Sunday, December 28, 2008


The brand new IIMB PGSEM quarterly newsletter 'thoughtEDGE' was released last week on 20th December 2008. This first release had the theme of 'Career Planning' with articles by alumni, professors and on continuing studies after an MBA, along with event updates etc.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A short trip to Kolkata.

The 3 places I visited during my recent, short trip to Kolkata:


·        The Ancestral Home of Swami Vivekananda.

·        The Ancestral Home of the poet, Rabindranath Tagore.

·        The Indian Museum, Calcutta.


Pics here:

Write-up to follow ...  

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


After those extra classes, that too on a Saturday evening; 'imagine' - numb brains yet charged up minds!! Discussion time folks...

Amit Bhalotia is explaining something in great detail, observe Karthik like the perfect disciple - listens... D'Souza (green T) is at his argumentative best. Naufal is like having fun, and absolutely oblivious - Parashar starts texting his girlfriend. :)

Shashidhar is not bothered, he concentrates on checking the % complete of his movie downloads from Spidi.

The discussion gets more intense, Karthik starts to expound his hypothesis. I get Naufal distracted with my mobi-cam/my antics. As others listen, Parashar continues to exchange messages with his girlfriend... ;) ;)

Ah! I have got the pack disturbed, but look at the concentration level of Bhalotia - he goes on and on ..... :)

Far from the maddening crowd -Get Away! I am too saturated to discuss any more....

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Terror Not Again!

The Mumbai attacks are a grim reminder for taking the dignity of an Indian citizen's life more seriously. Of course a systemic lapse and failure on all parts of the administration prior to the meticulously planned attack goes on to show how there are large chinks in our security armour. The Intelligence gathering framework, the coast guard, the state police apparatus (cant blame their bravado and valour given the fact that they have to make do with WW II era carbines and Lee Enfield rifles) and every other bandobast seemed to have been brought to naught by the terrrorists as has been happening time and again. 

Firstly how did so much ammunition not get detected, then the terrrorists themselves playing, fiddling and moving around with impunity from one spot to another, and not even getting detected at the very entry point and then the complete failure of the state police in averting the violent carnage given the fact that IB had provided prior intelligence - all are evidenty most shocking. Seems the terrroists were from the LeT and the ammunition used had been provided by Dawood Ibrahim's men from within Mumbai and suburbs - a clear Pakistani ISI handy work, otherwise these kind of operatives cannot be produced. Unless trained rigourously, given endurance training - as some reports claim the Pak Navy trained them. Check out the kind of sophisticated handhelp GPS navigation equipment they had from Garmin etc. There are several questions unanswered (the biggest joke was the resignation of Shivaraj Patil; dont forget who put him there firstly need to be held responsible) and the immense anger and sorrow after close to 200 people were killed and more than 300 injured in the brutal attacks. 

Citizens will have to become more alert and certainly less indifferent, as this scourge of terrorism spreads like never before and is no longer restricted to a Kashmir or a Punjab. A mandatory military training for all citizens as Israel does may be a feasible option if introduced at the college levels and implemented as a de facto measure.  Extraordinary times call for extraordinary action.

We cannot sit mum and take things as they strike us - the US has not had a single event of terror strike post 9/11 - surely an indication of how tight their security has got. A federal security body independent of the meddling of the political pack, in command of someone like KPS Gill will need to be created and bestowed with adequate authority to fight these and tighter laws as is also being articulated.

Also most importantly we - the intelligensia cannot turn their face away and claim as if nothing has gone wrong - we as members of the corporate, the so called elite, the educated and empowered will need to do our bit - 'what can we do?' is to be thought out and not used as a escape device - creative ways and mechanisms will have to be generated. Getting on with life as if nothing happened, mindless and irresponsible 'mall culture' and 'pub culture' and other frivolous pursuits which we all often indulge in, will have to end - the youth will need to come together (this is the right time to galvanize as a nation together) and do something, anything feasible be it in the social, technology or media space or even through using programs and reality shows like 'MTV Roadies' to actually impart training than to restrict them to mere entertainment and bitching and mindless nonsense talk shows. 

We will have to start today! The 'who-cares-a-damn'  attitude could cost us our lives or those of a near and dear one - no this is absolutely not a joke it is in the very realm of the possible - clear and present everywhere, capable of engulfing anyone at anytime.

We will have to make the change happen - as the saying goes - if not we, who? If not now, when?

NOTE: My point was essentially to get more alert and ready for averting the next event of this magnitude. As citizens we often feel helpless and thus are triggered into thinking what we can do/contribute in times of crisis such as this. We got to see both sides of the picture, but despondency does set in with the ineptitude the govt displays time and again in the prevention angle - no one is blaming the NSG for the cure - it's the occurrence of such large scale violence/attacks that causes a groundswell of anger and doubt among the public. The NSG, MARCOS, RAF commandos, and the policemen require a tribute from our end but we cannot always depend on them for everything.
Also the following is a riposte from a friend of mine - a Squadron Leader (IAF) - whom I shall not name here (I respect his views against a knee-jerk reaction):

Should we, as the public, play into their hands by training all our guns on the instruments of the state? The post-mortems and the blame-games have already started. Indian politicians are venal and nincompoop. India doesn’t have an internal security policy. The police is worthless. It is an intelligence failure. We are doomed as a nation.Are these really true...?

Politicians are the easiest targets, the softest ones and they rightfully deserve a major share of the blame for the mess we find this nation in. But can we wait a wee bit longer before going all out against them?

Can these TV anchors turned arm-chair experts suggest the way ahead rather than merely decrying the system and the nation? Media acts as a force multiplier for the terrorist. A similar incident in the heartlands of Bastar would have achieved little except a byline in the inside pages of a national newspaper after two days. If this kind of media coverage provides oxygen to terrorism, then the electronic media and the society needs to introspect about the role of media in the Indian society today. It is about TRPs and revenue figures for the media while it is about pandering to voyeuristic tendencies in each one of us.

Comparisons to the US during 9/11, although not very exact, will continue to be made. Let us look back at another famous siege in India that happened nearly a quarter of a century back. Was Operation Blue Star less gruesome or worse than these Mumbai attacks? The terrorists inside the Golden Temple had even laid mines and shot down army tanks with anti-tank weapons. But it wasn’t a media spectacle and the mood in the nation was not of despondency and vexation. The nation then said — let’s fight and eradicate terrorism. What is the feeling in the nation now — let’s berate the government and eradicate this system of governance.

If that be true, then the terrorists and their ideology have already won. Let us be cautious and careful in venting our emotions. Each one of us has a right to be angry, but at the right target — the terrorists and our countrymen who, wittingly or unwittingly, further the terrorists’ agenda for their petty, selfish gains.

The immediate goal of neutralising terrorists inside Mumbai has been met. There is an urgent need to identify and lay out a short-term plan for ensuring internal security, along with a long-term vision for restructuring the internal security system in this country and a medium-term strategy that bridges the short-term plans and the long-term vision.

Until then let the common man enjoy his mall and pub, its required for the nation to stay cool, thats the strategy "the opponent gets his share of joy in a fight only if you show him that you are hurt; any indifference to this would take him off the driver's seat in the fight". So much so for 300 wounded and 200 dead....

Some more links:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

White Water Rafting at Galibore.

[Click on image above to view the album]

What started with a minor mishap on Sunday 9th Nov, 2008, ended up as quite an enjoyable trip with the seven of us, including TausifK, RamD, ShantanuG, VinayB, ShomaB and SmitaN. Leaving Bangalore at around 8:00 AM we reached the Cauvery Nature and Fishing camp at Bheemeshwari (about 100 KM from Bangalore via Kanakapura, Sathnur and Muthathi) around 11:00 AM to find that white water rafting had been stopped there from Nov 02, as the fishing season had started. 

We immediately headed to Galibore, about 60km from Bheemeshwari in our cars – a Hyundai Accent and a Maruti 800. We came back to Sathnur (23 KM from Bheemeshwari) and then headed towards the Galibore Fishing Camp (36 KM from Sathnur). Galibore itself is about 95 KM from Bangalore, if directly reached. Mekedatu and Chunchi falls are all reachable in the nearby vicinity.

The last 10 KM stretch of reaching Galibore was a pain as the jungle road is absolutely un-tarred. Once we reached there we had lunch at around 2 PM and then started the rafting expedition where a jeep took us and the raft to a spot 5 KM upstream and then we rafted for about 20 minutes in the river Cauvery at the end of which we were left to play in the waters for about 30 mins. 

There were 2 guides and one additional guide in a kayak all by his own, all for safety purposes. We had to sign an agreement and were all provided with the life jackets, paddles  and helmets. Later a joke by me proved to be costly and the guide got me to show them a demo by pushing me off the raft ;) As I held on to the lifeline - a thick rope tied around the raft (capacity of 9); the others were asked to get off the raft one by one and then were lifted by the guide just using the life-jackets, a demo of sorts for rescue. 

Later we were taken to a slightly more active and swirling waters of the river rapid and were back to the base camp after another 15 mins of rafting through, a total of about 1.5 hours of fun (charged at Rs 600) came to an end with the sun on the horizon, we all changed and had warm cups of coffee as the sun set and then headed back home. 

A great new experience for first time rafters!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What will your verse be?

Recently we had an Extended Leadership Council meeting within out Aersopace domain at work, as part of which a video clip was shown from the movie 'Dead Poets Society' - the dialogues towards the end of the clip were stirring and brought tears to my eyes. The following are the stunning dialogues which Robin Williams utters in the role of the teacher (got to watch this whole movie!) :

We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. 

We read and write poetry because 
members of the human race. 

And the human race is filled with passion. 

And medicine, law, business, engineering -- these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. 

But poetry, beauty, romance, love -- these are what we stay alive for. 

To quote from Whitman 
O me! O life! of the question of these 
Of the endless trains of the faithless, 
of cities fill'd with the foolish... 
What good amid these O me, O life? 
That you are here--That life exists and 
That the powerful play goes on, and you 
may contribute a verse. 

"That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." 
What will your verse be?

Yet another portion where two teachers are conversing (this clip I got from the person who had prepared the presentation for the meet - thanks to Sumit Rishi):

McALLISTER: "Show me the heart unfettered by foolish dreams and I'll show you a happy man."   
KEATING (Robin Williams): "But only in their dreams can men be truly free. 'Twas always thus, and always thus will be."

(Dialogues Courtesy: 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mid-September Updates

The last weekend saw some activity of sorts and here's a capture of some of the events! 

On Friday I witnessed one amazing Kalaripayattu performance (A martial arts form from Kerala) with the performers (men, women and 9 year olds) weilding swords, fences, knives and bare hands. The in-house Onam celebrations at Honeywell was very well coordinated and had among other things group songs, Mohiniattam, and a semi-classical dance format and this martial arts performance, which kept us all rivetted to the seats. The performers are true gymnasts and extremely flexible - which is very evident and indicates the hours of training and practice that must have gone in! 

On Saturday after the classes (this quarter Q2, we have Macroeconomics, Organization Theory and Quantitative Methods/Statistics) we witnessed the recording of a CNBC TV show called 'The Learning Curve - D-Street meets B-School' with two investment analysts on a panel discussion with the host on 'Investing in the time of inflation' for which we were the audience at the IIMB auditorium. Will confirm when this is going to be aired on CNBC ... 

The previous weekend we had an interesting meeting of minds at IIMB with the current batches of PGP, PGSEM, FPM and PGPPM and IFS students interacting for a round of discussions (more details on Karthik's blog).

Lately I have been hooked to the songs of the movie 'Rock on!!' (the movie itself is quite a decent piece of filmmaking); but the music by Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy and Farhan's singing is what stand out! My favourites being 'Yeh Tumhari Meri Baatein' with its soft rock feel, and the somewhat lazy yet melodious renditon by Dominique Cerejo and the fast paced, stirring and quite inspiring 'Sindbad the Sailor' - awesome numbers!! The songs 'Rock On' and 'Pichle Saat Dino Mein' are also good with the latter one being beat based and quite hummable...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Dark Knight in the dark of the night ...!

There is this scene in the movie 'The Dark Knight' in which the villain – the Joker has half of his body out of the window of a Police car, having just escaped, when the sounds fade, he is playing around with his hair and enjoying the wind on his face as the car speeds by, at that point you feel yourself entering a surreal world and a dizzy, numb feeling envelopes you because of the sheer silence of the scene, after all the vicious and loud sounds of guns and bomb blasts that tend to wear down your ear-drums.

The movie 'The Dark Knight' is one roller-coaster ride not only into the world full of violence laced with breath-taking action sequences that are very thoughtfully executed, but as much into the emotions, psyche, vagaries and frailty of human life in the current world engulfed in a specter of mass violence. The usual philosophies of good vs evil are stretched to their limits too. Christopher Nolan and his cast/crew have done some great work both in terms of the screenplay and the dialogs, as also the overall design of the film, technically tending to being a masterpiece in a noir setting, a dark tale to justify its name perhaps! The compelling craft of movie-making is something that always makes me think - how seamlessly films are made, even with the heavy doses of underlying CG.

Some scenes that struck me as being rather unusually brilliant include, the one in which Rachel falls off a building and is saved by the Batman. Then there's one in which the Batmobile gets damaged and the Batpod emerges out of it, with its flaring nostrils, fitted with cannons and shotguns and massive tyres to give it the most macho bike look. The chase sequence which ends with the upturning of a huge trailer truck being driven by the Joker is one other superb slick scene, swiftly done up – let me assure you there are several other gripping scenes which do not overwhelm you by their use of computer graphics but which you will need to see the movie to appreciate and I am sure this movie can be watched several times, over and over!

However what takes the cake and you would surely have read the rave reviews, and which can be befittingly a tribute to the late Heath Ledger, is his very intense and engrossing role-play as the scheming Joker, an epitome of villainy. The scruffy, grimy makeup on his face and the slithering tongue with which he licks his lips, within the red smile makeup around his lips, running from cheek to cheek will stay in your memory long after you have finished the movie. And he gives a brilliant portrayal of what the character demands, a psychopathic, schizophrenic master of evil out to destroy things just for fun, and with out a care for anything including himself. Only Bale's voice is something that comes close; although both Michael Caine as Batman's butler and Gary Oldman as Lt Gordon give some great performances. Ten on ten to Ledger's acting performance, the clang in his voice, the laughs and jerky, twitchy movements of his body and the way he walks, all of his presence itself is sufficient to anticipate some brutal mischief and mindless violence of unprecedented scale. Scary to even think of the presence of such a mass-murderer, a angst-ridden terrorist amongst us in real life!

We, a few IIMB classmates were at the Forum last night @ 10 PM to catch the movie and the crowds were just unbelievable at that time of the day, chock-a-bloc and people of all demographics.


Nytimes Critics' Pick (Pitched at the divide between art and industry, poetry and entertainment, it goes darker and deeper than any Hollywood movie of its comic-book kind ...)

Monday, July 21, 2008


There comes a time when the new replaces the old, and the cycle begins afresh …

The 2008 batch of Post-Graduate Program in Software Enterprise Management (PGSEM) conducted Pehel-08 at IIMB as our first cultural fest, usually an annual fare. A number of events we lined up for the evening, to keep everyone engaged and enthused. A debate, a skit, address by alumni and industry folks and some songs by the in-house music band 'Sur Shunya Aath' marked the evening of Pehel'08 on 20th July 2008! Having danced hard at the end to the tunes of some fast numbers it got absolutely tiring and the sweat flowed unhindered - my legs are just losing their ache ... !

Songs we sang as part of the music group:
- Raina Beeti Jaye - Solo (Yours truly did this Amar Prem number, my all time favourite)
- Maeri - Group (The Euphoria track)
- Yeh Jawaani - Group (The Kishore da classic)


'Sur Shunya Aath' Videos:

Sunday, July 06, 2008


The IIMB PGSEM application for 2008 had a SOP section which required 5 short essays to be written. Here are the ones I had written:

Statement of Purpose

How do you see the PGSEM helping you in your goals? (150 words)

My taking up the PGSEM course has twin objectives, namely, self-development and learning all aspects of setting up, managing a commercial/social enterprise. Having worked in the software industry for five years, I have closely seen the software development life-cycle. However, there are several aspects of business and the economy that are of interest to me and I find the time ripe to explore these in a formal way, through academics; specifically strategic management of a firm, innovation strategies, and the scope of strategic consulting. Getting ready to usher in acceleration in growth opportunities in my career through strategic management is what I keenly look forward to. Also entrepreneurship is what I have set as my long-term goal for which it would be essential to understand the micro- and macro-economic concepts and details of running a sustainable yet profitable enterprise, and IIMB is the ideal place to begin.

How would the PGSEM classroom benefit by your presence? (150 words)

I consider myself a big-picture thinker, possessing excellent communication and presentation skills (I was recently the conductor of events for our business domain day celebrations - audience of about five hundred). I am also capable of resolving tough engineering issues synthesizing ideas, analyzing a problem from various angles, applying an appropriate mix of intuitive and logical thinking, essentially by getting down to the details. Initiative-driven and possessing a very imaginative mindset, I have successfully executed several initiatives (being the communications focal within the business domain). I will bring to the table insights from my varied interests, fortified by my avid reading habit, which has kept me abreast of the latest information, sources of wisdom, knowledge. I actively volunteer for and participate in various intellectually stimulating events, extracurricular activities (participated as team member in corporate quizzes at IIMB, AIMA) and have a flair for writing (co-editor, organization wide literary-cultural magazine).

What are two major achievements in your career? (150 words)

When major performance issues and design, coding safety problems were reported in the avionics software of our product (which adheres to stringent FAA software safety standards); based on my demonstrated technical abilities, I was given the technical leadership responsibility to resolve the crisis. Utilizing my technical knowledge and through brainstorming sessions, I drove a software architecture optimization effort which helped us simultaneously exceed customer expectations and save over a thousand man-hours of effort for which I was awarded an ‘Excellence Award’. I had voluntarily taken up a Knowledge Management (KM) initiative. This I had done by presenting a paper on the usage of collaborative software such as wikis, project blogs within projects which was accepted by the management and then I went ahead with pilot trials leading in turn to full-scale usage, across the domain and was awarded the 'Special Contribution Award'. These are now being deployed throughout the organization.

What is a major shortcoming you wish to discuss? What have you learned from it? (150 words)

Having excelled throughout my academic life at school, my expectation for the entrance examination for admissions into professional colleges was high. However, my actual performance in the state-wide test was not commensurate to my expectations and I obtained an average rank. This was indeed a low point in my academic life which resulted in my not getting an engineering branch of choice. I resolved to and performed well in the first two semesters and stood second across the college, successfully getting a branch change into the Computer Science and Engineering stream; wherein I learnt the true meaning of the saying: 'Failures are the stepping stones to success'. Later I stood fifth in the class of 2002 in Computer Science. This incident reinforced the belief in me and the capability inherent in everyone to bounce back from failures. To re-orient, adapt and spot the opportunities will ultimately lead one to success.

What is one issue dear to you? How do you see it resolved? (200 words)

An issue that has often affected me is the issue of poverty; the unjustified, irrationally immense divide existing between the haves and the have-nots. How an invention of man’s own ingenuity – money, for trading purposes could have turned victims out of multitudes of innocent humans is a veritable tale of irony. On the one hand are developed nations spending resources at will and consuming gleefully (nothing negative per se) and yet on the other are developing nations even with their natural resources, which lay untapped; full of people starving and dying from lack of basic amenities and medication. I have been drawn towards the practical ideas and works of leading economists, entrepreneurs on poverty alleviation and the end of poverty through entrepreneurial measures and social entrepreneurship ventures, as a viable vision. Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus's work on micro-finance and Grameen Bank, Jeffrey Sachs's work on economic stabilization through aid and the UN Millennium Development Goals aimed at world-wide poverty reduction, and C K Prahalad's concept of targeting the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) come to mind right away - their intense dedication, writings and activities inspire me and I feel compelled to participate in a more tangible way.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Awesome Twosome.

Phew! The last two days went by like a storm.

Demand - supply curves, balance sheets with assets and liabilities and SWOT analysis related to case studies including one on Robin Hood's predicament kept me busy these last two days @ IIMB along with a biz domain Fun Day celebration – an evening full of fun @ office which I co-hosted (master of ceremonies) along with a colleague.

Awesome fun it was on Friday with the evening @ Radiant Resorts off Banerghatta Road – we conducted several contests, karaoke rounds, individual talent rounds including singing, skits, a superb group dance performance and much more! It ended with a dinner and an open dance floor which left everyone exhausted by the end of the day. Ended up winning the funkiest dress (thanks to a colourful kurta) and the best singer awards (thanks to the romantic number 'Kehna Hai' by Kishore da from the movie Padosan).

Addressing a few members, say ten is boring, whereas chatting or conversing with a single person or a group is fun, addressing a hundred or two or more of a captive audience is an absolute pleasure – that's what I was able to figure out! It is when you get the crowds all charged up and energized it truly feels great! You feel an energy feedback happening with the crowd and you too get recharged. The noisy crowd cheering, or answering back all add to the burst of energy and vibrancy.

New friends and the long hours of classes - waking early (5 hours of sleep on both days) and studies have catapulted life into an entirely different orbit. I am enjoying every bit of this experience or shall I say every page of those scary-looking, thick textbooks and every idiosyncratic move of the professors and their unique and yet effective pedagogies!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

IIMB - here we come!

Well what if you underwent an orientation camp for two full days in an institute - wouldn't it be rather tiring as also energy sapping? It was exactly the opposite this last week when I was inside the IIM Bangalore campus attending the three night, two day orientation camp for the PGSEM Batch of 2008. I am in awe after getting a feel of what a fine institution can be like. Never before have I had an experience quite like what awaited me as I entered the hallowed portals of this elite institution, which was setup in 1973. As cliched as it may sound you got to experience the same in order to believe it. Actually last Friday (30th May 2008) the IIMB PGSEM (2.5 year part-time programme which I joined) was having their summer event called L-CUBE (Leadership, Learning and Leisure). It started off with the aptly chosen words of Saint Iqbal: A grand vision, beautiful speech and a compassionate soul are the true characteristics of a caravan leader. This was followed by the inaugural speech by the Director of IIMB Prof. Pankaj Chandra followed by a short speech by Prof. Shankar Venkatagiri, Chairman PGSEM.

This was followed by an insightful and deeply touching lecture by the MD of Accenture, Mr. Harsh Manglik. Some key points from his speech include the fact that he extolled the young audience to consider themselves as unique whatever other people's opinions might be. He also told an anecdote on how his father's statement that his son (who was then settled in the US) would one day realize that his history is written in the sands of this country and who his true mother was, and would return back to India; made him take up the post of MD, Accenture in India.

That evening couple of us joined the Hostel block and finding our rooms seemed like a game of passing through a maze, the difficulty being that all places look similar among the stone walled buildings. And the natural scenery inside with a plethora of trees and gardens all very well maintained, is a contrast to the busy Bannerghatta Road just outside – words such as serene, green, sylvan etc come to mind with every step you take – a veritable lost paradise full of peace and tranquility. The evening was spent in the auditorium being an audience to the role-playing competition that was moderated by the MD of SAP Labs, Gurgaon -Mr Feroze. Later that night over dinner, we met up with more of our batch-mates whose work experiences vary from 3 years to over 20 in some cases, some programmers, other leads, managers and some even VPs etc and also with the senior folk, whom we had discussions with around the social canteen area with the IPL being projected on big screens in some rooms around. We chatted till well after midnight!

The next day (31st May, 2008) was the start of the orientation; the first one of its kind to mark the 10th anniversary running of this programme. It was started by an impassioned speech by the Chairperson extolling us to adhere to the high standards of IIM as also participating in all events and ended with a wish that all of us do well. This was followed by an outdoor event conducted by a passionate set of trainers with the intention of team building. This ran for more than three hours and by the end we all got well introduced to each other and also thoroughly exhausted. Late afternoon we were given presentations by the admin folks on code of conduct etc and later lectures to introduce their subject by two professors (Organizational management and Microeconomics). Their witty remarks, challenging questions and sharp insights ensured we did not doze off.

The last item that day was a lecture on negotiation and communication skills by an expert guest professor from the United States (I am unable to recollect her name). She stressed on the point that it is always good to adapt to the cultures of the region where a person is interacting or working so that conflicts etc can be kept to a minimum. In the evening we had a tough quiz programme in which we participated but were eliminated in the very first round. However we stayed back and enjoyed the finals with its fair share of complex quizzing, and equally sharp contenders for the winner's title.

That night we were to create groups and complete a case study on Principles of Personal Selling. The sales theory of Prospecting->Preapproach->Approach->Presentation->Allaying Objections->Closure->Maintenance. This we did manage to do among a few of us and submitted the assignment online. This was a good experience to work on certain caselets of a manufacturing company which makes mistakes in getting a sale done. Later in the night we had a mutual ragging session with the seniors of the PGSEM.

Sunday can you believe that, yes we had classes on Sunday too and jam packed with classes! It started off with a jolt with a surprise Quiz, test on Maths, with a plethora of questions on Calculus, Sequences, Cartesian Geometry, Matrices a lot of which I had forgotten; ended up getting an unsatisfactory score! Anyways the next session was one of the most amazing lectures I have seen. Prof. YLR Murthy a branding expert and a professor of sales and marketing was to call one of the teams and they presented their case study findings in a presentation. After this started the roller coaster, witty, humorous, add to it a superb set of anecdotes to explain where and how personal selling can and is used. He seemed to have the most relevant and remarkably humorous examples for every topic that he was teaching. Such professors are one of a kind and seeing is believing, and you got to be in his class to understand what joy a student can feel! It ended with his suggesting several books including the book 'Godel, Escher and Bach' by Hofstadter, 'Not for Bread Alone', 'Sales Management' by Charles Futrell, some of which I am sure to take up soon. He even mentioned a very relevant point from the book 'Godfather'.

Next was a session on Presentations by an alumni of IIMB PGSEM, Rakesh Godhwani, who seems very young but is smart nonetheless. He made good use of audio, video and a very captivating presentation style to point out the importance of the person presenting, rather than just the aides, slides etc. also the components of voice modulation, gestures etc were demonstrated. A good presentation should have an Opening, Body and Conclusion approach, 7-7-7 and 5-5-5 rules etc were annunciated. Post lunch toppers in certain subjects from our seniors gave presentations on those subjects.

That evening we were witness to a keynote lecture by the head of Nasscom, Som Mittal which talked of general statistics in the IT industry and the fact that the employable population in India would be the highest in the world of about 47 million by 2020 – but the productivity levels were drastically coming down and something needed to be done about it. Right now even though the IT industries having raked up revenues of close to 5.5% of the GDP from what was a meagre 0.2% in 1991, still a lot more needs to be done. This was followed by a panel discussion among high profile, seniors executives from companies such as Wipro, Oracle, Subex, SAP etc along with Som Mittal and moderated by Prof. J Ramachandran which focused on the topic: “DNA for the next generation of IT Leaders”. This threw up some interesting points and the audience questions were rather stunning ranging from the social imperative of business, mindset of Indians and PPP (Public Private Participation) and other points for which there were no clear answers. A dinner and heavy rains that night brought down the curtains on the fabulous orientation camp. The energy levels at the end were still palpable and it was an experience that cannot be washed off so easily even with the heavy rains that followed. This will only make us look forward to a plethora of exciting activities and tons of studying on some heavy intellectual subjects in the days to come as classes start 20th June.

IIMB - here we come!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

College Campus on Cloud Nine.

Rabidbrain, Glumchum,
Bottleneck and Hohum.
Sitting over a bottle of orange rum,
Checking pockets for rupees, some.

Sweetie swine, friend of mine;
Blabbers Neitzsche and explains Einstein.
Joining in on RocketScience and BellyDaince;
Who can lecture on anything from Relativity to Psycho Conscience.

Glimmerick, FattyChick,
Two of them who are always sick,
MonsterMani and Always Funny.
Call out for some extra dose of Nimbu Paani.

SubhoRat Ri and Namastewaali;
Talk of Hemingway's vices, of Picasso's folly,
Eclectic ViolinVaasu and Erudite Jhaptaali!
Argue on Mozart, Ravishankar and fight over Salvador Dali.

Over uber intellectual talk they dine.
Reunion done, feeling sleepy and having gorged on
Meat of a sheep or perhaps a porcupine?
Raise a last cheers, break and move on.

Back then at the college campus,
Among enlightening adda and general ruckus.
With coffee, tea and half-cooked snacks; life was fine.
For professors, study and exams the mind will always pine.
Ah! College Campus on Cloud Nine.
Oh! College Campus on Cloud Nine.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

As days go by ...

I managed to watch a very good bengali play titled 'Daibaddha' at Ranga Shankara yesterday; which was accompanied by some very good acting by members of the theatre group 'Sayak' from Kolkata. It was an intense experience with a not very complex, but emotionally charged story that chips away at the rigid dimensions of the society that we live in today. More here: Daibaddha - SYNOPSIS

Lately I have been losing interest in reading; which has been my favourite pastime. Having started reading several books I seem to be lacking both the energy and the interest to plough through them at this juncture – not sure if there is something like a reader's block akin to writer's block (which is also something I feel I am in the grips of ) – or perhaps 'book fatigue' – which apparently has set in for a while now. Among the ones in the 'Currently Reading List' for more than a few months now, none of which I have completed yet, are: 'The Tin Drum' by Gunter Grass, 'The Name of the Rose' by Umberto Eco, 'Love In the Time of Cholera' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 'The Golden Gate' by Vikram Seth and 'Freakonomics' by Steven Levitt (this has been a rather enjoyable read till now and the only one I am still actively pursuing). I shall guess that this disinterest is a weird temporary phase and will evaporate as time passes by.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Do we like the same books?

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Friday, May 16, 2008

A Short Story.

The Exponential Wish Granting Ring

“One ring for the absolute luckiest one, once worn shall it not be taken off” – Ancient wisdom.

Her father would often lament, “Those days are gone. Back then values counted more than wealth, nature was a constant companion and the human touch was visible everywhere”. She didn’t know what was so great about all those good old days that her father, a government servant kept talking of. Their culture was different, our culture emphasizes the frugality of everything – non-possession, renunciation, poverty and charity as the true virtues, was a constant lesson she had grown up to. However, as if just the opposite she’d picked up an almost constant whim of wanting to possess – just as her well off friends did. Possess this and that, a new toy when a child, a new shoe, that gorgeous handbag when she grew older and now newer toys like the brand new gadget and then that lavish new car. Not that she was always denied, once in a while she’d get what she wanted and now she had started earning after getting a job, and the future would only get rosier. Most recent economic surveys talked of a rising middle class in India that had the ability to possess, to make things happen – truly achieve, bend rules or flatter – by hook or by crook, to get ahead was everything, Everything!

She was new to this city, away from her parents on account of the job and living alone in a rented space. One night as she sat on a chair in the balcony staring at the distant constellations, identifying a couple of them she heard a sound, a sharp clink. Looking around she found something glowing on the floor, beside her bare feet. She bent forward and picked up a ring, exquisitely inset was a precious stone like she had never seen before and strangely it changed colours, just like the stars. Gingerly she wore the ring and as soon as she had done so, she felt intense pleasure. Very upbeat, she suddenly wished she had a boxful of jewelry like what her friend had worn on her marriage, and lo - there in front of her on the table appeared a box, overflowing with jewelry. Then she wished for an iPod and then a laptop, and then another thing, then another and then something else and all these were granted to her. She felt great joy at being the possessor of this luck-enhancing wish ring, capable of swift material grants. She had to just wish and she’s have it – no material possession was out of reach now. She wished for a car and it came in the form of a lucky draw and others came by other means. Soon her room was too small for all that she possessed and she feared that her possessions would be stolen, so she started hiding some, keeping them away from her and some she started giving away to friends and others as welcome gifts.

By the end of the first month, if she wished for one thing she’d get two of the same; by the end of the second month she’d get four. Then this number kept exponentially going up. By the end of the year she was so suffocated, completely overwhelmed with the volume of her material possessions that she started fearing even wishing about possessing – sometimes getting nightmares and finally made up her mind on throwing away the ring. But once worn the ring could not be taken off – it had melded with the bones of her finger. A manic paranoia set in, along with an aversion for all possessions and she had to get her finger operated upon to get the ring off. As if preprogrammed, the ring disappeared as soon as it was removed from her finger.

By the way would you want to wear that ring?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ritwik Ghatak's 'Meghe Dhaka Tara'

If the movies of Satyajit Ray recreate reality, and portray life's grief brilliantly without a hint of melodrama – those of the idiosyncratic Ritwik Ghatak are filled with vibrant melodrama, disillusionment, trauma and sorrow of everyday life that would squeeze your heart dry and yet, it is as if you wait for that elixir becoming available to the protagonist, that hint of hope present like the shadow, everywhere. You feel the recurring tragedy (most of Ghatak's films have heavy doses of the tragic, or have a strong hint of the same) and wait eagerly for it to melt as if hoping for some light at the end of the tunnel – not exactly in the way good destroys evil in the contemporary fare of movies but more like the myth of the phoenix – the self-effacing protagonist facing and undergoing even enjoying the pain and somehow reviving from it all. Not that any of his movies directly end with a light at the end of the tunnel, but they leave chinks of hope in the patina of absolute darkness as waves of tragedy often with dashes of comedy, literally destroys that very hope. The intellectual force with which the story moves and the sensory and musical movement though sharp and jarring sounds as well as melodious classical music are riveting as well. Today I watched 'Meghe Dhaka Tara' (The Cloud Capped Star, 1960) on DD Bangla, a Ghatak masterpiece in its own right.

Meghe dhaka tara image 1

Starting with the image of a big Banyan tree - one well capable of providing shade to a multitude under it; it as if serves as an allegory for the generosity of heart of the protagonist, Neeta (Supriya Choudhury); it goes on to depict with excruciating detail the pain and loss in her life - one within a displaced, poverty-struck middle class family – perhaps with an eye on the partition aspect. She is the one who fends for the whole family and is studying too. Her elder brother Shankar is a singer who is always practicing and hopes to one day become a famous classical singer/musician (Anil Chatterjee does justice to the role). Her younger brother is an upcoming footballer and her younger sister is a not-so-good student. She is in love with a person Sanat who is himself doing his higher studies. They all and this includes her parents (the underemployed but supportive father and the tongue-lashing, scathing mother) depend on her for their livelihood. As the story develops incidents and circumstances force her to leave her studies and work full time. She postpones her marriage with Sanat, so her brother can get successful. However in the meantime; Sanat is captured by the beauty of her sister Geeta and actually gets married to her. Later due to the stress of work she starts to suffer from chronic fever and illness.

Meghe dhaka tara image 3

In one scene she later repents that she should not have been so simple a girl, and should have stood up for herself, instead of being mum and bearing all the pain. The ending scene leaves you feeling pathetic when Neeta now in a sanatorium recovering from Tuberculosis in the hills of Shillong breaks down and cries out to her brother Shankar; by the end of the movie a successful and famous singer; that she 'wanted to live', always wanted to live and that she does not want to die now and the cry 'I want to live' is amplified and reverberates in the peaks and rocks of the surrounding hills. Truly evocative of the painfully selfless destiny and bleakness that befall some people's lives and yet as I said the movie has an alluring and intellectually stimulating nature; like all good movies do.

Meghe dhaka tara image 2

A 5/5 – truly superb cinema and great performances from everyone. Here's Part 1 of the movie from YouTube.

(Photos Courtesy:

Some reviews:

Sunday, May 04, 2008

An Update:

Here's an update: Made it into the PGSEM programme @ IIM Bangalore. Got the offer letter on 1st May (Labour Day). From the IIMB website:

The Post-Graduate Program in Software Enterprise Management leading to a Post-Graduate Diploma in Software Enterprise Management is an executive general management education program designed for the specific needs of professionals working in the software and information technology industry in India The PGSEM endeavors to provide the most current executive general management education to middle and senior professionals of the software and information technology industry who seek to pursue a career in management. The program aims to transform professionals with strong technical knowledge to business leaders with equally strong management knowledge and a global perspective. IIMB is proud to have partnered the Indian software and information technology industry on its journey to becoming a dominant force in the global market.

Several distinctive features of the program are designed to meet the special needs of the participants of this program, while maintaining the credit requirements and rigor of the regular program. The program has been designed such that a participant can graduate with the diploma at the end of two and a half academic years, while continuing to work at his/her regular place of employment. Each academic year is subdivided into four quarters of eleven weeks each. The regular course load in a quarter is three courses of three credits each. Each three-credit course consists of 30 hours of classroom contact. Participants normally have 9 hours of classroom contact per week, with classes scheduled on Friday mornings and Saturdays.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Compassion & Good Friends - The Key to Great Joy.

As sages and saints say:
Too much self focus and
That results in dismay,
Needless suffering, and pain.

Relish the joy of others,
Help them in anyway you can.
Compassion saves the day;
Appreciate, assist and hence gain.

There is no dearth of good
People on earth, a gem here,
A jewel there, and they let
You realize, life is just fine.

The joy, the passion,
To excel keeps man alive.
Hope of a better future,
Blessings of the near and dear.

Good friends are those
Only you can create!
To get great friends;
You got to behave like the same!

Wise are those who know of
This throughout. To mean, think
And do good, to give fellow
Humans a helping hand!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Some pics ...


The IIMB PGSEM faculty interview.

The IIMB PGSEM ( faculty interviews went something like this:

Professors M & F seated on one end of a large roundtable; I am seated across them. Date: 11 April, 2008, Time: 2:30 PM sharp.

Q: So … Tell me about yourself (Most standard Q)

Mostly spoke about acads, work, and project.

Q: How has your role changed from Deputy Engineer (in BEL) to Team Lead (currently).

I explain architect’s role, leading technical decisions and volunteer, initiative driven approach also communications focal in the domain etc. Also about how stringent avionics software development needs to be adhering to the FAA standards etc. So the path is always testing to development to design and it takes sometime to go ahead.

Q: How will the course help you?

I mention strategic management here, going ahead.

Q: What do you understand by strategic management?

I give a generic answer here.

Q: Why don’t you pursue the full time course?

I say stuff like applying the knowledge right away, more experienced classmates etc.

Q: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

I mention entrepreneurship, and strategic consulting.

One Prof (Prof F) snaps back: What’s with entrepreneurship – everyone in our generation speaks about this, is it a fad or do you mention just for the interviews; almost everyone seems to mention this. Is it seen as a psychological advantage? (Something to the tune…)

I try to handle this by saying entrepreneurs open new pathways, drive innovation and generate employment, which is very essential for a developing country like ours.

Prof F doesn’t seem very convinced.

Q: Two achievements in life, anything … (I mention one academic, one work life related)

Q: How will you manage time for the part time course along with your work – many from your organization (Honeywell) have done it – what did you learn from them?

Q. Tell me about your family.

Q. I had mentioned Jeffrey Sachs in some SOP essay (5 essays in all) – so some grilling on that. I mention Prahalad's BOP too here (overkill??).

Q. There was a question on a specific Excellence Award I had mentioned.

Most others had questions on academics – my acad. records being decent, I luckily had no Qs on that front.

All in all a nerve wracking experience and I am left without a clue, the process got over in twenty minutes – and the outcome (Good or Bad I have absolutely no idea) will be known once the results are out.

Currently Reading:

'Love in the Time of Cholera' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

What a brilliantly evocative beginning the book has got! I feel it will surpass Marquez's last book 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' that I had read.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Maa Kaali.

DSCN0717 DSCN0716 DSCN0715

Another one of my water colours and technique be damned ...
Here, I have tried to depict the facial expression of the timeless, and yet the only measure of time:
Maha Kaaler Mon Mohini - the Mother Goddess Kaali in her rather distraught, and livid form ...

Also here's wishing you all a happy Holi (Dol in Bengal) ...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Keep in Mind Nature's Elements - Water colours

Watercolour Watercolours - Nature's Elements Watercolours (Slightly edited)

A watercolour that evolved out of a lazy afternoon and an idle mind; or was it a restless, active mind ... ? ;) I am not used to painting/water colours so you'll observe that the synthesis, composition is a bit amateurish. But everyone needs to start somewhere, so here I go. Any criticism is more than welcome! As far as the meaning of the painting - no specific theme that I can think of.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Gangs ... - A short story.

Downloadable Link (.doc format)

Gangs of Misguided Youth

The room was dimly lit and a strain of strange music wafted in from one corner. The music indicated that they were not gone for too long. The room was in a big mess. There were clothes, magazines and other knick knacks strewn all over the place. A cricket bat with peeling stickers, along with an old Hawaiian guitar stood at the corner of the facing and right walls, at the end of the room. The walls were littered with posters of film actresses, and those of weapons, a rifle, some Russian pistols and a red grenade.

Inspector Ghorke yanked off some pajamas from a thick wooden chair, to find some colorful CDs with no covers and underneath the bed were a couple of masks. At the end of the room was a PC, an old beige monitor now turned off, the CPU cabinet seemed sparklingly new though - a recent upgrade. The music was coming out of the speakers. A DVD cover lay open beside the monitor – ‘Russian CatCrow Tunes’ read the cover design.

“These rascals, what do they do here, looks like some filthy terrorist hideout”, said Ghorke in a loud, raspy voice turning to look at a lady half his height, her head bowed down, standing with her right hand on the chair’s backrest, she had no left hand. She was Anik’s mother.

“Babu, they are harmless, they just listen to music, sing and chat here”.

“Eh? I know what they do, these vermin”, bellowed Ghorke, now looking behind the grimy dust laden curtains and within the general stuff lying on the table, he pulled at the locker but it held on, it was locked.

“Mainkar, break this lock, I want to see what’s inside”.

Mainkar and a constable came over to break the lock and inside they found some vials and a syringe. There were some transparent packets too held fast by rubber-bands with white powdery material inside. There was also a Colt revolver. In the next locker were a few golden trinkets and wads of ten and hundred rupee notes.

“Where do they get all the money, thieves, pocket maarte hain, saale”, Ghorke grunted, pressing on one of the packets with his fingers.

As they continued looking around, loud giggling and laughter was heard outside. And then the door opened; the Inspector had on purpose kept the door shut. The not-so-tall, frail, fair Anik with a prominent goatee, another plump boy and a buxom girl burst in, Anik had his arms around both and was humming a Kishore Kumar number. As soon as he saw the police, he froze. And within a jiffy the police constables leapt and handcuffed them. It was late in the night and the burlesque Inspector Ghorke was already hungry; and it seemed his hunger for solving crime had been satiated for the day.

The same Anglo-Indian lady had been earlier eve-teased by Anik and his friends was what the police suspected; she had registered a complaint against the boys, but was not able to describe the boys – apparently they wore masks, like the ones recovered from the house. She was found in a strange position within an auto; the autowallah had been assaulted too, hit on the head with something blunt and heavy, perhaps a bat. He was found unconscious. But the lady seemed to have died, and the strangest thing was her eyes and mouth was wide open as if she were shouting when she all of a sudden passed out. There were no assault marks on her – just a prick of a syringe, which would be discovered later. The police had found the auto, abandoned at one corner of Havlock Street, the unconscious autowallah slumped on the floor of the auto and the lady sitting on the backseat in that compromising position.

The police was sure that the criminals were Anik and his group. Anik ‘s gang was notorious in their area for all sorts of petty crimes and infamous for their bawdy music that they used to play at the erstwhile Marx Square Park in the evenings in front of the couples, and howling, baying crowds. Anik the lead singer and his girlfriend Modhu would kiss on the elevated platform while they both sang. Some would give them money for their performance if they wished. And there were only two guitars and a ramshackle set of drums which his pack of friends would beat out loud. After that they would go to the nearby Punjabi eat out, buy beer and go to Anik’s or his friends’ place and listen to loud music and create a racket.

It was not for money he would often say to his mother. His mother tried pleading with the Inspector but to no avail, they took Anik and his friends away, saying she should have taken care of this earlier, not allowing her son to have come to the state he had. She now lay in her bed weeping for her son; Anik was not like this earlier but had turned out to be just like his late father, lately. He too had been an active member of the Naxalite movement back in the 70s and had gone away fleeing the police and had never come back again. She used to help him make explosives back then, when she had lost one of her hands. She vividly remembered the day the incident happened and winced in the pain of those memories flooding in and now this pain of her son having gone awry.

As per the police, the circumstances had been not that clear, but all the clues pointed to Anik’s gang, yet the motive was not clear. Was it a revenge killing? This question did trouble Inspector Ghorke – but he was sure he could extract the truth from those hippie thugs, troublemakers turned murderers. But two full days of custody could not get anything out of them and the boys and the lone girl kept repeating that they knew nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing. That’s when Ghorke was convinced it had not been these crazy kids, it was someone else. But then who? And why?

Anne Williams was a tall, fair, well endowed woman; and she had been found dead under mysterious circumstances as the newspapers loved to put it. Was she involved in some group or network, involved in heinous crimes or was she a pawn in some larger game plan. The next few nights Inspector Mohanchand Ghorke could hardly get any sleep, and stayed awake, turning in his bed as his wife snored away. Questions replaying in his mind included whether there was some link to the ISI terrorist network planning for bigger strikes in the heart of the city? Then why did she have to complain to the police? Was it under instructions from the head of that group in order to mislead the police?

Anik and his two friends were released after a week in detention and had come back home when the Inspector’s worst fears came true. The city saw two gruesome bomb blasts one at the busy Lakhim Chowk and another at the equally crowded, upscale New Bazaar area. At least fifty or more people died in the same attacks that sent the police into an overdrive. Initial investigations indicated a terrorist hand even though no organization had taken responsibility for the blasts.

It was during one of the regular raids that something caught Ghorke’s eye and as soon as he had seen it he was convinced that everything fell into place. Anik gang’s gatherings were being used to transfer explosives in the most ingenious manner possible. Anik or any of his friends were not directly involved. It had to be seen to be believed, and Ghorke knew how to trap the actual minds behind the network. He started developing an elaborate plan as the terrorists would lie low after the recent blasts. So it would be a bit more difficult for them - also links and informers indicated that what he had thought of was indeed true.

The idea went something like this: a handful of terrorists would gather at the evening gatherings where Anik and his friends sang violent sometimes revolutionary and anti-establishment songs and would pass on information and material, as the police would not bother to be there and never watch out such places. This was a breeding ground for the delinquent, misguided youth who could be brainwashed easily. Not only the poor or those from minority communities, but also those with some form of resentment towards government policies would gather in the evenings and get carried away in the emotional, sentiment-laden crooning of Anik and Co.

They cleverly distributed and hid the material and kept the explosive stuff stacked up in and around that park in the old dilapidated buildings; along the way collecting more volunteers among the youth. Inspector Ghorke had never suspected this and his plan now was to plant policemen in plain clothes among the youth to get at these terrorist recruitment drives. But where was Anne Williams fitting in here? Had she actually got a hint of their activities?

The facts unfolded soon and in a series of arrests by the police - who had indeed put into action Ghorke’s plan, the entire scheme became clear. Anne Williams had a boyfriend who had been involved in these activities and she actually stumbled upon the terrorist hideout and their modus operandi and thus got eliminated. She had been injected with an empty air filled syringe and those who had killed her had dressed up in the same mask attire of the Anik gang. More clues led to the local masterminds and they were arrested, but the last link was yet to be established and the hidden as yet undiscovered operations of the network were still being fuelled from some foreign organization.

Anik and his friends were not involved. Anik was allowed to carry on with his song sessions at the park and when last heard had a hit song which is quite popular among youth even today:

“It ain’t for the money,

It’s for a drop of your honey;

I killed all right,

But it was a greater fight

‘t was for my men’s rights”.

“Bloody fools”, Inspector Ghorke would spit in their direction whenever he saw them and Anik would wink at him when walking past him along with his girl and loudly exclaim: “Potbelly, what have you got inside?” to the great chagrin of the Inspector who would then bark at his constables “Get them”; after which a mock chase would ensue and later the constables would let go.

Anik and his pals now sat on in the same garage room and his friend Ronit strummed on the guitar the tunes of the song, “It ain’t for the money, it’s for a drop of your honey”.