Friday, December 28, 2012

Life of ∏

  I am ∏, and yes, this is my story. I was born to Mr. Circumference and Ms. Diameter, who unfortunately had to part ways and divide before my birth. Please pardon me for being unable to recollect my exact year of birth. I’ve grown old. Yesterday, left me stumped by asking me my Googolth digit. Seriously, I do not remember beyond a million now. I answered ‘7’ and got away with it just because even he didn’t have a clue. I then gave him a small problem of summing up my first 100 digits. I tell you, this is very good at summations. Within no time he came up with the right answer. In the meantime, sultry e had walked towards us. You know how much I used to like her, no? People always accused me of being irrational, but then if I was irrational, so was e. You know how I never gave up on her… until that scoundrel Natural Log came along. From the very moment that he first stood beside her, they became 1. Recently there’ve been rumours that the unity isn’t what it used to be, and e wants out. It’s also been alleged that e is seeing another man by the name Log 10, who, people say owns 2.303 times as much as Natural Log does. Anyway, e invited us to her birthday party. She also said that she was in talks with rockstar ψ to perform on her birthday. Apparently, he is friends with a friend of hers. Not only did he agree to perform, but he even agreed to charge 1.618 Cr instead of his usual 2.618 Cr for the performance. We were elated and said it would indeed be an honour to be on the guest list.
But then life’s not always this fair no? We had barely uttered thanks when the bully brothers, α, β and γ, made themselves visible. They had overheard our conversation and were now pestering e to invite them to her birthday too. Poor e had to relent. I felt bad for her. At the same time, I had this enormous urge to knock their teeth off. You know na these were the guys who nicknamed me 22/7? Terrible, terrible name. Not only is it inaccurate, but it also gives people the impression that like the so called rational ones, even I possess a split personality. P/Q, they call it. I swear to God that if I have my way, I’ll first take out this γ guy. I know that he’s a third as potent as α and half as potent as β. Then I’ll take out β, and then, this stupid α. You know na what this α thinks of himself? He says the whole world belongs to him. He even calls it by a stupid name, the Alphabet. In order to avoid confrontation, though, I left.

Just when I thought my day couldn’t get any worse, I bumped into iota on my way back home. I hope you know all about iota. He’s the biggest liar the Alphabet... er the world, has ever seen. In fact there isn’t an iota of a real side to him. He narrated one of these imagined stories of his. Apparently, he tried to broker a peace between e and her x husband (Natural Log). No matter how much he tried to integrate ex, he couldn’t succeed. e and x share a strange relationship, he says. Apparently, Log10 has tried to create misunderstandings and differentiations in ex. He hasn’t been successful so far, he concludes. Iota also reports having witnessed improvement in the behaviour of his cousin, δ, even since he was convicted for felony. But he says the change is too small and that δ will have to wait a while till he can apply for a parole. Frankly, I feel iota is full of gas and his level usually exceeds the standard of 8.314 units per second set by R. That is why I do not believe a word of what he says.

Very eventful day that. Met a lot of people, a few good ones, a few not-so-good ones. For now though, all I can think of is e’s party and ψ’s performance. I just hope he performs the Golden-um song. I also look forward to meeting e again at her party. There is always this constant trouble which arises when people try to broker peace and integrate e and her x. I hope I am this constant this time. For that I’ll need to be sure that integration efforts do take place. Definite integration is required.  I hope it does happen. Oh Lord! The tension! Definite Integration, Lord! I can’t afford to C this anymore.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cleanliness is Godliness

17. 17 days have gone by since the cheta who cleans my dorm room last showed up. I remember his face. Vividly. Mid 40's, balding and spectacled. Of all the looks, his was an intellectual's. Had it not been for the broomstick in his right hand, I'm sure I would have confused him for some local guardian of a local student.
So he entered my room and, like always, got on with the work. First up was the balcony, then the hall and finally the bathroom. Cleaning the room of two 20 something men is no easy task. First, there are these hairs lying all over. Uniformly. Unlike girls', ours are the smaller, thinner and loner kind. You'd hardly see them in strands. Spotting them and mopping them up is, therefore, very difficult. Then there are these empty soft-drinks bottles, bigger and longer, but irksome all the same. Others include rolled newspapers, umpteen pairs of socks, paper cups, stationery and other stationary floor-dwellers.
Cheta, though, never complains. Part and parcel of the job, I suppose. 20 minutes and he was out. My room, new as ever. He made his usual paramilitary salute, bowed and left.
I haven't seen him since.
17 days! I can see these dense spider webs around every empty cola bottle positioned underneath my table. Sometimes I see spiders feed on the remnants of pepsin inside these bottles. I suspect a pepsin overdose might alter their DNA. What will happen if they bite me while I'm asleep. Will I become Spider-man?
Even the fan blades are in desperate need of a fairness cream. Whenever the cries become too loud, I switch it on. It comes at the small price of spending the entire night awake, shivering.
And then there is this tiffin box lying under the wash basin. I remember ordering Butter Chicken one day. Or was it Pepper Chicken? Confused. The remains can still be found in the tiffin, though. Had it not been for my hypersensitive nostrils I would've surely confirmed and cleared the air. Clearing the air, yes, that's what this is about.
Finally, the bathroom. Three days ago, I saw my footprint in the bathroom, right underneath the shower. It was still there this morning. I swear to God that I take a bath everyday. Yes, yes, in the same bathroom. Yes, yes, under the same shower.

You know the problem now. So if you happen to pass by my cheta, please inform him that I miss him very much and that his services are urgently required. For cleanliness is Godliness and the guy who cleans the room, is God.
Merry Christmas!

Room No. 225, Hostel L2

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oops I did it again!

He was an innocuous old friend on his first foreign trip. France it was. Italy maybe. Not that it matters though. The thing is you can't simply keep posting two photographs a day, seven days a week. I understand his excitement at being able to redeem the services of his passport. I also understand the thrill he would have experienced standing right underneath the chandelier of some museum in Paris, Rome maybe, having read about in it Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code maybe. But then you don't post daily photographs on Facebook unless you are a very pretty girl, any girl maybe, or an original creator of memes.
And so I unsubscribed from him.
Had I been keeping count, he might well have been the 17th 'friend' I would have unsubscribed from in the past month. But then I have better things to do that maintaining counters for such trivial issues. So, for the records sake, I unsubscribed from 10-odd Facebook friends over the past week, he being the last.
It is indeed very difficult to spend half your day on Facebook without pestering others. I presume none of the dwellers of the maddening madhouse does that on purpose. Facebook, however, arms the most innocuous and unsuspecting of people with the most sophisticated of weapons, thereby making them lethal assassins who feast on the precious time of fellow dwellers, which otherwise could've been well spent on stalking the profiles of girls on your roommate's best friend's sister's friend list.
My expatriate friend, though, is perhaps in pretty good company. It was only last week that I made a pretty girl disappear from my news feed. You might say that her was a trivial error, a classic rookie mistake. After all, there're always these people in our friend list who discover these ingenious quotations on Google and happily post them as their 'status' updates. This isn't the bad part. This is the worse part. The worst part is when you discover these people have 30 other friends who, like them, find these 'inspirational quotes', discovered by science-kind in the early 20th century, and by you in the early 21st century, really funny and thought provoking. Well, handling one such friend isn't an issue. But 30 likes for an outdated rotten surrogate thought are 30 likes too many.
And then there was this girl who used to keep things to herself, never meddle in others affairs, never like too many photos, never really comment on too many wall posts... just the way things should be. Then one fine day she discovered these Fortune Cookies and started distributing these to her friends. I couldn't let anyone test my loyalty towards Britannia. I remember mumbling an inchoate apology as the cursor hovered over the unsubscribe button.
I think she was destined to meet this other friend of mine in the spambox of my Facebook account. This was a very special friend. It's almost revolting to feel that he actually possessed wit at some time in time during the years gone by. When I spammed him, I guess it was safe to say that his best days were well behind him. Which rational person would use a hashtag in every sentence of his? #idontknowhypeopleusehashtagsonfacebookinthefirstplace
And finally there was this lad who mistook Facebook for a GPS front end and started posting the tiniest details of his remotest whereabouts. His GPS Log read Cafe Coffee Day at the Bangalore Airport->high tea at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport->lunch at Nirula's at Indira Gandhi International Airport and Chhole Bahthure at a Rediwala in Khan Market. I sometimes regret unsubscribing from him at the wrong time. I might very well have been able to track the number of times he checked in to his loo at his place in Janak Puri and based on the frequency and duration of his stays, been able to do a prognosis and implicate one of the four locations where he had his meals for the crimes it committed on his digestive system.
Alas, that was not to be. And this, my friends, is the reason why I do not take Hippocratic Oaths.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The K Files: Facts about B-School Seminars

Having attended quite a few over the course of the past 4 months, this is what I’ve actually learned from the seminars:

  • The microphones never work.
  • No matter how late you come, the first two rows are always vacant.
  • The first to come occupy the last row, but since the first two rows remain vacant, are forced to move to the front.
  • The introduction speech of the speaker by the organizer is invariably the contents of his LinkedIn page interspersed with ‘a’,’and’,’the’ and ’he’.
  • No speaker knows how to operate the Slide Changer Remote.
  • As the speaker browses through his file system to search for the ppt, all attendees follow the mouse’s motion on the screen as if it’s the most interesting thing in the world.
  • No matter how many times the speaker says the word 'interactive', the communication flow is always one way.
  • The more the times the speaker utters the word 'interactive', the boring it is.
  • The most interactive seminars happen when you're sitting in the front row.
  • At least once during the seminar, the speaker would use ‘alumni’ in place of ‘alumnus’, or ‘alumnus’ in place of ‘alumna’.
  • The person sitting next to you is always the one asking the most questions.
  • There’s always a couple sitting in the corner that waits for the seminar to start.
    And the lights to dim.
  • Out of 300 people, the randomly selected person to answer an Einsteinesqe question is always you.
  • During a seminar, on an average, three phones rings and thrice as many fall on the floor.
  • The maximum time between two consecutive questions asked to the speaker is always the one between the 0th and the 1st question.
  • The speaker always says ‘no question is silly’.
  • Without exception, all questions asked are silly.
  • Without exception, all answers by the speakers are answers to some other questions not asked by the questioner. 
  • If the speaker says, “I’ll take this question offline”, it actually means, “How the fuck can you ask this publicly?”
  • If the speaker says, “I’ll get back to you on this”, it actually means, “I don’t know”.
  • If the speaker says, “You can mail me the remaining quesitons”, it actually means, “Kiss my ass”.
  • In each seminar, there’s always an obnoxious person who asks a question after the scheduled end of the seminar.
  • Your girlfriend, mother, father and siblings all decide to check upon your status during these two hours.
  • The most (and only) important section of the seminar is delivered when you’re half asleep.
  • You are forced to laugh at the poorest of jokes of the speaker as the person next to you, like the person next to him, and likewise, are all laughing.
  • No matter how boring the seminar is, the organizer, in his concluding speech would thank the speaker for the ‘lively’ and ‘interactive’ session.
  • The claps at the end of the session are always sarcastic.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The K Files: The 'Committee'ment

A few committees' names have been willfully omitted. The author is fully aware of their existence and activities. He just can't remember their names. 
The following might well be seen as a display of the author's frustration at not being selected for any of the  committees.

Students' Council
What it does: Organizes an annual booze party where alleged couples get drunk and allegedly puke in each others mouths while kissing
What it does not do: Hehe! They do everything, and that includes undo
Why should I join Students' Council? I want girls to see me as a quintessential jack-of-all-trades who has fifteen hundred friends on Facebook

Placement Committee
What it does: Threatens to put your counterfeit signatures on the 'I voluntary opt-out of the placement process because my father's name is Steve Ballmer' letter since you turned up at McKinsey's pre-placement talk with your mustache half a millimeter longer than the prescribed limit
What it does not do: Live and let live
Why should I join Placement Committee? Hehe! The answer is a no-brainer: I am a no-brainer

Cultural Committee
What it does: Keeps a watch on occasions when men wear Kurtas and women, Sarees and they all  make Rangolis and take a lot of photographs
What it does not do: Work when the photographers are away
Why should I join Cultural Committee? I want to showcase my skills at (posing with) the guitar

Backwaters Committee
What it does: Organizes Backwaters, the annual Management fest; a strategy to print more and more t-shirts, most of which are shipped back home, while the others are worn on a use-and-throw basis on every Monday till the next year's fest
What it does not do: Print enough XL and XXL size t-shirts
Why should I join Backwaters Committee? It has the most members. Free-riding time!

Industry Interaction Cell
What it does: Invites Ashish Nehras to advice budding batsmen on how to improve their footwork
What it does not do: Provide certificates (of excellence from Munaf Patel School of Fielding at Gully)
Why should I join Industry Interaction Cell? Damn the Placement committee for not selecting me! I will now eat into their market share.

Alumni Committee
What it does: Pesters the alumni
What it does not do: Provide butter-chicken at Sangam, the annual alumni get-together
Why should I join Alumni Committee? To extract useful information like details about previous years' end-term question papers, right from the horses' mouths

Media Cell
What it does: Supplies newspapers to dorm rooms
What it does not do: Supply the above in time and on time
Why should I join Media Cell? I get a feeling of immense pride when I see my Director's article on the the 11th page of Economic Times, right beneath Arindam Chaudhary's life size photograph.

Sports Committee
What it does: An offshoot of Placement Committee, it lures Sports Management firm to come for recruitment
What it does not do: Purchase strikers and queens for the carrom boards kept in the common room
Why should I join Sports Committee? I'll get to eat at McDonalds' when I go to Bangalore for the inter-IIM sports meet. 

Social Services Group
What it does: Organizes movie screenings for Mess workers and their children
What it does not do: Show the mess workers better films, thereby motivating them to prepare better food
Why should I join Social Services Group? While many of my comrades have worked for the government, my CV will stand out as I am working for an NGO.

Marathon Committee
What it does: Organizes an yearly marathon and encourages narcophilic and alcoholophilic students to run for causes like substance and alcohol abuse
What it does not do: Invite Kenyans and Ethiopians
Why should I join Marathon Committee? To give the hapless sponsors a 'run for their money' while 'taking them for a ride'

MadCom (Merchandise and Design committee)
What it does: Sells, at exorbitant prices, substandard cutlery, fabric and paper bearing the institute's insignia 
What it does not do: 4P's
Why should I join MadCom? The 'Jago Grahak Jago' campaign never really appealed to me. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

The K Files: MBA in a nutshell

As the first term draws to a close, here is the learning from all the subjects covered so far.

i) Quantitative Methods

Reason for existence: So that the next time someone chooses a B-School, you advice him to look at the 'median' and not the 'mean' starting salary.

What it means: Even the most abnormal of distributions are Normally Distributed.

What it also means: If you go stand at the centre of the grand entrance of the GIP Mall you'll be able to touch 68.27% of the ladies coming in. The percentage would increase to 95.45 and 99.73 respectively if you, miraculously, double or triple your arms' length. 

What it actually means: No matter how big you are, the study of probability still begins with tossing a coin.

ii) Organizational Behavior

Reason for existence: An American's crusade against Standard British English; a propaganda to ensure that people write Organizational Behavior in place of Organisational Behavior, Organisational Behaviour and Organizational Behaviour.

What it means: The employee will come to the office at 11, chat with his colleague next cubicle, play Solitaire all day on his PC and leave at 5:30. His boss, keenly observing him all along, will look at some Pyramid drawn on his wall and utter 'Self Actualisation'! 

What it also means: If you aren't a splice of a pyramid, a bar in a graph or the side of a square, you're most certainly a corner of a circle.

What it actually means: What happens in Robbins, stays in Robbins.

iii) Marketing Management

Reason for existence: To teach you how to misuse the word 'leverage'.

What it means: Marketing has 16 different definitions. Either you go learn all of them, or simply accept that marketing ≠ selling. 

What it also means: The companies, allegedly, contemplate names like Sikandar Kher, Uday Chopra and Mimoh Chakravarti before deciding that it will be Shahrukh in the bathtub with all the leading ladies around.

What it actually means: The English alphabet is ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPPPPQRSTUVWXYZ.

iv) Managerial Accounting

Reason for existence: So that words like 'agony', 'trauma', 'regret' and 'frustration' do not become useless.

What it means: The hell with the Oxford English Dictionary, if a thing has certain value to you, a 'debit' in its value is an increase, and 'credit', a decrease.

What it also means: You're a liability on your parents' Balance Sheet. Your future has no Cash Flow and hence, your income statement will draw a blank.

What it actually means: You think MBA is your 9th sem of Engineering? Well, think again! 

v) Microeconomics

Reason for existence: To change the way you look at 'curves'.

What it means: While reading this, as you gobble the hapless chips of the Lay's packet in your hand, you're moving along a curve. Another unsuspecting dude, working at the Lay's factory is moving along another curve. When the two curves intersect, you'll be compelled to eat as many chips as he produces. Nothing more, nothing less.

What it also means: When in doubt, equating two quantities, both of which contain the word 'marginal', will increase your chances of passing.

What it actually means: Astrology. Palmistry. Hokum.

vi) Business Computing

Reason for existence: Engineers should not miss their Alma Mater.

What it means: Thou shalt not excel sans Excel.

What it also means: 'Long time, no see'
Waterfall Model

What it actually means: *404: Page not found*

vii) Managerial Communication (or is it Business Communication?)

Reason for existence: 2 c da xtnt 2 whch v ppl stll read n rite da lang prprly :) :P :D..lolz.......,,,,!!!!11

What it means: You're English is so bad that next time around, CAT will make things more difficult for engineers like you.

What it also means: There's at least one exam for which you do not need to come prepared.

What it actually means: Hehe! 12th std. wasn't the last time you studied English.

viii) Social Transformation of India

Reason for existence: To show how capitalist, racist, sexist, casteist, jingoistic, homophobic, Islamophobic you are.

What it means: It means you're all of the above.

What it also means: It still means you're all of the above.

What it actually means: You'll always be all of the above.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The K Files: Jargon

Every place has its jargon. Every jargon has its denotation. Every denotation implies a certain connotation.
Over the course of the past two months (the latter of which seems to have gone past quicker than the former) I've learned a lot of new phrases and quite a few words. Below is an attempt to capture a few of the few.

1) Gas: Yes, it's the third state of matter. However, gas refers to any monologue which neither has any substance (read solid), nor the traces of a substance (read liquid) to it.
Essentially, I have spent the past four years of my life gassing around in my answer sheets.

2) Leverage: Even the Lever brothers wouldn't be able to tell you the correct usage of arguably the most abused word at B-Schools. As a heuristic (which by the way is another abused word), one can use the word leverage whenever 
a) one wants use the profit made on oranges to sell apples
b) one wakes up to find himself at a seminar and the speaker talks something which contains the word 'brand'
c) In any situation apart from the ones mentioned

3) Fascism: A Fascist, pronounced as 'f-sh-is-t', is the last thing anyone should become and the first thing everyone becomes after passing out of a B-School. A Fascist is right-winged, sexist, chauvinistic, sadistic and short, you.

4) Prof: Prof is the pseudonym under which Professors operate at B-Schools. A typical Prof is a typical martinet: authoritarian and rigid. Atypical Profs are knowledgeable, approachable, friendly... and in majority. 

5) Loki: A mythical place on the intranet where heaven dwellers dump their waste which others find useful. 

6) CCCCC, PPPP: The 5C's and 4 P's of marketing, respectively. The 5 C's are seldom used. The 4P's are seldom not used and frequently abused. 

7) PlaceCom: The portmanteau of Placement Committee, PlaceCom is the only student body on campus that works round the year. You may, however, choose to omit the last three words of the last sentense. 
It is alleged that PlaceCom members also have a life, however, this theory is untested and, as of now, highly disputable.

8) CoCo: Another portmanteau, this time of Course and Coordinator. A CoCo is your once-upon-a-time-friend who broadcasts study material and quiz marks to the entire batch. You may want to contact him to ask specific questions like the  syllabus for tomorrow's test, or blunt ones like the full form of the initials of the course name and err... the full form of the initials of the Prof's name.

9) Mess: Quoting one of our Profs, a mess is called a mess for a reason.

10) DCP: Desperate Class Participation (DCP) is when
a) You speak a lot without making sense and involving lots and lots of repetition 
b) Basically, same as above
c) Technically, same as above 
d) Actually, same as above

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The K Files: Retrospect

Yesterday marked the end of my first month away from home and hence, ideally, yesterday is when you should have been reading this. However, that is how life is in denizens. It's implausible, if not entire impossible, to stick to a Sheldonian schedule here.
As I write this, there is a freshers' party scheduled for our batch tonight. We've been instructed not to carry our cameras along. Things are expected to get a bit naughty.
If you are an introvert, a B School is the last place you would want to see yourself in. Every event, every activity, is aimed at squeezing out the last remaining shreds of personal space that, you think, is entirely yours. Every Professor (Prof, as they call them here), brings along a teaching assistant whose sole purpose is to ascertain and adjudicate how vocal you are during the lecture. You have to speak. And that is what most of us do. During our induction, the Admission Chairperson gave a mantra which is probably on the top of every pin up board in all hostel rooms: 'Underestimate everyone, but never underestimate your batch-mates'. One month later, I have begun to understand the nuances of his statement. You might score 13 out of 14 in a quiz, yet, in all likelihood, may find yourself lowering the class average. During a lecture, you might say something really ingenious, yet end up chagrined with the long forgotten sheepish smile following suit. Yet, outside the class, you discover among your classmates, some of the best people you have ever met during your lifetime.
Before and after, comes the hostel. For some reason, your towels and innerwear always hog the balcony railings; the pair of Jeans that you wore to class last to last morning, this morning, and by the looks of it, tomorrows morning, always finds a nice little spot on your chair; your bedsheets are always in need of botox, your socks' permanent address bears the name of your Adidas and Hush Puppies; your formal shirts and trousers have been out of your closet for at least a week, and finally, the study lamp in front of you has been facing the side walls since the last time you turned it on.
Besides, some of the theorems, which you thought were axioms, have indeed been proven wrong. The water bottle on your table doesn't get automatically filled overnight. If you fall asleep on your chair, you do not find yourself in the bed next morning. And if you do lie down on your bed, and the mercury dips during the night, the folded blanket remains inertial till the next morning. If you are getting late for breakfast, the paratha and the glass of milk would not automatically zero down beside your bed. If you leave your clothes in the bathroom, they remain there till the next day. The floor does not get cleaned and mopped automatically. Your wallet broke up with the mystery benefactor long ago. 9:40 comes and goes, yet you hear no car approach, no footsteps, no doorbell.
You see faces, lots and lots of them. You look at them and you smile. Yet, the absence of faces that you looked at and grinned is conspicuous.
It's good that we have a party this evening. When the clock strikes 9:40 tonight, I think I will have enough faces around to let my mind digress to cars, footsteps, doors and doorbells.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The K files: Vistas

It's been a fortnight since my Delhi SIM updated its status to 'Roaming', and a month since I pressed the 'Submit' button at the bottom of this page.
Delhi seems like an obscure passage on a lost page, long gone, long lost in this novel, whose pages are turning at an alarmingly fast rate. Yet, the passage can never be forgotten. It will never be forgotten, for the passage leads to a passageway, right to my heart, through the paintings which adorn my pin-up board, through the alarm clock kept on my study, via the Roosevelts embedded on the pen stand and the orange and white pens kept inside.

Kerala is an amazing place, and I say this despite being very judicious with the usage of adjective. I turn my head to the right and see a sea of green, an arm's distance away from my balcony. The branches of a tree with dark, ugly seeds bow to me every morning. Its compatriots, reluctant at first, follow suit soon after. The breeze ruffles their leaves, almost prompting them to speak up and speak out. But when it leaves, the leaves go back to their initial, observant state. As I write, a leaf has just flown over the railing, into the balcony, onto the pale tiles of the floor. It's trying to grab my attention, and perhaps is doing a good job at it. I think I should just take it and put it on my study.

The scenic, mystic beauty of the place is in stark contrast to the rumbling automobiles of the capital. My balcony, at Delhi, would show me the remarkable NH-8, the tarred wonder linking two cities who had had no love lost between them for ever since I can remember. The vista here depicts a small foot-track, a mud dud beyond the boundaries of the enclave I live in. I do not know where this path would take someone who dares to venture. But I think he'll find a lot of trees and a lot of fallen leaves, like the one which lies on my study now.

Never mind the laptop. It just doesn't leave me alone
There is a philosopher in each one of us: the subjective which decides the uttered objective, the fine line which questions the indifferent towing in line; the thought behind the think tank. 22 years later and 3000 kms from what I used to call home, he knocked on my door last night.

Friday, June 8, 2012


After Chuck Norris facts and Rajnikanth Facts(also Chuck Norris facts), here come our very own MMS Facts.

1) Cancer has no effect on him. MMS suffers from only one disease, Policy Paralysis.

2) While the Japanese go around showcasing their prototypes, Robots have been in existence in India since 1932. MMS, by the way, turns 80 this September.

3) There are times when MMS has the loudest voice.

4) While most people have difficulty in listening in silence, MMS can speak in silence. 

5) MMS would have made a great Hollywood actor had he not refused the title role in 'Silence of the Lambs'.

6) There is no 'Ctrl' button on MMS' keyboard. For obvious reasons.

7) MMS can lick Sonia G's elbow.

8) MMS once had a photograph clicked with Baba Ramdev. It's caption is now taught in Kindergarten as Baba-Black Sheep.

9) MMS once won the Indian Idol using sign language.

10) MMS was made the PM because Pranab Mukherjee got bored of his initials.

11) The shorthand version of the famous adage 'form is temporary, but class is permanent' is called '1991'.

12) Ventriloquism was a dying art. Then MMS came along.

13) Not may people know that MMS had a cameo in Will Smith's 'I am Legend'. But of course, he played Mike, the mannequin.

14) Like every one, MMS also has a soft corner. It's called 'G Spot'. As in 2G, 3G, Sonia G, Pranab MukherG...

15) Sonia G, Mamta G and MMS were once offered to do a TV Series together. Mamta G refused. These stupid Americans now call it the 'Two and A Half Men'.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The wrong that is to be right

In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand, who for a long time I thought was a male, highlights everything that's wrong with the modern world; none more than the habit of sneering at people who are good, mostly better than us. Ours is a society which harbours mediocrity and shelters and supports the middle-rungs. People below par, usually, and expectedly, get the wooden spoon. The outstanding ones, those who produce the silver for the silver spoon, however, receive platefuls of of jibes and sarcasm. They are accused of being selfish, if you can call that an accusation, of being callous and even inhuman. Even in the industry, the mediocre ones receive continual, albeit, gradual increments, while the A-Listers hit the corporate ceiling too frequently, and too soon. Surely this is jealousy at work.

I believe it all arises from vanity; the primordial belief that each of of us is the best and some other person's best is worse than our best. If not, then our best case best is, or has the potential to be, better, than his best.
And then, reality strikes. We realise that our best-ness isn't as good as we thought it is or can be. Then begins the process of proving this realisation false. The topper of the class then becomes the incessant sycophant, the hard worker- the nerd, the jack of all trades- the most obscenely talented and finally, the most successful-the luckiest. Even if this isn't enough, then begins the round of unusual out-of-domain-esque comparisons. Cricketers are scrutinised for their vernacular, the linguists for their looks, the actors for their educational qualifications, and the scholars for their fitness and shape; thereby forming a vicious circle of irrelevant discriminations. We then start finding faults; debugging. If someone builds a gravity dam, we discuss the advantages of arch dams and the economic viability of barrages. If someone scores a perfect ten, we analyse the flaws in the education system and approaches to make it more 'practical'. If a player scores a century, we question the quality of opposition and the placid nature of the 22-yards. The metro, by the looks of it, is always more frequent on the other side.

The middle-rungs have always had numbers on their side. Majority is usually mediocre. Hence, the mediocre have the major say. They select during elections, among themselves, resulting in mediocre lawmakers. The laws they make are mediocre. The result? More mediocrity, and yes, decadency.

Alas! There is no cure. For those who should cure, are being victimised, with those who can cure, playing perpetrators.
There may be light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel seems a bit long though.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A date with K

P.S (Pre-script): This is going to be long.

I've waited long to write this. Finally the moment of reckoning is here!

Had my date with K today.


10th: 91.4% (CBSE)
12th: 93.4% (CBSE)
Graduation: 84.54%
B.Tech(CSE), School of Information Technology, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi.
Work experience: NIL, in final year of B.Tech
CAT'11: 93.17 percentile
Category: General

Extra curricular
: Stand up comedy , Mimicry , quizzing, debating, blogging, author-to-be.

Interview Centre
: Hotel Vikram, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi, 8 AM slot.

Essay topic
: The key to happiness is not in seeking further success, but in enjoying less.

Attempted it well. Began with my favourite quotation, which was surprisingly apt for the topic. Gave quite a few examples; MS Dhoni, who doesn't enjoy his successes too much; instances from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. Managed to write 4 pages, with at least one and a half laden with quotations. As is the case with them, not all of the quotations were relevant.
Concluded by writing a stanza from Rudyard Kipling's IF, 'if you can dream, and not make dreams your master...'.
Overall, it was decent. However, at places I digressed from the topic, dealing more with big dreams versus small dreams, than not-revelling too much in the success.

Personal Interview:
I was the fifth to be interviewed in Panel 1. There were 5 panels.
Had to get the documents verified before leaving for the interview. Was scolded by the guy doing it, as I showed him the 10th standard marksheet while he was asking for the 12th standard one (silly me).

The interview took place on the second floor.
There were two panelists. Both were in their early 40s (apparently). P1, seated to my left was a keen listener and reader. He spent more than half the time going through my personal data form and certificates. P2 was a Systems/IT guy.
V would denote me.

P1 came outside, called my name and took me in.
Somehow the word 'sirs' has never sounded correct to me, so I wished them separately.

P1 was staring blankly at me, while P2 skimmed through my profile.

P2: So, you're Vikas.
V: Yes sir.
P3: Which coaching Institiute, Tathagat?
V: No sir, not Tathagat.
P3: Then which one, CL or TIME?
V: Neither sir. It's Alchemist, run by IIT+IIM alumni.
P2 (suddenly seeming interested): Oh Alchemist. I see.
P1: We've had a lot of students from this University, of yours. What's the reason.
V: It's one of the best in Delhi (smirking)
P1: Okay, okay. So, what all Industrial projects have you done?
V: Told about the Nokia Stock Inventory Display project.
Asked me to explain what it does, I did.
Also told him about the other project that I did during the same period, a Java Chat Application. Quizzed me on that, asked me what I had learnt from it. I repeated the 'practical implementation of theoretical knowledge bla-bla..'
Then asked me about the other project, 'A Web Crawler'. Explained that it's a miniature search engine bla-bla.
Now comes the bad part

P2: So, if I want to restrict the crawler to perform only internal (on the same site) search, what can I do?
V: Sir I can scan every link, and ensure that the link due to be scanned next must originate or start with the name of the base site.
P2: No, no. This is not true. What if I am searching something on google, and then the result is found in gmail. Your software would not scan that because gmail doesn't start with ''.
V: Sir, gmail is a indirect route to '' (realised that it doesn't start with '' shit)
P2: See, even that doesn't start with google. How will do it now?
V: (Idea!) Sir, yes. You are right. I think I'll scan the entire URL. If it contains the substring 'google', then I'll parse..
Seemed satisfied, but not for long...
P2: Now if there is another phoney website, which has the keyword 'google' in it, your software would lead me to that website? How do I verify if the site is real or phoney?
V: Digital certification sir.
P2: I am a lay man, tell me in my language.
V: (think long and hard) Sorry, I do not know sir..

P2 points to P1, who suddenly wakes up after having gazed at my forms and certificates for almost an eternity...

P1: So, Vikas, tell me something about this novel that you're writing.
V: told.
P1 seemed interested.. asked if it was inspired from a real-life character, I said yes. Smiles all around.
P1: You say you can debate as well, so I want you to give a 1.5 minute speech on the topic 'India should command and not demand a UNSC permanent seat'

I was almost licking my lips! My domain finally...
Spoke for around 1 minute, fairly confidently, with examples and humour interlaced. While I did the taking, P1 was taking notes. (felt honoured, not for long though).

P1: You said China was made a member in 1945, because it was the most populous nation at that time?
He told me it wasn't the case, as Taiwan was the original member, and China became a member much later when it merged with Taiwan.
Plus, somewhere I had mentioned India as a major power in South-East Asia (silly me). He corrected me and asked the name of a few South-East Asian nations. Chagrined, I told the names, and apologised.

Then we had a healthy discussion on whether India's economic reforms since 1991 have had any effect on the society. I said that it had, but the going was slow. He asked for stats, and I said if not anything, then the literacy rate had gone up from 52% to 66% (Oxford School Atlas to the rescue). He rebutted by saying that education is no parameter. In India, people (specially engineers) are graduates, yet unemployed. I contested, saying that if there was one job available, and a person, having the same qualification as I have, gets it ahead of me, then it's my mistake.
Quoted Bill Gates (If you're born poor it isn't your fault, but if you die poor...) Seemed satisfied (phew..)

P2: So, what's famous about Indraprastha?
V: Sir... The Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University

'laughter all around'

P2: Something else?
V: Sir, ... Indraprastha Gas Limited, the sole provider of CNG in Delhi
more laughter
P2: Okay, tell me the history of Indraprastha.
V: Told about Kauravas and Pandavas, that Indraprastha used to be 'Khandav forest', it was given to the Pandavas while the Kauravas took Hastinapur. Talked about Arjun burning down the forest with his bow.
P2: What was the name of his bow?
V: Sir Gandiva (They laughed at the name. No wonder why)
P1: So, Vikas, where is your hometown?
V: Sir, Samastipur, Bihar.
P1: Name 4 North-eastern states and their capitals (Bihar se seedha north east )
V: Told all 7
P1: I'm done. Thank you.
P2: Same here. All the best!

Any other comments
: Cool and chilled out panelists, excellent arrangements.

So, ho gaya finally. I think it went along well. No direct question from academics, no current-affairs, no traditional 'why-MBA' type questions!