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.

<< May 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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DAR (Class of '07)
Deepak (Class of '05)
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Other B-school Bloggers

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Friday, May 21, 2004
The mysterious affair at IIMK

Having read so many of the spy books and watched so many of the spy movies (of both the unbelievable Indian Crooke Bond types and the somewhat believable-due-to-gadgetry English James Bond types), I always tend to find reasons where there are (or may be :-)) none. While browsing the net yesterday (I hardly seem to do anything else nowadays), I came across the IIMK intranet site and started wondering about the reason for it not being mentioned by even a single senior, either in the e-group or on any other forum. Considering that the e-group of the '06 batch is already some 350 mails old, this will look fishy to almost any and every one.

I decided to go one step ahead and delve deep into this intranet site and try to figure out for myself, the reason for it being hidden (or not being shown, whichever way you look at it) from the eyes of us juniors. Believe me, even one hour after I started delving deep (I had exhausted the material on the site by this time, even read through the charter for different committees at IIMK), I could not find any reason (good, bad or ugly) for my not having come across this site earlier. There was Darpan, the student's space that really required much more than what it had. The news section was nothing but one-liners and there was nothing at all that could, so to say, attract the passerby. Well, I certainly agree that it is difficult for an IIM student to hold his life together, forget maintaining a web site, but then again, there is the site of IIMC which is much better on some counts with students pitching in to make the place more lively and interesting. I don't know if I am putting my feet into the wrong thing (which I almost always do) but I believe that if I get a like minded group of some (even a few), I will definitely like to contribute something to the cause, but all that comes later...much later.

Things are, in deed, looking a shape better now. I had a bad dream last night about Maa and I called her up first thing in the morning. I had one more-than-half-hour-long conversation with her (hundred bucks woof....gone) and I felt absolutely cool and relaxed after it. I went ahead and called up Nani (my maternal grandma) too and spoke to her about so many things...she cares so much about me that at times, I almost get overwhelmed, especially when she starts asking about my health, even though she might have had a blood sugar reading exceeding 200 herself. Priya (my sister) is also there with Nani in Patna presently. She has her entrance exams for the journalism course at Indian Institute of Mass Communication today. Maa is so worried about her career that she hardly sleeps nowadays. I hope that Priya is able to decide fast on what she wants to do. She is interested in Interior Designing but I feel that she is suppressing her ambition just because some of her friends told her that she won't be able to get a good start in this field. She is looking for so many other options, including journalism, finance (she has just completed her B.Com), advertising, and much more.

I have been trying to talk to her, to convince her to go with her heart and do something that she really wants to do. Having spent two years in the software industry, I know how it feels to be stuck with doing something that you don't really want to do. All things said and done, however, I feel that she will learn only after she has burnt her fingers herself. There is no other way, I guess, or is there? I wish I knew...

Posted at 12:24 pm by Nitai

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Thursday, May 20, 2004
The Ludlum betrayal

I have hardly read any Ludlum novel without finally wondering why I went for it. It is not that I don't like the books or I am one of those looking-down-at-the-potboilers types. On the contrary, I do like the stuff that he writes but more often than not, his books disappoint once I am through to the end. They never really leave the reader with the joy of reading a PG Wodehouse, the fun of reading a Spider Man comic, the mind-numbing feeling of reading an Ayn Rand, or even the cheap thrill of reading a Sidney Sheldon. What I mean is that even if you take the Star Wars novel that I am currently reading after having done with the Ludlum caper, I am sure that I will have a much better experience after I have finsihed reading it, all the time thinking about Jedi masters and their light sabers figting against the dark side and all the rest of it.

The Tristan Betrayal by Robert Ludlum is a little different from his other works but the difference, unfortunately, is not positive. The book goes one step ahead with the second half of the book destroying the user's interest peel by peel after a painstaking process of forming those layers in the first half. The book starts with the modern Moscow (well, not really modern, some 13 years ago) when the communist powers in Soviet Union are doomed to an end and democracy has seen its first dawn with the eyes of Gorbachev. The book depicts the unrest, anxiety and confusion prevailing in the Moscow city briefly, and yet, with panache. The story unfolds to let the reader know that there is only one person known as 'The Conductor', who can actually prevent the situation from going bad and give that final push to the Russian democracy and prevent the fanatical communists from dragging Russia back to the darkness. The only person who can convince 'The Conductor' to do so is Stephen Metcalfe, the honorary Ambassador from the United States. He is called to Russia by his old friend, a reputed and celebrated General in the Russian Army. The real reason for the effect that Ambassador Metcalfe has over ‘The Conductor’ is what forms the basis of the story. It is hidden from the reader till the very end and though it will be unfair to disclose something like this in any review of the book, I must say that the reason falls flat on its face when it is finally disclosed. Instead of a well crafted and thrilling finish that the story and no doubt, the author, was capable of, Ludlum decided the end to be a low key affair which, in my humble opinion, robbed the book of one too many loyal fans.

The story in The Tristan Betrayal goes into the flashback to show that Metcalfe was an American secret agent working in the Second World War on the orders of Corcoran, who reported to Roosevelt himself. Metcalfe is shown to have quite a reputation for being a shameless womanizer and it is this quality (???) of his, added to the fact that he, along with his brother, is the owner of the celebrated US business giant, Metcalfe Industries, that enables him to make a foothold in Nazi occupied France as Daniel, a 'Ladies Man' who goes about stealing Nazi secrets from the beds of the mistresses, wives and sisters of Nazi officers. He is as successful as he can be, till his base in Paris is exposed to the enemies and they kill all his colleagues. The person responsible for this expose and the cruel killings of the American ‘spy’ base is the dreaded ‘Violinist’ (too much of music, The Conductor and then The Violinist) who is shown to be a nightmare over the entire story until he actually dies at the hands of Metcalfe, like a stupid villain of the Hindi movies.
Anyway, to cut the long story short, after the not-so-successful Paris stint, Metcalfe is given another assignment by his boss, Corky, to go to Moscow and re-kindle his old flame, Swetlana, who is the prime ballerina in the Bolshoi Theatre. The purpose, Corky says, of this assignment is to find out if the Nazi Officer who has Lana as his mistress, is actually someone who can be turned away from Hitler and used as an agent. However, when Metcalfe lands there and is able to re-affirm his affections with Lana, he finds out that the German officer can not really be converted and that this was not the real purpose of his mission. His mission is to actually provide the Nazis and ultimately, to Hitler, false information about the Russian Army. This information has to be passed by Lana to the German officer as Lana is the daughter of a high ranking Russian General. To do all this, Metcalfe has to lie to Lana and since he is actually in love with Lana, he can not really go about all this lying business without a twinge (just a twinge, mind it…he is in the league of James Bond, of course, the ruthless womanizer) of guilt. The information to be conveyed to the Nazis has been forged and falsified to give the wrong idea to Nazis that The Russian Red Army is actually weak and thus, to entice the Fuhrer to attack Russia and go to his doom and take the communists down with him, in the process (one arrow and two targets, what???) . The plan works but only after a sacrifice by Lana, who has to get herself arrested and executed by the Russians for selling military secrets to the Germans to convince Hitler and his Generals of the authenticity of the forged reports that were passed though her.

As I mentioned earlier, all this looks fine and is quite interesting, too and the reader is actually waiting for the suspense to unravel and tell him about the real secret that has been carried all these years from the time of The Second World War to The 1990 Russia and how this secret actually relates to both Ambassador Metcalfe and 'The Conductor'. However, the way Ludlum treats this secret actually belies the craftsmanship with which he has woven the rest of the story. Ultimately, the book is good and might interest the first timer or the average Ludlum reader but to hardcore Ludlum readers like me, who have hardly left any Ludlum book unread despite the now-tiresome formula that almost all his books follow, the book is a big let-down.

Posted at 02:10 pm by Nitai

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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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