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How I infiltrated Venus

In blah, life, the (much) better half, Uncategorized on January 2, 2010 at 6:57 am

“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”. For some reason, almost all of us have heard of the book, not necessarily about its author, John Gray who, it turns out, owns the Mars and Venus franchise with 6 other titles involving the two celebrity planets. This made redundant any quips about other suggested titles like “Why boredom Mars Venus shopping trips”, “When Mars checks out Mercury’s moons”, “Why Mars and Venus feel lost at the planetarium”,”What to do when Venus catches Mars checking out Mercury’s moons”. Talk about a goldmine.

No, this is not a book review. The title covers all that I know about the book. This, strangely, seems true of everyone alive. No one seems to have read it. In spite of its assertions of “offering many suggestions for improving men-women relationships in couples by understanding the communication style and emotional needs of the opposite gender” as explained by wikipedia. I would like to think that I might have, by my own mental functions, managed to add a few fitting paragraphs in the book, heck, maybe even rate a mention!

The backstory to this, as expected, revolves around the specific venusian in my life, and more specifically, dates, the calendar kind. For some innate reason, this Venusian, like many others of her kind, likes them. Am not just talking about the ones that are backed by official documentation like anniversaries of weddings and births. The purview of ‘significant’ dates includes, anniversaries of first-dates, first kisses, first scrap/poke/nudge/push on miscellaneous social networking sites, first (almost) death-match over the remote, first black-eye and so on. Some of those might or might not have been invented for effect. Match this trait with the shadow of a sliver of a failing in my constitution where keeping track of dates (and their significance) comes about as naturally to me as underwater coral reef night-photography skills to a camel. You guessed it, wholesome entertainment for imaginary observers.

Over the years, this slight misalignment in temperaments has been the cause of a few words, mostly from her, a few roundhouse punches, again her and copious sobbing, all me. Suffice to say that my track record has been spotty, at best. That changed in the December of 2009. To be honest, I celebrated almost prematurely. I thought the battle had been won when, I set a recurring google reminder titled “Start thinking, you have x days!”. It wasn’t for nought though. I had managed to reduce the possibility of gruffly telling her to quit listening to her ringtone so I could sleep as the calls poured in at the stroke of midnight on her birthday.

Whoever said “well begun is half done” obviously had never done anything, or begun much. Going through the mental list of potentials, I unsatisfactorily went through the usual…chocolates, jewellery, gift coupons to hardware stores, gift subscriptions of Sports Illustrated (swimsuit edition), none of them quite hit the spot. I sifted through stored fragments of conversation to check for lines that went something like “There can’t be a better birthday gift than the <indistinct mumble>” or even “If I only had the so-and-so, the cheaper version of course, I’d be eternally happy”. And that’s how it came to me. That plus an online banner.

The result was a departure from the usual reaction of a puzzled look, a muted “Oh”, followed immediately by “It’s perfect!”. So, while the title of the post exaggerates, for a brief moment, I did manage to get a glimpse of the gates of Venus by smuggling myself into the back of the gardener’s van that transports the fertiliser used to landscape the outer perimeter.

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prologue

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2009 at 9:11 am

Why this blog? It was logical. I first started blogging when I joined b-school. At a time when the hours were rationed, posting about the myriad happenings was a labour-effective way of connecting with friends in one fell swoop. Apart from the frequent posts on cricket (which were later, ‘segregated’ onto a separate blog), the blog turned out to be a handy chronicle of the year at ISB.

Since that time, the updates have gotten rarer. So, while it was a breeze to rattle off a post at 3 am before starting on the submission for the 7.30am deadline, it is obviously a lot harder when punching the clock with weekends to sleep in. Theme changes, title changes, colour scheme changes haven’t served to reignite the blog that was. In the meantime, poking, nudging, winking have become the chosen forms of interaction. Trying and failing miserably at having the lucidity to capture profound insight in 140 characters or less, I still do that archaic thing on my phone; talk.

So, as a last stand against brevity and clarity of thought, this blog. Posts here will rarely direct you to troves of ‘coolness’ like "Sub-prime theory and decoupling" or "The memoirs of Benjamin Disraeli" or "XXX pictures of lindsay lohan". They will rarely, if ever contain many facts, save for any I might concoct and they will always…always…be over 140 characters in length.

Onwards.

question

In Uncategorized on February 8, 2007 at 4:41 pm

Saw a search result leading to my post that said “worry-list” posted on Jan 01 2006. funny topic for the first post of the year i thought but then my posts have seldom made sense, even to me.

flashforward a year, give a month and…. pre-placement jitters and feeble placement prep long done, offers evaluated, agonized over, almost rejected then accepted, a blur that was the final term, lots of bleary-eyed nostalgia over what was going to be missed. the decision to switch tracks, lots of second-guessing. finding what you’ve not been looking for but have seeked in the most unexpected manner. suddenly two-month planning horizons don’t cut it…or don’t they? lot of questions about the kind of job that i can sink my teeth into still remain unanswered…but maybe simplified to an extent…am thinking its going to be an ongoing process…like the reduction of something radioactive…no, not in that unnecessarily explosive way like in WWI

catching up with batchmates and even total strangers is a revelation..into my my own thought process…the moment where you swap visiting cards and they look at yours and look up with a puzzled expression. theirs bears a logo that needs no introduction, has as many in their HR dept (annexe) for their western region operations as there are people in your organisation. you know the name on your visiting card is not going to be jockeying for a slot on Day 0 come placement week. neither is that reverence going to make itself apparent in the junior’s voices when you tell them what you’ve done with yourself since graduating.

so, does it matter? and if it doesn’t, why would it occupy an entire train of thought? funny. on closer inspection, you’re now in a firm that traditionally never hired from the top-tier schools in the country. part of their ‘low-cost management consulting model’. 7 months and another ISB-ian later, they’ve signed up to hire from ISB, for the first time. the opportunity to have a telling impact on an organisation and its workings awaits. not cut-and-dried by any means…but the opportunity is there.

the sixty-four million dollar question is, how strong will that urge to send out email from a domain thats known in all inhabited continents be? answers awaited…

game, set, match

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2007 at 4:25 pm

Disclaimer: All characters and events in the following are factual. Any resemblance to any person living or dead, is thoroughly intentional.

They say you never forget your first time…that it only leaves you craving for more. I mean its fair to say that you’ve arrived in the socio-economic scheme of things when you have…say…the proverbial flashbulbs popping everytime you step out of…well…anywhere really. or lets say when you have adoring masses clamour for any sign of having been withing touching distance of you. yes…its a heady feeling alright…they say (you might’ve noticed they say quite a few things…but then…they can be quite garrulous)…back to what they say, that you never forget the time you sign your first autograph.

So it shall be with me, 30th Jan 2007, the ‘Kabab-e-bahaar’ restaurant at the Taj Banjara in hyderabad. Just as I let the the juicy kabab flood my mouth with the most unbelievable flavours (who would’ve guessed a joint by that name served mind-blowing kababs) that a l’il kid, maybe 12 years old walks up to our table, notepad and pen in hand, earnest expression on his face, says “Sir, can you please sign your autograph for me…Mr. Mahesh Bhupati?”

Those moments where the nerves connecting your grey matter to your speech functions absolutely refuse to cooperate…not that they’re flooded with traffic at the best of times in my case, but here’s a case where the heart was willing but the rest…no go! Finally…explained how I was in my ‘non-celebrity’ avatar…and sent the fan on his way…

Never as good as they say…

In Uncategorized on December 12, 2006 at 10:03 am

Sep 2000, the first ICC Knockout tournament, the only tournament besides the world-cup to feature all the test-playing nations. India v/s Aus, and after a mini-collapse the new kid on the block, Yuvraj Singh played a gem to score 84 and take India to a then respectable 265. We won that game by 20 runs. Next morning’s TOI headlines screamed “Tendulkar is King, Yuvraj is Prince”. For the curious, SRT only scored 38 in that game that included 3 mesmerizing pulled sixes off McGrath and Co. but he was in a rich vein of form and hence the reference.
India’s tour of South Africa, 2001, Day 1 of the 1st test. Asked to bat on a green-track at Bloemfontein, wouldn’t take extraordinary powers of ESP to tell India would be in trouble. But from a depressingly familiar 68/4, India ended the day at 372/7. Yes, its still 90 overs a day and that run-rate makes sense when you consider it was the test debut of a Mr. Virender Sehwag who scored 105 (173) belligerent runs. Century on debut, that too in a place where we’ve been embarassed with unfailing regularity, was any praise ever going to be enough?! Side-light, SRT scored 155 (184)…err…big deal!
ODI Series, Ind v/s Pak, 2004 and a surprise promotion for India’s wicket-keeper at Vishakkapatnam who responds with a swashbuckling 148. India score a mammoth 356 and win by 58. He goes on to slaughter Sri-Lanka for 183 in a subsequent game and India’s favorite drug is MSD!
These three, without doubt, the superstars of Indian cricket, nay, of India today. Stay on any channel for 5 mins, and see them hawking everything from haircare products to bikes. Their home cricket associations host galas to celebrate their brilliance and resulting success. Their hairdressers get print space on leading dailies and every person who might’ve shared a playground with them goes on record citing how they just knew that their ‘friend’ would make it big. All the undeniable side-effects of being a part of the national team with the greatest fan-following on earth. Nothing wrong with it all. Even my hopelessly biased views cannot claim that the cricketer I hail as the best-ever did/has not enjoyed stardom and milked it to the fullest, be it by selling everything imaginable or getting Italian Sportscars into the country for free.
The first batsman above, while having the odd match-winning performance, has genuine problems against quality spinners and bowlers of decent pace. The Second, a glaring weakness against anything pitched short and into this armpit. Owing to the recent run of scores, most reading this would readily, but it was something that’s always been there, evident to anyone who saw that backfoot move back and never across (which not incidentally is also the reason why he can play those breathtaking slashes over point and thirdman). The third, well, maybe the most popular of the lot, but for me, the least tested, with all his successes coming on home-grown featherbeds. Some very fast bowlers are waiting for him to step out of the comfort of the subcontinent, count on that.
So, whats with the disconnect between talking about their fame and dissecting their technique? Simple, cause-and-effect. Why would they be analyzing their techniques, getting expert advice on where they might be exposed and working on correcting them with painstaking hours in the nets, when they are scheduled to be guest of honor at that local shindig. When every has-been failure of an ex-cricketer who’s earning his living as a parasite on the game today, sings odes to their talent and temperament, why would they consider changing anything about that very technique. In today’s world, ‘superstars’ are constructed overnight. Instant-gratification they call it. But maybe, just maybe, not every individual is born with the temperament that lets you remain grounded when everyone around is comparing you to a certain Australian gentleman with an average shy of 3 figures by just 0.04. And all this before you have even played your first international!
The 3 I’ve mentioned above are exceptionally talented cricketers without a doubt, and they will sort out their technical flaws…atleast to an extent, but the same rigmarole awaits the new crop of cricketers…Munaf, Raina, Uthappa. And it’s essential for Indian cricket that they have some steadying influence to keep them focussed on their game, when every international coach is looking at replay after replay to identify weaknesses.
Like that quote by I don’t remember who…”You’re never as good as they say when you win, you’re never as bad as they say when you lose”

small wonders

In Uncategorized on November 17, 2006 at 9:28 pm

The gurgle of a crystal-clear brook…the aroma of earth moistened by the first rains…finding a restaurant at 4am when you’re ravenous followed by the sizzle of your favourite steak (well-done of course) as its being brought to your table…finding a car pulling out of the best parking spot just as you arrive…waking up to your alarm to realise that its your day off…sniffing gasoline..errr…

Before the reader (the 3/4 that frequent this page) gets the impression that this is one of those ridiculous “things i would give my l’il toe for” memes..lemme make clear its only about self-discovery..no..not the kind where you ‘discover’ your fly’s open before everyone else does…but about the l’il pleasures of life. Considering most of the ones above exist mainly in fantasy, one has to find alternatives…those that aren’t as reluctant to make themselves available.

Like maybe catching a glimpse of tarmac on a blore road (am sure its possible in a curfew situation…i think)…being asked to rush to board the flight at check-in (ok, so you maybe end up in the flight scheduled for the day before that’s been delayed so what?)…hearing the captain announce that “we’ll be landing 20 mins ahead of schedule” (even if it probably means “we lost an engine and are going kerplunk! in the arabian”)…

The more perceptive of readers might’ve noticed two things: the preponderance of air-travel in the above list and that the ones listed in para #3 are less likely than in #1. But having spent an average of 6 hours in transit every friday for the last 3 weeks on what’s listed as a 1 hour 20 min gig, hearing the captain announce that we had been asked to “slow down (yes, in mid-air) by ATC on account of traffic at the airport” and that we were “7th in the queue to land”, its only natural. Personally I’d use the PA system on-board for more fun announcements like “Would any passenger who might’ve dowloaded the pdf manual for an Airbus A320 contact the steward?” or “We’re losing cabin-pressure…no reason to panic…but i would advise all passengers to expend excess gas to restore the same”

For now, I think i’ll find a way to derive pleasure out of counting the rubber slats on the conveyor belt as it snakes its way past…

Let it rip…Let it Thunder!

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2006 at 11:23 am

Term 3 and one of the courses was about “…the practice of starting new organizations, particularly new businesses. It is often a difficult undertaking, as a majority of new businesses fail.”. While the course entailed studies on how enterprising individuals brought enterprising business ideas to fruition with a lot guts, dedication and the odd sliver of luck, was a yawn-fest for me. The amount of work that seemed to be require to setup a business, that might or might not at some distant point in the future reap you loads of moolah on which to retire on and to buy your island in the carribean seemed, well too much. But then, I find the effort required to lean over and procure the remote control to change the documentary on grass-growing in the prairies on nat geo rather too much effort. Ideas of bootstrapping and starting small, to spend the VC’s money like you were drawing blood were all fine, but the concept of reducing something as abstract as entrepreneurship to a few checklists and methodologies seemed kinda ridiculous. Add to the fact that every venture seemed to be nothing more than a means to germinate an ingenious idea, nurture it through the early years and just when it promises a lot of potential, cash out to someone who actually likes to run business. Seemed too much about making that quick buck to me. Coz, lets face it, more than generating a bunch of ideas and convincing some fat cats to part with dollops of money, its the actual successful running of an organization that takes managerial brio.

Wild-eyed ravings aside, got an insight into the genesis of our firm today, about how things started up and how they graduated from one stage to the next. The discussion about what it took to start and run a professional service firm and how the decisions sometimes was choosing between whether to buy your third laptop or make that trip to Venice to pitch to a prospective client. The amount of thought that went into deciding on what was core to the firm, what kind of work wouldn’t you do or how would you ensure that the fresh-faced B-school grads imbibed what the firm was about and accordingly portray it to the clients they worked with was mind-boggling. The decision to scale up from five to twenty and thence(thats a word right?) to fifty, taken after a lots of deliberation while the conglomerates of the world hire that many roughly every fifteen minutes. Its a revelation to know that there are individuals who, day-in day-out, apply their faculties these tasks. So, whats with the disconnect between the first and second paragraphs? I was paying attention this time, for one thing. And yeah…hearing the history of such a firm unfurl…makes you want to be part of the start of something…big. So…let it rip…let it thunder!

Part them and feel my finger tips…

In Uncategorized on July 5, 2006 at 7:43 pm

So it was Shrek 2 and Spiderman 2 on Star Movies and HBO respectively and however cute the former might’ve been, with me, the latter wins…hands down. Inspite of the logical argument that one might make that I have watched the second movie atleast half a dozen times and also own the dvd of the same, it still turns out that I watch it…again..commercial breaks and everything! And unless ‘one’ wants to get hit around some, they will not be making more logical arguments. Like I’ve said more than once…”Do not get logical with me….!!” It falls into that category that I don’t seem to mind doing, time and again (ok, so there are certain obvious things we all like to do…over and over and over…you get the picture). The Godfather, Kane and Abel, The Fourth Protocol, Dil Chahta Hai, U2, I never seem to grow out of. Ok, so, it probably doesn’t help that I don’t seem to grow up, at all, but then I somehow don’t seem to have the urge to line-up my matchbox cars and have a demolition derby or experiment lighting a match to the open nozzle of room freshner…

Juvenile delinquencies aside, this movie is awesome for several reasons…not least of those…Mary-Jane Watson, damn she’s cute! I mean, how cool is it that there’s this girl who you like…who likes you…and yes, once you’ve brushed the awkwardness aside, you get to say…”oh by the way…check this out” as you ‘accidentally’ bump into a lamp post to leave it askew. Granted that a senile scientist with an ample waistline on metallic stilts isn’t exactly a sight to send shivers up your spine, but then the sequence on the train is a worthy action-scene. The piece de resistance of course is when its all done and Octavius has realized that he’s just not cool enough to deserve a place in the rougues hall of fame and leaps into the river and spidey, mask off, turns around, to that look of realization on Ms Watson’s face. That, and the final scene where she says “Isn’t it about time someone saved your life” and they kiss for the first time (technically second), sirens go off in the background. Spidey looks toward them, hesitates, look back at her and she says with a smile “Go get’em tiger…”

And if none of that does anything for you…you can’t possibly walk away from one of most amazing movie soundtracks in a long time…two of the best…


p.s: was subjected to ‘Superman Returns’ last weekend…the superhero with the baby face and the ridiculous wisp of curled locks on his forehead…seriously…Spidey would kick his butt easy…but having seen this Superman, think he’d only like that…you know what i mean…and if you’re thinking the title of the post is lewd, read the lyrics above…and stop being a perv! 😉

numb nuts

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2006 at 6:03 pm

Going by the theory of relativity, its like shifting from counting the ripples from a pebble chucked into a still crystal-clear pool to trying to count the number of people in that train on the adjacent track. Only, its moving in the opposite direction to yours…Yup, moved back to Bbay and started on a line of work I had absolutely no intention to get into during placement season..Remains to be seen who whups whose azz in this one..i honestly dunno yet…no soothsaying about how it’ll go…only one way to find out…

By the way…heavy rains…flooded streets…partly drenched…water cold…hence the title…

So, this tag business…

I am thinking about that piece of chicken, or is it sun-dried tomato seed? stuck in my molar…darn it!

I said “Good Morning” when he said “Go ahead, make my day”…and I did!

I want to play league cricket in the land of Oz, well, i’d even settle for good ol’ whatchamacallit’shire in the colonists backyard and not worry about a goddamn thing ever

I wish there was a way to hold on to those fantastic memories without ever living in the past

I miss not having the words ‘hepatitis, jaundice, typhoid’ cross my mind when looking at a road-side ‘thela’ selling kaala khatta gola. Well I also miss the bowl first thing in the morning if I’m not looking…

I hear not a whole lot else, when am actually listening…really

I wonder how many of us don’t say or do what we really want, simply coz we don’t want to appear cliched

I regret not having ordered the sizzling brownie last night

I am He-Man..the most powerful man in the universe! (you know y’all wanted to say that too…the masters of the universe was one cool show!)

I dance like noone’s watching…oh wait..its more like everyone wishes they weren’t

I sing worse than i dance

I cry when my toe meets something unexpectedly hard…and there will be this one other time when…

I am not impressed by/susceptible to emotional blackmail and all other assorted mind-games…

I write to highlight the inane consequence of freedom of speech

I confuse avalanche with alavanche…one of those is a word…i just know it…

I need a frikkin’ toothpick…that bit just won’t go away!

I should at some point take some things seriously…or so I’ve been told…

I finish every fight I don’t start…not really…but I’m watching this action flick on HBO…

I tag
Dawn
way2top
ramsabode

You’re beautiful

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2006 at 2:09 pm

My life is brilliant.
My love is pure.
I saw an angel.
Of that I’m sure.
She smiled at me on the subway.
She was with another man.
But I won’t lose no sleep on that,
‘Cause I’ve got a plan.

You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful.
You’re beautiful, it’s true.
I saw you face in a crowded place,
And I don’t know what to do,
‘Cause I’ll never be with you.

Yeah, she caught my eye,
As we walked on by.
She could see from my face that I was,
F***ing high,
And I don’t think that I’ll see her again,
But we shared a moment that will last till the end.

You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful.
You’re beautiful, it’s true.
I saw you face in a crowded place,
And I don’t know what to do,
‘Cause I’ll never be with you.
You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful.
You’re beautiful, it’s true.
There must be an angel with a smile on her face,
When she thought up that I should be with you.
But it’s time to face the truth,
I will never be with you.

p.s: James Blunt…Back to Bedlam

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