Monday, January 31, 2005

BackPUDDLES 2005

Things really went out of hand here.

To start off, it didnt quite start off with a bang with Vishak and the poor fellow from IIM Bangalore presenting their paper to a totally empty audi except for the two poor judges. Next up was the issue of total chaos everywhere due to multiple events being held together despite not being scheduled together. A primary reason being the absolute lack of control over timely starts to scheduled events. So we had instances where event organisers were seen roaming around the place 30 minutes after their event was scheduled to have started, looking for participants or in some cases, including us, judges.

Further pandemonium ensued once the 4L game got going, what with more than 60 participants flocking our preliminary qualification round. Suddenly it seemed as if no one else was there. And there wasn't. For the intelligent junta of IIMK, the hosts of this event, had decided to utilise this time for visiting homes, girlfriends, catching up on lost sleep, basically anything but showing for just watching if not participating.

What I found a bit sad was the fact that the IIMB team could not participate in our game simply because they were not allowed to leave the audi once their paper presentation was over. Sad, sad, sad. I wanted to see them getting beaten by someone else :-(

Shortlisting done, we got down to the real business of the Maya Bazaar. With products as innovative as Magic Potion, Magic Broom & Magic Ball to be marketed, it was imperative that the teams use every means at their disposal to ensure maximum visibility for their product and victory for themselves.

With this objective in mind, the teams entered the bidding for the various advertising avenues available to them like the MESS Notice Board, the 4L Maya Bazaar counter, the 4L Times newsletter etc. And it was serious fun watching teams bidding up to ludicrous levels in a desperate bid to get atleast one of these. In fact, one team went so far as to bid almost the entire money they had, leaving them with nothing to buy anything else that they would need for their work.

The teams had a free reign in deciding their marketing strategy and some of them did come up with really innovative and cool concepts. Kunal went loco jumping all about the place promoting his BALL PAL. The Magic BroomX team also put in a lot of effort in the form of approaching people and informing them about their product while one Magic Potion team actually went into the mess, singing paens to the virtues of their product.

The highlight of the game was the Product Launch, scheduled for the evening of the first day. Kunal's team consisting of IIMK Heavyweights like Vishak, JC, Dixon and of course Kunal himself left everybody floundering with their superb presentation, made lively by JC's impromptu improvisations. This guy has some serious talent, I swear.

The most popular presentation, in terms of crowd response, though, was the Fashion Show by the NIILM-CMS team. With three babes, decked in pieces of their Magic Broom, showing off their ramp walking skills, the poor frustrated guys of IIMK had no chance but to capitulate and capitulate they did, with atleast 12 guys actively seeking out or having already sought the contact details of the girls. Females at IIMK, take notice. Your future assignments and project submission might be endangered.

The 4L Times, newsletter was also scheduled to be published and circulated the same night and it was during that my old friend, philosopher, guide, MURPHY's LAW, decided to get into the thick of things. First the printer decided to take a day, err night, off. Having found a way around that, thanks to the persistence and unending patience of Anurag ITCOMM THAKUR Pandey, the Xerox machine also went on Sympathetic Strike (which is not a strike but a mere misconduct, as per Mr. Noronha) leaving me in the unenviable position of arranging for 400 copies of a newsletter that had to be distributed in everyone's rooms before they woke up.

I finally managed to coax the Xerox guy to go to NIT Calicut and get the job done using his shop there. The newsletter was done on time and was circulated on time, even to the external participants and Alumni, two of whom were pretty impressed by our professionalism ;-) (team Backwaters has us to thank for the accolades they got from Alumni)

The next day went more or less the same way as the first apart from the remarkable inability of Prashant PAKOW Kowshik to attract participants for his Informalz and the insistence of the Backwaters committee that Informalz WILL HAPPEN pretty soon. Pakow had his revenge finally when he conducted a JAM for god alone knows for how many hours. All I know is that, I saw a participant actually dozing off while the event was going on.

BackPUDDLES 2005 came to an end with an ALL NIGHT Movie Marathon that lasted not more than 4 hours ;-) after some serious altercations between Prashant Kumar and Vikhyat Srivastava.

Finally, back to the normal grind of sleep, watch movie, eat OUT, watch movie, sleep. Yippee !!!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Of muggles & magicians in the maya bazaar

Backwaters 2005, IIMK's annual inter b-school management fest is here.

Scheduled to run over two days jam packed with events, it promises to be a spell of sustained anarchy. I am doing my two bits to add to the mayhem by joining Mayank and his team from MPower - the Marketing Student Interest Group at IIMK, and organising 4L -Maya Bazaar, the marketing game during Backwaters.

This game has an interesting history behind it. It involves teams being given a product for which they have to design a marketing and promotion strategy and market it so that their brand and innovative promos grab the mystic "top of mind" recall among the common Junta moving around the place.

In its previous edition last year, the teams were given commodities like condoms and sanitary pads.The teams started getting some really wild ideas and before you could say "billions of blue blistering barnacles in a thundering typhoon", they had gone to town with some really wierd and even offensive publicity blitzes. I will not go into the specifics like the slogans they employed etc., suffice to say that a substantial chunk of the audience was well and truly embarrased.

Now Mayank had decided to do a sequel which, for the first time in the history of sequels, would be better than the original, not that it would take much doing, but thats besides the point. So just as true hollywood tradition goes, we had to add some sort of phrase to the original name to be a proper sequel. The hunt was on.

Mayank assembled a team that can match any other in terms of sheer commitment, ability to keep cool under pressure and professionalism. With Mayank "Driving Force" Agrawal himself leading the way and Pavan "Smile" Vyas, Nikhil "Professionalism" Khorana & Anurag "Commitment" Pandey following him, it was left to yours truly, Aditya "lazy bones" Chaturvedi to lend an air of credibility to this team by my marked laziness and absolute unwillingness to do anything properly at all. After all, an IIMK team cannot be JUST PERFECT, yaar !

Now I knew that with this line up we could not fail. We threw ourselves into the nitty-gritties with gusto and before long had changed the game enough to make it new while retaining enough of its original flavor to qualify to be called a sequel. With Pavan's imagination running amok, we had the magical theme running all through the game, with magical products, magician judges and even muggle participants!

With so much of wizardry in the air, the name Maya Bazaar was apt for the same and so the game was christened 4L - Maya Bazaar.

There is a huge amount of work that both the organisers as well as the participating teams have to do in this game.
Hoping that the Backwaters Committee doesnt schedule so many events simultaneously that the other games lose out on quality participation only because everyone is playing our game ;-)

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Term III starts. So whats new ?

Another term starts at IIMK.
There is definitely something funny happening here. And its not just me. People who were eager beavers when they landed here in IIMK in July last year, totally awed by the scenery and determined to do something big (read study 48 hours a day), are now just totally oblivious to the surroundings and as far as studies go, well, let me put this way - "Are you kidding? Who has the time?"

And I am really not kidding.At risk of stating an oxymoron, studies have quietly slipped to the
lowest rank in the pecking order here. Though I am certainly not one to shed tears for this welcome development, it does make me wonder if all of us seem to be missing some point somewhere in the distant horizon. Well, who cares.Really.

After two months of relentless cribbing and whining from our seniors, we, members of the exalted species called
juniors@IIMK, deigned to throw them a party. And a party it was. Booze and food literally flowed. Or did it?

Well, actually, the flow just disappeared in double quick time before I could even reach the drinks counter. Now whether this was because of the official excuse,not enough collections, or the real one, too many drinkers not paying up, is anybody's guess. I am not taking sides, you see. ;-)

Due to this unexpected operational glitch, the party ended much earlier than any of the previous ones and yours truly had to make do with a packet of Haldirams Moong Dal which, I came to know, is heavily overrated as a snack as well as a drink- substitute.

The benevolent and gracious people that we are, we took our seniors by total surprise, in fact quite a few juniors were surprised as well, by throwing another party for our seniors. Thankfully, the collections were a wee bit higher this time and so the grub did last a bit longer though the booze still ran out in double quick time. Something is leaking somewhere, fellas, mark my words!

This term we have this member of the exotic species called Lawyers as a visiting faculty from TAPMI, where he had his first interaction with the IIMK Batch of 2006 when team IIMK went there to participate in Atharva. That team IIMK won the next FIVE consecutive events to be held after that meeting is a testimony to the sheer ineptitude of other teams in the fray and the absolute need of the members of the team that represented IIMK to be kicked somewhere in the nether regions before they can galvanise themselves into action.

What I must give him full credit for is the way he has made the dullest subject, Business Law, into an exciting and extremely enjoyable series of sessions that I do not want to miss out on. That I have still missed out on 3 of those already is a tribute to my capability to sleep through almost anything, including ringing alarms, banging doors, exploding bladders and detonating nuclear warheads.

This term is quite packed with Arthanomics, the finance seminar and Backwaters 2005, our management fest, whatever that means.

Looking forward to having a good time, as usual.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Yaatrigan kripaya dhyaan den..

Yaatrigan kripaya dhyan den. Gaadi number 1094 Mahanagari Express apne nirdharit samay dopahar ke 2 bajkar 40 minute se 3 ghante deri se chal rahi hai.

Your attention please, train number 1094 Mahanagari Express which was scheduled to arrive at 2.40 PM is now running late and is expected to arrive at 5:40 PM.

Five days of being fed to the eosophagus and still being reprimanded for not eating enough, being looked after like a 5 day old infant, being spoilt rotten with tender love and care and of course the food, having come to an end it was time for me to leave for Calicut by the aforementioned train which Baba was supposed to have boarded form Varanasi at 11 in the morning.

That it became 3 hours late would have meant that he must have been stewing in the train as it crept along on its way to Allahabad from Varanasi and it showed on his face as he came down from the bogie the moment the train stopped at Allahabad. My father and a friend of mine had come to see us off and we shared a cup..err Kulhad..of tea together and then got into the train to continue the first leg of our journey which was to take us to Mumbai where we intended to celebrate the onset of the new year.

The train reached CST at 7 PM and we promptly deposited our luggage at the cloak room and walked all the way to the Gateway of India where after negotiating billions of people we ran into Ravi Girdhar who was rushing to board a boat for the New Year Celebrations. Lucky Bastard!

It was at this time that Baba made the solemn declaration that one day he will perch himself in the executive suite of the Taj Hotel in front of the Gateway and look out onto the sea. What was worth noting was his insistence that he will arrive at the hotel to do so only in a Opel Astra and no other car whenever it may be! Hmm..I am wondering...

After knocking Baba on his head to break him out of his reverie, we proceeded to walk along the sea only for Baba for catch sight of a streetside vendor selling all kinds of stuff for kids. The child in Baba made a mighty racket and before I could say Infantiasis Baba had bought a contraption which cannot be decribed in any usual terms reserved for toys and hence I wont waste my time trying to do so.

After walking some more, we took a taxi to the Churchgate Station from where we took a local train to Vile Parle Station. Another quick trip in an autorickshaw later, we found ourselves at the famed Chowpatty. Baba again started clamoring for a Cornetto of all things and I had to put in some effort to draw him away from the Ice-cream stall. We heralded the arrival of the new year right there at Chowpatty amid plates of Pav Bhaji, Kulfi Falooda and Tava Pulao. We stayed at the beach watching the revelry until the cops came out in force and chased everyone away from the beach.

It was around 3.50 AM by this time and so we ducked into the Mocha Cafe nearby where be killed about 2 fun hours talking crap and analysing the entire business concept of the mocha chain of cafes and came to the conclusion that they have wasted a lot of money in the process.

Coffee over, we took the next local to Bandra and came to Bandstand and shot the breeze while staring out at the sea, each of us lost in our private reveries as this snap of Baba will vouch.

Intellectual recharging over, we realised that pressing natural emergencies must be taken care of and hence proceeded to Linking Road, seeking the McDonald's outlet there in the assumption that they would be open at 8 in the morning. Well they were not.

Another runaround (rick-station-rick) later, we found ourselves at INOX, South Mumbai's first Multiplex and I was suitably impressed by their loos. Sparkling clean does not even begin to describe them. Baba was so moved by the beauty of it all that he even thought of brushing his teeth right there and did enter the place with his toothbrush firmly tucked in this pocket. It was the presence of the attendant that prevented him from becoming the First Person in History to brush his teeth in a Multiplex.

Since we were already inside INOX we decided to watch the movie The Polar Express. A delightful journey through a young lad's beliefs with Tom Hanks for company in three different avatars, the film is recommended viewing for everyone who has the child in them still alive in some corner.

By this time we were getting garrulously hungry. Getting adventurous seemed to be the order of the day and hence we hotfooted our way to Not just JAZZ by the Bay, a fancy restaurant in Nariman Point. What deserves special mention is the mocktail Raspberry Royale which tastes EXACTLY like diluted and chilled Glycodin (I swear, try it and you will agree). At Rs.55, surely the costliest cough syrup around, I am sure. The pasta and pizza were strictly OK, nothing special.

A few more hours later, which were spent in going to Vashi just to find out if we could catch a movie there at the Meghraj theatre and then browsing through the Planet M at CST, we had our dinner at the McDonalds outlet closeby where the Pizza McPuff deserves special mention.

A quick trip to the cloak room for our luggage later, we were ready for the 8.44 local for Panvel which would bring us in time for the 6337 Okha Ernakulam Okha Express at 10:20 PM.

It was at Panvel that we met Jena, Sundesh and Vikhyat all of whom were coming back to campus by the same train but we did NOT meet Rohit SCON Gupta who, as I came to know later, was on the same train as well. And as if that was not enough, he was also aboard the same Mahanagari Express that we had come to Mumbai in. Strange indeed..

And now, an exhausting 15 odd days later, here I am, back at G-5, back to my sometimes contemplative, sometimes dormant mood.

A new day, a new term, a new year, a new chapter in my life beckon.

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