Saturday, March 26, 2005

The long and winding road....

A very special friend got me introduced to the Beatles .... picked out music he figured i'd like and put em on my pc ... I'm offically hooked now! And the long and winding road is one of my fav 'keep awake while i study' songs coz its so non- intrusive in nature. Its also the most apt to this stage of our lives ... We're 3 days away from leaving behind the most memorable experience of our lives ... Atleast for the mark chasing home loving simpleton that i have been all my life, this place has been a roller coaster ride ... treasured moments, the biggest highs and the deepest lows ... spurts of good luck .. good friends ... so much space .. and independence ... and an official intriduction to the world of brands ... (Rs 900 at Westside and Rs 450 at Khadder yesterday should make my point abundantly clear!) Unpredictable has admittedly made the big leap in a drastic paradigm shift of lifestyle. :)


Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Nah, not some cool phrase put together in a 4 letter word ... ORSI - Operations Research Society of India ... An annual convention held at IIMA every year apparently ... 1st time we heard abt it was when this really nice professor we worked under for our CCS (Contemporary Concerns Study) in the 4th term asked us to go present our work at ORSI's student paper competition. So Vidya and I figured.. yep wat the hell .. once chance to try and score a win somewhere ... She's more enthu having worked so much more on it than i ever did.... So tickets were booked et al ... My travel life's finest hour i must say ... Money saving spree that i am on (Living 2nd year on the money wonderful wonderful Citibank paid during summers and on a borrowed sum on 3 k from parents ... and reluctant to borrow any more!) i figured I’d give traveling alone a chance ... Vidya had to go off ahead to meet some friends at Baroda ... and had to stay on at IIMA for longer than me ... So there i am ... Traveling Bangalore to Ahmedabad ... Alone ... 2nd Class ... in a 36 hour journey spanning the south to the west of the country ... FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE ...

Travel plans were made ... tickets booked ... and as is my tendency .. news broken to parents post preparation and decision were both irrevocable. Her reaction of course was the same as when i colored my hair red (HOW HOW HOW CUD U DO THIS WITHOUT SO MUCH AS TELLING ME FIRST!! HOW DARE U COLOR IT AND THEN COOLY LET ME KNOW! ) So there's all this selling that happens as to how her silly younger son so used to the plush luxury of Autos (v/s the buses i used to travel to school by) and Flights (latest trips have been train free and flighty thanks to mum and dad's LFC provisions)... I'll be the only kid in the family to actually go out thr and travel by myself .. be brave .. take risks and all that jazz... darned pathetic salesman id make coz she didn’t seem to buy in to much ... saving grace seemed to be the fact that i was hell bent on going alone ... and sitting there at home in Bombay she really cudnt do much (Me is beyond emotional blackmail now)... and had to lemme go.

All pals at IIMB simply stared dumbfounded when i told em ... apparently this is the nutttiest thing neones ever done ... why travel liek this by shady train for 36 hrs ALONE!!! wen u can easily fly in 2 hrs???? Well ... i started off again .. its abt the money .. abt the independence and abt getting used to travel like this coz I’m all set for a sales stint (Day 2 being one of my placement slot considerations) ... then the usual smirks from my IIMB family ... then concern ... then chipping in to make my trip a painless one ...Bags to pick and choose from (Thanks Srikant!), Cd's written with my fav music ... (Thanks Dush!!) ... Cd Player lent (Thanks Kunal!) .. Dropping the kid of the family off to the station (Thanks Sohit!!!) and tonnes of smses in the train so long as i had a network (Thanks Sai!)...

My last 5 mins in the train i had this moment of utter indecision... felt like it wasn’t tough to jus pack up and run bak ... Then with Sohit saying he'd have gone bak if he’d had dounbts ... I wasn't getting anywhere ... but decided to stay anyway ...

Journey to A was cool ... Stayed up .. Heard music ... (Dush says if the tam songs didn’t play then its the CD's fault - so i forgive him that :) ) read (NO LOGO is the worst book in the whole wide world ... EVER!!! .. but good if all u wanna do is keep falling asleep) and munched on biscuits and chips for 36 hours ...

IIMA was very cool ... loved their campus ... and MR Lehman Ankur Goel took us to lunch to this awesome place called Mirch Masala ... Damn good LAssi i say !!! and showed us around campus ... Well that was all i cud do .. left that evening itself all set for another 36 hour long journey ... this time broken into 2 - A to BBAY and then BBAY to BLORE. Mum came to see me at BBAY- went home for a half hour .. pained bro a little ... gave him my ORSI T shirt and Parker .. Then boarded train to BLore at DAdar ... was back in a jiffy .. .seems like it now ... didn’t seem too bad then either...

All in all a great great experience - for the sheer joy of doing something like that for the first time ever! Plus we won the Student paper contest ,... paid a measly 250 bucks but Vidya and Me are absolutely thrilled!!!

Cool True Story NO ????

Sunday, January 02, 2005

A different way of life

I wrote this one for a speech at toastmasters ... like it a lot coz it reflects the state of mind of most of us MBAs passing out .... read on ...

A year back when I walked into this place, these were the words I kept hoping I’d get to say to myself two years down the line. Today, I look around with a hint of disappointment… at how I betrayed myself and how this place has betrayed me and everyone else. I guess we all came in here hoping to find our unique purpose in life – unique as we all are. Once in I don’t think most of us have managed to resist the charm of being one among the crowd. Of being accepted universally. Isn’t it amazing how all of a sudden all our dreams, all our aspirations seem the same – different as we all claim to be? And what is more amazing is how predictable a life we’re all set to lead – busy, cash rich, with no time to spare for anything but work – look around .. And you’ll see a bunch of wannabe corporates – all individuals who in the race to be different – have funnily ended up looking all alike! And standing here in the next 5 minutes I wish to talk about what I call “ A Different way of Life” – something we all have envisaged at some point of time – but something only a few will have the courage to follow through!

I visited a very different person yesterday. Let’s call him professor X. Someone who teaches students like us and is completely disillusioned by what he sees. So disillusioned, in fact that he’s decided never to teach them again. I think I’m supposed to be on the other side – with my kind – the students. But strangely enough I found myself strongly agreeing to everything he said. About what we’ve turned into.

And I’m going to tell you exactly what that is. We’ve turned into disinterested youngsters who treat the classroom as though it were their personal quarters. We treat the professors as though we’re doing them a favor by listening to them. We treat attendance as the be all and end all of existence. Lectures hold as much meaning for us as an advertisement that we zap through disinterestedly. Better still; lectures are where we catch up on our sleep – the busy all important souls that we are, its impossible to catch sleep back in our rooms. And of course the great communicators that we all are, we never miss a chance to have a hearty laugh at the odd professor who can’t communicate to save his life – notwithstanding the fact that saving his life is not really the point of the lecture. The point is to educate a bunch of uninterested “students”!

What is really sad is that not all of us were like this when we walked in here. But to be accepted as one of the crowd it is important to blend in – to do what the majority does. And that is what i mean by us having lost our individuality. The few of us who do want to stand by what we believe in end up being ridiculed by the rest. After all being conscientious is so uncool! And staying awake in class – you have got to be kidding! What kind of loser are you if you stay up through class – and god help you if your reason happens to be sheer respect for the elderly individual who is teaching you!

Let me not limit myself to the classroom. Outside of it, look at the job scene. What? Landing a pseud well paying job isn’t your dream? Then what on earth are you doing here? Here a bullet point there a bullet point … everywhere a bullet point … sounds like a poem … the finance guys all want the investment banking job. The marketing souls are all fmcg freaks. Every SOP reads “my ambition in life is to contribute to a better world by way of my unique skill sets and talents!” what an oxymoron our resumes have turned into!

So what would a different way of life be like? Well to me it would be one where I could live without having to be careful of what I say. Where I didn’t have to tread carefully because judgement was always around the corner. Where I could say I wish to work with an NGO and not have to be laughed at. Where I could dream of a non competitive work environment without sniggers behind my back saying what a wimp!!! She can’t even take challenges.

A different way of life would be one where we would all be secure in our identities and not give a hoot about what others would think. Where we could participate in activities without having to worry about whether they make for good bullet points or not! Where we could pursue our dreams no matter how weird they sounded to the rest of our batch mates. Where living in a place like this would actually be a great learning experience as the outside world sees it! Not a foolish endeavor at getting grades and bullet points. Where a good job would be the best job for you … not the best job as everyone sees it!

And all it would take to make this blissful dream become reality would be that rare thing that we see around here and call courage… to stand for beliefs and against the tide. The day that happens I’m sure Prof X will be happy to come back to a class that’s there for the education – not for the signature!

Bombay - Love it, love it not, love it ....

A few things that make Mumbai the “wonderful” city that it is:
1) Its roads:
Try imagining a smooth road ... a really smoooooth road.
Who am I kidding? If you’re a pakka Mumbaikar (and u most probably are), a road so smooth and so free of potholes is almost difficult to imagine! (Considering of course the very significant fact that u happen to be a well traveled resident of this city.) Because even deep down in the subconscious realm of your imagination, you’d know almost immediately that u are either deep asleep and dreaming (certainly not in your car!) or that you're not actually on a road. The potholes of this city, the scowling, paan chewing traffic police, the urchins selling flowers and knick knacks of the most unimaginable kind, the ubiquitous you-know- who’s at every signal peremptorily forcing blessings down your reluctant throat and the very- eager- to –make- its- presence- felt sound of blaring horns are all so quintessentially ‘Mumbai’ that we’d probably feel deprived without them!
2) Its fauna:
Think hard and try and remember the last time u were almost run down by a cow/buffalo/ox or the last time u almost stepped on the tail of a peacefully snoring dog/cat or the last time you almost stepped into a pile of generously proportioned of you- know-what donated by one of the above mentioned species (or their kin … how on earth could anybody tell who really left it behind to polka dot our otherwise drab streets?). Think really really hard and assuming you've taken your time to ponder and recapitulate I’d say not more than a week. See! And people tell us we haven’t enough animals in the city. I say we collect all these animals in a menagerie of sorts, hypothetically of course, and I’m pretty darned sure we could put the animal -head count of the best zoos in the world to shame. So the next time someone accuses you of insensitivity or bigotry towards animals, just throw this paragraph in their face (that, if nothing else, should be punishment enough!)
3) The suburban trains:
All those of you bus travelers must have your own wonderful stories to share, but the train-frequenter that I am, all I can rave about is our local trains. The thrill of travelling in a 26 seater that seats 32 and serves as standing/hanging support for another 20 –40 (or even more!) can beat hurtling down even the raciest of roller coasters! Seriously, the trains bring some outstanding bravery and foolhardiness out of the most timorous and shriveled of human beings. What else makes it possible for women over 40 to fight their way into already overflowing compartments? What else could account for men travelling on the roofs of trains in the peak hours of evening (trust me from up there, the evening sky seems anything but beautiful)? And in a much lighter vein, I've always wondered if acquiring a lean mean figure was in fact a lean mean task. As I realize after four years of train travel, it is actually pretty simple. Here’s a brief overview of the procedure (my views are strictly confined to the ladies compartment). First, select a train in the right direction and at a time closest to peak hours. Actually that’s about it. The other women in the crowd (inexplicably!) see to it that u are pushed into and out of the compartment. It’s a guaranteed weight loss course. Lose an mm for every ride. Saves time, money and effort (others make it possible to contract by pushing u further into yourself (literally!) so u just stand still and let them do their job!)
Besides, the swarming crowd inside teaches you
a) Gymnastics: How to stand inclined at anywhere between 45 –90 degrees to the horizontal, how to escape stampeding feet encased in pencil heels, how to hang on to the train using a single handlebar with a single hand, and what’s better, it’s all free!
b) Vocabulary: Remember that phrase about “girls being nice and full of sugar and spice”? Well I’d suggest we put the sugar away, atleast while in the train. Because I've heard well-dressed and seemingly decent women hurl the choicest and most unheard of abuses at each other in a wide range of languages. So there u have it! A language class and a live entertainment show all rolled in one! And we haven’t even included the fisherwomen yet!
Now give me another mode of transport that offers anything as impressive!!
There’s so much more I could write about. From the smoky fumes that fill the void in our lives (or lungs as you may prefer to call them) to the colorful chemicals that add color (and a lot more I’m sure) to the very boring clean colorless water in the city. About people who take the line “Mumbai is my home” so seriously as to treat it as their very own bathroom! About people who are so generous as to bless the city with a generous helping of wrappers, papers et al (the contents of which they’ve previously consumed).
Then, of course, there’s that thing they call the silver lining to every dark cloud. But I’ll just save that for the optimists.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

New Years Eve

Happy New Year!!!

2005 is finally here and the first thought early in the morning was ‘What a great day to be alive!’ Methinks there couldn’t be a better way to start of course except waking up next to someone u love. Ah well... some things must just wait until we’re either old or ready. Maybe I am not one of those two. Maybe neither! Doesn’t matter I say! Waking up in my favorite place in the whole wide world to meet some of my favorite people in the world makes this probably the best new years’ eve ever!
Thought I should start on a clean note and all that jazz so got a bath before dusk for a change. Went for a walk around campus. Delightful I must say. Still looks like 6 am with chirping birds and light breeze with no trace of the sun.
Back to room and papa’s msg says we shouldn’t be having lunch in the mess. I agree wholeheartedly. Lets wait – as papa says – for our drunken soldiers to wake up to the first ray of dawn till we decide exactly when and where.
Have flicked Dushyanth’s newspaper for today. Hope to read it sometime with all the enthusiasm expected of a prospective recruitment candidate. On second thoughts might have to hire someone in lieu of an attractive pay package to coerce me into reading the newspaper everyday. Because something in the back of my mind thinks companies would expect me to know more than the latest releases and their box office status. So there!
Haven’t thought of resolutions to this year. Maybe I’ll do that one new thing a month thing.
· Learn to ride the bicycle. Learn professional singing. Driving. Swimming maybe.
· What else? A new language? Ah maybe I’ll learn to read and write Tamil – my mother tongue – to rid myself the shame of being a fraud tam. Point is my parents are almost as fraud as me, so it might be an investment that never sees returns. As a future business person I see that as a waste of effort expended. Maybe I’ll go bungee jumping or better still parasailing. Just need the money. But I’ve promised myself some things I’m going to gift myself.
· A diamond ring set in platinum. From my first pay.
· Pay dad back cause I’ve already gotten me that much desired camera.
· Buy more time to get married. Am lucky to have gotten out of IIMB without having to make crazy career compromises. That’d make me rather unhappy. So will make the best of that. Will try and spare parents the trouble of looking for someone though.
· Will collect money to take a tour of Europe – with friends or neone at all. But I guess having close friends around makes the trip worthwhile. Will also take a trip of Singapore and Bangkok – if I don’t end up there anyway ;)
· Will shop at shopper’s stop atleast once. Buy me a skirt or something equally incredulous (from moms point of view that is).
· One self owned Nina Ricci perfume.
· One tiny strappy black dress – though I don’t plan on attending any parties still and tiny things I’m still not sure I’ll wear outside of this place. But then maybe there are some things we should buy cause we wanna buy – not necessarily wear. So Tiny Black Dress it is.
· I’ll wait to get a car. Until life and location are somewhat more stable.
· Will adopt a daughter. Will fight it out with family. Mom will freak out. But it’ll be fun watching her soften to the child. Fine – I agree this one might just not turn out the way I plan it. But will try getting the husband person to get a buy in from rest of family.
· Will sponsor a child. With CRY or someone like that.
· Will take a serious relook at that NGO career idea.
· Will work toward becoming Lakme brand manager by 2007. (HAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHA – thanks for the applause!!!)
· Will get back in touch with my spiritual side and friends from the past. Honestly will try. Art of Living and all that jazz.
· Will learn to dance with both feet and actually do it sometime!
· Will ask one guy out – yes I meant on a non professional date. Just want to see what it’s like – this one’s subject to quality of men in the world around me – don’t expect me to ask out the beer guzzling chimney type assholes!
· Will pray more. Honestly all of us could do with more prayers for others and from others.
· Will travel tons. On my own.
· Will learn to be alone and be happy. (Wonder what that’s like).
· Will come to peace with myself sooner in a new environment.

So there!

Christmas Eve

Am listening to Christmas carols right now. Life suddenly seems kind – even peaceful - like the proverbial calm before the storm that is placements. Well we’ll see when we come to that.

What else what else… well 6th term kinda makes u come stand at that place where u have to take ur pick from amongst the people u know and decide which ones will stay with you on the journey beyond the IIM. Interesting, cause you start to look at previous relationships like u never did before. And you start to invest more time in yourself.. Discovery.. The purpose of life … and all that jazz. Doesn’t seem like so much fluff when ur neck deep in the middle of it. time to also start thinking about career stuff like will I stay away from apping to a company coz it sells cigarettes? Or cause it sends me off abroad and I wanna be with my family? Do I wanna be with family? Or settle down in another place? Is marriage important? How much will I give up? Cause really speaking it isn’t really all that far! Pressure will start in due course of time… am sure most 23 year old women are going through their share of crap too.

Kinda makes me think those carefree days in VJTI and Ruparel were so much better. We didn’t have to worry too much about the consequences of our decisions. Cause they weren’t this irreversible. Now they are. Like i can’t walk out of a marriage cause I don’t get along with the guy all of a sudden. But I could’ve given up talking to some people in college for e.g. if I didn’t like them too much!

Its close to new years eve. And I’m suddenly thinking it’d be nice to have all the people in my life close by so I could meet them and tell them they meant a lot to me. I’ve always loved Christmas eve .. and will b singing carols this time at IIMB with some other singing enthu junta. God’s way of saying what you didn’t find at home, you’ll find in this home. Like freedom, space to grow up, hanging out with friends all night … inordinate attention to nature J and all those things dreams are made of! This place has been more than wonderful to me. Have learnt so much. About men! About friendship! About work! And about myself! And still feel like a kid who’s setting out on one more adventure in the open sky with nothing to anchor me to the ground. And far from scaring me, its exciting. I’ll shed an ocean of tears when I leave IIMB. But am looking forward to the outside world all the same!

Dunno if wat I wrote makes any sense! But I love all my friends! For all the time we spent together.. for our minor spats and the stupid jokes we laughed at. For the beautiful campus we were at for all those years … have a great new year! And the best Christmas ever! May god shower all of you with his best set of blessings and millions of smiles in the days to come!