Friday, December 05, 2008

Once upon a time

The bright side is we're halfway through. Waiting to turn a full circle now.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


This day made me realise what India is made of. It took a terrorist tragedy of such gigantic proportions to finally make me understand the hypocrisy and double standards that we live amidst today. I probably sound like a cynic but here's the thing - all these protests, 'candlelight vigils' (God only knows what they're supposed to achieve), statements made by wannabe celebrities on TV news channels; is any of this going to cause even the slightest bit of change in Indian polity? For that matter Indian society?

In a summary, this is what I want to say - Don't pretend to care if you don't. Don't pretend to be concerned when all you can do is talk about it.

What gets on my nerves is not the attitudes and double standards of the politicians, but the attitude of the people, the citizens. What will you get out of drawing room discussions? Why all this wastage of time and effort criticising politicians and their policies. This person has Z plus security while citizens are dying | That person was calling the slain ATS chief a traitor yesterday, now he's calling him a martyr - Agreed, it is all wrong. So what are you doing anything about it besides talking? Have you filed a PIL against anything or anyone you felt is wrong? Ever thought of initiating a real movement with real issues? For that matter, will you even remember all this 6 months from now? How long will you keep talking and forgetting about things? If you yourself are not serious enough in wanting something, why should you get it?

If you want something you 'Indian', then you better learn to fight for it. It requires some real work, real sweat and real sacrifices. And if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Don't pretend to be concerned about what is happening around you. Because you know what? 6 months from now you'll have forgotten all this. Like you did when you forgot the martyrs of Kargil War, the money the Defence Minister made off the coffins of the martyrs, the Anti Sikh riots of 1984, the innumerable scams that have littered our socio-political history. You are an Indian, you want crap and you get it. Its time you admitted it.

I might be termed a cynic or even unpatriotic. All I am is someone intelligent enough to see and understand things, who has seen this charade a thousand times before and is too disillusioned now to do or say anything, with India and it's people. Not the politicians, but the people. This country is going down and in my little capacity, I will not do anything to about it. But unlike most others, I will not pretend to care too.

All my sympathies with the victims of the attack, my sincere compliments to the NSG and other security agencies, who I admire the most. It's our bad luck that we're born here, in India, because of which you'll never get the rewards you deserve and unlike you, no one will ever fight for you. I have lost hope in this country, which I will probably leave as soon as I can, but at times like these, it's people like you who tell me that maybe it's not as bad as it seems.

For now, I know as a nation we've reached our lowest point. News channels exploiting the tragedy, politicians exploiting the tragedy and the citizens once again befooling themselves. This country has made me lose faith in it. Today, I hate to be an Indian.

You call it resilient spirit? I think it's more to do with not having the balls to do anything. Admit your impotency Indians. Admit the fact that we have been and will keep on taking shit from everyone - the politicians, the press, the bureaucrats, everything. We shall still pretend to give it fancy names and phrases e.g. bounce back, resilience, ability to adjust, adaptability.

We are Indians and we are pathetic. Period.

Postscript - Funniest part is people actually had the time to create and join Orkut and Facebook communities on the Mumbai tragedy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This is going to be a long and tough ride!

R.I.P. - Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch

I was thinking about how a prominent executive from J.P. Morgan described to us the situation on Wall Street last year during the sub-prime crisis, during out summers ppt - "There was blood on the streets...!", he said.

Compared to what's happening now, that must now seem like an ice-cream truck passing through Wall Street.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Sitting in mah room, sipping tea,
I wonder about the place called WIMWI,
About its little quirks and strange ways,
The laughs, the cries and the fun filled days.

I will miss these red bricks,
Paining poor facchas with our silly tricks,
Oh, those euphoric tempo shouts,
And the all-night CS bouts.

Damn, exchange program is about to start,
Why do I feel a tug in my heart?
Germany, Paris, Sweden, Rome,
All that is crap, this IS home!

These lines were written by Gagandeep Singh, a batchmate at IIMA, about to go on exchange to Europe for 3 months.

Even though I am not going on exchange anywhere and will stay put on campus for the next 3 months, my feelings are much the same.

I have been home for the past 2 days and most unexpectedly, I miss my campus and I miss my life there. I am going to go back there on the 31st, but I have begun to dread March 2009, when home becomes just another place where I studied once.

Here's to the best damn institute ever - I truly love WIMWI!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A weird little story

"So what is it that you most want?", he asked the young man.

The young man took 2 milliseconds, the time it takes for you to process what the other person has asked you.

He closed his eyes, he knew he didn't need to say anything else. The Giver would understand what he wanted.

Death, the sweet end he had waiting for, would now come to him. At last, he got what he had been waiting for.

And as the final moments of his existence neared, he opened his eyes. "Ha ha ha!", his laughter rang sonorously on The Giver's ears.

"You still didn't give me, you still didn't know me!", he jeered at him ruthlessly. "The Giver, Oh! The Giver!", he sang in derision.

And then he closed his eyes. Forever.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

IIMA - The First Placement

Here's a very interesting article on IIMA's first placement season.

From the Archives


Prof. S. K. Bhattacharya

One of the major concerns of the Institute in early 1966 was the question of placement of the first group of IIMA graduates. However, at that time there was no placement office and nobody in the Institute had any inkling about the manner and process of finding placement for business school graduates. It was clear that the kind of placement that our graduates obtained would affect the future activities of the Institute in two different ways. If the companies recruiting our graduates were not of the kind which represented the upper crust of the corporate world and if the compensation packages offered were not attractive enough, the Institute would not be able to attract the right quality of applicants for its post-graduate programme. Also a ripple effect of an unsuccessful track record in placement would be that leading companies would not look to the Institute for recruiting its future entry level managers. While we were generally aware of the process of placement and campus recruitment in the US business schools, since no corresponding experiences were available in the Indian context, we were not sure what would be the appropriate steps to follow in our placement effort.

Campus recruitment by leading companies was very much the desired thing, but the manner of organising this activity was not very clear. This concern and anxiety was explicitly brought out in the faculty meeting. After a somewhat desultory discussion, I found one of my colleagues proposing that I must take up the responsibility of placement and organising this activity. Before I could protest and convey my view that at no point of time was it made clear that I would have to take up such administrative responsibilities when I joined the Institute, my colleagues strongly favoured the proposal. It was unanimously decided that I should take on the responsibility for placement. The faculty meeting resolved that all possible help should be provided to me in carrying out this responsibility. When I enquired from some of my colleagues after the meeting "Why me?" I was provided the most simplistic answer that since I had come from the business world (before I joined the government), I would naturally be the best equipped person to undertake this task since I would have many "contacts" in the business world. To add substance to their argument, many of my colleagues mentioned that since I had served in the Department of Company Affairs and as Registrar of Companies, I would no doubt be able to derive considerable support for placement given my past association with many senior industry people. It was, therefore, the consensus amongst the faculty that it should not prove to be such a difficult task.

The "Travelling Salesman"

I was without a clue as to how to go about this task except that I felt that four things had to be done right away: Firstly, we must send brief bio-data of the graduating group to a select group of companies who were likely to be aware of the contribution that could be made by management school graduates in their operations. Secondly, we must write individual letters to the Chief Executives of large industrial organizations in the public and private sector inviting them to come over to Ahmedabad for campus recruitment, with the further request that they might like to let us know in advance the kind of management level positions they had in mind so that these job descriptions could be circulated to the students in advance.

Thirdly, senior members of the faculty and members of the Board of Governors should write to their counterparts in the world of industry and government requesting them to support our placement activity.

Fourthly and lastly, we should identify the likely kind of personnel some of the companies would like to employ as managers in terms of their prior professional background in addition to their management education. For example, we felt that people with engineering qualifications or chartered accountancy degree would be of interest to engineering (and manufacturing
companies) and banks and financial institutions respectively. On this basis, we could quickly scan the background of the graduating batch of students and selectively write to the companies, particularly heads of personnel function, to consider the appointment of a particular student in the light of his curriculum vitae.

Having decided on this strategy, there was only one anxiety. How would the corporate world react to our scheme? We put together the format of a letter to be addressed which was issued under the Director's signature. Similarly, we identified the companies which could be addressed by the members of the faculty and members of the Board of Governors. I personally compiled a list of 150 prospective companies and set forth on a eight-week tour of industrial cities carrying with me detailed curriculum vitae of the graduate students. I was promptly dubbed as the "travelling salesman of the Institute's products". The first few replies I received in response to my letter saying that I would like to call on the Managing Director and Chief of Personnel were polite but tentative. The general tenor of reply was that while they would be interested in considering the Institute's graduates for appointment at the entry level in the managerial cadre, they were not sure in which field they would best contribute to the operations of the company. It was quite interesting to note that only one area which evoked considerable interest was marketing. There were several enquiries as to whether any of the students we would like to place had any previous background in marketing. Some companies enquired about the kind
of exposure our graduating students had in consumer goods and industrial products marketing.

"Ahmedabad had arrived"

One of the things that was done to help me carry out the task of organizing the placement activity was the provision of a secretary specifically for the purpose of this new activity. The person who was assigned was singularly innocent of all knowledge regarding filing, drafting or taking any action on his own. To add to all this, his capabilities in secretarial terms – just to
keep the correspondence activities on an ongoing basis – was less than heartening. When I left on the right-week tour, I was quite apprehensive as to what would happen to enquiries in my absence, since my placement secretary was in that habit of disappearing from time to time, particularly when the workload increased, on French leave. I came back from Ahmedabad to find loads of correspondence and letters unanswered and unfilled. I tried to imagine the effect this would have on the enquiring companies. When I compare that state of things with the current sophistication level of placement activities, I sometimes wonder how we actually got through the first placement programme body and soul together! To everybody's surprise, the first placement programme was a great success. The graduating students represented some of the best products
from the Universities, Institutes of Technology and the professions because of the very rigorous admission tests administered. At the time of the interview, employers could discern right away that they represented an elite group of students with fine intellect, and excellent academic and professional qualifications.

Also, because of the interfunctional exposure to the various business disciplines and the case method of instruction they were able to respond to the various issues raised at the time of placement interviews with considerable depth of understanding, articulation, and, most importantly, insight in the business planning and decision making process. Leading multinational and international companies participated in the placement programme and many of them came to Ahmedabad for placement interviews. Notwithstanding the near-chaotic state of the placement office, they were greatly impressed with what they heard and saw. Most graduating students had at least two, and several had three or more offers. Two other distinctive characteristics of the placement programme were that the salaries and compensation packages offered were extremely attractive compared even with the IIT graduates and professionals. At another level, the jobs offered were managerial in their content rather than functional (i.e. a specific position in manufacturing or accounting or purchase with no particular potential for moving up in the general management ladder).

At the end of the programme, we knew that Ahmedabad had arrived in the professional education scene. The achievement was of course built up on the part of the students' intrinsic merit, but credit has also to be given to Vikram Sarabhai, senior faculty members and several members of the Board of Governors who contributed their generous support to the placement programme. The immediate fallout of the success of the placement programme was the quality
of students we attracted in the succeeding academic programmes because of the perception that "you had to have merit to qualify for Ahmedabad in the keenly competitive admission test, but if you did so – and pursued your studies rigorously and purposively – the placement opportunities at the end of the programme were the most attractive in the country."

(Source: Institution Building, The IIMA Experience; Vol. I: The Early Years)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Another thing in the list

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Yuvraj Singh (vice-capt), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa, Suresh Raina, Pragyan Ojha, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma, RP Singh, Praveen Kumar, S. Sreesanth

This is the squad for the upcoming ODI series India will play. I haven't followed cricket like some of my more devoted friends, hence this isn't a view on what the team composition should have been. I just wanted to say that it sure feels odd to see a team without Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly.

Even the cricket team's changed, looks like I really have grown up (or older at least).

The Muck is Shining

'...A whirlwind road yatra by a Rahul Gandhi here, four days of campaigning by Sonia there, are no longer enough. Instead, each constituency has to be micro-managed, with an astute mix of caste calculations, local alliances, money power, rebel management and targeted campaign themes. In Karnataka, there were as many as 20 constituencies where the margin of defeat was less than 2,000 votes, sixteen of which the Congress lost. Four Congress rebels won their seats, while another ten got more than 10,000 votes. In a tightly fought election, these statistics suggest that the Congress was unable to handle the constituency level management which often makes all the difference between victory and defeat...'

These are the words of Rajdeep Sardesai on his blog here. It's an analysis on the whys and hows of the battle Congress lost in the recent Karnataka elections.

What surprises me is that nowhere in the whole article have good governance, welfare of the people, and in today’s scenario, other such archaic ideas been presented as the premise for winning an election. Instead all that has been talked about is how the calculations went wrong, how the management was better in the BJP camp, campaign themes etc. Sure these things matter as much, but to try and dissect a party’s electoral loss and another party’s win purely on the basis of what strategy they used and not once talk about how the incumbent fared while in power; how many roads were built, villages electrified and other such macro indicators, is to me a rude reminder of the reality of the muck that is Indian politics. Leave alone the macro indicators, not even a mention of whether one can hope for realization of the electoral manifestoes, or what kind of performance can one hope for from the candidates/ party in Congress’ case, is there.

Of course, the article is about Congress and its impending downfall, but surely governance, performance parameters of its leaders must also count for something when discussing a party’s future?

India shining I guess!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

On Orkut -
Today's fortune: You will be unusually successful in business

Now you're talking! ;-)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Iraqi Water!

Written on the oil tank of a truck here in Bombay -

Thoda kam pee meri rani,
bada mehenga hai,
ye irag ka paani!

Translation -

Drink a little less my darling,
It's very expensive,
This water from Iraq!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Things an MBA does to you -

Never thought I'd read about the Japanese bond market to pass my time!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Taare Zameen Par

Just saw this movie. This is not a review.

I am just happy about 3 things.

1) People would have become aware of not just Dyslexia but also the problems a child might face
2) Aamir Khan made Taare Zameen Par
3) India has an actor and now director, called Aamir Khan

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wall Street and Cricket

There was a very good article by Lord Meghnad Desai about market ups and downs and capitalism in Times Of India's editorial today. It talked about how humans have a tendency to blow things which can be explained through simple explanations, totally out of proportion. An example being the death of Lady Diana. Conspiracy theories involving the royal family, MI5, MI6 have been floated. Its just hard for people to understand that a young and beautiful princess could have died in a clear case of drunk driving by her driver.

Don't know how far it's true but it does make a lot of sense. In our bid to make sure we know the truth, we over-complicate matters. In the current context, the current market recession or the impending recession (atleast in the US) is also part and parcel of a similar cycle of recession and boom of capitalist markets. Unfortunately, I haven't spent a lot of time reading up the exact reasons due to why, whatever is happening is happening, but the current events which I think can be safely traced back to last year's sub-prime crisis teach us one thing for sure.

The markets and for that matter, the world is not run by a single very strong force or a few very strong forces such as governments or rich institutions. We all ultimately perform actions and the sum of such infinite actions lead to whatever happens, outside the realm of control of a single or a finite number of strong forces. As often suspected, it is not the American government or a few American multinational banks which 'run' the world, instead it is a self-organising system bigger than a single or a group of such institutions. Biggest proof of this is the sub-prime crisis which caught Wall Street unawares and created the problems it did for the American government.

Today, we see the biggest and the best American multinational banks going to the Asian (Middle-eastern actually) funded Sovereign Funds to get them out of the hole they have dug themselves into. In simple language, middle eastern governments will now have stakes and control in some of the biggest symbols of American power and wealth. And an irony it is. The very same people who the Americans drive out of their country, after 9/11, are now the ones bailing them out of this crisis that they now face. An end to white hegemony? Too early to say, another conspiracy theory maybe, but to some extent, I am sure the poles of power have shifted. The coming few years though should be interesting in the sense that where the US economy now go to.

Maybe I should have a read up a little more on the various articles about the current crisis, to be able to answer this question. Would request some of the more knowledgeable readers in this regard to educate me.

Call it a coincidence but the recent controversy in Sydney, regarding Harbhajan Singh has led to the Indian press agog with reports of how this is the end of white hegemony and how the shift of power is taking place, to where it rightfully belongs. After almost half a century of playing 'soft' cricket, of being 'gentlemen', our players have now learnt to respond back when sledged at, our Board has now learnt to raise its voice when needed. In the current case though, that of Bhajji, arm twisting Cricket Australia into the decision the Indians wanted was wrong according to me.

The debate is not however, whether BCCI was wrong or right. In two entirely different worlds, the world economy and Cricket, we see a shift of power; the focus is on whether the dynamics of the world as a whole are actually changing. Or is it just another conspiracy theory?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ricky Ponting Kicked in His Balls!


And while India was doing that at WACA, I was getting WACked!

Whats that you ask?

Thats WAC - Written Analysis and Communication.

The perfect way too ruin a Friday evening and a sleepy Saturday.

Another Lecture I Slept Through

At WIMWI, my classes are held in CR-7, Section A that is. The misery of having a name that starts with 'A' is one that never seems to end. Over here, my seat is in the 'well', dead center, right in the line of sight of the professor, and right in the front of the class. Although, the biggest advantage has been that I am forced to listen to the lectures, there are still some of them which would make the most energetic man go to sleep.

Today however, I slept through another lecture.

This man's -

H.H. The Dalai Lama.

He had come down to the campus to deliver a talk on Business and Ethics.

There were a few things about him which struck me. His personality - Confident and simple, which was reflected in the way he started his talk - he asked his aide to tell him the topic; on being told that it was Business and ethics, the first thing he said was - 'I don't know anything about business! If I start one, it'll probably fail in a week!'

The talk he gave subsequently was related to ethics with a touch of philosophy and spirituality. To some extent it was on expected lines, which for me made the talk uninteresting. Having said that, on attending the event, I did come to realize the immense amount of strength and courage that soft spoken human had. To have been the symbol of hope and a bright future for a people who have lost their country, in the face of hostilities from the Chinese government is no kid's play.

What was more interesting was the Q&A round at the end of the talk. Some people asked interesting questions such as Sino-Indian relations and the Indian policies with regard to Tibet. Dalai Lama's response to some of the such awkward questions asked just reflected the deep intelligence that this outwardly simple looking person had. Some people asked him downright philosophical and spiritual questions. For some reason I haven't been able to figure if such questions are actually genuine or whether those people were just putting their CP*. Some questions were downright funny, one mathematics professor asked him whether the concept of karma and destiny could be integrated with the concept of probability to come up with a mathematical model to scientifically analyse the whole thing. Personally speaking, the idea was interesting, but the time and setting it was asked in was, as i said, funny. I mean here was a Buddhist Monk and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, on a mission of peace, giving a lecture on ethics, thanks to the unknown mathematics prof., trying to understand the concepts of Probability!

I went to the auditorium to see him for two reasons -
1) To see an actual Nobel laureate
2) To see what was so great about this personality that people right from Heads of States to common people all over the world flock to see and hear him wherever he goes.

I guess one of the perks of being at IIMA is that one gets access to such personalities, which is why I went to the talk, even though the topic of ethics is not the most interesting in the world for me.

All said and done, atleast there's one more person whose lecture I can claim to have slept through. And this time its a Nobel Laureate!

*CP - Adapted from the concept of Class Participation - An event where students speak in a class discussion just for the sake of it, because the measure of your CP has a bearing on your final grade.