Wednesday, December 2, 2009

BEST... Or is it?

The first time I landed in Mumbai, my friend said "We will go by BEST bus". The moment I saw the bus, I said "Good one bro! :)". He replied, "Dude! That was not supposed to be a joke". Oh!

This one falls under the category of 'unintenionally funny'. You think of some cool thing, give it an awesome name but in the end it falls flat, even funny. Mumbai's BEST, is one classic example. I don't blame them either. When you gotta manage such a huge city, you tend to miss out somewhere. Some aspect, some area, some system, some random thing doesn't get the attention and it stays a part of prestigious history. Now lets take a look at why BEST buses are not the best (not even close :P)

First impression... was a worst impression. Even my school bus sports better style damn it. Painted red, absolutely cuboidal, looking like straight out of a museum...! When rest of India is going for low floor, air suspension, ergonomic seats, bright colors, our friends at Mumbai never felt the need for all those. I guess these buses are a part of their tradition. You might catch an enthusiastic guide say someday, "You see the Taj, it is older than the Gateway of India. You see that bus, it is older than the Taj" :D

I lost myself in the beauty of the bus as it crossed me. Suddenly I realized I had a bus to catch and... WTF! There is no route number at the back! Are we supposed to randomly run behind buses, overtake them, check the route, and then climb onto them? Are Mumbaikars such good athletes? Or is this some sort of practical joke? Just imagine how it will feel if you finally overtake a bus, but its not the one you want and the driver grins at you and says, "Gotcha!" When I enquired about it further an effervescent college kid said, "The route number is there on the left side of the bus". So what dude, I cannot overtake the bus from the left. Traffic rules don't permit it you know. :)

Somehow I got onto a bus and one look inside told me that the bus might actually be older than the Taj. When I purchase my ticket comes the next surprise. Everything on the ticket is printed in Hindi, even the numbers! Beleive me when I say its been 17 months in Mumbai and I still have trouble deciphering numbers in Hindi. I've used the word decipher in the previous sentence intentionally. I suggest carrying a number catalogue with you to help you out. But there was more. The price printed on my ticker was Rs. 6.86. Seriously, six rupees eighty six paise. Do you guys really live in prehistoric era? Thankfully there was no 'Please tender exact change' board put up in the bus :)

Not that Mumbai is otherwise perfect or for that matter any city is perfect. They all have lots of scope for improvement. But what got me going was the name given to these buses, BEST. Although these buses go a long long way everyday, they still have to go a long way before they can become what they are called, BEST.

Cheers  :)

P.S - BEST stands for Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Need to bring private capital to finance higher education in India

The following article written by me was published in the Financial Express newspaper national edition dated 19 October 2009. Online copy can be found at I can discount one thing from the list of things to accomplish in this lifetime. Alright, now the article,

Education sector, like any other in India, invariably stares at the same horizon – one billion people and counting! When exploiting economies of scale is one side of the coin, the myriad challenges faced in reaching the masses becomes the other daunting side of the same coin. Before attempting to answer the question posed, let us define the boundaries of the playground. For the sake of this analysis, any kind of formal education undertaken after 12 years of schooling has been considered as ‘higher education’. The ever rising applicants/intake ratio in all the top notch institutions of India has indicated the clear inability of the government to provide quality higher education. Can the time tested solution called privatization be applied to education sector? Probably yes, but only in certain pockets.

If we look at our government’s spending pattern towards education, lion’s share is allocated to the top institutions offering professional courses such as engineering and management, majority being government institutions. Other disciplines such as arts and sciences receive very little funding from the government that they can even be termed neglected. But it is a fact that no country can survive with engineers and managers alone, whatever their levels of competence be. A developing country like India needs scientists, lawyers, farmers, artists and philosophers in same numbers as engineers and managers. It is time for the government to seriously concentrate upon hitherto neglected disciplines and lend them a helping hand.

In order to do that, the government simply cannot redistribute the allocation of funds because it will stall the development of the top institutions which can be detrimental to the nation building process. So there is a clear need for generation of extra funds and this is where the private sector can pitch in. But the problem is private sector is interested only in commercially viable ventures. In other words, private sector will be interested in financing tech schools and business schools only. This is evident from the sheer growth of private engineering and management colleges in India. Here 2 ways of bringing in private capital exist – setting up private colleges, bringing alternate revenue stream for government colleges by way of consultancy and training programs. The government should strongly encourage the latter and undertake a regulatory role for the former. This would both decrease the stress on the government and ensure availability of quality education.

The government should consider the extra funding thus generated as savings and reinvest these savings in building a strong arts and science base because at this moment it is these courses that need utmost attention. There is a need for extra funding in these sectors whereas the funding can be generated only through professional courses sector. Thus there is a need for bringing private capital to finance higher education but what is more important is an intelligent redistribution of funds. If the redistribution is not proper, the chasm between professional and non-professional courses will continue to grow which is not a good sign for tomorrow’s India.

Leave a comment if you like it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Paradigm shift

Our upbringing in this world has been shaped by many conventions, many of them dictated by a lot of paradigms. The problem with these paradigms is that they are suitable only for the contemporary times in which they were told. They are never updated. How about updating some of them? Yes, it is time we say the unsaid, add disclaimers wherever necessary, clear some confusions and change the unchanged. Here is a sincere attempt to modernise some of the well known paradigms. You have all rights to use them at will. Oh yeah, comments in line  :)
  • Failure is the stepping stone of success, only if you step against it! you gotta work baby!
  • Don't count your chickens until they survive for at least a week! competitive environment boss  :|
  • Don't count your chickens until you are done with your chicken soup! you naughty boy ;)
  • A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, only if it won't poop on you! gotcha...
  • The way you look at a glass half full or half empty depends on whether you want it to be completely empty or completely full! this did not occur to me when I was drunk :P
  • Silence is the only thing that can be misquoted in any number of ways! be careful!
  • Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, Apes are from this place, Earth! now tell me, where are you from? ;)
  • Don't go where there is a path. Instead go where there is no path and leave a trail. only then someone will be able to find you and bring you back!
  • The early bird gets the worm, the last bird gets the sleep. Make your pick.
  • Nobody travels on the road to success without a puncture or two. remember, no stepney allowed!  :(
  • Hope is a good thing and no good thing ever dies. we hope so! :)
I think now these are contemporary. Nothing is left unsaid and hopefully nobody can sue us for not providing the disclaimer. I will again come out with a different set of paradigm shift once I figure out enough paradigms that can be shifted.


P.S: If you want to shift any paradigm, you can do so in the comments section!  :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fly - Flu - Flown!

Wierd title? May be, yes. But thats the truth I have been seeing over the past 2 weeks or so. The swine flu has got so much attention that I won't be surprised if the past tense of fly is henceforth spelt as 'flu'. But is all this hype justified? Absolutely not. For the sake of convinience, let us look at the case in the eyes of a solitary individual, holed up in a corner room, in an obscure location, in one of the buzzling metropolis - myself!

Some day 3 weeks ago, swine flu broke out. And what followed was pure mayhem. Nobody understood what was happening. Nobody knew what to do. Nobody did what was suppossed to be done. Now, the virus has dissappeared. Just like that! But the point to be pondered is how we responded to the issue. One person got into a hospital and the N95 masks became ubiquitous. Seriously, from when did we start respecting a stupid virus? Did anybody look at its side effects? Some guy stole buscuits from my neighbour. We couldn't even find out who it was as he was 'masked'! ;) One banner in some website read, "20 people get swine flu, everybody puts on a mask. Millions die of AIDS every year. Nobody puts on a condom." Agreed!

I have heard that we are living in 'information age'. Thanks to swine flu, I understood the full meaning of it. Every two minutes some mail relating to H1N1 virus popped in my mailbox. Even people who have not sent me a 'hi, how are you' in years started sending me H1N1 awareness mails! For the sheer lack of a much larger term, I have to call this an information overload! The spreading of these mails actually challenged the spreading of the virus! I heard someone saying the virus lost to the mails! :P So much unnecessary information on dos and donts that I forgot which was which and happily committed a few donts! If only, the virus had known this... :) But seriously, one thing that apalled me is nobody ever forwarded so many mails when there was a blood requirement or some charity happening for some orphanage. God save our generation.

Talk about the media. These guys exploit the one marketing strategy not taught in any B school. If it is controversial, it sells. If it is novel, it sells. If it is both controversial and novel, it sells big time! Every other news channel ran and reran news items about H1N1. I hope there was no saas-bahu serial episodes revolving around swine flu! ;) The only thing these media houses could have done extra is to interview the H1N1 virus itself. This could not be done as the virus was 'busy travelling'. :) Discounting this, the virus got more publicity that it would have ever imagined in its wildest dreams! I am still waiting for the day when our media 'grows up' and starts acting maturely.

What did I do? Nothing! Seriously! I did not go home. I did not waste money on a mask. I had cold but did not take any medicines. I roamed all around campus, ate out, had cold drinks, ice cream and what not. This is my way giving the 'F' word to the virus. :D "Catch me if you can" ;) But the worst part is, the two week break given has made me so darn lazy. I got used to all the nothingness. I want no class, no attendance, no tests, no work. I want to jus keep on sleeping on my (un)comfortable bed :P

Last thurday things started turning around in campus and from yesterday it is almost back to normal. It read some report stating WHO has predicted a second outbreak of H1N1 and the second innings can be worse than the first. I can't confirm whether its a genuine report or some news channel trying to sell the controversy. But if at all there is a second outbreak, only god know what will happen...


P.S: I wrote the first para of this post a week ago. H1N1 has made me so lazy that it took a week to write the next few paras!  :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A long walk in the woods

Amidst the extraordinarily boring repetitive life, a few days do stand out. Days that make you do something that you usually don't venture into. Days that satisfy your eclectic desires. Days that refuse to fade into oblivion. Those are the days in which you actually live, not just pretend to do so. Such days have to be etched in memory and savoured forever. What other way could be better than blogging to do that. Photographs capture only the cosmetic appearance of your personality. Words convey the essence of your soul. Here I have tried my level best not to lose out on any dope from the scintillating Matheran in monsoons. But it is never complete without a visit to that place.

Matheran is a miniscule hill station on the outerskirts of modern day Mumbai. Motor vehicles are banned on the top citing pollution. So the only transport options available on top are horseback and foot. Vehicles are allowed to ply upto a ceratin point close to the peak though. There are 22 odd view points for us to feast upon the unintoxiated platter of beauty nature has to offer. But as majority of the populace chooses foot over horseback, the number of points that can be covered in a day is limited to 4 or 5. But we, the brave and curious explorers, decided to go one step ahead and cover as much as possible. I am proud to say, we did cover a total of 8 points, some of them mind blowing!

We got up at 3.30 am reached Matheran by 8.30 am. And the journey started! The best description I can give to what followed is enchanting woods, enticing nature, sizzling rains, walk through the clouds, peek into the heavens, a crazy trip accounting for an awesome sunday! It was the first time in my life where I spent a whole day getting drenched in rain again and again. The first point we reached was named Monkey point. It offered an amazing view of the valley and plains below. There was something magical about the view. Or so I thought only to be disproved later on the same day! After the ususal frenzy about photographs was over, we proceeded next to Echo point. To say the views were breathtaking is an understatement. Lush green valleys, deep gorges, clouds floating at one hand's distance and a waterfall. "The act of waking up at 3.30am is gratified", I told myself. But the Echo point never echoed.

Next in line was Charlotte lake. It is a huge lake on top of a hill fed by rain waters, which in turn feeds a giant waterfall. Tourists are permitted to bathe in the overflowing waters and when did we ever miss a chance to have fun! This experience was the icing on the cake. It was just mind blowing. We spent an odd 20 minutes in the water which felt like hours for us. Next in line were 2 important things - Lord's point, suppossed to be one of the best view points in Matheran and Lunch! We were disappointed at Lord's point as cloud cover refused to budge and all we could see was glittering silvery grey. So we headed straight to have lunch.

Post lunch, we decided to pay a visit to the One Tree Hill point. This a funny place where you get to see a huge hill with only one tree on top of it! This was the best place on Matheran and it is situated in the southern end of it. If at all, you go to Matheran, don't miss it. This is a place where clouds play hide and seek with you! Yes. One minute you see silvery grey clouds, next minute you see incredibly deep valleys, next minute it is the picturesque town miles away and next minute you can't even see your fellow mates! Man, you have to be there. "The act of waking up at 3.30am is completely gratified", I told myself again. 

On our way back, we stumbled on a path that would lead us to what was Belvedre point. As our batteries were nearing red zone by then, some of us were diffident to explore it. But the sign that read "Belvedre point. 2 minits" motivated us to go there and witness something that is simply not possible. As we started nearing the Belvedre point, it started to rain heavily. But something caught our eye, the rain was coming horizontally as if someone was shooting water bullets at us. We went further to investigate it and... abracadabra! There was a waterfall in which water never fell! Winds were blowing at such high speeds that entire water was sent backwards to where it came from! I know it is hard to believe this. For the skeptics and the admirers, I captured a video of this incredible natural phenomenon. Contact me for the video and see it for yourself!

After this the agenda was to go home. But reliable sources gave us the information that there was one more place, Lucia point, worth visiting. Some of backed out saying it could become dark and we don't want to be late. But a group of 7 nature enthusiasts headed straight to Lucia point. Believe it or not, it always pays to go that extra mile, in this case, literally! Lucia point is situated on the highest elevation on Matheran. You can see the tops of smaller hills from here and the winds are so strong that if you jump, you will land a few centimeters back. This is a narow cliff with nothing on 3 sides, not even railings! The most dangerous venture limit is decided by your confidence and courage. And yeah, there is no hide and seek with the clouds, you just walk through them. Clouds are all around you and visibility at times reduces to near zero! It was getting both dark and late by that time and our batteries were almost exhausted. So we had to start the return journey. It was a long, painful walk back to the taxi stand, aggravated by the wet jeans and wind cheater. Somehow we managed to reach the taxi stand and subquently NITIE.

It was a day of sorts. I got up at an hour I usually go to sleep, did a lifetime of walking in a single day, took bath in ice cold water with jeans on,  pushed myself to my physical maximum, walked through scary forest pathways, interacted with mother nature face to face, had lots and lots of fun and returned with a rejuvenated mind. Not to mention my jeans that were completely drenched every half and hour! The day will never get over without special mention to two people - 'Akash'pedia, for taking the responsibility of guiding us although he knew nothing in Matheran and Mr. Pandey, for never failing to take the wrong route in every possible juncture! Next day, I slept completely and when I woke up I just had could, cough, fever, body pain and killer ache in the legs.  All in all, it was a day that deserved to be remembered and it will be!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

24th Moonsoon...

Well, where do I begin? Actually, I began long back! On a beautiful Friday morning, just after the dawn broke, I began this journey called life. Fast forward 23 years in time, I am here, enjoying my 24th monsoon. The journey has been fairly eventful, I would say, and mostly nomadic. I have lived in 7 different towns and cities, 3 of them being metros and that journey had taken me from a refrigerator to a microwave oven! Will discuss that in detail in another post. After seeing both sides of the coin, the national capital on one side and an unknown obscure village on another, during those 7 stops, I think I have to divert my journey towards better known towns and lesser known cities to completely know the amorphous amalgamation called India!

And now about my 24th monsoon... It is not even raining cats and dogs this time, last year it was pouring buffaloes and dinosaurs here :) Generally, poets use either summers or winters to count years, but I prefer monsoon as it was the first season to welcome me into this world. A small emotional attachment! And also, summers and winters have a different connotation in NITIE! So let me stay clear of them. Beautiful rains, chilling breeze, sleepy lectures, and heavenly NITIE... but I am not able to enjoy any of them to the maximum. The simple reason being 'quarter life crisis'. :| I have started getting the feeling that my life, to a large extent, resembles this blog post! Both of them started just for the heck of it, both of them are going nowhere, both of them will end at some point of time, and only a small percentage of humans will ever know that both existed! Ironically, I also have a feeling that there is light at the end of the tunnel. But as Navjot Siddhu says, let it not be from an oncoming train!

I have already had an year in a B school. I have learnt enough to approach life managerially. ;) This is how it goes. Assuming my lifetime to be 72 years, I am standing at just past a quarter in Q2 now. Wow... Dissection of a quarter into sub-quarters! Somebody is gonna become a management guru very soon :D Anyways, my first quarter was majorly successful. By the end of Q1, I had reached where I never thought I would. Logically speaking, Q2 would be for raising the bar higher, Q3 for consolidation and Q4 for... whatever is left. I had almost certainly raised the bar in Q2. But this I-still-don't-understand-it recession crap played its cards against me and put me in a fix. So what? The game is still open. Lets wait and see who wins...

P.S: For the benefit of those who don't know what quarter life crisis means, you can find it here

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fake MBA Student!

The IPL season 2 was a resounding success, at least as they say, and took cricket to hitherto unscaled heights, whatever that may mean. One of the main reasons for the popularity of this IPL was undoubtedly the 'Fake IPL Player'. In my opinion, this guy had the best IPL!

And, the two months of internship completely spoiled me. I am no mood to work now. I just want to enjoy my life. In order to achieve that objective, yet sustain minimum damage to my life, I created the character 'Fake MBA Student' in the emptiness of Gurgaon. FIP and FMS have a lot in common. In fact, FMS has been built completely on the lines of FIP.

Lets explore the persona of FIP first. This guy is a part of the team. He attends all practise sessions, team meetings, parties bla bla bla. He goes to every match but doesn't play any and later blogs about it. And the best part is 'he gets paid' for all this. :o Isn't it awesome? In my native language it is called 'karumbu thinna kooli', meaning getting paid for eating sweets! As I call myself a vesatilist, I thought why not adapt these characteristics into my walk of life to create FMS. FMS has been crafted keping in mind all the above mentioned details.

Our Fake MBA Student, will join the institute; attend regular classes; do all the assignments; promptly go to every exam hall but he just won't take the exam! And the best part is, just as FIP gets paid, our FMS will get his MBA! :) What say guys? The best part of this concept is I am already fully qualified to become FMS. I have a blog, an awesome one at that. ;) I am publishing most trade secrets(!) to you guys. I do all that mentioned above. I just have to stop taking exams to become FMS! :D But in this country that has been ruled by red tapism and bureaucracy, one person can't do anything. I need your support to realise this revolutionary concept. All my brethren, I ask you, for nothing more than your voice and support for an innovation that will no less than revolutionise management education around the world! If there is enough support, we can even ask AG to submit a proposal to the acad section. ;) On my 23rd birthday, I place this as my wish in front of God. Lets keep our fingers crossed and wait for his approval.



Respected sir
Sub: Fake MBA Student
I request you to kindly go through my above mentioned proposal and magnanimously grant the same. I also want you to know that I am asking this for the greater good of all MBAs around the globe. There is no selfish motive in this.

Yours truly


P.S: IPL refers to Indian Premier League, FIP refers to Fake IPL Player and FMS refers to Fake MBA Student. I am not liable for any other association you make :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Jobless at job!

Some time back, Rat wrote a piece on few things to do when one sits jobless. But by jobless she meant having no job, by will or by force! In that case, there is no problem. There is nobody to boss you around and you have all the time in the world. You can do anything. But what if you have a job but are jobless at it. So many constraints are thrown in. You have a boss to whom you have to report to. You must at least act as if you are doing something. You have to do that acting inside a four walled office. You don't have a choice of timing. For instance, I have to be jobless from 9:30 to 6:30, no matter what! So, in order to help my fellow comrades who find themselves in more or less the same state, I decided to compile a list of things one could do (read as things I do) when one is jobless at job. Attention people who are passing out of college and joining some IT company this year, start taking notes :P
  • Browse the internet. Yup, there lies a huge storehouse of information, both useful and useless, that is enough to keep you engaged for several lifetimes. But try to find out useless information. Its more fun that way :) How to find it? Of course, Google is your God. Warning: Highly addictive and interesting in the beginning but gets boring and dumb sometime later.
  • Coffee time. One of the classic excuses to waste time. This works even if you are not jobless. In case you are jobless, make this exercise interesting. Make it a point to have every variety in your coffee machine once a day. When you are in office, coffee machine is your girl friend, visit her every hour. If you can extend every coffee break to half an hour, abracadabra, half a day is gone!
  • Eat slowly. I mean the lunch. Take your time, enjoy your food, come back late. Go to the food court when it is most crowded, therby eliminating your chances of returning soon. Who knows, you might even get to meet that special someone! ;)
  • Chat. Chat, chat and chat like a girl. Google is like a Hindu god, it has a family of smaller gods that are equally helpful and the world's favourite is GTalk (may be lord Ganesh :)) Use it to the maximum. Ping people whom you have not pinged in two lifetimes. Bug them until they block you. Comment on everybody's status message. Chat with your relative in the US, chat with the guy in the next cubicle. Chat until your keyboard breaks! Warning: This plays dangerously with other people's patience. Be ready to be beaten up!
  • Talk, for free. Don't register your mobile number under 'do not disturb'. Let them call you. Have fun at their expense. Make the conversations as romantic as possible. If a girl calls you, ask her if she will marry you. And the best part is you don't have to worry about losing your callers this way. There are a whole bunch of people giving free credit cards or with new mobile schemes or offering pension plans or some crap for which they will always call you. Have fun :)
  • Extracurricular activities. You can always indulge in extracurricular activities like playing games, watching movies etc. They say extracurricular activites lead to overall personality development. Don't ask me how, I have absolutely no clue! Warning: These stunts are performed by highly trained professionals in nonsupervised environments. Do not try these at your office! :P
  • Sleep. What? Do you want me to explain how to do it? Come on. This is the by far the most gratifying timepass in the world. The best part is you don't even feel time passing by! Warning: Not required. I know you guys have been doing this from school. You must be experts at this.
This is all I could think of. I have implemented almost all of them to varying degrees of success. The effectiveness of each option is determined by so many localised factors and so I cannot guarantee anything. I would suggest, implement each of them on a pilot basis and go forward based on the pilot test results. Good god, seems I have already become a manager...! And yeah, imagination is the only limit to innovation. So imagine, innovate and don't forget to update it in the comments section. Lets spread the knowledge...

Cheers :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

A grown-up thing!

Here is the plot... I am currently stationed in Gurgaon, doing my summer internships, for a period of two months. I stay with a couple of batchmates. Corporate life is kind of the same. Office starts at 9.30, ends at 6.30 and life has become a lot more monotonous. And with me being the eternal hardworker, I generally reach home before 7 pm. From then on, waiting for the clock to show bedtime can be quite an ordeal. That too given the fact that I am neither committed nor married, killing time is tougher than killing myself! Actually I have put in a lot of effort to become either of those, but to say they have been futile is an understatement. All that cannot be described in a blog. I have to write a novel. Will write it after I actually get married. The novel 'My stepping stones of success' will be released as a commemoration of my success!  :)

Lets get back to the story now. As I was saying, passing time has become really really tough for me and it is being aggravated by the lack of internet. There are a few tools to help me though - the table top and the lap top. The first one is a TV and the second one is a computer. (With quite a number of dirty minds reading my blog, I have to make myself clear ;)) But a continuous dose of either of them for 4 hours is beyond the tolerance level of anyone. So we often take a stroll around our place.

I know what you are thinking. 'You are 24 years old and still going for late night strolls with guys?!?' All I can say is, lipe eej haad. One day one of my roommates said there is a Porsche parked close to the place we stay. We decided to check that out and directed our legs to stroll towards it. We saw it, admired it, dreamt of buying it etc etc. Then we discovered there was a children's park right behind it. Given the fact that only people who are either jobless or have girl friends are up at 11 pm, the park was completely empty.

We decided to relive some of our childhood fantasies and went to the park. Boy oh boy, did we have so much fun? Yeah, we did. Swings, see-saws and slides. They just rock! Swings are stil the same going back and forth, but a lot more fun. Three 23 year olds swinging merrily into the depths of the night is quite a spectacle :D But the slide was a lot more scary. It was not even as high as me. But it gave butterflies in my stomach. It was that friendly old slide. The one I had conquered umpteen number of times when I was a kid. The one in which I disregarded the ladder and went both up and down on the slide. The one which was sooooo high but was scaled by the courageous me! I guess some of the friendly ones turn scary when you neglect them for so long. And not to forget the see-saw. The mere thought of being on it makes me smile. How happily did we go up and down without realising that was what life is all about! But there were only three of us. So one of us had to do see-sawing that Zoozoo style! That was great fun and we even took turns at it  :)

It was just a matter of 30 minutes or so. But it gave a memory for life time. We grown ups doing crazy things in a children's park, in the darkness of the night, oblivious to everybody and later blogging about it. Hmmm... Hey, do you think the title of the post doesn't match it's content? I don't think so. After all,

What is the point in growing up if you can't be childish when you want!

Cheers  :)

P.S: Pray to God that someday I get to write that novel. You know what I mean...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The flip side of it...!

Hi folks!

Long time, no blog. Now, time for blog! It has been more than 2 months since I wrote a piece. Life is actually funny. Taking into account all the nothing I was doing over the last two months, how come I couldn't write a blog!!! In fact, all the nothingness I was going through was the sole inspiration for my previous post, I just couldn't follow it up. But I do have my reasons. Laziness, bad internet, no internet etc etc. Even now, just as I had finished typing the first few sentences in this para, somebody had a problem with where I was sitting. So I had to move to a new place with all of my laptop ensemble causing an interim delay of 20 minutes. Yes, the same kind of delay caused in the M.I Vs C.S.K match. The only difference being that I cannot call this senior manager a dog! ;)

The happy thing is most of my bloggie friends remembered me. Some asked me to write a blog, some enquired why I was away from blogsville and some were even happy thinking that I had quit blogging! Not so soon, darling:) As I was doing alomst nothing useful during the last few months, this time I am gonna write about the only time I was doing something, the third module exams.

Here is the background of the battle. This module had only 7 papers. But factoring into this the number of electives being offered ensured that there was a certain degree of mayhem in the timetable. This is where people we must realise the limitations of us being human beings and the profoundness of chaos theory. After all the fuss we created about the timetable, who had the final laugh? Neither of us! :P The insiders know what I am talking about!

Let us now forget the background and enter into the actual battle. Unfortunately this time I had to write 4 papers in the first 2 days. And that experience rendered me, well, almost dead! What else do you expect? Twelve hours of insane writing in two days! At this juncture I would like to confess that I had not even written 3 full pages over the previous 3 months! This was very similar to that Barney Stinson running NYC marathon and the result was also pretty much the same. I couldn't move my ring finer and my little finger was by itself not moving... :( Thanks to the amount of preparation I did, this task assumed himalayan proportions! I not only had to write insanely for 12 hours but also had to think on my feet (rather think on my seat). What to do, it is very tough to copy in our hall and so one is expected to come up with the answers on his own! One of my batchmates, G, solved this problem to some extent by an ingenious suggestion: 'when in doubt, write both the answers!!!' And G, I must say it did help us :) The remaining papers were not an issue as there was sufficient time available. But this time around I felt the exam week was a little bit less strenous than the last two. I don't know the reason, I just felt so.

How do you liven up boring times during the exams? Read along... I am notorious for playing crazy games in unaccomodating situations. And here is the game I play with Ashish during exam times, who will finish the exam first. The rules are simple, whoever finishes the most number of exams first wins. In this series I almost won by taking a 3-0 lead. But Ashish fought back well to level the series 3-3. Two of those three times, I crafted my own defeat. This is why they say, you must know a bare minumum before entering the exam hall. At least you will know when to stop answering a question and proceed to the next. I precisely didn't do that. Twice I wrote and wrote and wrote that I overshot the 3 hour limit! My first time in NITIE :O Well, it all came down to the wire in the decider. Fancy a guess as to who won? Yeah baby, thats right :) I survived the couple of hours thriller to a nail biting finish and a scintillating victory... My opponent put up a good fight though. Dude, there are two more series left and you definitely have the caliber to win. Seriously. Better luck next time.

Thats it for now folks. Finally I broke the jinx that had kept me unblogged all these days. Sorry for the really long post. Long time pent up energy started to flow once the valve was opened. And I now promise to be more regular in blogging. So keep tuning in...

Cheers :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Nothing... Seriously nothing!

Nothing... Of all the good words, not-so-good words and not-at-all-good words in English, I had to select nothing to title my blog? So, what am I gonna write here after titling it nothing? Is there anything left for me to say about nothing? Why are you still reading when you know this is about nothing? Why is the page full of text even though it is nothing? What exactly do I mean by nothing? What do you understand about nothing? Why am I talking so much about nothing? Am I obsessed with nothing? What the hell is happening to me? Ah, nothing!

When I searched dictionary for nothing, the first result that came was 'no thing'. Big deal, it just inserted a space in my search string! I tried asking some of my friends what does nothing mean. After some brain whacking thinking, few of them came up with an ingenious answer. They said '....nothing'. It is true that we use so many words in our daily life that we get used to them and they pop out more like an involuntary response than like an outcome of thought. We seldom contemplate what exactly these words mean or how deep that meaning goes. At times, we know these words so much that their profound meaning means to us, but nothing! Since I had nothing to do, I decided to do exactly this. I decided to think about one word, its meaning, how it is perceived, the way it is understood and all such things and... I chose nothing. To put it in a nutshell, I am going to dig deep into nothing and find out something about nothing.

Nothing, as I see it, is a sense of emptiness. It cannot be defined. It is just the absense of everything. Just as Albert Einstein said, cold is the absense of heat, dark is the absense of light, nothing is the absense of everything. It is a void. Though nothing is actually nothing, it may take everything to acheive it. Try filling a room with absolutely nothing. Try thinking about nothing except nothing. All day long, try doing nothing... It is so difficult to acheive, though it is nothing. But in our daily lives we choose to think nothing as the absense of not everything but something and that something is so commonplace that we regard it as nothing. Think of it, how many times do we use nothing when we actually mean nothing and how many times otherwise? We also try to use nothing as an excuse when information security is needed. I don't know how many thousands of times I've heard this conversation: What are you doing? Nothing! Many a times the answer given, nothing, itself is sufficient to convey to the person that you were doing something. The human brain, on an intuitive level itself, seems to know that we can't do nothing. Well, I end my odyssey into nothing here as I have nothing else to say. May be next time I will talk about something...

P.S: I made you read so much about nothing and I hope, for the first time in your life, you don't regret it!

P.P.S: Time could be usefully spent on nothing too, after all!

P.P.P.S: Hmmm... Nothing!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

From Kalyan to Kanjurmarg in a 0615 local!

Bombay, the maximum city... The city of innumerable dreams, immense possibilities, unlimited growth and an uncountable population! The same city that on one side gives space for numerous dreams to unfold, on the other side becomes more congested than ever. There is only one way left for Bombay to grow - skywards, that is! So what keeps this unimaginably huge city moving? It is its famed local trains. Here is a small episode from that never ending journey of wheels, a small dedication from me to the lifeline of Bombay...

This blog will strike a chord in a hearts of few and terror in the hearts of few others! Yup, traveling in Bombay by the local train (henceforth referred as local) is a very nighmarish nightmare. Discovery channel says the train coaches in India are designed to carry 1500 people at a time. Although, during peak hours Bombay locals carry more than 4000 in a single coach! Hold on, this is not some optimization concept or fail safe testing but a helpless situation. If you have to come to send off someone, you better stay as far away as possible from the tracks. Otherwise you will be ushered into the train by the enthusiastic(!) junta. If unfortunately two trains come simultaneouly on both sides of the platform, its a high probability that you will find yourself on one of those trains. We recommend carrying an extra minimum travel ticket. Just in case. You also have the option of standing on the foot bridge itself and waving to your dear ones. Just to be safe. But neither will you know where they are nor will they know who is waving to them! But that is a different issue altogether, and let us not get in to it. So much said, now get ready to take an exciting ride from Kalyan to Kanjurmarg in a 0615 local!

The scene is set when I was returning to NITIE from home after vacations. My train had 3 stops in Mumbai - Kalyan, Dadar and CST, in that order. To reach NITIE from any of those stations I had 2 options. 1. Take  a local to the nearest station and travel by auto for the remaining part 2. Take an auto all the way. Part of my biography reads four glorious years at Chennai. So local trains are not at all novel to me and I decided to take option 1. Moreover only option 1 does justice to what I call myself, an explorer. Both my engineering and managerial brains agreed that I have to get down at Kalyan. Thats because Kalyan is a terminus I can easily get a seat on a train. Also I will have to come back along the same track if I go to Dadar. So I got down at Kalyan and waited for the train that will take me to Kanjurmarg, the nearest station to NITIE. FYI the time was 6.00 am.

And slowly came an empty train. But, how the hell? Before I could pick my luggage all the seats were occupied and by the time I got on to a compartment, it was full. I had to make myself comfortable(!) near the doors of the compartment. That was the only empty space available :(  It was an early morning train and it had to be free. So I asked a fellow passenger, 'is it always this crowded?' He replied, 'ya, this train will mostly be this free' OMG... :O All I could do was utter under my breath, WTF! Yeah, there I was standing in a train, at the starting station, at 6 am, so crowded that I couldn't even move properly! Can it get any better? Actually it did. I had already worked out when Kanjur will come(Thanks to Google!) and so I was a little bit happy. Some time later my fellow passenger asked me where I need to get down. When he heard Kanjur he said, 'Kanjur is just 2 stations away. You got luggage, you better start moving. Or you won't be able to get down.' Are you kidding me? I am 22 years old. How long is it going to take me to move from one end of the compartment to another, huh? Unfortunately he was right and fortunately I could get down at Kanjur with all my luggage intact and laptop in single piece. They say an experience is worth a hundred lessons. The lesson for me that day? Read epilogue  :)

Traveling in Mumbai, especially by local trains, is neither a science nor an art. Its a war! And you, learn from my mistake!

Post epilogue:
Of all the 24 hours available in a day I chose to write this blog at 4 am. Yeah my biological clock has gone haywire. Nowadays it seldom shows sleep. I am not just another insomniac. I have become an insomaniac! More about insomania in the next post. Stay tuned... 
Its me signing off, ladies and gentlemen. Good night. Or should I say good morning? Whatever... :)