Thursday, 31 December 2009

2009 - retrospective tag cloud!

Tata Jaagrathi Yatra, Bangalore Cantonment, Chennai Mail 1 hour delayed, Wishing the train engine driver, Dil-Vish-Thiruvanmiyur beach and Marundeeswarar temple, Bro spotted at the beach, Saravana Bhavan cakes and bakes, walk to city centre, bus ride, Vandalur zoo, Muttukadu boat ride, Not shortlisted in JMET, shortlisted in CAT, GD/PI classes, IIM applications, Hyderabad, Kacheguda station with the moon as a backdrop, Eat Street in Husain Sagar, Slumdog, Briyani, Charminar, Golconda auto ride, Shilparama, Andhra meals, Prank goes horribly wrong, Supi's baby girl, IIM B GD/PI, IIM I GD/PI, SP Jain GIs, Anna University Quiz, Annie is engaged, IIM-B selection, Silent Valley, jungle pool, lonely watch tower, horoscopes, bank loan,, resignation from Indya, Annie's marriage, Maddy to get her own football, auto rides, bus stop opp. Subhiksha, IIM-B student life starts, EB 004, resume, PDP sessions, night outs, L square, quant, finacc, RNS, lack of sleep, quizzes, surprise quizzes, CAT race gives way to Rat Race in IIMB, missing Star Bangalore and Indya Interactive, Mancomm bug sex JAM, CulComm, MARS, Business Card troubles, Birthday bummer!, Marina Beach, Landmark Quiz, photos of Kiki's, One year down., more quizzes, QM troubles, Unmaad publicity, MARS mailers, term 1 ends, H 301, term 2 starts, hectic, company PPTs, summers, CorpFin, Kotler, fin shortlists, consult shortlists, summer placement process, successfully screw fin interviews, successfully screw consult interviews, successfully screw most interviews, Gaja Capital, Summer in Mumbai, Qwiky, Aapa Kadai, Lav & Sudha engaged, Veena maarries, MM presentation, MPPO presentation, end terms, Hampi, Revamped Marina, Maddy gives birth, Avatar, Term 3, Core Electives, quater dollar coin from a man worth millions, New Years L-Square party, tending the bar... Here comes 2010

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Hampi and a dam

"It's a hill station right?"

As those words came out seeking an answer from me, the thought flashed through my mind that maybe its a mistake to go in a group to Hampi. A group of 12 yuppies. But the trip was well worth it and the group made the experience unique.

The facts most know... UNESCO Heritage site, architectural ruins, amazing landscape, premier tourist destination etc. So what was I going to experience?

"So this is a university for Kannada?"

Thanks to the good contacts of one of our friends we got some really good accomodation at the guest house of the Kannada University. Downside was the distance from Hampi but the upside was the the acco cost was next to negligible. In fact, it was free.

The distance meant that we had to travel to Hampi from the university by means of a Share Auto and this just made the trip a bit more adventurous.

"Why? Who? How?"

There are a lot of sights to see at Hampi (Well duh!) so its best advised to take a guide from the Tourist Office in front of the Virupaksha temple. (Rs. 1200 for the whole day for a group of 10-15) Our guide, Gopal, likes to narrate using questions. Can anyone tell why the Bahmani Sultanates destroyed all Lord Ganesha idols at the stomach and the trunk? Does anyone know where the pilgrims would go for water in the temple? Why is the Virupaksha temple the only temple where worship takes place? We didn't know any of the answers but he waits for our answers and prompts us and for every guess we make he says - NO, now tell me why? or how? or where? or whatever?

Pretty soon the guys decide to give only one answer for any question Gopal asks - Bahmani Sultans! But Gopal is a really nice guide and he seems very passionate about the ruins of Hampi. Once we finish with the Virupaksha temple, we rent out little XL supers and a couple of other bikes to loaf around Hampi (rental charge is 250 per bike for the whole day)

"So that's the Mango tree."

Its fairly safe to say that I have never ever had lunch in a setting like Mango Tree in my life so far. Awesome food and awesome Lassi. You sit on a mat under a mango tree on the banks of the Tungabhadra. Wish there was more water to heighten the ambience. Quite an idyllic setting for a lovely lunch washed down with Banana-Coconut Lassi, Mango Lassi and Pineapple Lassi. Did I mention that the Lassis are awesome?

"Lotus Mahal has air conditioning!"

Gopal is quite proud of Hampi and the Vijayanagara empire. After showing us broken statue of the Groundnut Ganesha - a magnificent monolith carved out of a single stone, the Lakshminarasimha statue and the Balakrishna temple he takes us to the royal enclosures. I wonder if the Bahmani sultans hadn't destroyed Hampi and ensured that there was no future occupation of the land would the ruins be as preserved as they are now. Would they have been demolished by the Vijanagara rulers themselves and made into better buildings or worse buildings? The bedroom of the Queen in the Lotus Mahal had pipes inside each wall which had water flowing through it and this was Air Conditioning Vijayanagara style.

The Royal Enclosures are quite a setting. The Elephant stables, the museum, the broken down watch towers and the setting sun only adds to the ambience.

"Oh damn! there is water."

The Mahanavami Dibba is this huge stage where the King would watch the performances during the holy festival. In the same compound as the Dibba is a secret corridor where according to Gopal the battle plans were drawn.

The famed Stepped Well, which is in the same complex as the Dibba, was unfortunately filled with water and I could only see till the second level. Damn!

"Pillars can not make drum sounds! Wait a minute, it can! WOW!"

Vithala temple, in my opinion, was the highlight of all the ruins at Hampi. I am not sure if it was the ride through the mud road. Or the long stretch of Bazaar ruins before the temple or the wonder of the musical pillars that quite did me in. I think the main reason was the magnificence of the setting. The temple was a lone structure surrounded by rocky hillocks and no other building in sight. The twilight and the lack of street lamps made me one with the moment and that kind of did the trick. I was awestruck by it all. The stone chariot, the musical pillars, the ride back with only the head lamp and in one bike's case no head lamp.

"Only 9, including the driver, are legally permitted"

Far from the madding cities, the sky puts on its best display of stars and my tired body hits the sack to wake up to a day that does not promise to be eventful. I was proved wrong.

We took a walk across the university campus and spotted some works of art in the strangest of places. The campus is quite unique with a museum and tribal learning centres and its a nice stroll. Our chariot of commute waits for us at the main gate and we start off to visit the Tungabadhra dam. And then the portent of an uneventful day was completely thrown out of the window thanks to the driver who takes a left through what can only be described as a road laid by the Kannadiga cousins of the pitch curator of Ferozshah Kotla. The permitted limit for passengers for a share auto is 9 and we were 14 and the sight of a traffic cop on the highway forced us to take a detour and enjoy some rural scenery and also enjoy the feeling of a share auto nearly capsizing.

A 20 minute ride through sugarcane and paddy fields brought us to a Jaggery factory. It was good to see the whole process of sugarcane juice being boiled and converted to jaggery cakes. We also got to drink some refreshing cane juice and after lunch at a Rajasthan Heritage village in the middle of nowhere, we set off to Tungabadhra Dam.

"Woah that's a lot of water behind this dam!"

I have been to a few dams in my 25 year existence on this planet and this is the largest catchment area I have ever seen. It was like an ocean and it prompted a few to wonder why Karnataka does not give water to Tamil Nadu. Well one of the reasons could be that the Tungabadhra flows to Andhra and not Tamil Nadu. The dam is small with an ordinary garden but the catchment area and the sheer amount of water was amazing. I wonder how they build a dam. Should check on youtube if there are videos on Dam Construction.

The Share Auto (which we had christened Lakshmi) was on its last legs when she dropped us off at the railway station. And as we boarded the train to return to Bangalore I wondered if Lakshmi would still be running the day I write a post of the Hampi trip or would it have gone to the great big scrap heaven in the sky.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Fear of the Intersection of the Friend Venn diagram!

For some reason, I get quite uncomfortable when friends circles clash. I have never quite understood why.

In my mind I tend to segregate friends into ones from school, ones from family, ones from the one year spent in Trichy, ones from college, ones from work and now the ones from management school and whenever an occassion crops up where the 2 segregations intersect my heart starts pumping faster and my knees get weak.

It's almost as if I am a different Vinay in each of the circles and when the circles mingle I am not sure which character I should play and what my lines should be.

I no longer seem to relate to the Vinay I was in high school. The one growing up on a diet of American TV shows and wanting to know all the brands... a wannabe snob! and in my mind I always seem to picturise my school friends to be the same. They could and most likely should have grown on to bigger things but that does not seem to enter my mind at all. Hmmm.

Anyways, I needed to get this blog going with some random post and as I had this on my mind just thought I will waste some Google server space on it!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Dreams of a lost childhood...

Had been struck down by an irritating viral the whole of last week, good excuse to sleep a lot without feeling too guilty. In IIMB if you sleep more than 6 hours a day it's considered to be a crime of the second order and people tend to shun you ;)

In one of those prescribed drugs induced slumber sessions, I had this rather weird dream where I am walking with my mom and this is a much younger me, 7-8 years old, walking down one of those many tree lined roads of Besant Nagar and all of a sudden a crocodile is coming running down the road. The next thing I know I am hiding in some house, do not know which house this is. I rush out, and my mom and dad are in our car and they pick me up. They seem to be returning from Grand Sweets and Snacks. It's almost an iconic institution in Adyar area of Chennai and they make... Sweets and Snacks!

So I go back home and my bro is there... the little fella and we sit at home and eat the stuff from Grand Sweets.

Its not a great dream, but I woke up to the reality that my childhood will never return. I am never ever going to be 7 again and sit with my 3 and a half year old brother and eat snacks... eat anything for that matter!

I wish I had done more with my childhood. Wish I had lied more and got out of tuition more often to go out and play. Tuition was a lark. Imagine studying a language, Hindi, for 10 years in school and nearly 7 years of tuition and still not be able to piece together a decent sentence in Hindi. Tuition was not one of those things I really miss about childhood. I miss being able to ask my dad to get me something everytime he went on a tour. I am hardly at home these days, wish I get to talk to my dad more often once I am finished with IIMB.

It used to be fun to hope and pray for a holiday everytime it rained! Playing Rugby with stuffed toys that people mistakenly gave my bro thinking he was a girl ;) Ok that is a bit of an exaggeration, he did look like a girl but the gifts were given more out of laziness I guess.

I miss making orange squash and watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. Munching on Potato chips and imagining I am Leonardo, the leader. I should probably add that to my resume point here. That I always was Leonardo, the leader, when we pretended to be Ninja turtles.

Hating girls and thinking up of new ways to insult them. Ruining all those girly games they had with new lyrics praising the superiority of boys. The whole hey pillar, caterpillar, lazy girls, active boys... I am not sure how that one ended though... ooh aah ouch or something like that.

Getting into fights and having this almost foolish pride about having achieved something if I could inflict a few more scratches on the opponent... who was big and very very strong ;)

Playing cricket, watching cricket, movies, lazy summer vacations, cricket camps... wish I had done more with my childhood. Not much of naughtiness, hardly any mischief, a shy and quiet kid who had the weirdest fascination for crocodiles!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Waiting for Chennai Mail at Bangalore Cantonment

There's a nip in the air and the breeze brings with it the chill. Having a lousy cold is a big dampener but that does not take away from the romance of the moment. The familiar Nandini kiosk helps rekindle my relationship with hot badam milk and I quickly settle down on a bench to get a ring side view of a nail biting chase between two dogs and a wily rat.

The race between fear and hunger is ultimately won by fear and I am distracted by the mystical movements of a polythene bag being twirled around by the gentle breeze reminiscent of a scene from the movie American Beauty. The breeze draws an elderly couple closer as the wife rests her head on her husband's lap to watch a toddler being blissful in its ignorance and trying to scare a resting dog. I get up and stretch my legs and walk to the end of the platform to get a glimpse of the big mosque's Minars that used to welcome me back over the last year or so but sadly its not lit up.

The creaky loudspeaker, rather noisily for the time of the night, informs me that my train is about to arrive shortly on Platform No. 2 and soon enough the train creaks in and I board it with the thoughts of the nice warm cup of filter coffee I shall be having the next morning at home.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Wonder lost?

"I am going to Greenland for my summer holidays."

"Did you know MRF stands for Madras Road F@#@ers."

"The Singapore Babboon has the stinkiest urine... one drop requires 3000 buckets of water to clean."

"When you get a bad hand of cards, you have to scream F#@K and throw it down."

"Greenland is so called because it is completely covered with Korean Grass."

"We can find out who farted by touching that person's head, it will be hot."

"Boost is the secret of Sachin's energy."

Those were among the many things that I was fooled into believing when I was a kid. I realised some of them were lies after trying it out with my mother (the bad hand of cards one for example) and was quickly brought to my senses... nothing like a spanking to get all your senses to work, not just the sense of touch!

I was a little kid who looked at the world in wonder and did not know much. As one grows older, the naivete gets replaced by cynicism and disbelief. My natural inclination is to question the source... give a sarcastic wisecrack and snub the person... verify... and if it turns out to be true, act as if I knew it all along!

I wish I was a kid again and looked at things like I am seeing them and hearing them the first time. Maybe that's why I love travelling to new places and taking part in new experiences. Its the wonder associated with doing something or seeing something for the first time... Really need to visit Greenland sometime!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

As Term 1 rushes to a close!

A good friend of mine from Star Vijay dropped into college campus and got shocked at the kind of books I had to read as coursework... he just cracked up when he found out that I had to study Financial Accounting, Business Statistics etc. considering the only Finance we ever did in our office was trying to ensure we had the correct change in paying off Shekar, the friendly neighbourhood tea 'master'.

Its been quite a shocking ride from where I was 2 years back to where I am now. Been constantly trying to cower behind the fact that I did not do anything remotely close to Mathematics - probability, differentiation, integration, algebra etc. - for 8 years and using that as an excuse for some of the shoddy performance. Truth is I should have worked harder or rather I should work harder but there is no motivation for me to get the top rank or the top grade or to have 3 extra alphabets assigned to the start of my name. I am not a part of the rat race, because I am much more the mouse! The only worry is about going to the slow track which would only result in me spending an extra year in college. Not really something which is on top of my priority list to say the least ;) (another soul like me)

What's even more bemusing to me is the way the people over here fight and struggle for marks. Some of them learn and study, most of them just study and I am still trying to figure out how many learn. I am not the only one who is in the campus with work experience. In fact, majority have work ex here but I wonder if they ever contemplate things the way I do. I guess they are too busy putting fight (college lingo for working hard) to get the best marks they can to even pause and think for awhile.

I look around at people and wonder how many would I want as my manager. Some of them cheat over time limits. Most of them get jealous or have petty arguments or raise questions just to put off the presenting student/group (when students make presentations). Maybe the behaviour is just a representation of the business world and the society we live in... or is it?

I have been living in the society for 25 years now and it is competitive no doubt about that but at the same time it is fair. Those who succeed either deserve it or want it more and that is all it should be. One man's freedom ends where the other man's begins. Maybe I am a type 2 error at college (one of those concepts that I learned or think I learned from Statistics) and have way too much time to have such thoughts and blog about them.

Life is going to be somewhat hectic over the next week with the first term drawing to a close. I have heard the second term gets crazier than the first. Hoping I would like the craziness more as I think the craziness is related to summer placements which is not really something I am too worried about (or so I say now)

Second term will start with me moving to a new room and more importantly a single room so it has started off in the right note and I am sure by the time I begin to loathe it, it too shall end the same way Term 1 would be ending in a week... me being battered and bruised but still standing tall!

Saturday, 29 August 2009


I am sorry for not visiting you more often... its just that I am faced by this scarcity of subjects to write about. Actually there are tons of things I could post about... just mundane straight forward things... I sleep for lesser time than I used to which would then imply that I stay awake and see more of what life has to offer which would then directly imply that there would be more things that I could blog about... right? WRONG!

Have been awake all right... but not been seeing much of life. Life restricted to IIMB campus. Great buildings and architecture. Joined a couple of clubs - Cultural Committee and Merchandise and Retailing Society (CulCom & MARS respectively) - and tried to do some useful work. Been awake to study but not been learning much. Finally getting the hang of Quants and the reason why it is being taught in a B-school. Wish I didn't suck at it so much though.

Been Tweeting more though and have tried to indulge in a bit of creativity here and there in campus life but still not been able to get around to logging on here and making a post. Shall be more purposeful and try hard to get back in touch with you over the next couple of weeks. Will not be able to break off from my affair with twitter though. Affairs of the shorter and sweeter kinds are a lot of fun... I guess blogs are like marriages, once the honeymoon period is over you just do not know what to say!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Monologues on God, Religion, Identity etc. - 3

How was it decided that God is above us? Why cant God be beside us? I guess he or she can not be below us as having to look up all the time would obviously cause him or her a major pain in the neck. How far above us is God anyways? Stratospheric levels or a mere 3 feet above head height like Lord Krishna was in Doordarshan's Mahabharata when Draupadi was being stripped.

And since God is watching us all, does he/she ever get biased? Which IPL team would God support? Are Jesus Christ and Allah neighbours? Would the Hindu Gods invite Zeus for dinner?

I have lost the plot of this thread... truth is, I do not really mind if God existed. To be honest, it would be quite nice if God existed but just one God. Not different manifestations or different religions and different identities.

Speaking of identity, over the last one year or so the circumstances have been such that I sometimes wonder what my identity is and what the relevance of an individual's identity is in the grander scheme of things. In Bangalore, I am a Chennai guy who has to be mocked when the Super Kings lose. When I go to Chennai I am a Bengalooru guy. In Kerala, I am a Tamilian as my Malayalam sucks. In Chennai, I am a Malayali as my Tamil sucks. In any state above the Vindhyas, I am a Madrasi as my Hindi sucks and also that for some reason the North tend to be poor in Geography and think Madras is the name of all the South Indian states.

I also cant quite fathom astrology and horoscopes. How can one's time and day of birth be an indicator of what will happen in his life or what kind of job he should be in, what name he should have, whom he should marry etc. A learned man once told me that if you are ignorant about Astrology and you do not know what goes into it you should not comment on it. He proceeded to tell me that there are numerous mathematical calculations that are done to come to a result in astrology and hence its not just mumbo-jumbo being told by men wearing 3 rings on each finger. My take on this is that no matter how many calculations are made the answer would still be wrong if the base of it is the time and date of birth as this is decided by when an individual was conceived and these days in most cases the doctor decides when the baby should come out into this world. Even the whole conception of the child could be induced by excess liquor and a faulty condom. There are too many stupid reasons that cause conception and a person's entire life can not be based on the time of birth. Right?

I am not quite the eloquent one and I fear that I have not put my point across quite clearly and convincingly but I just like to wonder why one needs to complicate life further with all the permutations and combinations. Live for your needs and wants and be happy... wishful thinking for a life more ordinary!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Monologues on God, Religion, Identity etc. - 2

Things started to change and transition was almost sudden but in truth it must have been gradual. I am not sure if anyone can change his/her principles and beliefs ingrained over years of existence in a matter of days or weeks or months.

I guess the truth is that I was never really convinced about religion in general and the interpretation of religion and God that I had grown up adhering to. I never understood why we had to walk around the Sanctum Sanctorum only an odd number of times and never even number. I never really got a convincing explanation. My mother didn't really know the answers to these questions. I was perplexed as to why one had to break coconuts or promise to break coconuts if something turned out the way they had wanted. This seemed like a bribe to me and bribing to me was a crime.

For me God and Religion were means to keep Man humble and accountable to the society at large so it seemed quite an anomaly when I read that the Tirupathi temple was getting a large amount of black money. Could God be appeased by black money?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Monologues on God, Religion, Identity etc. - 1

Been meaning to be more regular with my blog posts. I wonder if its a testament to the direction the world is moving towards... the testament being how I am more regular on Twitter than I am with my blogs. There is no creativity in me. There is nothing new that I feel like contributing. Truth is there is not much I can contribute to the world at large.

A man asked me a couple of weeks back if we are consumers or we are contributors... I told him we are both. But that isn't why this man has been brought up in this post. I will tell you why he has been brought up. This same man, thanks to the seat he was occupying at the time, proceeded to ask a few of us are take on religion and God. I told him what I have told quite a few people and bored many others with... "I dont believe in Religion and I am yet to find God!"

The question that followed was, so you dont believe in religion and does that mean the millions of others who do are idiots and who are wasting their time... the only reply I could come up with was that I am the idiot who has not been able to find a religion that I can believe in.

I was not always like this... I have to confess... I used to be the one who lit the lamp everyday... took a bath, lit the lamp, said my prayers and off I went to school. This was a daily routine till some 5 years back. My dad was an atheist ( his line was - I believe in God, but I dont believe there is God. I was confused too when I first heard this line. To make it easier for me to understand he said - Communism exists, there is communism in the world, but I dont believe in Communism... and along these lines I believe in God, but I dont believe there is God... how I wished he hadn't tried to make it easier for me to understand ) and so was my brother, I think.

Needless to say, my daily routines and my weekly visits to the temple made my devout mother really really really really happy. Then things started to change....

Friday, 20 March 2009

C'est la vie

Who is the better one? He who is extra sweet, out of pity, to a person suffering from AIDS... or he who insults and treats the person suffering from AIDS just the same way as he used to before being in the know.

Is the one who is proud of himself for sharing a bus seat with a leper as prejudiced as the one who loathes the leper?

If God exists and is watching us all, what matters to him more - the money that goes into the temple's coffers or the money that goes into the beggar's bowl?

If the Holy Koran could be changed during the time of the crusades to include Polygamy and let one man have more than one wife to ensure that there are successors to carry Islam forward, why cant it be modified again, now that the crusades are over?

If Indians and Hinduism gave the world the Kama Sutra and Khajuraho, why do Ram Sena make war when they can make love?