Life from a saint's perspective

Monday, October 30, 2006

Victims of an overcrowded Web domain...

Thanks to ramya for forbidding me from making a blog outta this….


I love my name.. Rishi.. only one in a million people have that name in the world! But the sad part is there are 6 billion people on earth… so that makes it what? 6,000 Rishis in the world??? And unfortunately, most of them seem to have yahoo accounts!!!…. You’d think creating an account is simple! But the only way that’s gonna happen is if your name is something like odoriferous gargoyle… but the downside is that you’ll just have a yahoo id, no friends………..

On that fateful day, when two 16 year old kids went to that internet café to create an email account, they had to spend an entire hour on this stuff!!!

Enter id: rishi…….too small…. minimum six characters

Enter id: rishi_iyer….already taken, try again…..

Enter id: rishiv…. already taken, try again…..

Enter id: r_iyer…. already taken, try again…..

Recommended ids: rishi1984, 1984rishi, rishi_9384

“how boring !!! dude, this is the new millennium year 2000… keep that!!!”

“Good idea!”

Enter id: rishi_y2k…. already taken, try again…..

Enter id: y2k_rishi…. already taken, try again…..


ok, lemme think….i will create a name that has not been taken before!!!! I swear!!

“YES!!! The day I was born, I’ll keep the star’s name… “karthika” “

“Dude!!! U cant keep that name on yer id…. That’s a chicks name!!!”

“Yeah, yer right…… I can always keep karthik, tho….”

“Cool….try that….”

Enter id:y2k_karthik…. already taken, try again…..

Enter id: karthik_y2k…. already taken, try again…..

Holy FU@%#$ !!!!! ok, this is it….if this doesn’t work, I’m jus walkin out!!!

Enter id: y2k_kartikeyan….

Congratulations! You will now be taken to your inbox!

NOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooo… After nearly an hour of hard work and sweat, I was stuck with y2k_kartikeyan!!!! Crapshit!!!

There is a small fundamental problem with this id…. What? IDs are meant to be given out to society…. For adding in messenger and the like…. 99% of the time, I’ve been asked hey, how come u got an id like this????? Because I asked for it you morons!!!! Telling such a long drawn out story is not exactly my idea of a perfect evening…. So I just grit my teeth (it’s a good thing actually…. people sometimes misconstrue this as smiling…..) and cook up some shit about me being a muruga bhakt!!!! And unfortunately, that story catches up!!! When I get within like a 100 metre radius of civilization, the whispers start! Hey, isn’t he the lunatic who created a yahoo id based on his god????

On behalf of all the unfortunate souls out there who did not get a decent yahoo id, poor victims of overcrowded web domains, let me make this clear once and for all!!!! 99% of yahoo ids are born out of sheer frustration…. I have christened it the warmass phenomenon

The possibility of a lousy yahoo id is proportional to number of people in the world who share your name and inversely proportional to the amount of time you can sit on a chair in front of the comp without yer ass getting too warm for comfort…. Yes… if you are at a net café, the frustration also kinda depends on the amount of money in yer wallet…

So if you have a decent id, stop acting smug and just consider yourself lucky that you did not have to reach that threshold of frustration…. More importantly, stop rubbing it in and have some sympathy for your unfortunate brethren!!!

Actually there are some exceptions… for some people who do not have anything better to do with life, this is just a way to burn time…. A certain person has this id called chocodusk… weird yes… “dusk” is her name translated to English… I did not bother to stay long enough to listen how the “choco” part got tagged along…

The following are some of the other incredible ones I’ve encountered….. makes me feel that my own id is godsent!!! I’ve also tried hard not to ask them their inspiration behind cooking up these ids (I owe it to my fraternity) but I’ve tried to come up with explanations of my own…..

odoriferous_gargoyle – a girl who doesn’t want arbit men to add her to their list?

reet_1947 – puzzling….Maybe a tree lover…. 1947 = independence????

iwillbemba – poor guy with 4-5 yrs workex, after an especially depressing simcat?

thesoftwareplanet – hacker nerd!!!

sid_rattlesnake – don’t mess with me kinda guy!!!

killdababe – wannabe rapist / gamer….tough to choose…

devil_onleash – a guy gripped with yogic reverberations

free2rhyme0881 – someone like me, really frustrated at the net café.. prolly jus ran his fingers over the keyboard and took whatever came up!!!

kewljk – pseudocool chap from athippatti? The question mark is only for the place….

kryptonetra – dream outfit is an underwear over pants??? Hence the superhero touch!!!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thrown out of School...

“Rishi, what are you doing? Stand up!!!” 99% of the aches in my little 13 year old head could be attributed to this female…… the vice principal of our school… Her panache of nailing innocent students like me for the most trivial of offences was legendary!!! Like today, I had just passed a note to the girl in the next row that read “what a fart class”…. Cmon, in college, ppl find it hard to sit through a whole hour of lecture…. Back in school it’s much much longer and more boring…. And Indian history of all subjects!!!

“Get out and kneel down for the rest of the class…..” ohmygod!!! Dint she know what was going to happen!!! The whole school would see me!!! My fragile male ego hurt, I sought revenge… the rishi jokes for the rest of the day didn’t help either.... but back in sixth standard you don’t really get a lot of classy ideas…I did what any self respecting boy would do…headed off to the hood…. The boys toilet… and scribbled the most venomous vilifications ever conjectured against mankind…. Dog… donkey…. Stupid old woman in love with the school sweeper!!! Ok… granted that my vocabulary wasn’t exactly pronounced and well developed back then…. But it was enough to assuage the bruised ego… and face it, my peers were idiots like me.. they for certain would appreciate the jokes!!! I headed home in the evening… smug at my success…

The next day dawned…. For the first time ever in my life I looked forward to going to school.. Trivial formalities like the morning prayer and assembly completed, we settled down for the more important issues of the day…. Attendance…. Mutterings all around…. The back benches full of juicy gossips about my bold exploits!!!

“Rishi Iyer”

“Present teacher!”

“Ah…. Yes…you are in serious trouble young man! go to the vice principal’s room, will you?”

To be fair, they were quite chill about the whole thing…..there was some amount of yelling… understandable…but no caning…which was fortunate…. But to cut a long story short, I found myself standing outside the principal’s room listening to her call up dad and abusing me… “sir, is this how u bring up ur kids??? You know how difficult it is to get an admission here? This school has been founded on Christian principles… we give lot of importance to discipline…blah blah blah” it was quite painful standing there listening to her go on and on…. “you come NOW this instant and take him away… he is expelled… No, there is no way he is continuing in this institution now!!!” hang on, WHAT???? Expelled??? I was overcome with shame and shock… what wud mom tell??? The moments passed on like years….

In less than half an hour, my dad’s car screeched to a halt outside the school….i was relieved…had complete confidence in the old man!! He’d pull me out of this mess… hez an awesome guy…. I smiled as he came in….. no…he is not exactly coming in…hez running in… never before in my life have I got a shock like this…. He came straight at my throat, ripped off a coupla my buttons….and beat the shit out of me…. “IS THIS WHY U COME TO SCHOOL???? you are way past the line!!!” the words hurt much much more than the leather belt on my back….. soon enough, the teachers and the principal were begging him to stop… sir, please control yourself…he is only a small boy…. Poor thing.. he is just naughty that’s all… “STUPID BOY RUINING MY NAME!!! how dare he do somethin like that!!!!” no no sir… we will talk to him…please don’t beat him like this….see how afraid he is….


Ten minutes later, the door of the car opened and my nemesis got in …I was terrified to even look at his face…. “dude, don’t be so upset….i’m sorry… if I hadn’t done it, they wud have thrown u out!!! now cmon n cheer up.. i'll get you an icecream and we'll go watch a movie, what say?"


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Micro level implications of earth's planetary motion on a South Indian Bschooler

It is that time of the year again when I wonder how much ever man advances technologically, he cant be too far away from the animals he has evolved out of…. WINTER…. The bears head off to hibernate… the ants have gathered their food for the whole season….. and I have said goodbye to my own peaceful life and taken refuge in the confines of my warm cozy room..

I can guess what you are thinking…. What can possibly be the connection between the seemingly monotonous planetary journey around a star heralding the sojourn of a nice harmless pleasant season on my day to day life in a bschool?????? It is the single biggest threat to my whole positioning and existence!!!

Let me start off by giving you a sneak peek into my life so far…. My real name is Karuppuchamy…. I know dude… My dad probably wanted the last piece of revenge for the years of liability I would turn out to be for him…… But it’s cool…. this problem is easily solved by christening yourself as Sam…. Everyone in college knows me by that name…. Including the profs… Thank god they do not get any sadistic pleasure out of humiliating you in front of the whole class…

Anyway, all my life I’ve lived in Kerala…You know in primary school, yer taught that there are four seasons in a year…. But no one was there to actually explain… then, as is the case now, the whole focus was on mugging the seasons and reproducing them faithfully on yer answer sheet….. Back home, we define winter as 25 degree celsius… the shops stock woolens for like 10 days in that Christmas to new year week… and that too only bcos they wanna b seen as ppl who sell all kindsa clothes… it’s the same set every year…. Anyway, for a person who comes from this alien land, you need a whole new word to describe the concept of temperatures below 10 degrees….

Lemme put this straight to you… Its not that we are weak…. “Acchhoo!!!” If I got like 5 minutes without having to sneeze, I’d kick ur butt!!!! Just last night I faced the onset of the first winter of my life….That fateful first sneeze opened the floodgates!! Cold throat pain fever wheezing….oh dear god!!! The once coolest guy on campus has become the epitome of mucus and a nose leaking like the CIA….

I know my north Indian readers cannot really empathize with the contents of this blog…Let me try and explain with an analogy… Have you ever tried putting your fingers….through your eyes….. into your brains…. and swirling around with the gelatinous pulp inside? This is how we feel EVERY SINGLE day that you people call winter!!! People who were once your friends and fans now think of innovative reasons to stay away…. “Oh Sam!!! Sorry man…. Cant make it tonight… Gotta read ethix…” That’s a double insult…First of all he is lying…and On top of that the lie is so incredulous that he thinks I have a peanut sized brain!! Who on earth would buy that???

But the winter has its advantages too…it comes with a whole new parcel of excuses to skip classes, assignments and what not… yeah I know… inventing excuses is no big deal…anyone on earth can do that!!! But the beauty of this package is that no one can get mad at you!!! And it lasts for like the whole season... today flu.. u can use that for the whole week… next week, cold and throat pain….use it for a coupla days….next week wheezing or asthma, depending on the number of days you wanna frax….

All in all, the winter term is pretty enjoyable… less stressful, more events, inter college sports meet…. Just a small glitch…. The cool guy cant take so much cold…


Friday, October 20, 2006

Diwali: The festival of lights........ and spams!!!!

This post, like all others before it is based on fictional characters… Any resemblance to events or people, living or dead, is purely intentional…. But that doesn’t mean you get all touchy and sulk in a corner or think of cheap means to get back…Also, lock up all your religious beliefs in a small box and set it aside before you read this… Just have fun, forget about it and get on with your lives…

Every Sunday morning, I wake up only when my mom wakes me up with her customary fone call… this routine has been goin on for the last 8 years now….ever since the little one fluttered his wings and set off on his journey to discover the world for himself….

“How was yer Diwali dear?” The festive season was the topic of discussion that morning…

“Oh amma, I did not get any time to actually celebrate Diwali….in between all the deleting spams and bulk messages wishing everyone a happy and prosperous Diwali….”

I know people have no real work to do all day….and I know there is this desperate social need to make their presence felt…. But that doesn’t mean they can wake up early morning thinking what can I do today and populate all their friends’ mailboxes… I know this concept took off in the west… but the sad people that they are, they just have 2 festivals to look forward to all year…. Thanksgiving and Christmas…. If we were to replicate that in India where there are more festivals than days in the year, things might get a little out of hand… add to the fact that our dear old mother India is endowed with much more sons and daughters than any other country in the west…. Which means there is every possibility that each one of us has more spammers (friends…spammers…whats the difference, eh?) than our lesser fortunate western brethren…

Just have a look at this


Ok, granted I do not have an exactly enviable command over Hindu mythology…. But hasn’t diwali got something to do with ram’s victorious return from lanka???? Maybe Ganeshji was his sidekick…. Oh no that was Hanuman…. and he had a monkey’s face… not that of an elephant, u moron!!! Ooopsy!!!

I’ve got this exact same ganeshji foto for like a zillion festivals now…. Ever since I signed up for a mail account… this same foto finds a way to break through all the new improved spam filters apparently set up by yahoo, orkut, google, rediff etc etc….Must be a real good hacker who sends this stuff….. Be it ganesh chathurthi, diwali, new year…..even for Christmas, ppl send me ganeshji fotos!!!! Not that I have a problem with ganeshji’s esteemed presence and blessing in my humble web domain….. but it is kinda frustrating to see people frittering away all the creativity bestowed upon them (thanks, ganeshji…) on the most frivolous of activities… u know? These are a coupla things u shud learn from me… spending my creativity on the most productive of activities like being an armchair critic and blogging…..

And yeah… the author of this blog must be a real loser to have nothing better to do on the day of a wonderful festival than sitting in front of a comp and making fun of all mankind, including himself! oh no, hez forced to do it….. to delete all the spams on y! messenger……


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Puppies and the man who died a Bachelor

aravind machi.....thanks for giving me a few ideas that made this blog possible....


I am under 6 feet tall….Not a basketball player, not a guitarist….no 10+ lpa PPO….AND, I have “iyer” in my surname… all this qualifies to put me pretty much at the bottom of the dating hierarchy….. The latest addition to the conspiracy against me losing my celibacy is the litter of puppies on campus… freshly arrived….

“Insensitive brute….” The campus women gang up on the hapless man with a coffee in one hand and a coupla notebooks in the other, struggling to find his way through the endless number of puppies whose sole aim in life is to lick his chappals!!! You tell me now…is he to blame if amidst all the confusion, he accidently trips over a pup who has found it extremely convenient to settle between his legs???? To make matters worse, the poor guy just spilled all his coffee on one of the ladies desperately trying to catch hold of one of the puppies….The only thing left for him to do would be to order a coffin for himself and a tombstone that says, “Died a bachelor.. RIP”

What’s it with women and puppies??? Is it their motherly instincts or something??? One thing that makes people look like absolute morons is baby talk…. My gawd!!! I just cant stand them…. Cu chee cu chee cooo…. Is there anything on earth thts more incomprehensible???? What is it that makes people….Now… let me put this straight… We are not talking about Australopithecus here… (Well, I could have jus said prehistoric man.. but these jargons make me so much more intelligent than I am….) We are talking about supposedly intelligent homo sapiens… (ok, sorry…no more jargons…) who have the ability to think before they do stuff…. What is it that makes these people to look and sound so stupid in front of others???? Is it something like they keep their brains in the deep freezer before they get out of their hostel rooms or something????? If you thought you had trouble with all the women cu chee cooing, you see guys joining in the ruckus! Self respecting logical men trying desperately to edge out that basketball player to the top of the hierarchy!!!

Just step outside the campus and we have vast expanses of Jharkhand greeting us…. One of the poorest states in the country, maybe even in the world…. Thousands of starving kids, babies…. No one to give a damn! But here, four legged creatures are having a ball with people feeding them corn flakes, pedigree (Even a Regent breakfast comes cheaper than that btw….) Another set of student activists out to crucify some poor professor who had the foresight to dispose off the pups, calculating that the college would turn into nothing less than a zoo around a year from now… (Not that things are any better now… we have people who say cu chee coo!!!)

“Hey, look at this pup… the tip of his tail is white… lets call him tippy…HEY! I have a better idea…lets call him Tipu… Tipu Sultan!!!” I was fondly observing the metamorphosis of one of my close friends… He is already both a basketball player AND a guitarist… Plus, got a PPO also!!! Why would he do this to himself??? The poor freedom fighter would be turning in his grave….. At least it is heartening to note that centuries later there are still people who pay their tributes to their age old heroes!!!

And the pain of being a blogger is that you not only think of these things… u also commit a capital mistake by posting them on a site…. The condom company just lost a customer for life…. *sigh*


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Journey to Adulthood...

A lone white ambassador car was speeding along the highway…. Its beams penetrated the darkness that had descended on the moor…Tall trees on either side of the road made it as eerie a setting as any…. The wipers struggled hard to beat the downpour descending down upon the glass with great ferocity to deter the passengers from their perilous journey.

The passengers had among them a 22 year old IAS officer fresh out of training deputed under the district collector of Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, an area that has forever been under the grip of local uneducated feudal lords…..Me, Rishi….I was off to Thenkasi from Palayankottai to mobilize the local groups and persuade them to cooperate with government efforts to develop the infrastructure. There was great civil unrest and I was being made the scapegoat sent off to assist the local government authorities…

My young city slicker’s blood was showing its true colors…. I personally felt responsible for all the bloodshed and took it upon myself to teach the rioters a lesson… the single biggest reason why I left the lucrative software company offer for the civil service…

Ssscccccccccccreeeeeeech! The sudden brakes threw me forward…. There was an old man and his wife bang in the middle of the road crying for mercy….. 60-70 years…I couldn’t tell clearly….. the rain blurred my vision…. I lowered the windshields to talk to them…. Immediately, as the light in the car shone upon the old man’s face, I felt a kick in my guts…. This was none other than Karuppaiah, one of the very feudal lords I was advised to fear almost from the instant I set foot in the district…. Soon, a distant roar diverted my attention away…..Was it thunder??? No… more like a stampede… “They are Maruthamalai’s men… please save me.. I am on my way to thenkasi to see my little granddaughter who is sick….” I went cold with fear…. “Saar….” My driver seemed to have a word of advice…. “Don’t involve yourself in this… This is a caste feud…. You wont get any mercy.. This has been going on for generations now…. “ But soon enough, my instincts came to the fore… RISHI!!! Get a grip on yourself… You are an IAS officer….You are supposed to be a decision maker… “Quick, get into the car…” I encouraged the old man and his wife…. They waited with trepidation for the crowd to close in from all directions…. I was nervous, my throat went dry… I lit a cigarette in a weak attempt to soothe my nerves….. “You want one?” I tossed one across to the old man…. He returned with a look on his face that showed he thought of me to be a lunatic!!! I hated that…. Actually all of us do… We don’t really fancy to see our deepest expressions mirrored on another’s face….

The light was soon visible….Hundreds of men…. All with flaming torches….. The heat and the humidity due to the rains made me sweat….. or was it just plain cold anxiety… 4 lives now depended on my judgement… I could wait for them to close upon us and set the car to fire…Or….

I gripped the handle of the car….Karuppaiah soon realized what I was upto and cried out aloud….. It is quite interesting to observe how differently people can behave in some of their most important moments in life…. As I got out, three people walked up to me…. Their leader ironically enough seemed to be as young as me… “Stop… what you people are doing is not correct…. You have no right to kill these two people…” I finally seemed to find my voice…. “We just want to travel with you to Thenkasi” The menacing tone was unmistakeable…. I had no option but to yield…. Soon, I found my driver thrown out of the car… On top of that, I was now traveling in pitch dark with 5 strangers, and the only person who had embarked upon the journey with me was nowhere nearby….

We are not killing Mahatma Gandhi… Ask that cock sucker how many of our kith and kin he has murdered in his lifetime… how many women had their sindoor wiped off their heads…. How many young girls were pushed into prostitution because of his villainous sidekicks…..” Incredibly enough, I somehow began to find logic in what he said…He seemed to be quite educated…. But I could not let any violence happen in the area under my control… “Be as it may, who gives you right to take his life? We have all been created by God…” I suddenly realized that the young fellow was as confused as I was… He too seemed to recognize the ill effects of this mindless bloodbath….The conversation continued…. The older thugs were the young chap’s sidekicks… Maybe the young chap was the next leader of their caste… It was quite evident they did not have the patience for this gibberish… All they were interested in was in splitting our throats wide open…The old man and his wife seemed to have lost all their will to live…. They cowered in the back seat…. All that stood between them and death was my negotiation skills… I knew no matter what we were talking, I had to go on…..

Dawn descended…… And in a matter of moments, the balance of power seemed to be shifting…. police barricades came up and the car was surrounded by armed policemen….. An inspector halted the car and said, “Sir, we got the news just now. I’ll handle these ruffians.. You’ll obviously file a FIR…?” The expressions on the faces changed… The old man was overwhelmed with hatred….The two sidekick thugs had resigned looks on their faces… But the young man puzzled me…. There was no fear on his face… just a request to understand…. “No.. there will be no FIR” Two young men came of age that day…


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dawn to Dusk in a Bschool....

In a cruel twist of fate, the window of my room faces east!!! This makes sure that right from the start, my day is screwed… Stupid jampot!! Sun wakes up at like 5:30 here… I miss my Mumbai days….By 6, the sun finds out ways to seep through the curtains as though its single point agenda in the day were to screw my sleep over!!!


Great!!! Now, the alarm bell has joined the gang…. AArgh!! Monday morning… I hate going to classes…. Minutes later, I trudge along to the breakfast table, only to be greeted by the customary bread and jam… Wonderful!!! Did they just buy a truckload of this shit and store it for the whole year??

Class one for the day: Financial Management… Look at the people doing CP… First guy is a CA gold medalist… Second one is an IIT topper… Third one is a chap who shot down 2-3 pak helicopters in the Kargil war!!! My gawd…. For a second I was fantasizing of playing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sidekick in terminator…. Ok, next chick who speaks has done a PhD in microelectronics, worked in analog devices for three years and is now doing an fpm here….. wow!!! My own backbencher exploits in engineering college looks miniscule compared to all this… Now, if you come to think of it….why the heck did the panel choose me of all the candidates…. I began to have serious doubts….

Finally, I take the customary steps to dadus for my chai and sutta… ah, this is the best part.. friends chattin away, watching the puppies play around... juniors and seniors alike fondling them…

Last class of the day: Cost accounting… oh, when will the day end??? As I strode in, I found out that all the seats in the back rows were taken… Looks like this is going to be one hard day…. Attendance is one thing everyone in the class looks forward to…The professor because that’s the one single take-home he has from the lecture… Students bcos well, for them activity is a substitute for real achievement…. Formalities completed, we settled down for the first presentation…. Soon though, it was evident that this was no ordinary group…. My god, I did not understand a thing of what they were saying…. Did they pick up all that ineffable twaddle in bschool???? Jesus!!! And I returned to my usual routine of dreaming about my lady love…Faintly in the background, i could hear words like probability distribution and heteroskedasticity trailing off......

“so…. Would you like to comment on this?”

With one swift blow, Baba the leader of the gang shakes me out of reverie…. My god, they were expecting me to comment on this?? Why why why why why me???? Of all the 61 bakras sitting there…… I haven’t even fucking read the case!!!! Shit!!! Ok, if he is out to embarrass me, its going to be an open war!!!

“yeah, it is alright to talk fancy jargons on statistics….but in real life when faced with practical issues, I personally don’t think this approach would work…..” I franctically looked around for support…. Encrouagement….even an iota would help….thats when someone in the back bench spoke up…. And the discussion went on…and on…

Thank god!!! I think I remained inconspicuous and maintained a low profile for most of the lecture… Lesson no 1 in a bschool…. Remain inconspicuous if you wanna survive…..

The dusk was giving way to night when I walked back from a long strenuous day… As my love opened the door for me, I started to forget all about the day… “Honey, you had a tough time?” “It’s ok… Classes are a necessary evil the college imposes on all of us… The students just want good grades and a high salary…. No one is bothered about silly things like learning or paying attention in class…And I am just bothered about doing my research in Behavioral Finance…. dunno why the college asks me to lecture in accounting of all papers!!!”


Einstein in love with Hannibal Lecter

Have you ever been forced to accompany your mom to a wedding of some distant relative??? And u felt like you are standing bang in the middle of a Mumbai CST railway platform…. There is a lot of hustling and bustling going on, lots of activity…. But you cant place a single face…. Have you ever felt as if even if you disappeared, it wouldn’t make an iota of difference to anyone der? Your own mom who was so begging you to come is just happy she got a lift and is now oblivious of your existence, happily gossiping with mrs gupta…… or sharma….. How does that make a difference to you?

Well, chatting with your lady love can be a very similar experience…. This is the classic case of information asymmetry…. Because she is the only one who knows whether you are gonna get lucky… shez the only one who knows (apart from, of course, her best friend who keeps giggling every time u get like within a square kilometer of her!!!) whether this is gonna work out or not….yeah well, all day you debate the pros and cons of talking to her….or chat with her….or call her…as the case may be……


You love her… you wanna talk to her…


You are a pain in her wrong side… Quit bugging her….Have some self respect… you are a man….. Shez been giving the cold treatment to you for months now… can’t u see? Shez NOT INTERESTED!!!!!

Screw LOGIC!!!! You finally summon all the courage at your disposal and buzz…..

“Hi, u there?”

One second

10 seconds

30 seconds

1 minute


Guys note, this 1 minute is the time it takes her to call her best friend to share the gossip….

You don’t know what to say….what do you tell a person you love!!!! Awkward silence descends on the romantic air….This is the first lesson.. There can be several degrees of embarrassing silences…… YESS!!!! You finally have it……..the idea….

“how was the day?”

Yes, that’s cool…a very nice question…get comfortable….show you are concerned…

“it was ok”

Hmmm… no help there…. What do you answer to that???

“Had lotsa classes?”

“No. you?”

Applause!!!! Standing ovation from everyone around the stadium……Salute the champion!!! SHE has finally asked YOU a question!!!! All is not lost….

“Yeah… had an awful day… 3 whole classes…But they were interesting… especially PMIR… we were discussing the evolution of Collective Bargaining…..”

Hey, HEY HEY!!! Hold it there…

“…..and how the legal climate of the country played a role in shaping…..”

Oh fuck! Yer never gonna get her!!!

You do not even realize that for the last two minutes, yer the one whoz been doing all the typing… for all you know, she may have even left for a coffee….. or to flirt with cuter guys…. Dumb guys yes…. But that’s not so bad…they don’t discuss collective bargaining with their lady love like Mr Einstein here…. No wonder… the dumber the dude, baber the babe…..The theory does have a point….

“er… I am sorry…. I gotta rush…. Priya is calling…”

Finally she does type in something…. Even though it is a goodbye, I broke your heart note…

Did she just tell you goodbye???? What can possibly be more important than a romantic discussion on collective bargaining???? The Pentagon falling apart??? No, that isn’t important…. Jenna Jameson visiting campus???? Hmm…maybe….Doesn’t she realize that there are still endearing discussions on theology, scientology and communist philosophy to talk about???

What is she? Hannibal Lecter?? Doesn’t she know how excruciating the wait can be???? You havta start the process all over again… waiting for a whole new day to buzz her.. the debates… the counseling sessions with your rakhi sister… that reminds you, where has she been for the last 3 days??? HIDING FROM YOU!!!!

Ah, the vicious circle of waiting, debating, chatting, making a fool of yourself and getting shooed away continues…..


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Pyrrhic victory of a 13 year old....

Not many things scare me… well, at least it doesn’t hurt to say so in my blog…but I have never been more scared in my life than that day when I walked up to the lone chair in the examination room….I was perspiring profusely… well, that’s a good thing then… dint some eccentric scientist guy mention somewhere that genius was 99% perspiration??? The teacher smiled graciously and motioned me to enter…. Like a cornered thief, I anxiously looked around for exit points…. As I took my chair, the tip of my nose went cold….yeah, that always happens to me when I am nervous… what the heck was she scribbling so vigorously?? I glanced at the question paper…nothing in there made me comfortable…. Question 1. Write a poem in hindi…. Sweet mother of all that’s pure and holy!!!! This is where I am gonna be cremated…. Ok, rishi…think!!! Aaha!!! I started writing whatever I knew about saare jahan se accha…. With generous additions and filling the gaps by mahakavi rishi iyer, of course…

It was a hot summer day in 1997… I was in goa, seeking admit in a CBSE school… but apparently there are only 5 schools in the whole state that don’t make u read Konkani!!! What is this place???

Anyways, test done…. Waiting in the hall outside for the result was even more excruciating, if thts possible… “Ah rishi…come on here…We’ve gone through your papers… and we are really impressed with yer performance….

Oh cool, I swelled up in pride…. I towered over the 6foot plus profs with my 5 foot height…. Hmph! I had even beat their own students… that too in their home ground!!! Ha!

But derz this one small thing…Yeah, u know in Hindi…. We don’t write ON the line, but beneath it rather… You may wanna look into it if you hope to clear the board exam next year

I looked for a crack in the floor I could disappear into….


Thursday, October 12, 2006

PPOs.... Spreading the joy around....

Term 5… Ah, it’s that time of the year when it starts raining PPOs and PPIs in bschool campuses… Almost everyone on is happy… The placement committee, because they get all the credit for no work of their own…plus, lesser work to do for the actual placement season… Students who got the offer are happy because…….well, they got the offer… Companies are happy because they think they are one up on the other companies by reserving the best candidates early on… Profs are happy because attendance will soon cease to be top priority… lesser doubts, lesser ACP, lesser headache….And the rest of the students are happy because there will be a lesser competition for the final process…. You keep hearing the tales of all the PPOs... endless gyaan sessions, CV reviews, GD tips... the placed students keep thinking of innovative techniques to spend time... But there is another face of the coin.... The deals that did not happen... Amidst all the smirking and taking yer heat out on the ass of the latest PPO-er, my own position seems to be quite unenviable….

My own conversation with the mentor had been quite endearing….
“Ah, Rishi…tell me…how are you? How are yer studies going on?”

Aha! Looks like hez trying to find out how interested I am in Finance!!!!!!

“Sir, it’s going damn good... I was getting sick of sitting in the systems lectures in the first year!!! Now that we have electives, I can finally choose electives that I am interested in…” and sleep in the last row as usual…

“Oh, that’s good that’s good… So how is the general PPO scene there?”

“Awesome, sir! XYZ Ltd just gave PPOs to all their 4 interns.. News just came in this morning… As of now, around 35 or so would have got PPOs” Yeah, that’s right…if u want real talent, u better give PPOs to yer interns!!!

“Ah, by the way…Rishi, about that last draft for reimbursements… there are some formalities with HR that we need to sort out…please don’t mind the delay”

“Not at all sir, not at all…” I have Rs 89 in my bank a/c…but the delayed draft is an excellent excuse for me to keep in touch with you!!!

“You know, commodities is really hotting up right now…”

“Yes sir, totally… The internship really got me hooked on to that… Only last night, I was conducting an event study on how the ##################”

Note: The above piece has been censored…The content included highly technical and offensive material, especially to peace loving back benchers like yours truly…

Yeah yeah… I know you guys are calling me a suckup… but welcome to corporate life… this is what will get you your payoffs…
Rule # 1: If you suckup to yer boss and get promoted, you are just a good manager…But if yer colleague does that, he is disgusting and lacks the balls to believe in his merit!!!

The conversation continues…

“Sir, totally forgot to tell you…. I’ve started a blog in which I debate on leading issues pertaining to commodities….” Yes, a debate… you could call that when 3 people read your blog…you, your friend on whom you invested a bottle of vodka last night (the same friend who returned the money for the vodka before the got to the end of the first paragraph btw…), and a stranger in your orkut friends list who fell for the spam you sent out… BRAVO!!!

“Oh, that’s great Rishi… good, good… I always knew you would get a very good job in your final placements….”

Er…. Did he just say final placements???? Hmm… That doesn’t exactly look good on the PPO front…. The unfinished sentence finished a lot of things for me….

“Yeah yeah, obviously….Thanks for your wishes sir… And, do let me know when the draft formalities are done…”



“Yeah whatever….”

I thought of all the alumni meets and booze parties I missed during summers, and my neighbour who was not allotted a project but still got a PPO…. I thought of waking up all those days before the sun to catch the 7:21 local to CST and spending 4 hours every day sniffing at someone’s armpit…. I realized that I had grown up… I began to appreciate how life is on the other side of the campus wall… I began to realize how naïve I was as a fresher… A lot of things about my workex friends became clear to me.. why they say certain things and act in a certain way…

As I was unlocking my door, my neighbour confronts me… “Dude, what the heck is FLIX doing yaar??? I’m done with all the movies in yer servers….download some good movies, have some nice screenings yaar… Dunno why people take up responsibilities they cant keep!!!”

I could not help but smile at the irony… People who get PPOs get jobless….and for the others, work just keeps mounting up!!! But I’m only happy for him.. Because when I get placed in SBI and have a salary that barely keeps me alive in Mumbai, I have someone with a high Present Value of huge cash inflows to repay my educational loan EMIs… My neighbour, my friend, my financier who gives 0% interest rate structured finance products ;-)


Monday, October 09, 2006

A short story

A singer had many fans. Then one day, he bought an AC and the fans went off.
Moral of the Story: Obsequious sycophants dont last long...


To each, his own Battle

The crimson sun peeked over the silhouette… wanting to come out…. Over a hundred thousand men willing it not to…. The land lay barren….. into the far horizon…. Stench of the previous evening still fresh in the air… A lone figure on the hills gestured to his army… Tattered armor, rusty helmet and a sword smeared with the blood of hundreds… Zir, the Spaniard… The hooves of the horses far away, resonated in a rising crescendo as they came closer….and closer…… The last of his paladins here, on the day of reckoning….

They waited in anticipation…. The barbarians were on the move, they knew. All their allies down south were decimated….Battles had come and gone in the past. The paladins had triumphed over them all… The stark difference of the mood in the air bothered them, like a nagging headache…. Somehow, this day was going to be different. When the sun sets tonight, the last man standing will stake claim to the land….

It’s a funny thing…. Time…the stress of the waiting game unbearable… footmen were jovial, and knights panicky… some writing letters to their loved ones, others crossing themselves…

Faith, Resignation, Hope, Panic, Anger, Optimism….Zir saw the gamut of human emotions flashing across the faces of his men… Ramifications of the human mind…. Unfathomable…

Each of them knew they were outnumbered. But faith can sometimes supply you with the strength that logic cannot… faith in their leader, their king, who had never let them down…. Obliteration awaited them. Many did not understand the philosophy… The purpose… but still, here they were… Their leader had extolled the higher virtues, “Some things in life are more important than wealth, than survival or even self respect…”. They delved within themselves…. No one had an answer…. On the battlefield, even a moment’s indecision can cost you your life.

As the hussars approached from the southern plains, one thought crossed the Spaniard’s mind….. To each, his own battle….


My take on ethics...

This post doesnt exactly go well here... But well, u can blame my friend and neighbour addy who requested for this particular class assignment to be put up here on my blog... so now u know who ought to get the bumps....

but again, that doesnt mean that i dont agree with this.... they totally reflect the shapeless pulp that my ideas are right now.... pretty much in the nascent stage....


The key question of ethics ultimately hinges on morality. What do we, as future managers perceive to be the right thing to do? All our judgements and decisions end up being reflections of this perception. But in addition to the individual, sometimes it is the society’s perceptions that carry more weight. I may think hard work is not a value, but if that is in contradiction with the values advocated by my community, I as a member of this community, will have to fall in line. Maybe it is pragmatism...

Personally, the values I hold most important are Equanimity, Loyalty, and Compassion. The major religions of the world advocate that God has a plan for everyone, and urge us to surrender our free will unto him. But I do not believe that God exists….Well, I am skeptical about it…But I believe that I do not control my results… I control only the processes… It is these cumulative processes of a lot of people that lead to the results… When we accept that we do not control our results, we stop cutting corners to achieve them. We do not resort to arbitary class participation to impress the professor just to get a better grade. We are able to maintain an emotional equilibrium through the ups and downs of life. Such a view will help me to focus on the work processes in my professional life, and detach myself from material things like salary. This will lead to the mutual growth of me, as an individual, and consequently that of the company.

Loyalty ensures that I am always committed to the cause of all the stakeholders involved, before taking a decision. This is also mentioned in Mahatma Gandhi’s talisman. Before taking any decision, pause and think whether it will cause even an iota of positive difference in the life of others. This is where the society and its perceptions come in. I personally may frown upon giving bribes. I may not give bribes to get my personal work done. But if I am working in an organization, there is a far higher number of stakeholders: employees, their families, shareholders. My loyalty to them and their well being far supersedes my personal opinions.

Finally, compassion ensures that I do not forget my social responsibility. However busy we may become, we have to bear in mind that there are far more unfortunate people in society who need care. This belief has been reinforced by my visit to the Cheshire Home. Observing the mentally challenged inmates and the sisters who take care of them raised several questions in my mind. Society perceives us as the most fortunate cream, to gain an admission into one of the premier management institutions of the country. But those sisters and their service to humanity far exceeds anything I may ever be able to achieve in a boardroom of a company.

Finally, it all boils down to this. After we die, we will not take our salary, or family or designations with us. We exist only to make a difference to society, scientifically socially or spiritually. It is only such people who are remembered, and are valued by humanity. The sooner we realize this, the better.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Iyer Mamis & Futures market of Love

Derivatives are the symbols of financial innovation.. we give credit to the US markets for using derivatives on a wide variety of underlyings… from weather to real estate…but none of them can beat the forward contracts written on love and marriage alliances by the famed south Indian Iyer mamis!!!!

Why do Iyer marriages last two days??? That’s because they are like mini stock exchanges!!! The actual wedding is only a small part of the work that gets carried out at such functions… Lemme explain….

The largest visitors of these marriages are 50 year old ladies, whom we will henceforth refer to as “mamis”… these women act as dealers, and are the single biggest headache of most men of marriageable age! In the mami hierarchy, their stature is determined by the number of prospective brides and grooms they keep track of… they go around publishing this like the two-way quote of a dealer…. 18/22….

I was shocked last night to get a serious buzz from my uncle…
"Rishi, I want to ask you something… give me a frank, honest answer…"
"Yeah mama, sure… wassup?"
"Do u love someone there? "

er….did I hear him right?? "Well…… whats going on?"
Its not like eligible, desirable women are queuing outside my room!!!!!
"I’ve got 3 alliances for you… what do u think???"

PANIC!!! What else???? Here I am…. Just beginning to appreciate the whiff of freedom, with promises of a job and a decent salary… and in the background, there is a conspiracy in the mami network to shoot down all that???

One of my friends was given the option of marrying any of three brothers of a certain family, depending upon when she wanted to get married….now? eldest one is free.. next year? Second one is free…. Can it get weirder???

Each of these brides/grooms are like short/long positions… and each of them comes with a contract specification…. Profession, designation, salary, date of birth, horoscope blah blah…. Order matching happens on a dynamic basis!!! Delivery obviously happens at the warehouse (read mandap) chosen by the seller… Now things become clear!!! That’s why all Iyer marriages happen at the bride’s place…. Because that is the “short” position….

And there is no end to the number of times a mami closes out her position by passing on the contract to some other mami!!! Some mamis also look to take proprietary positions by reserving the best girls for their own sons….. but mostly, they do it for the sheer service to society!!!

But I guess guys like me couldnt thank these mamis enough!!! At and in newspaper matrimonials, I wouldn’t stand a chance… I photograph like a criminal!!! :-D


Saturday, October 07, 2006


Argh!!! With a groan, I fumbled for my key in the dark…. It was disgusting…. I never got home early and work was all that I had time for…. The whole family was invariably snoring by the time I got home….If this continued, my son would never recognize me… *sigh* for the umpteeth time that day, I longed for the days at bschool when your biggest headache of the day was looking for company to go to kersam…

Every now and then I’d leave home with a steely resolve to quit and pursue my dreams of doing a PhD and settling down comfortably as a professor in some third grade bschool…. At least I’d be free to play with my daughters in the evenings!! But in the dirty world of corporate HR policy, money is all they talk about when someone talks about quitting… “Money minded bastards!!! You are all incarnations of Lucifer, I hope you know that!!!” I’d yell and pocket the fatter paycheck before promising to meet them first thing Monday morning…. Argh! I hated yielding to these material temptations…. All those ethics classes came rushing back to me as I searched for some bit of learning I got….Hmph! Nothing out there…. Should have known better while snoring away to ignorance and bliss in the shady corners of the class….

I pushed open the door…Was even too lazy to switch on the lights… fell back on my lazyboy, exhausted!!!

You’ve read about the trains during partition??? Hindus and Muslims were packed in goods trains and sent off to India / Pakistan…. When the train reached the destination and the bogies were opened, hundreds of bodies fell out……all dead….. of suffocation…. Mumbai local trains are like that….the only difference is that the doors are open…. Cant decide whether it’s a good thing or bad… for one, the people inside get some air…. Or so one would be inclined to think… But on the other hand, open doors are invitations for anyone brave enough to get in…that only adds to the crowd.. and the pains… You might wonder, for a guy who gets paid so much, this chap would be traveling in first class, so why is he cribbing???? Yes, I travel first class… no, I don’t get to stand comfortably, let alone sit…. In Mumbai, first class has a whole new meaning… You pay 10 times the normal fare… why? So that instead of the stench of rotten fish, you get the stench of Brut… but for the entire journey, first class or second, your nose is pretty much sticking under someone’s armpit!!!!

AARgh…. For the 391st time that day, I was disgusted…. Must quit the job….

Suddenly, I felt her hand on my thigh… it was so reassuring… I couldn’t believe my luck!!! I was so fortunate to have her!!! She stayed up this late for me??? Her eyes were moist… I could see the affection, the gratitude… she had stood by me all these years… She came closer… and closer…. I could feel her breath on my face… and before I realized, she was licking my ears… for the first time that day, I smiled…. Poor thing, what if she was hungry? After all, it was quite late… I went to the kitchen to look for food… she was inseparable…. As she followed me, I tossed over two biscuits… in her trademark style she jumped up and gulped them down… my doggy, my friend….


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Rumblings in the interior!!!

Since I was a little boy and had the opportunity to read tales of Robin Hood, the outlaw, I’ve always had this fantasy of feasting with them….. Today, in many respects that exact wish of feasting with Robin Hood and his gay men (oops, merry men I mean…) has come true…. The similarity is uncanny!!! Mama and his gang of merry men loot and plunder, but finally make it good by stuffing us with goodies…

That whiff of air battles with that glass of payasam for the last bit of space in yer digestive system….. It makes its displeasure at failure quite clear by storming out of yer mouth with a vengeance!!! BURP!!! Your best friend sitting next to you suddenly turns to the other side and hits up a conversation with a total stranger…

In the end, there is so much strain put on yer elastic skin around the stomach area, that you get the feeling that the center of gravity of yer body has shifted like a coupla inches forward…. You wonder whether your legs could adjust to this whole new body dynamics…

The spicy sambar, sweet payasam and sarkara pongal all swirling around in that tiny stomach… The food has been so stuffed up to the throat that even if you wanna have some water, u may have to wait for some of the food to digest and make way….

Ah! Rumblings in the interior!!!


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

An Honest Committed man: Moron or Oxymoron??

Question....What is the foundation of every relationship?
Love! (Pbbt...)
Honesty! (Christ Jesus, have u ever been in a relationship?)
Loyalty!(Got nething between those ears?)
Compatibility! (forget it, u'll never learn!)

Dishonesty!!!! cynical? maybe.... but totally true....

It was a cold winter night…Rains were lashing at the fragile makeshift bus stop. There was a lone figure, desperately wielding her umbrella. Was it trepidation on her face? The neighborhood was pretty spooky… I wanted to protect her, brush aside the soft wet hair from her face….

“Honey, what are you thinking?” With one swift jolt, I was firmly brought back to reality. The bus stop had long gone and I could see the faint silhouette of our college as the bus screeched to a halt… Like all men, this is one question I hate…But like all men, I did love my girlfriend….

“Er….Ahem…. yeah, nothing… was jus wondering how cool it’d be if both of us were trapped on an island with no one to disturb us!!!” Yeah, that’s right… with adequate practice and after 5-6 fights, you kinda catch up…. Btw, that was a cheesy line, I know… but in my defence, I was just 19 back then!!!!

“Oh! That’d b so romantic… We could be….” Her voice trailed off…..

Yeah, but what would we eat??? I wondered…
You could tell that there were more pressing concerns as far as I was concerned…

In many ways, spending time with your girlfriend can be like studying in a bschool… You give examinations all the time…lotsa surprise quizzes… you have to be attentive… you are not allowed to bunk, or come late… always be well-dressed… Oh yeah, u do spend a lot…..sadly, no loans though! In short, spending time with your girlfriend is a shortcut (not necessarily a less painful one…) to mastering the art of negotiations…

“Do I look fat in this dress” NO! Every nanosecond of the response time counts… and if you can throw in an “incredulous” look (as if the whole idea of her looking fat is ridiculous), nothing like it….

With time, the questions get trickier…. “Do you wanna go shopping?” Of course not! If you say no, she might get offended... That will be like raising hell for the rest of the day! If you say yes, you will end up shopping and that means living on the bread and mixed fruit jam of the mess for a month!! So take the middle path…. “Shopping is ok, BUT IT IS SPENDING TIME with you that I am more excited about… Why don’t we just get an icecream, sit here and talk?” Yes, yes…. I know talking is equally irritating… But it certainly is the lesser of the two evils….

Which guy in his sane mind would ever wanna go shopping??? Unless it is for some electronic gadgets or stuff like that? Even then, we pick the stuff and leave.. It’s like JIT philosophy…Women seem to shop for the mere pleasure of it!!! They love haggling… Yeah, that’s another thing…. Spend 3 hours looking for “something nice”… Buy that for 1000 bucks….Spend half an hour haggling between 990 and 1000…. And then decide not to buy it because “the shopkeeper is trying to cheat us”!!!! How about just paying the extra 10 bucks and saving the next 4 hours repeating the whole process?? NO!!! where is the place for logic here?

Coming back to negotiations…. “Do you think my friend will look good in this dress?" Wow…. U mean that cute chick you always hang around with???? I love her!!! She’ll look better in micro minis….Hmmm… Thts not exactly the answer that will earn you brownie points…. “Oh, I don’t know her that well… but Honey, it is your selection!! Obviously it will look good only na? who knows her tastes better than u!” SCORE!!!

In the end, relationships can get pretty much more complicated than “I love her, she loves me”… It is a lot more about how hard you can work to keep the other end happy… And how much ever we crib about it, men do end up sitting on couches at shops carrying bags when their better halves are spending hours looking for “something nice”… and yes, we’d rather do that than be far away from our loved ones…..Adios amigo!

Disclaimer: Please dont shoot me down for this. my views in real life cudnt be farther away....


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The not so Merry-go-round of Life!!

I don’t know what it is about me that makes me so irresistible to women!!! The sad part is that it happens only when they want to seek breakup advice…. I know what most of my male readers might be wondering…. “Basket!!! At least they come to you for something!!” But lemme tell you from my own experience….There can be nothing more unsettling than when a beautiful woman comes and talks to you……about other men… Not to mention the fact that the breakup advice u give them puts yer life in great peril….at the hands of their boyfriends, usually 6 foot tall basketball players or doping guitarists with peanut-sized brains that fail to recognize any semblance of logic!! (Yeah, I know…what do women see in them anyway?? I guess dumber the dude, the more they can put up with the incessant chatter that women subject us to…) More on the “dumber the dude, baber the babe” theory later…

Anyways, years of playing the agony brother (agony uncle makes me sound old) has helped me perfect the art of counseling.. If my fin grades are any indication, this is a good thing… that means I’d have something better to resort to than begging to earn a living… Lemme use this blog and this free-time to impart my wisdom…. Why? I jus told u abt my fin grades… there shud be some place where I can look wisdomous!!!

There are four zones you havta cross before you come to terms with a breakup…The first is “denial zone”… Here, you have been dumped, or rejected, but do not wanna believe this!!! Aw, she just “thinks” she doesn’t like me… arre, abhi yeh thinks ka matlab wohi hua na? This zone happens because frequent interaction with his girlfriend has tuned his brains and sense of logic to that of womankind.. A guy so fervently rejects the idea that his lady-love doesn’t have feelings for him…

Next can be even worse…You know she has rejected you, but don’t know how to come to terms with it… I call it the “realization zone” This is the time of flashbacks….Perhaps the only time in his life when a man actually remembers dates!!! “Tu janta hai? Last year, isi din hum pehli baar walk pe gaye the…” Yaar, how can she do this to me? What does she see in that buffoon Aniket?

The third is the “acceptance zone”… This is where men start acting like themselves all over again… They gawk at cuter chicks… But mind you, they still have feelings for their girlfriends…I’d bet if any of these chicks wanted to kiss this guy, he’d start calling his ex-girlfriend’s name out loud!!! Finally, over time.. men move to the steady state zone “fantasy zone” This is where, as always, they picture themselves with the cute chicks….

I think the root of the whole problem is that there is a mismatch between guys and girls.. in a relationship, the guy is always casual at first… when the girl perhaps wants to get serious… but over time, the guy begins to settle down with this girl and his ego wants him to keep her locked in a golden cage… this makes the girl feel suffocated and long for more freedom…the guy in turn misunderstands this and starts imagining that the girl doesn’t love him….how does he react???? Tighten the screws of the cage!!!

I guess the more aware you are about these things, the easier you’ll find to come to terms with your relationships….. and of course when yer playing the agony brother! *sigh*


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Of Toppers & CAT Crackers...

Why does Mohan Dastoor comes in to collect his quiz paper and yell, “FUCK!!! I got a 20/25 in BIS? Yeh, kaise ho sakta hai?” that’s because he wants to create an impression in society that is consistent with his perceptions of success: being a bis-god. Nothing wrong in that. He also slogs his ass off to get that… so in the end, he gets what he wants and is happy.

Rewind… Lemme start at the beginning….. I have observed on several instances that toppers or students with exceptional academic records are not the most intelligent in their batch. Why is that?

We’ll try & find some explanations based on characters at my bschool (names have been changed to preserve the identity and privacy of people concerned)… Howard Gardner has formulated three sets of intelligences:

* Analytical Intelligence – Verbal ability, Mathematical Ability, Musical intelligence
* Physical Intelligence – Kinesthetic Intelligence, spatial Intelligence
* Personal Intelligence – Intrapersonal & Interpersonal intelligences

Throughout this article, I shall use the word “intelligence” to denote analytical intelligence as defined by Gardner. This is cool because logically that’s what should have a bearing on academic excellence.

The root cause of disparity is our craving for “belonging needs” on the Maslow’s hierarchy. Our psyche is shaped by a number of factors like society, our upbringing, friends etc. Because each of these factors are unique for all of us, over time we develop different views of goals. We also develop different perceptions on success. For A, being successful might be same as getting placed in Lehman Brothers. For B, being successful might be same as flirting with the cutest junior girl on campus. For C, it might be same as drowning the most drinks in the wet night.

Due to our craving for the “belonging needs”, we behave in a way that would create an impression in society that is consistent with our perception of success. Some people think they will be successful if they impress the professors, some people want to impress friends, some people want to impress girls….It is something like “positioning” in marketing.

Take Anand. He walks in and says, “machi…fully stoned last night… have never drank so much in my life…” Or Krish, who puts up a “Kriz & Atm show”…. Or Baba & Bansi who do so much DCP in class that I sometimes feel like ripping my arm off so that i will have something to beat them to death!!!

academic excellence is not all about intelligence. Intelligence is only a hygiene factor... as long as you are not mentally deranged, it should suffice... It’s all about your individual perceptions of success and communicating to the society that you have reached there, by hook or crook. Note that communicating is more important than achieving the "success" yourself... u think being a fin god is success... your work is done if u know nothing about fin, but still can communicate effectively to the ibank during those crucial 20 minutes of placement interview

You think being “cool” is a way of being successful. There is a perception in society that rock music and smoking make a person cool… so u torture your neighbours to large doses of Iron Maiden & Metallica even though u don’t understand a shit of what they are screaming!!! But all’s well that ends well… Finally, we all get what we want… so its cool…..
Gentle humor and some lateral thinking are the objectives of this blog... take all yer ego, seal it in a small box before reading this....


A Sequel to Cognitive Finance

Cognitive finance contends that investors’ motivation to buy/sell at the stock market is a function of three things:
* Logic (as per the Rationalists, the mathematics people)
* External Environment (as per the Behaviorists, the non-numbers people)
* The emotional brain (as per the…well, BMmers interested in OB)

I left the reader at this point in my blog,
Cognitivists……..the third gang of finance??

There are some things that have occurred to me since then. At this point, I’d like to thank the authors of “Why Men don’t listen & Women cant read maps” for filling in a few gaps. It is obvious that these three aspects are not mutually exclusive. Forget the fact that they act in concurrence to determine our reactions to any external stimuli. The second aspect also has a great influence on shaping the emotional brain.

Let me explain…Since the days of yore, great social scientists like Aristotle and Descartes have advocated the duality of brain. Our brain, just like a computer, has both a software part and a hardware part….Now, when I mentioned the emotional brain in my last blog, I might have given the impression that it is purely the hardwired part I am talking about.

Biologists have long claimed that it the the neural structure that determines how we react to situations, why men and women behave differently. Damasio (1994) conducted a study among mentally challenged people. He then compared them with more privileged people, and said that lesser neural activity in this part of the brain is responsible for this particular shortcoming in decision making…But this reverse engineering technique only offers a partial view at best.

In addition to the neural structure of the limbic brain and the amygdala, our reactions are also shaped by the software installed in them. This is precisely where cognitivists come into the picture. Several neuroscience techniques have evolved to substantiate these findings. There are several theories that concern cognitivism. They may be grouped into three generations

* Appraisal Theories
* Cognititve Architectures
* Self Regulation models

We can use the last and the latest version here….that of self regulation. It goes something like this…. Suppose this guy buys100 shares of company XYZ. Sensex rises, stock price of XYZ also rises, maybe lesser because beta is lesser than 1. This chap doesn’t even know there is something called beta… But continued exposure to the effect of Sensex on his share price conditions him to the fact that when sensex rises, my stock will rise but to a lesser extent.

Take another case. Mumbai bomb blasts… this may be captured by the rationalists by conducting event studies… Say immediately after the first blasts (when was it, 1991?), share prices fell. This chap sold shares and when the stock returned to its normal values three days later, he realized he had suffered huge losses…Now the software part of the brain compares the result of the whole sequence to his long term goals and his individual perception of success…. If his perception of being successful is to become rich, then obviously there is a mismatch between losing money and being successful.

Self regulation theory says that the external stimuli (bomb blast), this guy’s reaction to the external stimuli (selling shares) and the result of the sequence (mismatch with long term goals) are fed back into his brain. This is some kind of a learning experience. The next time stock market crashes, his behavior will depend on the external stimuli (as claimed by the behaviorists), but also by the long term learning that has occurred to him. The behaviorist school of thought ignores this aspect, calling for a more integrated view.

It has puzzled many people why experienced professionals perform better than more intelligent Ivy League fresh MBA recruits. This whole explanation provided by the theory of self regulation might come in handy! The experienced people are consciously ignorant that this principle exists. But continued exposure causes their subconscious to be aware of the effects of this principle!!! Something like how people felt about gravity before it was discovered by Newton….