Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Food for thought II





"You are generally sadder by what you couldn't do, than happier by what you could. That's the cause of most of the troubles in life."










Monday, December 10, 2007

Reality: The illusion caused by lack of alcohol

How did I suddenly become so boring! It's a terrible feeling - finding haze all around. You are neither happy, nor sad. Neither good, nor bad. You are doing something and you don't know why. You say you don't like doing this, and you can't think of anything else which you'd like doing perpetually. You say this place is bad, and you can't think of any other place which was always good. You thought you need to talk to people, and you feel worse.

A type of madness is induced by alcohol. Another type is probably induced by the lack of it, or by something which I can't understand. And the former one is better.




Saturday, November 24, 2007

पिछली मुलाकात

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सामने बैठी तुम तो लगा मानो
संसार इतने में ही सिमट सा गया हो
इस बार भी "पहली" मुलाकात के लिए
हर बार की तरह समय थम सा गया हो

पलकें उठीं तो लगा जैसे
संसार में अब भी काफ़ी कुछ अच्छा सा है
पलकें झुकीं तो एहसास हुआ
मेरा प्यार सचमुच सच्चा सा है

मुस्कुराई तुम तो संतोष हुआ
नाममात्र ही सही, थोड़ा प्यार तो तुम्हें भी है
शरमाते चेहरे की लालिमा से आभास हुआ
तुम्हारे हृदय के एक छोटे कोने पर अधिकार मुझे भी है

मेज़ पर अंजाने में ही तुम्हारा हाथ छुआ तो लगा
थोड़ा ही सही, मेरे जीवन को आज भी अवलंबित करती हो
खत्म न हो रही बातों से लगा तुम मुझमें
आज भी उत्साह के कुछ शब्द अंकित करती हो

वापस जाने का वक़्त हुआ तो लगा जैसे
उन कुछ क्षणों में कैद मेरा संसार हुआ
थोड़ी देर रुक जाने को जब कहा तुमने
तो मानो हृदय पर ही प्रहार हुआ

किस गति से निकले थे वो कुछेक क्षण
अभी तो तुम्हें बस देख भर पाया था
हमारी पिछली उस मुलाकात की यादों का
सिलसिला आज फिर ख्वाबों में आया था




Sunday, November 18, 2007

Food for thought



"Some emotions don't make a lot of noise. It's hard to hear pride. Caring is real faint - like a heartbeat. And pure love - why some days it is so quiet, you don't even know it's there."

- Erma Bombeck




Friday, November 16, 2007

CAT Tips: What to do the day before and on the D-Day

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”

- Elbert Hubbard; The Note Book, 1927


The penultimate

Relax! Your part of the job is already done! If you happen to be an engineer too (which I presume with a 90% level of confidence), recall the days when you used to laugh looking at people messing their heads with “Irodov” and “Krishna’s IIT Physics” on the day of the JEE! If you weigh intelligence and perseverance in terms of importance towards cracking CAT, trust me, this cat is way too sexy to be tamed just by slogging hard for it – I would rank intelligence higher when it comes to getting her! If you count in attitude and thinking-on-the-toes as components of intelligence, you are made for an IIM. Tomorrow is your day to prove that you are great not because you are amongst the crowd of those two hundred thousand guys writing the exam each one of which has the brains to solve those easy Quants and DI problems, but you are great because you are more intelligent in terms of choosing the right ones out of the twenty five questions and calm enough to crack them within fifty minutes. Adding to it, you should be intelligent enough to understand that you don’t need to slog tonight to prove yourself tomorrow!

If you want a personal experience, I had enjoyed a mug of beer in Bangalore’s “Just Another Pub” at Koramangala the day before CAT, chilling out with a bunch of college friends (and I got a “blacki”!!) The point out here is not about alcohol (remain strictly within 50ml!); just relax in the best way which suits you. Stay calm, have a dinner with you girlfriend (if you aren’t as lucky as me who doesn’t have any such filthy burdens), and remain confident that you are made for the big day. It’s meant to be a laid back Saturday, let the essence remain – you’re doomed to be back again to the rhetoric of office or classes from Monday!


The ultimate

Ever actually seen how “mornings” are like on Sundays? The exam is at ten, make sure you wake up in time keeping in mind your transit time to the examination centre. You haven’t taken a bath for past 4 days, do it today (yes, do it even though it’s a “sun” day; it’s the second best thing in the world to refresh with a cold water shower on a November morning!) Feel like revising formulae or something? Personal opinion – it’s of no use. It’s only the easy formulae – which you already have used a lakh times – combined with your sheer presence of mind that is required to sail through CAT problems. Get to the examination centre by 09:45, check out all girls allotted the same centre if you are writing CAT in a real town and, finally, take your seat at 10:00.

The 10:00 to 10:30 period when you’ve to wait in the examination hall for the question paper is the worst torture you might have ever faced in life. Here’s how to make best use of the time. Get your brain working before the exam starts. After you are done with the form filling stuff, this is the time to revise your formulae. Your brain is already at peace with the relaxation you offered it yesterday, let it start afresh. Mentally start recalling simple geometry and mensuration’s areas, volumes, equations and stuff. If you remember some problem you had ingeniously solved (ever), think about the solution again, you’ll bolster your confidence. Start building your focus fifteen minutes before you’ve got the papers. Once you get them, it’s the regular easy trick. Pick up the most comfortable areas (personal favorite – geometry in Quants); steer through rough uncomfortable terrains the last. Constantly look for easy problems, spot them right and you are through the cut-off. Get ready to enjoy the Sunday evening once again!

All the best!




Friday, October 19, 2007

Hemant Kumar and Gulzaar

Just happened to browse through some old music collection. Was left mesmerized with Hemant Kumar's voice to Gulzar's creativity in this song from the 1969 film Khamoshi -

होठ पे लिए हुए, दिल की बात हम,
जागते रहेंगे और, कितनी रात हम
मुख़्तसर सी बात है, तुमसे प्यार है
तुम्हारा इंतज़ार है...
तुम पुकार लो!

दिल बहल तो जाएगा, इस ख़याल से,
हाल मिल गया तुम्हारा, अपने हाल से
रात ये क़रार की, बेक़रार है
तुम्हारा इंतज़ार है...
तुम पुकार लो!




Sunday, October 14, 2007

The 'Angrezi' Culture!

For the 'swadesi' me, it has been rather difficult from the very beginning to assimilate the 'angrezi' culture of B-Schools. A die-hard supporter of desi-bhashaa-swadesi-vyavahaar; there are thousands of irritating things out here which have constantly harassed my mental peace.

One of them is that most ubiquitous of the several phrases used by those 'Yo-dudes' (for the 'uneducated': if you are having difficulty picturing them, just imagine a bunch of gays chatting in shorts and 'I'm Pagal' Tees and 3-inch heeled sandals called 'kittos') - "rock".



Rock is everywhere. The 'about me' section of someone's orkut profile would say 'I rock!' The dinner suddenly becomes eatable one day and the 'Mess Committee rocks!' They haven't seen a sea-beach in their entire lifetime, and the first exclamation would be 'The place rocks!' The most 'jhamtee' guy in the class solves the problems for the next day's submissions and everybody copies it, 'He rocks!' The only good teacher of the last term becomes 'That prof rocked!' Why do you always have to "rock"? Why can't you 'jazz' or 'hip-hop' or 'heavy metal' or 'country blue'? Or rather, can't you simply 'aalaap'? He 'aalaaps', he 'thumrees', he 'qawwalis'… might even go like he 'bhajan-kirtans'!!

Now don't argue with me for the word meaning of 'rock'. The dictionary is clear about it. Current usage isn't what the word is meant to be. I'd selectively quote a few of the dictionary meanings-


rock: \ˈräk\

–noun

1. a large mass of stone forming a hill, cliff, promontory, or the like.
… … …
2. offensive term: an offensive term for the testicles ( slang )
… … …

–transitive verb
1. to move back and forth in or as if in a cradle
… … …

–intransitive verb
3. to sing, dance to, or play rock music
… … …

–Idioms
1. between a rock and a hard place, between undesirable alternatives.
2. get one's rocks off, Slang: Vulgar. to have an orgasm.
3. on the rocks,
a. Informal. in or into a state of disaster or ruin: Their marriage is on the rocks.
b. Informal. without funds; destitute; bankrupt.
c. (of a beverage, esp. liquor or a cocktail) with, or containing, ice cubes: Scotch on the rocks; a vodka martini on the rocks.

–Related forms
rockless, adjective
rocklike, adjective


So, whenever I hear someone saying 'he rocks', I usually tend to think about the second meaning of the word as a noun, mentioned in my list - poor guy, whatever might've happened to his 'rocks'! To sum this post up, all I want to convey is, can't we use the word in its more interesting forms, rather than the gay-usage? Look at the second and the third idioms in the above list. There are pretty 'rocking' usages of the word, can't people just 'get their rocks off' once and for all and stop this particularly irritating usage of making anybody rock?




Sunday, October 07, 2007

दिवास्वप्न

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कल स्वप्न में तुम्हें देखा था
पानी पर फिसलते शिकारे में तुम्हारी मादकता का एहसास था
झील की सतह सहलाते तुम्हारे बालों से भँवर सा आभास था
तुम्हारे चेहरे पर तितली की टिप्पियों सा मधुर हास था
तुम्हारी आँखों की गहराईयों में परावर्तित सारा आकाश था

कल स्वप्न में तुम्हें देखा था
पानी में भिगोई तुम्हारी उँगलियों में भीनी सी छुअन थी
किनारे की डालियों में तुम्हारे चेहरे को छू जाने की तड़पन थी
तुम्हारी हथेली पर आने को कमल की पत्ती पर की ओस व्याकुल थी
बादलों के बीच से तुम्हारी झलक पाने को सूरज की किरण आकुल थी

कल स्वप्न में तुम्हें देखा था
तुम्हें स्पर्श करती उस पार से आती बयार मेरी ईर्ष्या बढ़ाती थी
पानी से छलकी दो बूँदें तुम्हारे होठों पर बैठ मुझे चिढ़ाती थीं
तुम्हारी उँगलियों से खेलती धार मेरी निर्बलता का एहसास दिलाती थी
तुम्हारे बालों से उलझती कुछ शैवालें मेरा परिहास उड़ाती थीं

कल स्वप्न में तुम्हें देखा था
हृदय के दूरस्थ कोने में छुपे उद्गारों को हवा देता स्वप्न
एकांत जीवन की निरर्थकता जताकर मुझे झकझोरता स्वप्न
खुली आँखों में तुम्हारी मृगतृष्णा समान मँडराता स्वप्न
असत्य, व्यर्थ, मूर्खतापूर्ण, क्रूर "प्यारा" सा स्वप्न...





Thursday, October 04, 2007

Placements, IIMs et al

If you "analyse it objectively", you can conclude that there are only two things in the life of any run-of-the-mill IIM grad - "summers" and "finals". Both these are celebrated as festivals and are the sole reaps targeting which we spend sleepless nights in studying.

IIMs are less of academic institutions, they are "glorified placement agencies" in essence, and you hardly come to learn, you come to get placed! Given this level of importance to the process, we have two official placement seasons, "summer placements" for first year students and "final placements" for second year students. Both the gala ceremonies have an equal importance with same number of companies fighting to recruit candidates. Within two weeks after admission process completes in an IIM, the preparations for the "festivals" start off. CV building, targeting big-shot companies and booming sectors and finally, "returns". Placement rules are more sacred than all religious practices of the world put together, and deviations, which might have been tolerable by God, are not tolerated here.


My suicide attempts of trying internships on my own failed with the expiry of the Placement Committee's "guilt free pass" (the pass reads as - you are granted a limited period boon to try and do any off-campus kill-yourself thing without the Gods being infuriated). I'd managed positive responses from a rare few, and most of the HRs had "ditched" me, "dumped" me, and that too with the worst possible break-up line - "Hope you can find yourself a good company that will give you a useful exposure". As if, someone is really waiting for me to expose oneself!

As the "festivals" back at K would take off, I'd join the "single and looking" band for that one fool who'd hire me for two months hoping I might turn useful. ;)




Monday, August 20, 2007

A slice of life

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous."
- Aristotle

Last Saturday, enjoyed a well deserved outing to a local Panchayat called Mavoor. The trip was meant to be a field visit for an academic project, though, it ended up more as a picnic.

The countryside in Kerala has been discriminately blessed by nature. For a philosophical mind, a drive on its narrow roads can be alluring at the least - it inspires many moods at once. The breath-taking vistas abundantly strewn across the land's vast fabric are catalysts for poets and heaven for photographers.


Trees flanking the roads provide a natural respite from the sun


The roads are narrow but well laid for most of the stretches, including many National Highways. The abundant greenery and the calm blanket of peace spread across the entire landscape can provide a good food for thought for creative minds.


The Stretch to Mavoor


Water is the most abundant of all elements in the "God's own country". Monsoons bless the earth in Kerala for as much as 4 to 5 months in the calendar year and large stretches can be found covered with water during June to September.


A snapshot from our bikes



Many rivulets emerge only during the rains


Coconut is one of the primary floras of the area and those classic picturesque scenaries of tall pine like trees can be spotted almost everywhere. Drying coconut is one of the primary occupations of local people and inhabitations are located across most of the rivulets besides which such trees are found in abundance.



Most parts of Mavoor are on the banks of "Chaliyar". Heavy coconut vegetation can be noted in the background



A local coconut drying unit


In terms of education, which was one of the major thrust areas in our study, I found the state to be pretty well "advanced". Even the small village had a decent higher secondary school complete with all basic necessities. A healthy male-female ratio, low drop-out rates and a sufficient number of teachers, all constitute a substantial arrangement.



The Higher Secondary School building at Mavoor




Imagining a school this large in a small village is tough for people coming from most parts of northern India


The trip as a whole was the best enjoyment I've had since coming to this place. An exhilarating journey, a wonderful respite from the mundane work and a first-hand experience of the God's own expanse, all contributed to the hearty smile on everyone's face!



A part of our group




They ended it all with the customary sutta!

P.S. All pictures courtesy Kajal, the "unofficial" trip photographer! :D




Saturday, August 18, 2007

तुम

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व्यस्त जीवन के कुछेक बेचैन पलों में जब
तुम्हारी यादों की क़सक होती है
जड़-चेतन हर तत्व में हर ओर
सिर्फ़ तुम्हारी झलक होती है

इन अनवरत बारिशों में
तुम्हारे नटखटपन की मिलावट है
इन विस्तृत घाटियों के खालीपन में
तुम्हारी उत्कटता की आहट है

इन घुमावदार सड़कों के उस पार अब भी
तुम्हारी परछाईयाँ अठखेली करती हैं
उन पर्वतों में डूबती-उतराती घटाएं
यादों की आँख मिचौली करती हैं

रात्रि के तीसरे पहर वाले सन्नाटे में
तुम्हारी मोहक-अविरल बातें गूँजती हैं
रौशनी के नीचे असँख्य कीट-पतँगों की भन्नाहट में
तुम्हारी उच्छृन्खलता खलती है

माना आज तुम साथ न सही
पर इक सुखद अनुभूति तो है
वो चंचल मुस्कान आस-पास न सही
भरोसा उन यादों के प्रति तो है

जीवन से कुछ प्राप्त हुआ हो न हो
पर स्वयं पर इतना अभिमान तो है
तुम्हारी चेतना में क्षण भर को ही सही
आज भी आता मेरा नाम तो है!




Thursday, August 16, 2007

I need a miracle

The marvellous Bon Jovi...

"He said
I'm just one man, that's all I'll ever be
I never can be everything you wanted from me
I've got plans so big
That any blind man could see "

There's more to it...

"Your feet are grounded still
You're reaching for the sky
You can let 'em clip your wings
'Cause I believe that you can fly"

And the best part...

"It ain't all for nothing
Life ain't written in the sand
I know the tide is coming
But it's time we made a stand
With a miracle"




Friday, August 10, 2007

आओ मिल कर बैठें

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कई वर्षों की ख्वाहिश है
तमाम ज़िन्दगी यूँ ही बिताने की
कुछ गिले-शिकवे मिटाने की
कुछ पुरानी यादें सजाने की

वो रंगीन किस्से, वो छोटी मुलाकातें
उन जामों का हल्का सुरूर, वो दिल की बातें
वो परिंदों सी आज़ादी, वो सुकूनी रातें
फिर साथ आने की, वो बाज़ियाँ बिछाने की

कुछ पुराने साथी, कुछ पुराने मंज़र
कुछ दिलफेंक नज़ारे, कुछ हसीन खंजर
कई आड़ी तिरछी राहें, कई अजीब सफ़र
हमाम में एक बार फिर, वही नज़्में गुनगुनाने की

कोशिश तुम्हारे ग़मों को फिर अपनाने की
एक ही थाली में फिर हर रोज़ खाने की
तुम्हारे दिल का वो कोना वापस पाने की
ख्वाहिश है, एक बार फिर दिल-से मुस्कुराने की

Inspired by Chandra's post.



The frosted glass

Something seems to be going against the natural. I am being taught to divide life - into grids. And its being blatantly preached with such simplicity as if the world has always been like this, in a two-by-two matrix. It started off with a minor discomfort, theories to divide businesses into grids. Moved on to a more disastrous idea of dividing problems and solutions into grids. Consequently followed division of the population - they named it segmentation. And they didn't stop. Our "education" seemed to be incomplete without including the outrageous ideas of dividing personalities... I'd rather use the direct term than the metaphor - dividing "humans" into grids.

The system thus goes on. After all, you must learn this "art" to secure your 14th storey office in an uptown location (By the way, "I LOVE NY" is a common phrase on T-shirts of "humans" studying here). Find out what characterizes him: "high" on this, "low" on this. Pat, here's your chance to spot the "opportunity". "Target" that, encash that, you are suddenly the winner. Applause.




Its been a mixed experience in terms of my own life in the past one and a half months since I am here. Its a good feeling when you observe that your parents have a sense of proud because you are here. Friends have a reason to bask in glory; juniors have reasons to ping you up in the hope of some tips which might just work. Your own demeanour changes when you walk on the roads in other cities with that IIMK T-shirt.

The other half - I'm slowly learning how to be a programmed machine integrated with time-management functionalities so as to generate maximum possible outcome. I learnt DC++ usage so that I can search for sunrise pics on the network - the sunrise which nobody here would see in their two years' stay and which is always covered by others' cameras. I learnt to repeatedly boast of the natural beauty of the place to friends on phone, though I myself experienced it just once with that Kappad trip in the initial days. When I sometimes feel to drown into alcohol on weekends (its a different story that the time never permits you), it goes against my own old-days preachings - people drink not because they want to ward off trouble, its rather to have good times with friends. Everything is too artificial from all perspectives, I'm learning to pretend to be happy.

It rains for almost half of the year in Kerala. And I am dying to get drenched...

Too much of a pessimist I am, huh?




Friday, June 01, 2007

काश


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काश मेरे पास बस थोड़ा कुछ होता...
एक कतरा आसमान का विस्तार
एक दोने भर नदी का बलखाना
एक थैली सागर की उठती लहर
एक मुठ्ठी पुरवईया का झोंका
एक साँस भर भीगी काली घटा
एक नज़र भर इँद्रधनुष का रँग
काश!

मैं ज़्यादा कुछ की लालसा नहीं रखता...
बस एक नग सरसराती पत्ती उस झाड़ की
एक दामन इठलाहट पेड़ की डाल की
एक चुटकी भर महक पहली बारिश से नम मिट्टी की
एक छुअन चुलबुली मचलती उस गिलहरी की
एक चुल्लू खुशबू बाग़ के सारे फूलों की
एक हथेली पसीना माली की मेहनत का
काश!

मैंने सीमित कर डाले हैं अपने ख़्वाब, चाहिये अगर...
तो बस एक हिस्सा ऊँचे पर्वत की हिम्मत का
एक चमकीली किरण ढलते सूरज की
एक आईना तालाब में बनती चाँद की परछाई
एक मीठी सिहरन रात को समन्दर किनारे की ठण्डी रेत की
एक चेतना ऊँचाई से गिरती झरने की इक बूँद की
एक थोड़ा बंजारापन उस रेगिस्तान का
काश!

मैंने अपने लिये तो कभी कुछ चाहा ही नहीं...
बस एक मुठ्ठी विवेक से भरा मस्तिष्क
एक झोली मिठास से भरी वाणी
एक पर्वत भर ऊँचा विश्वास
एक चींटी भर जितना धैर्य
एक सागर भर गहरे प्रेम से भरा हृदय
और एक सम्पूर्ण "आत्मा" से भरा शरीर
काश!

काश मेरे पास बस थोड़ा कुछ होता...



Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Raincoat

The other day, was watching Raincoat for the nth time. Just happened to note a small sequence when Anu Kapoor (the house-owner) has finished explaining Ajay Devgan (Aishwarya Rai's old lover) how he's been bluffed by the woman about her prosperity, and how he'd have to force the couple out of his house for not paying the rent. Ajay Devgan offers to pay the partial rent and requests him not to evict them from the premises.

The owner accepts the money, and says -

"Ek baat poochhen baabu?....
Ye aapka praayashchit hai....

ya pratishodh?"


Is it a remorse or a revenge?!! What can you say? :)




Monday, May 28, 2007

काल्पनिक


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कई वर्षों पुरानी ये छोटी सी कथा
एक छोटे बालक की बड़ी मनोव्यथा
जब पहली बार हृदय हुआ लाचार
लगा उसे, बस यही है "पहला प्यार"

बालक ही था, क्या जाने प्रेम की परिभाषा
हर दिन डूबता-उतराता, कभी आशा, कभी निराशा
तेरह वर्ष की उम्र में ही, जीवन लगने लगा इक स्वप्न
कारणों से अनभिज्ञ, बस बेचैन सा रहता मन

हाँ, माना वो भी कुछ कम न थी
इक कली, तब तलक किसी की हमदम न थी
उस प्यारी सी बच्ची का, ऐसा गज़ब का आकर्षण
बालक बेचारा, थम सा जाता हर क्षण

मूर्ख, अज्ञानी, सच से अनभिज्ञ, पूरा नादान
अरे प्रेम को समझ न पाए ज्ञानी-महान
अगर तेरह वर्षीय बालक को सचमुच प्रेम हो जाए
तब तो मानव-शुचिता पर ही प्रश्न लग जाए

प्रेम है वो अग्नि, वो शक्ति महान
जिसमें हृदय खोता नहीं, पाता है पहचान
बेसुध मन हो, फिर भी इक विचित्र अनुभूति
प्रेम ही धरा, प्रेम मानव, प्रेम स्वयँ प्रकृति

ख़ैर, दर्शनशास्त्र वाचन नहीं इस कविता का उद्देश्य
वापस चलें उस बालक के हृदय-प्रदेश
बालक था परेशान, विकट समस्या, न कोई निदान
कैसे हो भावनाओं की अभिव्यक्ति, मिले कोई समाधान

दो वर्ष बीते, तथाकथित प्रेम में आई थोड़ी तीव्रता
पर वही पुरानी कथा, दोनों की थी "बस मित्रता"!
बस कुछ दिन और, विद्यालय का होने आया समय समाप्त
बालक को लगता, हर दिन मानो हृदयाघात

बालक के कुछ अन्य मित्र, भाँप गए उसकी परिस्थिति
जो उससे हो न सकी, मित्रों ने कर डाली वो कृति
वो समझ न पाई ये सब, उम्र में थी वो भी नादान
तोड़ डाले हर बंधन, नष्ट की मित्रता की हर पहचान

जीवन में पहली बार, लगा हृदय पर घोर आघात
प्रेम नहीं, सिर्फ़ आकर्षण ने, छीना एक मित्र का साथ
स्वप्न तो भहराए, पर साथ हुआ एक अपराध-बोध
अपराध? अर्थात् न था प्रेम वह, साबित होता बिना शोध!

प्रेम नहीं, पुनः मित्रता पाने को, जुटाकर साधन सकल
बालक ने किया अथक प्रयास, रहा सर्वथा विफल
समय चक्र न रुका है कभी, बीते ऐसे ही वर्ष दस
बालक रमा अलग जीवन में, तुच्छ मानवों की यही बिसात बस!

अन्दर कहीं न कहीं परन्तु, व्याकुल हृदय था कचोटता
तेईस वर्षों का हुआ बालक, पर अब भी याद आती वह मित्रता
आज भी उसके वही सिद्धांत, रिश्तों को समझना पूँजी प्रधान
रहा न गया, दस वर्षों पर्यन्त, कर दिया दूरभाष हृदय थाम!

थोड़ी बहुत बातें, यूँ ही हालचाल, जैसे मिले हों अजनबी
समझना न सही, पर भूल न सकी इतने दिनों बाद भी?
मैंने ऐसा क्या किया गुनाह, बालक ही तो था नादान
दस वर्षों बाद ही सही, मित्रता का थोड़ा तो करते सम्मान!

हूँ अज्ञानी पर सुन लो, कहता हूँ इक अनमोल वचन
कल न तुम रहोगी, न मैं, बस इतने से सच को कहते जीवन
अगर कभी कम हो मलाल, लगे ज़रूरत किसी अपने की
बेहिचक याद करना, राह देखूँगा मित्र तुम्हारे लौटने की...




Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I love traffic jams!! :D

Ask about Bangalore, and any proud Bangalorean would tell you the (scary?) stories of endless jams. Last week, had gone through a forwarded mail from someone claiming to be a "jam-lover" and thoughts on how interesting the traffic jams can be, started propping up. They only strengthened, when today onwards, a new rule was implemented at office - be there by 9:30. Its the time I used to spend enjoying a light morning read, but sadly, orders are orders! And following this one order, changed my outlook on what jams could be!



Setting out at nine on weekdays with a bike on Bangalore roads can give you a whole new perspective towards life. Its a battlefield, and you are the yoddhaa, with one 150cc deadly weapon in your hand. The first lesson here, perseverance.

Just don't let it go. The Maruthinagar stretch is filled up, with sepoys from all ends. Its a complete ghamaasaan. And there are no rules - an apt living reality. You are alone, fighting only for yourself. No help except the throttle in your hands, your destiny. And you can't let go, you can't decide to get back, because there is no back, its jammed, its life. You persist. Persist with only one aim - win. And the second lesson here, goals.

You've to make it on time. Its a daily business, no excuses. You must be focussed, not only today - but daily. No yuddh-viraam in this, the battle continues till eternity, and your goal remains. And you know you are reaching it, inch-by-inch, minute by minute, persistently. You realise that slowly and slowly you are being caught in the time's web of deceit, and you ponder anxiously on your watch. Its time! Time to kill! And blop comes the third lesson, risk-taking.

You've a goal, and to achieve it, you decide right then, to move forward, destroying enemies at both ends. There is a horde of lesser-beings, inefficient bulky fighters towards the left trying to keep up in the same direction as you, and there is the crowd of yoddhaas coming from the other end. You decide to confront, to twist the throttle and move on the other lane meant for sepoys coming from the opposite side. There might be a risk of a head-on if a similar desperate fighter decides the same from the other end, but that's why you are there in the battle-field, to fight and to persist! Looking at the kraantikaari step you just took, a wind of inspiration flows in the sepoys behind. The fourth lesson at this point, leadership.

You are moving, confronting the enemies from the opposite ends, and a group of brave fighters follow you. Suddenly you've your own platoon! You become the senaapati- the leader, no official communications required for this promotion! You lead the platoon crushing all attacks, taking the ownership of moving ahead at the signal-less junction even when a giant yoddha with a 1300cc truck is desperate to cross the road and has already reached halfway. Some of the fighters in your troop fall back, when you take the ultimate decision to cross the signal at Eejipura, when the lights have just turned red from yellow. But you persist, because your cause is to fight, and the followers are bound to be dead if they can't keep up! The fifth lesson, competition originates just after this.

Ring road is here! And you put in your final efforts with speeding fighters. You twist the throttle to the max, its a double road, and here there are no rules and no opposition. You just have to get past everyone moving towards the same office, same goal. You persist to compete, edge out each one in the battleground. The competition reaches fierce proportions and you just have one thought which you want to yell to everyone - "Lead, follow, or get out of the way!" And finally comes the destination. You relax beneath that small fan in the elevator, recalling all calculated risks you took, and how you wielded the talwaar to get past everything, feeling the sweetness of success which you are to taste everyday!

The jam is an excellent teacher, and as somebody had rightly pointed out, with freebies as good as sights of young teenaged girls in that SUV waiting at the signal, its the best recreation you can have! The jam is the momentum, its the energy of life; how aptly it fits in the definition of the word energy - "A jam can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be transferred from one junction to another!"




Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Thundering Sound of Silence

I am afraid... I always was, of heights - acrophobia, logophiles would correct. Its just around 4 mts high, but still its scary. The sky is faintly lighted with a few scattered rays stolen from the morning sun which has decided not to show up so early. The water below is deep blue, like clear shining crystals, in the floodlights flanking the swimming pool. The spring-board feels cold on the naked feet, the light morning breeze colder on the scarcely covered body. I try to move to the edge, prompted by the trainer; taking as small steps as possible, as if, vainly trying to stop the board from shaking. It doesn't stop, keeps on with its minute up-and-down. It must've been just a few inches of movement, but it aggravates the fear.


I look down, and a chill runs down the spine. Instructions come to look straight to the front. The huge sign-board on the other end of the pool with the name of the club in bold capitals gleams proudly, defying me, mocking me, standing erect braving the cold and warding off all materialistic fears that we living creatures have been doomed with.

A voice beats my ear-drums - "Jump!!" I look down once again, as if vainly trying to recollect myself, to try hard one last time and convince myself that its just water below. The voice repeats - "Jump!!!" My brain stops, all body functions too. All I can feel is silence. First, the roaring air, then the thundering water. Both completely silent. There is a tickling somewhere inside, though; and somewhere it feels good. A free fall, of however small duration, the feeling of liberty, the feeling of being free. The air doesn't block my way, nor does the water, nor my own brain and thought processes, nor the fears - nothing in this world. Its the joy of freedom I feel...




Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New Template!!

Finally doing it after chucking the thought for a trillion times! Guess its decent enough...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Mangalore, church, et al...

It was close to 7:30 p.m. in Mangalore. I had just reached the Hampankatta traffic signal from Manipal and customarily cross-checked with my travel agent about my Bangalore bound bus scheduled to depart at 10. I had plenty of time to kill and owing to my natural self, chose to roam around and have a look at a little bit of Mangalore.


Started off with the Milagres P.U. College there itself. The four erect square buildings flanking the concrete ground on all four sides made me remember my old school. It also had a large concrete space where the morning and afternoon prayers were held. It had buildings on only three sides though.

Came out of my nostalgia and saw the Milagres Church nearby. A mass or something was going on. There was a festooned image of Christ on some sort of an altar, and a lot of people in the church campus. The lights seemed to be beautiful, the hymns being sung almost infectious. Felt like getting in, but chucked the idea and gave priority to the most important thing in my life - food! Departed off to as far as M.G. Road and subsided a bit of my hunger with some pizza at Bharath Mall's Pizza Hut. Junk food hasn't been in my favourites, but an appetite loss and bad health since last few weeks convinced me to have something of a different taste so that it can atleast go down the throat.

Saw a lot of Mangalore in the way and returned back around 9:30 to Hampankatta. The thing going on in the church had finished. People thronging the place half an hour back seemed to have been evaporated somehow. The Christ's idol seemed to be alone and the church bore a silent look, though the lights were still overlooking everything brightly. I felt like a strange pull to get inside. The guard on the front gate informed me that the timings were over. Still, I checked in from behind, there was no one at the back gate, and I got in.



There was a strange calmness all around. No, not a graveyardy silence, but a silence which seemed to be pacifying. I roamed around, pausing at different statues of different saints, Mother Mary, Christ and others. A few candles were burning steadily near all of them, their faces sort of reflected the lights of the candles. I sat for a few minutes inside the main hall. Nobody was there, but I didn't feel alone or afraid. Rather, I just felt happy. As if, whatever I've done till date was so correct, and whatever I'm going to achieve in future is going to be so wonderful. There was peace and solace - in perfection.

I am agnostic and somewhat a nihilist. Theists would immediately say, that's what being in God's place means, being happy. I don't want to argue. The experience was good, the attraction to get in was strange, and the bottomline is, it left me happy.




Thursday, March 15, 2007

Just another day?

The second guy is back. At his first sight, the third one hastily went out of the waiting hall. Its his turn finally. His facial expressions defying all his efforts to hide the impending ordeal which his organs are sensing, he occupies his seat on the sofa outside the interview room. Watching him nervously flipping through his certificates and documents, I casually passed him a smile; it might have helped him ease a little, I think. I was to be the fourth one.

It was to be my sixth experience of appearing before an IIM interview panel. I was relaxed; rather perfectly, I would say; allowing myself the luxury of taking small walks and a lazy cup of coffee. I have always abhorred the idea of last minute preparations. People anxiously sifting through business pages of newspapers and magazines in futile attempts at devouring as much junk as they can, discussing what-nots with each other, pounding on every person coming out of the interview room to extract as much info as they can; all these have always been a funny sight for me.

I couldn't afford to get back to the CCD next-door to this hotel as I had done in my last interview. My turn was soon to come and unable to bear the crap going on inside the waiting hall, I come out to have a chat with the guy sitting on the sofa. He is nervous, for sure, and didn't seem to be much interested in any discussion.

A man with a medium height is arranging plates on a small table outside. Slightly unproportionally built, with some extra flabs at a few places and a small moustache, he appears rather suave and humble. He neatly places cups, thermos of milk, tea bags, spoons and small plates on a tray; arranges everything to as much perfection as his rugged hands allow. Then, he places a few sugar cubes on two of the spoons with much effort, stands erect as elegantly as he can, arranges his bow tie, straightens his short waiter's jacket, getting ready for, I think, the most delicate part of his job - serving morning coffee in rooms. He casually asked me, as if delaying his departure, "Are you from Panel 2 sir?". "Yes", I replied indifferently, too engrossed in observing him.



A girl comes out from Panel 4 room. White shirt, black trousers and a black waist coat - nicely dressed in this perfect business attire. I recognise her - she is the one who had occupied the seat besides me in the morning during document verification processes. She appears confident, all smiles, walks out happily; possibly because she has faired well, or might be because her last and final ordeal is over, or so I thought. I look all around once, as if assimilating her freedom and suddenly becoming conscious of my waiting state. We pass each other brief smiles.

That waiter looks at her as she walks towards the waiting hall. He still seems to be delaying his departure. "Hi mam," I hear the voice; coming back from my split-second wanderings of how I would do everything after just this final half-an-hour blah-blah gets over; and I get back to my work of observing the man. Its his voice. The waiter's. To the girl, who just came out of an IIM interview. I am still too busy in observing him to put some thought to what it actually is.

"Yes?", the girl replies, anxious, suspicious, indifferent, but still managing a smile; possibly too busy in her mind thinking about what happened inside and how fairly she might have went through the interview process. "Mam, can I have your number?", the same voice, this time quivering a little. As if a sudden jolt makes me aware. This man - clearly defying the world! His face is completely white, as if, he himself doesn't know what he is doing. Eyes all too low to convey any expression, I possibly saw some tremor in those same rugged hands which were impeccably arranging the tray I was busy observing.

"My number? What will you do?", the girl says; coming out of her interview thoughts, still expressionless, unable to take stock of the situation, but managing a forced smile. "No, no..", possibly I hear him uttering with much effort, in a trembling voice. He starts to pick up the tray, as if suddenly becoming aware of his stature. He is a poor man. How can a poor man dare to do this crime? A waiter talking to an educated high-profile girl! No, no; its impossible, it might have been a fit of madness, he probably is thinking. His expressions now turning to somewhat remorseful, I observe. Afraid, he must've been. What would happen if this girl even mentions the incident to some other higher staff in the hotel? A poor man, he is; this job is all he has. And there are thousands like him waiting in line for a position he enjoys. He is a poor man, and poor people should not have feelings, he possibly asserts to himself. Yes, he must've been mad; and he hurries with the tray to one of the rooms; not daring to look back, possibly praying in his mind to be saved, resolving to himself that he would visit the local temple daily so that his mind doesn't wander like this again. So that he manages to dedicate himself to the arranging of trays and room-services rather than resorting to such dastardly criminal acts. He rushes off.

I take a look at the sofa besides. The third guy is already gone. I missed to notice when he went inside. Its my turn next. I try to focus. I am going to be "free" soon.




Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Are you searching for a reason to be kind?

Following is a song by A.R. Rahman sung for Nokia India's charity project 'Pray for me, brother' which is the UN Theme song for poverty alleviation mission.



Below is the lyrics. Notice the texts in bold. I found them to be the most poignant.

Pray For Me Brother (2007)
Composed by A.R.Rahman
Lyrics by Blaaze
Singers: A.R.Rahman and Blaaze

Pray for me brother
Pray for me brother
Pray for me sister
Are you searchin’….
Pray for me brother

Lookin’ for the answers To all the questions In my life
Will I be alone Will you be there By my side
Is it something he said Is it something he did
I wonder why He is searchin’ For the answers
To stay alive

Could you ever listen Could you ever care
To speak your mind
Only for a minute For only one moment
In time

The joy is around us But show me the love
That we must find
Are you searchin’ For a reason to be kind, to be kind…
He said… Pray for me brother

Pray for me brother Pray for me sister
Pray for me brother Say
what you wanna say now
But keep your hearts open
Be what you wanna be now
Let’s heal the confusion
Pray for me brother

Don’t let me take When you don’t wanna give
Don’t be afraid Just let me live
Don’t let me take When you don’t wanna give
Don’t be afraid Say what you wanna say now
But keep your hearts open

Be what you wanna be now Let’s heal the confusion
Pray for me brother Pray for me brother
I’m ashamed ah, brother be dying of poverty
when he down on his knees its only then he prays
And it’s a shame ah, brother be dying of ignorance
cos the world is a trip and everybody’s a hypocrite
Need to stop ah , taking a look at the other
I’m not ashamed of poverty
need to be making his life better
So think about it, think about it once more
cos life is a blessing and it’s not justa show, ah
Round and round the world is spinning around

We need to be singing a prayer, we need to be singing it now
Round and round the world is turning around
We need to be singing a prayer, we need to be singing it now
Need to be feeling the power, need to be feeling the faith
We need to coming together just to win this race

Need to be feeling the power, need to be feeling the faith
We need to coming together just to win this race (twice)
Are you searching for a reason to be kind?



Thursday, February 15, 2007

IIM Lucknow

Disaster Venue: Monarch Hotel, Bangalore (Panel 3) 10:00 am on 15th Feb 2007.

GD:

"In business, the rear view mirror is more clear than the windshield. "

10 minutes for writing an essay and 15 minutes for blah-blah-blah...

Interview:

Characters - A female prof (F), a male prof (M) and B, the Bakra (Me!).

F: Vivek what were you doing from 2001 to 2002?
B: Mam I was preparing for IIT-JEE.
F: And then you joined Electronics at Indian School of Mines, Dhanabd...
B: Yes mam. The admissions at ISM Dhanbad are through IIT-JEE.
F: What do you do at IBM?
B: Mam I am working in the AT&T Project. It is a big project going on for past 10 years and the major amount of work these days...
F: I asked what do you do?
B: I am working on the Universal Service Request Platform of AT&T which are used by its end-users for ordering various applications. It is a Java based application and I am a part of the testing team. In addition to this, I have recently got an additional responsibility of handling production issues. They are delicate issues arising at the time of production.

F: Where do you come from?
B: I have been brought up at Jamshedpur.
F: Tell me something about business developments in Jharkhand in past one year.
B: (Blank-face-speaking-with-efforts..) Over the years, the state has been trying to attract investments. The Arjun Munda government earlier...
F: I am not talking about politics. You are here for a business course. Tell me about the business developments. (Whom-are-you-trying-to-fool-looks)
B: Mam I don't think that the state has progressed much in those terms. The Tatas are there in Jharkhand but they too are expanding mostly outside Jharkhand.
F: There is a global player trying to enter in the state...
B: (Blank-face)
F: Have you heard about Mittals?
B: (Sensing-trouble-enroute) Yes mam. They are trying to set up a plant in Jharkhand.
F: What plant?
B: Mam I am not updated about the issue.
F: You are from ISM. Are you interested in mines?
B: Yes. (Anticipating-a-disaster-look)
F: Have you heard of the place called Chiriya?
B: Yes mam. Chiriya is a mine in Jharkhand. (I-don't-know-look)
F: They are trying to tap that and the state is going to become very rich... (dekh-dekh-tujhe-nahin-pata-looks)
B: (Accepted-defeat-looks)
F: What are the roadblocks they are facing in Chiriya?
B: Mostly political. The mindset of the politicians and the issue of jobs-to-locals....
F: Apart from political? (I-am-not-going-to-leave-u-easily)
B: Mam I don't have an idea.

F: What do you think you would learn in management.
B: Firstly, it would give me an opportunity to diversify my portfolio. I can look towards other sector apart from the IT sector in which I currently am.
F: What other sectors are you looking forward to? (Aaya-pahaad-ke-neeche)
B: I would say the services sector. IBM is much into it. Apart from all this, a management course would help in enhancing my leadership and teamworking abilities...
F: So you think you don't have leadership or teamworking skills right now?
B: I do have, but there is always a scope of improvement in anything. Besides, I would also learn about business, the knowledge of which I lack.

M: Show me your documents.
B: (Handing-over-the-file-with-a-forced-smile)
M: And what are those other things you are carrying?
B: Sir it contains my experience letter and other documents.
M: So? Don't you have to show that to us? (How-dare-he-looks)
B: Sure sir.
M: And where are the other documents? Doesn't your call letter says you need to produce other things? What will I do with these certificates of volleyball and other stuff? They don't mean anything for me. (Hands me the call letter and says "Read what are the documents required." Abhi-bataata-hoon-tujhe-looks)
B: The interview call letter...
M: Yes this is the call letter... next...
B: CAT Admit Card.
M: Where is it?
B: (I take that out from the envelope.)
M: Next.
B: Original marksheets/certificates of examinations passed.
M: Where are they? You have kept it with you! Why, you don't want to show them to us? (Chataak-chataak)
B: Sir I had kept them separately because the file I have given you contains only the certificates. I have kept all other documents in this envelope.
M: I am not bothered about your certificates.
B: Sorry sir. Its my mistake.
M: (I-will-kill-you-looks. Flips through my grade sheets.) What did you read in Managerial Economics?
B: Supply and demand... (haklaate-haklaate..)
M: What was the managerial aspect of economics in this paper?
B: Sir I don't think it had specific orientation as such towards management. It was more of...
M: Tell me a scenario when the demand is inelastic.
B: (Daya-karo-looks...)
M: That means you haven't read this paper.
B: (More-daya-karo-looks...)
M: What is Control Engineering?
B: Sir Instrumentation and Control...
M: I am asking about Control. Tell me only about that.
B: Sir it deals with process control...
M: How do you control a process?
B: Sir a process is represented by a state matrix. Input equation is then formed and output is predicted....
M: Digital Communication... hmmm.... What are the two types of digital communication?
B: Sir digital communication is done in many ways like Pulse code modulation, PSK, FSK...
M: There are two broad classifications of digital communication. I am asking about those two.
B: Sir communication can be classified as analog and digital communication. But digital comm..

M: That's what I wanted to know. Vivek you have this beautiful certificate (most-sarcastic-possible-looks) of something called the 9th International Youth Leadership Conference. What was this about?
B: Sir the conference focussed on...
M: What is leadership?
B: Sir leadership is not only about making people follow you. Its more about excellent teamwork. How you can make people believe in you and your ideas and make them generate newer and newer ideas...
M: Tell me five business leaders.
B: N.R. Narayanmoorthy, Azim Premzi, (thinking thinking...) Ratan Tata...
M: Why do you think Ratan Tata is a leader?
B: Sir the aggressive expansion which he is doing for the company, for eg. the acquisition of Corus and new plants for Tata Motors. Secondly, the corporate social responsibility which the Tatas carry...
M: What do you know about Tata-Corus deal? What are the salient features of that deal?
B: Sir the Tatas have acquired Corus at six hundred and eight..een... (nervous!!) pence a share..
M: 608 or 618? (Sahi-bole-to-noch-khaaoonga-looks)
B: Sir 618 pence a share. (Dumbo!! I knew the correct figure and yet messed that up!)
M: And?
B: The acquisition was hyped in the media because of the entry of a third player CSN which...

M: If Vivek had to emulate one personality, who would he/she be?
B: Sir it is difficult to find one person who has all the qualities which I look forward to...
M: Have you read about the Mahabharata?
B: Yes..
M: What happened to Draupadi? She wanted different-different qualities in different-different people and what did she end up with? (Five-husbands! Ab-bolo! I-am-here-to-rag-you-looks!!)
B: Sir if you are specifically asking for one name, I would say N.R. Narayanmoorthy of Infosys.
M: Why?
B: Sir the very basic tagline of Infosys, driven by intellect...
M: What?
B: Sir the middle-class values which have led to..
M: What values are called middle-class?
B: Sir I am talking about the priniciples on which Mr. Murthy has build up the organization. Honesty and hard-work...
M: Do you know about the background of Mr. Moorthy? When was Infosys started? The fifty's?
B: Sir a group of five software professionals came together and...
M: Five?
B: I think so.
M: Were they freshers or were they working somewhere?
B: Sir I think they were working.
M: Where? (I-know-you-don't-know-looks)
B: Apple... (question-mark-looks)
M: Are you asking me or are you giving an answer?
B: Sir I am trying to answer...
M: Ok thank you very much Vivek you can go.

Disaster ends!!!