Saturday, October 25, 2014

Baar Baar Dekho

Location: IIM Trichy
Time: 5:30 am

Like a big mountain, lay a big creature deep in slumber, at times tossing and turning uneasily. The silence of the night was broken in between by sounds which resembled those coming from a 15 HP water pump, which were actually small intervals of rhythmic snores emanating from the creature. Then suddenly like a beast possessed, Dekho half woke up on his bed, still in his sleepy stupor. Without a moment's pause, he investigated his bed and looked to be searching for something very frantically on his bed. After a few minutes of excavating through heaps of bed sheets, covers and pillows that had covered him till then, Dekho finally found what he wanted.
His lungi!
It was a dark blue chequered lungi that had 'slipped away' just like every night, for Dekho was still a novice in draping it. Dekho looked pissed as he gathered the garment. It had become a real nuisance. Poor classes, utterly give-up students, bad syllabus - He had appropriately equipped himself to deal with all of that and better than most other professors. But, betrayal by the lungi - No! It was one issue which he helplessly grappled with despite spending more than a year in the vast IIM Trichy campus.
Dekho got up from his bed, wrapped the lungi around, folding it Tam-style and proceeded to his table. He then played his latest favourite on youtube as his mind flashed back to where it all had begun - His last days on the WIMWI campus in the dorm, a tear rolling down his cheek.

Dekho's last week at WIMWI - Dorm 7th heaven

The fachchas (juniors) and tuchchas (seniors) had taken to Dekho like new-born infants to their caring mother. And true to the title of "Dorm Maa" given to him, he had looked after one and all without bias and discrimination. Being the sole one from the Harrappan times , he would talk to fahcchas about the days that came and went, legends that rose & fell. Very alluring to the fachchas were his impressive story-telling skills that kept them hooked for hours together.

" Wow, today he told us the dorm names of all the seniors who lived in Dorm 7 in the past 10 years. That too with complete CCCF ( Conceptual Clarity and Contextual Familiarity)." beamed a fachcha on the last day. He wanted himself to be named but had a disgusting enough dorm name not to be mentioned.

True that. From the days of yore, Dekho was a man apart. A sense of which you got when you entered the Room 704. A room which seemed more of a cacophony of the following:

- Management books coated with a film of 2 mm of dust,
- A table burdened with xerox copies of finance equations featuring the choicest Greek symbols + gadgets like the Kindle serving the purpose of paper-support.
- Ready to make food.

Talking of food, Dekho's love for food was unparalleled. Be it an unlimited thaali or the midnight buffet at the Marriott, Dekho had beaten zomato at its game. He has moved quite swiftly, sampling (devouring) food at every eatery in Ahmedabad.

" Today Dekho taught us how to extort a treat out of an old tuchcha " screamed a visibly excited fachcha delightfully high on VAT 69, as he held the bottle in a hand and a pizza piece in another.

But today, on the last day of Dekho on campus, the fachchas & tuchchas of Dorm 7 were a sad & forlorn lot. Their despondent and fallen faces said a thousand words. With heavy hearts, they knocked on the closed door of Room 704. After about 11 minutes came a now familiar yawn and then a reply.

" Kya Chahiye tum logon ko ( What the hell do you want?)?"   

" Dekho, we want toothpaste." said one of the fahcchas.

"Nahi hain, Baaju ke dorm se lo (I don't have it, Take it from the  next dorm)" said Dekho

"Dekho, mazak kar rahe the (Just kidding Dekho). Infact we are sad that you will be leaving us."

"Thats ok. Kaam ki baat karo. Where are you guys giving me a treat? Pride or Marriott? said Dekho.

"Treat-veat baad ki baat Dekho. Today's day will be celebrated as Dekho Divas or DD. And DD will be celebrated for years to come in the dorm.

 "Achcha? What are you gonna do in that?" asked a surprised Dekho

"We'll play the latest hit song on loop at least 30 times and lie on the bed doing nothing or gossip about a tuchchi/fachchi."

"Oh, I am impressed! My fachchas I place Dorm 7 and its customs in your able and secure hands before I take leave. Please ensure that they cross all threshholds of give-upness."

Just as Dekho prepared to leave, a visibly emotional fahccha came running to him and asked him with a heavy heart.

"Dekho, you have given us so much. 
Can you please give me back my maggi which I kept in the dorm microwave"

Friday, April 12, 2013

Getting 'Trip'py - The Goa Trip

Our exams finally ended in the 1st week of March signalling the end of the academic schedule of the PGP programme. A series of 'lasts' filled up the FB space - people ranting about their last exam, the last presentation, the last assignment etc. as they heaved a sigh of relief at having completed the course in one piece. 
Travel plans were on in full spree and herds of WIMWIians were disappearing in different directions. Some of the most preferred destinations being the northern part, the North-east and Goa.

It was Goa for the 5 of us - Menon, Tappu, Natty Boy, Veera and me, as we headed for the sun, sands and water.Although we had our doubts about making it to the station in time for the 9 am train (obviously having Natty in our ranks was not going to help), we did reach in time.

Poker time
The long arduous journey started as we got accustomed to the cool environs of the 3 AC. Very soon the Poker set was out and what followed was numerous hands, countless buy-ins as fortunes fluctuated. The co-passengers looked on with interest as if Vegas had descended on to Indian Railways.
We reached Margao station early morning the next day. 

The fast and the furious - Natty Boy:
One among the numerous hilarious ones of Natty
If ever there was an award for the fastest decision-making club co-ord of a IIM-A student club, Natty boy would surely not make the cut even if he were the only one in the race. One whom even a tortoise could give a run for his money, as most of us had exited the train at Margao with our belongings, we realized that something was amiss. Natty hadnt exited the train and it had started to move towards the shed. Later we realized that Natty was apparently attempting a clean-up job of ensuring that none of our poker chips and cards were left behind in the train. This was to mark the series of many an amusing incident in Goa and subsequently down south in the western ghats. Also, the cap of his was a trusted companion, on occasions the only piece of garment on his body, a sight which left Tappu praying that he rather had been blind.
(Infact, Natty was refused entry by one of the beach shack owners because she thought he was not adequately dressed and that had led to a few foreigners fleeing the shack)

Prime among Natty Boy's early morning actvities was to check his IIM-A mail account, quite studiously, for any mail with the subject "Sangharsh reimbursement ". Umpteen internet hours spread over 4 days, countless phone calls (to Akash Shroff which had made him a popular household name) and many messages later, Natty was still left in the lurch.
If it was not Akash Shroff or Sangharsh, it was Ashwin - the new Niche co-ord, who grabbed Natty's mindshare, since he had been entrusted with the task of managing sponsorship funds (minus the spoils shared by Natty & Tappu).
And if it wasnt either of the above, it was good ol' wikipedia. For, Natty boy's German visa interview was a week away and Natty's romance for German cities, German football clubs and coaches, German beer and cuisine and the Nazis was bordering on fanaticism. We even had mock-visa interviews to simulate the atmosphere at the German Consulate, an attempt in which Natty failed miserably.
Colva - Vellankanni Hotels

So started our hunt for anything and everything cheap and wallet-friendly - the cheapest hotel, the cheapest and value-for-money eateries, the cheapest rentals for car and bike. Being off-season, our negotiation skills were not tested much as the the 2 hotels we stayed in  - First near Colva Beach and subsequently near Anjuna Beach, did not exceed a measly Rs 300 per person.

Anjuna - Poonam resort

The wounded tiger - Gokari
Unfortunately the 'wound' aint visible here
Each day started at 10 am for us except for Gokari (Our companion in the Goa trip who joined us late) who would wake up an hour early to follow a regular wound-dressing ritual like a wounded soldier. Technically it was not a wound, but a minor scratch sustained whle playing in the waters at Varca White-sand Beach. The sight of blood from it freaked him out enough for him to jump out of the water and ask the lifeguard for some first-aid. The lifeguard looked at Gokari as if he has just asked him the history of Goa. We deduced that perhaps this was the first inury in his life thus far. Below is the daily wound-tending sequence followed by Gokari with religious frequency:

Washing with water (10 min) ------  Scrub with Dettol (15 min) -----  Apply Soframycin (5 min) 

---------- Check if quantity is enough by running fingers on wound ----- Not be satisfied with it 

and re-apply more Sofra (5 min) ----- Stick a Band-aid on it and cover it with another band-aid 

to seal it and make it compleetly air-tight

This exercise was repeated a mnimum of 2 times a day. On occasions during the travel, the water was substituted by mineral water much to the agony of onlookers like us.

Khatron ka Khiladi- Tappu

In course of our 4-day Goa tourney, Tappu doubled up as car-driver. An epitome of dare-devilry and adventurism normally associated with Bollywood stuntmen, he would always take the toughest, the least-travelled and the most dangerous route as if it were a mundane experiment for him. A perfect example of this was our trek downward from the top of Vagator fort. Conventional wisdom and straght thinking would have told us to go the same safe way we had come from. But Tappu wasn't going to have any of that. He was hell-bent on taking us along with him on the steep descent downward (which was leading to nowhere), a plan which made Gokari flee for cover citing his still fresh wound. Although we finally made it to the beach in one piece, it was just a sign of what was to come in the later part of our tourney. As evident from the pic above, he is quite adept at striking visionary poses. His valiant attempt to retrieve the bat from the speeding train (completely ignoring Natty boy sitting inside) will be remembered.

The leader - Menon
Danger: Consultant at work
If ever there was any doubt regarding his consultant skills, Menon dispelled those with steadfastness. Armed with a laptop, at the end of each day, he would play with spreadsheets to ensure no one went scot-free in terms of the moolah to be paid. He protected and cradled the love of his life - "His Fast-track Shades", wherever we went. A stickler for good sea-food, he would touch upon each fish-item which existed on the restaurant's menu card while ordering, only to settle for a non-veg thali in the end.

Charlie - Veera
Veera played an important role in the group, as the the official butt (along wth Gokari) of most jokes.
He would himself at the receiving end of the obvious "Charlie" remarks. Most of these would be met by him with a timid 'LOL', a sign that he was more internet/chat savy than us. We instantly adopted the chat lingo like lmao, roflmao etc for ease of communicaton with Veera. We would constantly fnd him busy wth his cell phone, occasionally smiling away. At frst we had discounted it as his regular interactions with one/all of the angels. But later did we realize that he was sending promiscuous messages to a guy on campus and that sparks were flying thick and fast.
Veera's alleged hydrophobia ensured that he kept watch on our belongings on the beaches while we were inside the water. Infact one one such occasion on Varca beach, he made himself at home in the lone shack on a bottle-emptying spree to run a huge bill.

Our 4-day intinerary in Goa was as follows:

South Goa:   \
Varca "White Sand" Beach
Day 1: Velankanni resort + A rented car and bikColva
Varca Beach - was a delight to the eyes since it appeared a virgin white sand beach completely uninhabitated by Indians (except for the owners of the lone shack). Firangs where having a ball here and it just did not seem like India.
Palolem Beach - The kayaking in the middle of the sea was a mind-blowing experience, not to mention our numerous failed attempts with the kayal falling over us and we consuming gallons of water in the process.
Enroute to Palolem

Day 2: Same resort and same rented vehicles
     Dudhsagar waterfalls (which included a completely misguided de-tour for me and Menon wherein we came across "Welcome to Karnataka" boards)


North Goa:

Day 3: The morning when we checked out and changed 2 buses and a cab to reach the Anjuna Beach road to find a lovely resort-type hotel in the most unlikeliest of places, ust a minute away from the beach. The spic-n-span hotel called Poonam resort with a lovely swimming pool and a restaurant by the poolside and a big spacous room for all of us. Needless to say it was heaven !

We had covered Anjuna , Vagator fort (Where we had a mini-trek to the top of the forts to the much-vaunted Dil Chahtha Hain point. The crazy vagabonds that we were, we choose a much steeper descent which led us down to a shack on the beach directly.)

Day 4: We packed from the hotel and reached Calangute and had our share of water-sport fun.

By late-night we experienced the inevitable - bumped into 2 groups from IIM-A, one on the Calangute beach and the other on the Margao station. No damage was done.

And that night off we were on our way to Mangalore, in Sleeper Class I must add. So began the 2nd part of our exiting journey, down south as we treked in the western Ghats.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Crorepati Sympathy

“ 16 lakhs!! That’s it???”  growled Changu’s father, jumping from his chair like a rebounding spring, as he heard the news of his son’s salary package on joining an unknown Company named GUI Soutions. 

“ Shame on you!! I must be damned that my son will be earning a mere 16 lakhs as a starting salary. Kumar has invited us for his daughter’s marriage reception on the 24th of the month. I will cut a sorry figure before the guests when they come to know that a graduate from IIM-Z earns so less.”

“ But dad…” Changu tried in vain to reason, clutching his Galaxy tight to his ear. His father would not relent.

“ Changu beta, it’s me” His mother had just snatched the phone from his father in the nick of time. There is something about mothers and their expertise in rescue missions.

“I will talk to your father. Don’t worry too much. We will see you soon at the convocation. Bye beta and take care of your health.” Mom was at her consoling best.

Changu’s dad was still blowing hot. She sat beside him and tried soothing him.

“ Suno ji. Please leave it. So what if it is just a 16 lakh salary package.  How mad will you be at him? After all he is our son. I am sure he will do better than this in the coming days and get a decent pay.”

Her words seem to have the desired effect as Changu’s father mellowed down like a spent volcano.

“Its 2016 now. For the past 5 years I have read enough about the salaries of IIM kids not being less than a crore. And here your spoilt ‘saabzaadaa’ comes up with peanuts as pay. Hope the almighty pumps some sense into his head. Is this why we let him go to an IIM?? I don’t know.”
 He said with a resigned sigh, as if someone had just stolen his credit card.

Changu’s father had given up. He was referring to the newspaper daily which had just come up with its annual special of the season - a column dedicated to IIM grads and their pay packages, for the 5th time in a row. Reading it had rendered his morning tea tasteless, especially when seen in light of his son’s ‘mediocre’ placement exploits.

Changu hung up, rather depressed from the call. He remembered the year when had graduated from IIT-Y in 2014. Like many of his star-struck (and dollar-struck) class-mates and 5 lakh other aspirants, he had given the online CAT and aced it to perfection. From among the plethora of coveted IIM calls, he had converted IIM-Z. How happy was he then!

A few months down the line, he realized that things were not as rosy as they seemed or were portrayed. To him it seemed as if he was caught in a whirpool of sorts; everyone was good at everything and most importantly better than him. Amidst all this, he had been fortunate enough to secure a job at the fag end of the placements in a infra company. He cursed himself for having rejected his graduation offer to come to this damned place. But life was without a Ctrl+Z as much as he wished it to be.
A few months later, it was convocation time. Friendship hugs, exchanging promises to be in touch till the last breath and final photography sessions were the flavor of the day for the graduating students. Changu bid a tearful farewell to his friends and proceeded for a full month’s rest before he joined his new workplace.

The evening of 24th – At the wedding reception
It was a simple wedding reception spread over one of the well-lit lawns in city. There was a generous sprinkling of guests, which included Changu’s family.  Changu’s father was at his bonding best.

“So this is your son from the great IIM-Z, is it?. Got placed?” said a man who was artificially beaming. It was a rhetorical question, the one which would serve the purpose of a conversation-starter.

“Yes Khanna-saab, my son. He is already placed with…er..beta, what is the company name?” Changu’s father turned to him.

“ GUI Solutions..’Give-up Infra Solutions’ uncle.”  Said Changu hesitantly.

“Ok good good. (Pauses) Its ok, don’t worry. You can do well and earn well.” said Mr.Khanna with a pat, as if Changu was crying inconsolably. Then he continued.

“By the way, have you heard of Karan’s daughter, she was also in some IIM and now earns about 40 lakhs. She works for a bank he said. The girls earn a lot these days.

Changu’s father shot a scornful “You loser” look at Changu, hell-bent on giving him a sharp dressing down later.

After the dinner, on the way back, Changu and his father had a quick one-n-one.

Father: “ Saw that? You should see and learn. She got a finance job and not some cheap infra thing. Its time that you grew up, earned and took responsibility”.
Changu instantly felt like a 5th grade kid being taken apart by his father for an abysmal report card. 

Changu: “Dad. You do not know much about the placement process and the companies. And anyways most of them want girls and are focused on it.”

Father: “I know everything. You must have fallen in bad company while in college. Do not give excuses to cover up for your incompetence. That girl got admission into 1 among the top 3 IIMs in country. I saw the rankings of the college in the same paper which has the 1 crore news.”

Changu: (rebelling silently) “That’s because she is a girl. She gets extra points for being one. I never got any for being a guy. All I get is taunts”

Father: “Enough!! No need to whine like a sexist loser. When someone is doing better than you, you should acknowledge, learn & improve and not badmouth people, especially the girls. It’s your mother’s mistake, I always wanted a girl and then you happened. They do much better than you boys do, like in the board exams.”

Changu realized that the conversation had the potential of being a all-nighter unless he stopped responding to his father.
 He looked away with a slight smile, quite amused at the final comment, a rather loose one referred to the board exams.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

CPeaking & WIMWI

Hi all,

Please find below the link to my article for an MBA site.
A humorous take on the famed class participation process @ WIMWI.

CPeaking & WIMWI

Happy reading!



Friday, March 16, 2012

Its that time of the year


Yet another article of mine, a funny take on the 'prep months' after the CAT/XAT results are out and the B-schools come up with the GD-PI shortlists

A few things you could relate to

Read on



Friday, February 17, 2012

Sham's Dilemma

It was a chilly January morning and Sham was on her desk, her head resting on the keypad of her lappie, her pen acting as a lollipop. She had not realized that she had dozed off mid-way while working . She woke up with a start, feeling disgusted and scrached her head in the serious thought which had troubled her the previous night long. She could not figure out how to rank the 2 of her crucial choices in life or rather which one to choose and which to eliminate. None of the frameworks that she had learnt or put to use earlier seemed to get her anywhere in this case. Infact, the more she tried to structure her own case, the more she was caught in a cobweb of confusion. She was mentally tired, more than she had ever been even after puting a few CPs in SM class. Exhausted she put down her pen and strolled to the window pondering over what she wanted from life and which of the options would benefit her more in the longer run. Was it Mohta or Seetharam?

Sham hailed from tinseltown mumbai. Graduating from a top-notch chemical college in the Mumbai university in the summer of 2011, she was armed with the serious intent of making it big in the management world. She made her way to the PGP-ABM programme of WIMWI  in the same year. and excelled consisently in course of her post-graduation journey.
Her bespectacled, scholarly look gave her the aura of a researcher and intellectual. She was the nucleus around which her whole group bonded despite their supposed 'give-up'ness in her presence. Her frequent bouts of CP (excelling at the last-minute CPs ) in the class reinforced her image and it also meant that she had multiple fans. Although she was not overtly worried about how people perceived her in the current scheme of things, her value had risen manifold in the 'juice' stakes and she was slowly and steadily climbing up the popularity charts. Refer exhibits

                                                                   Juice share %

Juice share of people to Sham (%)

Prime among her admirers were Mohta and Seetharam, both of whom were in close proximity to her.

Mohta's life, unlike many others at WIMWI, spanned geographies. He hailed from a NSWTWI ** called Kota which had recently acquired geographical identification for IIT-JEE coaching classes and institutes. He had then moved to Bangkok city where he worked as a waiter and a part-time chef to support and sustain himself. He suppressed the urge to learn martial arts for fear of being mistaken for Akshay Kumar. He wanted to differentiate himself and not get into an identity crisis. He took to studious ways, cracked the JEE and went to the hallowed portals of IIT-M. After graduating and then quitting his million-dollar job in India, he got into the much-celebrated PGP programme of WIMWI. As someone who specialized in the art of peace-putting, he was a wonder, raking in grades with ease. As an icing on the cake, he had bagged himself a summers in GS thus becoming an icon of capitalism and mateiralism. He believed this would fulfill his dream of becoming filthy rich and bathing in dollars. Exhibit below.  His study-group mates, Yakku and Tandon were his right and left hands respectively.

(** NSWTWI - Not so well-known town in western india)

              Motha's (overdressed) caricature


Although Mohta was a front-runner in the quest for Sham, there was seriously tough competition lurking close to him in the form of Seetharam. A resident of Chennai, Seetharam was bred not just on sambar, coconut chutney, idli, dosai or curd rice or hero-dominated Kollywood films and Rajni worship. And he had achieved a lot more in life than negotiating with the Chennai rickhshaw-drivers. He was a top-ranker from GEC and a high-achiever in his own right having tasted success in all forms. His quizzing skills were unmatched till date. He too had foregone a high-paying job to get into WIMWI. A cynosure of most eyes in the WTF*** in WIMWI, he had achieved the unbeatable distinction of being a part of 6 coveted clubs. Refer Exhibit below.

           Seetharam's active clubs

This was a record considered in the same league has sachin's 100th ton. He was also the front-runner for the post of WTF president. Unlike Mohta, he did not care much for monetary benefits. He was an idol of conservatism and self-restraint much like a sage. Infact no one even noticed that he had bagged a summer internship with a consult firm, one among the Big 4.

(*** WTF - WIMWI Tamil Federation)

Sham had pulled out the research work done on Mohta earlier by her Dorm 3 mate. It had a graph which zoomed upwards with time on the X axis and networth (price) on the Y-axis. The graph seemed to break through the chart. Sham's eyes instantly reflected $ signs and she instantly took a liking to Mohta. But she reminded herself that money wasnt everything and continued reading further. On one side was a photo of Mohta instructing people on how to build the opening formation for T-nite.

                                                                 Mohta's Networth rise ($) from Day1

Add caption

She then picked up the 2nd report, a result of a research work done by yet another Dorm mate on Seetharam. It had a pic of Seetharam with his trademark stubble, with a Blender's pride in hand at Pondicherry, addressing a group of people which appeared more like a new political party . The next page depicted all of his past and present achievements. Sham was amazed by the wide array of talents the man possessed.

On counts of fashion and looks, there was little to choose. The striped shorts were also similar in quality.

Their segments were different ; Motha catered to the upper echelons and the who's who of WIMWI, while Seetharam was a man for the masses.

Sham had to make a decision on whom to choose and along with it the segmentation. Competition was fast catching up, and that too in her own backyard ( Dorm 3). Exhibit below has a poll among Dorm 3 inmates and their responses. which made Sham even more nervous.

     Excerpts from a Dorm-3 inmate poll and an ousider comment on their most-wanted man

Sham realized time was running out. She had to do something. She had to choose.

Q.1) Please take charge and suggest a suitable strategy for Sham to decide.
Q,2) Depict your framework.

This case has been written keeping in mind the larger interests of the WIMWI junta so that they can understand strategy much better in seemingly give-up situations. Resemblance to any living creature (within WIMWI) is much more than a matter of coincidence.  No animals were harmed in the creation of this case. This case does not emphasize on correct or incorrect way of handling strategic decisions. (I am sure this case isnt worth a copyright. Peace..)