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 :)