Saturday, February 14, 2009

Placements Vs Economy

The moment I type “Slumdog Millionaire” on one pristine blank document unearthed from the unending repository of Microsoft Works , a corrugated , wavy line appears beneath Slumdog. Spell check error. Right click -> ignore all; only to see all the Slumdogs in the document breathing a sigh of utter relief on being wafted ashore. No. I really do not mean that those red corrugated underlines reminded me of a lake full of parasites. What I try pointing is that land and water are but the only two things left on Earth and being on one of them is but stark inevitable.
2009 is turning out to be the most happening of years that top B Schools are facing . The economy (or rather the lack of it ) on one hand and the campus placements across schools on the other hand. It has already taken a shape of a war.
How long will the time last , we don’t know , but what we do know is that the world is never going to look the same again. Here’s why :
One. An MBA will no more be treated as a short -term -end -realization -shot -in –the- arm. Only those who wants to get educated in the field of management science would plunge into it. Value addition is guaranteed and a return in the long term would be assured.
Two. MBA will stop being a buzzword for most wannabe hip-hops who are so often seen munching burgers and slurping gelatos in the thousand malls carelessly strewn across the city landscape. It would make sense only to the select little who has got grey cells running extra time and really want to do something worthwhile with their lives.
Three. Fields like Research and Development, Engineering Innovation, Traditional Sciences, Literature, Arts and Defense would suddenly start making sense to a good number of people, whose heart lied in the same but ran a risk of getting dislodged by the mega tornado called MBA.
Four , Only those who have it in them to make a ‘business’ leader will take up the MBA. The ones who see themselves turning into another Kalpana Chawla, Stephen Hawkins or George Clooney will continue doing what it takes to reach there. Because all professions will gain a recognition equity .Performance in any field is what is going to be the decider. Be it Design, PhD in Arts , Rocket science or yes, MBA.

In short , we welcome the new world order. But for the time being , am playing a moderate optimist of guessing that we will reach a day when 10% of our batch will have two job offers and the rest - one.
Keeping the fingers crossed in the shape of a “+”.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sangamitra – I : Unmasking the other side of us

Volume One of the annual cultural fest of Great Lakes- Sangamitra was conducted with barrels of spirit and glee. It was an evening long event and served exactly the right mix of songs, dances, cat walks, mimicries, skits, poor jokes and claps.

Some of the preparations begun a little more than seventy two hours before the show and others, a few minutes. The preparatory time passed on a nice break from the otherwise stretched-to-the-elastic-limit schedule that we always carry in our bags. Extracurricular stuff has always been something of an unwinding business and moreover all of us are here at Great Lakes a little because of our past involvements in places apart from books. So when it came down to Sanghamitra , the adrenalin pumps went on full throttle and worked overtime creating a whole new experience among the junta . It was titillating to see people brainstorm ideas other than entrepreneurial ventures or business plans or how-to-keep-sleep-off-for-another-two- hours. Practice and more practice suddenly took centre stage and at that point in time, for a wonderful change, we felt that it was not where we were- attending the evergreen classes and assignments that stuck to our post-its and excel spreadsheets since April the 23rd.


THE day arrived. Venue was Green Meadows Classes were scheduled in the morning so that we could have this done in the evening. By three in the afternoon, all were free and started moving towards the venue. Green Meadows is a resort in Chennai that lives up to its name – with greenery generously sprayed all over the premises. Rolling, well maintained lawns, tall palms, flowers of umpteen kinds chipped in with the refreshing feel that evokes once you are in the lap of nature. One of the central lawns was where the event was to happen. A temporary stage was put up with state of the art sound systems.

Between three and six, the class saw the preparation syndrome taking its peak shape. Guys and girls were scattered all over the place trying their best to give a final shape to their upcoming performance. Animated expressions beamed in from different corners. The dance teams were frantically getting together their respective costumes, some of which were hired. The skit team took on the serene privacy behind the stage in the shade of a few trees to rehearse.

The curtain was raised just after sunset when the anchors took over. Next few hours took all of us in a virtual realm of joy, appreciation and frolic. It was assuring to see Uncle Bala singing a famous Tamil number “Kannae Kalaimaane”.Songs like Roja, Wonderwall, Valai Osai, Pehli Nazar, one of Madonna’s filled the otherwise quiet air with sweet decibels. A number of scintillating dance performances were aptly sprinkled - Asatya, Western Easter, Salsa , Tamil Rockers etc. ; all of them were well rehearsed and made everyone tap their feet to the tunes. A skit depicting the life at Great Lakes was pinned in too - the classroom-goof ups, unquestionable questions, the library-dwellers, a handful that has helped improve the topline of ITC by taking their daily share of filtered cigs. A couple of mimicries and a comedy show entertained the audience. Also an off the trot couple game lightened the mood further. It was nice to see the married batchmates walking the ramp with their spouses. The show had a medley, a lovely touching video on our campus life. On the spot prizes were given out at regular breaks. All in all it was three-DVDs full of fun, dance and a much-needed-break.

Nice job by the Events Team who conceived, thumped a few backs before they put together the show.

Monday, December 18, 2006

On a day off .( i )

The weather was cooler than usual. Summer was probably enjoying a mid term break with the clouds being called for covering the sun from public view. Generally, at this time of the year the mercury of the thermometer would give a gallon of sweat mixed with deodorant vapors from each one; but that day was different. It was only deodorant vapors that were escaping out from every armpit. Well, almost every.
With great effort, equaling that of a bulldozer trying to raze an indolent, cataleptic dinosaur, I pushed open my eyelids paving the way for the daylight to shove in through my iris and into the retinal receptor cells. The night that just ended saw me getting a very deep sleep with dreams that I never remembered. I never felt like getting up, it was a good weather for adding an extra edition of sleep to the normal course. But a hot cup of black coffee did the trick and all the infinitesimal traces of slumber that remained vaporized like the deodorant of the armpits.
It was a holiday. As nothing was preplanned for spending the holiday, a hundred different options were flying past my mind. A few ideas were dropped the moment they struck. Getting my racks cleaned was one of them. Creating a profile in was another. Joining jugglery classes was the third. Quite a few followed into the dustbin.
After many considerations, weighing out options and their permutations, settled down on three. One, go hunt for some chicken tandoori .Two, take a long bike ride and three; do a bit of CD-shopping.
…to be continued.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Before I click on the "publish" icon, somewhere towards the north-west corner of the screen, would like to share a dialogue of a certain man called Ram ‘Rustic’ Jhunjhunwala and yours truly, Suryya ‘Resigned’ Sarkar

Act 1, Scene 1

/ Backdrop: One of the quaint bylanes in Old Panvel which leads straight to the Rupali Magic Multiplex (?). A few drunken lorry drivers are trying to settle a recently started argument about Sachin MRF Tendulkar’s non-performance in 20-20 cricket. A few censored words and phrases infrequently peeping out amidst a generally low toned brawl.

Ram, making a face, that of a pigeon whose eggs have just dropped from a twenty meter tall unidentified tree, through a hole in the nest. Suryya, already present in the scene as another observer .He is primarily intending to get to Rupali Magic to catch the movie D2 in Hindi /

Ram: Hello Dost, How are you? Long time no see.

Me: Hi, I’m fine. How about you? And man, are you not looking quite sad!

Ram: I’m doing pretty well. Making good money in the packaging business. Demand had risen exponentially. But today, I just have been diagnosed with common cold. You are still working with that multinational?What was it, by the way?

Me: Yeah, Am technically still working at the same place. But I’ve resigned a day ago.It's what some taxi drivers ( aka. Schumi-on-25-Tequila shots) of Eastern Calcutta who would proudly call it Bok .

Ram: Oh! Resigned? Why did you do that?

Me: I was seeing images .Day and Night.

Ram: Like what?

Me: Sometimes I would find myself in an unknown deserted land with a few uniformed Zulu tribals of Africa. And suddenly there would be a deafening hiss with me running to figure out what has happened. A huge white monster, about the size of a twenty storied building approaching to make Human-Biryani out of me. I would come to reality with a jerk.

Ram: What else did you see?

Me: Another time, I found myself in a well, with about twenty thousand poisonous female wingless dragons at the bottom of it. I was holding on to a rusted ladder .Going down would mean getting into their intestines .They were fast closing the distance between us. I clambered as fast as I could. But the darkness above did not seem to end. After mounting a few more steps, I touched a hard surface. It was a closed well. Nowhere to run...!!! I woke up breathing hard.
Ram: Come on. You ought to tell me some more of these.

Me: Why? You seem to enjoy the entire thing?
Ram: No ya. I mean those stories are really incredible. Seems like a Fairy tale .I’m liking it. Go on…

Me: There are quite a lot in fact .And it’s hard to remember and narrate all of those Ram. But there’s one. You got to listen to this. It’s in the middle of the night and it’s me standing alone in the desolate streets of a city. I cannot recall which city it was, but it had lots of skyscrapers and neon signs all around. I’m not too sure what I was doing at that time, or why was I standing out when the rest of the entire world was having a sweet nap. A swanky sedan zoomed past me and screeched to a halt a few yards ahead. Getting into reverse gear it stopped just next to me. The door opened and a man, quite of my age stepped out. His face looked familiar. "Suryya?!" he said. "Yes. Are you Pum?" I replied .He happened to be a close buddy of mine, nicknamed Pum with whom I spent the four years in NIT, Trichy. He explained how he’s been doing over the years and all sounded great. Soon afterward the ground below started to shudder violently. It was an earthquake. Two skyscrapers disintegrated within a span of five seconds. The pavement below my feet cracked and all of a sudden I found myself freefalling towards the centre of the earth. The End.
Ram: That’s unbelievable. How often did you see them?

Me: Very often.

Ram: Is that the only reason why you are quitting?

Me: One of the reasons. The other reasons can easily be inferred.

Ram: Hmm. Have you stopped seeing images after resigning?

Me: I guess Ram, I’m getting late. Will catch up with you later. Bye.
Ram: Bye. Good Luck.

***** End of Scene. The lorry drivers seem to have come to some kind of a settlement as the ambience falls silent. Curtain drops.*****

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Clockwork (O!)range

The clock struck four and I knew I had to get up. The night before I had set alarms in six different time-pieces and planted them at strategic locations all across my apartment. The locations were chosen based on certain stringent pre requisites viz.
1. the place had to be uneasily accessible ,meaning it shouldn’t have been placed anywhere within arms length so that once the alarm would break out putting off the alarm would involve getting out of bed .That would act as a killer of residual lethargy so common after half a good night’s sleep.
2. The clocks should not let out sound out into the neighbor’s earshot for fear of fighting a public litigation appeal later on in life. For that, pre remedial measures included calling all the doors, windows and curtains shut.
3. The timepiece should be placed at safe locations considering that the alarms would be put off by a half- dead brain and an equally sluggish set of muscles and assorted bones. Hence placing the clock anywhere near unused nails, flower vases barely resting on their bottoms or naked and live electric wires would only cause unnecessary displeasures.
The alarms on each clock was set at successive intervals of a minute so that by the time five alarms would be put off , I would be completely free of the last traces of sleep and lassitude. It worked.
In such cases of compulsive, cascade attack on sleep, repercussions though less common, but nevertheless cannot be ignored. For instance, one of my buddies whom I met after a break of many long and short years was once applying the same methodology in getting himself up and ready for an early morning flight. It was a series of six alarms. Four of them were set on his own clocks. The remaining two were on clocks permanently borrowed from his friends (now ex-friends). The event chronology was such:
4: 30 – Alarm 1 goes off. It was conveniently put off by him. It was located just overhead so didn’t involve much of an effort or wakefulness.
4:31- Alarm 2 booms: Clock 2 was placed on a pile of clothes below his bed. So shutting that off didn’t engage too much of somnambulating either. He went back to bed immediately after; as if nothing had happened.
4:32 – Alarm 3 rings: A little bit of sleep-walking and he could locate the source and cut the noise. It was at the other corner of his room, next to the shoe boxes. He quickly retired and within less than quarter of a minute rejoined his dream.
4:33 – Alarm 4: It was coming from the window sill in the bathroom. With eyes almost closed and groping hands he could finally manage to spot the timepiece and put it off.
4:33:30 – Alarm 5: Just before he could close his eyes back again the buzz pierced and stuffed in through his ears cutting through the brain cells .He felt the skull would give in and splutter .He toddled to the point of source and in next instant, picked up the gadget, clenched it tight in his right fist and flung it hard on the wall in front. The NOKIA N91 beeped for the last time with a prominent crack on the display screen.
4:34- Alarm 6: The author leaves it to the readers to guess what might have happened then and later.
[Moral of the Story: - All that rings is not an alarm clock]

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Suitable Bai

Uncommon terms used in this title of the blog and the blog thereafter:
1. Bai : origin – unknown .Though believed to have coined by a certain Bombayite (now Mumbaikar) when Tutankhamen – The Egyptian Pharaoh visited India to a discotheque sometime in 1485 BBBC. It signifies one among the millions who specialise in floor-sweeping, laundry, sponge-down and many such essential, otherwise usually taken-for-granted chores necessary for a respectable and hygienic survival. Generally the term is used for some Indian females and that for men or in-betweens is so far unheard of.)

Place: Mumbai - 2004 AD:-

I had just joined the job and had moved into the flat which was taken on lease. A 2BK compact with the necessary furniture in place. But there was a hitch with the wardrobe which was made of timber and belonged to the dinosaur age. All the shelves had a neat layer of wood-dust over them and I thought a cleanup would be enough to get rid of the thing forever .I was wrong, as within days the dust would start collecting again and this time on my clothes. Left with no other option, had to get the whole of the wardrobe minus clothes replaced with a new one.

There were other issues though. After a week got over it struck me that that my stock of shirts, trousers and the unmentionables would soon get over and would desperately need a wash. The floor, the table-tops, and the numerous other exposed surfaces began catching dirt, sand and leftover of dead insects eaten by garden lizards haunting the walls. In college I had learnt to do all the cleaning and washing all by myself and so reckoned why not try this time too? I set to work one fine holiday and it took me a little less than five hours to finish the jobs-
Mix detergent.
Soak clothes.
Sweep floor.
Wipe tables-top, chairs, TV screen, window-panes, kitchen sink.
Brush monitor, speakers, mouse,key .
Puff air.
Rinse already soaked clothes.
Rinse again.
Remove sweat from forehead.
Mop floors.
Hang clothes for drying.
Fall flat on the bed.
I woke after twelve and half hours.

What I had missed was that in college the room was cellar-sized and anything more than two puppies would face a severe space-crunch. And here I was dealing with a 2BK dwelling. Let alone the washroom and restroom. Then one set of jeans would last for two fortnights without any wash and now a little blotch on the shirt or the trouser would be adequate to hinder any further odds of a climb up the clichéd corporate ladder. This meant laundry visits more often.

Inquiries of a desperate mind followed and within little less than a jiffy I struck gold with zero impurity. There were women in Bombay collectively named the Bais who would take care of the entire housekeeping activities regularly and leave the house in refulgence galore. For a moment I reckoned that my misery and tribulations were over. But I was horribly wrong.

Shanti-Bai was hired. She was called Shanti-mausi for operational smoothness as in olden days bai was also used to suffix unscrupulous ,sleazy girls.( Just to digress a bit- In those days when video–recording appeared only in popular science-fiction books, and actors were seen only in plays on stages ,guess how forbidden scenes were censored. Was it by pulling the curtain for the required time or switching off the lights?)Fixed for three days a week, the work got underway. Things were running fine when week number two drew closer and it just happened that my eyes spotted a few coarse areas on two of my favorite shirts. I was sure they were not there at any point in time before the bai came into my life. A bit of interrogation revealed the truth. Instead of the fine-fabric liquid detergent, she had used the conventional hardliner soda-laded one and moreover used a utensil scrubber to scour off dirt from the clothes. She was fired and that marked the end of Shanty-bai.

Soon another was employed as I had no intention to carry on with the work by myself. Her name was Tulsi. And it seemed, just to remind her name to the planet around she made it a point to wear only dark green on Mondays, sea green on Tuesdays, Bottle green on Weds, Emerald green… and the so on. That was just the beginning. Once I noticed her little son wearing a green trouser with a similar colored T. What the color of her husband’s towel would be was far too obvious. And the exhaust fumes out off the chimney of her home could easily be passed off as Green-house emission .She set to work. A month passed. Once when I returned from office, and went into the apartment, discovered an unusually disarranged house, and sniffed something was wrong. A silver plate, which was kept as a souvenir, was missing. It did not require the likes of Sherlock Holmes to find out who had dunnit Before going to work, I used to leave the keys to my door with the neighbour.Tulsi, the bai would collect it, get in, do the cleaning and move out .Until that day , when she decided to flick a few things too before she delivered the keys back to my neighbor and slinked away. By now the plate would have already been recast into a necklace.Tulsi was never seen again. A police complaint was lodged but it was soon lost under a heap of files. Soon I lost track of the past and carried on with blogging along with other money making exercises like engineering in the corpodom.
The third was hired after a longish gap as I wanted to ensure that this time things should not go wrong. A bit of homework, I thought would be worthwhile and so went on a feedback gathering mode from my neighborhood. Finally settled on a veteran, who had been in this business for the past 32 years and could anyday start bai-consultancy services (BCS) of her own. A bit expensive she was when compared to the rest of the sisterhood but I had enough of it and was ready to shell out some extra dinars without any disgust or tight-fist. When the third month passed and the day when I handed her the fees, she demanded a hike of fifty percent citing rising fuel prices and inflation as reason. But, it had been only three months, I argued, but she seemed not to budge and offered to quit if I would not acknowledge the hike. After an endless haggling, the deal was settled with a thirty percent raise from next month. Another month later she demanded an equal raise.
With a hard-made polite face I asked her to leave, which she did.
That was the last time I said “Good-bai”


Monday, May 08, 2006

Zenophobic Jeev

One of my colleagues, whom I’ll take the liberty to call Jeev(name changed). I’ll not venture out to reveal it for security reasons that would become clearer, apparent and fundamentally reasonable as you stroll through whatever follows this sentence.
The non-software private sector companies in this part of the earth, one where Jeev and I work has an average age of thirty two and a quarter, unlike it’s public sector counterparts for whom it’s fifty nine yrs and 364 days and 23 hrs and … (Thanks to the culture out there which would make Ruby Goldberg to Ruby yawn yawn Oldberg. But that’s another story).
Jeev is one of those few Indian men with Dravidian origins who could be sent to WWE without any prior training or weightlifting or sausage-gobbling and still one could fearlessly put his entire inherited treasure to bet on him when he’s is playing Shawn Michaels, fresh from a heavy lunch on a Thursday afternoon. Most of the push back –retractable chairs in our office had to be sent to the city municipal scrap yard within seven hours of procurement from their manufacturers and distributors. Thanks to the one hundred and thirty six kgs of uncooked bones, flesh, pancreas etc. which Jeev was made up of. Any ordinary plywood seating accessory would turn into a nuclear-wreck as soon as it would be graced with Jeev’s posterior bulbous mass. His manager once ordered a custom made sitting arrangement especially for Jeev’s needs and the safety of the other ‘ordinary’ chairs. It was made from duralumin alloy for extra support and topped with foam for a painless sitting experience. Jeev was moved by this act of concern and since then never thought of floating his resume to the job-consultants in Thuvakudi, Eden Gardens or anywhere else.
Jeev has different tastes when compared to most of his sane colleagues, including me. He was the only one among the ever-growing number of bikers (especially after the Bollywood flick called Dhoom) who bought a LML Graptor. It’s another issue that the manufacturer had soon after stopped production of the bike following customers complaining about their girlfriends falling off from the speeding bikes owing to intimidating noises from the suspension system. Now two of the Graptors can be spotted at the Auto Museum in Helsinki. The rest can be found at the aforementioned city municipal scrap yard except for one which rests with Jeev’s garage.
Jeev develops attachments with anything he buys, and sometimes it costs him a few thousands. Like once, in his school days when he refused to give away the chewing gum which he had been chomping for the past fourteen hours. And went to bed chewing it only to find a hard, acrylic, unwanted piece of gum stuck to the expensive velvet bed-linen next morning. The linen was thereafter used for cleaning the family car with a quick replacement in place.
Last year he got a Maruti Suzuki –Zen at it’s maximum retail price after believing whatever spilled out of the promos and advertisements. Primarily it was because of the fuel efficiency which was lusty enough for him to make a dive into his bank account and make the purchase. He was an avid driver and had even test -driven his friend’s Volvo made Bus. But that was with a Light Motor Vehicles License which he had obtained before he even knew where the steering wheel in a car was placed. Bribes had come to his rescue then. He had dreams of becoming an F1 driver once but with passage of time he realized that there are no custom made F1 cars for 140 kgs human-looking monsters in the circuit yet. He changed his mind and decided to become an Electrical Engineer instead.

For the first few days we had to hear epics of incoherent information about his car, especially during lunch time when he made it a point to raise the topic and continue it till the office dispersed at 18.30 hours. It included everything from the color which he bragged that could have been taken for authentic platinum in bright sunshine to the horn which he claimed made a certain Gurbinder Singh, his neighbor, mistake for Radio 93.5 FM. But all this trumpet- beating, Zen-worshipping, and car-washing lasted for a smattering of a time.
Once he was speeding (mind you he was an aspirant F1 driver at one point in time) past the Mumbai Pune expressway at 130 kilometers an hour. He would have pushed the accelerator more but the engine would splutter, spit, gasp and thud. About FIVE HUNDRED meters ahead, a stray underfed cow was crossing the road with apparently no visible purpose and was appearing to make only half an attempt to even plod. The next few milliseconds were jammed with reflexes, some which came with experience and the rest, momentary gain of smartness. Jeev released the accelerator, clogged the brakes with too many megawatts of power and waited to see what would follow. He was yanked from the seat and would have smashed against the windshield but for the seat belt wrapped around him which did not give away. The cow was safe and gave a blank look more than that of Schumi’s face after the failure at Monaco Grand Prix.The hood of the Zen hit and had shattered onto the divider.
Seven days later Jeev bought a new Indica Xeta for reasons untold. But I guess it was too much for him to be taken as a “dumb” (Courtesy: Catchphrase from Tata Indica Xeta TV ads).

Today his Zen can be spotted at the city municipal scrap yard.

[P.S. This was an intended fairy tale and all characters excluding myself, the Graptor ,the Zen and the Xeta are purely a result of imagination gone irreversibly wild]