Saturday, April 30, 2005

zindagi aur bata tera iraada kya hai

Just listened, really listened, to a song just now on Internet radio -

zindagi aur bata tera iraada kya hai.

ek hasrat thi ki aanchal ka mujhe pyaar mile
maine manzil ko talasha, mujhe bazaar mile.
zindagi aur bata tera iraada kya hai.

Jo bhi takdeer banata hoon, bigad jaati hai
dekhte dekhte duniya hi ujad jaati hai.
meri kashti tera toofaan se vaada kya hai,
zindagi aur bata tera iraada kya hai.

Tune jo dard diya, uski kasam khata hoon
itna jyaada hai ke, ehsaas daba jata hoon.
meri takdeer bata, aur takaaza kya hai,
zindagi aur bata tera iraada kya hai.

maine jazbaat ke sang khelte daulat dekhi
apni aankhon se muhabbat ki tijaarat dekhi.
aisi duniya mein mere waaste rakha kya hai,
zindagi aur bata tera iraada kya hai.

Aadmi chahe to takdeer badal sakta hai
poori duniya ki wo tasveer badal sakta hai.
admi soch to le, uska iraada kya hai,
zindagi aur bata tera iraada kya hai.

ek hasrat thi ki aanchal ka mujhe pyaar mile
maine manzil ko talasha, mujhe bazaar mile.
zindagi aur bata tera iraada kya hai.

Note: I have most probably missed 1-2 lines somewhere.

Loved it. So very appropriate, methinks.

Marketing IIMK

A new batch is about to enter the hallowed portals of heaven ..err IIMK pretty soon. It will have the unique distinction of being the first and only NINTH batch of IIMK in its illustrious history.

Now, being in Bangalore, a city with a fair chunk of the incoming batch, and an even fairer chunk of my batch present, you would have thought that it would be logical to utilise all possible avenues of information sharing and meeting of minds to help the potential candidates to clear all their doubts about IIMK.

It was with this objective in mind that a lot of people, here in Bangalore, requested access to the yahoo group for the juniors. We were denied. The rationale, coming pretty late in the day, being to avoid multiple voices on one issue. Ahem, ahem..since when did THAT become any problem ?

Things came to a head when one of my good friends shot off a mail to the batch questioning it. Before you could say 'Down with Student Council', all hell had broken loose on Squirrel (IIMK's mail system) with opinions, allegations, counter-allegations flying thick and fast.

My other good friend, Nitai, decided to pontificate on the matter, and most surprisingly came to the rather immature conclusion that it was all an attempt to... err, never mind. It was indeed unfortunate to see that he failed to percieve what seems to me to be a sincere and most heartening attempt to do something for the institute by so many people. Agreed, the malcontents will always be there. But that doesnt mean you can go ahead and paint everyone with the same brush.

Quite a few of us were somehow left out of the yahoogroup formed to ease our entry into IIMK and I, for one, can vouch for the fact that I would have really appreciated being contacted by any senior student to answer all my queries and apprehensions before I could make a decision regarding the institute to chose among the options available to me at that time.

It was heartening, though, to see such an immediate outpouring of strong sentiments which culminated in the Student Council coming with the lamest of lame excuses of not having the final list of students and then immediately following that up with an email containing a document of the profiles of the junior students. If only they would have sent it earlier, this mess could have been avoided.

And suddenly, we see a flurry of meets being organised in all corners of the country, with good ole' Ankit trying to hold one in Jalandhar too !

But it seems, IMHO ONLY and only of late, that the other Scon members have decided to lie low and let one famously brazen member stay on the front to take all decisions and the resulting flak as well. Not a very good state of affairs, I must say, and I can already hear the rumblings of dissent rising from the ranks.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Sleepless in Bangalore

Life can get unbelievably boring during summers if you are a teetotaller vegetarian non smoker like me. God, its so NOT FAIR, why do I have ALL the vices in me ???

So it was with lots of time at hand and absolutely nothing to do to spend it, that I decided to delve into the shared folders of the junta here at IIMB and see if I could find some movies. And I hit the pot of gold (thanks Tarun, Ashish & Ravi) almost immediately.

Saw three movies today -

Serendipity : "A beautiful accident" of a movie. Baba, you are right about this one.
Sleepless in Seattle : One of the earlier classics from the Hanks stable. Cute, cute, cute.
Gladiator : Yeah, yeah. I hadn't seen it till now. And I'm NOT IMPRESSED. Maybe, it would have looked better in a theater.

Funny, Serendipity felt like a remake of Sleepless in Seattle with the fundamental concept being the same of there being a pre-determined order of events and everything has to confirm to that cosmic rulebook.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

of fiscal prudence & Spice Telecom

A batchmate of mine from Eastern India has an acutely developed personal expense accounting system with inbuilt measures for fiscal prudence.

Had to incur unexpected expenditure of approx Rs. 5000 ?
Go without food for a month.

Lost Rs 2000 due to an error of judgement?
Forego all other expenses until it is made up.

Rs.25 looks like too much for two measly parathas ?
Claim that the parathas are too heavy and order just one.

Feel like a smoke ?
Look around for someone whom you know and hit him/her up for a fag. Do this everytime you feel like smoking. Good money should never be wasted on buying ciggies. And while you are at it, boast about it too !

The kind of rationale that this gentleman gives for doing what he does and the obvious glee and pride that he exhibits deeply disturbs me and just kills the celebratory mood, usually the only occassions when I encounter him.

On to the mobile decision. Finally went for the SPICE offer of a SIM for Rs. 99/- and half rates between 11 PM and 7 AM. Though the tariffs were more or less the same across all the three carriers, what clinched the deal was the full talktime offer from SPICE. For Rs. 500/- I get about Rs 450/- worth of talktime (rest goes to service tax) and validity for 60 days. I think it suits my needs admirably since 2 months is about the span I need to be in Bangalore after which I can switch back to good old BSNL :-)

Another cool feature of SPICE that I realised is that it displays the duration of any call I make and the call charges on the screen as a FLASH message immediately after the call ends. Very neat and very convenient. Seems like I made a good choice :-)

Monday, April 18, 2005

Week 3 and the important learnings & findings

1. Despite my best efforts, the work at office sometimes gets so dull and boring that I find it tough to concentrate on the job at hand. Add the extremely crash prone and slow computers here with restricted net access and you have a sure fire recipe for low productivity.

2. Guru's Garden Bar & Restaurant in front of HSBC/Accenture. Despite DJ's best efforts to take us into the Bar area, we managed to get into the restaurant area and had a pretty decent vegetarian meal with a cold drink at Rs. 65 apiece. Not bad for a weekend dinner.

3. Do not accept people's invitations to join them for a movie. They will mysteriously drop out themselves, leaving you feeling uneasy and wary.

4. The mess in IIMB is as good as the one in IIMK. The 24 hour canteen is only slightly better, largely due to the good sandwiches and nice juices. The Maggi is pathetic and the shakes are.. errr shaky ;-)

5. Andhra food is pretty over rated, especially by the Andhra Movie stars.

6. Good Masala Dosas are as hard to find in Bangalore as they were in Calicut. And they have 347 times more oil/butter in them than the Calicut ones too. Now I dunno which I hate more :-(

7. The famous Kamat series of restaurants has vanished in thin air with phony namesakes erected in most places.

8. The first DOLBY DTS theatre ever, in which I saw a movie, Sangam theatre in front of Majestic, is no longer there :-(

9. The innumerable Chinese stalls that dotted the Bangalore cityscape offering one HUGE plate of Veg Noodles for Rs. 15/- only, especially my favorite one on MG Road close to the Cubbon Road junction, are all gone and have mostly been replaced by Rice and Egg stalls :-(

10. For vegetarians with a not quite developed taste for Sambars and Rasams, Bangalore has suddenly turned into quite an expensive proposition. When the very basic Grilled Sandwich starts touching Rs. 20, one starts wondering whether a gross salary of of Rs. 25 Lakhs p.a. will be sufficient to survive in the years to come.

12.Do not play high intensity cricket suddenly after a gap of more than 3 years without any warm up at all. It will cause untold miseries for the next 3-4 days.

13. Do not order more than 1 Vada at a time from any restaurant. It may not taste half as good as it looks and make you look silly trying to finish it.

14. Always, always, order fruit juices WITHOUT ice or half the glass will be filled with ice only.

15. Always ask the conductor whether the bus actually goes to the destination it should go to, though the same number bus went to that place yesterday.

16. Always take pre-paid auto from the railway station. They will reach faster and cannot fleece you. (Harry Topper better be reading this one)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Week 2 @ IMRB

Its Mukki's (mera langotiya yaar) birthday today. Bhai, here's wishing you all the very best for today and the rest of your life. Hope IIT Kgp gives you what you have been devoid of so far, namely, intellect and a girl friend :-)

This week passed by in a blur with a routine that was nauseatingly boring to say the least. A gentleman by the name of Mr. Joydeep Chatterjee has joined IMRB the same day we joined. He is a M.Sc. in Marketing (UK) and has a cumulative experience of about 4 years working with TNS in UK and India. What's really awesome is the fact that, as part of this M.Sc. dissertation, he did a MR project that involved doing surveys in UK, Scotland and India ! Talk about being ambitious.

He spouts clear cut marketing fundae with an enthusiasm that I found most endearing and his willingness to keep the jargon to a minimum to ensure that the point gets across tells me that he is one to watch out for. Lambi Race ka ghoda hai !

I have bugged him many a times with doubts of all kinds and will continue to do so until he gets a restraining order against me ;-)

I have been working on two major campaigns, one for a garment major and another for THE fmcg major. I am likely to get onto yet another project for an insurance biggie, if we get the project, that is. More work beckons :-(

Friday, April 08, 2005

1 Week ends... GPS in full form

Today a week has elapsed since we started our summers at IMRB. By now I now the members of my team by name and face though I havent recieved more than a First Day (Surabhi, you there? ) Hello from Ms. Rajeshwari Ragav, the team lead.

I think I am beginning to get an idea about my role in the next 7 weeks and all I can say is that the onus of taking something away from this company in terms of learning and takeaways lies solely and squarely on ourselves. Everyone else is too busy with their assigned work to even pause to think of us or our needs. The culture is of not much hand-holding or spoonfeeding. You are shown what you have to do, how to do it and then left to your own devices. Now, get it done.

Which means that you can either spend the 8 weeks doing all assigned tasks, in a rather mechanical manner, and be done with it OR you can do all the tasks but also keep asking relevant questions to understand what is it that makes the whole thing work. I have decided to choose the second route with a firm resolution to avoid doing any work that I have done once ;-) as much as possible since I just have 8 weeks to learn as much as I can about MR and the best way to do it is to get hands-on experience doing as many diverse things as possible and using any opportunities that arise to shoot questions at whichever poor soul happens to be available at the time.

the mapping of Bangalore is more or less complete and this has given rise to the discovery that I can get to regions like Domlur, Indira Nagar, Kodihalli, Airport Road, ITPL, HAL, Koramangala etc using a much shorter route from East End.Yippeee.

Looking forward to a rather quiet and sedate weekend of mostly dozing off and meeting batchmates who will be joining us to start their summers on Monday the 11th of April.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Day 2 and GPS

Nothing much to report for today. Went to office. Stared at people, computers, walls, cabinets, ceilings and read newspapers until 4:30 pm when I was handed some itsy-bitsy piece of work which I finished rather quickly and walked off before I could be suckered into doing something more.

Came back to IIMB after taking a detour to ITPL. I had thought it was much closer to the city than it eventually turned out to be (about 30 kms from Majestic). Its a nice place to work though. Clean roads, excellent plazas, awesome infrastructure, cool breezes and nice faces, what else does a guy need ? yeah Mobile reception is top class too and buses ply at regular intervals to all sorts of places. Must visit.

While coming back decided to do some more of a process I call mental mapping. It involves moving around the city along key roads and areas and then using this as a base for creating a map of Bangalore in the brain that I can later use for travelling anywhere in the city as long as I have a broad idea where it is located. While I am doing this travelling, using Public Transport, preferably, I try to read the names of the localities and roads I am passing through, major landmarks like the Diamond District and Leela Palace that I cross and also try to scan the bus nos plying in each region to see if one of them caters to the area I stay in e.g. Bannerghatta Road. Quite like an individual GPS, I daresay ;-)

So, to kick off mapping the eastern tip of the city I took a bus from ITPL to KR Puram (next to DoorvaniNagar on Old Madras Road) and then took another to goto Majestic. I passed NGEF Layout, Somas's home on the way to Indira Nagar.Unfortunately this bus broke down in the middle of nowhere ( I would later realise that it was right in front of Baghmane Tech Park) and then I boarded another one to reach Ulsoor from where I took yet another bus to Majestic.

From Majestic it was a simple matter of figuring out the platform from which buses 369 and 365 plied and then getting into one of these which I accomplished without any further mishap.And so it was that I reached IIMB at 10:45 pm, exhausted but content at a day's job well done and Rs. 25 (for the BMTC One-Day All-you-can-Travel Bus Pass) well utilised.

By the time I had come back, Ashish had moved out from this room into H 005, and booked this room, C 105, in my name. So its my room now. Planning on getting a local SIM card now. Roaming incoming is killing me. Currently in the deep research mode, figuring out tariff plans, special offers, catches and TCO (Total Cost of Ownership, for the jargon-ologically challenged). It will be either Hutch or Spice as of now. Lets see.

Time to crash, ciao

Monday, April 04, 2005

of first days and arcane musings

Surabhi Prasad, in her blog wonders why we attach so much importance to the 1st's in our lives, 1st day at work, 1st Love, 1st Kiss (you get the drift I hope). And she does that on the 1st of April. All I can say is that I was beginning to like her new found style of blogging where I could finally understand what she was saying rather than just reading it and then wishing that I hadn't since confessing that I didn't understand a word of it would make me look stupid ( I have enough of that happening already) and asking her to improve would make her look stupid. But this new post, neither here or nor there, confuses me totally. What's she saying ?

But I digress. This post is supposed to be about my first day at work. We reached office at around 10 after taking a rick from IIMB and tucking in a hasty breakfast of Poori-Sagu (this is the kannada version of Puri-Sabji and I would sincerely wish all my enemies and detractors to try out this assault on the culinary senses). We were quickly ushered into a conference room where Mr Balachandran Ramaiah (Bala, for the near and dear ones) gave us a comprehensive lecture on all the do's and dont's. Both me and Ashish were assigned to separate teams and were supposed to work on live projects that the team is working on. Sounds intriguing, at best and waste of time and energy with no value add, at worst. Will know after some time, I guess.

After sitting in a corner of the work place for about 1 hour, I was taken to meet my team lead Ms. Rajeshwari (dont know her last name yet) and her cohorts Ms. Mausami Prasad, Ms. Sowmya Mallana (my mentor). I also exchanged greetings with Ms. Lalitha (last name unknown, again)

Throughout the day, I was bombarded with all kinds of stuff to read which I kept wolfing down with alacrity in the hope that it will hasten the end. Alas, I was wrong. The faster I read, the more stuff was thrown at me. And Smiling, I resumed reading until I was rescued by my knight (is there a female equivalent) in shining armor, Sowmya who gave me some work to do. It was all fine but for the fact that it meant I had to stay back till 7.15 PM on my very FIRST (Surabhi, are you listening ??? ) day in office :-(

It takes about 1 hour to reach IIMB from the office on Residency Road and I am wondering if moving out to a PG closer to the office would be a better idea. Both have their merits and demerits. The PG will be closer to office and will take care of the food issue (very critical for me ;-) while IIMB has a full time broadband net connection (even more vital that food !?!) and the IIMK junta. Lets see where I finally end up...

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Summer training begins

After a 2 day long journey from Allahabad to Bangalore (via Mumbai, only partially due to there being no direct train between the two places) here I am in room C 105, IIM Bangalore, all set to start my summer training at IMRB International from tomorrow morning.

One of the few upshots of this trip to Allahabad in this heat is the fact that I bid and won a digicam from, and a cool Sony Cybershot at that. Its really neat, just what I wanted to get for quite some time but couldn't find anything in the sweet spot betwen price and features. Until now, that is :-)

This means that I can click almost anything I feel like as and when I feel like :-) Cool !

This is not my room since I arrived at about 11:30 which meant the hostel office was closed and so I am sharing Ashish Jeff's room. Rooms are decidedly worse compared to IIMK, though, on first impressions, the net speed is much faster. Whether this is because of very few users as of now or better infrastructure needs to be ascertained.

Its 5.15 AM as I write this and I think I should turn in now. Good night.

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