Saturday, December 01, 2007

Lucknow dude at INDEX



Some jerk who turned up at our INDEX fair. And was dancing like a nutcase. To understand the context, please imagine that these same dance movements were replicated across all songs - including Allah ke Bande, Yaaron (KK) and Maaeri (Euphoria). I'd have loved to call him up on stage, but then...you shouldn't make fun of people :)

Enjoy the show!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

INDEX 2007 - Teams



Monday, October 29, 2007

The King of Pop

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Disgusting Consumer Behaviour

Tons of theory exists in the world about Marketing. Some of it is goes into the mindset of the shoppers. A few articles also reveal peculiar nuances about how a consumer reacts to his surroundings. But what I am deeply disturbed by is a consumer's Picking Behaviour.

If this was an occasional incident one could have even ignored it. But some people really start believing that they are problem-solving. Ooohh...Thats gotten a bit awkward. Things were fine a few centuries ago, when casual behaviour was pardoned in general, and those really creating a nuisance doing what they did were beheaded. But now with all the legalistic crap, there are rules about public and private spaces. And consumers really have a go at it when they think no one is looking. A bit of variety seeking in an otherwise mundane life eh? But sadly, everyone knows what they are up to. Thankully, there is no sub-contracting happening here. Would you really like to have a go at what I do ? Ha ha...I thought so.

People form some heuristics about how they are going to attempt it. Most of you will be appalled if I dwelve into the intricate techniques, so I'll not explain them. Now let us earn those extra marks for this analysis by exploring the item's utlity levels. Does the final outcome of the process have any possession utility ? Definitely not. The consumer disposes it off in less than 3 seconds. How about a bit of that place utility ? Well, there's none of that too. And I am sure you don't have any confusion about the time utility - anytime, anywhere!

We reach the bottom-pits when aam junta starts believing that they have a strategy about this. That maybe a push or a pull is really going to benefit them. We can conclude by agreeing that this is definitely the most disgusting consumer behaviour.

A simple advice: 'Just let your nose be'.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Street Cricket - Chintu's Story


[from the archives]

Sure- Every parent in India gleams with pleasure when his child/children actively join the game of Street Cricket in the evenings:

Rakesh.Akaash.Sameer.Siddharth.Chintu.Jaspreet. Standard Indian Baccha Party. Each, a master of his domain : Siddharth - with his super-off-spin ball ; Sameer - fast bowling ; Rakesh - with his brand new bat which he lends to people who make him captain ; Jaspreet - whose Mummy provided the elixir of life -- water.

In the middle of all these guru's, we tend to ignore the poor guy Chintu, for whom the two hours of cricket is an ordeal – every single day. As a victim of this forced activity right from Class 5 to Class 11, I know what goes on in the heart of all the Chintus of India. It’s not easy, I know. I will try to invoke the heart-wrenching details of the cruelty imposed by society.

My question to the world is- why does everyone have to like cricket? Where is the world where a child could freely shout - I HATE THIS STUPID GAME ! For the girls who were content playing "Stappu" during their school days, and for the parents who have inadvertently contributed their part in this cruelty, here's a short summary. Before that, a refresher of the words that will echo to them from decades away:

Batting - The most coveted activity of the three. Usually, the neighborhood seniority or brute power determines who gets to bat first. That’s politics - at its elementary level.

Bowling - The alternative to the dreaded act of fielding. The funkier actions you do with the ball, the more respectable position you obtain in the hierarchy. These may include :

  1. Spinning the ball on the fingertips aka Kumble.
  2. Doing invisible tampering with the ball behind your back.
  3. Missing the wickets by metres, credited to that awe-inspiring spin.
  4. Bowling in the opposite direction is excusable, if you demonstrate Step b.

White Ball- This means a wide ball. No new player since 1982 actually knows what "White" actually means. It’s a lingo handed down from generation to generation, frozen in its form. This is akin to the "Ice-Spice" shout which a kid screams out when he seeks someone in the game of Chuppan-Chuppai (or Hide and Seek). It took me a while to realize that he actually means - 'I spy’.

Umpire - The MAN. The KING .The one who uses his wisdom to uphold the virtue of the game. Of course, at any time, one team is always unhappy with his decision which usually can and is repudiated by any of the powerful members (not the chintus ). No one sits around being the umpire. He is usually a man from the batting team and his moral values are straight as noodles. Hence, a simple "Tereko mein dekh loonga saale" from the hulk of the team dictates whether the decision will be reversed..

Feeelding - The lowest duty in the hierarchy. Meant for recruits, destitutes and those who have not contributed to the cricketing equipment. It is irrelevant whether you are doing a good job or not. You are fielding, period. It is demeaning for the stronger team members, hence, it is always the chintus who are sweating in the sun, while the godfathers stand under the tree and boss around.

No Ball-Dead Ball-Furraaa- Vague terms to count out all the balls that did not reach the batsman, usually bowled by Chintus.

Baby Over -A concept truly Indian. It was definitely invented by the stronger guys of the team who realized that it was too expensive to allow a ‘Chintu’ to bowl half a dozen balls which could prove fatal to the team. Hence, the Chintu's bowl only 3 balls after which a kingpins take over. No hard feelings. I wonder who came up with the remarkable, but terribly demeaning prefix "baby"...

One Tip One Hand -Another truly Indian concept. It was definitely invented for whole team of Chintus who couldn’t possibly catch balls. So a 'catch' was legalized, if the ball was allowed to bounce once, and then caught with a single hand. Hence the term.

Team divison is usually done by "Tip-Top". It is too complicated to explain. So I'll assume you know about it. As the team captains pick and choose players, the chintus move around trying to catch the attention of the captains. It makes no difference. The chintus (might be more than one in number) are the last ones to get selected. The captain sizes up the chintus, sighs and moves away with a regretful expressions as chintu prepares himself for the next struggle :

mujhe batting milegi kya ?

The answer is no. Plain NO. Giving batting to the Chintus is unheard of. Of course, if due to some unfortunate actions, the batting order (of 2-3players) collapses, and Chintu does get a chance, he doesn’t last long. How can he, with his low experience and poor skills ?

Oh...Did I describe the wicket itself ? Only about 1 in 40 teams of India are fortunate to have real wickets. Usually its some Sharma Uncle ka Ghar where 4 lines are mercilessly drawn on the wall / garage. The height of the wicket is as debatable as the "white ball". Again, decisions are made by an active jury and not by the Umpire.

As the other team gets ready to bat and follow on, Team 1 plans its strategy. Chintus are at this stage divided into two types - The idiots who are loyal and ready to sit in the sun for a baby over, and the hopeless cases who can't even field properly. By my personal experience, it is always better to be the latter. With a little bit of whining, you can always get your baby over. Why toil in the sun for it?

Every street corner has its own set of rules about scoring -

Jhaadi ke paar - 2 runs ; Road ke paar - 4 runs ; Roof Top - out...

Of course, the rules and regulations were too much for me to handle. Add to that my pathetic performance in all 3 aspects of the game. It took me full 6 years to realize that I was truly bad at the game. Nothing wrong with it, or with the world, or with my peers.

Hence, on the day of June 3 2001, exactly 3 years back I put my foot down and said - "I choose not to play cricket anymore". I rose above all the peer pressures of the world and decided to take part in things that interested me. And not do things, just because I have to.

Of course, soon IIT happened and it has brought along another horror package for me (called Water polo). Its worse. I am wet. I am exposed. I am barely protected by my swimming trunks. I have a guy bulging with muscles, 2 feet away and ready to pound me. It’s an ordeal just to be afloat...But that’s another sweet story...Maybe some other time...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Harry Potter 7

Warning: spoilers, ending and lot of cribbing in the post.

I am not going to complain of the excessive length of the book.
I am not going to whine about the gruesome markup on the book.

The final sour flavour in my brain was spurred by not the collective bunch of chapters in the beginning, but by the last chapter titled "Nineteen Years Later"
Why would an ardent or a mild Harry Potter fan want to visualize his teen chum as an aged father with 3 kids cheesily christened Albus, James and Lily? (If Suhaib's analysis holds true, then Rowling definitely ran out of new names!)

I'd like to draw an unfortunate but strong analogy to Karan Johar's movie "Kal Ho Na Ho". Remember the scene after the long drawn out death of Shah Rukh Khan (Die! Die! Die!). You'd be led to think that the end has arrived (Yes! I can move to the red exit now). And suddenly, this comical caricature of Saif Ali Khan, this white haired buffoon rubs cheek to cheek with an equally dumb old woman Priety Zinta. And your brain screams - No! I did not want to see that!

The dramatic ending of the book - slaying of Voldemort, everyone cheerful, fat giants leaping with joy, Dumbledore's speech from a photoframe (wasn't he dead?) and all other little nuances are wiped out with 3 pages of unnecessary clutter. And like a Hindi movie script, Rowling rams the fact that Hermione and Roy ka chakkar chal raha tha. I get you! There is adequate representation of main characters, clutter of little goody-too-shoes like Neville and of course, Draco had to sprout kids too. Fine. I get it. There is a whole new bunch of Hogwart morons.

Is this a devious plot to create another series?
I hope not.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tejvir wonders...

All non MBA/ To-be-MBA's might not appreciate the great finance-marketing divide. For all other spirited managers:

"Ye Fin waale log rote rehte hain. Market up to problem. Market down to problem. Apna kya hai...saabun hi to bechna hai. Log nahaana chodne se to rahe..." - Tejvir Singh (IIML Batch 2008)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Deloitte Series II : Being a Managerial Bastard

Deloitte is a great organization - promoting selflessness and love . I am neither an apt spokesperson for the cause nor a participant. You can check out the activities here. Instead, I am going to relate an exciting tale about how I wriggled out of the whole thing - manager isshtyle.

Do not be misled by the apathy I exude. Deloitte sports many employees/interns who are just waiting to help the poor and entertain the mother-in-laws. Did I type that incorrectly ? No. not really. For Mothers Day, the office had decided to organize an event called 'bring your family to the office'. The female employees were encouraged to bring along their husband, children, mother-in-laws, and the neighbours too. The tagline was previously going to be 'its all about loving your family' . But that would have prompted Karan Johar to appear in a pink shirt and host the show. Hence, Deloitte decided to switch to the former one.

About a fortnight prior to the event, an enthusiastic intern (lets call her Neha for anonymity) called a small meeting and pitched how we could contribute to the event- handling the logistics, being the master of ceremony, touring the office with the visitors and a few more exciting avenues. Being a slimy creature, I decided not to refuse upfront. The internal instant messenger would do the dirty deed.

The next morning, I composed my thoughts in my head and proceeded to type it out - manager isshtyle.

me: Hey Neha...about the Mothers Day event, I don't think I'll be able to contribute to the full extent. I am planning to make a trip to Chennai over the weekend and considering the timeline of preparations, assigning me to any of the crucial activities like logistics can only be a setback to the event. Hence, I think it would be wise if I restricted my participation to the extent possible where I can effectively contribute without being a liability.

Neha: (undeterred) Hey arvind...that's ok. You'll still be available on the day of the event right ? You can help out then.

me: Yes. that is a good idea. BUT, I think it would be best if you consider me as a fielder (as I am in my real life) who is so far away from the action that his absence/presence makes no difference to the outcome. Otherwise, I am ready to contribute in any way possible.

Neha: oh...

I sensed some disappointment in those two letters. I thought I'll top up my offer with another harmless pitch. I was anyway leaving for the station on the same day. There couldn't be much work that would come my way.

me: Hey...if there is any meeting / brainstorming session where I can contribute, I'll be happy to offer my ideas.

Neha: thats great...we have a meeting in another 15min. You can make it right ?

(stumped)

me: Oh what do you know...I have another meeting at the same time. You go ahead. I'll try my level best to attend the next one and contribute to the best extent possible.....

Somehow, I never got a response to that. I thought I had handled the situation with great tact and diplomacy.

Nowadays, I get a mixture of a frown, silence and indifference from Neha. Nevertheless, I respond with a nice smile..after all, Its all about loving your (deloitte) family.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Quarter Life Crisis

Picked this up from Srinath's blog. Yes. He hasn't composed it. Neither have I. But it's worth a read.

It is when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing that there are many things about yourself that you didn't know and may not like. You start feeling insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are now.

You start realizing that people are selfish and that, maybe, those friends that you thought you were so close to aren't exactly the greatest people you have ever met, and the people you have lost touch with are some of the most important ones. What you don't recognize is that they are realizing that too, and aren't really cold, catty, mean or insincere, but that they are as confused as you.

You look at your job; and it is not even close to what you thought you would be doing, or maybe you are looking for a job and realizing that you are going to have to start at the bottom and that scares you.

Your opinions have gotten stronger. You see what others are doing and find yourself judging more than usual because suddenly you realize that you have certain boundaries in your life and are constantly adding things to your list of what is acceptable and what isn't. One minute, you are insecure and then the next, secure.

You laugh and cry with the greatest force of your life. You feel alone and scared and confused. Suddenly, change is the enemy and you try and cling on to the past with dear life, but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away, and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward.

You get your heart broken and wonder how someone you loved could do such damage to you. Or you lie in bed and wonder why you can't meet anyone decent enough that you want to get to know better. Or maybe you love someone but love someone else too and cannot figure out why you're doing this because you know that you aren't a bad person. One night stands and random hook ups start to look cheap. Getting wasted and acting like an idiot starts to look pathetic. You go through the same emotions and questions over and over, and talk with your friends about the same topics because you cannot seem to make a decision. You worry about loans, money, the future and making a life for yourself... and while winning the race would be great, right now you'd just like to be a contender.

We call it the "Quarter-life Crisis."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Deloitte Series - I

There are quite a few things that have surprised me here at Deloitte.
It was the shiny floors that first flattered me.
Then it was the friendly atmosphere and the supportive colleagues (boss are you listening!)
Then it was the free coffee.
I thought life was going to be bliss.
Then I came across this row of delinquent water taps. Look at these things! Can you imagine suffering attitude from a silvery 'Made in China' crap ?









I think being snubbed by a sink tap is biggest IT Insult ever. Think about it. If its a shiny Lenovo laptop denying you access to worldly databases, fine - I can live with that. There are more transistors on that chip than hair on my head. When an ATM spits out my card refusing to give me money, I don't take it too well. But still, its a money-making machine. I have to respect that. But to be mocked at by these creatures ! Oh the shame, the shame! You can be sure Information Technology is numero uno when it entrenches all the little aspects of your life. When I wave my hands around that machine, wishing it would spout water, I know computers have finally gained control. The ultimate depressant/irritant in life is a tap with a stiff upper outlet.
Somedays I lie in bed wondering about my failures in life. What did I do wrong to institage those red chips ? Why has an army of sink taps turned against me ? I squrim every time these machines refuse to pour out water, while the Sudakshinas and Amritas jeer at me (at least I think they do).

Why must chinese dragon computers get to decide the fate of my soiled hands?Is there any scope for fake rebellion and retro bathroom fittings?

Note: Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, a Swiss Verein, its member firms and their respective subsidiaries and affiliates. Neither Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu nor any of its member firms has any liability for such moronic opinions. Each of the member is a separate and independent legal entity and we can't believe that after living his life for 22 years this guy spends his time pondering about sinks.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Goodbye PGP21

Dear Seniors

I wish you the best for your future. I'd like to thank you for your love, support and:

1) One extra computer table
2) One chair
3) One can of olive oil
4) One cane shoe rack
5) Blank CDs

and for guiding us etc etc.

Monday, March 12, 2007

INDEX 2007



Get INDEXed for life.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Ugly Fish Story

Another masterpiece from Suhaib:

Fishes look cute. Fish tanks are also good things to have at home. Unless they happen to burst unexpectedly.

I was sitting alone at home one day and whoosh! That thing cracked and there was water all over the place. I looked around and there were dozens of fishes, flipping about frantically. I stood frozen for a few seconds,

I scooped whatever icky-disgusting live fish I could find from the floor and plopped them in the bucket of water. I think half died even before I could reach them. I checked the bucket in the end and half of them had conked off inside.

My cousins came back after a few hours. They looked at the poor catch I'd made from the home-pool of water. They wept. And I thought - hmm, maybe fishes aren't the right pet for me.

Friday, February 23, 2007

19/02/07

Dance like no one's watching. Dance like you don't care :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wherever you go, our network pain follows...

"Mobile Phones are not allowed beyond the staircase of PGP Block during the examination period. If any Mobile Phone is found with student, the same will be confiscated and the same will be considered an attempt to use unfair means."

And thus I am gifted 2 hours of bliss on every day of mid term examination.

For those post exam hours I can unaudaciously walk in the campus. I am de-linked. I am free from the guilt of not having my cellphone with me. Believe me, it's a burden worth dumping. Your cellphone weighs more than the average 100gm that Nokia claims. It carries innumerable reins stuffed up your nose (sorry, couldn't find a softer analogy). Anytime anyone wants to contact you, they just yank it. And you have to oblige....

Society Norms:

1. You can not swtich off your cellphone.
2. You pick up calls if you are not on another call.
3. You (bloody well) call back if you don't take a call immediately.

If wish there were more states for a mobile than ON or OFF.

Sure, SMSes wait for you. But they carry along a glowering expiry date.
Calls of course are quite impatient. They sulk if neglected.
You can only ignore them for a while, before they began taking offense.
Break these rules, and soon you become the guy who doesn't answer calls. And you definitely don't want that.

Call rates have dropped to affordable levels. So have the sensibilities of all owners. Given a choice, we'll always call up somebody rather than dropping the idea.

"Abe Kahaan hai tu ?"
"You coming ?"
"When will you have dinner ?"
"Had dinner ?"
"Having dinner ?"
"What's for dinner ?"

Small talk becomes pain talk. Plain talk becomes cellphone talk. And soon social groups have all people consistently talking to people not physically present in the picture.
Everyone is paying half attention.

I really think we....Ooh...just a second....tik tik tik tik tikk....tik tik...
Sorry. Had to SMS this friend.

As I was saying, the Airtels of India should allow people more cellphone states. Because we obnoxious Indians are surely not going to respect time and space. Maybe instead of having loud caller-tunes, the phones can play a message of yours explaing your current cellphone status. Or the contact list for all users can be appended with status messages (like e-messengers).

Wow, that almost sounds like a BPlan....

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bulk Deal

It's been 6 months since I bought the LENOVO laptop, along with 200 other IIML batchmates.
The "I" key came off about a month ago. I decided to act on it today.
I expected a decent looking service centre, if not a gleaming office.

I was first greeted by a pomerenian (A white fluffy looking dog, the ones that bite you) from the first floor of a residence.

Residence.
First Floor.
Pomerenian.
Bulk Deal of 200 laptops.

hmmm....

I entered the office.I was flooded with memories of my five month long stint at an architectural firm at Delhi. Everything from the little kitchen to the small setup seemed familiar. Then the phone rang.

INFRASTRUCTURE

All these offices also possess a high quality tele-communication system for which exactly ONE personnel is trained at the firm.

"ABE YE TRANSFER KAISE HOTA HAI ?"

"Flash button dabao, phir 26."

"KYA ?"

"FLASH BUTTON DABAO, PHIR 26."

The secretary habitually allowed the phone to loudly ring twice before interrupting it the third time. These conversations are never subdued. They are meant for all.

I waited.

Somehow the employee were not bothered by the ridiculous mind numbing ringtones - not one, not two, but four of them. Airtel and its products had surely wooed them. It would have been nice if I had spotted the song. But sadly, it seemed like a string of screeching. And these ringtones sang all through the hour I stayed at the office.

At first I could not distinguish the general staff from the engineers . In winters everyone wears drab sweaters. The secretary was aptly dressed in a psydelleic purple salwar suit, but she isn't the focus this time :)

MOTIVATION

Employee No 2 whined - "abe yaar mera bahut sardard ho raha hai." Then, gracefully using the other chair, he sprawled comfortably and went off to sleep.

PROFESSIONALISM

First mundu eagerly switched on my laptop. He refreshed the desktop a few times till he was satisfied.
"Haan, to laptop mein problem kya hai ?"
I explained the issue. He told me this was not the first. There had been many cases.
"Arre kuch ke to poore left ke keys nikal gaye the."

I shuddered.
The real engineer entered.
I carried the laptop to the other room.
Mundu followed.
I explained the problem to the engineer.

Mundu blurted - "Aap isme feviquik kyon nahi laga dete ?"
Engineer gave a cold stare to mundu. The engineer tried convincing me that this was an unusual thing to have happened. I reiterated what the mundu had told me. The engineer oozed embarrassment.
Mundu quitely exited.

I asked, "What's wrong with all these bulk deal laptops. Ye aise hi kaise nikal jaaega ?"
The engineer gave it his best shot - "Ho sakta hai isme koi thread phas gaya ho, aur aapne jab jor se kheecha ho, to key bhi baahar nikal gaya hoga." (A thread might have got stuck inside. And when you yanked it, the key must have fallen out.)

Yup, that's exactly what happened.
I still retained my trust in LENOVO.

"So what about the warranty ?"
"No. Mechanical Damage warranty mein nahi aata."

"To abhi kya karoon ?"

Engineer confessed - "Hamaare boss ka bhi laptop keyboard kharaab hai. Unka to ENTER key nikla hua hai."

"SO ?", I asked.
He pointed to the tiny blue prick that was stuck under the I key.
"Aap issi ko dabaa kar kaam kar sakte hain. Bilkul theek chalega."

I cursed.

"That's it ? There's nothing else you can do ?"
"Haan poora keyboard badal sakte hain. Aapka laptop service centre bhej sakte hain."

I shuddered, wondering about all the assingments that were stuck inside the black box.
"Try finding the piece that'll fix the I key", I said.
"Haan. Agar milta hai, to phone kar doonga."

I sighed and walked out.
The pomerenian licked me on the way down.
Excellent service indeed.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

There is a certain sense of regret with which we general junta announce our new year plans.

"So what are you doing for new years ?"

"I amm....ya ...will be amm...staying at home....you know parents and all.... and aaj kal who goes to parties...like...no yes...i'll be ...amm..at home."

People blab long enough so that they have justified their lame-ness of not doing some dhik-chick-dhik-chick dance with some chick on 31st december.

India ki junta !! New Years at home is not lame at all. You don't need to party to be prepared for the next batch of rugged 365 days.

Junta at colleges of course get away with their answer, because it is assumed that he who decideth to spendeth new years at college, will haveth a good time. (not a shakespearean quote).

So wherever you are, whatever you are doing, take a deep breath and step into the new year with a smile.
Happy New Year.

(p.s : surprised at my own new found optimism)