Friday, December 18, 2009

Way to go Tiger

The title doesn't mean that I am going to speak about Tiger Woods and his last few adventures wherein he has lived upto the tag-line that he used to endorse until a couple of days back, but he did live upto my dream(I am sure he is living upto the dreams of a lot of yougsters, especially after this).

But no, this one is rather about my own adventure today that made me quite a star. Today was the last day of my 2nd trimester examinations. I had Macroeconomics in the morning and it is considered to be a toughie amongst all of our exams. I was having a lot of sleepless nights in the last few days due to the exams and sleep was really catching upto me. I and two my roommates had devised a ingenious plan(something like the C2D from 5.someone) where I would get my 7 hours of daily sleep and still manage to study. We would sleep in the evening from 5-10 PM(not together, don't get ideas people), then have dinner, study the entire night till 4 or 5 AM(different subjects demand different hours :D). We came up with this plan after the 1st of our exams, corporate finance, went down the drain. This was going quite fine but still sleep was catching up to me each day and I hadn't slept at all in the last 2 days, due to the extremely demanding subjects. Yesterday I fell asleep in the exam hall, but that isn't something very new to me; as I am a regular sleeper in classes over here at IIFT.

What happened today is something that only I've heard from friends in some of the other IIX's(x = T or M depending on how F***Ked up your life is). Today after the 1st exam which was a breezer, I had a solid three hours to sleep before the next exam which happened to be Business Communication - 2. It was basically a paper full of s**t where we are supposed to do a lot of Bulls**t analysis about written and other communication methods.

I slept at 1130 in the morning and didn't even get up for lunch. I was woken up at 1 by a roommate for lunch, but then sleep was more alluring to me at that point of time and I didn't bother to get up. I remember having nice dreams about how a hot chick (correction, make that two hot chicks) will be sitting next to me and how in the 3D movie world I will join them..........ok this is getting too much. Coming back, as I said I was having these awesome dreams and I didn't remember to set an alarm in my cell phone to get up on time @ 3 PM to write the exam and just as when I was having a GREAT time with the above mentioned chicks in my hWAT dream, i get these irritating phone calls from my Class Representative. He had called me 4 times before I picked the phone and then I saw the time on the phone and was stunned. It was 15:09. I was 09 minutes late already for a stupid exam in which I didn't want to get an F. I jumped out of bed and was shocked but happy to see one of my roommates also sleeping in his bed. I kicked him and we both found our pens and ran to the exam hall. I was 15 minutes late as I reached the exam hall and all my classmates were having a good laugh at my misfortune.

That is MBA for you my friends, a course where your roommates forgets to wake you up from sleep; but still you end up being a joker and not a loser :)

PS:For the concerned folks - I did take the exam and went on to bulls**t how I will be nice to a subordinate who f**ks up a PPT or when I am about to fire him off :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Books - Man's best friend and mine :)

"Outside of a dog, a book is Man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

Books were a fascination for me during childhood. Not because of me being a bookish guy or anything. But then I've always liked reading. My mom had a good collection of novels from her college days and I used to go through them(except the Mills & Boon section) during my high school days. My dad isn't a big fan of fiction and he feels that reading stories isn't the best way to learn about the world(especially when the stories are written by Sidney Sheldon). So to get rid of me begging him to buy all the books in the world, he took me to the state central Library or commonly known as the Trivandrum Public Library. It was a great day for me. I still remember the 1st time I entered the huge doors as a thirteen year old and being awe struck by the rows and rows of books in the various reading halls. Since then my love story with books and authors had started and this relation, though had its ups and downs, is still going strong - much stronger than my OTHER love stories :).

This post will be about my fascination about books, some of the books that have changed my view about life and some of my favourite authors. The books and authors all came from different cultures, countries and ages, but influenced me greatly to THINK! If you are interested, read on to know their names and it would be good befriending them based on your interests.

I always was a fan of paperbacks; mainly because I liked reading lying on my bed before sleeping. This habit is still there with me and I still like the same type of stories. It started with comics when I was a kid; then Famous Five, Hardy Boys and then later on I graduated to novels and then stuff which I couldn't put my hands on as a kid :)

Books always used to be my 1st love, but since my life started having a new member called computer, books had taken a backseat. All through college my reading habit was lost and I picked up books again only when it was time for belling the cat - which ultimately belled me.

Then my focus started shifting from fiction to non-fiction. Particularly the autobiographies of business and political leaders and the so-called management books. Some of these were good reads, some were utter waste of time.

During my teenage I used to adore books by two authors; one was Sidney Sheldon and the other was Jeffrey Archer. I still remember the 1st Sheldon book I had read. It was Stranger in the mirror. It was like all of his other books, written like a movie with all the effects and special scenes that would make it a page-turner.

I'm proud to say that I've read all books written by Sheldon and Archer and I owe a lot of my reading habit to these two guys. If it weren't for their awesome narration and gripping tales I'd have left books a long time back.

Now any Indian in the 2000's who claims to be a book lover can't be ignorant of a certain individual named Chetan Bhagat. I've loved all his books and even though I feel that except for the 1st book, the others have had a very bad ending. Either being too filmy in style or too quickly wrapped up.

I’ll say that the books he writes talk about the social evils in our society, rather than just being funny. His 1st book talked about how parents just force their kids to take up ambitions for which they don’t feel the same way. The 2nd book talked about the youth’s lack of spiritualism in the present scenario. 3rd book talked about the evil of the religious riots. 4th book talks about the disconnect in our country when it comes to forming relations with people across the country.

So I feel he is someone who is required in our society which is at crossroads where parents are afraid to tell their kids what to do and what not to do, and even though Mr Bhagat has this cool dude image, his books actually help in putting some semblance into the Indian fast changing lifestyle :).

Top 25 books that I would love to mention are:(not all are from the world of fiction)

  1. The Godfather - Mario Puzo - The greatest novel I've ever read, truly amazing.
  2. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho - A truly amazing tale of life,love and desire.
  3. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! - Richard Feynman - An interesting side of a serious scientist.
  4. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkein - The only book which inspite of being a fantasy is in this list.
  5. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand - A totally outrageous but interesting philosophy.
  6. The Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - The confused teens story which was a great read.
  7. Lateral Thinking-Creativity Step by Step - Edward De Bono - A good one for creativity.
  8. iCon:Steve Jobs - Jeffrey Young - About an Icon's comeback to be the most admired CEO
  9. Mein Kampf - Adolf Hitler - I wanted to know what was in the mind of the evil genius!
  10. The World is Flat - Thomas Friedman - A great tale about the present world we live in.
  11. Freakonomics - Steven D Levitt and Steven J Dubner - An interesting outlook to practical economics.
  12. Relativity: the special and the general theory - Albert Einstein - The greatest physicist explains the most complex theory in the simplest way possible.
  13. The Motorcycle Diaries - Ernesto "Che" Guevara - An awesome travelogue with great thoughts.
  14. The Google Story - David A Vise - The most detailed account of Google's spectacular rise
  15. The Communist Manifesto - Marx and Engels - Being a Malayalee, I couldn't miss this one!
  16. Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert M. Pirsig - A good insight into the human psyche
  17. The Art of Computer Programming - Donald Knuth - For a non-software guy this is a bible to understand programming(for the software guys too)
  18. Theory of Game and Economic Behaviour - John von Neumann & Oskar Morgenstern - An awesome book which explains the most baffling economic theory with ease.
  19. Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking - A man who's life is a great example to follow, explaining the toughest concepts with just 1 equation in the entire book.
  20. Joker in the Pack - Nitesh Pahlajani & Ritesh Sharma - An awesome tale of love, friendship and life in a B-School, a must read for any MBA aspirant and .
  21. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - An awesome story of justice and a good eye-opener about the American society in those times.
  22. Day of the Jackal - Fredrick Forsyth - A tale so realistic that I felt it was too much of a story.
  23. Love in the time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - The best love story I've ever read.
  24. Jeeves Series - PG Wodehouse - An awesome set of books which though funny are a great read anytime :)
  25. Kiterunner - Khaled Hosseini - The last in the list is a book which made me feel sad and happy at the same time.
I hope you find the above interesting and thought provoking as they were for me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Generation

Don’t make someone a priority, if you are just an option......

I absolutely love this saying that I cannot find an author to give credit. It rings true everyday of my life. I have used this saying more than a couple of times in my GTalk status messages and also in my facebook, twitter and orkut pages. But till today I hadn't given serious thought to this line. You might ask what happened so much today to make me think about this sad fact of life. I believe it hasn't been a smooth sailing for anyone in their love-life, who ever says that they've the perfect love story, are either lying or are acting in a movie.

Now coming to the saying- Whether they are friends, family or a special someone they really can’t be that special if you are just an option in their life. I feel that people do make you an option in life, especially in your work, your college(at times it does feel wrong), your social circle and so on. It has been the norm in the fast moving world that we live in. I still remember the term Friendship of Convenience when it was told to me by a teacher at the TIME centre I had attended. He told about people being friends for just the sake of using eachother when they need something. People who think like:

How can I use him? He is well connected, financially well off, resourceful, he is a doctor, lawyer. Build and maintain the relationship, some day he could be useful. Usefulness goes, friendship goes.

I hadn't got seen much of FOC(not pronounced as the F word, but just F.O.C) in my life until I joined my work and their again in my training programme the company HR head told about the same term. He rather gave a 30 slide PPT on how to do the same quoted lines I've given above. But finally he told the term Social Networking, rather than FOC.

I had heard about networking since I am a part of the Orkut era, the Facebook generation, the guys who wake up and tweet their status and check their mails before going for a piss and will even F**K for the next best thing. Now when my generation decides to make friends it is a simple step. There are a thousand different places where you can meet people, maybe real, maybe virtual. But anyways you will always find people; more so because you live in a world with 6.6 Billion people. But still people will be happy to talk to some unknown on a website rather than with their next door neighbour or even to the people living in their homes.

There is a saying "my enemy's enemy is my friend." Common enemy goes, friendship also goes. True Friendship cannot survive without the element of mutual respect and that I feel is the one thing that lacks in these ONLINE, always there for you friends :).

I am not pointing fingers at anyone, I am very much part of this generation, I get happy when people say they "LIKE" my stupid messages in Facebook, or when someone RT's my tweets; why go that far, I ADORE the one's who comment on my blog and for me and my generation this has become a way of attaining social recognition, of having a status that they won't get otherwise. Especially fat guys like me who would not be able to make it to any happening parties or be invited to movies or hang outs because of their looks or because they can't dance that well and so on and on........

Now I feel I've digressed quite a huge bit away from the saying at the start the blog; so let me just FOCUS and get back to the point. (MBA has been doing its good bits to me too, don't you see the jargon's I've used till now :D). So I was talking about someone making you an option when you make them or rather plan to make them a priority. I feel that in the family life the FOC should just F*** off and you should have sincerity in your relationships. I can't imagine a father having a caring relation with his children only so that he thinks they treat him well when he's old. Going by the present way MY generation is going ahead I don't think even if we care for our kids they will take care of us when we're dying. Maybe this fear is making my generation to run more after the all elusive MONEY.

I still remember my dad's words when I had told him that I want to quit my job and go for an MBA, he was shouting into the phone that I am mad to leave such a well paying job and I don't realise the value of a government job. It is true, my generation doesn't know the value of a government job. Even after working in a government company I feel that I would do good in a private firm because their I will get recognised for my work. Its true that private firms reward people who show dedication and usually in govt. firms and departments good dedication means trouble for the person.

But then when I joined my course in July and in the discussions in class when people diss about government jobs and the work culture and how corrupt the officers are and that if the country is allowed to run by private firms then we'd beat US in a matter of years and all that wonderful ideas go around. Only the handful of people who've worked in govt. firms and have led a non-corrupt, non-maligned career(albeit short) will disagree and try to persuade that NOT ALL the officers are like that(heck I too was in that category a few months back, so how can I agree??).

My generation takes pride in the discussions and dialogues that we all carry out, but still we either never vote, or never care to know who wins the elections. As far as we are concerned it is always one corrupt guy to another, one uneducated fool to another and one idiot to another. But like the Tata Tea campaign I ask isn't it time to wake up and do something about it?

But then I myself am not doing anything about it other than proudly showing my finger off about the vote I cast, then why will anyone else do anything about it??

PS: Title credited to The Who for their wonderful song - My Generation.

*Disclaimer: I am being overly emotional tonight. These are the rantings of a person with absolutely nothing fun to do right now. And instead of getting studies done, is making non-sense blogs.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Its Party Time!!!!!!

Today was the 1st party I had since I've joined IIFT. It was a greatly planned party and was executed well by the senior batch cultural committee. We'd been eagerly waiting for the freshers party, which unfortunately never happened due to many issues(which I'd rather not get into now).

The party was Titled "Coalesce '09 : The Rock N Roll". The party had some cultural programmes and in addition we had the usual three things which are present in all IIFT parties : DJ, Dance and Daaru :). The cultural events had the usual of : Group Dance, Group/Solo Song and since we are a B-School we had an Ad-Spoof competition as well.

As part of the events I was part of a Group Dance team; no don't worry I didn't dance and break the stage, but I was the Music composer(rather arranger); I was the guy who mixed the songs for the dance which some 20 odd guys performed. It was a take on the event which we all might have done in our primary school days(atleast I remember seeing this in my young days @ school) called Action Song. In school days the song was sung by the same person who performed the actions. Here we had the song which was a mix of some old hindi songs and some new ones as well and the 20+ guys on stage enacted the same song in ACTION on the stage with good synchronisation.

We worked on the dance starting at 5 PM for the event was scheduled to begin at 7 PM. We had simple steps and by 6 45 PM we had a pretty good set-up ready for the event. I've not yet got any videos of the same, but I'll upload it asap.

The song has been uploaded for your listening pleasure if you desire to hear it :

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

The other events were fun and we were the 1st group to do the dance on stage. It was fun and the dance had great appreciation from all the students present in the auditorium. We guys performed the dance two times, thanks to a technical glitch and also audience request.

Then we had some great songs sung by the singers and accompanied by the musicians of our batch. After this came a slew of spoof ad's which basically spoofed the following products:

The hit of the day was the KS Condom campaign followed by the Huggies Diapers Ad. Both these Ad's were spoofed by many teams we saw lot of budding Padamsee's and Piyush Pandey's at work.

We had some entertaining Bhangra performances by the guys from Punjab and some other dances as well which were good fun to watch. We had Saurav of our batch who turned out to be the star of the day with his dance performances being in great demand. His new styles and matka's caught the audience unaware and it was truly a great feeling to watch Saurav do dance with the same ease he solves Accountancy problems.

Towards the end of the events we had the prizes being distributed and surprisingly our dance got the 1st prize and it was an awesome feeling to be on stage to receive the prize with some 20 other guys who I swear would never have danced in their entire lives; atleast half of them would never have had the chance to be on stage for a DANCE, if anything else :). But we did it, we the underdogs got the prize.

After the prizes the party floor was thrown open and the DJ was playing some good music, but since it was 9 30 PM all rushed to get their growling tummies filled with the awesome food being served. In addition the BAR was opened by 10 PM and soon the party's mood picked up with guys and gals hitting the floor and showing their moves on the dance floor. The DJ started with latest Hindi film songs and then some Punjabi songs.

After some time I too joined the crowd and started to make my earth-moving MOVES. Yes, even I danced, so you know how HIGH the mood of the party was :). The songs were all welcomed by the crowd with them singing along and since this was the 1st time we all had a party together and most importantly this was almost the end of 1st Trimester @ IIFT we all were desperately in need of a Break and what a break we had.

This is one snap which I got from the many which were taken today. More to be added as I get them.

The dancing continued non-stop till 1 AM when finally the DJ called quits and the party was wrapped up. The last songs had all of us forming a mosh-pit and crying Encore. Even after that we had a budding shayar in the senior batch giving out some of his fine-tuned Sher's. It was a great evening indeed and now @ 5 AM I still am getting goosebumps thinking about the night's events.

I think each and every person enjoyed to the hilt and those who missed the party had missed a big part of the MBA Life, the IIFT Life. For them I've just this comic from XKCD.

You can only dream of the fun we had today

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sleepless nights; sleeping in classes. That's MBA :)

Its been about twenty days since I’ve joined IIFT. As I sit in the cool confines of the A/C classroom now i can look back at these days and i can see a small smile coming to my face.

Life has been hectic over these days. I've been awake at hours I’ve never seen for a long long time(getting up @ 5:30 AM for yoga); sitting in classes with formal shirt and pants; sharing a hostel floor with members of the fairer sex; having birthday parties that go on till 3 AM in the night; sharing a small cake with 160 odd students; asking housewives about their favourite toothpaste; writing assignments in subjects that I'd never learned before in my life; analysing my own psyche in the dream world during classes; making PPT’s till 2 AM in the night; having coffee at 2 AM and on and on.

There hasn't been a point when I was sad or feeling that I had made a wrong choice. Living away from home isn't new for me and I’ve always felt at ease doing so. The trip to Delhi was the 1st time I was travelling by air. I had a good time. It was an early morning flight and even though I’d heard about the flight being the fastest and the safest means of travel until I travelled could I feel it. The flight wasn’t a pleasant experience as such because around me there were 3 families and all of them had small toddlers. One of these started crying and the others will follow as if in chorus.

After the flight I reached IIFT along with a friend from TVM, Ramakrishnan. He was a friend from college days and it was good to have someone along the 1st time here. We reached and got our rooms and I was on the 2nd floor. One among the 6 guys who shares the 2nd floor with 18 other girls. This looked like an opportunity at 1st but then later only we came to know that this is a threat. We guys are scared of keeping our reputations intact by being in this floor.

The classes started on 2nd July with the 1st class being Economics for me. It was a class that was interesting, and the prof was one genius who was giving out gyaan as if he was Adam Smith and we all were his greatest disciples. Some of us had the blank look on our faces when we got out of the class. But this look is better than the “I wanna sleep” look that we sport these days.

The classes are going on in full swing; but it isn’t classes that make the life in a B-School exciting. It is it the life, the senior-junior sessions, the interactions, the small chats, the long debates, the funny skits, the painful yoga lessons in the morning, the music that blares out of the speakers from the room that makes you wanna dance even if you can’t. All these things are what make life @ an MBA college worth living. The friendship, the camaraderie, the small joys, the midnight walks, the hot coffee’s shared, the poor jokes heard, the stories shared about had bosses and endless cribbing about the assignments and the case studies being handed out in classes like candies. All these things make life @ a B-School exciting. I'd heard a lot about this from my seniors who'd been to top colleges, friends who'd been to them and now I feel so special when I'm also telling my juniors and friends about these sleepless nights.

I just hope the 20 odd months that I’m gonna be here are going to be as exciting as the past 20 days have been. Life in MBA is just this one liner-Sleepless nights and Sleeping in classes.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Rom Coms - The Female Chauvinists' way of getting even

I've watched a lot of Romantic Comedies(Rom-Coms as they're known) over the years. If I remember correctly the very first i saw would be Pretty Woman. I saw the movie when i was in 9th standard. I saw the movie at a cousin's home. He was an engineering student and had this movie's cassette(yes, VHS cassettes were the norm those days, not CD's) with him.

I loved the movie and fell in love with the too-good-to-believe gentlemanly Richard Gere in the movie and wanted to be like him from that day. He had the charm to get any woman he wanted and yet he didn't want any. I wish one day i could raise myself to such a level and then say NO to my mind when i see someone and my heart says YES.

The greatest surprise in the movie wasn't however Gere, it was the every lovable, innocent-yet-charming in her own way, Julia Roberts. I just couldn't control my laughter at the scenes where she barges into the meetings and then takes him off to shopping and all. But at the same time tears welled up in my eyes when i saw the emotional scene with Roxette's It Must Have Been Love in the background.

Since then i've been a sucker for Rom-Com's and have a huge list of those movies in my collection. The movies in this range from 50 first dates to Zack and Miri make a porno. These movies haven't helped me a bit in anything other than feel good at the end when the guy gets the girl. The movies always have a lopsided hero-heroine composition, be it Pretty Woman with a Ivy-League MBA falling for a Prostitute or 50 first dates with an amazing chick in Drew Barrymore falling for an oaf of a man in Adam Sandler.

Always these movies presented a totally unrealistic view of life(atleast for a guy living in India). They always gave ideas that were stupidest in the best of situations and still the guy ALWAYS got the girl in the end. There was a time when i used to believe that such a situation would happen to me sometime in my life and i'll also get that brown-eyed girl with the most amazing smile in the world.

I think these movies are The Female Chauvinists' way of getting even at the so-callled male dominant world. These movies make the innocent guys (like me) believe in stupid things that would never happen. This makes the girls they fall for behave in the most outrageous ways and then assume that things like that would come out to be all fine and dandy.

But sadly the world, especially this part of the world(also known as India) has people who've never had such experiences in their entire lifetime. Yours truly is a living testimonail of these girls getting rid of guys like me after getting their most essential needs satisfied(may not be the need you've got in mind). But still these experiences have never let me down and am still in search of the brown-eyed-girl.

Hope these movies don't make a mess out of the life some other charming young dude.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Be part of something bigger than yourself

I came across a link some days back while browsing the net. I got the link from a friend in twitter. Its called 1001 rules for my unborn son. Its an awesome source of small tips that a father-to-be is jotting down for his unborn son. The list has reached No. 376 as of today. Each day I've been checking this site for updates. The site has got a tremendous number of rules which many would want their kids to know. Most of these are what one would classify under common-sense. There are some recommended songs for the kid, some wonderful snaps which tell about the world we live in and then there are sprayed in between some lovely quotes; some inspiring, some funny and some outright thought provoking.

Like these

Since the dawn of parking lots, man has sought to fill his gut with food and alcohol in anticipation of watching others exercise. - Homer Simpson

The public has always expected me to be a playboy, and a decent chap never lets his public down. - Errol Flynn

Good clothes open all doors. - Thomas Fuller

You get my point right! One such quote i got from this site was

Be part of something bigger than yourself. - MAJ Doug Zembiec USMC
The quote was from a unheard of Major in the USMC(US Marine Corps). I found it a rather profound statement amidst the funny and comical statements in the list. The link given with the name took me to the website of the Arlington Cemetery which is the burial ground of men killed in action in the US. I was overwhelmed by the writeup given about Maj. Zembiec, which went on to tell about his valour and bravery which earned him the name The Lion of Fallujah a moniker he no doubt earned under fire.

Major Zembiec was killed in action during a Baghdad firefight. He had previously distinguished himself several times on the battlefield – earning a Bronze Star (with the Combat “V”) and two Purple Hearts.H e was, by all accounts, a Marine’s Marine. There are few higher honors one Marine can bestow upon another.

The page had some touching snaps and the write up gave accounts from his subordinates, colleagues and family members.

You can tell a lot about a man by the people who make the effort to attend his funeral. Zembiec was laid to rest in the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery. Some 40 of Zembiec’s enlisted men were in attendance – some coming from as far away as Camp Pendleton in California. One Marine officer was quoted as saying “Your men have to follow your orders; they don't have to go to your funeral.

Also in attendance were some 15 generals in addition to several other active-duty and retired Marine officers. Again, nobody is required to attend these ceremonies. One can tell he had the respect of those he served under, and those he commanded. I found a photo essay tribute to Major Zembiec here.

I was touched by some thoughts Zembiec had jotted down in several notebooks – things he wanted to accomplish, things he wanted to impart unto others. Here’s what was shared with the Washington Post’s Dan Morse:
  1. Become the greatest husband and father ever.
  2. Be a man of principle. Fight for what you believe in. Keep your word. Live with integrity. Be brave. Believe in something bigger than yourself. Serve your country.
  3. Teach. Mentor. Give something back to society. Lead from the front. Conquer your fears. Be a good friend. Be humble and be self-confident.
  4. Appreciate your friends and family. Be a leader and not a follower. Be valorous on the field of battle. And take responsibility for your actions.
Most of the above quoted lines came under the heading “Principles my father taught me.” Would that we had more fathers imparting such wisdom unto their sons and daughters.

I am remembered these lines from history when people speak about him.

Day by day, fix your eyes upon the greatness of Athens, until you become filled with the love of her; and when you are impressed by the spectacle of her glory, reflect that this empire has been acquired by men who knew their duty and had the courage to do it.
- Thucydides, The Funeral Speech for Pericles

Another touching set of words that made me truly respect this man was a letter he wrote to the mother of a soldier who was killed.
"Your son was killed in action today. Despite intense enemy machine gun and rocket propelled grenade fire, your son fought like a lion. He remained in his fighting position until all his wounded comrades could be evacuated from the rooftop they were defending. It was during his courageous defense of his comrades that Aaron was hit by enemy fire.... With the exception of the Marines on Security, every man in the company attended the service. Aaron was respected and admired by every Marine in his company. His death brought tears to my eyes, tears that fell in front of my Marines. I am unashamed of that fact."
- Douglas Zembiec, Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, writing to the mother of Aaron C. Austin, included in Operation Homecoming by Andrew Carroll
This shows his respect for those who serve with him and that is what earned him the praise of men around him. May his soul rest in peace and his tale inspire millions to take up this fight against the horrors of terrorism and other forces of evil.

Don't Let The Memory Of The Brave Drift Away

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My 1st Radio Interview

Act 1: Floating in the clouds

Yeah things like this also happen! Thanks to Club FM and RJ Teena(a very good friend of mine) I was the Campus Samurai for the day in the programme Kabadi Kabadi from 5 Pm to 8 Pm. I am sorry that i couldn't blog about it before and let the readers know about it.

OK OK! I think i had enough of the cloud thing, lets get back to the ground.

Act 2: Back on Terra Firma

So now that am back on the ground let me tell what actually happened. Its 10 in the morning and i am woken up from my sleep with a call from an unknown number in my cell. I pick it up and have a lady at the other end asking me if am free later in the day. It took me some seconds to register the fact that it was a good friend of mine and I also remembered that she was working as an RJ in the local FM channel Club FM. She has called me previously to take part in some shows as I was a Malayalee working away from Kerala in those days. The occasions included Vishu when I was on my way back to Trivandrum for voting and celebrating vishu and one another occasion when I was in town .

So she calls and reminds me that yesterday was observed as Reading day and i do remember seeing a news related to this in the papers a few days back. So she says as its reading day they are having a segment in their evening show about various facets of reading in the present world and blogging is one such facet. So I was the only person who had a blog for a long long long time amongst her friends and so LUCKY ME was chosen for the task.

So I was asked a few questions about how and why i began my blog, my sources of inspiration for blogging, the ways to make money through a blog and so on. I was quite happy to answer the questions and in particular mentioned about my 1st acclaimed post(I like to believe it that way). Also about comments being the source of inspiration for someone who blogs and how they're a form of recognition(this is for people who read and run without commenting). I was also asked about my favourite blog and it was none other than poomanam. In addition I also mentioned about Kiruba's blog and also about Hari and the way they've bought domains and are RICHER with the experience they got out of just blogging. Plus my monetisation tips were about Google Adsense and also some other ad earning sources.

After this I frantically messaged all my friends about the show and am sure i increased the number of listeners by ATLEAST 30-40 people.

So thanks to the FM channel I had my 1st 5 minutes of fame. If I could get a recording of the interview I'll post it asap.

PS:While researching about reading day I got two lovely blogs about the day. Read this and this.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

It happened to me..

I've been not very active in the online world since last week; the reason being I've been going to duty in B Shift since 15th of this month. It was my last request to my boss as I wanted to sleep peacefully(*till 10 AM) during the last fortnight of my life as maintenance engineer. Ofcourse I can't tell him that I wanted to sleep, so my reason was "To enable better transition of knowledge to the guy who's come in to fill my spot, he should come in general duty(8AM-5PM) and I'll assist him in B shift(2-10PM)". So I was going to the office the last few days with books, newspapers, magazines and what not to keep me busy after 7 PM, as most of the jobs are complete by sundown and even if there are jobs continuing they usually don't require my physical presence at the work site. So I just goto my office(if you remember the pics from previous posts you'd know) and pull out the reading material I brought and go over it. In the last few days thanks to B shift I've managed to read half of "Love in the time of Cholera"; a book I've kept with me for so long, but couldn't get to read. I also took my net browsing thingy to the office and used to sit in the planning office and chat with people/read blogs/scrap on orkut and what not.

Coming to the point, today i was supposed to go in General duty because of the reason that am participating in Mahaquizzer 2009 from Bhubaneshwar and so I have to go in the evening train and stay there overnight. I ofcourse didn't tell my boss about this, the reason I presented before him was that both me and my replacement have our weekly-off's on sunday. So if we both take leave on sunday then no one will look after the plant activities on sunday(*you see plant comes first, even if its a BIG quiz). My boss was happy with my dedication to work even on the last weekend I was working and sanctioned the change of shift without much fuss.

So I was to getup and go at 8 AM to duty today. I was watching 27 Dresses, a romantic comedy, yesterday in HBO past midnight and it was 1 AM when I slept. I setup 2 alarms on my phone and 1 more in my roommate's phone. Today morning I got up hearing the hooter which sounds at the beginning and end of each shift. I was stunned to see that the table clock(a digital clock given free by some supplier as a courtesy gift after a long seminar on bearings) was showing the time as 08:02. I jumped out of my bed and ran to the toilet, didn't bother about other things but started brushing my teeth furiously, cursing Nokia company for making incompetent phones which can't even sound an alarm on time.

I finished brushing in record time of 1 minute 30 seconds and then took my clothes from the hangar and started to put them on, when I realised that my phone doesn't have sufficient battery charge to last the day. So I took the phone over to the charger which was on the table when my eye fell on the clock again. It showed 06:05. I was stunned AGAIN and to verify I checked the clock in my phone, then confirmed by checking my roomie's phone as well.

I cursed myself for this stupidity and was having a good laugh. By this time I was fully dressed and was going to wear my socks. I was laughing for a full minute before I started to undress and go back to bed. I called up a friend and was telling her all this. At first she must've thought "Why is this idiot making me getup this early" and it was clearly evident in her tone. But in the end she too had a good laugh about it and she said she's gonna get up and study. Then I tried my sister, but she conveniently ignored my calls and must be sleeping in her dreamy world now(hugging teddy I gifted her this birthday)

So moral of the story:Don't sleep too late and then get up earlier than you want to, it gives a THROBBING headache.

OMG its 7 AM, I need to go now!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Pagal Post

The below post is something i posted in in the IIFT final converts forum. Here's the original post link. Felt i should put it in my blog as well.

I personally feel good to have worked too the past 18 months. Coz i came to know a lot of things that i never knew as a fresher. One was regarding my knowledge in my subject and the most important was my skill of dealing with people. I worked(still working) in a chemical factory and there i never got the hi-fi life i dreamed. I dealt with people who're having little or no education but still masters in their craft. I feel its more difficult to deal with such people than with educated people. No offence to them, if they had better conditions when they grew up then am sure they'd have had a better career than me. I was more in the role of a facilitator, a sort of bridge between the top management which didn't deal with these workers directly, but used engineers like me to get the job done. I had lot of tough days, days when i thought why i chose this job instead of the software job i had got in Wipro. Each day i lamented about my decision to come here when some crisis happened in the factory. But then this enabled me to deal with crisis, one after the other over the past year i've learnt how to deal with problems that crop up without any notice. I feel the job has helped me know myself better. I feel more confident taking decisions.

Back in my college days the only such experience i had was when i was coordinator for my college's fest. That's the maximum exposure a small town guy like me could get in his college days. Those days i used to deal with people who're like minded, who're educated like me, who're having the same ideology; and i dealt with a few lakhs of rupees and that was a BIG thing for me back then. In my job i dealt with people who never got any extra incentive for doing a job in the night shift, and it was very very tough motivating them. In their eyes i was someone who earned a lot more than they ever will, just cause i did a few more years in college or school, when they were out earning a living. I dealt with equipment worth crores of rupees. I used to make purchases of machinery worth millions of dollars. I signed bills worth lakhs. I was 1st perturbed by the idea of people my dad's age or more calling me SIR. But i slowly gained their respect and they used to discuss with me more than just their factory problems. I became the young-guy-who-helps. I was invited to each and everyone of their functions, weddings, kids' birthdays and what not. But then I had a nagging boss who made me wanna quit this job each day. Even today while coming for lunch I was asked when i will be going by 4 men. They all had a sadness in their eyes when they spoke to me and had a pride in their face when they said "We'll tell the next batch that comes in that someone went for MBA from this office". I feel good about this fact. I feel good that i worked.

My friends in IIM's and other top colleges who got in the 1st time i wrote CAT were telling me how wrong they were to have entered without job-ex. Some of them struggled to get GREAT JOBS inspite of having excellent acad's(i mean 90+ all thru career), awesome extra currics and sports. I didn't say they didn't get jobs. They did get, but they never get the kind of DREAM jobs we hear about in the papers. So i feel good that i didn't get through any tests in my 1st and 2nd attempts and that i made it to IIFT this year. I hope to have a great 2 years ahead of me with batchmates like you.

Looking forward to it.

PS: This post isn't meant to counter anyone's stand or to demoralise anyone. But i thought i should say this out here.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Warning: This is a Looooooooooooong post and has a lot of me bitching about my boss and my work life in general. So read when you're in the worst of moods and best of free-time :)

Yes! I resigned from my job today. I had taken leave yesterday to work out on THE perfect resignation letter and searched google and a host of other career websites before getting onto something which was a mix from many good letters I saw. In short i copied from many and used my copy - paste skills to the best. I got to see a variety of letters; funny ones, short ones, to-the-point ones, one-up-your-@$$ ones and what not. I even went to read Satyam's Ramalinga Raju's resignation letter. In the search i found a few good ones too. Like Roosevelt's resignation letter, one-liner resignations, even those with abuses and what not!

One even had BLOGGING as its main theme. Couldn't help but posting it here.

The one-liner's were of the type

Dear Boss,

F**K You


Or the best one i got online was:


Main Chala.

Tujhe jo ukhaadna hai ukhaad le,


PS: The above letter can be RIGHTLY understood only if you've a good knowledge of colloquial Hindi, especially what MC means :)

Even though i really wanted to write one like the two above, but finally i settled on what's given below:


The Executive Director

IFFCO Paradeep Unit

Through Proper Channel

30th April 2009

Dear Sir,

Sub: Resignation from the services of IFFCO

I write this letter to tender my official resignation from IFFCO, as Senior Engineer (Mech) in Phosphoric Acid Plant, effective today, 30st April 2009. I also inform you that I would be completing my one month notice period as required by the company policy.

I do this with a quintessential feeling of regret which is bound to come on leaving a wonderful organization as IFFCO and also with a feeling of joy, borne out of taking a new career path in pursuing higher education, i.e., MBA for the next two years.

My association with IFFCO since December 2007 has been a great learning experience and I am grateful to the entire organization and in particular PAP Staff and Workmen for their unrelenting support and understanding extended to me.

I do affirm of providing all possible assistance in my capacity to ensure a smooth knowledge transition, in keeping with the high standards of IFFCO.

Finally, this is to request you to kindly initiate the exit process so that I might be relieved of my duties by 31st May 2009. I would like to thank one and all who have been a part of my IFFCO work life and would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to them.

Thanks & Regards,

Yours Truly,

Abhijith B

P No. 109231

Sr Engineer (Mech)

PAP Mechanical

Then in the morning I faced a lot of questions when i walked into my office. My office isn't the kind of office one would expect to get after a engineering degree. Its not the kind that one dreams of, not the greatest view, not the best of AC's, not the plushest of chairs. To cut the crap short i'll just put a pic of my office. Here it is:

A typical site office in a factory, but still not the norm, but a bit off colour. I walked in to see my boss, the chief manager sitting in the blue chair above and the shift engineer sitting in the black chair. Discussing about a breakdown that occurred in my section. I was then assigned the job taking making the pump ready by the evening and then i set about the task of finding what my technicians and workers were doing. Then i assigned various jobs to the people and went to the planning office which is more like an office with the AC, PC and cabins, files and stuff. There I took a print out of the letter I'd typed and marched into my Boss's office and gave it to him. He just glanced through it and was just reading and reading, not even asking me to sit. Well that's his usual style. He never asks me to sit when I go to his office. He quickly fires a lot of words and I scoot before he gets time to think what he said. This time he was just reading and reading. I remembered the words from my senior in the planning office who 1st saw the letter and told me to take a dictionary to my boss who's got a great vocabulary and is the best person when it comes to English, especially due to his Bimaru state background or his crude working culture which he learnt after working in a cement plant for 20 years.

Anyways he just kept on reading and then finally after 3 minutes and 21 seconds he asked me to come back after lunch and get it from him. I went out happily after the deed and then i was expecting to get a serious talk from either my boss, the paandi HOD i've, the GM Maintenance(who's the most vocal spokesperson of my company; about how great an organisation IFFCO is). But none of them seemed to bother that i was quitting my job. They just forwarded the letter to the next higher authority until it reached the Exec Director's table. He is on leave and I'm pretty sure he'd not care two hoots if i leave the company. For him I'm just a resource who planned to quit.

Truth is i feel bad that none of these people value my 18 month long stint in this place. It seems to me now that it was a wrong decision on my part to have taken up this job instead of the Wipro job I had. It is true that I loved some aspects of my job; like the good trips I had thanks to the job, the good times I had in the job, the bad days @ work.

But overall I hoped the people here cared for the work I did. This is the main reason I'm quitting my job, NOBODY appreciates the good things I do here. I feel leaving that my 18 month long work-life in the World's Largest Phosphoric Acid plant was a great experience.

Some snaps from my work life.

Overhauling a pump at 1 AM in the morning isn't something I loved to supervise.

That's SULPHURIC ACID flowing down the pipe, yeah the same H2SO4 you learnt about in school, only that it's 98% concentrated. Burnt a good shirt of mine once.

A gas cutting work under progress in a vessel. Was a fascination when I 1st saw these things.

The 1st thing you'll see when you visit Phos Acid Plant(PAP). It really is the world's largest and will be forever, coz no one's DUMB enough to make a single reactor plant with more than 2500 Metric Tonnes production per day. Mine's 2650 MT per day of 100% Phos acid.

This job will always have a special place in my heart, just like my 1st job. Hope the last month here will be a good time as well.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Finally the long wait is over

Yes, the wait for getting into a prestigious institute for getting an MBA degree has culminated in my life with me securing admission to the MBA(International Business) course at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT). The news came on 19th evening with the publishing of the list of selected students to the 2009-11 batch. I got in the list of students selected to the Delhi campus. I was in my room after coming back from work that day. My room mate was having night shift and was on the laptop doing what he does best(don't get me wrong, but he goes through financial news and chemical process updates; my guru in financial terms and funda's).

I had a feeling that the result would be out even though the IIFT official version was to wait till 20th. I came in and typed in the address and then changed. The site always was showing the GD/PI shortlist until then, but that fateful evening it showed something different. Something that looked so good to my eyes, but at the same time brought fear in my mind. Fear about the fact that, if i didn't make it, then i'll have to work for another year and i was sure i won't be able to prepare with the same fervour i had this time, thanks to my boss who's always on my @$$ to point out some mistake or the other. So with all those fears i downloaded both the lists, the one for the Delhi campus and for the Kolkata campus.

After downloading, i put in my name in the find bar, 1st time due to some error, my name didn't come up in the list and the search bar glowed RED. I was shattered; totally devastated and just got up and went to the balcony of my room, from where i get this wonderful view of the plant.

I know its not wonderful, but i was just standing there and was thinking what'll happen to my life in the coming year. At that time my roomie said the file's loaded fully and he could see my Name in the list. I jumped back into the room and confirmed with my own eyes that i'd got in. The list brought tears to my eyes. I called up my ex-girlfriend 1st and told her that the result is out, but i can't see it as the net connection here is too slow. But i guess she could understand from my happy tone that i made it. I called her up coz I'd promised that she'd be the 1st to know when the results are out. Next I jumped out of the bed and went to inform Debasis, my partner here for writing the mock cat's every Sunday morning. He was sleeping in his room, and was quite shaken, he was very happy that atleast one of us made out of this hell.

Then i called up my parents. My dad was home and he was very happy as well for me. But being the dad he is, he asked me if i was sure that i wanted to quit my so-called-well-paying job and go for this course. I said YES YES YES! I've had enough of this job, with a Chief Manager who's never satisfied with your work and constant maintenance issues in the plant. I had enough of the work already and i had even planned to quit the job after completing 2 years in it, and take up a lecturer's job in my home town if i hadn't made it to IIFT.

More about my MBA journey in another post. Till then let me just enjoy the glory :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A plain life

Ajay was a real simple guy, with simple dreams. His simpleton nature maybe attributed to his village life. He was the 1st person to become an engineer in his town. His father had great ambitions for his son. His father was the 1st graduate in town and was the 1st to get a government job as well. So Ajay had to improve upon that and he did that by being the 1st engineer in the entire village. He went to a town to complete his engineering degree. He got into mechanical engineering. Like all village boys in towns, he was also made fun of; for his dressing style from the 80's, or for his hair that he used to oil and curl up like some 70's film hero, or his simple study technique-where he used to write down each and everything he learnt 3-4 times so that he could get it into his head. He used to believe that he's from a village and has to work extra hard to overcome the shortcomings in his life and he did work hard and was lucky to get into a prestigious PSU when they came calling to his college campus looking for bright, young and dynamic engineers.

He got into NTPC and was posted to Singrauli Power Plant after his training in Gurgaon, where he learnt and re-learnt many of the funda's in mechanical engineering for suiting to his work life. He once again learned about Power Plant Engineering. He learnt new techniques like FEMA, TPM, Maintenance concepts etc etc. He was delighted to work in an organisation that powered the lives of millions of Indians everyday. He was also proud of the fact that he worked in a installation that produced 10% of the total power produced in the country. He was on 7th heaven when he was made a panel operator just after one year of getting into the job. He had the power of controlling the entire complex from his hand and at times he felt lucky to be at such a high position for a village boy he is.

He used to be well behaved to his superiors and subordinates and all of his subordinates were so happy that they vied with each other to get along with his shift for their duty. He was a soft spoken person and had a jovial attitude. He was an able decision maker and took the right decisions at the right time for the smooth operation of the plant. Slowly slowly the thrill of operating the panel died down and he felt bored doing the same monotonous job of watching the parameters on the panel. He needed some adventure in his job and jumped at the 1st chance when his boss needed a supervisory engineer to oversee the activities relating to the erection of a new fume stack(chimney) in the plant.

It was amongst the tallest chimney's in the world. Heck it was so tall that it had a lift for getting to the top of the stack. Except in special cases the top floor was kept out of reach for most people. The chimney was 181 mts tall. It was so tall that one could see the clouds below on winter times. He was to oversee a work for changing the airline mast which would warn approaching low flying air-craft about the tall structure. His job was to just stand there along with the safety inspector and make sure the job was done with proper safety equipments and precautions. It was simply boring standing there all the time but then he wanted a change from his boring routine in the panel.

He was to do the job in 3 days and would just stand there watching the workers put up the support structure for the light masts. He would walk down the steps and then take the elevator down. On the final day he was to inspect the wind deflectors by going down on the side of the chimney via a wire rope. He wasn't someone who was afraid of heights, but hanging down on a 181 mtr tall structure with just a rope isn't for the faint-hearted. He went down while watching each of his steps on the way down and also looking above at the safety inspector coming down.

After inspecting three of the wind deflectors he was going to the 4th and final one on the west side. The time was almost over for the day and the sun began its slow descent into oblivion over the horizon. He thought this is his last day and just turned around to see the sun go down. He slowly turned and saw the glory of the sun going down leaving streaks of reddish orange all over the sky.

He was very happy to see this and felt a special sense of happiness, never felt before in his entire life. He was happy to have seen the sun like that, happy to see the world from such a vantage point. That's what heights do to you. He was happy and just was enjoying the view when he heard a small sound, the sound of a rope snapping. He had just seconds before he felt the adrenaline rush to his head, the release of the special fluid that happens when body is extremely vulnerable or extremely excited. He was flying through the air and could feel nothing but the wind blowing across his body. At times he was trying to stay calm, but his mind was telling him about his impending death.

He fell on the ground on the evening of 5th March, 2009 and died. While he fell on the ground he could only think about all the unfulfilled dreams of his life. It is absolutely an absurd belief to think that your life flashes in front of your eyes while you're about to die. Ajay didn't feel a thing from his past. All he could imagine were all the unfulfilled dreams of his life; to be a lover, to be a caring husband, to be an affectionate dad, to be an admirable role model for his kids, to be a guiding force for his grand children. All dreams that he'd never dreamt about, but wished he'd the time to see them come true.

For Ajay death came as a unwelcome surprise, and it never made him see the life behind him like a fast forward film. Instead Ajay saw the unfulfilled dreams of his life.

So i tell you, never wait for the right moment, coz you never know what's in store for you the very next moment in life; so if you love someone and haven't got the guts to tell them, do it NOW! If you've been cruel to your friends, accept that in front of them; if you've been rude to your family, tell them you're sorry for it. As they say, life is not measured in the number of breaths you take, but in the moments that take your breath away! So keep it in mind and act accordingly.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nurturing the Entrepreneur in you

Being an Entrepreneur isn't a small thing. For one thing all the people applying for the various MBA entrance tests want to become entrepreneurs and start a firm of their own. It's a good thing for a country like India where we have a huge population in the working age group. So if many individuals start their ventures it'll be a great burden off the shoulders of the already overburdened government. But then jumping onto the entrepreneurship bandwagon without knowing its consequences is a foolish decision. So one should know all the risks and benefits of being a entrepreneur. Unlike many states, Kerala in spite of its high literacy rates still is a place where we don't see many individuals becoming employers. Always one is interested in doing job for someone or getting into a government agency. Its sad that even professionally educated people like engineers and doctors would go and follow this path. Maybe it's the way we are brought up, maybe its the low risk low pay remuneration route that's being traditional followed by our forefathers that's being followed by us.

Nobody tells us the bad things about being in a govt job, the endless routines, the stupid system of time bound promotions, the hierarchy system where one always is a junior even if he's intellectually superior to his seniors, a system where he's always supposed to follow while his brain loses all its creativity and he too gets into the system and becomes unproductive.

All parents want their kids to take up some good paying job with a cushy chair in the home town. Nobody wants their kids to venture the dark street all alone and get to the heights from which you can't see the bottom. I don't completely blame the parents, our educational system, our society as a whole has made it so. I came to realise this because most of the Keralites i know don't actually think in Money terms, we think in value terms. But if you've ever met a Gujju or a Marathi, they'll teach you to think in terms of the money. I happen to know this coz the head of the plant where i work is a Gujju and he always tells me the cost to the company due to some fault in my department. At the same time a Mallu would've fired me for the bad policies and the faulty maintenance practises, but never in terms of the money.

There are many reasons why one takes up the Entrepreneurship route, some are dejected with their present jobs(hell am one of them), some are having that one idea in their minds that'll revolutionise the way the world works(or so they think), some are doing it for proving that they're not part of the herd, some do it just for the heck of it; not knowing why they actually did it.

So i'll say first identify why you want to do it, why you want to start a company and have something run in your name. This is important because we can't have more Raju's running around with 50000 employees in the fray. So think of all this and then choose the route. The route will be MBA/Non-MBA, Technical/Generic, Small/Big etc etc. Then the next thing will be to look out for funds, if it's a small startup there are many banks out there to provide the moolah. But if you're going to go full steam then the fire will have to come from some venture capitalists, which unfortunately isn't that easy to come by. That's where contacts come to play a crucial role. If you're sure that you'll be an employer, then make contacts with anyone and everyone you come across. That'll help you in some way or the other when you're gonna need the funds. It helps in having more people say "Hey i know this guy, he's good"; rather than having people say "Who the F*** are you?".

So now you've the route, the money; what next. Well what next, find the right time to launch yourself. The time is the crucial factor, coz if someone launches the same thing before you did or even on the same time as you did, then you lose a BIG thing in the marketing world. Something starting with I called as IDEA. People will not trust you and will think you're a thief and then that's the last we'll hear of the Start up @ Technopark.

So time's right, money's there, idea's there. Now what we need is constant work to keep the thing running and the NEVER SAY DIE attitude, because some statistics say that 95% of all startup's die in the initial 2 years of their start-up :). So we need to cross that HUGE hurdle and then make ourselves good.

So now you've got my two cents, what're you waiting for? Join the Herd of Entrepreneurs or the Herd of Employees, or choose something totally different and own the world and enjoy your small time on god's sweet earth.

PS: This post had been under draft for a long long long long time and it was the pathetic state of the blog with no posts for a long long long long long long long long long time that made me publish it. More to come up soon how i was abducted by aliens(yeah that's my alibi) and where i get to write this post from :)