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.

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

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Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.

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My Life

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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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Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Where do I start???

I don't know if I can spell confusion without confusion, I am so high-strung right now. Sankar (my colleague) called up in the morning to tell me that there might be some duty charged on the laptop that Gomathi (the onsite coordinator for my project) is going to bring for me from the US. The problem is that no one is really sure as to what the reality is. No one knows for sure if there is any duty and even if there is, how much it is. I personally feel that there will be some duty but ultimately, even if I combine the duty with the US price of the laptop, it will still be cheaper than any laptop that I buy in India (even after the bulk rate discount applicable if I buy along with the other IIMK students of my batch)

I need to do so many things and close so many issues before I finally leave Chennai that it has actually started to give me headaches in the middle of the night. I get up, all in sweat (not just due to the humid Chennai climate), and start (or rather continue) thinking about so many things. I still don't know what I will be doing with Abhijeet's stuff that is lying in the flat. I still have to see the doctor regarding Abhijeet's mother. I still have to finalize my travel plans from Chennai (although I have the tickets booked, I haven't heard a word from HR on the release date). My Delivery Manager (the person who is going to give me the release order) is still in the US and is expected in Chennai only the next week. I need to find out Interior Designing course options for my sister in Pune. I still have to pack my things and make an inventory of all the stuff that I need to dispose off before leaving the flat. I also need to find out a new tenant for the flat who can come over immediately after I leave (so that my house owner pays me back the advance as soon as possible). There are so many things to do and I really don't know where and how to start...


Posted at 10:53 am by Nitai

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Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Of emails and lappie

A fine day it was turning out to be, right till the wee hours of the evening and I was just about to escape the tingling (why in the whole world, tingling???) sensations of yet another day at office when out of a corner of my desktop, popped up an EMAIL. What a demon this can be, especially on days when you least expect it (well, also on days when you expect it the most and it fails to make an appearance) and out it comes in all its glory to give you a taste of reality. And so it turned out to be in my case, when the email confirmed what I had been dreading. The production launch of my final project at Infosys was scheduled for Monday morning US time and so, I had no option but to cool my heels in the office till late hours in the night. I was supposed to provide support to my onsite coordinator and solve any technical glitches, if they came, during the launch process (God only knows what excuse I would have come up with for my inability to solve any glitches, technical or otherwise). What I actually did do turned out to be diametrically opposite (well, not really diametrically...even by my high standards, I did manage to get some work done, too…)

Ever since IIMK decided that it was going to commit the sin, the ultimate mistake of inviting me in to the resort party at Kozhikode, I have been thinking of buying a laptop. Like everyone else, I was willing to be led in the herd by some helpful senior herdsmen (or women, for that matter) and buy the lappie (registered copyright name for my would-be laptop...don't any of you dare to copy it.....copiers will be reprimanded, warned, threatened, and then prosecuted/eliminated) once I reach IIMK. However, perhaps as a reward for my staying late in office, one of my colleagues told me that there is no import duty on laptops and I can get a very good deal in US if I am willing to get my lappie from there. Lo and behold, I was on phone with Gomathi, my onsite coordinator, cajoling her with promises of a good treat and warnings of a late and below par Return On Investment (look at this, seniors, I am already into the terminology). I, Gomathi and Sankar, my colleague here who had the audacity to suggest something (buying lappie from US) to me in the first place, started ravaging the internet for any and all information regarding laptops. I found a Toshiba model with a suitable configuration (P4, 512 RAM, 60 HDD, 4 USB ports, DVD/CD RW Combo, Wi-Fi enabled) and asked Gomathi to get more info on that and buy it if she feels it is good enough to be the lappie of the future manager (hee hee).

Another plus of the night out was the chance to chat with so many of my friends in US who are toiling their heads off in the pursuit of degrees like MS and PhD (man, after four years of engineering, am I scared of these acronyms!!). I told them about the plans for the Bangalore get together that we are planning for our Ceramics batch of '02. So many of us, after two years of work experience, are now going on different tracks that it will be very difficult to meet up again in such huge numbers (about 10 people are expected to attend the Bangalore meet this weekend and considering the total strength of our batch being 29, 10 is as good as it will ever get). Animesh might be going onsite for about two years, I will be going to IIMK, Dasa will be going to SP Jain (he will not be present in the meet, however). I have my tickets all booked and am really hoping for a nice time in Bangalore before saying a final adieu to all my dear friends…

Posted at 04:10 pm by Nitai

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Monday, May 17, 2004
A drenched evening

Yet another day when I trusted Yogi for a good time out (Hey Yogi, I never said whether my trust did or did not pay off). I had just started with The Tristan Betrayal by Robert Ludlum (looks good, so far) when Yogi came in after watching the movie Peter Pan. He might have been in the same fairy tale mode when he suggested going to the beach and dinner at some restaurant on the beach side. True to reputation, we agreed (me and my poor room-mate who gets dragged along with me on all these trips)

We decided to make a stop for some chaat and sweets at a famous sweet shop enroute. In the middle of our snacks, it started to pour and believe me, the heavens were crying like anything yesterday (perhaps because I trusted Yogi, yet again...even after the Charas experience :-)) It hardly seemed prudent to go the beach in this weather but it was equally difficult to turn back. We decided to brave the rain and when it was less than a downpour (yet more than a drizzle), we started our journey. A distance of 5 kms did turn out into a journey, what with the rains from above, and the waterlogged streets below. Sandals submerged, jeans rolled up, we kept walking...not forgetting to drain off the water from out hair in pukka filmy style, whenever we saw a girl coming across (rare occurrence, that, considering the weather).

It took us some 2 hours to cover this great distance from my house to the beach and by the time we reached the place, the sand was all wet, of course and we had no option but to turn in to the restaurant for the dinner. Whatever be the prologue, true to habit, we did not compromise on the food...had a nice meal and then all the way back. The rain-gods were still mocking us, (the three muskeeteers, eh???) as we made way through the pools of water, me and my room mate cursing Yogi all the way for a drenched evening (even though it was not the poor guy's fault, at all).

The best part of the evening turned out to be not the rain, not the food...and certainly not the pools of water that spoilt our sandals. Actually, the best deal was the jokes that Yogi tried to crack to pass the time, as we waited for the rain to stop in the sweet shop. The jokes were okay, perhaps by a beginner's standard, but owing to the difficulty that any joke faces to make me and Puneet (my room-mate) laugh, Yogi was devastated. Jokes after jokes he churned out, and we remained impassive, asking him to raise his hand when the joke was over. Believe me Yogi, your jokes were funny, but perhaps, just not funny enough...

Posted at 12:10 pm by Nitai

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Sunday, May 16, 2004
Getting addicted

Last time when Yogi, one of my might-be classmates at IIMK (he is still to decide between IIMs I and K), had his way, he treated his friends to a splendid dose of Govinda as he literally dragged them to a show of the movie Aunty No.1. This time, the ones dragged were the poor me, my room mate and one of my colleagues from Infy, and the movie was Charas. Right from the word Go, we were all (that is, except Yogi) a little apprehensive about the whole stuff of going to a theatre to watch a low key movie like Charas but ultimately, nonsense prevailed and the four of us started towards Melody, one of the few theatres in Chennai that show only Hindi movies.

The scene that greeted us was prophetic. There wasn't a single bike or car parked in the parking area of the theatre and even the ticket counters had not opened and all this when there were only some twenty odd minutes to the start of the movie. We went out to an eatery nearby with the hope that when we return after some time, there will be a sizeable crowd waiting to buy tickets for the show (it was an evening show on a Saturday, by the no chances of a poor gathering because of the show timings). All or hopes crashed, however, when we found that when we returned some fifteen minutes later, we were still the first to buy the tickets. More to this, I thought I heard the ticket counter guy saying to his assistant after we bought the tickets..."ye waala show chalaana parega"(We will have to run this show)

Despite all the background above, the point is not that the total audience for the movie was hardly into two figures, or even that it finally dropped to single figure after the intermission. The point is that this movie, Charas, starring no stars, following no formula, produced by Yash Raj Films (yes, the same Yash Raj films of the fame of so many BIIG hits), was actually a different movie. I won't say that I loved the movie but it will be wrong to say that I simply abhorred it, either.

The movie begins and ends with Charas (Resin from the mature cannabis plant, for the uninitiated). A botany student from London decides to take a walk in the jungles located on the mountains of India and gets captured by a gang that is actually involved in the production of Charas and its illegal trafficking in the national and international market. This gang is led by Policeman (Irfaan), who has not been out of the jungle for a long long time. He co-ordinates his operations through a minister in Delhi, and a minister of the British Government in London, amongst others. An officer Dev (Jimmy Shergill) who always gives his name as Dev...Dev Anand (James Bond, anybody?) and tries to swagger like the actor Dev Anand in a number of scenes and songs, is sent to India to search for the botany student who disappeared. Even if it is a little unbelievable that an officer of the Scotland yard is sent after one British national who is just a student and not even a big-shot, the story still goes ahead and we meet Ashraf (Uday Chopra), an undercover cop with the crime branch. He has been asked by his senior officers (who are hand-in-glove with the charas traffickers) to keep a watch over the British Officer Dev who might uncover the charas trade (that is not the reason they give him, however) in his quest for the botany student. In a purely western movie style, the two heroes start towards these mountains on Harley-Davidson type bikes (actually, the Yamaha Enticer) and break into songs wearing leather jackets and believe it or not, cowboy hats!!!

The story moves into the next gear as the heroes meet Naina (Hrishita Bhatt) enroute, give her a lift, space to stay for the night, and find her gone in the morning (luckily she did not take away any of their belongings). Next, they reach the village at the foothills of the jungle that they plan to visit and Dev starts investigating. He gets in touch with Piya (Namrata Shirodkar) who is actually an undercover journalist investigating the Charas trade. She cajoles him into believing her (in true phoren movie ishtyle, even gets into bed with him to get the news) and steals the information which our Dev Anand toils to obtain. Things get more hot when a report is published in a magazine about the drug trade and when almost simultaneously, Policeman murders a member of the Italian Mafia (pretty naive guy, this, member of the Italian mafia, could not even defend himself...did not even try). The Mafia wants Afghanis to take over the Charas trade and kill Policeman and his team. The movie tries to do a lot at this stage and goes into flashback to show that Policeman was actually a police man some years back. He got disillusioned with the Government when some Afghanis (it’s all connected, you know) kill two members of his team, and are still let go by the Government. Our undercover cop, Ashraf, was also a part of Policeman's team but was never really accepted into the team because of his being a Muslim (I know, too much of the coincidental attachments!!!) and he wants to prove his point to the team leader (now Policeman, but Ashraf doesn't know that yet) some day.

The final half hour of the movie is like that of any other pot-boiler. The Afghanis come to the forest, three initially. They call on their other friends and kill the entire gang of Policeman. But our heroes Ashraf and Dev come to the rescue and kill the Afghanis, too (by the way, what happened to the Mafia???). The two heroines are also there at the final scene (Naina was also a part of Policeman's gang and don't ask me what Piya was doing there...) and finally, all is well. The botany student is also found out. He has turned into a scientist who is actually experimenting on Charas to develop better varieties of the drug.

So much said in the movie, but to what purpose? Was it an art movie, as the term goes? Was it a documentary on drug trafficking? Was it a commercial thriller? It was none and all of the above and that is the doom of Charas. Despite brilliant cinematography and passable acting by the actors, the movie bombs on its face because of a lack of purpose. The story teller tries to imbibe too many dimensions into the story and in the process, lets go of the main thread (not that it was there at any stage, though). The movie does remind you of Hare Rama Hare Krishna, with more foreign nationals in the frames than Indians, but compared to the older classic, this movie does not seem to belong, neither to the times nor to the theme. The hippie culture that the movie tries to portray may be a reality in some parts of the country but is something that an average cine-goer like me can not identify with. This is a period when only the feel-good (Even after the election loss!!!) movies like Main Hoon Na are appreciated and movies like Charas that try to show the other, hidden side, are shelved before they even get off the shelf.

First resolution and advice: Think twice before going out for a movie that does not have star power.
Second resolution and advice: Treat Yogi's taste in movies with caution (just kidding...)

Posted at 06:31 pm by Nitai

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Friday, May 14, 2004
Introspections of an idle mind

The mind wanders...although it is not yet time to introspect on my past two years with Infosys, that's the direction my mind has been taking whenever it decides to go for a stroll. This stroll thing has been happening more and more frequently now, what with me getting away from office at a decent time (not the usual 9 or 10 PM slots any more, thankfully) and getting loads of time to let my mind go wherever it wants to.

When I started with Infy two years back, the thought that I had was to try to develop a contact base. I seemed to have an idea that the more people I am going to have in my group, the more interactions I have with my colleagues, the happier I will be. Traditionally, I have neither been an introvert, nor an out-and-out extrovert. To my loss, I decided to change myself for the beginning of my professional career. I became a loud mouthed extrovert who cracked jokes on others' expense and tried a little too hard to be the life of the party. The things were going fine and I did not feel the pinch, not until one fine day, when I found myself isolated and marooned on an island where my own jokes started to haunt me.

So many things happened to me that I lost count of reality. I thought I had found my best friend, I thought I lost him. I thought that I can be happy only if there are people around, I thought that I don't need anyone...hell, I even thought that I was in love...and all this just because I could not cope with the changes that I, myself, had intentionally brought about in me. In the end, it all came to naught and thankfully so.

Thanks to some heartbreaks and receiving some tough talking from others and later from myself, too, I could finally see the path. Whether the path is right or not, I still haven't found out. By the time I had decided how I am going to get back to my old self, I was actually denied the chance. All my friends, the entire gamut of people for whom I had changed myself had left me alone, some leaving my life intentionally (getting tired of me) and some simply had to go.

With IIMK looming large ahead and a new set of people with whom I am going to interact, I just wonder what is going to happen. Will the old me appeal to these people? Worse still, am I, in asking this question, again trying to change myself? Do I come across as someone else when I talk/chat to my new friends? Even if it is true, shouldn't I come across as such a person in spite of what I really am, considering that this is a B-school that I am going to join? So many questions and hardly any answers...

Posted at 10:09 am by Nitai

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