Jun 30, 2006

Nirvana... the state of bliss!!!

I recently had the good fortune of attending a talk by a much talked about and respected Swamiji. The topic was mundane, but he was able to hold the attention of the large audience for the entire duration. I was practically indifferent to the entire sermon, which is pretty surprising since I usually love or hate things pretty strongly.

After the talk, I started ‘thinking’ (which, btw, is very rare, in fact rarer than the blue moon, the Koh-i-noor, and a product not endorsed by AB… oops, I’m digressing), as to what is it that these sadhus and swamijis and gurujis posses that so many people flock to them. Maybe the Marketing department should do a case study on them to find out how they acquire new ‘customers’ and retain them for life.

I mean, he was a good speaker, so to say. Not monotonous. Nice anecdotes. Some witty one-liners. Some PJs. In fact, I could have been listening to any stand up comedian, except that this one was dressed in flowing robes, and had long hair. But, then, what is it that makes respected industrialists, politicians, film stars and other big shots with bloated egos to prostrate and kiss the swamiji’s feet. It was sycophancy at its peak, and I was feeling good that, some day, the boss who kicks my @$$ will also lick some of the swamiji’s… the thought is sooo good…

I mean, in my 23 years on this planet, I have had my fair share of sermons from miscellaneous godmen. My mom still listens to some of them on TV. None of them have any different message. It’s all old wine in older bottles. Look for happiness within. You are special. Awaken the child inside you. Believe in yourself. Breathe deeply. Meditate. Sing Bhajans. Listen to the ‘Great Epics’ and follow their teachings. Blah blah blah… It helps if you have a soothing voice, and droopy eyes.

In fact, if it were not for their long incomprehensible titles, and different colored robes, I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. But then, I have seen perfectly sane, well educated, highly successful individuals lose their mind and fall in line behind these swamijis. I have seen IIT educated computer engineers sacrifice six figure salaries and sexy secretaries to serve the sundry swamijis (wow, I still remember alliteration!!!). I have seen beautiful young girls sway to the rhythm of the bhajans, unmindful of the fact that half of the audience is ogling at them.

I initially used to hate these swamijis. I used to think that they mislead people and ruin careers. Things were especially sad if one’s parents got involved in some such cult worship. (I thank God and all godmen that mine didn’t). The kids get brainwashed at an impressionable age and are not left with any option. The allegations of financial impropriety and sex scandals in some ashrams added to my dislike.

Then, I dunno what happened… Suddenly, I became indifferent to them… mebbe, this is what they call ‘Nirvana’… a state of complete apathy.

I mean, they don’t come to my house or call me up and solicit my followership, like say a credit card salesman or a telemarketing guy. They appear on TV, say their goddamn sermons, and suddenly, some perfectly logical, free will exercising adults go to them and ‘seek their blessings’. This is a free world, and every guy has his freedom of speech. I mean, I’m allowed to crap abt them in my blog and post it for the world to see (It is an entirely different matter that millions watch their program and hardly five people read my blog… more on that later)…

I also thought, for all their misgivings, they still go out and build schools, hospitals and other community buildings in places we haven’t even heard of. Truly, a village may be godforsaken, but a godman never forsakes it. :D

They also help ensure that the big bad corporates loosen their purse-strings and donate money for some social cause. I mean, if someone donates 10 crores, and the godman siphons off 2 crores, it is still worth it. Assume he takes a commission for transferring wealth from rich to poor…

I know that the subject of sadhus and swamijis generally evokes very passionate views… People either love them or hate them… But, sadly, I have become indifferent to them… Maybe, it is time to awaken my kundalini, so that my emotions flow more freely…

PS: If you can’t digest what I have written, take a deep breath and fart… It helps clear your body of toxins, and makes you healthy, wealthy and wise :P

Jun 29, 2006

Chess is not a game...

A game of 64 squares. One against One. Mind vs. Calculative Mind.

A game with Kings, Queens, Knights, Bishops and Rooks. A game where a mere pawn can become an all powerful Queen.

Rapid. Classical. Lightning. Blind. Played in different formats. Swiss. Round robin. Knock out.

A game that very few people understand. A game that everybody who plays enjoys.

A game that people play sitting across a table. A game that can be as physically tiring as a gym workout. [Players lose twenty to forty pounds over a championship].

A game where there are no handicaps. Except of the mind. A game where a human still beats a super computer that processes billions of calculations per second.

A game where the top players are called Grand Masters. [ the term has a royal ring to it!!!]

A game which requires the highest level of concentration, persistence and patience.

A game which has every bit of killer instinct that, say, boxing has. Fischer used to say, “I like to see them squirm.” Kasparov stares into the eyes of his opponents and sees defeat. A game that rewards gentlemanly behaviour too. Vishwanathan Anand never does uses intimidatory tactics.

A game with millions of openings, middle game possibilities and end game twists. Tactics and strategies. Kings Indian, Queens’ Defence, Sicilian, English, French. Forks, Sacrifices, Pins. All within 64 squares.

A game which is played over 7 hours in a Classical tournament. A game which can be played in 1 minute Lightning format.

A game where women can compete equally with men, and vie for the top honours. A game where a six year old prodigy can beat a sixty year old veteran.

A game where players remember thousands of variations. V. Anand apparently remembers over a million (!!!) variations, and can recollect any position that he has played over his career.

A game enjoyed by a beginner. A game lived by the veterans. A game that is centuries old. Rich in tradition. Still surviving in the modern world.

Chess is not a game. Chess is Life.

Ennaku Oru Girlfriend vendum ada...

I have often been asked, “Why don’t you get a girlfriend?”… As with most questions, I struggle with the answers…
I mean, what does ‘get a girlfriend’ mean? Is there a market where they can be bought? Are they sold by the kilo? How much do they cost per kilo?
I also don’t get the “Why don’t you” part… It is not like I put a poster on my face saying, “Girls, back off”… (I don’t need a poster, my face does that for me :D).

As it is, I have never bothered. Am too busy admiring myself to spare time for admiring a girl. But, when so many people ask you this question, something is seriously wrong…

What is it about me that makes girls run away as if they would from a farting skunk?

Is it my long name like the famous Sidin (http://sidin.blogspot.com/2004/05/travails-of-single-south-indian-men-of.html) says?
Is it because I am an infamous miser who wouldn’t spend a penny (or a paisa) for a gal? I mean, I have never been inside a Barista, CCD or a McD… never…
Is it because I don’t go for movies with them, and coochie-coo in the last seat? FYI, I have visited the movie theatre twice in the last 8 years :D
Is it because my idea of a dinner is a thali at an Udipi restaurant, and not a Pizza at Joey’s?
Is it because I have this stupid habit of telling the truth? As in, “Dah-ling, Do I look good in this dress?” “Of course… umm… er… (whisper) not, Duh-ling”

No, it must be something more…

So, like a good Fin student, I did a CBA… in a romantic relationship -

The gal gets a free dinner, a free movie, a free ride and the attention of a guy.
The guy gets a kiss, a smooch if he’s lucky, and something more if the gal lets him…
Net positive for the gal …

The gal gets to pour out her worries, her tensions, her feelings… her fear that XYZ has a better wardrobe, or ABC has a better shoerack…
The guy gets to listen to crap, and has to nod his head along like he’s actually sympathizing.
Net positive for the gal …

The gal gets to show off her ‘trophy’ to the other gals… particularly, if the guy is rich… even better, if he’s an idiot.
The guy would like to show off his ‘trophy’ to other guys, but he’s afraid that they’ll lure her away… particularly if she’s sexy… even better, if she’s dumb.
Break even for both…

The gal gets a diamond necklace and a Shahtoosh shawl…
The guy gets a human wrap around…
Net positive for the guy…

After such a loooong analysis, [this is the exec summ], I decided that I was better off without a girlfriend…

So, now when people ask me, “Why don’t you get a girlfriend?”… I tell them, “I’m a firm believer in Arranged Marriage” :P

PS: My fav songs are 'Jaane kyun log pyaar karte hain' from DCH and 'Pyaar mein sou uljale hain' - the Vivek Oberoi-Ash wala movie :D

Jun 28, 2006

Pygmalion Effect aka 'The Self Fulfilling Prophecy'

The term ‘Pygmalion Effect’ comes from the play by the same name, penned by none other than the great GBS. A refreshing tale of a flower girl being transformed into a sophisticated lady, by a Professor who keeps reinforcing the idea that she can be a lady if she wants to be. The story is a testimony to the fact that people become what they are told.

If you tell a person he is great, he starts feeling great. If you tell a person he is stupid, he may not start feeling stupid, but he definitely feels bad. The idea is that if you keep telling a person a lie often enough, he starts believing it to be true. So, it follows that people are not good or bad by themselves, but are made so by other people’s opinions.

Time and again, it has been proved by so many management thinkers and leaders that if you give people a task and set high expectations, they will perform out of their skins to prove you right. But, if you tell the same people that they are useless, good for nothing bastards, chances are that they’ll prove you right again.

Ideally, a person should be given a chance to prove himself. His mentors should have the patience to help him work his way through a mess. The true test of a leader is to make ordinary people do extra ordinary things.

We all learn about motivation, leadership, teamwork… We debate in class about leaders vs. managers, and how leaders have a vision and are able to gather people around them, while managers merely implement policies and look after routine activities. We read inspirational stories of leaders who pulled together people and achieved the impossible. We read cases of business turnarounds, where the plant, technology, product, everything remained the same, but the management changed, and the people changed. We feel good reading the stuff.

But, when it comes to real life, it is so much easier to write people off. To tell them that they are not good enough. To push them off from a cliff into the abyss of non-performance, and forget their existence. After all, we are busy attending to our own problems.

So, how do you handle a person who is shirking work? Do you tell him that he needs to pull up his socks? Do you fire him saying he is good for nothing? Do you just leave him be and hope that he will realize his folly?

There are no easy answers…

Ok, how would YOU like to be treated if you are the one facing the music, and other people sit in judgment on you?

Now, the answer seems pretty simple, doesn’t it?

Mediocre But Arrogant

Why do MBAs think that they are better than others?

What makes them feel superior?

How do they feel free to sit in judgment of others?

When will they realize that ‘success’ and ‘failure’ are, but two sides of the same coin?

Where were they when the Lord said, “Let him, who has not sinned, cast the first stone”?

My experience has been that MBAs in general suffer from a superiority complex. Maybe, it is the feeling that they have cracked CAT, the so-called toughest exam in the world. Maybe, because they have come through a grueling selection process where 99 people are thrown out for every 1 taken in. Maybe, they know that companies will line up to offer them six figure salaries the day they pass out. Maybe, they really believe that they are the ‘crème de la crème’ of the society. Whatever the reason may be, in plain words, they are arrogant. But then, they put a spin on this too and call themselves ‘people with high self esteem’.

This arrogance manifests itself in a number of ways. Most MBAs are self obsessed, and think of ‘I, me, myself’ all the time. They wipe off the feeling of ‘empathy’ the day they step into a b-school. The secret of success, in their books, is to constantly blow your own trumpet. (Of course, it helps if you can lick your bosses’ @$$)

I have no issues with someone blowing his own trumpet. But, when people start accusing others, without caring a hoot for what the other person is feeling, well… I can’t stand there and keep quiet. Nor do I have the courage to stand up and protest. I am a coward, and I know that. That is what troubles me.

One day, I’ll stand up. One day, I’ll protest. One day… that day has never occurred so far… I keep hoping it will…

Till then, I keep asking, “Will I ever feel at home in this society? Will I ever be accepted here? Do I ‘want’ to part of this gang?”

The answers are staring in my face… and I don’t like them…
PS: The title is plagiarised from a popular book of the same name. Sorry for the infringement :)

Jun 24, 2006

Love at First Sight!!!

It was a familiar scene. A crowded railway station. Porters screaming out their services. Hawkers peddling inedible eatables. Kids running around, oblivious to the chaos around them, while their parents frantically hunted around for their compartments and seats. Add the sound of the engine, and the indecipherable Public Announcement System which starts with a jingle and then goes, “Yaatriyaan kripaya dhyaan de… “

I was being shoved around by people rushing to grab the best seats in the ‘unreserved’ compartments. I had three pieces of luggage, and my miserliness wouldn’t permit me to engage a porter. [I always convince myself by saying that one should have the dignity to carry one’s own luggage]. I was late and in a mad rush to catch my train. The taxi driver had conveniently taken advantage of my desperation to reach the station in time. I had had a bad day, when nothing seemed to be going right. In short, I was fed up, and ready to bash anyone up, if they dared to cross my way.

And then, I saw her!!!

She had the most beautiful face I had ever seen. But, it was her eyes that captivated me. Round, dark, and lively. She was fair, her skin perfect and soft. Her cheeks glowed. One look at her and all my worries just drifted away. I was lost in her eyes. I wanted to reach out to her, to touch her…

I took her in my arms, and I immediately felt a buzz of energy in my body. I just couldn’t take my eyes off her. I kissed her on the cheek, and she smiled… I’ll never forget that smile!!!

Man, holding such a cute little baby truly is refreshing!!!

Jun 16, 2006

Student Species

As a student, I have spent endless hours giving nicknames to Profs and classifying them into the good, the bad and the truly ugly. I have always wondered whether the Profs do the same on their students.

Well, since I did teach at a coaching class for 4 years, and have some idea on how to lull 40 people to sleep at a time, I think I shall share some of the species that I identified from the other side of the table, so to say…

So, here are some of the interesting species of vidhyarthis… in random order

The Geek:
He is the pride of every parent and the nightmare of every under-prepared teacher. The guy wears glasses 4 inches thick and carries books 40 inches thick. He is always seen poring over the notes and doing his thirty-second revision. He reads ahead, and bombards you with questions all the time. He has never come second in the class in his entire life. He loves calculus and other obscure mathematical fundas. I have found that the best way to tackle the mind boggling questions that he asks is to turn the tables and say – “this is your home assignment for the day.” Rest assured that he will search every book in the Library and manage to come up with the answer the next day… but, he brings along a new set of doubts [for the day after tomorrow’s homework…] and the cycle continues!

The Dumb Babe:
She is the pride of every potential boyfriend and the envy of the other gals. She is always perfectly made up and you just wonder whether she is coming for a class or for a movie shooting. She wears color coordinated lenses, matching the dress and shoes and watch and lipstick and eye shadow and whatever other piece of crap that women apply on their face, hands and er… She wears the tiniest of dresses and you can’t help but ogle at her. But, since you have a class to teach, and you can’t show your complete emotions, you reserve it for later. But, it still happens that sometimes, she catches your eye by leaning forward oh-so-slightly, and so, you take a dramatic pause, pretend to think deeply about the obscure accounting concept that you are about to teach, and somehow manage to look away till you can recover from the ‘killer look’. She is always called for special sessions after the class is done. Of course, it helps that she is not as well endowed in the brains department, and will never understand anything till you repeat it 25 times. This also means that you give her a fail mark in exams, and watch her go down on her knees… to beg for a pass mark, of course… what did ya think? ;)

The Bull - Dozer:
He is the quintessential Jughead [much fatter though] of every class. If you find him awake for 20 seconds at a stretch, you can pat yourself on the back [since you obviously can’t the back of the species above, much as you may wish to] for the interesting discourse that you are giving. He waits for that perfect moment when you are looking at him [out of 40 people in the class] to let out that hippo-like yawn. And, since yawns are more contagious than bird flu, you can’t help but yawn yourself. But, the strategy, I’ve learned, is to always to turn towards the board so that the class doesn’t realize what you are upto.

The Ms. Perfect:
Now, this one is a rare combination of beauty and brains. She will come second in class [after the Geek, of course], write poetry, sing, dance, win sports competitions, become class monitor and basically achieve all that you wanted to, but could not. She will play the veena and practise karate with equal élan. You start thinking that she will make prefect ‘wife’ material, till you realize that her idol is some Greene feminist who has vowed to remain single till no man desires them. She is too busy planning her corporate climb 20 years hence and so you leave her to her alpha world and look elsewhere.

The Note-taker:
This species is unique in the sense that they firmly believe that what is left unwritten is forgotten. They will want to take down your every word, and ca be relied upon to produce a verbatim report at the end of the class. Destined to be the ‘Secretaries’ of future corporate meetings, their only aim in class is to fill pages and pages of useless data that you spew to confuse them. They are helpful in the sense that once the year is over, you can ask for their notes and use them for perpetually [or atleast till the Education Board decides to revamp the syllabus].

The ‘mera pass baap hai’ guy:
This guy is filthy rich – yes filthy and rich. He knows that he can buy the Education Board and University if he so wishes. But, he is the most cherished student of every coaching class in the town. Who else will pay 18 grand, and not attend classes, while the tuition centre auctions the seat to another willing rich bugger… The day he attends classes, his mobile HAS to ring the latest polyphonic ringtone, and he just HAS to flash the latest im-poh-ted mobile that his dad bought for him from some exotic country. The other guys in the class envy him for his designer clothes, Nike shoes, bike, car and all such knick-knacks. Of course, the biggest knick-knack is the dumb babe [mentioned above], who is always seen ‘hanging’ around with Mr. Rich. You can rely on him to ‘buy’ the question paper a week before the exam, and to ‘buy’ the examiner a week after.

The giggly wiggly queen:
This species should have been admitted to a mental institution long back. All they know is to giggle. You start teaching the intricacies of Accounting Standard 6, and they giggle. You give a problem to solve, and they giggle. You ask them a question, they giggle. You shout at them, they giggle. You send them out of the class, and they still giggle. By the time you are through with them, you wonder whether you are in a class or already in a mental asylum. [giggle giggle].

Of course, there are endless varieties out there [after all, every individual is unique in his/her own right], but since I don’t want to bore you further, I’ll stop here…

As for my students, I love every one of them, especially the dumb babes ;)

Jun 10, 2006

Videshi Jargon Manch

Statutory Warning: This blog is a bit shady, and Parental Guidance is strictly advised. Read ahead at your own risqué.

Btw, this idea is not original, and may have been plagiarised. But, it is up to u to find that out.

I hope the moral police don’t hang me for this. More importantly, I hope the gals don’t hate me for this.

Whenever u have the misfortune of running into an MBA [as opposed to the good fortune of ‘running over’ him], please be prepared to be bombarded with jargons.

The use of jargons is not unique to MBAs. I mean, engineers have their thermodynamics, doctors have their ‘hypocratic’ oaths, CAs have their capitalization funda… but, an MBA beats them all, with one hand…

In fact, MBAs live by the law of Parsi-money, which says that, “If a thing can be explained in simple terms, go ahead and jargonize it.”

But then, any average sex-crazed guy can understand most of the jargons… Here’s how

Holistic View: “When we take a holistic view of the problem…”
I have seen my girl’s face. I have seen her hands and feet. Now, I want to see the whole picture.

Demand-Supply gap: “The gap between demand and supply is expected to push up prices…”
I want to have sex. She’s not in the mood. Her value goes up.
I want to have sex. She gives in readily. She’s a loose bitch.

Long Term Strategy: “The actions of this company gel with the long term strategy…”
She’s thinking, “I’ll put up with this idiot till he marries me. Then, I’ll take his money, house and car and kick him out.”

Customer Lifetime Value: “We should not be looking at individual transactions, but at the customer lifetime value…”
He’s thinking, “I’m spending 100 grand on a diamond necklace for this bitch. But, once we get married, I’ll make her pay.”

Synergy: “The merger of P&G and Gillette is expected to bring synergy gains…”
I can’t produce a baby on my own. Neither can she. So, we get together, and 1+1 becomes 3. [or 4, 5 or 13 if u r LPV].

Positioning: “The product has been positioned as a sporty, sophisticated…”
We go to bed. She is good. We try new things. Since this is a family blog, let me leave it at that.

Shareholder vs. Stakeholders: “It might be in our shareholders’ interests, but not in our stakeholders’ interest…”
I want to have sex. She is ready. The kids are bawling, the dog is barking, the neighbour is at the door, and the boss is on the phone. The stakeholders have won over the shareholders once again.

Cost Benefit Analysis and Break even: “The Cost Benefit Analysis shows that this product will break even…”
We are now married. I fight with her. I know that things in my house are goin to break evenly [and that includes my head!!!]. I do a CBA and find it profitable to go out with my mistress.

Terminal Value: “The terminal cash value of any project forms a major part of DCF valuations…”
She’s thinking again, “This idiot is sure to gimme cash whenever I ask. After a few years, I’ll file for divorce and ask for a HUGE settlement.”

Jun 8, 2006


Every year, the participants of SPJIMR undertake a project in a social context during summers called Development of Corporate Citizenship (DOCC). It is intended to
1) Enable the participants to apply management concepts to social problems
2) Sensitize the participants to the hardships faced by the poor and the disadvantaged.

Well, I don’t know about the first, since my ‘feedback’ is pending. But, as for the second, I can definitely say that I was desensitized.

I grew up in Mettupalayam, a town famous for its potatoes [yes, potatoes; even vendors in Mumbai sell ‘Mettupalayam potatoes’!!]. Well, its other claim to fame is that the train to Ooty starts from here, the same one atop which a certain Mr. SRK had danced with the oh-so-gorgeous Malaika Arora, to the superb tunes of ARR’s ‘Chaiyyan Chaiyyan’. Well, the other Mr. SRK is not famous, and probably never will be. But, then this story is not about me. Or maybe, it is!!

So, coming back to the story...

I grew in Mettupalayam, and went to school like any other kid. Life was normal, there was no TV, no computer, and no video games; therefore, I was never bored. We studied; did our homework; played cricket with friends… a typical childhood. We did have our little difficulties. The water supply was erratic, and we had to do our bit of running around to get it from the public tap sometimes. The power cut happened for 4 hours a day [they called it ‘load-shedding', a term made fashionable by slimming centres these days!!]. The roads were not too bad [the very fact that there were roads was good enough]. So, we did have our bijli, sadak aur paani... occasionally.

I saw poor orphaned kids running around every day. I was not sensitized. Maybe, I was too young. I saw one of my friends bring an empty lunch box to school, as his father had no income. Well, we did share our food, but I can’t say that I was sensitized.

I saw another friend drop out of school after standard VIII. He went to work in a mechanic shop. God had rolled his dice again. We did play cricket together whenever we had time, but I was definitely not sensitized.

Then, God got addicted to this dice game and rolled it once more. One of my friends passed away after a short battle with ‘blood cancer’ [which btw is Bollywood’s fav disease]. I was shocked, saddenned but definitely not sensitized.

Another friend landed in bad company, and started cutting classes. One day, his parents found out, and he committed suicide rather than face his parents. I vividly remember his limp body hanging from the ceiling fan. Well, I was not yet ready for the ‘sensitization’ bug.

I came to Mumbai. Big, bad city. Lots of slums around. No luck yet. No sensitization for me.

I started teaching. Poor guys. Went to a place in Dharavi. 40 students crammed into a 10 ft x 10 ft room, with a single fan. I was still not sensitized. Maybe because the fan was set facing me. Maybe they decided that students can get 'hot under the collar', but the teacher needs to keep his cool.

I saw a friend struggle with a job, education and two unmarried sisters. He was the sole earning member in his family. No sensitization yet. Maybe, I was stone hearted. Idiyum thangum idhayam, they say ;)

Well, after so many failed attempts to get sensitized, I landed up at SPJIMR. I spent one year in complete luxury, with air conditioned classrooms and laptops. Then they sent us to a village in Hosur for our DOCC. I saw rich farmers struggling for good prices. I saw retail officers squeeze every penny [or should it be paisa?] out of the same rich farmers. I saw the many development efforts taking place.

I’m supposed to say that I have been sensitized [three damn credits depend on that one statement!!!]. Well, yes respected ladies and gentlemen, this DOCC project has really sensitized me. I cried at the plight of the farmers [If the rich ones faced so many problems, what did the poor guys do?].

I have played my part. Your turn to roll the dice, God.

Jun 6, 2006

Happy Birthday!!!

Once upon a time [not so long ago ;)], God rolled the wrong dice [yup, even HE makes mistakes], and on the auspicious hour of rahu kalam, I was born.

Every year, to remind God of his momentous mistake, I decided to ‘celebrate’ my birthday. I used to get up at 5.00 am, have an early bath, wear new clothes, go to the temple to pray for a long life (duh!!!), come back and seek my parents’ blessings. I also prayed for toys, video games, a bicycle and the usual temptations of a normal, boring child. The highlight of the day was the ‘gift’ of a grand sum of Rs. 5 given to be spent as I liked. Amma used to prepare sweets and there used to be a ‘saddhi’ lunch with vada-payasam. The day was like any other. After this morning ritual of prayer, I used to go to school, study, play cricket with friends and return home… a normal, boring, peaceful life some wud say. Evidently, birthdays were not much of an event in my life.

Today, ‘Birthday’ has a different meaning. I am woken up at 12.00 midnight. Kicks in the butt, cake on the face, cold water poured from a floor above and loud clapping in the dead of the night. A new twist added in the form of gulal smeared all over. I already feel ‘one year closer to my grave’ ;)

I will wake up at 10.00 am, too lazy to have a bath. [the bath at midnight to remove the cake and the gulal helps assuage the guilt]. There is a temple in the campus, but then, I’ll be too lazy to go there too. But, from the comfort of my hostel room, I’ll pray for a dream job with a six figure salary, a bungalow in Malabar Hill, and a Merc… the usual temptations of a normal, boring guy. I’ll have a special lunch outing maybe, but I’ll sure miss the vada-payasam for sure. I log on and there are sooo many budday wishes on Orkut. I’m playing cricket on my computer instead of the real thing. But then, life remains the same – normal, boring and peaceful… and Birthdays still don’t have much of a meaning in my life.

Tomorrow is going to be essentially a Xerox copy of today… assignments to be submitted, studies to be done and friends to be bugged…

Have I grown any wiser over the past one year? Definitely not… Do I feel any older? No way… Then, what difference does this ‘birthday’ make? Why do we celebrate it? I dunno. I don’t care too…

All I can say is - Keep rolling the dice, Boss!!!

Some useless trivia to end – I am told that the ‘Happy Birthday’ song is the most sung song in the world. Dunno if it true…

Jun 3, 2006


‘I don’t know’ why MBAs find it so hard to utter these three magic words! Maybe the system makes them feel that they are so superior to ‘lesser mortals’ that to admit that they don’t know something is akin to appearing naked in front of the world, or some such thing. Whoever said “Ignorance is Bliss” had apparently not run into an MBA.

You will seldom hear an MBA say ‘I don’t know’ in a b-school. It is just not done!! The phrase has been removed from the MBA’s dictionary, by some supernatural force which makes them crack CAT. The instructors at CAT Coaching institutes do their bit by saying grand things about how MBAs are supposed to be super-intelligent and all that crap.

The phenomena affects in stages, as one evolves through a b-school course. In the initial few months, one or two might commit the blasphemous act of uttering this phrase. But, a year into this course, and the average guy-next-door metamorphoses into a Mr. Know-it-all.

This ‘effect’ can be viewed best when a Prof asks a vague question in class. Something like ‘Who is the target market for your product?’ or ‘How much money will be required to increase market share?’ A normal person would have scratched his head, looked up and down, and admitted that he doesn’t know the answer.

The same guy, after a year into this course, would do the following [am giving it step-wise, as this is how MBAs think]:

Step 1: Pretend to think [or in his words ‘reflect’] on the question for precisely 47 seconds.

Step 2: He forgets the original question by this time, and hence ask the Prof, “Sir, could you please repeat the question?”

Step 3: Since the Prof is also an MBA and has forgotten the question, he will pose a new question which would appear disarmingly similar to the previous one.

Step 4: A student MBA has a stock of ‘universal terms’ – holistic view, synergy, customer orientation, positioning, strategic alternatives, cost benefit analysis [well… the list is long enuf to merit a separate post]. Our friend has scored 99.9 percentile in English section in CAT, and his only skill in life is to make up sentences using any number of vague terms.

Step 5: So, he makes up an answer which will make every wannabe CAT cracker proud – He says. “Sir, our target market for this product is the Young-at-Heart. These are people from the Veterans generations, who are Achievers according to the VALS framework. These people belong to the SEC A and can be termed sophisticated. But, to retain our competitive advantage, we will also position our product to appeal to the DINKS and Yuppies segments. Thus, we take a holistic view of the market, and aim to achieve a 30% increase in the mindshare of the customer. This will also gel with the long term vision of the company, without unduly weakening the short term prospects. We move on to the Porter’s Five Forces Framework to analyze the SWOT for the product... blah blah blah…”

Step 6: The Prof who cleverly bunked the session on ‘Listening Skills’ in his student days, has already diverted his attention to the cute gal in the front row, and since he can’t appear to be ignorant of these terms, applauds and says, “That’s a brilliant answer. But, could you throw some light on how do you propose to achieve top-of-the-mind recall?”

Step7: The MBA dude, formerly a C Programming engineer has fortunately learnt the ‘loop’ from his software days. [the ‘do while (Prof = ‘awake’ && Question = ‘Obscure’) wala program]. So, his mind buzzes, “Repeat Steps 1 through 5”.

Step 8: And so it goes on and on…

You will hear all the words that were ever dreamed up by any business strategist in the world, but, throughout this entire session, you will never hear the three magic words, “I don’t know.”

Will things ever change? Will there ever be some ‘content’ in an MBA’s answer? Will someone have the courage to stand up and say, “Stop this nonsense”?

I DON’T KNOW!!! (oops…)