Saturday, June 23, 2007

This is not the life I ordered!

Friends losing touch,
Distances gaining ground,
Weekends shrinking,
Monday morning tyranny, increasing.
Lost myself in this crowd,
Found myself in this gutter.

At cafe’, she looks at me, intriguingly,
I look back at her, disbelievingly.
“To ask or not to ask,
And if so what to ask,
Is that the question?”
Forget it, it’s too late now.

Left office early – thrilled!
No plans for the evening! – feel miserable.
Confused - hit the nearest pub,
Blew money like crazy - feel worse.
Home @ 7 next day; friend calls, “You already home?”
“Yes. I’m always home. I’m uncool!”

Here, people walk faster
While traffic moves slower.
They work longer, if not harder,
While their 'lives' become shorter.
Weird. There are no finishing lines,
Still, they are all running.

Come rains and city comes to a halt,
Still rent is higher than emi elsewhere.
Maximum city, minimum me.
Cramped metro or Claustrophobic me?
Degenerated city or Overgrown village?
Take your pick.

Sambhar look-like served disguised as dal tadka
In Udupi’s version of N.I. dhaba,
I lose my cool & shout, “Mr Shetty,
This is not the dal I ordered”
Perhaps, Mr God,
This is not the life I ordered!

Sunday, May 13, 2007


All along the rails. Next to the sidewalks. Contiguous to the Airport. On the sea-face. Near posh societies. Mumbai is dotted with slums, so much so that while landing when you looked down, for a second, you thought the pilot has got you to some place else. Come on, don't you know 65% of the Mumbai's population stays in slums. Most of these slums are illegal and the slum-dwellers guilty of law-breaking.

How did they manage? Easy. They came, they saw and they settled down. How convenient! All they did was put asbestos roofs over some wooden planks which they flicked from some construction site. And they have a place in South Mumbai while a typical Mumbaikar travels 100 kms a day in sub-human locals just because he can't afford to stay in South Mumbai.

No wonder then... Looking outside the locals is avoidable. There’s perennial traffic congestion – for roads can't be widened. Runway expansion work can’t take off – as land clearing is a sticky issue. Real estate gets lower valuations (actually this one isn't as bad!) And all this because of these illegal colonies. Because of people who shouldn't be there at the first place.

But come to think of it... At some point of time - Partition, Mughal Invasion, before Civilization - someone did exactly the same thing. He came, he saw, he settled down. Because when God created Earth, He forgot to leave a copy of the land records* with the registrar office.

This raises a very fundamental question - Can anyone own Land more than he/ she can own the Air or the Sky?

Or look at it this way. Just because we were born to well-off parents and they were not, doesn't mean that we will even deny them a quarter-decent place to live! These incongruities need to go. And we just can't leave it to the market forces…

No, I ain’t saying they are right;
But neither are we.
They are illegal;
But we are unfair.
Which one is worse,
You decide.

* To make up for that, Government decided to play God and carried out land reforms in the 1950s, which in essence were land scams.

Friday, May 04, 2007

beyond IQ

In our society, we value IQ a lot. May be a bit too much…
In classes, students tend to understate the effort they put for their exams to attribute their grades to their grey sells and not mid-night lamp. Very often, an intelligent guy is referred to as 'Bond', while the hard working fella rather condescendingly as 'ghissu' or 'maggu'.
Enter to the corporate world and a rude shock welcomes ‘Mr 007’. Suddenly, he feels that his brains are under-utilised, raises questions about the system and even at times changes his job... Doesn’t work.
For little do we realise that IQ is just one of the many ingredients required for recipe of corporate success. Articulation, memory, hard work, people skills and ability to take a lot of shit are a few others...
Time we realise that it is not about being intelligent; it's about being effective!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Poor Service in Service Economy

The now famed (and established!) India (turnaround) story is largely scripted on the foundation of Services Sector; manufacturing sector coming in to join the party notwithstanding. So much so that India is now predominantly a services economy [in terms of GDP share and not employment (disguised unemployment!)].

In all this big talk about services, we do not realize the fact that we offer extremely poor service - be it banks, airlines, hospitals or restaurants. Private sector might be a shade better than the Government sector, but we still woefully fall short of international standards. So our taxi drivers refuse customers on the face, railway ticket counter guy thinks he is doing a favour to you and warranty service is non-existent.

Is it because of our mindset or culture? Or is there a genuine gap, a business opportunity staring on the face? May be both; and that’s where lies the challenge!

Differentiate your service and charge a premium. Isn’t that the mantra!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

We are all the same!

The recent ‘Sabka thanda ek hai’ campaign from Coca Cola makes a statement that “We’re all the same”. Why would we not be… after all we come from what was a choice deprived Democracy not too long ago (like we’re all fed on the same diet of entertainment – Doordarshan!)

The result – ours is a generation of clones. As if there are a few prototypes on which all of us are modeled. (Let me talk about the genesis of one of these prototypes – the MBA - Fin). In standard X, most of us made a life defining choice – Maths or Bio which essentially translated into Engineer or Doctor. What followed there on was Hobson’s choice - we treading the pre-decided path.

Whatever may be the reason - supply-demand, reservation policy or social (in)security - we never followed our dreams. We ‘chose’ whatever branch/ specialization was offered to us with interest clearly taking backseat. So though I am fascinated by Automobiles but I take Computers for that is where bucks (or shall we say jobs) are. Then we all went on to work for IT companies (each of them a clone of the other 2). Then all of us wrote CAT, etc and went wherever we could.

Finally came the choice # 2 – Finance or Marketing? Most of us weren’t sure (or were we actually scared to take a call!), so we said Fin AND Mar (okay, some said Mar AND Fin, so much for interest). Then almost all Fin guys wanted to get into iBanks (as if that’s what they have dreamt of since their Vikram Betal days!). Ironically, we were trained to be Managers – decision-makers, so what we never took a decision even about our career.

Yes, we are all the same. Not because we feel the same way, but because we think in the same way. Because we do not stick our neck out to follow our dreams. Because we aren’t driven by our interests but material factors (money!). At some stage peer pressure (feeling that if I don’t go for iBanks, I’ll be left out!) also kicks in. Whatever the reason may be, it is external and thus same for all of us. Had it been internal, we would all have been different.

True, beggars aren’t choosers. May be with changing business landscape of the country and increasing incomes (and choices), we will learn to exercise our choice. Just hope that the next generation makes the right choices*.

* though to me it appears that the options have confused them

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My 2 Cs

Ok… before you complain…this one is about ‘me’. You may want to click the third tab from left on top of this page.

Know your strengths… & weaknesses, so they say. Guess I know mine, at least the ones that are partly responsible for where I am… and where I am not…

::: Common sense & Carelessness :::

[Aside: I wonder if the marketing gurus choose the letter first and then look for words starting with it - 4Ps, 3Cs… or is it an afterthought, as I have for my 2Cs]

Interestingly, but for my 1st C, I would have been a real dumass; specially with the 2nd C working overtime.

C1: Common sense
Saves me from a lot of hard work
Saved me from some near crisis situations
Even after doing considerably well in my Fin courses; I don’t know Finance*. I just have some sense (common) of it. And I just try to reason it out from there. And trust me, it works, yes, it takes longer, but you get there. Don’t Eureka moments come from a high doze of common sense? So much for inculcating the 1st Principle approach during my teenhood!

C2: Carelessness
Puts me in some real tight situations
Right from reading the questions wrongly (and answering them correctly) to forgetting to mark a whole set on that fated OMR, from Prep in Joseph’s till date… I think I’ve suffered rather liberally at the hands of C2. Old habits do die hard, if at all.

I think all my life I have operated on gut feel, at times on the ‘Blink’ concept… so much so that I feel I’ve sleepwalked through my education. So if C1 has been the cause for this rather easy ride, C2 is the effect.

* for that matter anything

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

iBankers & insane working hours

Typically, Investment Bankers work 100 hours a week, essentially working for three and getting paid for two. The situation is not very different in Consulting (Strategy). My question is, why such insane working hours?

The possible reasons could be:

  • scarcity of qualified & capable people,
  • indivisibility of work, or
  • incumbents want to retain exclusivity

Let’s take them one by one.

Scarcity of people

Is it about scarcity of trained people? I don’t think so. After all, though iBanks pick the top say 5% from premier business schools, the remaining 95% are also equally well-trained. So, is it a quality issue? I understand that the work is high-end and requires performers who have excellent quantitative skills and who can handle tonnes of stress. But if top ‘n’ people can do it, why can’t the ‘n+1’st? And extending the logic, why can’t the next and so on? The point I’m making is, over time, this shall lead to increase in workforce and rationalisation of working hours and consequently pay cheques. In fact, this is something that’s happening in the IT industry, at least at the entry level, as distortions of salaries between software and core sector is fast disappearing. Ideally, such a shakeout shall happen in iBanking sphere also.

Indivisibility of work

This appears strange. Modularisation has happened in from software to rocket science. Why not in iBanking? The trends suggest that it can. Already iBanks are setting up shops (KPOs) in emerging economies where back-end and even parallel-end work like Equity Research is being off-shored. So where are we heading?

Incumbents want to retain exclusivity

How can the incumbents be allowed to dictate the terms? If the business is attractive then there will be entry of new players. Why aren’t more players coming in and bringing the prices down? Actually, this is already happening. In India, companies like SBI caps and Kotak Securities are doing just that. But the impact has been limited and still, the JP Morgans and Lehman Brothers have the same stressed-out work culture and obscene pay packages. Why?

The question thus remains, if human resource is not a constraint, if division of work is possible and if entry of new players is happening, why is it that there is more work and less people? Why aren’t the market forces bringing things to equilibrium? Hope economic sense prevails! And if it does, we’ll see iBanks go down in the pecking order in Business Schools… and may be something else take over as has happened with Consults. Of course the assumption is - pay cheques rule.

Friday, December 30, 2005


At GH3 3, XLRI we do things in it a wetnite or a birthday. So to welcome the frax (last) term, we had a pvt wetnite@315.
Check out this link...True to the mood, the background song is "right here right now hai khushi ka sama..."
Some of the jokes may not be very obvious to everyone... as they aren't to be... but still..

Life's good!

Thursday, November 17, 2005


I start with a hypothesis.
H0: Insecure people strive more.
H1: Secure people are lazier.

Take the example our cricket team. Instances of a batsman on the verge of losing his place in the side hitting a century are not too uncommon. So much so, that the strategy of the team think tank is to have competition among players for each slot by improving the bench strength. In effect, insecurity of players increases efficiency of the team.

In economics also the most preferred market structure is perfect competition. This is essentially reducing each player to a position that he has no impact on the market. Again, we are trading off security of participants with efficiency of the system.

In effect we can conclude that the efficiency of system is high when each constituent is insecure. Contrast this with the utility theory which suggests that every individual strives to maximise his utility. This trade off between individual utility and system efficiency is interesting.

A rich man’s son is less likely to be the most hardworking kid in the class. This in some way answers the success of middle class in education as they see it as their one chance to raise their standard of living. This is a direct interplay of incentives and efforts.

Similarly, a person who has faith in himself, is confident about his future would not be extremely worried about working his @$$ out. He achieves higher utility by pursuing his hobbies, or just doing nothing. On the other hand, an insecure person stands to gain more (w.r.t. his utility) by working harder to secure his place in the world. Okay, there is some scope here for his risk averseness (i.e. his ability to risk his career/life) to play a part here.

This can also throw some light on why some hackers are hackers? Why people write viruses? A plausible explanation can be that to these geniuses successes of the world don’t throw up enough challenge. In search of this challenge (utility to them), they become outliers. To make them work, we need to devise incentives to align their utility with our goals.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Management is all farce. There is no value add. It's just a crash course people take to get a jump start into the business world. Opinions. I disagree. Well, there is merit in what they teach at B-schools; though they can't process you into a leader or an ideal manager. The onus is on you. So it does matter a lot on how you make the most out of it.

To some extent, your career depends upon your specialisation(s). Majority of students opt for dual specialisation, the most common combos being Mar-Fin and Sys-Fin; with the first part in each explaining the jobs scene and the second part telling a tale about their aspirations....which is sometimes met, but often not. (The situation is same across schools outside A, B & C where the bulk of the Fin jobs lie.)

Well, electives are bricks that specialisations maketh. And people have different maapdand to select electives! Other than Frax* and Grade quotients, there are factors like relevance to jobs, necessity, interest, prof, etcetera. I, somehow, divide my courses into 3 categories:

Fundamental courses: These are not core courses, but are very essential to your specialisation. Like what is Marketing without Consumer Behaviour or Brand Management; Finance without Security Analysis and Systems without...well dunno. Please ignore my ignorance.

Need-addressing courses: These courses address certain career needs. Examples include courses on Insurance, Retail Management, etc.

Topping courses: These are my favourites. They do not address any need nor have any direct bearing on your career. But they catch your imagination with the different perspective they bring to you. They are mostly soft courses. And I believe, XLRI has the best portfolio of these flavour courses as far as Indian B-schools are considered. Examples include, Indian Philosophy, Management of Creativity, Marketing in Practice, Impression Managememt, etcetera.

Other types include Frax and Grade courses.

Frax courses: These are essentially zero burden courses with lots of group assignments, presentations and no attendance. Of course, ideal for fraxing and creating social externalities.

Grade courses: These are sitter courses where faculty believes that 75% of the students score above the average. Sometimes they are student specific like Industrial Economics for Eco grads, Demand Forecasting for Production Engineers and ERP for people with experience in SAP implementation. However, grade courses are very popular among smart and sensible students;)

There are overlaps in this division as in a course can be - frax, grade and topping - all at the same time. FYI, some people do specialize in Frax and Grade courses also.

Then there are good courses with bad profs and bad courses with good profs. There is no real consensus on which ones are better, but in general it has been seen that people who think the first lot is a better deal tend to change there opinion after they get a taste of a bad prof.

Well, happy hunting for electives and all the best for your MBA.

* Refer the post on Fraxing dated Feb 16, 2005 to get the meaning of the word Frax.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Making sense of spending in Infrastructure

Damages from the flash floods in Mumbai on July 26 run into thousands of crores of rupees. Subsequently, a lot has been talked and written about the infrastructure in Mumbai, rather the lack of it. It would make an interesting study to compare the cost of infrastructure vis-à-vis' the cost of lack of infrastructure. For example, would a better drainage system have saved enough damage to property and business (apart from lives and livestock) so as to make an economic case for robust infrastructure?

Taking the idea further, traditionally, we decide projects on financial viability. Now, a broader concept of economic viability is picking up. This involves taking a holistic view of things by considering the life cycle costs, social externalities, etc. Concepts of carbon trading, green construction, etc. are, in fact, emanations of this only.

The hypothesis thus goes: Investing in better infrastructure has its gains in the reduced cost somewhere over the life of the asset. Just to make things a bit clearer, let's take the example of a flyover. It might not be possible (socital or practicability issues) to toll it and recover the cost expended by sponsor of the project. However, in the case when the sponsor is the Government - which incidentally also has the role of public welfare agent - it might make some sense to consider the savings in oil from the decongestion of roads, time people save and utilise it in their work thus contributing to the GDP and of course, improving the quality of life in general. Agreed, some of the conclusions are a bit far fetched, but this might not be so if we choose the example more carefully.

Now, the challenge is to devise a system that ensures that the person who saves oil from the flyover pays for it, at least partly, in some way rather than the tax payer who does not use it. It is all a matter of charging the cost to the right cost centre. If this does not happen, then it will be yet another social externality where one is paying for another's benefits.

PS: A friend once remarked, "When B-schools claim 100% placements, in reality only 20% get placed. Rest 80% get mis-placed."

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sad, but true

Placements in B-schools are geared towards optimizing the number and quality (!) of jobs. Considering the constraints and the stakes involved, it appears to be the most sensible thing to do. But is it an efficient process?

My belief is that it is not, for it does not match the interest and competencies of a student with his/her job profile. But then, that's practically impossible. Now why is it so?

One reason is the students themselves. Premier B-schools are interesting places. Best minds come there...all excited, but most of them have little idea of what they want to do in life. At best, they know what they don't want to do. But that’s how one moves on in life…and it’s perfectly fine.

The problem is, sometimes students don’t think for themselves, and just form opinions on what they hear. Sad, but true. Ask any freshman on campus about what s/he wants, and you will hear consult, i-banks. Ask what does an i-banker do, and chances are that they might not be able to speak more than 3 sentences about it. And still, that’s what they want to do in life. But can you blame them for that? May be, but to some extent only.

The issue is rooted further down in the Indian psyche. The reason for this is the same as for why does a person good in maths goes for engineering and not maths honours? It’s a question of social security rather insecurity. Money, still to a very large extent, determines what we like. Sad, but again true.

And on the placement day, call it peer pressure or influence or so happens that most people end up thinking and behaving similarly. Which slot, what day and how much? That's all that seems to matter. It is not just stupid but criminal to look for a lower slot company when you have shortlists from higher slots. Media also doesn’t help by hyping salaries...almost making it impossible for a person to take a long term view of his/her career by ignoring the m-factor. Trust me, almost everyone buckles down.

In the end, a student lands up at some place while s/he is meant for some place else. Sad, but still true.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Google and Kubla Khan

There is a lot of cry specially in France about googlization of information. The other day Financial Express read: Is Google imposing selective American ideas? Leaving that discussion to les français, I’ve another question...apparently google is students’ best friend, but is it not harming their growth in the long run?

When I've an assignment to do, my starting point is typically the same: and the end result (the report) is a potpourri of matter from different sites which sometimes makes sense and sometimes does not.

But today something happened to me...something that happened to Samuel Taylor Coleridge way back in 1798 when he conceived Kubla Khan from Xanadu in his dream (where do you think I got this date from...of course google:) I had a dream...a dream full of ideas...I woke up and tried to scribble them on I expect something somewhat original somewhere...

The point I’m trying to make is if we give it a thought and don’t mindlessly start googling (as I do), we sure can come up with original ideas..and then may be some day..

We would build that dome in air,

That sunny dome! those caves of ice!

Weave a circle round the world thrice,

And drink the milk of Paradise.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

On the case study approach

Ambrish Bajaj on his blog asks...
"Most B-schools follow a case solving approach. But in real life most of the energies...go into identifying the problems...Managers just see symptoms or effects of some cause or problem that they are unaware of...How do these Harvard case studies help them by giving the problem on a platter?"

I suggest...
An effort could be made to encourage students write case studies. It would serve in more ways than one as it will:

  • make students approach real life as a class room with learning at every step;
  • help them identify and, may I say, 'crystallize' the problem;
  • of course employ their problem solving skills and management concepts to figure out a solution; and
  • help the corporate world by highlighting their problems and encouraging the best practices thus initiating this virtuous cycle.

As a bonus, these case studies can be an alternative source of revenue for the publishing institute. And to top it with icing, the case studies will be a resource to teach management in our B-schools through local (Indian) cases...of which, one would agree, there is a genuine need but an oxymoronic 'big dearth'.

Is it not a win-win situation?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


I have a feeling that xlri might just top the list for the number of associations per capita. Though a small campus, it boasts of myriad associations ranging from formal to informal to totally arbit. Some cross all boundaries of sanity. Among them fraxi occupies a unique place; fraxi is an acronym for free riders’ association at xlri. Free riding is a phenomenon that cuts across all B-schools and even organizations…but never has it taken such delightful usage!

I had a realization. I tend to frax in a group if there are people willing to take on the responsibility. But when I see that my group members are not very keen on taking the responsibility…I somehow gather this steam in me to get the work done. Probably, I work only when I've my back against the wall. Don’t know if it’s true with other fraxers also. If so, then is fraxing contextual?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Gas stations

I was 200 miles down on the highway when suddenly I realized that I do not have…well, I am not talking about that gas station..

Changing gears and direction…Why this charm for pseude profile i-banking and consultancy jobs? Why so much antipathy against real economy? Where are the genuine managers…those who will turn the plants around or nurture new companies? Why all this talk about making money and none about making a difference?

How to wrap some obvious and commonsensical stuff in a sophisticated way by throwing a lot of jargon on jazzy ppts with 2-dimensional matrices in between…This is what I see all over the place…Are we all becoming gasbags? If’s time we start calling our B-schools gas stations.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Slow down

Blogging regularly and still maintaining shelf life of the posts is kinda difficult...In some way, this points to the fact that we rarely reflect at the past or think into the future. Not to suggest that there is no timelessness in the is there...but we are too preoccupied with the mundanes to appreciate it. Heard it somewhere-"live this moment, this moment is your life". In going after 'larger' things in life, we forget that these moments make up life. So slow down a bit.

[Random thought]

Sunday, December 26, 2004


The much awaited Swades movie is generating lukewarm response from “We, the people”. No, I am not commenting on its entertainment quotient or comparing it with Lagaan – which now enjoys almost iconic status. I am trying something more boring.

Though almost like documentary and at times overdoing it, Ashutos Govarikar touches issues we generally ignore. A random thought crosses my mind… In this age of Globalisation, he talks about ‘your lamp giving light to neighbour’s house’. We all (me included) laughed at it in the movie…but did we not laugh at ourselves???

Don’t know how relevant the theme is in the current context when it is a bit old fashioned to talk about doing something for Swades. But I do know one thing. All we are doing is growing fodder for the developed nations – Be it growing potatoes and selling 'them' at Rs. 5 per kg (and buying chips made from the same potatoes at Rs. 90 per kg). Or producing IT engineers in unbelievable numbers to work - at times even as bonded labour - on products for which 'they' own the patents. Time we go up the value chain…create value not produce commodity!

Once one of my friends passed a comment on me, “99 IITians are in US and 1 is stranded here..” I really fail to understand the way we have come to define success. If you are an engineer then you must be going to US to be called successful. In a B-school, your only claim to fame is a foreign placement. The situation is no different for our writers or even academicians – we need white man’s validation to be branded successful – be it in Bookers or Noble. Incidentally, even Ashutos Govarikar wants an Oscar.

A personal statement here: Still, I feel proud to be involved with mega projects like Delhi metro and Golden Quadrilateral which are changing the face of mera gaon, mera desh. I hope I continue to be the one stranded IITian…

I know it's a one side account and there is a debate on what I am suggesting...but there is no debate on this one: Gayatri Joshi is a drop-dead beauty.

Pity, every Christmas, hundreds of NRIs comeover and marry away such pretty girls :(

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

XL: 1st impressions on 2nd thoughts

Numerous stimuli are constantly confronting everyone (c.f. Luthans p.188 para 1). In fact, our perceptions are even more heightened when we start something new, in this case – Life at XL. Following the principle of perpetual selectivity, some are imprinted on our minds. Here I will talk about a few of the major things that go into my mind when I observe life here.

Reflections…a blow by blow account
MBA is all about Impression Management, at least this is the impression we got from different channels in our first few days here. Honestly, it was a blow, #2 for the records. (Excuse me for my disrespect to chronology). Putting things into perspective, I come after working for 2 years in the core industry, and the driver for me was learning opportunity an MBA will provide me with. IM, somehow does not go very well with learning, in fact it smells of hypocrisy.

The size of the campus, I think it was the first blow. Spending 24 years of my life in lush green big campuses, XL was a almost a disappointment – blow #1.

On second thoughts…
Here comes my learning value. We tend to stereotype not just people but also places, things, and culture by the way we see or perceive them. Dig in a little deeper and so many contrary things come out.

The smallness of the campus, something I rather hated in the beginning, makes me fall in love with it now. Had it not been for it, we would not have come so close to one another. Watching Prof. Sengupta talking to students at addu’s, having an informal gyan session with a senior at 6:00pm in the evening - these things do something to me.

The talk about impressions is all about mind over matter - if you do not mind, it does not matter. I made sure not to fall into this trap of doing things to impress people. The easiest way to achieve this was to just be myself, feel proud of whatever I am and try to improve wherever I lack.

Random thoughts…JLT
Surprises, I think, give a distinct flavor to life out here. ‘Bhasad’, Jr. Night, dunking - seniors have consistently outsmarted us and given us some of the most memorable -good, bad or ugly – moments of our stay here.

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute
with sixty seconds' worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
and - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!”
Rudyard Kipling

“If” has always been my favorite poem but never before did I appreciate the value of time more. From Classes at 9:00am to GBMs at 1:00am; from nightouts to breakfast at Regent; from Wet Nights to BFA Workshops - Life is full of life.

As the day-night divide collapses - afternoons are haunted, nights noisy, sun a bit too bright and a bit too early outside my window (after all Sun rises in the east.)

Of late, my appreciation towards different things has improved too. While at the grocery store down Chinatown lane I find myself keenly observing, trying to study the buying behavior. I make more sense out of financial ratios in Economic Times now. People seem intriguing, and Economics seems to have fallen into place.

Once the perceptions are cleared, we get to see the underlying beauty. The ‘take home’ as they call it, from each day here is phenomenal - it is the people out here who make my stay here enriching and meaningful. Long live XL family!

PS: This account was written for the OB I course requirement.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Applying Pareto principle...

Applying Pareto principle to exams, 80% of the questions will come from 20% of the topics. Put differently, majority of the important concepts come from a fraction of the subject matter. In that case, it makes perfect sense to focus on it. Considering that we do not retain even 20% from a course, this principle might even help in increasing our take home from each course, from every piece of article we read or study. The trick, however, is in identifying those 20%.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Breeds of IITians

One of the best thing about IIT is the exceptional people you meet there. They haven't all climbed Everest, or made lakhs in the stocks, or attempted some other Olympian feat - and even if they have, they don't seem to have the mountainous egos that come along with such people. Rather, they are intelligent and confident, capable and modest. Each and every one of them has some spark…some dash of brilliance within them.

Elaborating on the breeds…there are those who are full of energy, who know they can do it and who actually do it. They have a fire within them...a fire you don’t see but you know it is there. In fact, that’s how the media has branded IITians.

But there are other breeds too…a very colourful one includes those who know they can do it, who can do it…and still who don’t do it…who just don’t find it worth it. As if waiting for some destined moment to show their class…they are fired only by disaster. They have this confidence in their selves and a feeling of security within them…they are on the other end of the ‘panic’ spectrum. From this confidence they derive their biggest strength and yet it is also their biggest enemy as it makes them underachievers. Yes, they have their own lazy, sleepy way of achieving feats…but they are worth much more dime.

Okay, there are also those who can’t stop complaining about the system when they are in there at IIT…and I’ve a feeling that, they are also the ones who can’t stop boasting about the place when they go out.

One breed that is perhaps in short supply is…as they call it here…well-rounded, smooth talking type…those who know how to hold their own in social situations and express themselves coherently on subject matters outside of the work they do.

So much on IITians and some of their breeds…

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

India of my dreams

When I watched Gadar, I wondered that this happened just 50 years ago. Later on when I read Taslima Nasreen's Lajja, the same feeling gripped me with the only difference being that time was catching up. And yesterday it did actually caught up when I read "Gujarat bleeds". Not the prettiest of the sites to see violence wrestling the headlines from Budget, the single most important event in the Financial Calendar of a poor country like India which dreams of...huh!

To be honest, on that unfortunate day, Dec 6, we kids celebrated by first making a model of a Masjid with a few bricks and then grounding it with our feet. All the turmoil was so exciting to us; more so because our exams were postponed...But we were kids then...I was in standard VI.

Now when I read about these attacks on Sabarmati Express and the knee-jerk actions to the same... Wearing a t-shirt which says 'proudly Indian' a I write; I actually feel ashamed of myself and my country.

When will we accept that we are one of the poorest nations which even after 50 years of independence can't rise above the petty matters of Mandal and Mandir. We call ourselves the largest democracy....but we are yet to discover one. We thought by framing the most comprehensive constitution to give equal voting rights to every citizen, we have achieved democracy. Little did we realise that its spirit lies in enforcing them; and we have failed miserably in this. All we have succeeded is in silencing the Khairnars and Sheshans who tried to provide some credibility to our system.

And we just can't blame it upon the system - our typical psyche to pass on the buck on to others. As the citizens of the country, what has been our contribution? We are no better than the RK Laxman's dumb 'common man' who sees everything, but does nothing. Patriotism isn't about cheering for India (rather Indian team) in an India-Pakistan's not just a feeling; it's a responsibility to our country, to our society.

We are very quick to criticize brain drain, but do we ever realize what kind of future do these young brains have here? If we can't provide them with the opportunities, infrastructure and work environment then we have no right to point the finger on them. And what have the rest of us achieved by staying back here?

We blamed it on the English then, but whom do we blame now? Politicians? But who are they? How do they manage to emerge out of all the stinking scandals? Jayalalithas and Sukhrams get reelected even after they have been exposed. Things will not change much if we continue to vote on the basis or caste and religion...

Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Don't read it

Warning : Don't scroll down.

Warning : Don't read it.

...and stop smiling.

Tell them that sun is a star, or that there is a magnet at the center of the earth and they will believe you (I don't claim the responsibility of some crackpot who actually tries to dig earth to find it out for he would be at the end of the spectrum, but by and large this is true), but ask them not to touch the railing, the paint on it is wet and they will have to touch it to be sure; ask them not to open the mail, and they will do exactly that.Now it isn't your fault, such is human nature...we enjoy doing the's been the like that since ages. Eve was beguiled by the serpent into eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge; she then tempted Adam to eat it.
Cut. Now remember Digen Verma....without even roping a star they managed to create public hysteria around something as insignificant as Frooti which doesn't even interest kids now a days.

There is no better way of creating interest in a thing than by saying it's a secret...just like there is no better way of making sure that your mail is read than by asking not to read it. So the moral of the story cum experiment is that 'forbidding' and 'keeping secret' are two tools we have to play with peoples' emotions and make them do what we want them to do. Agree? Am I sounding like a manager...someone in advertising agency? ;)Sorry for wasting your time; now this is what happens when you don't have anything better to do.