Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The koward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!"
                     oscar wilde , the ballad of reading gaol

When was the last that I thought of you...I know not...but am I the one who goes alone on this path...and should I but care only a little for the souls that follow or those as march ahead?

Mode C is a way of life, perhaps my way of life: C for Cool, C for Cold, C for Chaos, C for Calvin. Ultimately, all of it boils down to the way you look at things. Are they not how they are but just how they appear?? No...and yes...Almost all the seriously critical fundamental concepts of life...aren't they just the bogies under Calvin's bed that he is afraid of? Miss Wormwood, Susie, Mom and Dad, and of course above all, Hobbes...aren't they all merely the means that he uses to attack these bogies?

Reflecting on 'living the Calvin way', I have started to believe that life and our reaction to it can only be explained by a number of Calvin and Hobbes strips combined together. The philosophy, as I like to call it, is to know that you are not alone. It is not just my perspective alone that is going to help me fight my bogies. I will be able to inch towards the Calvin way only when I perceive the other perspectives on my way.

<< July 2004 >>
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My Past
Loyola High School Patna
Delhi Public School RK Puram
Institute of Technology BHU
Infosys Technologies Ltd
IIM Kozhikode

My Present
Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.

My Future
My Life

Project Nanhi Kali for the girl child

Movie Reviews at Mode C

Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire
Batman Begins
War of the Worlds
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Bunty aur Babli
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Veer Zaara
Phir Milenge
Kyun! Ho Gaya Na
Mujhse Shaadi Karogi
Spider Man 2
Main Hoon Na

Book Reviews at Mode C

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish
The Inscrutable Americans
Harry Potter - Half-Blood Prince
The Monk who sold his Ferrari
Angels and Demons
Life of Pi
The Da Vinci Code
The Tristan Betrayal

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Beena (Class of '08)
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Pragna (Class of '03)
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Prashant D (Class of '05)
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Other B-school Bloggers

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Monday, July 26, 2004
Of bikes and barrels...oh well, just the bikes...

Finally I had one weekend which I can really call well-spent. It's not that there was something extraordinary to do in this site of hermitage, which the believers call IIMK. However, will finds a way, or so I believe. As per the heavy duty schedule that we have been having recently, we had classes on Saturday, as well. We got off early, though and decided to go for an outing, some outing...any outing. There were plans to go for a trek on Sunday to Wayanad, supposed to be a beautiful place, and a trekker's paradise, too. Initially, I thought that I will join the group but when I heard of their plans to start at three in the morning, my instinctive self made me back off instinctively and instantaneously.

With the trek standing cancelled, I had to do something, go out somewhere...and the bike came to the rescue. My poor fatfatiya has been rusting away to glory in the shed of what is called the substation (!!!). Every morning, just before I leave for the classes, I have a look at the machine and let out a sigh...this one instinctive, too. On Saturday, the resolve was firm...the sigh is not enough :-). We started at about six in the evening with the intention of doing some city scaling, getting some stuff (I wanted some posters from the Archies' Gallery to cover up the glass panes of the door and window to the balcony), and then having dinner at some nice (read non-Southie) place.

For people who have not experienced it earlier, riding a bike on Calicut roads...or perhaps I should rephrase it as the roads joining Calicut to actually very soothing and at the same time exciting like hell. At one end, you have the coconut trees flanking you on both the sides, mild breeze blowing against your hair, and even rain drops making their presence felt in the form of drizzles and even bursts. If you thought that this is a relaxed picture of bliss that is emerging, I am extremely sorry for having to break the glass...because on the second end, you have the bus drivers of Calicut, who do not consider themselves any inferior, when compared to the likes of, not inferior at all, not even for a nanosecond. Also, just like the F1 cars do not have horns (I am not sure but I think that they don't), Calicut bus drivers make it a point (honorable intention, I must say, of not disturbing the biker's luxurious bliss) not to blow away the horn at the poor biker going at a speed of 50-60 compared to the bus screaming down at over 80 kmph. Rather, the bus drivers assume the blowing away to mean something else...and instead of the horn, if it is something else that is blown away, all the least, the task of blowing away is done...ends justify the means, what??? Somehow, they asume that the person in front...or back for that matter...will have sense enough to get out of the way...if he doesn't, too bad for him...end of story.

So it was, that braving all odds of survival, we reached the city, went to a lot of places, discovered many one-way streets which made us lose our way back, and most importantly found that Calicut (yes, talking about Calicut here, listen, all ye first year IIMK-ites) has many branded apparel retailers. We could see Lee, Scullers, Arrow, Basics and many more...
Archies' Gallery was a major let-down, though...hardly any choice and expectedly, too...few takers for posters in this city, I guess. I had to do with a teenie-weenie poster that declares...Stay Cool...instead of some good life-sized ones I was looking for to fill up the glassy space (black and white Madhubala would have been nice).

We (that is Ravi, Abhijit, and yours truly) had dinner at a place called Mezbaan, which as one of the seniors told us, is usually patronized by the IIM junta. The food was good and especially the 'balti' approach of serving food reminded me of 'Quality Riveira' in Chennai. Another group from the IIM came in while we were there...the gang was a senior gang, also out on the Saturday to have fun, I am sure...

We rushed back to the campus after dinner to be in time for Garfiled, the public screening of which, mask-e-raid, the fun group at IIMK, had promised. It was not to be, however, and we ended up with a not-so-public screening of Shrek2, which could hold my attention for hardly half an hour. Also, since I had so many things lined up for Sunday (so many presentations for the various interest groups, for instance), I decided to call it an early night so that I am wide awake on Sunday morning.

I did get up quite about eight...not because I had decided to start at the work but because Bikes Part 2 was still to be. Abhijit's bike was supposed to come from Delhi by Mangala Express and the train was about to reach here by 9:30. Having heard stories about the bike not getting unloaded here at Calicut and going to a further destination instead, we wanted to be there at the platform when the train arrives. The route to the railway station was pretty least, that is what I remembered from my only visit to the place (when I landed up in Calicut for the first time). However, it so turned out that we had to cover nearly 25 kilometres to reach a place that was only 15 kms away. In the process, we lost on time and subsequently on the bike, as well, which actually went ahead to Ernakulam from where it is expected back anytime within 1 day to 1 month. What I personally gained from the futile exercise was a headache and a full day subsequent sleeping schedule which left me with no time to do anything else.

I had been feeling pretty unenthusiastic (read, dull and uninspired) since the morning and things got worse with the stupid test that we had to take for Prof. Gopal Chowdhry's Quant class. The test could have been, not just cleared...maxed by any 6th standard student and giving so much time to CAT qualifiers for the 'open book' test was really too much. Things improved a little in the Managerial Communication class when we had to do a couple of role plays that, though repetitive of what I had already done at Infy, turned out to be an okay time pass.

The very next target after the communication class was the project briefing we were scheduled to get from Prof Panda. Our group has planned to do a marketing project on ITC, and their Wills Sport unit will be our specific focus. Before going in to Prof. Panda's room, I had no idea of what I was expected to do in this project...after coming out of his room, I still have no idea about the thing...the only diffrence being that now, I am much more educated (yes, this one is a jargon, for all you know). The amount of research that is expected of the team in this project, if properly done, will put any marketing research firm to shame. I do not know how much of it is possible but if done, I think that this is going to be a good learning...much better than the now-stale jokes of Prof Panda.

Posted at 06:55 pm by Nitai

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Saturday, July 24, 2004
Spins a web, any size...

Spiderman, Spiderman...
Does whatever a spider can...
Spins a web, any size...
Catches thieves, just like flies...
Look out! Here comes the Spiderman!

To me, this neighbourhood Spider Man jingle forms the real theme of the movie SpiderMan2. The movie is an exceedingly mature portrayal of a Super Hero's real life, something that can be related to so much of what actually happens around us. Peter Parker is the average guy next door, who has his own concerns and life. He goes to college, is quite brilliant at his studies. He has money problems just like the rest of us. He makes ends meet by doing some free lance job for the news paper, The Daily Bugle, inspite of getting repeated 'firings' from the boss. He delivers Pizza and that too, just a minute late, making the Pizza company pay for the order. He is Peter Parker...he is SpiderMan. This is where the jingle comes in. He is the hero who saves so many people in trouble. He is the hero who is on top of the favorite lists of all kids on the block. He is the hero who is swooned over by females of all ages and classes. He is the hero who is praised in the jingle that is sung at the local inn.

The question that is raised by the movie is if this hero is actually up to the task that has been thrust upon him. With great power comes great responsibility...Peter's uncle had said once...but does he really want to take up this responsibility at all...and that too at the cost of his own love and life? To explain the philosophical side of the story, the director has taken certain liberties with the story line and the original SpiderMan idea. On the whole, however, these liberties only give back to the story, showing clearly the vulnerability of even a Super Hero...taking us through the insecurities that one can fight out of if one is able to invoke the hero within. In fact, in one of the more inspirational, yet subtle, dialogues of the movie, Peter's Aunt May tells him that there is a hero in all of us.

Coming back to the starts with the pizza delivery that I have already talked about. It goes on to show how much of a wretch Peter Parker's life has become. He is certainly pitiable with money going out of his hands as soon as it comes...with reaching college late and the instructor actually telling him that he will be failed in the course...with the guilt of his uncle's death on his conscience...with so many other worries including, primarily, the fact that the one he loves, Mary Jane Watson, is someone he can never really commit to...all this because he is Spider Man and he has a great responsibility which has come with great power. The last part about MJ is highlighted even more, keeping in mind the real comics story where MJ is, indeed, a very important and strong character, pretty much in line with Louis Lane of SuperMan. There is one very sentimental (sob sob...) part where Peter promises to come to see the play of Mary Jane (Incidentally, the play is 'Importance of being Ernest', one of the more comical plays I have read) and is actually not able to make it as he has to save some people from harm. The disappointment of MJ, the resigned and defeated attitude of Peter are really well executed.

To set the cash registers ringing, the story line also has one of the typical Spidey villains and this time, it is Dr. Octavius or Dock Ock, as the papers call him. With a fusion experiment gone haywire, Dr. Octavius, the scientist, is turned into Dr. Octopus, the monster. He wants to complete his unfinished fusion experiment and this time, the monster will do whatever it takes. The nuclear material is available with Harry Osborne, son of Norman Osborne (The Green Goblin). Harry trades the nuclear material with Dr. Octopus in return for Spider Man (who, he believes, is responsible for the death of his father). Peter Parker knows where and who Spider Man is, since he delivers snaps of Spider Man to the local news paper. Dr. Octavius now targets Peter to know the whereabouts of Spider Man.

In the manwhile, Peter Parker is all done with his responsibilities and his color spilling costume. He decides to make an exit when even his powers start declining and he becomes the old Peter again (I don't think that this is mentioned anywhere in the original comic book story line...his losing powers). He is happy now, attending classes regularly, even being able to watch the play of MJ and possibly talk her out of her coming marriage. His reverie is finally broken by the words of his Aunt May, his own conscience and above all, the Spider Man jingle at the neighborhood joint. He is changed again, and when Octavius abducts MJ and sets Spider Man as the ransom, Spider Man comes back, and as expected of a super hero, vanquishes all enemies to emerge victorious. During the course of all this, he even manages to show his identity to a number of people in the train scene (well executed again, but perhaps not in line with the comics where he hardly shows his identity to any one), and finally even to MJ, who now knows that Peter Parker and Spider Man are the one and the same.

The story ends with Harry Osborne, who also knows the identity of Spider Man (how many more!!!), discovering the Green Goblin apparatus in his home, promising the possible return of the Goblin in SpiderMan3.

Kirsten Dunst does a good job of looking confused and even pretty in some scenes (for a change). She is exactly what the doctor ordered, pained at the neglect that Peter shows to her and then again, confused at his subsequent expressions of affection. Dr. Octavius is also played to perfection with the humane side evident in the characterisation. Instead of a hard core villain, the good doctor is efficiently shown to have been actually affected by the bane of science. The movie, however, belongs to Toby Maguire, who is brilliant in his portrayal of a real life Super Hero. He is vulnerable when he is Peter, confident and charismatic when he is Spider Man.

For the movie goers who are into Spider Man for the thrills, the movie might turn out to be a tad disappointing...but for all those waiting for a good movie in its totality, Spider Man 2 is a decent bet.

Statutory warning: All those expecting the SpiderMan1-sque kiss (as I was) junta...will not find the full satiation of their need either. :-)

Posted at 10:40 am by Nitai

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Friday, July 23, 2004
On the grind

The very first quiz of the two year course is over. Micro Economics, right from day one has been perceived as an interesting but complicated subject and with the quiz due today, there were many a candles burning last night. The paper did not veer much from the expectation. The only downer was that having expected an original question from Dr. Sumit Sarkar, the MicroEconomics faculty, I was a little disappointed on knowing that he had taken the questions straight from the book. I know that my answers did not exactly match those that were given in the book but I guess that they are not wrong either and that is the beauty of most of the courses taught here at the B-school. You are not necessarily wrong or right, whatever you may write as an answer.

The senior Student Council went into the active mode from their hibernation and came out with the list of nominations for this year's elections. Expecting less number of people from A section (given less of the apparent leaders in the class), I was surprised to find out that actually there are nine nominations from Section A and only seven from the other section B. Two out of nine is the ratio that is going to be fought over in my section. The list of nominees have each been given a particular subject for which they are going to act as temporary Class Representatives. The class will have a chance to judge these CRs over a period of next two weeks before the elections actually take place on August 10. The mechanism is good and well in place but I have just one small question...why, oh why did I have to get the Information Technology class to manage? This is the worst that could have happened...IT is one subject whose classes are the most bunkable, especially for our batch with nearly 75% people coming from an IT background. How can I be expected to attend the IT classes, leave act as the CR and sit attentively in the front rows???

Anyways, since I have already put myself into the fray, I have decided to take it up. The propaganda has started, and I have set the balls rolling with a common mail to the class offering my services as an HTML tutor for the coming IT project in August. :-)
For all those who think that it is too much too soon, wait till you read about the reaction that my mail got from one of the other candidates (this one from Section B). He actually got the case study for tomorrow scanned and sent the soft copy to the entire class so that they do not have to take the pains of going through the hard, that's what I call dedication and real service to the class mates :-)

Posted at 07:53 pm by Nitai

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Thursday, July 22, 2004
One lazy bum

I finally missed one day in my long and so far, continued series of posts after reaching IIMK. Well, I did have one omission last Saturday but that was more because of the lack of facilities (with the computer center being down) than the lack of intent. I guess that it is a normal reaction for the reader to assume that the 'busy' schedule at an IIM may have 'forced' me to spend my time elsewhere and not actually to posting something as meaningless as my mind's wanderings. I do concur, but not with the part about being busy. In fact, thinking backwards, when I was in college, a day like yesterday would have hardly qualified as an average day in terms of my so called business (can the word be used in this context?).

The Infosys experience has made me one lazy bum. Yes, there was a presentation to prepare for Konsult, the consulting group at IIMK...which I did not complete finally. Yes, there was this case to study for the marketing class today...which I did not manage to do finally. Yes, there was this marketing quiz looming large for today...for which I did not prepare finally. Yes, there was this financial accounting exercise scheduled for today...for which, as the reader may have guessed by now, I did not practice finally. So, why the hell was I not writing blog entries and having a relatively nice time??? Hmmm...honestly speaking, I don't know. :-)

As for the other things on campus, the election scene is heating up every other day with even threats floating around freely regarding what one will do to the other if the other does not get out of one's way (a la hindi fillum style). We finally closed both our major with the bank for study loans was finalised with Indian Bank at 9% rate of interest and an additional rebate of 0.5% if interest is paisd during the moratorium period...the other deal for the laptops was finalised with IBM. They are offering their R51 Centrino model for 62K, which, I feel, is an excellent deal as far as the money involved and the features provided by IBM are concerned. It might turn out to be a little difficult to get much software out of IBM but with so many CDs floating around in the campus with all sorts of software possible, it will definitely work out.

The study schedule out here is a little packed (compared to the hlluva peaceful time we have been having) in the coming days. We have back to back quizzes scheduled for Micro Economics, Marketing Management, Quantitative Methods, and Information Technology. To top it off, I have to prepare all the presentations that I have planned for the next week's activities. There is still more icing on the cake...we have just received a revised schedule that incorporates two more subjects, viz., Social Transformation in India (sic!) and Managerial Communication. The new schedule promises to give us a gala time, what with the classes choc-a-bloc on Fridays and Saturdays (going on to as late as six in the evening), and even scattered across here and there on Sundays.

Posted at 06:25 pm by Nitai

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Vote for...

FAME, like a wayward girl, will still be coy
To those who woo her with too slavish knees,
But makes surrender to some thoughtless boy,
And dotes the more upon a heart at ease;

"Two Sonnets on Fame", John Keats

IIMK Campus, especially the first year, is abuzz with the election excitement. With a number of committees coming up for elections in the next month, nominations and support requests have started to flow. The apparent and potential leaders (refer to my last post for details) are both up in arms and the stage is well and truly set. The concept of popularity or fame, as Keats calls it, is being re-defined every other day. There are announcements and then, there are some more announcements.
Fill up the industry contacts, ho!
Go for the new laptop, ho!
Here is the deal for desktop, ho!
Get the loan for which you opt, ho!

To top it all, it is not just a bi-party politics that is promised to the students of IIMK. There is the third side, the dark side (more dark for their purpose than intent), that promises to make the contest more exciting, or at least divide the vote and make it difficult for the leaders (apparent or potential). The two committees at the top of reckoning are the all-pervasive Students' Council and the glamorous PlaceCom (Placement Committee for the slow learners). Talking of these two committees, I couldn't help but overhear that traditionally, there has been quite a bit of tension between the two. I have no idea as to how our seniors have handled this supposed conflict but as someone said, "there is no smoke without fire".

Coming back to the activities, Student Council nominations are already closed and there have been 18 nominations received in total (11 from Section B and 7 from my section, Section A). Having had my fill of politics and responsibilities at college, I did not want to be a part of this madness but am nevertheless into the fray, representing the dark :-) side. I have not communicated my intent to the entire batch a la the other nominees who have followed a mail to SCon by another to the batch asking for support. Even if I do campaign(!!!), it is going to be a bit more subtle (remember the dark horse funda???). A firm believer in the philosophy behind the first four lines of this post, I am going to play it smooth, if at all I do not change my mind and decide not to play at all...lets see...Ravi had asked me, almost cajoled me into filing this nomination but I don't really know if I am up to it.

In the meanwhile, having thrown myself headlong into the various interest groups, I have a lot on my hands nowadays.

For Konsult, the consulting interest group, I am going to present the strategy Infosys adopted to counter its dipping employee satisfaction. This might take place tomorrow.

Also for Konsult, I am a part of a team of five that is working on a launch strategy for Haier, a refrigerator manufactureer from China, into the Indian market. This might be shifted to next Wednesday.

For Omega, I am a part of a team of two that is working on a book review of 'Straight from the gut' by Jack Welch. This might happen next Thursday.

For Atharva, I am planning to organize a Bollywood (Hindi movie industry) Quiz. This might happen next Friday.

For Mpower, I am planning to make a presentation on the increasing brand advertising through Hindi movies. This might happen on a Monday two weeks from now.

For PlaceCom (not an interest group but a full fledged well-fought-for committee), I am working on the Summer and Final Placement Brochures. I am not too sure of my role in this and don't really know what is happening. I should be meeting Richard, the senior who is co-ordinating this activity.

Posted at 06:52 pm by Nitai

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