and decided that the do was needed as it would help me with the attempted image make-over I desperately require. Who better to model it after than the man himself? Suave, rich, good cars, rich, can get any lady, rich, fancy fighting suit….did I mention rich? Anyway, I have carefully been trimming the beard so as to have something that fell sort of in between Tony Stark and one of the 3 musketeers. Despite the initial pointing and laughing from my “very supportive” classmates, I still kept the goatee. I know deep down in their hearts, the guys feared me…what if I came after them with my super suit? And the girls….none wanted to say it out loud…but they all sighed in awe when I walked past…they thought I was dashing! Don’t lie…you know it!

Anyway, now that the morphine has worn off an the delusions have stopped, back to business. I come into town and go to my regular barber with the hope of getting a haircut, a decent barber is a luxury where I study. I somehow don’t trust a man who keeps a huge shop and all he has are two scissors, a comb and a water sprayer thingy…the aerosol bottle! Anyway, my regular barber was not there. In his place was the grump fellow who posses as a barber. Left with no other choice ( I am not paying 200 bucks to chop a few locks off the side), I reluctantly sat in his chair. Haircut goes well. Hmmm! I am not so frightened any more. Maybe the barber isn’t as bad as I thought he was. So, I let him give me a shave. Mistake! Big mistake! Quoting Britney Spears – Ooops! I did it again!

All I asked for was a trim, and go knows what the moron thought in his head, before I could react, he’s chopped off a significant centimeter off one side of the goatee. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! There goes my Tony Stark look. I storm out with the oddly shaped goatee, paying only for my haircut! Screw the shave! Oh wait! He already did it! I go home, all fuming! Profanities galore in the house! Dad wants to tell me to shut up….but mum the wisest tells him it is better the anger flows out! Especially if he’s armed with a razor blade! Alas, my beard is Afghanistan…..meaning…it’s been messed up by a foreign power so badly, nothing can be done to improve it!

I shave the goatee off, leaving the moustache! This makes me look like the quintessential tamil film hero. Moustache and a ponch. Yikes! Off goes the moustache! There I am! Plain old powerless, boring, clean shaven momma’s boy! I almost felt like Samson when they chopped his hair off. All his super powers gone! Like that! SNAP! Now, I look ordinary!

God Damn that barber! He’s the devil’s left hand man I tell you! Sheer evil in that man! To take a hot, great looking extremely smart Tony Stark like Tam Bram and make him an accountant tam bram, OMG…he did it…one swift flick of the wrist, and my world goes crumbling down! Now, from Iron Man….I have become Bruce Banner with a temper and no Hulk powers! Woe is me! Great start to the holidays! Will be blogging a lot!

See the pics...who's who? See..... you can't make out the difference!