Monday, June 20, 2011

There and Back Again!

Yesterday I walked for a long time. I had decided to go to some unheard station in the the morning but there's no local train from bangalore city station on Sundays. So, I did a station strolling and while coming out got caught by the RPF and couldn't even show them the platform ticket cause I din't have one. They asked me to pay a fine of Rs300. I had the money with me but I told them I didn't. They tried to make me feel scared for 5 minutes and then gave up hope and just let me go.  I loved walking on the footbridge while I was there in the station. The footbridge on Ramrajatala station was my favourite destination as a kid. Probably it was one of the tallest structures of the town and I often used to nag my dad to take me there. Yesterday was father's day: I am not comfortable talking to my dad over phone. But I wanted to be near him , feel close to him. So, I went to a place where I can see the trains. Not just because he is a railway employee but all my interactions with him were somehow closely related to trains or railway stations. And I've a weird habit of associating  things with people and people with things : somehow the differences get blurred to me.

I was feeling restless again in the evening. I had recently shifted to this PG and had no room-mate until yesterday. She came after I came back from station. She came with a red heart shaped pillow. Well, in true sense it wasn't of the shape of a real 'heart' ; after-all, different creatures have different shaped hearts and none of them are barely similar to the 1st result you get when you do a google image search of the word 'heart'; but this pillow was the shape of a heart designed by greetings card companies. But this fake heart disturbed me a lot. All those things I was determined not to think about started nibbling my brain and I went out and started walking, I knew where I wanted to go and I also knew I was not supposed to go there. But I wanted to make the journey nevertheless. After all, it's often the journey and not the destination that matters. It was a beautiful evening and though there was incessant traffic through the road, the footpath was empty. I knew what my destination was. I just wanted to see the bridge which connects Embassy Golf Links Road with Indiranagar. The bridge to Indiranagar was more than just a bridge, it was a representation of a lot of other things. And then I got a phone call. Iris Murdoch one said (I am not sure about Dame Murdoch , but at least Kate Winslet said that while enacting her) :
'as you start to define such and such a feeling, language lets you down. It's really a machine for making falsehoods. When we really speak the truth, words are insufficient.'
I always believed in those words even before I heard them. And that's what happened. Language once again let me down : let us down & I started taking the 3.5 km long walk back to my new place of residence.


I walked for a long time today as well. Somehow I've not yet suffered from Monday morning blues in this new job of mine but I sure did suffer from Monday evening blues today. In the evening when the work was over and it was time for me to go back home I suddenly realized I was all alone in a city with no close friend and with no place to call my home (my PG was yet to earn that status). So I walked past my PG and wandered through the lonely lanes and by-lanes of Koramangla 4th block all these while surreptitiously waiting for a phone call which never came and soon realized that I was lost. But then I saw the Natural's Ice Cream shop as I did on 21st December 2010 after losing my way, only then I had this foolish notion that I wasn't alone even though I actually was. I never need any excuse to have ice-cream but today I honestly needed some and I had two scoops of two different flavors : jackfruit and papaya-pinanple. There was a Barista lavaza down the road : again a flash of memories... or the lack of it : even in the memory I was disturbed  and was walking alone. What had changed in 6 months? Nothing and everything. Would I ever want to erase the time in between if I had the scope? No. Because somewhere between these very similar two scenes there were two lifetimes' worth of experiences : good, bad & ugly , though not in the same proportions. And the best part was I learnt a lot of things, most important of them all is that I've learnt nothing at all.


I was exhausted after 2 hours of walking post a (not so) hectic day at office and then I saw the road home: after-all, home is where your heart is and my heart is still with me, no matter how much wounded or bruised it might be!

Friday, June 10, 2011

SFFT



Staple foods are foods that are 'eaten regularly and in such quantities as to constitute the dominant part of the diet and supply a major proportion of energy and nutrient needs.' But we all know them and have our own set of staple foods based on our geographical location,climate, culture, season, personal preferences and bank balance.


Sudden drastic change in one's staple food can make one suffer from various gastrointestinal issues or at least some level of mental discomfort.


However, there is another kind of staple food which, in-spite of being no less important than its dietary equivalent, is often neglected. These are the staple foods for thought.We're all aware of the famous Rene Descartes axiom : 'I think therefore I exist'. Thus a drastic variation in staple food for thought can jeopardize our entire existence.



What are staple food for thought? Traditionally for my (male) predecessors it used to be the morning news-paper, customary fortnightly visit to the local library and most importantly, 'adda' with the countryfolk on various topics ranging from politics to philanthropy over fuming cups of chai.Post the omnipresence of television, the 7 o clock news took its share in SFFT for middle class bong men. Women, especially the housewives had their own set of SFFT : the afternoon movie on Sunday, the FM, 'sentimental' ( courtesy V. S. Naipaul) novels written by female (and sometimes, male) authors and most importantly, their day to day household chores.  For me, it was mostly movies. By being a 'classic' membership card holder in British Council Library, I had the privilege of borrowing 2 DVDs each day and thus on an average I'd watch 10 movies per week.



But, has globalization and internet changed our SFFT? A quick primary research (ie a quick chat with all my g-talk contacts) shows that the most common SFFT for internet savvy modern urban youth is discussions on social media: Twitter , Facebook. Television has been replaced by youtube. Flow of information all around us should have made it easier for us to access to newer SFFT. However, the most important aspect of a staple food is that it is supposed to be consistent and it should provide proper nourishment not just momentary freedom from intellectual hunger. However, in this era of IPV6, all we get as SFFT are fast food. It's dangerous to survive entirely on fastfood eve for a short period of time. Long exposure to fast food or making it the SFFT can result into the intellectual obesity of an entire generation , culture or nation. Maybe it's time we search for some sustainable and healthy SFFT!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hard Times


What's the connection between the new commercial of shiksha.com and Rebecca Black? While the first one portrays herd mentality in the commercial, second one rose to fame because of herd mentality.Confused? consider this IM convesation:

X: I hate Rebecca Black.
Y: Me toooooo... Btw, Rebecca who?

The undertone is when everybody is hating something, even if I've no idea what is it, why shouldn't I hate it too? Nothing substantial happened in the e-sphere on the week following the release of 'Friday' on youtube. Only when Michael J. Nelson tweeted 'Friday' as the worst video ever made, the phenomenon of disliking this video started. No matter how much you love to hate this video, most of you have watched this more than once and the 'success' of this video is probably one of the best examples of viral marketing.Now, time to go back to books(or even google would do!). I've already mentioned three key words of this black (and no! none of them is Rebecca) and let's spend some time pondering upon their definitions.


Viral Marketing: Marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message : In Rebecca's case you did that. You showed the video to your friends, you mailed and tweeted the video link and put it as your status message. And apart from all these , you also spent some of your precious time on earth making parody of this song and/or listening to the parodies made by others.

Trend: A general direction in which something is developing or changing. A vanity video made my a 13 year old girl became the most watched video in youtube. The girl is a child celebrity and she's 'trending' on twitter. But is this trend but a fad? Well, probably it is but it completely altered the lifestyle, career and bank balance of a lot of stakeholders: Rebecca, her family, all the most viewed parody makers, youtube or even i-tunes.

Herd Mentality: Herd mentality describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors, follow trends, and/or purchase items : We did all of it: we disliked the video even though we've seen worse videos than this one and didn't bother to dislike them, we kept track of the new parodies on Friday and we even bought them on i-tune.

So, can we say that it's our herd mentality that promoted the viral marketing of this video which in turn, made it a trend? 'Friday' is no doubt hilarious and outright  stupid to say the least and it's auto tuned. But is it worthy of the title 'worst video ever' ? Or are we committing a type One error here by rejecting her side of the story straightaway? Even I laughed over Friday and enjoyed the parodies more than the video so, I am not trying to defend or eulogize Rebecca Black. But while listening to these Black-parodies , somehow I remembered '12 angry men': the immortal 1957 film staring Henry Fonda. People like Jury#8 were always minority in this world: few people have the rare courage of voicing out their true opinions, unless they are super-achievers in some field ( and even then, they probably try and maintain savoir faire). But, is internet shoving these people towards the blink of extinction? Forget about voicing out our opinion. In this era of all pervasiveness of media, do we even have 'our' opinion ? While technology has provided us with numerous ways of making ourselves heard, it has also induced us to forget to think. Thus what we express and how we behave mostly depend on what we heard in the numerous herds around us! 

The irony of the shisha.com ad is while no-matter how much it tries to appear to be anti-herd mentality, this same trait can actually be a breadwinner for them if the student community follows this trait while logging into this website! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thanks for the Memories!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wee Student Warranty Scheme (WS^2) : A Story

Disclaimer This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents  are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, or organizations; living or dead, in business or bankrupt , is entirely coincidental.


How many layers of baggage does an individual carry with herself? John
Donne's famous 'No man is an island' becomes even more relevant if you belong to the institution where I had the (mis)fortune to do my MBA from. Here, a (wo)man is definitely NOT an island. She is not even an archipelago or even a  nation , a continent, the world , the solar system. And blimey , she is not even the Milky Way. So, what is she? She is the universe itself , integrated in every matter , dark matter and dark energy. 



I know , what you'd ask next. 'Dude , cut the crap and tell us the real story.'


Well , there's  a Prelude to the story and that's probably even bigger than the story itself .


Let's begin ...


I used be a normal person once upon a time with normal dreams which were implanted in my brains in times when the only Christopher around was kept safely inside the flaps of our history text book. All those dreams used to hover around the word 'Money' and my folks back there at home knew only one route to direct me to that ultimate Moksha.


10th --> 12th --> Graduation --> MBA --> M


Though i didn't do anything exceptionally well in academics , I more or less followed this path and even  completed MBA from Wee Willie Winkie School of Management aka We and landed myself with an internship with Houyhnhnms Inc.  

Generally , every fairy tale ends with the princess being betrothed to the Mr Right. Thus a modern day fairy tale should end with the princess being employed to the dream Job , taking an one-sided vow to fulfill her duties in sickness and in health , in recession and in economic boom , in joy as well as in clinical depression till attrition do them part !

But my story starts after the end. When the friends and relatives were done with bestowing their blessings , when the induction honeymoon period was over , when initial awe over the amazing infrastructure was subdued , I suddenly found myself myself alone in my workspace with a plethora of mails flooding my outlook express. I was finally , officially a salary drawer. The entire office awaited like a virgin to be touched for the very first time by my footmarks . And then I opened my mails ! 

Well, what was told that I'd have to do during interviews had obviously no relation what so ever with what I actually was supposed to do. Basically my worked required doing things that any computer literate teen ager will be able to do. But then that's something which is inevitable in a job scenario. 


The actual problem started with my intention of looking for rationale behind doing menial tasks that were given to me. One suggestion if you want to prosper in a work environment STOP USING YOUR BRIAN. The organ that you'd need to use extensively in a job is your tongue  and even if you're a vegetarian and have never tested any animal-food before , be prepared to lick a lot of lather 'cause till today this is the only material that is used so extensively in footwear.And if you're from an Institute like Wee Willie Winkie School of Management, you must be prepared to see people will less educational qualification or intelligent quotient than you walking away with the M when all you'll get is just horse's fart. 

Anyway my lack of skill in both of these activities soon created a breach between me and my centaur (You'd probably have a mentor but this is Houyhnhnms for God's sake!). And then the unthinkable happened . I discovered that Wee Willie Winkie School of Management actually offers Student Warranty Scheme. There's a 24 hour helpline to reach out to the centaurs if any student-employee malfunctions in the organization. If there's any trace of over activity in the grey cells of any student-employee , there's a provision in which the centaurs can reach out to Wee Willie Winkie School of Management and  the institution will sing lullaby to the students to make their rebel grey cells fall asleep again. The student employee is also emphasized upon the point that an organization is like the land of the in-laws the kind you'd often find in an arranged marriage , the faithful wife aka the student employee should fulfill all the needs of her in-laws and if at all a divorce becomes inevitable , that should be discussed between the in-laws and her parents (Houyhnhnms  and Wee Willie Winkie School of Management respectively, in this case) and the wife herself will have no say in that matter even if the legal marriage certificate (offer letter) states otherwise. And also the student employee should also think of her actual parents and the trauma it'll cause to them if the embellished story of her non-performance reaches them. And what implication will it pose to her co-students , friends, well-wishers , her countrymen , the war worn middle east . the megalomaniac Uncle Sam, the dwarf planet Pluto , the milky way and the universe ?  After all an employee student is not just a person , there are so many stake-holders related to her! 

'What about the husband (Job)' , you might ask , 'Isn't HE the principal stakeholder?' . Well, in my case , he is the most irrelevant character of the entire story . So, that's how the WS^2 works, the three principal stakeholders being :1.(The employee student +The entire universe - The job),2. Houyhnhnms  3.Wee Willie Winkie School of Management.

Ingenious , isn't it? I am yet to find out the other provisions under this scheme but what an incredible combination of ancient Indian family system and modern Customer Relationship Management !

I urge every Management Institution and Organizations to enter into such a Memorandum of Understanding . And what about the student employee ? When was she ever relevant anyway !!! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

@ PGDM E-Biz 09-11, WeSchool Bangalore


I've a rather bad reputation for not being inclined to 'Hindi Songs'. But today , for the past one and a half hours, I am listening to a song by KK. It's called 'Yaaron Dosti'. It all started when, after ages, I logged on to my FB and started going through my old pics @ WeSchool.  It's been almost two years since I met you guys on 13th July 2009. These two years passed by as quickly as two hours and they left memories worth two lifetimes (And memories are all that we have cause I dont think WeSchool offered us anything amazing when it comes to professional value addition !).

Emotional humidity evoked by memories has some very weird principles. 
#1 : People can never truly understand it unless they were part of those memories at some point in their lives. I never understood what this hullabaloo over hostel life was all about until I came to Woodstock. 
#2: It makes us do irrational things like crying like a child or writing poems . 
#3: It makes us think that we can do the impossible. That's exactly what it is doing to me right now by provoking me to write this. This blog is just a vain endeavor to articulate some of the memories that are flashing against the giant screen of my memory.

2009-2010
It was one fateful Sunday afternoon in July when I came to that cockroach infested , toilet stenched D312 of Woodstock Ambience Pvt Ltd. Don't get me wrong. I loved that room. Probably even more than my current room , ie D206. That room was my first 'home away from home'. I'll never be able to forget it. Anyway,  I wasn't carrying a blazer that and so I had to meet the G-Sec. Somehow, when I heard the name Andrea D'Costa , I was expecting to see a delicate , svelte girl and no wonder I mistook Tuesy B as the G-Sec when I entered  Andrea and Gauri's room(These two were my 'room neighbors' BTW!)

Ravi was the first person who introduced himself to me when Professor Dr. Salunkhe gave us the clear instruction or rather command to call him 'Professor Dr.' Salunkhe !

We were given only half an hour to get ready for our fresher's party in Solitaire. I will never forget the weird dance steps of Captain Kanade unless I get affected by Alzheimer. It was on this day that Tuesy and a few of us discovered that Purvi was Mrs Purvi ! 

Remember HR class,  Mis Savitha and the weird groups . Remember the Elephants' team comprising of Andrea and Handa among others ? Remember Kaun Banega Crorpati where Big B's son was hosting the show and Jamil and not Jamal was the winner? Remember the six feet guy who climbed up the chairs to make Savita remeber his name? Remember the Skits? I still can feel the cold winds when I think of the skit practice sessions at poolside. 

It was made mandatory for us to obtain the messy food of basement mess. This is where we met Vishi and formed the Prameya team with Rashi , Glin , Amna and Priya B. And there was a huge controvery over Ritesh's poem on boys and especially girls of PGDM E-biz!

Remember the initial crushes ? Remember the lovestruck gals and boys?  Remember the friends who thought their friendship will last forever but who were wrong?

And then there were a few new faces who joined us. Dolly , Sarang , Dhrumin , Swamy sisters, Anshu , Sakshi. Both of the later two were supposed to be my roommate, but they ended up becoming each others roommate while I got a few more days to enjoy my newfound  solitude.

Independence day celebration was the first occasion where we successfully did something together. @ Ravi and Aditya : Remember the practice sessions of 'Assam se Gujrat tak?'

Then came our juniors . The PGDM 09-11 batch. I  finally had a roommate. Every one was scandalized at the possibility of a swine flu case in woodstock. Especially Gauri , who had a bad fever.

Remember Gauri's Schumacher speech ? Remember our stats prof and the chocolates? Remember Mangesh's protest at the live conference with Prpf. Dr. Salunkhe. I loved that . Proud of you , buddy. But , it made us compulsory for us to attend outbound and I had to cancel my flight ticket. 

@ Ritz, Abhi & other crew members : Remember Alta ki ek Dhar?  Ritech, Deshmukh : Loved all your parody songs buddies. Thanks for not writing one for me.

@ Shine, Rash , Manisha: Remember the Four Musketeers club ? The awesome 25th Dec and tour to Hoganakkal ? 

Remember how we all went to Rex on 1st Jan 2010 to watch Three Idiots ?

And then we're busy withing procuring our summers. This is the time when I played holi for the first time. 

One of the best part for me on first year was that I got to visit many places thanks to all these competitions !

As if it was only yesterday that we were preparing for our seniors' farewell . Now, it's time for our own. 

The second year was great but for me at least it was never as good as the first year. 

We all saw a lot of things in these two years. Friendship , love, heart-break , team spirit, PJs, Back stabbing, tears , laughter. 

This two years at woodstock was the first time I was staying away from my home , my parents. On 15th July 2009 , when I couldn't stop crying after my parents left for WB, Andrea sat beside me at bus and said one thing: 'We're your family here. We'd take care of you.' I truly felt that in each day of these two years. I had found friends here who were even closer than my family members. 

We live in a world where everything decays eventually. I don't expect that we'd remain best of friends even after parting from WeSchool. Probably distance will change a lot of things. Probably the best good friends well gradually grow apart. But these memories will stay on. So would all these photos(Unless there's some software compatibility issue or you're careless enough to lose your hard disc) . And probably , after 30 years , when we'll go through these memories , these silly snaps will make us have smile on our eyes. And in our darkest hours these memories will show us the way and comfort us with the sweet reassurance : 'All izz well'!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Untax the Syntax please !

 My relatives are nowadays using mostly three adjectives to describe my current state. Unemployed, jobless and worthless (Bekar) .  The reason behind their suddenly evoked interest in me is because of the fact that I am not paying tax to the honorable govt of India. I am not trying to emulate the venerable director of my B-School and be an expert in  the art of tax evasion . It’s not that I don’t pay tax, actually , I don’t need to pay tax cause I don’t earn a penny.

Anyway, back to my relatives and the adjectives mentioned hitherto. While blatantly using any of these three words in any sentences aiming to reprimand me, what my folks seem to miss is the subtle difference between these apparent synonymous words. Their conjecture is that they would no longer need to use any of these decorative eulogies the moment I dive into the cesspool of a nine to five (whom am I kidding? It’s actually 8am- 11pm) ‘JOB’. But just because you’re in someone’s payroll doesn't mean that you’d cease to become the moron you were prior to wearing the feather crown of  8.5 per annum . So, if someone is worthless now , she’d continue to remain so even after getting a job. rather a moderately gifted individual can develop the contagious corporate brain rust within 2 months into her  first job. Whether it’ll affect her or not will depend on how many grey cells are left unaffected even after the two years of oxidative and corrosive MBA environment.   Coming to the second adjective, Joblessness of the so called jobs are a worldly accepted fact and something which I encountered first hand during my internship stint. The most common job one requires to do religiously is something which could be best learnt in ‘Ustad Massage Institute’ and not in a ‘B-school’!

So, I am worthless, jobless and unemployed. But I have this grave hunch that the first two behavioural conditions will continue to remain unaltered even when I am employed ! 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Writers Block & Ticking Clock

How's it possible that the first month of the nascent (?!) year would pass by without a single post by  this crackpot blogger? Considering the fact that the concerned anthropoid used to write several posts in a week, you must be eager to know what kept her so occupied for a while that she forgot her ain true love : trying to save the world from the energy crisis by giving constant supply of natural gas in the form of blog posts ! So, without further ado let's try and rescue our dear planet. 


But before that lemme present my arguments to the jury :


Almost 180 years have passed since Raja Ram Mohan and  Lord William Bentinck banned the practice of Sati : the vicious practice of burning the widowed Hindu women alive in their husbands' pyres. We were unfortunate enough to witness such practices even in 21st century. But media has overlooked a modified reincarnation of this nauseous practice which has transcended any parochiality such as religious or gender borders. In the new Sati-system coined by the great Indian private B-Schools, any human being belonging to any gender (male / female or transgender) can willingly choose to be a Sati in the time frame of Dec to March during the final year of their MBA. And the re-branded avatar of this 21st century mass Sati system is knows as ' Placement season'. The senile husbands can be anything ranging from a company which has already filed bankruptcy to an assignment where you've to sell A K 47 to terrorists as a part of your OTJ training. The moment you've been tied up with any groom , the parental responsibility of your institution will be over. For the years hence after , you've to burn in the hellfire of an industry you've no clue about , a job you absolutely detest and the onus of the gargantuan educational loan. Are you asking what will be the plight of those who would absolutely refuse to get married to such pathetic grooms and enter into the burning pyre? Their cries will be obfuscated by the hullabaloo of the college promotion activities , modern day equivalent of the 19th century conch shells and drums.  




Thus, ladies and gentlemen, I admit to the guilt of not writing a word for months. But you be the judge :  With each passing moment I'm moving closer to my doomsday. With the eminent threat of such excruciating death , which intrepid soul can concentrate on anything else? After all aren't we supposed to secure our own future before we venture to save the planet?  
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