Friday, January 30, 2009

Have feet - will dance

I finally did it ... a performance in LKP in front of a huge audience... almost flawlessly - almost :P, cos to my pleasant surprise I could hear shouts of "Parcel", "Parcel" being thrown from the audience (love u guys for tht !!!), which distracted me for a moment causing me to lose a step somewhere ... but apart from that I enjoyed every single bit of whatever limelight I could get :)

Tomorrow I start being a media coordinator at chaos (Deja Vu). Part of the role led to opening up this new blog for chaos. And if time permits read up on some WAC and OM.

Cheerios and be back with the dance vid if it turns up soon :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Yup .. day 5 turned up with a surprise in-class quiz.... Thankfully no guest lectures to follow ... but that doesn't mean any Siesta time for me :( ... Gotta buy stuff, dance some and go move around some media ppl... Nothing deep i'm thinking at the moment... just a random crib

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Chaos before CHAOS ....

IIM-A is getting ready for Chaos, and the last week has been chaotic - quite literally . Imagine this schedule

Day 1 - A 500 word report outlining the systems in a local mid/large size company
Followed by a surprise quiz

Day 2 - A 500 word report based on loads of research on a topic chosen by the facult
Followed by a surprise quiz - from a subject which there was no mention of any quizzes happening altogether <>

Day 3 - A 1 page submission on observations from a 20 min discussion to be arranged by every student between 2 people on a debatable topic- every section would need about 80 different topics and discussions.
Followed by a surprise quiz (Are you getting the hang of this?)
Followed by a 2 hour long guest lecture

Day 4 - A 1500 word report on the sales and distribution strategy of a company with a presentation in class
Followed by a surprise quiz !!!
Followed by another 2 hour long guest lecture

Day 5 - Coming tomorrow.. And I dread what it's gonna bring. Coincidentally Chaos starts tomorrow and we have 2 other submissions rite after Chaos - yipeee ~~~~

Club this with hours of dance practice, chaos work and club interactions and you get a very very tired parcel !


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Republic day is back again ;)

Just back after some exhausting dance practice, and finally now I think I'm getting the hang of how to dance. I pity the girls in the group who have to wake up in the morning, get all fresh, wear loads of makeup, and dance well on stage at 9 am in freezing weather - maybe I'll wake up and head there to cheer them up after all :)

So, in 22 years of my life I am bound to have celebrated atleast 18 "Republic Day" anniversaries - 26th Jan - the day when India became a Republic - a day when India adopted its constitution - the fallout of the event is still unclear to even a self-proclaimed patriot like me. So here I turn to Wikipedia for the "accepted" public version.

On the republic day, India hosts a head of state from some other nation - a symbol of how much the other country matters in India's foreign policy. This year it's going to be the president of Kazakhstan... How long has ONGC had its eyes on those oil fields for? ... It's not like inviting a president to your country is just like asking out someone for a movie now, or is it?

The initial thought to write this post stemmed from my anger over a constitution that is vague about a lot of things, absurd about some and simply powerless about the others... but all this knowledge search seems to have grilled down the tempo - I've felt this for long, it's time to stop being a manager and start being a leader, or atleast try to start being one... in whatever small way is possible

Jai Hind !!!

PS: Too much blogging these days, need to spend lesser time here ;) mental note made

Friday, January 23, 2009

A different perspective

I wake up at 5 in the morning - there's no alarm clock to do it, but i must wake up early if I wish to live. Go out and do the morning chores before the sunlight arrives - because i stay in the desert and there is no place other than the bushes to give me and my wife some privacy in some of life's most mundane tasks. Then she walks 5 kms to the place where the water tanker unloads. In the meanwhile, I start the pump with much efforts and diesel costlier than my blood starts pumping water onto my field some time later...

I walk all day on the salty land, amidst salty water, barefooted - because the rubber boots my wife made out of some tires could not give me the strength I needed to do my job. I work all morning- while my younger kids wake up and wait for the school to start. They stare intently in one direction - at a hut 6 kms away, covered with some plastic and tin shelters. A small flicker of mirrors by the teachers tells them its time to come to school now - and they joyously signal back with our broken mirror. They hop to school along the desert mud, joyously because the school has some toys, some friends and food to eat. My older kids work with me in the water now. We work till the sun above our heads starts to burn the scalp and the skin, I get out of the water only to see my leg shrinking further. My joints ache when I sit down for a meal, but I put on a brave smile - they say there will be some students from some well known management college in Ahmedabad here to study us today ... Maybe they can do something to explain why my life is so...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Remembering Techfest

I was once a part of the Techfest team at IIT Bombay. That was probably the best group of people that I had a chance to work with. And I see that my successors are trying their best to keep up the name we have striven to create. Looking at the video below makes me nostalgic and want to go back and be there once more; maybe I will, given the extended weekend that IIM strived hard to deny us...;)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The guilt of being privileged

Even an eternal cribster like me feels too privileged to crib today. Just got back from a 12-hour long trip to the Little Rann of Kutch from near Ahmedabad. The life of the salt pan workers there screams of exploitation every second of every day... The next post I write would be from one of their perspectives, rite now I post here a video (not embeddable surprisingly) which got my mind still anticipating what I would witness before embarking on this trip, and as gruesome as it may seem, everything from this video is true. I thank my luck (or God, since I haven't really been able to convert to an atheist completely) for the life I have and hope to make a difference in some of theirs someday.


Friday, January 16, 2009

And then they came for me ...

Read this article which mentioned the German theologian, Martin Niem"ller. In his youth he was an anti-Semite and an admirer of Hitler. As Nazism took hold in Germany, however, he saw Nazism for what it was: it was not just the Jews Hitler sought to extirpate, it was just about anyone with an alternate point of view. Niem"ller spoke out, and for his trouble was incarcerated in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945, and very nearly executed. While incarcerated, Niem"ller wrote a poem that, from the first time I read it in my teenage years, stuck hauntingly in my mind:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Scary ...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nortel files for bankruptcy protection...

And the recession has spread to the tech world too? Maybe this was an isolated effect ... afterall, some of Nortel's biggest clients used their VPN services extensively. I for one found it to be quite satisfactory during my internship with P&G ages ago; but then, I had nothing to compare this with !

I'll be waiting and watching to see if this is just the beginning - pray that it isn't ! With placements starting for my dear Tuccha batch, more bankruptcies could only make things worse...

Wondering how the London Olympics in 2012 will cope with one of their key sponsors filing for bankruptcy protection ...


Satyam Shivam Ramalingam

Interesting strings of Satyam mocks running the rounds of emails these past few days:

Raju Raju sat on the wall
Raju Raju had a great fall
Balance sheet died
Shareholders cried
Raju Raju made a fraud

Raju Raju
Yes baba
Cheating us?
No baba
Telling Lies?
No baba
Open the balance sheet

And this very apt graphical illustration ...

What all these fail to depict is the trauma that so many people must be going through because of the entire incident : a) the 53000 odd employees b)Multitudes of shareholders c)The Shivalingam family ... Family, they say is the most innocent yet most severely punished. And although you might be educated and mature enough not to translate the wrong-doings of someone to his near and dear ones; somewhere at the back of the mind, there is always a suspicion and immediate loss of trust for everyone associated to the miscreant ... Afterall, blood is thicker than water !

One of the faculty members very aptly put forward the point in a course on ethics - No Name, No Fame ... probably the reason why sanyaasis let go of their names before their journey in the search of Moksha. The discussion stemmed from debates over the book Yuganta by Irawati Karwe - quite a good read for someone who likes to find rationality in religion.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tidbit about dreaded GD-PI preparation

Recollecting a few of the queries I struggled with last year after the unexpected IIM calls; I thought it would be a good idea to put them down here for some friends and acquaintances -

GDs: The best practice for a GD would be to join a coaching institute, merely for the reason that you would get to "discuss" with a wide variety of specimen. There are typically 3 roles you can play in a GD- 1) Aggressive 2) Passive and 3) Moderator. As I've been told and have seen from my results umpteen times, it's not about the quantity but the quality of things you say. Choose to observe the people in your group, I found the following tactics useful:

a) Catch the troughs: Many people usually tend to finish off their sentences in decreasing amplitude. This can be an ideal time for you to pick up with a loud start and make your point - but do this only if you have a point related to what was last said, or else it would just be a rude interruption.

b) Avoid the 'buts': 'But' and 'And'  are considered by some evaluators as very weak words screaming underconfidence. Use of words such as 'nevertheless' and 'whereas' add a bit more veriety and strength to your vocabulary - Try it !

c) Take notes: I was asked to summarize the discussion in one of the GDs, you never know when you might be asked to do the same.

Btw, Ahmedabad didn't have a GD as an evaluation method last year - a sane choice I completely agree with... (That's another sick aspect of GDs - shouting out agreements and disagreements just to let the evaluator how you sound like !)

PI (Personal Interview):  Just remember to be completely honest. The person interviewing you has probably been selected well enough to be 10 times smarter than you at things you claim to be smart at...

Brush up on:

1) Your bachelors' / masters' courses : Every single course on your marksheet should have added some value to your learning, remember a few salient aspects of these courses. Also, be through with core topics related to your field of interest. I was asked questions like Lenz's law- things I had learnt in the 12th Grade...

2) Your extracurriculars: If you have put it down on your form, be ready to speak about it at length and speak passionately (as if that can be faked !)

3) Current Affairs: Wide-wide topics... know that one needs to be thorough with the happenings right from 1 year before the date of the interview.

4) Some basic history / geography : I was asked to name 5 rivers running through my homestate in the IIM-B interview - give it your best shot if you can't get 5 ofcourse, but please avoid guessing and running the Ganges through Maharashtra !

5) Loads of economics: SLR, CRR, Interest rates, foreign exchange rates, Stock markets - all the variables that affect the business world - afterall, you have to show them how interested you are in the business world !

6) About your past jobs : Although I didn't have this feather in my cap, I've heard that they can get quite detailed about the kind of work you did, the organizational culture and many other debates - Reading random blogs all day at work doesn't count !!!

Best wishes

Friday, January 2, 2009

New year huh ?

It's a new year, one which was brought in with huge bashes and booms throughout the world... But what does a new year bring in apart from the usual starting confusions of writing (or typing or saying or miming...) 2009 instead of 2008 in the box asking for today's date on forms?

On that note, what makes a birthday all that special? It's nothing but a reason to celebrate, and a reason to judge how much someone cares for you looking at the timing & intensity of the wishes? If nothing else, I hope that someday I'll be able to overcome all these petty customs and rise above ;).. till then, need to get the gifts flowing :).

Like another friend, Sid from my class, maybe I oughta try a maun vrat too ...

Rahul aka Parcel