Life from a saint's perspective

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Falling coconuts

MBAs all over live by the WHPH philosophy, “work hard party harder”. As a consequence, post placement trips are quite common in bschool campuses all over… to the extend that not going for one of these is seen as “uncool”, so to say!

“what are you gonna do sitting holed up at home? Why don’t you join us?”

It may be a different matter that the last time you struck up a conversation with several of them was during the post admission meets.

If you think you can get around that difficulty by getting your friends together on a trip, think twice…

“no da, I’m actually going to sunderbans with these pmir people…. Lotsa cute chicks coming with us….”

Reader kindly note that he doesn’t even invite you…. Well, not that you’d go if he did. But still, it feels good to be invited, doesn’t it?

Move on to friend # 2. “da, I havent been home ever since I joined XL. Been busy with disserts and competitions… and I think my joining is in early april… so I really wanna go home…”

Why do I even make friends with these people?? Probably to get some last minute gyaan before end terms… The ungrateful bitch that I am, I also keep forgetting that this chap saw through all my group projects over the last two years…

Friend # 3… “dude, guess what! We are going to leh next week…”

Great! Here is a true friend…. But certain minor obstacles remain…. “dude, but don’t they like open the passes in june? I remember hearing that somewhere…”

“dude, when my dad is coming with me, why shud I worry? The pass itself is made for them!”

Oh! U mean YOU are going to leh… not US!!! ….. aaargh!!!!

Finally, I decided to tag along with my friend to goa! Several incidents made the trip and all the dough spent on it worthwhile...


We were on a van from bombay to goa…. Frigging hot…. Suddenly, several of us can feel some droplets of water.. “great! Its raining…. Open the windows fully….”

I was about to do that when I realized something was amiss! The drops had a strangely obnoxious stench…. Probably just the area…. Maybe some garbage….

The van stops…. And a guy sitting in front jumps out… “BARF”….

YUCK !!!! I cant believe it!!!! all of us sitting behind jumped out to wash off the “droplets”!

Needless to add, the poor soul was referred to as “Raingod!” by his unsympathetic comrades for the rest of the journey…..


We hired bikes to go from beach to beach…halfway through, suddenly out of nowhere my friend gets this impulsive need to ride!

“dude, sit peeche.. lemme ride… “

“okay fine.. take my helmet”

“dude, grow up! How uncool is that! I don’t need a helmet n all….”


“no buts, sissy! Sshh”

Skeptically, I let him ride… hardly 5 minutes before a cop asks us to pull over and slapped us with a Rs 500 fine….

“dude, I got just 200…. Cough up the rest…”

Wonderful!!! What sort of a beggar buffoon sets out to roam around goa with 200 bucks??


On the way back, we stop at a pub in bombay…. To dance our troubles away…. Teeny tiny hardly-five-feet-tall girls are let in…. but when it cames to me… “sorry sir, can you please show us the proof of age?”

I was scandalized!!!!! Hello…. I came of age like 4 years back!!!! Well, granted I don’t exactly have the physical dominance of the four feet tall schoolgirl who just went in, but I wasn’t about to argue with someone who looked like NTM and karthik ganesan put together!

My “friends” soon struck a deal with me… they’d go in and dance while I walk around bandstand for most of the night watching strangers make out in the most repelling ways, witnessed before only in jenna jameson movies….


Several such stories later, I reach the safety net of jamshedpur where nothing can go wrong…. One thing that I’ve always been scared of in kerala is a coconut falling on my head…In a weird, twisted way, I’ve been skeptical of embarking on trips with a huge crowd of strangers as well… and now when I look back, perhaps it is the incidents rather than the people or the place that make the trip memorable….


Thursday, March 08, 2007

yes, mr finance minister!

The budget is an event that impacts people across classes and cities. If you take my case, my own personal association with the budget started right when I was 10 years old… I still remember glaring disgustingly at the man with the white beard and white dress talking gibberish, while my dad sat glued to the tv, remote clutched in his hand pretending to take in every word of what he said. That was probably the only time he won a fight over the remote, mostly because I never understood what the budget was all about…. As a matter of fact, I still don’t….

The wheel of time rolled on, and the same routine repeated every year until the eve of my bschool interview. The budget was presented, and as usual I never bothered to listen to the news. My interview was early next day morning!

“So rishi, what do you think of the railway budget?”

Well, readers note that the key here is to appear informed, even if it is not exactly the case. Any bschool student will vouch that someone who lies convincingly with a straight face will make a much better manager than someone who stammers while speaking the truth. So I let myself loose.

“Sir, 42 new express trains have been launched…. A proposal for a capital expenditure outlay toward electrification of certain phases has been submitted and is being seriously evaluated…. The budget toward safety measures has not been adequately addressed….” Readers, note the usage of numbers… you are now acknowledged as the expert!

Read it thrice, and you’ll know it’s all gibberish!!! New trains are introduced all the time, so are new projects… and in the eyes of critics, safety is never adequate… people keep dying in railway accidents even if they spend 80% of their budget on safety measures…. But when you are saying this accompanied by the right articulation, gesture and correct usage of your eyebrows, you tend to send across the right signals… it does help immensely that the bunch of 50 year olds sitting opposite to you have been interviewing candidates for the last three days, bored out of their skin dying to get out of the room and in no mood to read up or watch the news about an even more boring thing as the budget… frankly, they are gonna interview a 100 more applicants before they wind up which would remove any remote possibility of them actually checking up the “facts” I mention in my interview…

Two years of bschool education didn’t improve things either. The ignorance continued unabated… and the interviewers still ask the same old questions to convince themselves that they are hiring the right people. “rishi, what are your views on yesterday’s budget? Do you think it addresses the inflationary concerns that is gripping the country presently?”

Oh! Was there an inflationary concern??? Oh yeah! Dadu has started serving coffee in a smaller cup… that too full of foam!!!! I see what you mean! Little does the interviewer know that the biggest problem you addressed of late was how to insert the table of contents automatically without having to manually type the headings one by one (yes, it can be done… as I found out just before the last submission of term 6)…

“ahem.. sir, I think growth as a factor seeks precedence over the concern of inflation. Let me just illustrate with the example of the metals sector… if you have monitored the LME inventory levels of aluminium or nickel over the last 7 months, you will see a progressive shortfall that is shrinking concentrate supply all over the world.. the budget hasn’t really touched upon these points for example in addressing the concerns of manufacturers….”

Tell me the truth. You slept off halfway through, didn’t you? Trust me, the interviewer would have lost me after the first 2-3 words and would have moved on to wondering why I wore an orange shirt (no, I didn’t.. just giving an example)… but I did not say anything more significant than the fact that a demand shortage was driving prices up!

anyway, the point is that in most business situations, the perception of quality is often much more important than quality itself. You may think that the SLR is the new model of the bike that your girlfriend rides. but if you can camouflage this inherent ignorance with adequate oral chicanery, you can sail through any interview and impress anyone with your in depth knowledge of the intricacies of the incredibly long speech that most MPs sleep through!