Wednesday, October 13, 2010

International Suit Up Day 2010

Barney Stinson is awesome

SUIT UP in honor of Barney Stinson, the suit-wearing womanizer we all love. If you don’t know who Barney is … ask your friends, they will tell you.
SUIT UP because suits are AWESOME, even if you don’t like Barney.
Things to do on International Suit Up Day
• Wear a suit to work
• Wear a suit to university
• Wear a suit in hospital
• Wear a suit to school
• Buy a suit
• If you see someone without a suit, tell them to go home and suit up, or convince them to watch How I Met Your Mother
• Drink in a suit – if you can find a bar called McLaren’s, drink there
• Party in a suit
• Play laser tag in a suit…. What up?
If you don’t have a suit, you’d better start looking for one right now.

Monday, September 20, 2010

There's no place like home

Part Uno:Delhi
It is 16th and “All my Bags are packed and am ready to go” this was my status message as the clock struck 12 on 16th September. I have the huge load of all my 1st year textbook’s with me(if anyone has any doubts regarding their sizes kindly check the last pic in the album named 3rd trimester @ IIFT in my Facebook A/C and you’ll know). With that mighty load on my back I took the Auto from IIFT gates to Hauz Khas Metro Station, that’s right baby, now the metro drops you off till New Delhi Station from Hauz Khas :) . Post the luggage screening and opening and closing of the bags for the CISF’s most honest x-ray scanning inspector, I move into the awesome Bombardier coaches which are waiting for me as I reach the platform.

I’m at NDLS within 20 minutes and I'm ready to board the Kerala Express from Delhi once again to Trivandrum. The last time I took Kerala Express from NDLS to TVC was in 2007 when I came to attend my job interview with IFFCO. That was in Second class sleeper, but this time I had an A/C seat, but still things don't change much as you'll see.

The 1st thing I do once I've stowed all my bags under the seats is to look at the passenger list chipkaoed beside one of the doors. Not to make sure if I'm on the list, but, to check out who else is there. M's of any age don't interest me at all unless there's an F of a reasonably acceptable age sitting beside them. But, that's for later. For now I mentally make a note of all the F-16s to F25s mentioned on the reservation list so that I'll walk pass their seats and check them out when my back starts paining sitting on the rock hard seats. Not much luck in there. My bogie was full of M30-M45 range. Well, okay. I don't want to travel among the hottest possible angels every time, but, what's the deal with so many M30 to M45s.

They say LUCK is Labour Under Correct Knowledge, but, the "Knowledge" part is something that makes me come back to square one every single time. But boy do you read what was in store for me.

I bet you know I am pretty pissed off because this post is being written after 1 am. I can't shake off the feeling that the Indian Railways with its offering of "the mo*^%&#-f$%^#ing AC-3 tier coach", along with my co-passengers, is out to screw me, have a smoke, then come back to screw me again. I present the following evidences:
  1. The compartment, including the side berths, is meant to seat eight. However the passengers in my compartment have approximately 287 people to see them off. And they all squeeze in or stand in the aisle, leaving no room for genuine passengers. All of them wait till the last millisecond before getting off the train. This is accompanied by shrieks of "arey train chal padi!!", as if we paid all that money to go sit in a stationary claustrophobic cell.
  2. Atleast one person attempts to swap seats. He offers a seat, usually a middle berth (Murphy's law) in a compartment 20 coaches away, or sometimes in the adjacent train. "Travelling together" is a big deal even in the night trains. If there is no such person, nocturnal predators with wait-listed tickets are usually on the prowl for confirmed ticket holders who can "adjust" for a few hours. Since I am a bachelor with the innocent face of a sucker, I can't escape being gang-adjusted repeatedly by a series of wait-listers. My medical results reveal that I may never recover from this severe trauma.
  3. Atleast one of the co-passengers carries luggage that will put an Antarctic expedition to shame. Consequently, the entire floor space plus halves of two berths and the aisle become full, allowing only someone with the skill-level of Bob Beamon to make it across to the bathroom. Oh! and needless to say, all that hunk of luggage will not have a single book to read on the way, except "Stardust" which will be over by the time the train pulls out of the platform.
  4. The presence of atleast one baby in my compartment is mandatory. And if the baby's bawling and howling is insufficient, the parents make repairs by throwing in some brain-dead baby talk. The baby talk comprises of atmost three sentences of the kind "Ale Ale Ale baby kyon lo laha hai...", "deko deko bahar doggie hai cow hai pigeon hai...aley waah aley waah" and "chalo mamma paas chalenge, abhi beta soyega, raaja beta soyega" and so forth. These three sentences will be repeated in an infinite loop until the mother dies of dehydration or I puncture my ear drums, whichever happens first. If the baby talk does not suffice, the dad usually initiates a suave and sophisticated game, like pulling a coin out of the baby's ass, thus cementing his skills as a magician, and the kid becomes all wonder-eyed thinking "Holy Shit! My ass did that ??" With all this talk of babies, I'm tempted to use the pun "berth control" here but I am sure it has been used a million times already.
  5. The person on the lower berth feels "sleepy" at 8:30pm, just two seconds after s/he finishes dinner, forcing the others to retire. Unless I am the lower berth owner, in which case, I won't be allowed to sleep before 2:30am. Even then, a group of wait-listers will suddenly materialize to sleep in the aisle, thereby giving a new meaning to "sleepovers".
  6. The person on the middle berth will sleep the longest, turning the rest of us into Hunchbacks of Notre Dame. On being woken up, he/she will generally give an Oscar winning "oh am I causing any trouble" look. The rest of us have, ofcourse, already been woken up by the obnoxious tea seller at 5:45am, who usually passes on secret information of the kind "abhi Aligarh cross kiya hai" along with the freaking mud water that passes for tea.
  7. All the bathrooms will be occupied till 2pm, so the elderly uncle will lose all pretense of good manners, and will let loose the dogs of hell, otherwise known as the farting guns of Navarone. While the more adventurous of us can start guessing which pickle did uncleji have with aalo and rajma last night, I prefer to lean outside the door, looking for the next electric pole to bang my head into.
  8. Needless to say, a delay by a few hours is to be expected. For example, my "prestigious superfast express train" took 53 instead of 50 hrs, and this was a good day I was told. The last 200 kms took more than 5 hours. Hell! I could have run faster than that. Shameless self-advertising ends here.

Next time, I am travelling in the cargo hold of the first airplane that I see.

Some people never learn, right? Yeah, they don't. And that's what makes this world funny. I'm honoured to be contributing positively to the Gross Happiness Index of the planet. I repeat, as I often do: If you don't have the balls to hold your breath for half an hour or so, you shouldn't be boarding the Indian Railways. Also applies to people with breathing ailments like asthma. Enough Bitching about Train Journeys. Now the good part:

As soon as the Train entered Kerala, the rain gods started their job and what a scene it was :), the picture below pretty much describes the entire scene which unfolded:

Photo credit: Train in the rains by Bramha.

Part Deux: Trivandrum
Out of the railway station and it's a different world every time I come here. Small city, now developing into a bigger one, some changes are nice; like wider roads, some are not; like cutting down trees for the same; nice, easy climate(not for all), and lots and lots of places to visit, especially the three beaches. But, it's my home I'm longing for. Now, just because it's your city doesn't mean you own it. 3 dozen taxi and auto rickshaw owners around me, asking me, no, telling me to board their vehicle. Then I find dad amongst the crowd and he gets me away from these buggers.

As much as you want to spend more and more time with your girlfriends and boyfriends, there's nothing that is remotely as inexplicably touching as a long and silent hug from your mom.

Now, it has been an unwritten rule in my family for the last 3 years since I've started living outside my house, the first thing my mom asks me is "What would you eat?". I remind her that I'd love the Chicken Curry which I had told her when we talked while in the train. Turns out the question was asked just as a continuation of the tradition and Chicken Curry is ready. I only have to take a bath and be at the table. I don't take a bath and no one insists me to have one. After all I'm the son. I have the best Chicken Curry and wipe off the last bits from the plate. I could’ve even licked the plate, coz it is my home and I can bloody do that here :)

My sister and her husband (I should get used to that more now) come at 7:00 in the evening. Hellos, hugs and we're out of the house to the temple near my home. Post this we have dinner together and then off she goes to her home and me and parents go off to watch the new Mammootty movie which has him playing a typical Trichur guy. While reaching the theatre for the night show, I felt like the whole car owning population in Trivandrum City has come down to watch the movie and I pick up an argument with a cop over the parking of the car and it went on to become a pretty heated one and that tells you about the status message. After a 15 minute verbal duel, finally when the cop threatened that he’ll get the tow truck and get my car pulled away I moved my car to another spot and got inside the movie. We had the very last row of seats and the kids rules that were mentioned above apply here also. There was a big family consisting of four couples all having multiple kids in the 0-5 age group out to ruin my movie. But surprisingly all of them slept off within minutes of the movie starting and I could have a good time watching the movie. I just loved the movie and all this reminded me on my trip back home that:

There's no place like home...

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Lover

..........She held onto him tightly as he zipped through the traffic with finesse, like a pro race driver. She was always thrilled when they both were on a bike, and it gave her goosebumps when he drove fast and cut through the traffic. It was drizzling slightly and even though it could be bad for their health, they just wanted to go on and on. As a child she’d always wanted to drive a bike, maybe because she saw her dad driving the new Yamaha RX 100(15 years back it was new), from her childhood. Now she loved sitting behind this guy, whom she loved, as he throttled the modified 2000 model CBZ with its stylish toe shift system. She could feel him taking the bike to its limits; she loved it when the roar of the wind drowned the roar of the engine.........

She had a lot of knowledge about bikes; as far as a 20 year old girl is concerned. But then that wasn’t the single reason why she was different from other girls of her age. She hated the company of TYPICAL girls. Maybe it was because she spent 12 years in a girl’s only convent school, or maybe due to the fact that the two women who’d been closest to her in her life; her mom and her elder sister; were such nice people that she hated to be categorised into the so called NORMAL GIRL STEREOTYPE. Now this doesn’t mean she doesn’t live like a woman. She does have feelings of a woman, and the best feeling of all in them was that she was in love with this guy. He wasn’t the best looking guy in town, but then she wasn’t the best looking gal in town either. So she thought she’d go for something other than looks in her dream guy. Actually it wasn’t until he proposed to her that she though more about love and marriage and family and all. Because he was the first person who’d made her feel that she was a mature girl, a girl who could be made a wife, a girl who’d be a good mother to his kids. The day he proposed to her, she wasn’t in the usual dilemma of a girl if he was the right guy for her, instead she was thinking, was she mature enough for something serious like this?

That was 3 years back, now she had no doubt in her mind regarding the fact that he should be her life-partner, for he was the lone person who understood her without even her telling him the problem. To add to this, he had a great job now, working in one of the best Investment Banks in the world- Barclays Plc. He was a globe trotting MBA hotshot thanks to his IIM Ahmedabad PGP. In some way it was she who’d inspired him to pursue an MBA, even though he wouldn’t admit it to anyone. It was his wish to match her parents’ question of status in the society that made him quit his decently paying job and write numerous mock cat’s and ace the CAT and get 4 IIM calls(ACLI, if you ask). He always had the ability, but it was the focus provided by a desire to marry her that pushed him forward. She could still remember the day that he proposed his wish to marry her. YES, it wasn’t the typical, I love you and would you be my girl. He was bold enough to ask her, “Would you be my Wife?” It was on the 26th of June, 2004; the day that he got a job in Maruti. Maybe it was the feeling in his mind that he had a secure job, a soon to be completed degree, which would make him an engineer. So the next thing would be to have a girl. But he didn’t have interest in going for a college love story, especially since he had just one more year left to complete his B Tech. So he carefully evaluated a few girls. Yeah, even she knew that she wasn’t the first choice in his mind, he’d been frank enough to tell her that, and that was one other thing that she appreciated about him, his frankness and his boldness to tell anyone what he felt; even though he was painfully frank at times. He was a nobody in college, except for some people very close to him, hardly anyone knew him. He was someone who was THE guy when it came to certain things; like technical paper presentations or when someone's car broke down or a bike had a starting trouble; he was the guy who all remembered.

He had a great smile, a smile which in spite of his average looks made him handsome. He walked with what many would call a "happy bouncy walk", which as per some books and psychologists reflects a positive personality. Yes he did have a positive mind-frame when it came to talking about and certain things. But he was totally clueless about how he can have his future planned out.

Like all engineers he had a degree which said he was an engineer, but then he wasn't an engineer who knew each and everything in engineering. He was someone who could be called as a practical engineer; someone who knew how to repair a damaged TV,a broken down car, a malfunctioning amplifier and once he even changed the entire computer network of his department lab. These things aren't what many would call as great set of skills, but to have all these in a single man, that's where the greatness lies.

She on the other hand was what many would call a straight A student. Bright in academics and extracurriculars. She was the star of any programme in college. Be it a dancing competition or a Just A Minute event. She could baffle the audience with her sheer passion in the dancing and the amazing vocabulary she had when it came to speaking in front of a crowd. It wasn't just these, she could very well connect with the crowd and create a happy mood where ever she went. This was one of the prime reasons why he was attracted to her.

They both weren't what anyone would call a great couple. People were surprised when they told that they are together. Both their friends thought that they could get better people and they both deserved better. His friends thought she wasn't the type who'd make a perfect match for him and her friends didn't think he can match up to her talents. But they both somehow knew that the other was the ONE! This relation went on for a year until the time came for him and her to leave for their respective jobs. He went to Delhi since Maruti was his firm and she went to Mysore for joining Infosys. They both left on separate dates with promises to talk to each other daily. His training started and he was posted on the shopfloor at Maruti's Gurgaon factory, while she was posted to Bangalore after her training. They used to talk daily unless work was too much and they just didn't have the energy to talk to each other.

Like this one year passed and they hadn't met. They planned a meeting by taking leave together to come back home. So on 25th June, 2006 both of them reached Kochi, their hometown. They met the next day at Marine Drive and walked and talked for a long time. She felt happy to see him and he was delighted to see her. While talking and walking she noticed that he had changed a lot. He had put on some weight and his way of walking had changed from the happy bouncy walk to a rather slow, heavy walk. She heard him describe his work and how he used to be commanding workers in the assembly line at Maruti. He was talking with the same animated style that he had, but she noticed that he had an air of authority now which made him feel like the boss of things.

He noticed that her dressing sense had improved and she kept good care of herself and he felt that a good part of her salary was being spent on make-up. But then he thought, "WTH, why should I bother, as long as she's happy am happy". She also looked slimmer than the last time he had seen her, maybe it was the work catching up with her, or maybe the low-on-sleep lifestyle thanks to the job.

He then asked if she wanted to go for a drive. She had never come for a drive with him back in college days as she feared if she'd be seen by someone whom she knew, or someone her parents knew; eventhough she always wanted to do it. Today she somehow didn't think of what will happen IF... She just said ok and they both walked towards the parking and he started his bike and came to the place where she was standing. He stopped and flipped his visor off his helmet and said "Need a lift?" and she laughed and replied "your stupid sense of humour is still intact."

They drove through the Park Avenue and within some minutes they reached the highway and that's when he started speeding....................

...........she held onto him tightly as he zipped through the traffic with finesse, like a pro race driver. She was always thrilled when they both were on a bike, and it gave her goosebumps when he drove fast and cut through the traffic. It was drizzling slightly and even though it could be bad for their health, they just wanted to go on and on.

Both of them were talking about the good times they had back in college, about the jokes that happened and neither of them had a worry of what was happening in the world around them. They both had reached Vytilla where they were waiting at the signal when she suddenly saw that in the car stopped behind them in the signal was her uncle. She was worried if he had seen her and started to panic. He was also worried and she just wanted to get away from the place unnoticed. She had never thought about this until now. She wished she had never sat behind him in the bike. As soon as the signal was green she was telling him to hurry on and get ahead of the car as far as possible. He sped on, but still her tension wasn't relieved. She wanted him to get away from the car as soon as possible. In all this tension he was also getting worried and he lost focus from driving and also the rain started getting heavier.

They slipped on the road and the Scorpio coming from behind them crashed into their bike and she was thrown off the bike. She fell some feet away from the crash where he was jammed between the Scorpio and the road. Eye-witnesses said the crash was very bad and the girl died on the spot due to a head injury, he was alive when he was being taken to the hospital and all the while he wanted to know if the girl was safe. He was worried what her mother will say when she reached home so late. He was asking questions what happened to his girl, the girl whom he had loved. He knew something was amiss when no one told him anything about her. He had multiple fractures and internal bleeding from the accident and before he could reach a surgeons hands he also was dead.

At the time of death the only thoughts in her head were, if only she had not accepted to come with him in his bike, and his last thoughts were if only he was able to get her away from whoever was in the car behind.

If only the world didn't have a problem with two people falling in love with each-other irrespective of their backgrounds, they would both have been alive today.

PS: This was a post which I had started writing more than two years ago in 2008. I didn't know how to progress and how to end it, and I hope I've done justice to it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Perfect Summer Internship

Hello and welcome to Abhijith's Internship Experience. Get ready to be swept for a crazy ride filled with gigantic excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and an ungodly amount of leg/butt cramps from sitting and staring at a laptop all day......well if you haven’t immediately closed your web browser after reading that exciting introduction, I can tell that you really want to learn about the MBA internship experience (or facebook is not open in your office and you need to kill time somewhere else).

I am into the last fortnight of my summer internship here at Tata Steel, and I have begun to consider the things that I wanted to have accomplished before I leave here on June 12th.

Notwithstanding the current (read BAD, but improving) market conditions in which we have found ourselves, it can still be difficult to find perspective on the "goal" of an MBA internship. Therefore, in the spirit of blogging and to make my friends feel better about my chances after I finish here and try to find a job, I have decided to filter my experiences here in the context of "a dream summer internship".

Without further ado, here are my top 10 ingredients of a perfect summer internship.

1. Work somewhere you can make a difference. It should come as no surprise that if you can't contribute materially, it's very unlikely that you or your employer will enjoy your attempts to "drive value and create synergies throughout the value chain" (insert some other MBAisque quote here). I took an offer I knew I could contribute to, and have been busy contributing since day 1. Trust me I am :)

2. Work somewhere that is challenging. No problem here either. I am working in a role that I do have some relation to(industrial products), but in a completely new industry. Without this ingredient one could get bored... not an option for an over-achieving B-school student.

3. Work for a firm that will add value to your resume. Again, check. Tata Steel certainly undergoing a test of its business model and maybe posting losses, but Tata is still Tata and their name is definitely a strength to my resume.

4. Clarify your role and responsibilities before accepting. This is something I could have done better one, because clearing up any miscommunications makes it a lot easier to "hit the ground running".

5. Don't be a jerk. Many of your peers will work for lesser-known firms, while still others will work for bigger and more prestigious firms. Who CARES! Never forget that many of the worlds richest individuals left B-School without an offer and then started their own firms. You never know who will be successful and who won't, so be cool to everyone.

6. Have fun. Do it while being true to the company that took the risk to hire you as an intern. Having fun means a lot and certainly the two months of internship are a relief from the stress and workload of a B-School. Go on trips, have weekend parties, meet old friends.

7. Network more with the people whom you work with. This could be with your guide, with other people working in the firm and certainly be good friends with the interns from other colleges. You can never tell when you'll need to make a call to one of those guys.

8. Look forward to getting more work. This is important because if you don't look forward to doing work, it does show on your attitude in the office and the guide and others might notice this as a sign of weakness in you.

9. Be smart in your analysis. Try to impress the audience, not by using snazzy animations in your presentations, but by having done good work in the field and then analyzing the data you've got. The analysis is as important as the data collection; as one project guide said the hard work is in getting the data, but the smart work is in doing the analysis. So be a smart intern in addition to being a hard-working intern.

10. Get a job offer. No matter how awesome you feel now, the job market is a strange beast and can change at any moment. Do everything you can to head back to school with a future job locked down. This is an essential ingredient of the "perfect" MBA internship.

If you collect all 10 of these ingredients, you will head back to school with the quiet satisfaction that comes from a job well done and enjoy a 2nd year much better than your first...

At least that's what I'm telling myself right now :-)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I moved

Sometimes I wonder if I've changed so much, that myself five years ago wouldn't like what he sees in me now. I've changed from what I had told the guy who asked me 1st time in an interview. It has been a few days since this blog has been lying without a post. To be precise 103 days since I've last posted in this Blog. A lot has happened over the days and a lot of that could be found in my Facebook Album that tells about the 3rd Trimester I've had at IIFT. Life has been hectic, but then most of the time the Delhi cold made me wrap myself under the blanket and snore.

I missed a lot of classes and am sure my grades will drop severely this term, but then most of the times I've had a very bad mood and almost everyday I just wanted the course to end. Maybe it was seeing the seniors roam around the campus practically doing nothing other than waste time, maybe it was the stupid projects that were handed out like candies or maybe it was the faculty which didn't inspire me to take up studies seriously.

Anyways coming to the topic at hand - I've always wanted to have a domain name of my own and I had once mentioned this to Hari. He had said at that time that he was planning to gift me a domain name for my 24th birthday which is coming up real soon coz he's got a lot of cash reserves in his paypal account, thanks to the Advertisements he's earned. So yesterday while at his home he said why don't we setup the blog today? We just did that and here I am with my own domain name in the WWW. Ladies and gentlemen presenting before you :-