30 October, 2009
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….
(Friend kept giggling)
25 October, 2009
24 October, 2009
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
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
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
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!
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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’.