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Archive for November, 2005

Madrasle Sale mela

26 November 2005 4 comments

After reading about the holiday sales news here and here, I can only think it is not that different from what we do here. Of all the discount sales we went in college, the midnight sales in Jeans Park at Mount Road was a memorable one. It was their anniversary or some such thing. The offer went like this: 15% discount during regular hours – upto 10pm, 20-40% between 10 and 12 midnight and 50% and above beyond midnight. More importantly, it was for one day only. But such info spreads fast in a hostel. So it was a few of us including Lingesh who managed to scramble onto bikes own and borrowed to be on Mount Road. Any road after 12 is a pleasant and a peaceful sight. So was Mount Road. I love the route to Mount Road from CEG through Kotturpuram and Cenotaph Road (I love this name) for no reason.  You see the big house of SPIC, the Adyar Boat Club and the Dhaba Express on the way. Reaching there, we find a good crowd already in their first round of shopping. We were happily teasing each other and ogling at the few girls who had ventured out for their discount purchases. I picked up a Buffalo classic blue at 400 off 50%, the 30waist thing. No trials allowed, but still we had our pick. Those were college days and I restricted my purchase to just that jean. It served me faithfully for quite a few years and I started liking it, so much for materialism.

How will I forget my first sales at the plaza opposite Abirami Theatre in Purasawalkam, another shoppers’ delight? I got a multi-colour blue(?) Tshirt saying Tommy Hilfiger. I loved the Tommy Tommy doggy name, little knowing it to to be the famous fashion brand it is. I still wear it, almost 8 years after I first bought it. When they opened a store in Forum, Bangalore and I saw the prices they fix in their dresses, I am sure the one I got has to be fake, having retailed at 200. Fake or not, as long as I get good stuff, I am okay.

How can I forget TNagar, the original shoppers’ paradise with its Saravana Stores the biggest discount store? There was this rumour that 10rupee meals would be a reality sooner though I don’t know if they came around to giving it. There is this cassette shop at the corner of Renganathan Street, where we used to get our Ilayaraja songs. The shop was a treasure trove of all songs. Now, it must be all CDs, MP3s and DVDs. Just after the Saidapet bridge, we had a shop of Megamart, my first seconds shop experience. That was close and we would cycle past RajBhavan, the MTC bus depot and the bridge! Oh, Madras, I cannot wait to be back. So many things to do 🙂

Categories: College

Term 1 Grades

25 November 2005 7 comments

Finally, here are my marks. Our maximum grade points are 4.33.

Course Credits My Grade Points My Grade
Management Theories of Organisation 4 2.9660 B
Microeconomics 4 2.7667 B
Managerial Oral Communication 4 3.0330 B
Human Behaviour at Work 4 2.9170 B
Quantitative Techniques 4 3.4500 B
Managerial Accounting Control 4 2.4710 C
Managerial Written Communication 2 2.8500 B
Computing Tools 2 3.9000 A
Total 28 2.9969 B

I am agonisingly close to the 3 mark, just like the 8 mark in Guindy. I am no more worried about my rank. I am Mr. Average himself.

Update: Our Oral Communication grades have been revised and I have 3.1 now, revising my term I grade to 3.0065. Wow!

Categories: Bschool

Manjunath murdered

22 November 2005 1 comment

Integrity has a high value attached to it. I just want to let all of you hear this. Standing upto corruption and paying for it with your life is a brave thing. Two years ago, it was Satyendra Dubey, an IIT alumnus, who was killed by gunmen for corruption in the Golden Quadrilateral. Now it is Manjunath, an IIML alumnus, a sales manager with IOC. Express as always carries the following story and Gaurav has an obituary. You have shown extraordinary courage. May your souls rest in peace and teach a few lessons in values to all of us!

Categories: Uncategorized

Chennaile oru summer process

18 November 2005 6 comments

Interviews are an interesting exercise, if I am on the other side. Questions are fun to ask, especially if they are broad as posed to management students. Group discussions are also fun, provided you can think and talk on your feet(walking is passe). It has been twenty days since our summer placements started and we have strict reminders not to divulge anything about them to the outside world, read beyond the campus. First things first. After hearing stories, my inner mind feels most summer jobs are time-pass months though a foreign internship meant so much and we don’t have any. I am a stupid long-timer and two months is too less for me to make an impact, much less cause a ripple. Also, there was this fear that experienced folks have it tough. Here I report my experience, leaving some things to your intelligent minds.

The placement committee calls it the ‘process’. Day 0. A dream FMCG major for all wannabe MBAs. I learnt that college academics matter for placements. I had marked myself not to be in the top 10%, top 20% and top 30%. Day 1. Just two shortlists. Freshers and good students are easily preferred. My first GD was with the ‘brotherly’ company, which has recently started recruting MBAs from the top schools. For a change, they let the group chose the topic. Inspite of they having given us a choice, I didn’t let them know I am not very comfortable with the chosen field, movies. I did not speak much that my neighbour almost prompted me during the discussion. My first interview with the top paying company on campus. A feel good interview. I felt confident walking out, though I could have done better. But so does every one else. How’ll they select us if every one feels confident? A serious question. I doubt my preparations. Day 2. I know I didn’t make it yesterday because they whisper in your ears if you are OUT of the process. An extra couple of shortlists. The baby soap question interview extends for half an hour where I wonder how I will fit into marketing, confuse my goals with the choice of projects and ramble along nicely with the gentleman. I must rehearse my choice of internship disciplines (marketing or operations or HR or finance). In any case, no financial services concern is concerned about me given my old age and financially challenged resume. My group discussions go from okay to worse. I hate them. Am I analytically or orally challenged? I am lucky to be selected in one. But the interview is horrible. I reveal that I am a skeptic and I cannot justify it. Our normal routine is disturbed. The end of the day reveals the list of people who are OUT. I am still IN. Day 3,4. Similar story. One company decides it shall offer HR projects and have direct interviews. I am disappointed with not a single interview for the day so I want to take up how much I remember of our behavioural courses. It looks like I am IN for a long time. How am I to develop an interest for marketing when I cannot even market myself? More than half the internships are for marketing!

The second stage of the ‘process’ is called rolling. This year, placements have had a dream time on every campus. I don’t bother about the process as I believe it is their headache and not mine (how sad). I could see some students pretty depressed and shedding tears over such an insignificant (for me) event. I knew it is only a matter of time. Though I wish it does not happen this way, I never felt confident after any interview or discussion. If I were them, I would not select me. Simple. Maybe, I still think of the days when I did the interviewing and the skills we expected of a geek are different from those of a manager (any four-letter words?) We roll randomly. One interview with an Indian consulting firm. I am asked a Mckinsey-type question – estimating the market potential for gents’ shoes in India. The devil is in the details. One discussion about retail in India. It is imperative that I speak more clearly and am able to convince the others too. More than 10 days! One more telephonic interview. I find myself telling them my plus points are my analytical skills (pray, I have to find what that means). They talk about a particular technology project towards the end, planting faint hopes in my feverish heart. But this does not really mean anything. I am guilty of inducing false hopes in the interviews I have conducted. Again I would not have selected myself. I did so bad. After three days, my neighbours congratulate me that I am OUT of the process. I won’t ever understand how I get selected. More importantly, the internship is at Madras, one of the IN cities for the next two decades. I call up Abi, who is happy that I shall be IN time for Madhu’s fiirst mottai on her mama madi. Here is the news, April and May in Madras.

Categories: Bschool

College festival blues

13 November 2005 3 comments

I have not been a big fan of college festivals for all I know. In my first year at Guindy, I had locked out my hostel room one night and slept inside peacefully in case the seniors send you on stupid tasks. Our department festival meant holidays for a few of us and off we packed our bags to our hometown. But our seniors came to know of this and were vigilant at the gates to spoil the plans of one of our classmates. Knowing this, a couple of us slipped through the back gates near the Adyar river Saidapet bridge and happily escaped to our liberation. Boy, it was thrilling. This was the case in three of the four years. My college festival Techofes meant dancing to the “Chalaku Chalaku” song, which we called it our college song. Saarang was a class apart and I enthusiastically saw it once. It’s not that I don’t like these festivals. But my enthusiasm is not so high for these indoor things. Maybe, I saw more of the MIT festivals because K would force me to when I go there during that time. In short, I hardly participated in any of these college festivals, ours or otherwise.

Management festivals are in a different league, given the big budgets, the bigger crowds, the corporates’ love to sponsor and the plenty of time folks get in Year 2. I was peacefully doing nothing initially. One fine day, the devil whispered in my ears that I am doing nothing and made me feel guilty. Off I shot a mail to the coordinators begging them to give me work. They considered my earnest application and assigned me to the Back Office. I didn’t have a clue on what Back Office does. So I called myself the Executive Board Member, Back Office since I was losing nothing. Guys in Bschools have a wrong sense of timing and called for a meeting at 1.30am with the notice coming at 10.40pm. Whenever I am in the mood, I stop checking my mails after 10.30pm so that I can happily sleep and not be disturbed with the mundane affairs of the world. The guys bang my door at 1.30am hoping to get me out. They probably don’t know that it is impossible to wake up a person who pretends to be asleep. I twist and turn in my beds cursing them silently till they stop the noise and am back to my pretensions.

Our back office schedule comes soon and I find that it is a boring drudgery of supplying resources (no human, how sad) to the events. I take my copy of Tis, the sequel to Angela’s Ashes which I liked so much. The event organisers don’t let me peacefully read it and my pace drops miserably. I stay for a whopping 5 hours at a stretch, ogling at the other college girls and pretending to do some work. The next day I am at my desk by 8.30 am. The day gets better and I man the merchandising counter to hand special Tshirts and bags. Here I interact directly with the participants (that’s the way these BIG girls are respectfully addressed.) I hardly participate in the exciting events that are happening. If I had been in charge of the participants, I would have got a chance to see the airport or Ujjain and escort some of these tired souls. Every guest compliments the hospitality. After all, some of us are also experiencing it as we share rooms ourselves during these four days.

I find Mansur, an acquaintance at Bangalore, now in A for our flagship event in one of the hostel rooms and speak to him. He is very clear about what he wants to do after his MBA, how nice. I participate in the individual quiz and get knocked out rudely in the prelims. I finish Tis the third day, as I watch live on Cricinfo Ind thrashing SL.  Consistency rules, this time though with the Indians on the winning side and this makes cricket boring too. I ask the best football player here the one thing he liked most about the fest. He does not have a choice. I reply wickedly it is the four days of leave we get. Soon I walk upto the finals of our flagship event with four guys including Mansur in the last round. The three-judge panel asks very interesting questions and I am excited out of my depth. One professor, who was in my interview panel last Feb, asked the guys to choose between an incompetent asset and a competent liability, success and significance, ambiguity and uncertainty, the fear of failure and the fear of being nobody, conception before perception and perception before conception, a dilemma and a paradox, rigidly flexible and flexibly rigid, consistently inconsistent and inconsistently consistent, being absolutist and being relativist, aspiration and desperation, and knowledge, experience and passion. Pure word play is what management teaches you. I am secretly happy that this guy selected me. Mansur and another guy are clear in what they wanted to do. As if to say, the whole world lets way for the guy who knows where he wants to go, Mansur deservedly walked away with the honours and a prize of one-lakh. I keep wondering if I will ever know what I wanna do in life…

Categories: Bschool

Parenting!

8 November 2005 1 comment

It sounds like another sober post. But, isn’t any sociable human being fascinated by the art/science of parenting? Every one has experienced parenting. This best-seller has a chapter on what makes a perfect parent. The author talks about obsessive parenting and wonders if parents shape children, as has been told us from times immemorial. He mentions that parenting experts contradict each other very well.

My appa and amma have not been so demanding of me, though I wish they were more communicative. We are all preservers of the silence. But I always am overwhelmed by my appa’s only wish that I do well. This selfless desire of seeing your child develop and reach greater heights is a thing I would cherish forever. Early at school, SHE felt her mom always wanted her to get no rank than the first one. Another of my friends’ mom insisted he does not get a lower rank than their neighbour who stayed in the opposite house. Another friend’s mom felt that friends hindered him from studying well. The best-seller also states that peers influence a person more than her parents. Why so much fuss?

I have also felt in high school that I should let my child grow this way. I would like to make sure he learns to swim by 5, play, read and develop into a well-rounded personality than a uni-dimensional grade-oriented theorist the school systems produce here. It is fascinating that along with the dreams of how my girl should be also come the thoughts of how I should care for my child. In college, I came upon Aruna Raghavan’s columns in the Sunday Express and have been terribly impressed by her insights. She comes from one of the best schools in Madras, PSBB if I am not wrong. Abi’s having a great time observing Madhu grow up. Abi has been reading a guide to parenting. On my advice, Abi also ordered “Your child can be a genius” written by Aruna Raghavan and published by Indian Express. She also liked the book. I am yet to see the book, but I am sure I will need it one day. Let’s see what happens then 🙂

Categories: Family

Those engineering days

3 November 2005 5 comments

Books are great company when you have continuous classes. No Sundays, no Deepavali. This week, I had “The IITians” and “Tuesdays with Morrie” to supplement the lectures. Both were quick reads. Sandipan Deb, the editor of Outlook Money and an alumnus of IIT, Kharagpur, writes the former. You can find an extract here. It is about the success of the IITs, talks about brain drain and how the IITs have changed the image of Indians single-handedly. IITians are the pride of the nation and I envy any IITian unthinkingly.

Sandipan starts with describing the fierce competition that takes place before entering the hallowed portals of the institute and ponders over the mushrooming coaching cities like Kota and many Andhra towns. Experiences of successful IIT alumni (mostly in the US) like Rajat Gupta, Saurabh Srivastava, Nandan Nilekani and former IIT directors like Prof. P.V. Indiresan are featured in the first half. One calls the IITs the Indian Institutes of Education. Many feel that the learning outside the class is the most precious of all the experiences. The passion they develop and the camraderie they share are life-changing. It is interesting to note that the 5.5 to 7.5 pointers are the ones who have usually made it big in life. But all these successful ones balanced academics and other activities very well. For instance, Nandan’s batch started the famous Mood Indigo festival of IIT Bombay. Also featured in the book are the reasons behind why these brilliant students from the highly subsidised institutes quit technology and pursue a wide range of careers, just like the author himself.

He also writes about the weirdos, the well-fought inter-hostel games and literary events, the few females that end up in these elite institutions, the attention they get (he ended up marrying his junior), the failures that can’t stand the stress early, the not-so-famous IITians who have contributed in their own little ways and the differences among the students that make up a great life. He talks about the new rules that force you not to have loud music by 10pm and return to campus by 9pm,… Censorship is definitely the order of the day prevailing in a lot of educational institutions. He even wonders if the jealous teachers, by these gestures, seem to say that in campus, they are the all-powerful authorities. The anecdotes he shares make for interesting reading. He concludes that the most important thing an IITian is the confidence that he can do anything once he completes his course successfully and the total loss of fear he gains(sic). Any engineering student could relate a lot to the events described. I was magically transported to those wonder days of engineering, where my confusion started. I liked the book a lot. It sums up everything about life before, in and after an engineering college.

The other book, Tuesdays with Morrie, is a nice book focusing on the key things in life like love, friends, family, marriage, … proudly proclaiming itself to be Life’s Greatest Lesson. After Sophie’s World, no philosophical book has made a profound effect on me. Americans love books which profess to be true tales of wisdom, talk about love and care. Indians are slowing moving to this genre. “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live” is the adage of the dying teacher. My neighbour had brought it to class and told me it was a gift from her sister. For most people, this would be an excellent book. But, when you have met Sophie, your standards for such books goes up and so this just gets a so-so rating. You also will definitely appreciate life better.

 PS: I await one of my grades for the last term. Once that is out, I shall put my progress card for the last month.

Categories: Books