29 March, 2010

The weirdly cool part about being 25…

We’re nearing the end of the course and some of the folks are going on a mini-vacation. Now, as expected, I’m not going. Why expected? Because the lord is never kind to me in these matters. The thing is, I am still looking for a suitable career break….and they seem hard to come by given the fact that I am stubborn and pig headed regarding the industry I want to go to. So, I’m heading home to continue the job hunt. I spent most of the afternoon cursing the good lord as to why he never gives me a decent break and how while most of my peers seem financially or emotionally well off, no matter what I try, matters just seem to get worse.

I began watching the John Mayer ‘Where the Light is’ concert which I downloaded. Ooops! No I mean which I paid full money for and bought from the white market. Buying habits aside, John Mayer made a couple of statements at the start which I thought were really something to think about. I’ll quote them directly:

“Part of me doesn’t like it when everything works. I don’t think anybody likes it when everything works. When I was 25, I never wanted anything to work, I knew that those were the years I was supposed to be fighting it out. And to expect your whole life to be at a place where you’re going to fight it out, and then you later on realize that now you don’t have to anymore. It’s only fun when you are trying to get it in your grasp.“

And oddly, in my personal moment of utter anguish, this made a whole lot of sense. I think my generation have become too spoilt and expect everything to happen NOW! We want our fancy cars now, we want our big houses now, we want our money now, we want our relationships now, we want marriage now, sex now, food now…it’s all about ‘now’. Only a handful of us ever have and will ever go through the agony of having to wait for something and not taking the world for granted. And the world has mostly been kind enough to us to hand most of it on a platter.

If you think I’m off my rocker, take a look at our parents. At least when I look at my folks, I see two strong people who enjoy every minute they live…every minute savoring life because all they have is something they’ve had to fight for and be patient…and they’re rock steady. Even if it is a small house, or a small car, they understand the struggle they went through to get it. My dad had to work 8 whole years before he could buy his first car, and here we have me whining at 23 that I don’t have access to a car….and just this afternoon I was cursing 25 where I don’t have money, I am still hunting for a job, I am in no relationship and have never been in one....and somehow, as of this moment I seem oddly thankful that I don’t have any of this.

I feel grateful that I am being given a chance to fight it out and not just have plans click and not have that nice shiny job from day zero…because I think I learnt more about myself over the last two months, which is a complete ego booster for my narcissist self , which would have otherwise been a lost opportunity. I’m 25 and I’ve got many years of fighting ahead of me before I can really get everything….and given the world we have today which is so much more awesome than when our folks started out at 25 with hopes and dreams in their eyes….I really have nothing to lose. And you look at a lot of the successful people in the world, they sort of manage to get their act together when they are 30. Top actors, CEOs, business men and women….and I honestly have nothing to complain about because I am in esteemed company. And I’ve got 5 whole years ahead of me before I need to really start worrying.

So 25 really rocks….the uncertainty of it all. The whole ‘nothing makes sense’ bit and the whole ‘ Where am I going’ bit are actually quite exciting…but I really should not take them seriously. I’ve got a while for it to really work itself out. Who knows, two years after working at some job, I might give it all up to become a full time writer for a major music publication ( Think ‘Almost Famous’). Anything can happen…Just got to enjoy the ride.

27 March, 2010

One Less Person

Earth Hour was upon us! I’m normally one to take into all these global trends…the Livestrong band…live 8…Earth Hour….well, I’ve followed them all. I celebrated Earth Hour at college by switching off my laptop, phone, lights, fan…and even my cellphone. No cheating! It was good for 45 minutes…until I went with my gang for dinner to the nearby abomination of a restaurant. I sent out a mail to the college asking how the folks planned to make this happen. A classmate came up with a good idea of an acoustic concert, and we all know how I like to put up a good show (pun intended)….but then, other basic needs, like the IPL took over and Earth Hour went by our campus.

Now I am not going to accuse my fellow to-be-managers of being heartless when it comes to the environment and acutely selfish when it comes to the things that really matter, and believing that it is our birth right to waste electricity and arrogantly say this is meant for Americans and not us. No Sir no! I will not blame them for talking about CSR and environmental responsibility during presentations and interviews and ironically taking a course on carbon credits which is a good way of saying ‘Hmmmm….now how can I milk this Greenhouse-Gas Pollution bitch for some money?’…No…No….I will not accuse them of that either. I will not even accuse them of being short sighted and thinking that one person cannot make a difference to the earth…no ….no…I will not do that.

Ignoring these captains of industry (that will self-destruct….soon), I want to point out as to why India must believe it can make a difference. It is easy for us to say, the Americans did it this way and prospered and are now blaming us for their sins….but then, isn’t common sense supposed to kick in somewhere? This eye for an eye business has not only made us blind…but deaf…dumb ….and heartless. Good healthy Indians, who’ve come up through very nourished backgrounds, with access to education and food, and energy go about chanting stuff like ‘India is poor…many are starving and don’t have access to energy in one form or another…hence, why should we care?’. But my friends, are you one of those? I would understand this if a hungry poor man with no potential for the future said the same thing, but will not be sympathetic towards people with a plethora of opportunities on their hands….if we don’t make a difference, who will? Why must we follow those American Idiots to a derogated society?

It’s high time we stopped looking for self-f**king pity and calling ourselves poor. If you can, why not? And sending me mails and analogies with this fleeting regard for the many poor starving Indians who don’t get a square meal is absolute hogwash. So please, thank you very much for saving the Earth….Yes, we can't do without our petrol, electricity and all the other things we take for granted, but if 40 million people (the estimated number of Indians who are educated and live off the economy) for one hour do something different, I think we can save the Earth.

26 March, 2010

Bollywood will never learn

I recently went to watch a movie at the theater. I was unfortunately subject to a bad experiment, namely Vivek Oberoi’s “Prince”. Manners aside, I screamed WTF in the theater, much to the annoyance of the parent in front of me, whose kid I think learnt a new word. Ah, passing down wisdom to the next generation…feels good. Now here is what prompted the vocabulary transfer – The movie completely rips off versions of Iron Man. Yes! You heard me….we just Anu Malik-ed The Iron Man.

From the gist of it, Oberoi is a thief who has a lot of money and uses it to build gizmos. One scene clearly shows him trying on the holographic blueprint thingie which Tony Stark uses to test out whether his design works or not. You all remember the scene where he has the hologram running and it is almost as though the real thing is actually there and he puts his arm through and is able to move the hologram around…that exact scene…copied..sorry! Anu Malik-ed….and oh so shamelessly. See the above image for reference.

I mean, how retarded do you believe the audience is? First they take Spiderman and Neo and come out with this monstrosity called Krissh….now this. Here is the killer past, when Oberoi finally developes the hand-whatcha may call it, all it does is fire two grappling hooks……LAAAAAAAAAAME. Like my Hindi Teacher used to tell me ‘ Nakal mein bhi akal honi chahiye’ ( Even while plagiarizing, one must use their brain). When will Indian cinema develop a truly indigenous superhero? All Anu Malik-ed…..sheesh! Thank God they have not tried the same on the Dark Knight… oops! I may have spoken too soon….here is an awesome song featuring Superman and Spider-woman. Believe me…worth the time!

22 March, 2010

Book Deja Vu...

Okay, we’ve got about a month to go till the end of college. Time to start moving back to the safety of the nest slowly. So, I began this day clearing out the junk in my closet. Half way through the maze of clothes I slowly start to realize I own way too many socks for comfort. And it’s not like they are all of different sizes or colours, barring the black football socks which I still wear to any interview under my suit, ( I am too miserly to open the pair of cotton socks and since my illustrious football career is behind me owing to me being….well, never mind) I own a ton of white socks. And they all look exactly the same. I can mix and match without a worry in the world.

Socks apart, another thing discovered is that I have received way too many books this academic year. Besides huge books on Organizational behavior and Social Group analysis (which are in absolute pristine condition…not even bothered removing the plastic cover they came in), I own tons of notes I have apparently taken print outs during the year. This is fairly shocking because the grades are a serious joke when I look at the effort put in. Something wrong in the execution perhaps, kind of like SRK and KKR ( Any failure jokes will be attributed to Dada and the singers of ‘Korbo Korbo Korbo Ray’). Besides that, I own tons of huge telephone directories posing as books on economics, investment analysis, market research and strategy. The odd part is that, these books have my handwriting, my trade mark fluorescent highlighter in every line…..but I haven’t the faintest memory of reading any of these books.

And it’s this kind of déjà vu that makes me question whether I am living in the matrix or not. All physical evidence (one of the 7 P’s of marketing) points to the fact that I have indeed turned the pages on a lazy weekend afternoon, cursing my choice while still making notes out of the excess jargon thrown at our faces, but there remains no memory of me ever doing that. And this isn’t just one or two books, we’re talking about an entire suitcase full of books…a suitcase big enough to fit a small child or a really anorexic girl. This is highly disturbing with only a month to go till graduation.

20 March, 2010

They’ve taken away my IPL

For those who know me well enough, I don’t care all that much for cricket as much as I do for Football. Cricket is part of our culture (or lack of it) hence I watch the game and am not as retarded as some people I know who still think Mark Waugh is captain of Australia. I am NOT kidding on this one. Anyway, just as I was getting comfortable with the aspect of an ODI, which they renamed to ‘Limited Overs International’. (God Damn Jargon), this new phenomenon called 20-20 came along, and India had to go ahead and win the darn World Cup. It was a good tournament, jolly good fun.

Then came this ghastly display called the IPL, and with the IPL came the most important part – Cheerleaders!!! (High Five Dudes). And all of a sudden, I found reason to watch grown men wildly swing their bats around and the crowd goes wild. And slowly, I too began to have some opinion on field placements, starting line ups, Hayden’s Mongoose bat and other stuff…and it was all because they showed cheerleaders whenever the ball went towards the boundary, or a wicket fell. Friend commented, “Since when were you into IPL and cricket?”

Life was good. Sachin scores, Dhoni scores…out came the cheerleaders. And these were like the ones you saw at basketball and football games…and all those lousy American college movies. And then…India happened! Moral God damn Police! Ugly aunty types had an issue with nice firang girls showing off skin and dancing away! Ugly Aunty was jealous that she could not look the same way and ponch bellied uncle was busy grinning away while he dug his nose while sitting in his lungi and staring at the screen.

And they just ruined the IPL for me. This time around, the cheerleaders are covered top to bottom. Most of them wear tracks that just do not justify the concept of a cheerleader. Or maybe I’ve grown up with the Claire Bennet Image in my head, that I really can’t accept these new fangled Indianized cheerleaders! We did it to Chinese food…no reason why we cant do it to cheerleaders! But Why? Like a little kid who just does not get why his parents told him not to behave a certain way…I ask “BUT WHY????” Please do not mistake me for a pervert of some order, but come on…you just don’t do such things to cheerleaders! They’ve become so boring, none of the camera guys focus on them. It's just these little moments of joy and fantasy that make cricket interesting. Like I honestly care!

Exception to this rule is the team I support….for more reasons than one…The Bangalore Royal Challengers! Besides being owned by Vijau Mallaya…they have the best cheerleaders among the entire lot! And they’re awesome! So, in case you were wondering why I am vehemently egging Kumble and his boys on….we know why! Viva Royal cheerleaders…I mean Royal Challengers!

PS: You've got to admire my honesty....better than those weirdos who on the outside support ugly aunty in protecting culture but on the inside wish they could get into the pants (or whatever) of those cheerleaders!

14 March, 2010

I think I am gravely ill !!!

I’ve had a very confusing morning. The result of this is probably something that started the previous night. We’ve been having this assignment for a subject that was assigned nearly a month ago. With due regard to all that is decent and proper, we all decided to tackle it in the last minute. Where is the fun otherwise? So, we all head out for dinner, I indulge in a bottle of beer and lots of food with the notion that the assignment is due on the 15th of the month and that I have all of Sunday. Life is good!

Wrong! This is one of those times life decided to hump me, just to ensure I can still scream ‘Oh my God’. Assignment is due on the 14th! OH F**K!!! (The word could be fork…) I return, content as a pig at midnight and begin working. Nothing helps, I crash, wake up at 3 AM and begin working on this daft assignment.( Yes, if any of you new joinees are reading my blog…this is life…3 AM.). With 3 cups of hot green tea and jazz music in the background, work is slowly coming together. Music keeps progressing until about 6 AM, I need a shot in the arm to keep me going for the home stretch.

And here comes to rescue two stalwarts of the yester years of Bollywood…Kumar Sanu and Anuradha Paudwal. (Excuse if the spelling is messed up). On full blast….at 6 AM….Rahul Roy going’ Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanammmmmmmm……Jaane Jaaaaaaaaaaaa’….and Anu Agarwal replies’ Jaaaaaaaaanaaaaammmmmmmm……Jaaaaaaaaane Jahaaaaaaaaaaan’…and so on. 7 AM, I’m done with the assignment. Now, ignoring the fact that I was listening to Lamb of God at 5:45 AM, and switched to the unmentionables (which I have mentioned above) at 6, I was actually upbeat. Music on at full volume…have transitioned into ‘Uff Teri Ada…’courtesy ‘Karthik Calling Karthik’ and am getting jiggy with it.

Is it not wrong ? Is not my behavior vulgar and downright improper? Why am I filled with such a sense of accomplishment? Why am I not tired and cursing the professor and the system? Why am I not ticked off at the team mate who lives in the stone age and thought my life would be easier with graphs created in Office 2k3 format and not 2k7? We all know how seriously us MBA types feel about these non-IT types using outdated software. You may wear the same clothes for a week, with food stains from Monday morning’s breakfast…but using Office 2k3…blasphemy…sacrilege!!!

And why am I dancing like Cristopher Walken to bollywood music?

Ladies and gentlemen, I think as this course nears its end, I have caught some sort of disease and am gravely ill. Kumar Sanu..whod’ve thunk it????

On another note, I said goodbye to two good friends who left college to join their respective jobs at Mumbai. One was the poor lamb who was normally the butt of all my jokes…and the other was the drummer. Sigh! NO more concert performances from college for me. And who the heck am I suppose to make as the subject of all my jokes? Double-talent killer I tell you.It’s always sucky – these goodbyes. I’m always kind of clueless as to what to do or say? Do you give some pearls of wisdom like a grandfather? Do you stand and smile? Do you quote Shakespeare or GB Shaw? Do you sing ballads that say goodbye? I’ve never really been good at this goodbye business. It’s sort of like a bat in a closed room, senses go awry. Anyway….c’est la vie.

11 March, 2010

Scientifically Accurate

I was going through one of the status messages of a friend that stated “ Aim for the moon and you’ll land up somewhere among the stars

Now, when one has had barely 3 hours of sleep the previous night owing to the fact that one ate too much the previous day, one can only be scientifically acute. Now here goes my take on how inaccurate that statement is. When you think about it, or even if you don’t, like I care….The moon is closer to Earth than any star…even the nearest star, our good old Sun. So why in the devil would I aim for something so nearby and expect to end up somewhere far beyond where I aimed….the whole point of the above statement, in my mind, and probably that of the genius philosopher who was high on moonshine was that the stars were more achievable a target than the moon which was the brightest object in the night sky.

Either that, or one was being overly optimistic about setting ones goals. And to think we would quote this sort of scientifically inaccurate mumbo-jumbo as ‘Thoughts for the day’ in our morning assembly at school. No wonder us managers are groomed with absolutely funny ideas about success and setting ones goals. It’s the school system I tell you. They’re messing it up for everyone.

I remember one of the chaps in one of our business communication classes saying ‘aim for the moon, you’ll reach the tree tops’…made a little more sense. At least it was a more quantifiable goal.

All over Again?

It seems the extremely over-hyped and preachy movie 3 idiots has struck an emotional chord with a lot of my fellow to be managers and leaders of corporate India and eventually global organizations. (Well, apparently that’s what they tell us). I was recently going through the status messages of most of these guys who were having the ‘Give me some sunshine….I want to grow up once again’ lyrics posted on, with a hint of nostalgia and a tear in their eye. A lot of the sentiment probably comes out of the fact that most of them feel their lives would be drastically different from the current doldrums most of us are living in. But would I want to wind back the clock and start all over again?

Hell NO!

Why would I want to go through kneeling in the hot sun because the teacher could not teach me anything and believed I was a liability to the class? Why would I want to go through listening to the whole ‘Your son gets distracted and does not study…he is going nowhere’? On that note, I’d like like holler out to all those who thought I’d never make it – Yo ! I’m doing an MBA, you said I won’t make it to class 10….Gnaaaaaaaah! Why would I want to go through the awkwardness of puberty once again? Yeah…admit it you reader…it was a very confusing time! Why would I want to go back to being that chubby boy who was perpetually out of breath? Why would I want to go back to any of that?

If I think that I would do things differently, I don’t think so. We’re all either programmed to do the same mistakes, or completely new ones. All those experiences have made me what I am today, and I would not have it any other way.

06 March, 2010

I am high...and philosophical!

Well, exams are done. Sigh! Another addition to the ‘Magnificent works of Management and Fiction by Nikhilesh Murthy’ books. Blogging has been low these few months as life has been keeping me fairly preoccupied with exams, assignments and the great MBA job hunt. End of exams were celebrated in prompt fashion of us heading to the bar nearby and getting totally drunk earlier. I am now an avid supporter of the Bangalore Royal Challengers for the IPL… hic! Anyway, late morning, the alcohol and life kept me awake and I spent a lot of time thinking. (Please don’t go ‘WOAH, he thinks too!’)

Now quite obviously the one thing running through my mind is the all elusive (at this moment) job post MBA. Let’s admit one thing, we’re all in it for the money, and if someone tells you otherwise it can mean one of two things…either daddy (or the spouse) is very generous with their wallets or you’re in total self denial and you got placed on day zero at a job you totally hate and are being paid a salary which is very undeserving of all those A grades you’ve been notching up since UKG. In India, say what you want, your career is determined by your folks. And with all respect to their generation what they’ve done for us, more times than not, it is rarely what we want…and hence the sentimental USP that made 3 Idiots a big hit. But I don’t think it will change anything. Without commenting on others, I’d like to take the example of me to illustrate the point I am trying to make. The parental unit, since the day I was born have more or less set out a plan for me, none of which was made with my permission. Go to school…get good grades…go to college…go to engineering…work..get an MBA…get a mundane job with a major corporation who are going to terribly under value my worth…get married…have kids….save money for them…retire. And this ladies and gentlemen is the basic grand plan that works in almost every household in India…and they say we are not a communist country? Humph! But then something changed….Nikhilesh wanted to do something else.

When I ask myself, do you want a high paying job which would involve mindless travelling for business work, where all I would do is stare at balance sheets, get that company sponsored car and corner office with the pretty little secretary? I somehow cannot convince myself to agree to a concrete yes. And why is that so? Why did I spend two years reading for an exam to get into an MBA college just so that I can come out like everyone else? And the answer was simple – It’s the safest thing to do. And then it hit me, Indian parents might not care to much for what you want to do…it’s always the standard doctor, engineer, lawyer, MBA grad roles they can dream of. And that isn’t because they want to stifle your true ambitions of wanting to play music, sports, arts, theater, etc…but because from perhaps what they have seen in life, it is the safest thing to do.

When I talk to dad with stars in my eyes saying ‘I want an interesting job that would keep me on my toes, travel the world, and have awesome days at work. I want a place that would make me grow as a human being and give me a lot of learning oppurtunities…’ and so on and so forth, my father patiently hears me out before he reassures me that such ideas were the sort of thing HR put out in their pre-placement talks, but reality was far from different. All jobs were interesting and happening as far as the first month only. Your boss will eventually be a pain in your…neck! And pretty soon you’ll find that making money for someone else namely an investor whose face you have never seen will become your priority in life. But those who do well, learn to make that a fun affair…..take the job with a pinch of salt…and a whole lot of honey! And I wonder as to why did he make me go through all that if he knew that was the outcome….and it occurred to me, that this was probably the safest bet. And that my folks just wanted me to be safe. Odd….even after years of evolution, we’re still falling back on primal instincts…the parents always protect the young ones. Suddenly reminded of the Tyrannosaurus Rex scene from ‘the Lost World’ with that stupid offspring that got caught…lol…wait…oh….did I just call me a stupid offspring?

In my inebriated state, I was watching the infamous ‘connect the dots backwards’ speech by Steve Jobs at Stanford, followed by the commencement address by JK Rowling. And a few common points that I can relate to came across which I thought I ought to share. I am sure some of my college guys who aren’t feeling themselves right now are reading this…so here goes guys:

1. Life will not be simple…if it is simple and easy and everything is falling into place, you’re not doing something right. If you’ve never faced failure till date, then you’ve obviously been doing something wrong. Failure is a good thing; just don’t make a habit out of it.

2. There is an expiry date on blaming people. If you are not somewhere because you believe that it is because of someone else, that’s your fault for either listening to them or believing in them.

3. Experiment while you are young, pray for hardships now…because the lessons you will learn will keep you safe in your old age. So if you are facing failure, or depression, learn to cope with it. Don’t whine because life is only going to get tougher.

4. If you want to do something that is not conventional, be prepared to start from scratch and be willing to take the risk, even if it means going against your own ego…oh and ego is s good thing to have.

5. A lot of things in life don’t make sense now, but they will at some point. Hence never give up an opportunity to learn something new or even listen to what someone senior to you say. Most of life is not learnt in a classroom, but is learnt from people and the world outside.

6. Even when life is terrible, never give up on yourself. If someone asks you as to how things are going, always tell them ‘Life is good!’ and you’ll find out more times than not things actually turn out for the best.

7. Always look to keep positive relationships with people. If you don’t enjoy the company of someone, or believe that that person is not worth knowing, better to stay away and be quiet.

Anyyway, I think I’ve had too much to drink and to say already….it’s about 4 AM, I had better go to sleep before I get more philosophical. Oh wait….brainwave….how about this for a career choice? I become a motivational speaker? Oh wow… nice. I am putting this on the list of possible alternate career choices.