Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Of trust deficit, and promises broken

Recently, when using one of the two major cab aggregators operating in India, I faced an issue wherein at the end of the trip, the app in the driver's phone showed trip fare payable in cash, while I had sufficient balance in the digital wallet. Probably some network issue, and I settled in cash. Later, the wallet too was charged for the fare and hence I requested for a refund.

The company flat out refused, and continued to do so even after multiple email attempts to explain the situation. A refund was finally issued when I threatened legal action and toasted them on twitter.

But this simple episode did raise refresh some key concerns I continue to have from time to time about technology business in India.

1. Internet connectivity (in metros, not even the hinterlands) continues to remain a significant challenge in India. Fresh non-spectrum telecom capex is still significantly underfunded, user experience is patchy and unreliable, and any technology based service shall suffer be it e-education, digital payments, real-time authentication based applications and so on. In this case, the app in driver's phone could not get a confirmation of digital payment from the server and hence directed the driver to collect cash after the built-in waiting time period got over.

2. Indians, in general, continue to game any system, displaying zero ethics. Such double-charging episodes with the same cab company had occurred in the past as well, but refunds were always quick by this company, on a no-questions-asked basis (I do not know whether they used to verify the claim with the driver, though the speed of refund indicates they didn't). This abrupt and sudden shift in Company's refund policy was no doubt primarily due to hordes of cheating customers claiming they paid in cash while paying only through wallet, and demanding refunds. A commission based model would go for a toss in such a scenario. Something similar happened to foodpanda, which was in news some time back.

3. Free market principles are not gospel truth and do not apply universally. They work only in case of sufficient competition. A monopoly (that many believe e-commerce in India shall be), duopoly (cab aggregators - case in point), or cartels (cement?), even when a result of free market principles (eg. Flipkart vanquishing all its rivals, effectively monopolising the market), is undesirable. It shall lead to exploitation across the value chain both forward and backward - customers and suppliers shall both suffer with many leaving the market, potentially leading to a net decline in value of goods/serviced produced in the economy. This cab company was willing to ignore genuine double-charging incidents because it can afford some goodwill loss in a duopoly market with insignificant competition on customer side (I must point out that despite duopoly, competition remains intense in Indian cab market on the supplier side - i.e. drivers, wherein large incentives are doled out to retain supply on the platform)

4. Fear of law, and legal consequences, are a non-factor in India. The cheating customers mentioned previously, apart from having no regard to ethics and a sense of self-pride and conscience, also had no fear of getting caught and prosecuted. All this, for a paltry sum of a couple of hundred rupees that an average cab ride costs in India. Similarly, the cab company had absolutely no qualms in denying refund without giving any grounds whatsoever apart from telling me that somehow it was all my fault. They did not even bother to check with the driver (whom I called after the third refusal email from the company, he admitted collecting cash as directed by his app, but also told me that nobody from the company called him to follow up on my complaint). This company, just like most other Indian companies, has absolutely no fear of being criminally prosecuted for fraud.

5. Digital payments outside the banking network suffer from a huge disadvantage of lack of trust due to such incidents. The wallet I used to pay for this ride was owned and operated by the same company, with the usual promise of 100% security and assurance. But when the time came, the promise turned out to be hollow. This, when the payment was made for services provided by the same company. now imagine paying a mobile bill, or making a payment to your DTH operator, or booking cinema seats on bookmyshow through a wallet...and then imagine the hassle when the respective Telco/DTH operator/Cineplex tells you they did not get the payment while the wallet shows a debit. Well, no need to imagine since it has happened to many people - I know specific cases where this happened and the customers had to wait for several days for refunds and that after multiple emails/calls/SM escalations. On the other hand, digital payments through a debit/credit card, at least now, are governed by customer complaint resolution procedures prescribed by the regulator which banks largely stick to.

I do hope things change.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Prisoner's dilemma in a free world


Are you ethical? Or rather, how ethical are you?

Is a digital 1/0 response even valid for this, or does one need to bring on the fuzzy logic and scale himself/herself on say, a scale of 0-10?

I am personally a strong proponent of either-here-or-there proposition (or, as a learned soul once said - If you are not a part of the solution, then you are part of the problem). Having said that, I have also realized I thrive in grey areas, reveling in the sheer delight of pushing limits and justifying the same. So, does that mean I am 2/10 unethical, if I rate myself 8/10 ethical? To be frank, I am comfortable as long as I can justify my actions to my conscience.

To generalize, the extent to which someones indulges in ethical/unethical practices depends on his or her personal disposition - their comfort levels with the line they draw around themselves in terms of defining what is ethically acceptable to them. Of course, for many, no circle exists, while a few others draw such a tight circle which leaves them standing literally on a dot.

Many argue that the same is a subjective call. One is vindicated as long as the circle is reasonably sized. How reasonable is reasonable, though? Globe can be put, and is usually put, to answer the question. In fact, one of the guys back in college was usually ridiculed for being what can be described as ultra-ethical - one who follows the ideal code of conduct to the book.

Well, lets not talk about extremes. Lets compare two guys with cricles of different sizes. It can be argued that the one confining himself to the smaller circle will be less well-off than the other, on the premise that people indulge in unethical behavior for purely selfish motives. Consequently, the gap between their "satisfaction" levels is largely proportional to the difference in radii of the respective circles they drew for themselves. Now, since these very boundaries are in congruence with their comfort levels, what explains this gap in a logical fashion? To me, the validity of "subjective call" argument is in question. Paradox, if one looks at it in a pure goal-effort-output frame.

Why does the person with the smaller circle need to lose out? Indeed, there have been moments when I have wished if I could be a bit more selfish having interacted with someone with wider circles; and I am sure I have done things which would have left a few others feeling the same.

Well, for the time being, I comfort myself by just reminding myself that maybe I am happier in my own boundaries. I also know that the same comfort level with which I pacify myself would go down with more time spent in the real world.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Choices!


One makes choices all the time...Trivial ones (which shirt to wear) to slightly more important ones (which flight to take) on a regular basis...Some of these are periodic (juice or milk in breakfast), while some others would not be (gift for friend's marriage). Some might not even be recurring in nature (Science or Arts in 12th?)

Two things: Triviality (and consequentially, the importance) of these choices would be defined in terms of the degree of effect the same would have on one's remainder portion of the life. One would also argue that with age, experience accumulates, and hence one is expected to make more rational, better choices as one grows old

Ironically, what it leaves us with is that one is forced to make several non-trivial choices early on in his/her life without the benefit of accumulated experience, which would continue having a profound impact on his remaining life. Also, when one actually becomes wiser through the wealth of worldly experiences, he would have not many important choices left to make...

Say hello to Ayn Rand if you wish to learn from experiences of others to make of up for lack of your own...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Prodigal returns...

I guess I have ignored this place for quite some time now...would be more regular from here-on... :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shades of Grey...

Last few days have been quite eventful - travelled Indian Airlines, Jet and Kingfisher for the first time being the least of them :)

Got a job offer from a PE firm - rather surprising given current conditions in the financial market. Visited a couple of villages in the poverty-ridden areas of Maharashtra. Met quite senior officials in the state bureaucracy - saw a start contrast in policy making objectives and implementation when it comes to government initiatives.

Traveled for 3 continuous days. Fell asleep during a high profile meeting with government officials. Had a Taste of India - the farmers in the fields we visited prepared tea for us using the traditional cow dung as fuel and shakkar as a sweetener.

And so many more things, probably will write about them individually in detail later.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Coming Around...

Funny feeling one sometimes get...
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Student life is almost coming to an end for me, filling to brim a reservoir of cherishable memories. So have been the years lit up by the 25 candles that were supposed to be there on my last b'day cake (it's a pity they don't celebrate it the old fashioned way any more, ain't it). And what a journey it has been so far...
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Visited so many places, made innumerable friends (and enemies), worked with and around people giving yet another reason to smile. So many nights spent awake, many of them with friends debating on how to make this world a better place to live :P
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Drawing the first salary, buying your first car, renting a smal room all for yourself, making small talk to idle away time, indulging in the hostel water fights, aloo parantha at 3 in the morning, biking away as if there is no tomorrow, quarelling with people you really care about, hurting people who really care about you...and so much more - moments you know you won't ever forget.
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One might wish to see everything, but then, what would be left to see after that...As someone put it in a rather comical tone in a students' meet at the start of the 2nd year here in IIMB , 'Picture abhi baki hai mere dost..."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Let's Wish...

Birthday alarms seem to be the craze right now in the campus, what with only a couple of months left for graduation and all. I have received several emails in the past couple of weeks requesting my birthday details so that I can be assured of birthday greetings from the sender year-after-year.
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Pretty convenient, I must say :). All that the sender has to do is just mass-email the request to all his contacts, and I have to fill up his b'day for him to remember! It takes the personal touch out of the equation though - I mean, one might would have appreciated better if the person have had taken slight trouble in finding the b'day details from any of the dozens of social networking sites out there. Huge contact list - no problem, weed out the majority of the contacts whom you are just acquainted with, or maybe send the mass mail only to them :)
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But then, who has time for this in the fast lane pseudo-corporate world out here in the campus...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Have cake, Will eat...

It was indeed out of the blue; the analysts tracking this firm were taken completely by surprise. Given the fact that Satyam was recently awarded for corporate governance, it was probably foot-in-the-mouth time for the promoters.

Satyam's decision to acquire infrastructure firms owned by sons of the promotor through cash payout has been widely criticized, what with the stock taking a major blow, down from INR 226 to 162 per share. Within a day, ~30% of shareholder's value in terms of market capitalization was wiped out. Exemplary shareholders' activism and subsequent annulling of the acquisition decisions has done little to support the stock price, at least in the domestic market.

Views of independent directors were largely ignored; leave aside the fiduciary duty of the board to the shareholders' in terms of related party transaction disclosures. As one analyst rightly pointed out, if the infrastructure sector growth story and diversification were indeed the drivers behind the deal as claimed by Satyam's top management, probably a merger through share-swap rather than cash acquisition could have been done, which would have helped Satyam's promoters avoid the furore.

Something here doesn't make sense. Satyam's promoters aren't that naive - such an acquisition was bound to evoke the negative reaction as it has. Then why did they go ahead with this announcement, trying to distribute Satyam's cash within the promoters through these acquisitions? One might wonder as to whether the buyback announced now is yet another covert way to transfer value to the promoters on the expense of other shareholders - what with the stock price taking a hammering, any buyback at this juncture would help the promoters consolidate their stake with less-than-ideal cash transfer to those who surrender their shares. Notably, the promoter's stake in Satyam is mere 8%; as such a dividend payout would have fetched little to the promoters. If returning cash to the shareholders is indeed the objective now, why not announce a hefty dividend instead.

Or perhaps they would consider the dividend once the buyback increase promoters' stake. Till then, watch out for the promoters further increasing share through secondary market trading.

P.S. Now that the entire Satyam story is out, turns out my call was rather on one end of the spectrum, the other being what turned out to be the reality- the Maytas acquisition seems to be the last ditch effort from the promotors to replace fictious assets by real assets. Well, there indeed was a hidden motive this related party transaction - but not shoring up promotor's stake leveraging the now battered stock price. Long live PwC :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NYT Blooper!

They put me, of all people, in print!

...with a story on something to do with recession and India! I guess I was the editor's choice of the day :P They would print anything these day :)

Someone told me about this long back, but had somehow forgotten. A friend forwarded the link today - it was on the front page in the print, myself not sure about that though

(And I thought India TV was the only one when it came to sensational journalism :P)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Singapore Trip - 1

I am in Singapore these days, on a two weeks trip on an academic project. While its a short duration trip, I will try and cover as much as possible and keep the blog updated.

We are a bunch of 22 students, assigned to different projects with companies in Singapore. The Air India flight landed in the Singapore airport early in the morning. The bus ride from the airport to YMCA (where we are putting up) gave us a sneek preview of the beautiful landscape in which Singapore is set. It is an island microstate, with a total area of ~700 km-square, as wikipedia tells me. The ride was short, around 20 odd minutes, and the YMCA place turned out to be pretty nice considering the constraints of the modest budget this tudent trip was organized under.

On the first day, we went to this place called Little India. Indeed, it seemed to be a really small place with Indians and Pakistanis crammed up together, with some Sri Lankans thrown in for good measure. The place was crowded and smelled bad; with junta seeming to have little regard for traffic laws - quite strange for Singapore. Still, it felt quite closer to home in a weird way :). We visited Mustafa, this huge shopping complex where you could find anything and everything at relatively cheaper prices. One of my friends got USD exchanged for SGD, surprisingly the exchange rate offered there was much more attractive than the other places we had tried before. God knows how we Indians do it, but we always seem to be one step ahead when it comes to saving money. Dinner was a quiet affair, with everyone settling for some nice biryani. Restaurants were plentiful, with many advertising their regional cuisine speciality - India seems to be the only country who doesn't have one single "Indian" cuisine for the world, rather a diverse array of the same.

We reported to our respective offices the next morning. Mine turned out to be a startup in Out-of-Home Media, a promising new-age advertising concept rapidly gaining ground in India as well. A few hours went by exploring various parts of Singapore looking for the LCD screens this firm employed in its business, to get a first-hand feel of this form of advertising business. Felt good :)

The evening was spent in Boat Quay, a nice riverside place with a string of restaurant flanking one side. We ordered a couple of lasagnes in an Italian joint and just enjoyed the view. Instead of taking a subway train back to YMCA, we decided to walk back, stopping briefly on a Starbucks on the way to grab a coffee.

Will put up some pics as soon as I am able to get them on the lappy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ithaka...

It was after the CAT exam in 2004, when a member of the faculty from Roots Education, the coaching centre I was enrolled in for CAT, reminded us again of this little, marvelous piece called Ithaka...I came by it again today while visiting a friend's orkut profile...
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Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now...
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A valuable learning, and such simple simple way of putting it...

Monday, October 27, 2008

24 - A Review

Recently, I started watching 24 (A TV series). And what a wonderful experience it has been!
Something about the serial - Each season covers one full day. With 24 episodes apiece, it translates to each episode dedicated to one hour. It means, events happen in real time, with the space for commercial breaks made where the characters are doing some monotnous activity, like driving, waiting etc. In fact, each episode starts with a announcement to this effect, "The following events happen between 7AM and 8AM". Major thrilllaps!!!
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The series involves a fictious US government agency, Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU), with the protagonist being Jack Bauer. In each season, this guy, along with the agency, tackles a major terrorist threat, ranging from assasination attempt on the would-be president, a nuclear attack to the terrorist threat of letting loose a deadly virus on the common public. The stakes are indeed high, where the casuality estimates generallly run into percentages of the total population of Los Angeles where the CTU unit is based. The storyline itself is full of action scenes which even beat the Bond movie climaxes. High tech equipment like infrared scanning and satellite surveillance are the order of the day. The plot develops quickly in the first couple of episodes, and often completely new angles are introduced at the end of each episode. Sheer violence and loss of human life is common.
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Perhaps, the most intriguing aspect is the theory of consequentialism, i.e. Ends justify the means, which is the hallmark of every action the protagonist Jack Bauer takes, be it being dedicated to his profession at the cost of his personal life, defying orders coming from as high as the presidential office itself, forcing the lone doctor at gunpoint to attend to a criminal (who happens to be the only lead in a case) leading to death of someone close, assualting peers and superiors when he deems fit and so on. Personal conflicts abound, where CTU employees have to make difficult choices between work and people they care about. Office feuds too are in plenty, where power struggles amongst the superiors often threatens to jeopardise the mission objectives.
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Couple of things that I didn't like - Jack's daughter has to be involved in some or the other way in almost every season, where she runs into trouble and Jack has to spend considerable time getting her out of it - kind of a force-fit. Also, CTU is in direct contact with the President of US himself on almost an hourly basis, which agains doesn't go very well. One can accept that critical decision points need to be referred to the highest office, but hourly updates to white house bypassing the entire chain of command doesn't fly.
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Still, this series rocks. If you are in need for some real action, thrill, drama, emotions, politics stuff in one go, this one is for you. One caution though, this stuff is highly addictive - you might want to finish off the entire season in a single sitting, such is the atmosphere it creates around you with its captivating plot, real-time onscreen display and some real power action. Awesome stuff!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bheemeshwari

Yesterday, we a group of 10 friends, went to Bheemeshwari.
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It's a small tourist spot around 120 odd kms from Bangalore. We had booked taxis and started around 5:30 am in the morning. The journey has some scenic value, though the road is slightly in a bad shape. Once there, we entered some village to ask directions to the rafting camp. The guys over there charged us 100 bucks as "entree fee" :O, showing us some rules written in Kanadda! I guess we got some of what the foreigners experience in India, no wonder the tourism industry is in such a bad shape.

Anyways, we managed to reach the camp. Rafting was fun, the rapids over there were classified level 2. Compared to Rishikesh(level 4), it was peanuts they tell me, still we had a few instances of water splashing all over us. Coupled with the race that broke out among the three rafts backed by constant war-like cheering, the two-hour activity turned out to be real fun, albeit a bit exhausting. We were brought back to the camp in an open jeep - the 5 kilometre ride was another adventure, the driver seemed to just touch the limits "banking" laws of physics would allow on the narrow, windy road out there!


Trekking to a nearby hillock was also a decent experience. The guide took us uphill through relatively rough and steep path, while the downhill journey was on a much smoother track. There was a small watch tower on the top, am unsure of its purpose in such a remote place.



Totally exhausted, we started back to home. Surprisingly, the camp's restaurant didn't stock any cold drinks/biscuits/chips of any sort what-so-ever. However, it had beer, chilled one at that!

Nothing was better than a beerful drive back after the wonderful day :)

All in all, good fun.
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Friday, September 12, 2008

Renested...

Few posts back, I talked about this place we built here in IIMB.

As they teach in any MBA course, assets depreciate. The Peace Lounge too was in bad shape following some heavy rainfalls. At the start of this term, with ample free time in hand, we renovated the place, bringing it back to its pristine glory as befitting the balancesheet of Peace Club. Below is a sneak preview of the same.




Apart from replacing a few bedsheets and rugs, we also added a audio woofer system (!!!) as well as some new lighting effects. The event was also marked by first party of the term, which, useless to say, went into the wee hours of morning.
Let there be Peace. Amen.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rock On...

I recently got to see a recent bollywood flick, Rock On. It won't be fair to post a complete review given the inexperienced me, but I really liked the movie for two things.

One, things were kept simple. No random love-songs or senti dialogue when freinds, exes, meet after so long a time. Two, no overacting, the bane of current bolly scenario. Acting was not superb, so to say, but no one seemed just about to jump out of their pants.

Nice watch!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Random

Nothing is going as you planned. Forget about the plan, everything is going exactly the opposite you wanted them to be heading. Nothing you do seems to be an iota of help. Friends, family and relatives none seem to be capable of offering any help. Every second that ticks by seems like a day long of agony. Every face you see seems like the devil himself. Is this life, you wonder, then I better be dead. And while introspecting in the night, you fall asleep, waking up to another day welcoming you to even more misery and pain.
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What to do? Once my friend asked me this , and then, a learned being that he was, he answered it himself.
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Cook a pot in the morning, morning after morning.
Take a nap in the afty, afty after afty.
Pour a drink every night, night after night.
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Until it passes away.
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P.S. I have to admit this is the crappiest post I have ever made, and will make in forseeable future. Still. it might appeal to a few people out there with, let's put it this way, a different sense of humor. So lets learn and put up with such stuff every once and a while.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The not-so-terrorist Killings...

Recently, several bomb explosions rocked the cities of Bangalore and Ahmadabad, while many others were prevented in the city of Surat, thanks to faulty circuit design and vigilant public. While casualties were in single digit in Bangalore, over 40 were killed in Ahmadabad. These incidents were covered in ample detail by the media for several days, and the government quickly blamed terrorist groups for disturbing social peace and playing with human life.
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The stampede in Naina Devi killed 145 pilgrims. It was a headline yesterday, today it figured somewhere in the backpages of national dailies. The government announced a relief package and a magistrate level probe. Everything is seemingly back to business now.
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Why am I writing this? Does anyone else see a parallel?
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Casualties caused by civil neglect have been much higher than those caused by terrorist acts. Still, it's the latter which catches all the attention, and whatever remedial efforts GoI actually undertakes. How much of common sense does it take to ensure proper systems around key pilgrimages, especially the high-altitude ones? I remember something similar happening in a rally organised by Miss Mayawati years back, we never seem to learn.
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Naina Devi episode is not the first in the list, and sadly won't be the last. Still, we would be more concerned about the terrorist acts perpetuated by forces from across the border over which we do not have a direct control, when perfect ingredients of equally horrible tragedies are already there within our borders, something which GoI should (and could) have addressed long back.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Heads and Tails

IIMB, as is the case with several other colleges, has a small, 24 hours canteen called Athikas, where one can go get tea and some other eatables as sandwitches, maggi etc. Nothing hi-fi, the people manning the shop are complete desi; no wonder Athikas is the favourite hang out place for us students. Notwithstanding the problems caused by the unprofessional managements (huh, that's an MBA speaking) like stockouts and hygiene neglect, people just love it.
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Recently, Amul opened a store inside the campus. Driven by the strong brand equity and the promise of healthy food, people started patronizing this new outlet, leaving Athikas owners slightly worried. To counter the threat, they stocked up on all the popular Amul items. Together with the extra services they offer, like credit line etc, Athikas once again seems to have regained the ground they lost temporarily. The Amul outlet resembles a barren land.
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However, did Amul, the company, lose out though? Its campus sales increased many times over; through Athikas and not through the Amul outlet though. Win-Win strategy!

The IIMC-XLRI Fiasco

Pagalguy.com recently had this as the main story on its home page - a video showing IIMC girls mouthing choicest of expletives during the IIMC-XLRI sports meet followed by long paragraphs on why this is unacceptable, how this classifies as the lowest level college culture could ever stoop, and that the IIMC girls (being girls and students of IIMC) should have refrained from this henious act.
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PG's arguments in favour of this article have been hollow and, as accpeted by the editorial board later on, misplaced. For, boys swear in almost all grad/postgrad colleges, PG has never cared to cover even one. But girls' swearing is a totally different ball-game for PG, it seems. Also, these girls being from IIMC, does it take away the license to do what is acceptable in other colleges?
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Notwithstanding PG's poort attempts at the positioning of this article and arguments provided thereon, it does indeed raise one valid question - Should explicit attempts be made to imbibe swearing as a part of college culture, as the article hinted at?
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Almost all inter-college sports festivals have their fair share of abusing, but indeed in the name of traditions, it seems to be formalized in IIMC campus - it appears abusing acts are rehearsed before the actual performance.
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No, IIMC is not an exception. IIMA has a top-5 tradition. IIMB has something similar, where the freshers, holding a broom you-know-where and a mug of water tugged just above the fly, recite in ample details their fantasies (often involving females from their batch) during the block parties. Many find it totally amusing, some others disgusting.
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The purpose of this post is not to criticize the IIM cultures, good and bad go along. But still, one should always try and weed out the bad stuff, be it the alleged institutionalized abusing culture of IIMC or utter disrespect for the opposite sex in IIMA/B in the name of tradition.
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The wheels are in motion. Seniors in some blocks opposed this tradition this year around in IIMB and managed to get it scrapped/reduced the vulgarity levels during their block parties. With time, hopefully, it would soon be a thing of past.
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Addeddum: The IIMC sports squad reached IIMB campus today (Aug 8), for the annual IIMB-IIMC sports meet, Samhar. To welcome the guests, the IIMB campus is all pasted with posters "Beware: This campus is under surveliance" . :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Orkut

I have deleted my orkut profile.
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Orkut was fun, scrapping friends all sort of weird messages was a good enough timepass activity. What with the cool applications orkut just added (someone told me they stole it from facebook), it was just awesome.
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More for me came from the communities. For example, I joined the so-called India Pakistan Friendship Club (IPFC) just to bash some Pakis around. Instead I met some really incredible people from both sides of the border, who had formed a similar and smaller, but a much better community, IPFC Snobs - cheeky name:) Not contributing much myself, but it was thrilling to go through the lively debates these guys enagged in. Made some great friends and still in contact with. Then there was a school community I started, which helped me get back in contact with so many friends - we even managed to organize a couple of get-togethers. Or the IIMB Batch of 2009 community where we had helluva fun before even joining IIMB.
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But my friends list got unmanageable, over 600 and growing. Call it a bane from being a small town, where everyone seems/pretends/tries to know everyone else, or getting ito IIT, where your batch, and the immediate junior/senior hostelmates drop a friend request without even a courteous "hello" to go along with, or the IIM thing, which I mentioned once back here. I don't know, but getting such freind requests from people on pretext of such (shaky) common grounds just didn't work for me. Anyways, I accpeted them all, saamnewala might find it insulting otherwise. Networked, in literal sense.
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Anyhow, the bottom line is, I was spending too much time on it, day-after-day. Good Riddance!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Quartered...

Yesterday, ony of my friends turned 25. Celebrated it in the pure IIMB ishtyle, but also served to remind me that I too am gonna touch the same milestone a couple of weeks down the line. 25...Whoa! One hell of a ride so far...

So many things in life seem set to change at this juncture - college life is almost ending, the nite-outs with friends gonna be a distant thing, carefree laughter might also give way to oh-so-adult look, and what with the talks of nuptial thingy doing the rounds back at home (hah, thats definitely gonna wait dad), seems like the favourite boys' pastime would soon be a thing of the past :P

Time for dinner :)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Reason...

These are some excerpts from a friend's blog I really liked.
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"...So, whether we love or not is not important. What is important is whether we make appropriate pairings and add to our already excessive population..."
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"...Another thought: In Mahabharat, Kunti has the blessing that she will forever remain young. Somebody asks, Yudhisthir, "Don't you lust after your mother?" Yudhisthir says, yes, but I control my passions through reason.
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Reason, be reasonable..."

Of groups and sub-groups...

R(elative) G(rading) - giri, a common phrase used here in IIM Bangalore - almost always in a derogatory sense, i.e. when some students try score points through some seemingly unethical ways over their peers. Well, each to his/her own place :)
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But then, several students (including yours truly) have taken a seemingly high moral grounds on this issue, ridiculing these RG-giri-doers. And yet, I remember umpteen number of times when a prof has announced a group work in class, leaving the group formation to the students. What did we, the anti-RG squad, used to do? Try and form a group with people you know have above average calibre, before others swoosh them away. So much so that 2nd term onwards, as soon as the announcement was made, we, the above-average calibre guys, just used to signal each other through a wink of eye and form the group, while sitting in different corners of the lecture theatre!
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Well, a certain part of it is attributable to the comfort level one develops while working with the same set of people, and indeed, most of those students are today my best friends around. In fact, now it is almost given that everyone will form groups within his/her own friends' group, and this whole group formation exercise is reduced to fitting these smaller 'friends-groups' into the project groups while still observing the constraints of the upper cap on project group membership. But still, this comfort level was on level zero during the first few courses, we knowing each other barely, apart from the one's background (and hence the perceptive measure of calibre).
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But then, isn't one of the objectives of group work - peer learning from a diverse set of people - defeated when students work in same groups for the entire tenure of MBA?
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Working with different people each time has its own advanatges. One, you meet new people, and thus further developing the very network touted as the single most important advantage MBA offers. Two, you stand to gain learnings in terms of working with people with unknown temperaments/skills/mindsets. Three, when you know your groupmates are not your friends, you realize that your every contribution to the groupwork can be openly grilled through frank questions in front of the entire team. Last, but not the least, it tends to develop a real team spirit, taking up someone else's work (who is not your friend) due to time committment clashes for the person concerned.
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IMO, groups here should be randomly formed, course after course. If left to students, they would always take the (seemingly) easier route - dost hai na.
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And yeah, this also means an off-chance you get to work with a hot babe - of course, if Murphy doesn't have his say :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Birds of a Feather...

It's a common practice in IIMB to party around on the drop of a hat. Now that the new batch has joined, the seniors are busy partying with these guys on pretext of some or the other common ground. For example, today, the 2nd year students in IIMB who graduated from IITD threw a dinner party to their counterparts in the 1st year - kind of a welcome gesture for the newbies. Slightly amusing too, as some of these 1st year guys were my seniors in IITD on account of heavy pre-MBA work experince.
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We already have had the freshers grand welcome party. A separate girls-only party was also organized. Then came the individual "block" parties (IIMB doesn't have big hostels, rather small blocks of 30-50 rooms each, interconnected through corridors). And now, alumni meet from various reputed grad colleges as IITs, BITS, DCE/NSIT etc...Of course, I am not complaining - parties are fun :)
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A not-so silver lining though, which I noticed today - they also have what they call the "tam" party, the "gult" party etc. Somehow, the idea of forming groups based on your native regions has never gone down well with me, more so because this trend seems to be prevalent only in the southern states - I can't, for the life of me, try and organize a Delhi/UP/Punjab meet (Though one of my friends was suggesting a Chandigarh treat, but that was purely because the 1st year has some good looking girls from over there). Two further observations cause discomfort to me:
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1. Somehow, the southies here tend to stick together. Not all of them, but still an all-Southie friends' group is a much more common sight than an all-Northie group. For example, my friends' group has two guys from Gujrat, three from Jharkhand/Bihar, two from UP, one each from Bengal, MP, Chandigrah, Mumbai and Orissa. Somehow, we always miss out on Tamil Nadu/Kerala/Karnataka/Andhra guys and they seem to miss out on us.
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2. I did not observe regionalism to this extent in my IIT hostel life - My hostel had southies in single-digit and they didn't use to hang out together. Ditto for the immediate senior as well as junior batches over there.
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One of my close southie friend (outside the group I talked about above) had an explanation for it - One, there is always this language barrier which prevents southies from freely intermingling with Northie guys; Two, southies in general are more humble/modest and might feel slightly out-of-place in the company of chalaak Northies; Three, the Northies (again, in general) might have some inherent racial color-based prejudice against southies in their unconscious.
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Well, probable reasons these might be for this groupism, justifications they are definitely not. I will try and analyze this further in some future posts, especially what implications it has on Life@IIMB.
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And oh, this also holds true for north-eastern states, but the number is so small that it is hardly noticeable.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Nesting Place...

What's Peace Club?

"Peace Club was founded by its board members with the single, holy mission in their selfless minds - to spread peace in this war-torn world using the tried and tested medium of alcohol...Till date, several General Body Meetings (GBMs) have been conducted on the roof-tops across various hostel blocks to spread our message of peace emphatically and efficiently. Night outs have been put in during these GBMs; the members have discussed several burning issues facing the IIMB junta at length. Since we had the hostel residents’ best interests at our heart, our efforts have paid off – the voice of Peace Club can be heard echoing through the nights"

In a nutshell, a group of friends whiling away time, partying, on hostel rooftopes here in IIM Bangalore. What we were missing was a common area, a place truly becoming of us peace-lovers. This is what we erected, took us 2 days and 25 grand.

Name is The Lounge...The Peace Lounge...



I love this place. I love my friends. Let there be Peace! Amen.

P.S. As John Lennon aptly put it, "All we are saying is give PEACE a chance."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Connecting People...

"At the end of the day. the biggest takeaway for you from a business school would not be the academic gyaan from classrooms. Rather, it would be the network you build across three batches; the immediate (senior + junior) batches along with your own."
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Thus spoke a senior during one of the facchha interaction/gyaan session when I joined IIM Bangalore. Makes sense, and have seen some examples too during the summer internship.
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However, some of the junta around here has taken it in a slightly more serious colour - desperately trying to connect to all of their batchmates despite having absolutely no commmon ground for interaction with many of them - no common classes/friends/hostel/club activities - nothing. It started off with mass-friendship requests on orkut (My orkut friend list inflated by over a 100 on joining IIMB while I am on talking terms with barely a 50-odd junta). Then came the gtalk add-requests from people I have just seen faces of a couple of times on the campus, which I find fairly intrusive. And finally, the seemingly innocent queries / comments on bracket (IIMB messenger) regarding next day classes/exam syllabi, which could have been answered by someone in their own friends' circle as well.
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Not many do the last bit, only a handful of people come down to that level. Slightly ironical though; the same network might work against you if, in the process of building it, you tarnish your image :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Me Sai Baba Boltoy

Desi News Channels have long been serving as your friendly neighbourhood laughter clubs. Lately, however, it seems that these channels have taken up this (corporate) social responsbility in a much more serious manner.
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Aaj tak has been screaming for past 3 days how the fake video of Sai Baba is fake (the irony of the poor grammar construct, surprisingly, completely misses the production team). Star News is busy telling how it has been issued a Thank You note by the Sai Baba ashram for bringing it to their notice. "Bhakton ki bhavnaon ke saath Khilwaad" was the tagline on another news channel, not to mention the "Breaking News" caption being used for past 72 hours. Sure breaks something, though doesn't break in.

Of course, one gets such jewels all the time. I remember the time when Star News used to give regular updates on the happenings in its two popular serials - Kyunki... and Kahaani... during the news bulletins. Aaz Tak recently gave what seemed to be a day long telecast of a cellphone recording of strange lightening in the sky with no official version to support the same. Every news channel gave a 24 hour live coverage of the Prince case, while none tried to give a perspective to the viewers on the real reasons behind the accident, and what's the extent of risk of such an incident recurring. (A newspaper reported a similar incident few days after Prince, completely ignored by the TV media). Hike in fares in Vaishno Devi Temple was dished for 2 days with captions as "Ma, ye kya hua". And of course, Arushi episode has been hanged, drawn and quartered. Further examples from two leading news channels -





I remember the days when Aaztak was launched - wealth of relevant information presented in a neutral tone in a flawless and articulate manner. Why has the national TV news media of today completely converted to some page 3 tabloid, hanging on to every catchy news bit, squeezing out the last drop, beating the neighbourhood-ganne-ka-joos-wala in the process. Leave it for the local print media, for crying out loud.

The Hall-of-the-Fame moment however would have to be the one where an AazTak field reporter yelled in that characteristic fake terrorised tone, while in the vicinity of a murder scene - "Dekhiye, Dekhiye, yahi hai wo dukaan jahan Kaatil ne katal karne se pehle chai pee thi......Ye vehshi darinda katal jaisi ghinanuni vaardaat anjaam dene se pehle takalluf ke saath chai pee sakta hai to Sochiye, Sochiye aur kya ker sakta hai......Ye kahin bhi ho sakta hai, yahan, wahan, aapke ghar ke peechhe gali me..."

I sure am loving it...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Musings

Moonlight bathes the road ahead
Stars shining their glory bright
Little blades of grass pave the way
As one sets the next foot in the night.

Breezy air brushes against the skin
A touch so sublime; One wonders,
This journey seems so alive
And the past just flashes by

Those days in school, kids around you,
Dreamy eyes; Slurping away the candy bars
The bell goes, it's time to trek back
Alone, as we have different paths

The birthdays and the cakes
Oft landed kisses on the cheek
The candles just keep gaining numbers
Blazing together; a whiff to bow them apart.

And one keeps walking; making friends
Whiling away time through the nights
Smoking the first drag, (remember)
Things start making sense sometimes

Here comes the graduation day
Lost in tides of orange and blue
Years of slog gets you the paper
Destined again, for a lonely stride

The rosy dew, the sweet scent
Someone's been hanging to your right
One tries hold on, but it fades away;
Grains of sand slip through the hands

And life goes on, as you walk
Right down the road, till the end
Dawn is breaking on the horizon
And the air starts moving again.

Life has meanings locked up deep
Solitude holds the key.

Monday, February 11, 2008

You f*** with us, We f*** with you...

I was going over my macroeconomics book while preparing for an exam, and something caught my eye - "Disadvantages of using GDP growth rate as a yardstick to measure economic welfare of the residents of a country" - one of them being GDP not being able to measure income disparity. 'Aah', I said to myself, 'some frank admission!'

My mind went into a flash back - last year, there was a huge uproar on national scale against the new reservation policy stipulating higher quotas for SC/ST/OBC categories. Merit was the new buzzword - students protesting with banners held high was a common scene outside AIIMS and some DU colleges in Delhi. The IIT Delhi guys too woke up from their slumber and decided to stage a protest outside the main gate of the institute. I was there, and watched them do that, protest that is - a few of them were cleaning windshields of the parked cars, a couple of them opened up fake cobbler shops and were cleaning shoes of the bystanders. Another group held banners, stating that this is all what they, the best minds of the country, were destined to do due to increased reservation quotas, since merit won't be the criteria to get admission to IITs, the incompetent ones getting the ticket riding on the wave of reservation. There was a roaring applause from the amused audience, and the media covered it alrite.

Personally, I felt disgusted as an IIT alumnus, as a person born to "high-caste" parents, and as a fellow human being. After all this pomp and show, the only argument I could see being made was that cleaning cars and shining shoes is the only job fit for the so-called lower caste guys, the premise being that these guys were quintessentially low on their IQ. To me, these bright IIT minds were doing exactly the same thing what the current reservation policy is doing, widening the social divide. You f*** with us, We f*** with you...

My objective of writing this post is not to argue in favor of reservation. Or against it, for that matter. For, I do not support the blanket x% quota for SC/ST/OBC. But then, I am also against the idea of doing away with the concept of reservation, or the alternative being suggested i.e. to provide reservation on the basis of economic condition and not caste. And my arguments against each of these are based on one simple fact - the Indian history. (And no, it is not that garbage of you-screwed-my-grand-grand-grandfather-and-hence-I-demand-reservation-to-screw-you, the same old You f*** with us, We f*** with you).

But more on that some other day. One thing I would like to mention though, we cannot shy away from the fact that social status and economic welfare go hand in hand, there is plethora of empirical data available to support it. Which one's the cause and which one's the effect, I really don't know, it's the same thing as who came first, chicken or the egg - doesn't matter.

To that end, India's position is unique - the complex social hierarchy as defined by caste system is found only here. A much-celebrated paper even cited caste system as the underlying reason why India didn't witness the economic cycle of feudalism->socialism->capitalism and the associated (government-aided) civil atrocities observed in whole of the Europe, US, Russia, China, Japan etc. What can be other, not-so-visible, consequences of caste system? What can be the toll of keeping a section of society deprived of education for several centuries? Add to that the literal ban on inter-caste marriage which confined some things that can be passed on only through genetic means, and the picture doesn't look good any more. A vicious circle is in place - you are born poor in your doomed caste, you don't inherit anything - material or abstract - from your parents, you don't get good education due to your poverty, you don't get a decent job and hence a living due to your dismal education, and then you marry someone from a similar socio-economic class and proceed to have children to follow exactly in your footsteps.

The current reservation policy is not a solution to it, as it bestows its benefits upon the already well-off creamy layer of the lower caste population. But instead of crying hoarse against it in the name of merit, we should first think of some other means to bridge this caste-borne income disparity. Merit isn’t something you earned completely through your own efforts, most of it is the IQ you were born with. So why do the kids born in the Indian ghettos not up to the IQ levels of an average kid born to a brahmin/baniya family? Why is that the low-caste students from the creamy layer who get into IITs/IIMs based on reservation perform poorly in academics in general, despite having received decent primary/secondary education? The last question, incidentally, also serves as an argument as to why an economic status based reservation system would not work.
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The need of the hour is to find answers to these questions through in-depth research and analysis, and take steps to correct for the same. But until then, the Arjun Singhs of this world would continue playing vote-bank politics through ever-new reservation announcements, the benefits of the quota-system would keep on accumulating in the laps of the undeserving creamy layer of low caste section, the high-caste guys would continue hating those from low-caste due to the adverse impact of reservation on the former, while the real oppressed ones would remain confined to the lowest rung of socio-economic ladder as they had always been. Then, some day, a couple of them will take up guns and raise the same old slogan, "You f*** with us, We f*** with you".

P.S. The title of this post is inspired from a tee-shirt I just bought. I can't seem to remember the manufacturer's name for acknowledgement - it's not viral marketing anyways.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Groupies...Rookies...

What is up with this world, seriously? I thought it can no longer surprise me, but no - here comes one more treat, after another...it's like an out-of-control bullet train or something.
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A group of friends go out on a trip, apparently enjoy themselves and then come back openly bitching about each other. Another group furiously defends its "group image" in front of others (Yo, we are a team, alrite!) and then indulges in brickbats and mental tortures in its own team huddle. Yet another group tries to "bond" itself with another group, failing which directs its energy in defaming the same group (reminds me the political tactics used in "First among Equals", but that's a story for another day). The remaining "free-radicals", which belong to no particular group, the left-outs, eventually form their own group out of no choice and are instantly branded opportunistic types, grouping together with sinister ulterior motives.
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A human mind is the most complex machine, of course. Put a couple of them together to form a group, and you exponentially increase the complexity. Put few of these groups together and whoa, it is a mayhem. You can either go into the thick and try straighten out the inter-group issues (burning your hands in the process) or just sit back and relax, maybe grab a beer or two, microwave the popcorn and enjoy the show.
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Or maybe portray an overly-intellectual image through blogs and stuff, like yours truly. Life's good.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

History as we read it...

I was talking to a friend today. Her dad is into real estate business bigtime and conversation somehow turned towards it. She told me how her dad's partner has observed some really profitable real estate opportunities in J&K, but their firm can't invest in that state owing to regulations imposed under Article 370. "That article is another specimen of minority appeasement and cowardice of Indian governemnt who would never learn to walk straight when under international pressure". Of course, she was quoting her dad verbatim.
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This is not some personal opinion - the sentiment is shared by millions of other Indians (including our right wing political outfits). Why, in God's name, should J&K be given a unique status? How can one even think of recognizing LoC as the International border. What is Pakistan doing over there anyways? Isn't it our land, right back from times immemorial?
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The issue is too broad to be discussed on a blog - that's not my intention anyways. Difference of opinions would exist on such a sentimental issue, after all the two nations didn't engage into four military conflicts over it for nothing, making it perhaps the most controversial territory issue after West Bank/Gaza Strip. But, why are the citizens of these two nations totally unaware of the context of the whole situation, and form opinions based purely on emotional content (a sense of patriotism in case of Indians, and a feeling of Islamic-nationalism in case of brothers from across the border). And I am not talking about the illiterate population, this is about the educated youth.
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How many of the Indians know that J&K was not a state of India before 1948, or that it was a separate nation ruled by a Hindu king with majority of the subjects being Muslims. Or that it became a part of India only when the King didn't have any other alternative at his disposal to save himself from the Paki onslaught? Or that it was the Indian premier who approached UN first on the issue (perhaps, hoping for a Nobel Peace prize) which resulted into the ceasefire around LoC and the string of regulations in form of Article 370 to ensure "status-quo" until normalcy is restored for a plebiscite to be held. Or that there was indeed a genuine aspiration for "Independence" in Kashmiris throughout the latter half of 20th century which, badly handled by Indian government and taken full advantage by Pakistan, turned violent only in 1989. The valley was peaceful before that, but how many of us know it? Or that there might be some grain of truth in the reports of large no. of rapes and civilian murders by Indian army in J&K, published by leading human rights organizations.
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Pakistanis don't need to gloat either. They would always have this view that all muslim majority regions were to be "given" away to Pakistan under the Independence Act (when few of them have actually read it) and India cheated Paksitan in the latter's infancy stage by "holding" back Kashmir. Many suggest that Pakistan whipped Indian asses everytime the two met on the battlefield and that Indians were the first movers/aggressors in each case. Mukti Bahini was a "terrorist" organization, and "Hindus" live in "dark, small houses". They would always cry about 90,000 muslim "freedom fighters" who sacrificed their lives while fighting Indian Army, but do not know iota about the 1,00,000 Kashmiri pandits forced to flee their homeland and living life as refugees all over India. Or how miserable a failue the Two Nations theory proved to be when Bangladeshis fought for liberation. Or that wars always started when a military leader assumed power in Pakistan, as the nation's premier in a coup or through an out-of-control army.
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But why such ignorance on both sides of the border? Why do people of these two nations remain oblivious to such basic facts which are well-known to rest of the world? One peep back into my school history book, and I seem to get my answer. History text books stop at 1947, and reveal nothing what happened after. So the youth forms their own image of post-independence history - aided by a biased media, opportunistic government and a pseudo-nationalistic feeling.
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Why don't the governments try and educate people on the burning issue of kashmir? GoI would rather nuke itself than admit its blunder in Kashmir and GoP won't have any other issue to milk in the next general elections or to keep the attention of Pakistanis diverted from the real issues of military dictatorship and failure of democracy. Meanwhile, the youngsters in India and Pakistan would continue reading their school history books on how Muslim League (Congress for the latter) was adamant on partition, and how their nation has been cheated (and being cheated) on the issue of Kashmir. The Kashmiris, meanwhile, would continue getting crushed between the egos of the two governments, with all the (mis-placed) sympathy of Indian and Paki populace but little translating into action.
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I just hope for some enlightenment...

Monday, October 29, 2007

You have been shortlisted!

Under the authority vested in me by The Firm, I place you under shortlist.
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You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you during the interview. You have the right to speak to your PGP-II mentor, but cannot have him present during any questioning in the interview. If you do not have a PGP-II mentor, one will be provided to you at The Fim's expense.
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In due course, you shall be produced in front of the aforementioned interview panel and sentenced as per laws of The Firm after the panel evaluates the relevant evidence and hears the case of defense.
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P.S. You are advised to gather all documents supporting your case for imprisonment and prepare the "HR" questions well. Be ready to be grilled by the prosecution on "Case" and "Fit".
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P.P.S. Circumstantial evidence - thats all what we care about.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The ten commandments

I feel like a prophet these days...
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MBA education uses levers as class participation (CP) and relative grading (RG) for effective classroom experience. Both mediums are powerfully effective when used (by students!) in the true spirit of learning, but have quite distasteful outcomes when the same students indulge in what they call RG-giri, i.e. trying to portray each other in negative light to score some brownie points in front of the instructor; and indeed, often these brownie points do translate into grades :)
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Anyways, after one such session in a marketing course where the group presenting the case was massacered left, right and centre by an over-enthusiastic (Read: in the RG-giri mood) audience, yours truly too contributing with one question, we came out of the class laughing at ourselves...and then in the same lighter mood, postulated the Ten Commandments of CP.
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Only if Moses was alive, he would not have complained of hearing just the Voice of the Divine.
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(Some terms carry additional explanation in italics).
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1) Thou shalt not CP in the last 2 minutes of a lecture; especially if the prof himself is overshooting the class timings
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2) Thou shall not CP in XYZ course at all, the instructor already himself is a living CP specimen
(not mentioning the course to be, ah, politically correct)
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3) Thou shall not CP if thou art Rajamundry
(an over-enthusiastic chap who CPs, I guess, without any RG intention)
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4) The time between two consecutive CPs shalt atleast be 3 classes
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5) Thou shalt treat the whole class if thou CP more than once in a single day
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6) Thou shalt seek all CP-overdoer infidels and slay them in the name of God
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7) Thou shalt NEVER EVER put in a follow-up CP
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8) If thou art the last person to CP, thou get to be hooshed
(a popular physical torture over here in IIMB)
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9) All case-presenters are thy brothers and sisters, thou shalt love them
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10) Remember, thou shalt be CPed against the way thou CPed unto others
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Credits: CB, Sudhakar and yours truly

Friday, September 21, 2007

Walking down the same lane...

While reading and muggofying reams of photostated material and books for my final examinations, I couldn't help but think - would I ever apply this in practical life? Reframing the question, would I ever get a chance to apply this theory in practice? Is real life a simple intersection of the demand and supply curve, so neatly drawn with no single data point violating the elasticity slopes?
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A seemingly very good explanation (at least it seemed to work till now) given to me by a senior who, btw, I whole-heartedly admire is that tough academics is another way to measure your IQ level - after all, ain't that what the companies, which come hovering down here for recruitment, look for.
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Why don't they just take another IQ test than, and get over with? Oh, but then it again would be the same old thing - the engineering entrance exam, the MBA entrance exam - we are different, and the variety need to come out of our actions. If IQ measurement is indeed the objective, I have my previous scores, thank you very much.
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I am utterly confused - and cannot articulate it in a better (or at least comprehensible ) way. I guess it's not the case of not knowing the answer; I am yet to understand the problem.
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I gonna get back to my books.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Let's exchange...

Yesterday, I came to know about something interesting. My university has an exchange program in management discipline with LUMS (Lahore University of Managment Studies)!

These four guys were cheering the Pakistani team in their 20-20 match with India last night in the hostel mess cum TV room, and that's when the entire audience over here in the campus came to know about them, or rather, their nationality. Till that point, not many were aware of them. At least the first year students had no idea.

A little more enquiry and I came to know that none from IIM Bangalore had opted for LUMS in this exchange program while all the four seats available in IIMB were taken up by LUMS students.

So much for talks of Indians being more tolerant and broad-minded than the neighbours. Or maybe, we are not analyzing things from a proper perspective (?)
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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In a league of their own...

While working on a report in one of my course assignments, I came across an interesting observation made by a celebrated personality in corporate circles. I am unable to dig out the exact words, but the gist went something like this - Almost all the successful people whom we generally hear about all the time were really subdued personalities in their early life. Majority of them received quality education no doubt (maybe apart from our revered politicians), but really few of them were regarded as the campus studs back in their student life!

Having myself had the fortunate opportunity of having studied from some of the best institutes in this country, this observation sparked an uneasy conflict in my mind.

Back from my IITD days, I can easily recall some faces who were the most popular on the campus. They were the ones you could see playing a central roles in almost every other campus activity - be it sports or performing arts or the general hostel poltu. Some of them even managed to combine all these with really decent grades and were usually the ones who walked away with the prized jobs IITs have to offer.

Here in IIMB, I am witness to a similar scenario - a handful of students, better known as the studs. Terrific academic performance with proven track record of being a winner in their pre-MBA days, be it the good old graduation time or the couple of years they spent in a firm working before they decided to oblige IIMB with their benign presence. The ones from these in their final year already have job offers from companies most of people out here might kill to work for.

And I, for the life of me, cannot imagine any of these demi-gods being overtaken by some random peer of theirs whom I have never heard of. Someone who is not placed in the same league.

Someone, who is out here in the same campus, a fellow student, with a humble personality and few past achievements to talk about, and is yet destined to surpass all of these demi-gods! The mere thought of such a creature existing in the midst of us sounds unreasonable, plainly void of any rationale and logic. And yet, data proves it to be true!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Perceptive Impressions

My fellow human beings bring a smile to my face everyday. Without them, what would I be. Every other day, I wake up, thinking this would be the day when I won't witness another unseen aspect of Homo Sapiens in its prime. And I am proved wrong, yet again..
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And I keep smiling...
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So whats funny these days? I recently indulged in a small, harmless sport: to observe people's reactions to different faces I put up to them whenever I relocate and meet new people. The results were amazing, of course on expected lines. For some, I am an adorable guy when I showed interest in their personal woes; for others, I am a horrible git for resorting to sarcastic comments on their own inadequacies (Give me a break, we are mortals); some find me really amusing, others tag me a bore. For quite a few, I can safely claim to have become the centre of their years of unvented hatred. Majority thinks I am a pushover, and yet a couple of them are still healing the wounds my verbal projectiles caused. And while reading this blog, some will carry home the image of arrogant, mean me. Amusing how people would judge me on the faces I showed them in the first place, instead of my true self which not a single one of them knows about.

As for me, I adore them all...

A learned teacher of mine once told me, they study the impact of first impression and perceptions people form on the basis of it in heavily funded research programs in the West. The world around me is my own little laboratory.

This game is now having unforseen consequences - some of my dear subjects have been (unintentionally) exposed to conflicting faces, and left utterly confused. Not long before one of them actually corners me. So I am stopping this game.

Does that mean I would reveal my true face? I think I will wear a mask resembling closest to it; exposing one's true self is not recommended in this world.

I am glad I have this choice, some of us do not know their own true face and thus, in an effort to hide it, end up exposing it.

Ah, I forgot I had decided to stop this game.