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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Sunday, May 23, 2004
One two cha cha cha

What an awesome weekend this is turning out to be. From the Pizza Hut treat last night to Kormangla it was, after we finally convinced Ankur to stay with us for the night and not leave for his village (!!!) immediately. But this was not the end of celebrations, if that is what you prefer to call it. We came down to MG Road again, at 2 in the night and it was really awesome. The chaiwallahs there and the number of people stopping by for a cuppa of chai while they smoked or simply chilled out was too good. It reminded us so much of Lanka, of BHU, of Varanasi...

After a brilliant Saturday, it was the turn of a blissful Sunday. With Bangalore weather chipping in with the occasional shower and a consistently good climate the whole day, we had more fun than I could possible digest in a single day. Today was the turn of the Infosys training batch and I had decided that I will try to meet as many of them as possible and have the dinner treat with all of them together. I knew that there have been problems between Sweta and Richa, and many more apart from it, but I really wanted to have a get-together of all for one last time before I left for IIMK.

Luckily for me, things turned out the way I wanted them to, and even better. Starting with a round of parathas at the local joint with yesterday's crowd, I went on to Sushant's place to have a bath and get ready for the party today. Sushant, as usual, was not there. We got ready and went to Richa's place to pick up Sushant and go in the search of movie tickets for Yuva, the latest and much awaited flick by Mani Ratnam. Luckily we found two familiar faces (familiar to Sushant) in the one mile long queue. Unashamed, unchallenged, we got in the middle of the queue and somehow got 7 tickets for 5 people despite the strict instructions given at the counter that there will be only one ticket given per person. It certainly helped that a girl was asking for the tickets and she had the exact change ready. We really have learnt to strategize, what?

Richa and his cousin joined us after we had the tickets all secured. After a lot of discussion and one full to the brim Chinese restaurant, we had a good lunch at MarryBrown before finally getting all wet in the rain and moving on to the theatre for three hours of good and solid entertainment.

After a brilliant movie (I really liked it), we decided to go back to Richa's place and collect our snaps of the Ooty trip. I particularly wanted these as I am really looking more photogenic in these snaps than I have ever been in my life (apart from the time when I was this cute little kid some eons ago). I might scan these and put them on my web profile (to impress a lot of girls??? :-)). The weather was again turning out to be a darling and we sat in the balcony at Richa's place planning for the treat tonight. After some phone calls and some already booked restaurants and some obscenely costly ones (which Richa rejected right away, nice girl!), we finally settled on a restaurant called 'A pinch of Jazz'.

Bangalore is one cool place, I have always believed this of the city. Yesterday night's party convinced me yet again of the truth of the above matter. What a place this was, 'A pinch of Jazz' and what a night to go there. Sunday night was dance competition night and today's dance categories were Cha cha cha and Salsa. I don't really know much about these dance forms but there were people in the party who actually did. So many pretty faces dancing with so many smart hunks really made for a great, bright and colorful evening. The food was okay but the ambience, awesome. Sweta was asked for a dance by some guy from the nearby table but she refused. Had I known how to dance, I would have asked out the organizer of the night ( and would have been refused too, most probably), who was looking oh-so-pretty in the red dress (red as a rose?) with a glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other (I would have preferred her without these but...). The long and short of it was that when Animesh had to leave for the bus in the middle of the dance, his was one sorry face and when he finally got to know (after reaching the bus stand) that his bus actually left some 45 minutes later, his was one sorry SMS...

We had to catch a train at 11:30 but a round of ice cream was pending before we finally said our good-byes. I had always wanted to go to this place called Corner House, which according to some of my best sources, is a really cool place to have some really nice and sinful ice cream. There we were, all six of us, eating ice cream together, Chandna making his chin eat more than his mouth, Sweta scolding him, Sushant generally making a mess of things and Richa silently criticizing him, me and Puneet having a good laugh at all this. She alone was not there from our training days and luckily so. I might not have enjoyed as much. Otherwise, it was exactly like it used to be when we came back from our training days in Chennai Infosys, and used to sit down in some restaurant or the other for a long meal before finally leaving for the night and re-joining again at the bus stop next day…

Posted at 10:58 pm by Nitai

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Saturday, May 22, 2004
Old memories

She called me up almost as soon as I reached Bangalore. Sweta had called up earlier and might have told her that I am in town. She might have known even otherwise. Why did she call...I really don't know. To congratulate me...that she had already done in her typical one-line-email way: "Congrats! Have a nice time there". To ask for a treat...she never did ask me for any treat though we talked for about 15 minutes and there was a lot of mention of how I am going to loose my entire bank balance in Bangalore. To just talk to that is simply ridiculous. Whatever be the reason, her call was a jolt that I was not expecting and I would certainly have been better off without it. I was confused about her when we were both in Chennai, during our training days at Infosys and I guess that I still am confused about her. Did I really love her then and do even now? Did I love her then and have grown out of that now? Did I love her then and hate her now? Did I just want her as my best friend then and still do? Did I just want her as my best friend then and not more than an acquaintance now? I don't know and perhaps, I never will. One thing, however, is certain and that is the fact that my going to IIMK means that there is very little chance of my seeing her again and I really feel like saying 'good riddance'.

We (I and Puneet, my room-mate) had decided to keep the luggage at Sushant's place and then move on to meet our respective friends from there. Sushant was not at home when we reached there. Chandna was, and was in a very good mood, compared to the last time I was here. In fact, I had thought after the last time, that I would hardly be talking to Chandna the same old way but this time, it was certainly much better and he did seem like the Chandna of old. Radhika came up when we were almost about to leave. I don't know what her problem is. She certainly feels as if I am intruding on her property somehow, whenever I come to these guys' house. The way she looks at me says very clearly that either she considers herself to be among the clouds or me in the dirt. Whatever it is, it is her problem and hopefully, not mine. Anyway, I am not at all comfortable with people from whom I get such negative vibes.

Keeping aside these one-off things that happened, the rest of Saturday was as good as it could have been. I really had so much fun and after a long time, too. Animesh had come down from Mangalore and Ankur had come down from his own village in Bangalore (Yeshwantpur, to be exact). We had a whale of a time, roaming around Forum, the new mall at Kormangala in Bangalore, passing comments on all pairs and singletons, getting rowdy, re-living the college days. We then moved on to MG Road, discussed our lives, futures, got all nostalgic about college, and almost ended up in the nearest pub (not actually, just figuratively). Finally, sense prevailed and we moved on to Pizza Hut for the much awaited treat. The sacrificial goats this time were Animesh for his coming onsite trip and of course, the poor me. Somebody at the nearby table had a birthday and the Pizza Hut people really made a bash of it. They made the poor girl stand on the top of a chair and wave to the Saturday evening crowd while they sang the birthday song (we pitched in, too). For a moment, we thought we would celebrate the birthday of Animesh but I guess, they would have seen through it (they might even have given some discount, was my take)...


Posted at 11:35 pm by Nitai

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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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