Wednesday, August 31, 2005

3 down... 3 more to go

After a relatively comatose 4th term, life has kicked into high gear suddenly here at IIMK. Fortunately, this spate is going to last for a very short time.

The end term began today, for me atleast, and I had to bear through three of the damned things today and have two more lined up for tomorrow. I have readings and summaries and other stuff oozing out from my ears at this point.

I have lost track of what theory was covered under which subject and even went to the extent of applying an entire framework of distribution channel management in the Negotiations and Conflict resolution exam a couple of hours back.

Hoping that I get through this storm too, without much damage, as usual. Collateral damage, though has been heavy and unprecedented.

Go figure!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

0,0,0,0,0,0,6,W

Despite all the debate regarding the validity of the concept and allegations of tampering with hallowed traditions, the ongoing series of cricket matches between an Asian XI and an African XI is providing some really interested moments.

In the second match of the series, which the Asian XI won, on the back of a hostile opening bowling spell by Shoaib Akhtar with Zaheer Khan winkling out 3 wickets at the other end, there were many such events.

To start off, an opening batting combination of Virender Sehwag and Shahid Afridi is stuff that bowlers' nightmares are made of. So people must have been bewildered to see Sehwag play out the first over of the match without scoring a single run. But before the pundits could conclude that the bowling is precise or there are demons in the pitch, what with all the grass on it, Afridi took strike and smote his very first ball for a six over extra cover. Back to normal service.

If that were not enough to prove that he doesnt adhere to any norms of batsmanship, he got out LBW of the very next ball. How Inzamam keeps his head while trying to manage this hot headed Pathan remains a mystery to me.

In other matters, Zaheer Khan bowled with a verve and passion that he hasn't displayed for India in some time and Ashish Nehra was his usual tidy self.

And I couldn't say it better than rediff does here,

Asian captain Inzamam-ul-Haq began his innings by running out countryman Abdul Razzaq for a duck, injured a hamstring in playing a hook shot and finished, with a runner, unbeaten on 32 from 31 deliveries.

The IIMK Batch of 2007 Freshers' Party - II

As indicated in the previous post, here is my take on the Freshers' party we threw to our juniors on 17th at the Taj, Calicut.

Even before the official start of proceedings, our very own Pakow, gave yet another inevitable acrobatic display of dancing to the tune of Nach Baliye.DJ Fido was around to egg him on, as usual.

Nach Baliye

The proceedings kicked off with a splendid performance on the flute.

Flute

Here is a dance performance by some junior girls.

dance by junior girls

The skit, a spoof on our batch functionaries, in progress.

The skit

The Senior gang, crammed to fit the frame.

Senior gang

A junior lad asking for a kiss from a female of his batch, in Amitabh Bachchan's landmark Jumma Chumma de de style.

jumma chumma de de

Senior junta having a good time on the sidelines.

good times start with....

Shounakda in full flow.

Rang Barse...

Sauhard Saran gets his birthday bumps in the Taj. Lucky bastard !!!

Happy Birthday to You, dear Sauhard.

It was a pretty professional performance by the junior batch and kudos to them for being able to put up an excellent show at such a short notice. This new batch has some seriously good talent and we can hope that they will notch up quite a few marks for IIMK in the cultural arena to add to the multitude of feathers that we already have in the academic one.

What I missed was a presentation by our batch which would have rounded off the event nicely. Instead, it was reduced to a set of performances of the juniors for our benefit, funded by us, of course. A pity.

Huge fun, nevertheless.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The IIMK Batch of 2007 Freshers' party - I

As per the tradition at almost every academic institution worth its salt, we, the seniors at IIMK gave a Freshers' party to our juniors, on the 17th of August at the Taj, Calicut.

As is the practise here at IIMK, the party was a bit late in happening. In fact it had been 55 days since the junior batch had been gracing the twin hills of Kunnamangalam with their presence before we could be budged off our perches.

Now, a freshers' party is not a simple thing, either to organise or to participate or to merely attend. Numerous pitfalls lie in wait at every step, ready to trip the unsuspecting and naive.

The Logistics Nightmare

In a city like Calicut, a party of this magnitude poses its own unique set of problems. First of all, there were not many places in this city which could accomodate both the batches of students of IIMK last year, when we had our freshers'. Now, with an increased intake of students in the incoming batch, The Taj, Calicut,host to all our Freshers' and Farewell functions in the past as well, was the only place which was able to accomodate all of us and even they had to stretch themselves to the limit.

The food stalls had to be set up outside the main party hall to ensure seating for the 300-odd junta and faculty members and the various drinks stalls alongwith the mandatory stage and DJ console.

This brings us to the drinks. The population here can be segmented into three distinct categories. The professed drinkers, the drinkers-on-the-sly and the teetotallers. Understandably, most people fall in the second category. The pitch is queered by the third species, the teetotallers. They need to be served fruit juices and with fruit juices also being an integral part of some other drinks, the total requirement of fruit juices is substantial.

This is where the ridiculous thing happens. In a city which is so rich that every second four-wheeler is a Scorpio or Bolero and every second shop is a jewellery store, there is no store or stockist that can supply 20 litres of fruit juice. Crying shame, if any.

So every time we have such a party of this scale, we see the now familiar and still stupid sight of three or four of my batchmates scurrying about town, scrounging for cartons of fruit juice from anywhere they can lay their hands on them.

The inter-batch gamesmanship

A freshers' party is the foremost forum for the seniors for establishing their supremacy on the juniors and for the juniors to bravely claim to be independent and superior to the seniors. This subtle undercurrent to the whole show manifests itself in the seniors booing or jeering every presentation made by the juniors, irrespective of its quality while the juniors will not let a single opportunity to take potshots at the seniors go abegging. In fact, they would even devise a presentation or two, strictly to lampoon the seniors. These could take the form of skits or speeches or occassional wisecracks by the MC(s). All these, and many more, were employed to full effect in our party.

There was an entire skit where the members of the cast just mimicked the members of my batch, to remarkable effect and were able to generate lots of mirth, all at our expense of course. So, Rohit's now legendary "The Party is Over, Guys !!!" statement was quoted liberally, a Placecomm member's dictums on punctuality were scoffed at, and the Mess Committee came in for a resounding barrage of heavy artillery in the form of a news bulletin.
Even the generally mundane Sports Comm were not spared the blushes. And of course, how could the IT Committee have gotten away with the mortal fear they have struck deep in the junies' hearts. They were mercilessly hauled over the coals as each of their policies and diktats were twisted and turned to eventually look ridiculous.

The dancing

Sur, Sura, Sundari

This trinity has distorted the perception of males the world over to devastating effect and IIMK is no exception. With DJ Fido belting out some groovy ditties and the lighting and smoke effects providing adequate cover of darkness for the Michael Jackson wannabes in both batches, the stage was set for a marathon session of letting the hair down and dancing to the hearts' contents.

Alas, if only life was that simple. When the situation reaches levels where the blood content in the alcohol stream starts reaching alarming levels and the intoxication is exacerbated by the suddenly so approachable and willing ladies, the mind plays some real hallucinatory tricks and pretty soon you have full scale war going on. What should, and could, have been a rumbunctious session of dancing turns quickly into an all-too-physical battle for dancing with the hot favorites of the night.

All norms are thrown to the wind and our knights in shining armor set forth on their imaginary steeds to the damsels of their dreams, protocol be damned. And inevitably, prudence is just one among a long list of casualties in the process.

What is fun, though, is to not drink at all, have a glass of fruit juice in hand and observe the antics of the high junta and have a quiet chuckle to yourself.

The Camera Conundrum

Any event like this will inevitably have a horde of people armed with digicams, eager to record the moment for posterity. And hence you see multiple instances of people collecting in places and getting group snaps clicked. Now, any such gathering will not be complete without the usual set of people who will keep jumping into such group shots right at the last moment and either fill the frame with their face or their posteriors or will make wierd gestures on top of other's heads.

As a photographer, I feel extremely irritated by this behaviour since it spoils the whole effort that has gone into the composing the frame which can be quite a delicate task in such a dynamic environment.

But, exasperating that this behaviour is, what really gets my goat is the other set of people who act all pricey and snooty and actually go to ridiculously great pains to stay away from random camera lenses. While I am all for privacy rights and all that jazz, what I fail to understand is their reluctance to be photographed even in group settings.

If they can come to public occassions such as this and participate in public events like performing on stage or dancing, then it is natural for others to capture the moment in their cameras if they feel appropriate. If someone has any genuine reason to avoid the camera, then it is my personal opinion that they must actually state this explicitly to the photographer clearly.

A brief recap of the events of the party and a few snaps might follow this post, once I get access to my digicam snaps, something which I do not have right now since my laptop has gone for repairs and this post is being written on Baba's machine.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Pepsi to control insurgency ???

Fiction can never even imagine to match truth when it comes to incredulity.

The decades old Maoist insurgency is facing its first credible threat, after crores of counter-insurgency money were spent in various grand and noble schemes, from Pizza and Pepsi !!!

Evidently, the residents of the extremely backward regions of Chhattisgarh have taken to these gastronomical delights to such an extent that they are willing to come back in the national mainstream, abandoning their support for the insurgents.

Read the article here.

Food, literally, for thought.

Wondering if something similar can be done to tackle Pakistan and its army-men..err.. freedom fighters in Kashmir. They can try pasta with coke there, wotsay !?!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

No clothes once married

The Times of India reports on an institute to transform girls into perfect bahus.

Amit Verma, the super-blogger at India Uncut, has his take on the same,

The course even educates them on how to sleep in the in-laws house. "You just can't wear any clothes in your in-law's house. And you can't lie in any way you want," Hemnani says.

Can't wear any clothes in your in-law's house ???

Read it all here.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Jai Hind

Wishing a very happy Independence day to all.

May the Indian cricket team do to the Poms what the Poms, the new world leaders in Cricket, did to Aussies, the till now world cricket champs.

May Narain Karthikeyan finish in the top 8 in a F1 race, when there are atleast 8 drivers in the race.

May the Indian Hockey team win something, somewhere.

May the BPO industry in India continue to flourish and set new benchmarks in excellence and performance.

Lastly, may the Indian Institutes of Management, especially the very patriotic one in Kozhikode, Kerala have a rekord-tod placement season this year.

And in the true spirit of Indian excellence, here is an article about the rising number of students from top-notch US B-Schools who are coming to India, for their summer internships, dropping cushy Wall Street offerings in their place. Goes a long way to prove something, methinks.

Jai Hind !!!

What is up

Sanjay Lakhotia, reproduces a letter one of his batchmates has sent to him on arriving in the US.

It is surely taking up so much time just to decide on these simple matters. Like my boss is saying one day " Yuh know, Avvneat, sometimes ah think just livin requires a cahllege degree !" There is being much wisdom in that remark.

I am thinking of our beloved country where exactly opposite is happening- some times college degree is rendering you unable to cope with realities of life !

Driving test is being another nightmare. I am priding myself so much on my driving skill, but pride is taking big blow when I am flunking driving test twice. First time, driving test lady is asking me to parallel park, and I am knocking down flagpole. She is quickly asking me get out and go.

Second time different lady (more patient) is telling me how I made such a dangertous maneuvre that I could have caused an accident. Each time I am itching to tell them, "aap pass to kar do, hum chai paani ka intezaam kar denge".

Finally, it is being third time lucky. I tell you, I am really getting superstitious about this # 3. We are getting US visa on 3rd attempt. Our flight from Delhi- London is taking off on 3rd attempt. Our flight from London - Houston is also taking off on 3rd attempt. Surely there are lager forces at play than we can see.

I am also being perplexed by this American obsession with weekends. Approx. 50% of Friday evening is consumed by people telling each other "have a good weekend", or asking "what are your plans for the weekend ?"

Then 50% of Monday morning is spent on asking "did you have a good weekend ?" and discussing what you actually did. How to describe to them that we spent the weekend by waking up a 11.00, eating aalu ka paratha (with low fat butter, if you are pleasing !), reading and lazing around.

It has got to the point that this weekend the wife & I actually drove down to a nearby lake, not because we are wanting to see that particular water body, but only so that we are having something to talk about on Monday.

Read it here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

resumes and thinks

A friend of mine gets an email from a placement consultant -


Dear <name of friend here>,

We have seen your resume we would want your resume to take any thinks further. Send in your resume.

Thanking you

<name of consultancy>

Send in my resume ? You mean, you have seen the resume without having it ?
And what exactly are these thin-k-s you want to take further ?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Kitaab Ghar - Dragon Fire

My first book review. On second thoughts, not exactly a review in the strict formal sense but more of a palimpsest of my musings on the book or piece of writing in question.

Dragon Fire


This is the second book by Humphrey Hawksley based on the geo-political equations in the Indo-China region after the earlier Dragon Fire, a book now I am dying to lay my hands on.

The book deals with a projected scenario where China attempts to establish itself as a global superpower through diplomatic and military maneouvers. Since it sees India as a threat to its attempts towards this objective, it extends a helping hand to Pakistan whose democratic government has just been toppled in a bloodless military coup and a eccentric hardline Army General has taken over, an almost transparent reference to Parvez Musharraf.

As Pakistan attacks India on the western front, Chinese forces invade India from Burma and squeeze India from both sides. The strong Indian response to the Pakistani prompts Pakistan to launch tactical nuclear weaponry in a bid to repulse the Indian forces' movement and thus in a rather enthralling series of events, the minor conflict turns into the world's first nuclear war.

Pretty soon, the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and Singapore, all with their own agendas, join the fray as the novel hurtles to a climax of rather frightening proportions.

The novel makes very effective use of tactical and other deployment level military details in all the countries involved to present a scary and worryingly, all-too-likely picture of a war which no one can win.

It was after a long time that a book I read, forced me to skip my meals, in a bid to get to the finish as soon as possible.

A highly recommended read.

Now where do I get Dragon Strike ?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The L word

No, this is not a post on the rather spicy television series of the same name based on females of an alternate sexuality, but a rather more mundane set of random musings more in line with the general nature of this blog, and its purpose of recording my thoughts.

Having completed half of my PGDM (equivalent to MBA) here at IIMK, I can discern a distinct chasm between two categories of students, the ones who are here for the learning, and the ones who are here for the earning.

Just a single letter in the english alphabet, L, assumes rather significant proportions when it comes to the behaviour, expectations and reactions of the populace here.

A case in point is a gentleman in my batch, lets call him the Learner, a part of a very small minority here. Now this gentleman, having had a rich experience of working in an eclectic mix of job roles, is here with the express purpose of gaining as much wisdom, knowledge and insights into corporate life as he can during these two years.

Since he has been fairly, to put it mildly, successful in his career so far, he doesnt really bother himself too much with figuring out how to get a foreign job or how to get into the-dream-consulting-company-that-shall-not-be-named-since-it-is-secret.

His position is in stark contrast to the overwhelming majority of people, the Earners, who are totally focussed on taking all the requisite measures to ensure their best shot at either the-dream-consulting-company-that-shall-not-be-named-since-it-is-secret or the-next-best-thing.


The reason why I mention this here is that because of this difference in approaches, there are instances when the larger interests of the Earners, like finishing the class asap so that they can run back to their rooms to play BZFlag, the hottest new P2P game to hit IIMK, or to watch the latest pirated flick, or do something equally important, are harmed because the Learner gets into a discussion with the faculty regarding some intricate point of the topic at hand.

Now, the Learner wants to clear all his doubts and emerge from the class more knowledgeable and insightful on the topic than he was when he went in. On the other, the Earners just want the requisite 30 hours to get over as quickly as possible so that they can write the end-terms and claim yet another skull, err... expertise.. as part of their booty..umm skill set, strictly targetted towards assisting their claims for that elusive khazana.. the coveted sapnon ki naukri.

Scenario : the 2 hour class has 4 minutes to go. The Earners are restless and ready to bolt.

Faculty: Well, as we come to a close, are there any questions?

The Earners, heaving a collective sigh of relief, start hunching down, as they prepare to explode out of the classroom when the inevitable yet unthinkable happens.

The Learner: Yes Sir, I have a doubt and a different aspect that I wish to share with the gathering.

The Earners, open-mouthed, stare with an expression of incomprehension.

Faculty: Yes please, go ahead.

The Learner: Going back to what One Earner said sometime back....

One Earner, blissfully unaware that he is the new object of attention, is gainfully employed in discussing the intricacies of effectively playing BZFlag with his equally enthusiastic neighbour when, the realisation that the faculty has now turned to him and is nodding his head thoughtfully, hits him.


...and looking at the matter from the PM&IR perspective, we can get some new insights into how.....

The Earners, daggers drawn, can kill the Learner at the first opportunity but alas that is not to be, and the session drags for another 15-20 minutes, much to their dismay.

The Learner, oblivious to the commotion his innocous contribution has caused, looks around innocently once the faculty has left the lecture hall, puzzled and trots out, satisfied at a day's job well done.

These skirmishes repeat themselves scores of times over the period of a term but the funny thing is that despite being overwhelmingly strong, numerically atleast, the Earners are unable to come up with even one credible retort to the Learner and have to go through this experience time and again.

The Learner, in the meantime, learns and progresses.

Do you want a fresher?

Sometimes the dull and drab classrooms thrown up such gems of oratorial excellence that your waning belief in God recieves a much needed shot in the arm.

In yet another edition of the endless batch meetings we are so fond of having to discuss every useless issue here at IIMK, members of our Student Council were trying their very best to regale us with their witticisms just to keep us happy while they slip by yet another student-unfriendly diktat unnoticed.

Sample this query posed to us, the senior batch, regarding the customary freshers' party,

"How many people are interested in freshers? "

Not satisfied with the rather enthusiastic response that it inevitably generated, with many members of the male species volubly shooting off their particular preferences in the junior batch, the same poseur shot off another one a couple of minutes later,

"How many of you want a fresher?"

Another specimen noted in class today, in response to asking for some examples of something,

"You said XYZ. Yes, XYZ is equally important but not as much important"

Ah, I will sorely miss all this in another 6 months.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Pichchurr Hall - Viruddh

Why do people have to make movies if they dont have anything to say or show ?

Mahesh Manjrekar, after a long sequence of absolute crap, gets fed up of the constant abuse that was scarring his infant psyche, decides to make a bhaari movie.

He remembers seeing a long-forgotten movie called Saaransh and then, since he doesnt want to copy, modifies the ending a bit to suit the stature of Amitabh Bachchan. So here we have the father, distraught over the loss of his son in an unrelated shooting, picks up the gun and shoots the fellow who killed his son.

In the court case that follows he confesses to his crime, gives some cock-and-bull justification for his act and is declared innocent (!!!) by the judge. I am aware that mitigating circumstances permit judges to reduce the quantum of the sentence or the severity of the punishment but the fact that circumstances can change the verdict as well was news to me.

Amitabh Bachchan must be on his way to toppling Azim Premji, of the Wipro company fame, as th richest man in India, going by the number of movies he shows up in these days. In fact, I am going to count the movies in which he doesnt appear, it will be far easier.

Sharmila Tagore impresses in a pointless role in a pointless movie. John Abraham is rock solid, as usual. I am referring to his expressions here.

What is Sanjay Dutt doing in this movie ?

Yes Sirr !!!

Was going through the ads that were shown by Mr R Balakrishnan, National Creative Director, Lowe, and came across this new campaign for Fastrack watches.

Now this ad brought back quite a few memories flooding back, some recent and some buried very deep somewhere.

To start with, the new trendy Fastrack logo was the one that I had shown a preference for among half a dozen odd new logos that Titan had sent to IMRB for conducting a market preference survey on. Since my summers were over before the results for the same could come in, I was pleasantly surprised that my choice was the eventual winner. A bit of gloating is in order.

The dug-out-from-the-memory- grave instance though, was a different one. For the uninitiated, the ad is about a class in a college where the teacher is taking attendance. On calling out the name of a guy who sports a Fastrack watch, the girls in the class start calling out "Yes" in various degrees of .err... bliss. Needless to say, the guy is suitably embarrased but manages to smile in the end.

Something similar happened to Deepu, my old pal. Readers of this blog might have read about him earlier here.

Well, there was this Thermal Physics class going on in the first year of our B.Sc. at Allahabad University and the Prof., an absent-minded Bong, called out his name. As was the habit of our gang, Deepu was not present.

Now Deepu, being the heart-throb of millions, to my immense chagrin, was a hot favorite of all the FOUR girls in the batch. And so it happened that three of these damsels shouted out "Yes Sirr !".

The poor Prof., dumbfounded, looked up and asked, "Deepak looks like a boy's name, is it not?"

The class was in splits, the girls suitably embarrased and Deepu was certainly not amused since it meant that he could never hope to bunk any of the dreaded early morning Thermal Physics classes ever after since the Prof always looked up and checked if he was present in the class during role call, effectively scuppering any chance of any proxy attendance.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

zindagi.. break ke baad

While the trip to Bangalore was all fun and frolic, and the journey back hair-raising, what it also meant was that I missed out on a lot of things.

No free broadband meant I was deprived of about 250 odd emails, mostly spam, from my revered batchmates and juniors, I couldn't reply to random comments on my blog, I couldn't read the excellent Blog Mela hosted last week by Baba aka Nitai, who has graciously mentioned my post on the Mela and I couldn't post on my blog.

Now that I am reconnected to the global grid, life seems pretty.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

winded and how

Hi all,
Finally back in G-7, my room in IIMK after a 6.5 day trip to Bangalore right after the midterms. Had an enjoyable time there doing all kinds of things, visiting all kinds of places and meeting all kinds of people.

The bus back to Calicut re-affirmed my twin beliefs,the existence of God and the infallibility of South Indian drivers at high speeds.

The KSRTC 10 p.m. Bangalore to Calicut Rajahamsa bus has a driver that has a valid claim to Michael Schumacher's (or should I say Alonso, or Raikonnen these days) position as and when it falls vacant. The sheer speed, dare-devilry, absolute disregard for safety, of self and passengers, and the ability to see what none else can fathom is something that this gentleman has been blessed with since birth.

I can say this with utmost confidence since this was my second trip in the aforementioned bus with the aforementioned driver. My respect for him increases by each such trip. First time up, he was driving with a crepe bandage on his right arm effectively rendering his fingers incapable of any movement.

This time out, after crossing Mysore, we hit a cloud front that did not leave us until we reached the Kerala border where, miraculously, the rain ceased. But the driver never noticed it. Maybe the fact that he was sitting inside the bus and was therefore not getting wet at all had something to do with it. Anyway, the speed never slackened and the stunts didnt stop.

After crossing Sulthan Bathery in Kerala, the route passes through treacherous mountain passes as we cross the Western Ghats to reach the Kozhikode district after crossing Wayanad. Visibility in these parts was reduced to less than 20 feet due to the swirling mists but this again failed to bother or concern my favorite driver this side of the Rhine and I witnessed the gut-wrenching spectacles of taking absolute 179 degree turns on the mountainside with the valley gaping below my window at merry speeds in excess of anything I could have thought possible.

The sensation that a fighter pilot would have after a particularly gruelling strafing run with heavy enemy fire is not dissimilar to the state I was in as the bus coursed through the relatively plane Thamarassery region.

I think I need a drink. And before you run off dialling my mom's phone, I meant Tea.



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