Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The first last exam...

An hour back, i had one of those long moments..........B -School term papers :P

The first one of the last term exams. I spent more time writing it than studying for it. And no sir, it was not an open book, open laptop one. It required effort unlike our esteemed financebatchmates who had a gala time CCPing the ppts. Lolz.....

Another one to go in 4 hours so ....off i go

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Voluntary domestication

Holi has always been pure unadulterated fun for me. I fondly remember the Holi I used to play as a 6 year old where our family friends would gather at our place and there would be tons of home made light, crispy gujhya and kanji pakori and ahaaa…that Moong daal halwa aunt used to make.

Second phase of Holi was at Engineer’s Estate. Nothing changed except a few additions. Those mandatory dips in fountains, given to most unsuspecting victims and then to cautious ones, were the glam add ons; along with the fire hose working overtime as a part of ‘1 stream wets 10’ strategy. A few more people got added, we had more space and more victims were to be pulled out of their homes…but essentially nothing changed.

Hostel holi was third phase. Witnessing the shirt tearing ceremony (Of the guys of course, keep your imaginations intact!), getting rolled in mud infested with dead earthworms (yuk) and stinking for two days afterwards, getting smeared with a colour called ‘Jaundice’ which made sure that I look like a patient for another two and latest was getting hair and face of a pure veggie like me, conditioned by and smeared with egg. Ram ram!! I love every moment of Holi.


After scrubbing the skin with Biotique Micro Granule Orange Peel Soap a few times and rinsing out tubs and tubs of colour form hair and finishing with touch up with Dove body silk crèam, I realized something which had not stuck me till then. I was hungry and sleepy. Under normal circumstances, mom would have fed me and I would have dozed off. Since I was at hostel, there was only a small deviation. I had a lunch invitation from Bakar Resort. So I, Jerry and Jellicle Cat rushed to the Baker Resort (recently renamed as Bakar Bar).

We were met with Vikas Bhaiya at the door, who had woken up from bhang stupor and went back to it immediately afterwards. The 7 (Actually 7 minus 1, since D’day was in Calcutta) dwarfs were fast asleep and there was NO LUNCH!!!! I could hear someone doing Kathakali in my stomach and here hosts were all sleeping away to glory. Pink Panther and Balloo were in the past –present- future whirlwhile, but that is besides the point.

And then came the realization. We were three women (Actually two women plus one teenager) in the house. And we felt that sense of responsibility women have. What the heck!! All we wanted to do was to make something for our own selves.

So Jerry and I marched to the kitchen and did a quick survey. Vegetables were cut, dough was made. All we had to do was to cook. Just cook.

Jerry being a Maadu and I being an Aggarwal, we had lots in common. Things like ‘what do you call that oil which is wrapped in dough for making poori’ to ‘methods of preventing the aloo sabzi from burning’. However, both Maadu and Aggarwal women were clueless on how to pour oil in a can of 1 inch dia., straight from the poly pack. Algorithms refused to come to our aid. Nothing much was lost. In fact, we added one rug to the laundry a few minutes later. And task was delegated to our teenage J.Cat.

We had to make enough food so that it is sufficient for 10 people. This was subjected to the bhang effect – if any of them had asked us to keep making pooris for 4 hours, we would have to make poori’s only for 9 people from that moment onwards.

It was brilliant team work. Jerry make the balls. I rolled them into as round and as thin sheets as I could. This actually meant that there was one map of Australia, one resembled a 5 pointed star, another looked like a heart. No Abraham Lincoln there, though. That happens only to a French fry at McDees.

And Jerry made sure that she drops a few drops of oil on her feet every now and then, just to check that oil is hot enough for the pooris. She is this nice girl, who does not mind burnt skin very much.

The high point came in our dull existence when our pooris actually started coming out round, were golden brown balls when we took them out of kadhai and our sabzi actually was prevented from getting burnt and taste was just right. We did a little jig and planned to save the best pooris for our mighty selves.

Jellicle Cat served the food and made sure only the best of pooris reach the table and made sure that there were no logistical issues in the last leg. ‘New and improved Vadoon’ took a snap of us, for the record. Mr. Punjabi Potter thanked our mortal selves and Sri Sri Sri Rishi Maharaj Ji complimented the sabzi (Not us, not us!!)

And (7 minus 1) dwarfs went back to sleep after the meal. And then we did what I do not do usually. I ate and relished the food I had made myself. Or prolly, I was too hungry. And this was at 6.30 in the evening.

If I ever tell mom that I and Jerry made food for TEN people, she would start suspecting that I have started on alcohol or probably that finally her efforts are bearing fruit. As for me, it was a tiring but enjoyable experience, probably because I was the processor here, not the dumb terminal mom makes out of me. Or is it so that I am getting domesticated….. NOOOOO!!!!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Easy money which is not that easy any more...

Purchase of an external hard disk, joining the gym to burn off junk calories (Calories gained from consuming junk food for lunch and mid-night meals) were all waiting for trimester 5. I termed trim 5 as competition trimester. The moment it starts, a barrage of case studies, B-plans and online games bombarded me from all sides as my mail box crunched under their weight.
And make no mistakes, it is lucre which is the key driver. Ego boost is another.
If one wins, one can easily make 15-50k from one competiton. Ans this is the only time when we actually work on concepts...class presentations are ususally CCP with some GAS (generally accepted s***) packaged well.
From 50 such opportunities to make easy money, i chose 5 as per my core competency and did a good job for 2, ok job for 2 and 1 was just sent. And then i waited. The wait was as dreadful as it was when i used to wait for MBA entrance exam results. I got one shortlist for the entry which was a bad job done. And then I lost in the second round...just a step away from 15k.
And it was not just me or my batch (By the way, NM is known for great performance in B school competions) but the whole B school junta seemed to have gone berserk. Probably they had tasted blood too, in the first year.
Whatever be the reason, this mad race is not good for me. Forget the competitions in top 15 B- schools, even at places like Chetana, IMT Nagpur, teams from ISB will fly in, at 11.55th hour, all studded in their corporate suits.
What has happened to the world. Why does it not allow me my 15K for the external hard disk and gym.
When i reflect on it, one thing is for sure. From all this, the party which seems to benefit the most is the the competition sponsor. After all, if you sponsor an event, you shell out 50 k to 1 Lac. And you get 100 -200 proposals/ case analysis/ B-plan ideas. Now which research agency can match the output.
All i know is that when i become a marketing manager, i would do exactly the same thing and derive sadistic pleasure from enslaving the b-schoolers! Till then, I will write another case. Deadline: 11:59 p.m., 13th Nov. 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

It is a beautiful day...

Getting over with exams gives this hazy feeling of elation. Hazy ‘coz you have not slept properly for a couple of nights in the row and are incapable of thinking or even feeling clearly. Now if you wonder about the expression of ‘feeling clearly’….well that is a straight validation of the previous statement.

It was 10.10 a.m. on a cool Sunday morning when I was set free of Trimester IV (Subject to my clearing Marketing Research paper).

Still dizzy, I mechanically asked a few people about their paper, cursed a few people, smiled at some others and headed back to my cozy room no. 607. Made a futile attempt of catching some sleep and finally got up, took a shower, had a bite. Meanwhile, I was told that I am going for “Pyar ke side effects”. Mind you, I was aware of only “Exams ke side effects” till then. (Here, I talk of status messages on Gtalk and Orkut….quite a war of the words there, will cover that in some post sometime. Now FYI, I am a skeptical consumer of modern Hindi cinema, keeping my eyes and ears closed to new releases till critical acclaim rises to a loudspeaker level)

So, I and Jellicle Cat picked up Pink Panther. Primarily because he had the tickets! I got some dirty looks for getting the two of them late for the movie but when a lioness has to get ready, she has to get ready.

Finally zig zagging through the choked Erla market, S.V. Road (On the butt of a bus, an ad for cold relief tablets read ‘Is your nose choked like S.V.Road? Try Coldie Gonnie’) and the flyover we reached SunCity, a ‘not worth 90 bucks multiplex at Vile Parle, East’. The rest of the gang was awaiting the arrival of lioness and the pack.

I would not get into reviewing the movie ‘coz it is simply not worth it. What it is worth, is to go with a gang, have a few laughs in the hall and come back. No more, no less. Only noteworthy point is the way Mumbaikar Delhite nonk jhonk has been captured. That struck a chord immediately. Now, did I mention the presence of dimpled ageing hunk of the name Jas Arora. I am sure, I must have!

From there the hungry girl gang decided to find a ‘sasta, uttam and tikau’ restaurant. After shooting down Brio (aha, what garlic bread, what butter croissant…), Subway and Pizza Hut; we agreed to ubiquitous Shiv Sagar. (sigh)

45 minutes later, post Palak Dosa, I reminded Jellicle Cat, Powerpuff girl and Bins that we are 20 pastries (10 steps X 2) away from Spar, the chic supermarket. (Being in Juhu, you get to bump into Vivek Oberoi and likes at Spar) Once there, it took me no time to take my pick of the day, but rest of the women seemed to be on eternal diet.

The next important question was the attire for Dandiya Night, scheduled to start at 7.30 p.m. I am sure, at this point the male readers will form this 5 letter word in their minds…‘women’.

Back to the cozy, inviting room which lulled me to a two hour of sound sleep. Alarms. Phone calls. Intercom. Damn. Exams are over for god sake!!!

Dandiya was as big a disaster as I expected it to be. Since there are hardly any Gujaratis in my batch, most of us were clueless on what to do with those sticks. Here my dear friend Woolly Mammoth would differ for sure. After all, you could poke some insects in the eye with those sticks. By the time the party ended, Dandiya Night had seamlessly transformed into a jam session.
In fact some of the French chicks…err, the exchange program students, learnt dandiya steps much faster than I could. So we can safely say that it was such a disaster.

Back in the room, armed with my laptop and a Ruskin Bond, I had some “Maggi Atta Dal Noodles – Sambar Style’ which was not bad at all. Especially, if you consider from a hostler’s point of view. At 2.30 a.m. though, my book and laptop were precariously perched on my 2.5 foot bed which now had me wanting to stretch. Off they went, to their respective places (Which means, laptop topped with the book, on study table- struggling to get a foothold in a territory firmly occupied by miscellaneous urchins. Mumbai surely has grown on me.)

Woke up at 2. 30 p.m. to the music of rain pattering on the tin roof of slum, close to my balcony. That moment, I knew it was a perfect day to go to Bandstand. It was Happy Dusshera, Shubho Bijoya, and a dry day (Oct. 2). And it was raining!

So, after feasting on some delicious delhi-like alu parathas from Kanteen, we got our rain gear out (Read: black shirts). And by the way, “What ARE umbrellas?” :-)

Flooded S.V. Road evoked a few curses. Almost soaked, we reached Bandra Fort. Now I was confused, was it not supposed to be a sea side ruin of a ‘Fort’? The building seemed more like Bandra Court. Yea, yea…my mistake, I should have asked autowalah to take me to ‘Quila’ not a Fort.

By the time we reached Quila, it was a twilight zone and I found Taj staring at us. It was quite humbling a sight and it seemed like a wise decision to a more plebian (and better lit) band stand. Only if I had not asked an autorickshaw driver to take us to Bandstand!! It was right behind the autowalah!!! But it was night already and everything looks strange at night. It does. It does.

A relaxed stroll with a dear friend, on the rocky shore with waves crashing against rocks, cool breeze and drizzle caressing the skin….how does that sound! It was as beautiful as it could get.

As we munched on hot, spicy buttered green chana, which incidentally was quite good, the need for a hot cup of cappuccino was evident. We recalled seeing a Barista and CCD on that road and as we kept walking towards the now non-existential Barista, J Cat noticed a shady character following us. She remembered seeing him at different spots during last 20 minutes. It was an instant Delhi panic. We suddenly realized that road was almost empty, there were almost no women and a lot of urchins were loitering about.

It took us around 60 seconds to find and board an auto to Linking Road. Found refuge in a Barista. With AC chilling the spine and coffee warming the innards, a feeling of relief spread over me and I almost ignored the fact that coffee was not that hot, tissue papers were not given to us and that there was no trace of caramel in my caramel coffee. I say almost because at the end of it, we filled up the suggestion/ complaint form.

Since we were at linking road and the gawdy display of bags was attractive enough, it was our duty to do some window shopping. After buying a pair of pretty earrings from Shoppers’ Stop we realized we were too hungry to continue.

Since we had exhausted our resources for location of Hersche’s earlier in the evening, we decided to go to one of my favourites – Kailash Parbat, Andheri.
(Rum Tum Tugger’s Review of Hersche's: It is a GREAT place for pastries and snacks and is GREAT V4M too. Now even if discount that statement by usual measure of 66.6% and add Woolly Mammoth’s objective review to it, it is supposedly a great joint)

Koftas with rich gravy of cashew and raisins and masala cheese naan. And piping hot gulab jamuns as a grand finale. Heaven. Where else do you get piping hot gulab jamuns in Mumbai without especially requesting to warm them up!

At 10.50 p.m., began our race to meet an extremely stupid deadline. And that we did with panache. And that’s where two great days ended. ~smile of satisfaction~

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Papa don't preach!

As an essential part of my PG, guest faculty has been delivering 'gyan' to us on practial aspects of business (pun intended).
Now, many of these have been marketing honchos, big wigs of advertising agencies, esteemed corporate houses. Most of them by self admission have great interest and abilities in areas of people behaviour, segmentation of markets, studying cultural patterns and psychographics. Not to mention that they are good orators as well.
And one of the lessons I invariably tend to receive is, "do not take things for granted, do not be presumptive. Opening up the mind, opens door to opportunity."
However, they also invariably address us as a class of 21-22 year olds, fresh out of grad schools, some of us having wrokex. Oh, and the fatal one is the assumption that we all are Mumbaikars, localites!
In reality, the average age of my batch would be 24+, 72% has workex and at max 15% would be localites. Now, is it so ki "hamari twacha se hamari umar ka pata hi nahin chalta"...or is it ki 'haathi ke daant khane ke aur, dikhane ke aur' .

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Candy is dandy...

A few days back, had a sip of port wine a friend got from France . My second sip of liquour in the lifetime!!! Supposedly, wine is tastiest of all...and it was the most bitter liquid i have ever tasted, with a rotten smell!!

My narration of that experience to a close friend was met with roaring laughter. 'Sweetheart, that's the way people start, that's the way i started....' was the underlying message I heard.

I think i am happy, taking Ogden Nash's 'Candy is dandy but liquour is quicker' on face value!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Part I - Getting there

It is a ritual. It is extremely impotant in this phase of my life. In total I spent some 100 plus hours in getting there. And result of it has not added more than 50 hour worth of value to 240 hours of mine in last one month. Any guessess!!! Yoah, me talking about summers.

Getting a summers in the company of choice, at stipend of choice, location of choice and a profile of choice (Note, note: PRofile comes last in my list) is a tough ballgame, as any of my b-school fellas would agree.

The flurry of activity which lasted a few months, made the process, for some of us who rolled from company to company, a painful drill. Ya, ya my college is not an IIM, so we still have a rolling summers process! (sigh)

Here is how it went... So, I would dress up in formals, read up a bit on info sent to me by the Infohub Cell and reach the right class room in time. Only to find out that venue has shifted or the company is 30 minutes late. So, smartly I would take out my Business World and start browsing. After all time management is one of 'b school' thingie. So I flip pages, no one in sight, I read two articles, a few more batchmates roll in. I finish the mag and ppt is yet to start! I think about the class which i was supposed to attend and wonder if that would have been more productive. Dismissal of that though happens a microsecond later... So I go through the ppt. Wait. Go through the first round of G.D.. Look for familiar faces. Go through case study round. Pace through the room. Go through management game. Grab a bite. Go through interview. Notice my now crumpled shirt.
And then walk back to hostel. Exhaused and cursing the company. If they had to take fresehers finally, why on the earth did they drag me right up to interview stage and wasted some 8 -9 hours of mine. After 6 of such drills, i was close to banging my head on the wall. Why me, god? Why me? Why did i work for some years before i got into a b school... Damn!