Saturday, November 13, 2010 


There are just too many thoughts to start off this post. So rather than going on about why I have been away for over a year now, let me just start writing. We’ll get to the being away part a little later. The last year or so has gone by, and I can not thank the powers that be enough for that. Maybe I didn’t know how to do the job well, but it was overall an unpleasant experience, perhaps like a medication at best, that you need to swallow once, but you wish you never have to again.

The thought of handling people’s expectations is inspiring in the beginning. In fact this is why for a long time I thought I could go into politics. But such is the bizarre tale of human desire that I am strongly thinking otherwise. Overall, people lack sense of their own abilities, to say it in simple words, they think too much of themselves. Fortunately for such people, the laws of business state that output has no correlation with input. It’s not about what you sell, but how you sell it. Form takes precedence over content. In such a world a person who is modest about his/her abilities and sets reasonable targets and milestones to achieve is more fondly termed as lack of energy and enthusiasm. Ok maybe I took it personally, but hello this is my blog!

There certainly were good parts to it. Taking a responsible role and executing it well gives one a sense of achievement. Then there are people who strive to make a good career out of a b-school and work hard for it and its rewarding to know that you could contribute in whatever trivial way. Then there was the planning, humungous amount of planning, ironing out each and every single detail to make sure that everything goes well. Support of other stakeholders and the acknowledgement of efforts. All in all a memory to reflect upon, not one to look at and say, I’d do it again.

I guess there is no use spraying away the bad stuff here. To say that it was an uneasy experience should suffice at this point in time. The one thing that the experience clearly highlighted is how much I can take. If this job were the only thing to be done in life, it is very easy. But to handle multiple others things, relationships, hobbies and dreams in life along with this job is what makes it a nightmare.

I never really got around to making a lot of friends at IIML. I always thought I was someone who would make good friends. But my profound disregard for the hungry souls aplenty made me not even try. The day I landed at IIM L, I wanted to get it done with. With each passing day that feeling has become stronger.

I want to write so much more, so many much more. But I guess I just need to make a start at this stage. It’s been a long time since I wrote and its just good to be back live.


Friday, July 31, 2009 

Dot ball

I was thinking of a reason why I have been a little quiet on this forum for a while, and well the obvious reason came to mind is that there is not much cricket India is playing these days. That said, England is doing a good job of performing the last rituals of Australia's dominance in world cricket. I think the more you rise the more you fall. But Australia's fall is not so much a fall from grace, because their was very little about their team that would qualify graceful. Anyways they have played good cricket in the past and slowly they'll have to come to terms with being just another team.

I thought a little bit if that is in anyway an analogy for me to drive. But right now things are quite the opposite, well in some spheres atleast. Academics at IIM L are no big shit frankly. I can atleast speak for the batch I am a part of, wont comment on previous years. But I think if you are decently aware and can handle sleep in class, you'll be alright. Of course top scoring in class is a different league, it hardly coincides with intelligence and potential. But all the hull-boo about L being Hell is not true at least with respect to academics. But people are afraid of acknowledging that, because most people are bred on the funda that studies are a pain in the ass and exams are bed of thorns. I quite frankly enjoy the exam time, its just like a holiday with a 2 hour engagement.

Other than that every IIM gives you opportunity to explore extra curricular activities which is a good platform for everyone. Having stayed here for over a month, I can tell you that the feeling fo being involved is very satisfying. But all that is upto your choice, so everyone can manage it according to what one can take. I would say all in all its not as Hellistic as people have over the years made it sound.

For me, I am taking things as they come, which means not preparing for exams in advance :). At this juncture of the economy and my career its best to have no expectations and do things I really want to do.


Monday, June 29, 2009 

Asking Rate

I recalled today that for over two years now I have been trying to get into an MBA program. I applied to a few places, spent a lot of money and here I am today at Lucknow. With around 50k spent in those 2 years and 1000k in the pipeline for the next 2, I realized that I have already gone behind the eight ball in terms of ROI. There are of course two types of returns you can look at from an MBA program – professional and personal. The former is much more a function of the institute you go to, the latter is pretty much within your control. So my main contention right now is the professional returns.

I have thought of why I am doing an MBA program a million times, trying to come up with colloquial excuses. One of them talks about learning and knowledge and another says structured approach and so on. The one thing that I perhaps need to reinforce having reached an MBA program is to not give it away. This program is not meant to be a break for two years, I am paying a huge amount of money for this and I better make a conscious effort of giving it the due seriousness and importance. It is like the many things in life that when you get for free you don’t care, but when you have to pay for it, suddenly you are more responsible.

For a major part of my affiliation with cricket at IIT, I was not very good with the bat. But after a certain point I just had to come up, I was the captain of the team the most experienced and I had to set standards. There is only one thing that I told myself ball after ball every time the bowler ran in, head down and get forward. I didn’t exactly set the field on fire, but I ended up with a decent show with the bat, one I can be proud of.

The present realization is bringing out the same type of action. It is time to realize that I have a responsibility on my hands and least I can do is to accept it and act on it. I think this time I know why I am in the middle and so I can see and seize the opportunity. The action plan will still not be to score a high CG. But to do simple things such as attend classes, try doing assignments, take an interest in the course. Of course I have never had great expectations from myself. As long as I can satisfy myself with my effort I will have nothing to be disappointed about.

By the way Lucknow is a real mixed bag. All my impressions about this place, the institute and people here can be premature but this place has some of the very bright to not so bright people. I have been amazed to see the kind of apprehension very experienced of people have here. It is not to say that they will not score good marks. Scoring marks is a different psychological paradigm. But the presentation skills, intellectual content and vision of life has been very good to very bad.

Take this for example, in our induction by the seniors (whatever you call it) we were asked some basic HR questions for a resume. One of them was around an ethical dilemma. One of the studs wrote – “there is white woman and black man in my company. White woman sue the black man for sexual harassment while the black man pressed charges of racism to the white woman. And I had to decide which one of them was right.” Stuff classics are made of. The other big problem here is that there are a lot of maddus here. No offence to these guys, they are individually a nice bunch of people. But they are just so many of them. And that tag is almost synonymous with IT. Not just that it kills diversity, it kills interaction as these guys and girls find comfort in forming their own groups. Picture this for example, one of our professors asked us to make groups of six which should be rich in diversity such as different institutes, companies, regions, cultures etc. I was walking out of class when I over heard a converstation between two girls. One asked – “hey did you get a diverse group?”. So the other replied – “Yes we got a pretty diverse group, but only thing is there is nobody from north India. Other wise one is from Bangalore, one Hyderabad….”. and you can imagine that when this is a group’s profile they must all be IT.

Before I signout for today, one last piece of information. Everyone must have heard of cp, acp, dcp and the likes. Well there might be a million better examples of acp than this, but the following is the best I have come across so far.
Prof. – In quantitative analysis we will have 4 quizzes, 2 normal and 2 surprise quizzes.

Student – Ma’m will these quizzes be written or oral? (Saucy!!!)


Friday, June 26, 2009 

New Ball Taken

The first week at Lucknow has been hectic and tiring. The temperature here hovers around the 45 degree mark more often than not, and I have to spend most of the day in the sun and when I get back to my room I realise that my fan doesnt work very well. Its a little tough to sleep at night with all the heat. The constant dose of lectures, workshops and assignments don't help the cause and it is said that that will continue for a long time. Its perhaps the change in lifestyle which makes me a little uncomfortable. So it would be too early to say that I am not enjoying it.

The part that I am enjoying here is the local language. Although the general lingo in delhi is what I am used to, the UP language is something that I feel very comfortable with. The 'aap' 'hum' 'tum' 'lijiye' 'dijiye' is very fascinating against the 'tu' 'tera' karde' 'dede' stuff in Delhi. And Gurgaon is even worse. When I talk to a stranger, young, old or my age, I address them as aap. It is therefore a home like feeling for me when I hear those words in return.

As far as the MBA is concerned, it is again to early to call anything. I do feel though that I am not made for the college kind of enviroment. There are two reasons for that. One, I certainly can not be part of a rat race at this age, when I didnt join it when I was 18. The other thing is that the college, campus environment is a little laid back with less pressure and stakes which can make me drift away further from the main objective. In the professional world it is easier to concentrate on work, because you don't live with your colleagues so general conncect is less.

I guess this is just a cooling off period for me, before I join the professional world again. And as time goes by I will realise the importance of this break and rewards it will give me for life ahead.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 

Pitch Report

With only a few days to go to Lucknow, I am trying to soak in all there is in this lovely place called Delhi, and there is a lot. For the best part of the last 25 years I have lived in this place and it is quite the home for me. It is a little sad to leave this place, but I know as I wander around to other places I will come back to Delhi with more love and affection for this place.

On the other side, in Lucknow, my batch is apparently the 25th batch at IIM L. Apart from being the silver jubilee batch there are some changes to the course which are really worth celebrating. I talked about a relaxed attendance rule before I think. Now we hear that the classes will only be 5 days a week, instead of 6 earlier. I am not all excited and elated, because for now it’s just plain relief of getting a break from a dead-end job.

The kind of farewell I got from colleagues and the nice time I have always had with friends in Gurgaon made my exit from this place very smooth. The three years in this place have been an experience worth living. I wouldn’t really say that if I had to live my life all over again I would still come to Gurgaon. But keeping in mind the fact that you can’t have everything in life, Gurgaon was a good place to be.

Living in the heart of UP will be another experience. The meteoric shift from the land of tu-tadak to the land of pehle-aap, will be quite a culture shock (wah waah!). But not so much because UP is like a second home for me. I was born here, so I know the place and idiosyncrasies inside out. But Lucknow could be a little different from Jhansi and Ghaziabad. I have only heard of the nawabi ways of this place, it will be interesting to actually live through them. Of course that will depend on how much my program allows me to exchange with the outside world. From what I have heard about it chances are slim. But then again its me.

So all in all looks like we’ll have decent game. If I spend a little time in the middle I am sure things will become easy.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009 

Writing on the wall...

No I am not going to talk about Dravid. This is just about how I feel right now generally, not in a bad way but a good way. It is very rare that India plays a crucial match and gets into a very strong winning position, from where the victory becomes just a formality. Although this has happened a few times lately with the new captain, but for the time I have seen cricket it is rare. I feel a similar emotion, where I am just waiting for the fat lady to sing so that I can collect the stump as a memory of the victory.

I remember transitioning from college to professional life. I was very much into blogging at that time and I wrote how I felt there was an impending declaration. My final year was just stretching too long and I just wanted to get out of it quickly. I was hoping for some sort of mutual agreement that captains have for calling of play one hour before scheduled close of play on the final day, if they saw no result coming. The feeling right now is a bit different. Positive.

This time I know pretty much what to expect in this phase and have some ideas of my own on how I plan to go about things. Which is why it’s not just about getting out of ‘jail’, but it’s also about starting a new ‘innings’. When I came to IIT I made a tacit promise to myself that I will have a good time and spend most parts of the day on the field. When I joined my job, I thought of working really hard and giving it everything to any assignment I get my hands on. Three years on, I am thinking of which way to go, and considering the kind of course I am pursuing, it’s safe to say that I will be some where in between the first two ideas. Cheers!


Saturday, May 23, 2009 

Strategy Break

After numerous attempts to restart my blog, I am finally feeling like I am there. 26/11 was a big day in my life, actually the three days after that also. Not because innocent people died the way they did. People die in every corner in this country, heck the whole world. I was frightened by ease with which the whole thing happened and I felt insecure. And then I introspected to realise that I am the problem. I never realise that small actions of mine transpire into mindsets, which transform into habits and then take the camouflaged form of a culture which is collectively disintegrated. I had been writing about how I should rise from my laziness to make a difference, when that ugly weekend came about. I realised that I still not able to leave my comfort zone to do anything, the least I could do was to stop writing and take a break.

Now, as a celebration of my shamelessness, I am back to writing. I thought of changing the blog title, but i guess now more than ever, the name Ashes fits the bill.

A lot has happened in the last six months, generally things have been positive. The major parts have been the elections, IPL and my vocational paradigm shift (true story!). When I was in class 9 our teacher was discussing elections and how it turned out that time. i had been following the news, reading papers lately and as is the case in any discussion i stood up to talk. i said something that nobody liked. i said that people are responsible for the state of affairs in the parliament today because they have given a fractured mandate. "Ye kya baat hui, jo jisko vote dena chahe usse de, how can you blame the public?" was a popular response. But i stuck to my guns because i was convinced by that idea. Although i didnt quite understand what happened last time and how it happened, this year people have vindicated my belief.

Perhaps this election was not about Cong/BJP/Left/3/4/5... This election was of sailing through because the current situation is pretty much unprecedented in independent India. And a horses for courses approach justifies the sentiment of the Indian people who are refreshingly aware of the situation. I must confess that I did not vote for this government for many reasons, but as a second best choice I will take it. There is need to reasses important issues and focus on challenges at hand, but by no means can we dissolve the big picture in this patch work. There is a time and place for every issue and we as a country have to "wait for it".

The other thing that has been happening, is in the world of cricket - the IPL. It goes by many aliases, but I will stick with Indian Premiere League. The only good part about this year's IPL was the fact that it was in South Africa and so there was an even contest between bat and ball. Apart from that its been a drab tournament, with poor quality of cricket, reckless batting, suicidal bowling and the fielding, what can i say, well it sucked. I got so bored of watching cricket after a while that I was working in office, late. I never endorse the thought that match fixing exists in cricket, and i stand by it. but my belief has gone through some rough times this IPL. Its not about the catches. you can't drop catches on purpose and get away with it. Sometimes the body language of the players was so uninspiring that it got me off cricket. One of the reasons i can think of is the sheer volume of matches. Not cricket, just matches. Players may well have been feeling, 'never mind, we'll win the next one'. This was the second edition of the IPL and youngsters were expected to be more confident and valuable this time around. Instead they were edgy, stressed and just not performing. The oldies came to party which was nice to see. But that does not help the cause of the Indian team, which was looking at this IPL as a practice session and it has turned out to be a dent in their confidence.

And finally the vocational paradigm shift. I will be moving to Lucknow within a month from now to join an MBA program at IIM Lucknow. Its perhaps the biggest news in the last three years i have had for someone. Whenever someone asked me 'whats up?', i'd say 'nothing much, the usual'. Atleast now i can say something to interest the other person. The sad part is that i have to leave my dear car behind. I hate this part. But the good part is that I am off the job, its always nice to lower the stakes for a while. At work your are probably handling a lot of pressure because its not just about you, its about clients, their performance, companies performance, global impact etc etc. You can't afford to make mistakes, unless you are as rich as i am (smile). At a b school you are responsible for yourself, perhaps a couple more, so the stakes are less and you can chill. In fact that, i just realised, is the best reason to do an mba after some professional experience because it will give you a cool off period before you jump in again to start the second part of the innings. The mba is then your, now proverbial, stratetic time out.


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