Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
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
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...
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Sunday, December 21, 2008
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
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
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
Monday, October 27, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
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.
Monday, September 8, 2008
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.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
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
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
"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...
P.S. As John Lennon aptly put it, "All we are saying is give PEACE a chance."
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
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 -
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Or maybe portray an overly-intellectual image through blogs and stuff, like yours truly. Life's good.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Friday, October 5, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
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 (?)
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
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
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.