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

IIM Kozhikode Bloggers

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Alok (Class of '05)
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Andromeda (Class of '08)
Amit G (Class of '07)
Beena (Class of '08)
Chirantan (Class of '08)
DAR (Class of '07)
Deepak (Class of '05)
Dhananjay (Class of '05)
Divya (Class of '05)
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Firdaus (Class of '07)
Harsh (Class of '08)
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IIMK Photo Blog
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Narayanan (Class of '07)
Manandeep (Class of '08)
Meren (Class of '06)
Nilanjan (Class of '06)
Paromita (Class of '07)
Pragna (Class of '03)
Pranay (Class of '06)
Prashant D (Class of '05)
Prashant JK (Class of '06)
Pratik (Class of '07)
Priya (Class of '06)
Rahul (Class of '08)
Ramesh (Class of '06)
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Tity (Class of '05)
Vivek (Class of '09)
Yash (Class of '06)

Other B-school Bloggers

Chandoo (IIM Indore, Class of '06)
Nishith (IIM Lucknow, Class of '06)
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Sidin (IIM Ahmedabad, Class of '05)

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Friday, May 28, 2004
The story of journalism and long named awards

"Common Minimum Program of the United Progressive Alliance Government is out. It is predominantly left handed."
"Australia won the second one day international cricket match against Zimbabwe by a huge margin. Zimbabweans hardly have any team"
"After a crash and the mania of the manic Monday, Indian stock markets have stabilized"
"Narendra Modi is face to face with the RSS, facing dissent in his own bastion"

Sounds like the Rediff homepage, doesn't it? Or even the Times Of India headlines if you include some more masala information about the latest movies on the circuit. The strange part, nonetheless, is that the lines above are neither of these and do not belong to any other place that you would think they normally should, if they are behaving like the just born and not like the one who has had the first hand experience of the world for more than a day and has already started appreciating the charms of the nurse/ward boy. These are the brain children (is there any such word?) of some of the bloggers that I have come across during my voyage through the net. During this most fortunate part of my journey called life, I have had the rare fortune of reading the same news over and over again that I had already read in the morning, and not just read but also discussed (with the hapless neighbor) and analyzed them before removing the rein off my roving mouse and pointing it to the imaginary world of Blogs, Inc. I know that I must be wrong somewhere because however hard that I try, I do not get the logic of repeating the stuff that you read in the morning, verbatim on your private (or public, as in the case of blogs) journal. The point is that if you have a view, a stand on the issue and you are putting it across (in the hope that it will fetch you one of those long named awards (a la Raman Maggi Sauce somebody), then I perfectly understand that and actually empathize with you over the issue. I have had similar desires myself (the beard of RavindraNath looks cool, doesn't it?) and will hardly like to prevent anyone from indulging in such novel (read nobel) exercise.

But why, oh why dear Lord, do people shred away even the last shroud of decency and become hell bent on beating Mamta Kulkarni in the race? Plagiarize, please do. The respectable bloggers, however, should take the other Mamta as the example instead. The firebrand from Kolkata (the brand of whose fire has lost some equity after the recent elections) is actually a good case in point. She digs dirt and digs deep but when she actually comes out of the hole, I am sure that she adds her own bucketful of sand to the dirt. I know that the analogy is a bit difficult to comprehend but it has been designed considering the people who are going to win the Raman Maggie Sauce award some day. So, even if you don't understand my post today, blame it on the capitalists who have started such joint ventures between Raman of the Diamond Comics fame (who is the creation of Pran, who has links with the underworld, because his namesake is from the film industry) and Maggi sauce (Maggi hot and sweet, its different)

The point (undecided on whether it wants to tend towards the bloggers' circle or ride along my line) is that I personally feel that if a person maintains a journal for the sake of journalism (what else can a journal be used for, the Raman Maggie Sauce non-awardees may ask), he or she can go ahead with rephrasing and repeating headlines and even copying them verbatim shamelessly (and in the process, pipping Mamta, of the Kulkarni and not the fire brand, to the post).

If at all I become the Prime Minister of India some day (reminds me of the 'If I become the Prime Minsiter' essay that I wrote in 4th grade to impress the beautiful English teacher), I will make it mandatory for all bloggers to declare their journalistic tendencies on a scale of 10. All those with a score above 7 will be stopped (with immediate effect, that is within the next 5 to 10 years) from posting any new headlines (old headlines might be allowed as a part of compromise with the left) verbatim from any newspaper, web site or secret and confidential sources. People...oops...bloggers with a score between 3 and 7 will have the freedom to reproduce, without the risk of violating any IPRs, any and every thing that they want from any and every place. All those who scored less than or equal to 3 because they are still wondering how I could be dirty enough to make passes at my teacher in 4th grade, will be executed...hanged till death.

Posted at 03:06 pm by Nitai

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Thursday, May 27, 2004
Maa, I look so good, na?

When I was in school, they told me that I resemble Ajay Jadeja. I remember gloating on it because Jadeja was very popular among girls and if I did resemble him, I should be popular too...or so I thought. Unless the girls harbored secret feelings for me, I never got even the slightest hint of my popularity. At that time, I did not understand the reason for this distinction between Jadeja and me, I mean, both of us having the same (almost similar) face and all that. I knew the reason when I went to college and they compared me to Bhim Rao Ambedkar. In fact, for one whole month, they changed my nickname from Sheru to Bheema, as if that was going to make any difference. To say the truth, I did get a little bogged down when they compared me to the father of the constitution (such great responsibility and all). Adding to this, the Varanasi water and climate cost me quite a lot of hair and my already prominent forehead became all the more shiny and glorious. That was when I left college to join Infosys and they welcomed me to the corporate world by saying that I resemble Mukesh Ambani (why not Anil, pray?). And thus I lived for one and a half years after joining Infosys, in the shadows of the great industrialist until one fine day. This fine day, we were having a project party and one girl (imagine, a girl!!!) from our project said that another friend of hers (also a girl :-)) had told her (why???) that I resemble Calvin. This one, dear friends, is the latest and is also one of the reasons for naming this site Mode C. For the information of all those zealous souls who are going to take this opportunity to study my picture and post comments about how it resembles someone, I have now decided not to take any more resemblances seriously. Unless there is a solid proof (pixel to pixel mapping, for instance), I am going to be Calvin (I really like his style, you know).

Going back to some facts, last night's experience was one that I would not forget easily. It was only yesterday when I was laughing about the incident at Prithesh's house in Gurgaon and joking with him about the seniors being blown over and here I was, being almost blown over myself the last night. I had decided to have dinner at office and was staying back for some time. I also needed to scan some photographs and talk to Abhijeet. The long and short of it is that I was in office at about 8:30 in the evening, talking to Abhijeet on the phone in the adjacent cubicle, when I saw Bijon talking to someone on my phone. He was indicating to me that the call was for me. I asked him to say that I was not there and he did that. I peacefully finished talking to Abhijeet in another 15 minutes and was about to leave office when Bijon dropped the bomb. He said that there was some Severity One issue with my project. I thought that he was joking and started laughing. The laugh, however, turned into a whimper (I could hardly hear myself) when he told me that the person on line was some Powell (some Powell??? that guy is the project manager at Microsoft, primary client contact for my project).

With the client calling offshore, it had to be a serious issue and when I checked my mail, I knew just how serious it was. It appeared that he had sent a mail yesterday morning at 5 regarding some severity one issue that he wanted fixed and which was actually stopping the site from launch. The mail was not copied to my Infosys Id and somehow, I missed it on my Microsoft Id. Nobody else was in today, Sankar and Sathish being on leave and Gomathi having just arrived in India. It also appeared that when he did not find any replies to his mail when he came in to office on his morning (after the working hours at offshore), he got really pissed off and sent a strongly worded mail and copied it to almost everyone at Infosys who is even remotely related to the Microsoft account (and that included a lot of senior people). I even got calls from the account manager in US on the issue.  It took me 3 hours of conference calls with locations in Chennai and US to finally solve the issue and soothe the ruffled feathers. I am expecting a follow-up today and a big blood bath with some sacrificial goats (hope I am not one of them :( )

The latest mail on the fresher alumni meet says that *quote Dress Code is casual bordering on formal *unquote.  Now what the hell am I supposed to make of that???

Posted at 10:42 am by Nitai

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Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Wrong side of the bed

I am in a very bad mood today and things that have been happening since the morning are not helping at all. I couldn't even possibly have got up on the wrong side of the bed because the other side is too close to the wall for me to get down unless I (or someone else) moved the bed during the night. To start with, something seemed wrong with the bike while I was driving in the morning...somehow, it was just not running smooth...even after having checked the petrol and air pressure yesterday. For breakfast, I got the last parathas in the container. They were cold and uncooked in parts, but due to some strange reason, I did not (could not?) ask for replacement.

Office has been bad since the morning, too. There is a big group of children come over for some summer camp. I do like children and love talking to them but half of them understand only Tamil. Also, whenever I approached some kid, prompt came the instructor to ward them off from me (as if I was some monster thing straight from Harry Potter's Azkaban). On second thoughts, it would be great to look like one of the Dementors. At least I will know for sure that the reason some of these kids are running away from me is that I simply scare them witless (and not just my monstrous looks that might have been scaring them off). These kids have been making a racket and from sounding cute this morning when I came in (even after the biking experience), it started to gradually get on my nerves and now, I can hardly shut their voices off from banging into my head.

Bijon got his stock options converted today. He sent the exercise request three whole days after I did. I know that it sounds childish but what the hell, I have not even received an acknowledgement of my request. I was about to send a hot mail to the HR on this but was finally able to calm myself and sent them a mail rich on satire. The prompt reply said that they have not even received my request, and they are telling me now, 12 days after I sent the damn thing. I rushed up to the dispatch section, fully prepared for a fight and scored a duck there, too when they showed me their records with the IOC numbers and the WOB numbers and I don't know what else. I noted down all the numbers and sent them all to HR again...waiting for their response and hopefully, a big fight now.

It is strange how things go wrong all at the same time. Yahoo messenger is behaving oddly (not that it ever behaved correctly) and I am getting disconnected 5 times a minute. The net connection is pathetic and I don't have anything to do. I can not work (because there is no work and because more importantly, I don't want to work). I can not surf or chat (because of the God-forsaken connection). I can not leave office (they have started monitoring the In and Out timings, or rather the difference between the In and Out timings)

Hopefully, I will be updating the blog with some of the saner stuff tomorrow if things don't go from bad to worse too soon...

Posted at 05:28 pm by Nitai

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004
The last salute before goodbye

I finally got my official release date: June 4. Suresh, the Delivery Manager who had to officially accept my resignation, was out of town for the past two weeks. He came back on Monday and I went to see him last evening. He was very professional, as expected and did not waste too many words in the discussion (I had not expected any delay, either). He talked about the feedback that he has received about me from my colleagues and my manager. He sounded quite sincere when he said that people have told him and he himself feels (he does know me by name and face) that I have had a good track record of technical and communication expertise, and I do take initiatives...this was when his voice broke and gave me the hint that he is just saying what he would have told all others who would have resigned from his department earlier. He was just repeating stuff for the sake of it, but I think even that is good, decent and as professional as one could expect.

One of the interesting things about yesterday's conversation was that Suresh asked me to get back to him anytime for a referral letter if at all I decide to come back to Infosys after passing out from IIMK. I took the offer at its face value and said thanks to him and came back. Ravi, my project mate who is going to IIMA, actually suggested that we should ask him for a referral or a recommendation letter straight away, even before leaving Infosys, but somehow I don't agree. I think that there is still a lot of time before I decide on what I want to do after passing out of IIMK. Also, Suresh is in a position at Infosys (he might be another couple of steps, long ones though, from the Board of Directors) where he won't obviously be leaving the company in a hurry. I can keep in touch with him and ask for the favor/referral if and when required.

Another thing that was in the pipeline got some clarity today. I (like all others of my batch who have joined the e-group for IIMK) received a mail from Prashant, my senior at IIMK about the alumni-freshers meet. The Chennai meet is scheduled on the 29th at The Chola Sheraton. Now, I am confused after hearing about the venue. On reason is that it is the sea-food restaurant at Chola Sheraton (the restaurant is called Saagari) that is mentioned as the venue, and I don't know if, being a vegetarian, I am ready for the Kerala cuisine yet. The other reason is the ambience and reputation of the place which is quite formal. If I remember right from my past experience at Chola Sheraton, this place is quite a decent hotel (a three or five star one) and I hardly saw anyone in casual attire during my last few visits to the place. The question, therefore, is the question of more than a penny worth. Is this meet going to be a formal affair, one of the first that we might be expected to attend as a part of being groomed (???) as an MBA? I know that the alumni are all going to be there but in the case of IIMK, they are all quite young and hardly out of B-school. Do we still need to be in our light colored full-sleeved shirt, dark trousers mode (more on a psychological than literal level) when we go to this meet next Saturday?

In the meanwhile, there is still no news of the stock options for which I have already sent the exercise request and completed the fund transfer. I am actually getting worried over the thing because it involves quite a big amount of money and I don't want to goof up here. I tried calling up the concerned department in Bangalore but can not find the person at her desk, not even after 10 attempts since the morning. I have sent a mail to the HR people about my concern and have been waiting patiently for their reply ever since...nothing, so far.

Posted at 06:01 pm by Nitai

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Monday, May 24, 2004
The denimic (dynamic) future

Milind Deora…Sachin Pilot…Rahul Gandhi…Omar Abdullah…Jyotiraditya Scindia…these are just some of the young faces that the Indian Parliament is going to play host to, when it goes into session after the recent General Elections. They might as well come to the Central Hall in jeans and tees, contrasting with and yet not mocking the khaki of yore. In fact, they complement it, bring a fresh whiff of air, a riot of color to the dull proceedings of parliament (well, not always dull) least that is what Mani Ratnam wants us to believe, and let me tell you, Mr. Ratnam, I, for one, do believe you.

Yuva is a sincere effort at telling a sincere story in a sincere format. The director has decided that he wants to show something to his audience in a certain way and contrary to the norm in the Indian movie industry, has succeeded in not making a mess of it. In fact, he has done a creditable job by actually making what he started out to make. If this effort of his does not appeal to a section of the audience, it is not the director who is at fault and it can only be said that the perception of all people, regarding something so widely discussed and analyzed as a Mani Ratnam movie, can never be the same.

Like Saathiya, Yuva starts with an incident, goes back to show the build-up towards the incident, and then again moves forward to bring the story to its logical conclusion. The difference from Saathiya is that unlike Saathiya, there are three different characters central to the incident and to the events that follow and the build-up part of the story has to be branched out in three parts to do full justice to all the three characters.

Lallan (Abhishek Bachchan) has come to Kolkata from a small place called Chandauli in the state of Uttar Pradesh (this place is near Varanasi, and I have been there a number of times during my college days). He follows the lead of his elder brother who is a goon in the service of a corrupt politician (Om Puri) and becomes an odd-job man who works on contract. Lallan has a wife in Shashi (Rani Mukherjee) who always comes back to him, despite beatings, threats, and Lallan’s continued dangerous and illegal living style. Lallan is told to beat up and threaten the students who have dared to contest Panchayat elections against the party of Dada (Om Puri). He is finally asked to kill the leader of the student political awakening after the students come down to his brother’s house and beat up the goons there.

The story then moves on to Michael Mukherjee (Ajay Devgan) who is a brilliant student (has even received a scholarship to work under a Nobel laureate in US) but who, like his father, wants to work for his country. He leads the students to villages where they persuade the people to defeat the candidates of Dada’s party and elect their own people instead in the Panchayat elections. Michael is assisted in his endeavors by his childhood sweetheart (played by Esha Deol) who teaches French in college when she is not roaming about with Michael to the villages of Bengal. When Michael looks set to become too dangerous a foe by even beating up Gopal, Lallan’s brother and Dada’s chief goon, Dada orders Lallan to bump off Michael once and for all.

After the intermission, we are introduced to Arjun (Vivek Oberoi), who plays a character that most of us would be able to identify with. Arjun has no confusion in his mind. He is selfish, he is fun, and he is a playboy. He flirts with girls, enjoys discos and plans to leave to US for higher studies. He finally finds his match in Meera (Kareena Kapoor) who is equally carefree and charismatic. He starts to really love her but she finally decides to say good bye to him to get married to the groom of her parents’ choice. All this, but not before one final try by Arjun to woo Meera back on the Howrah bridge where he witnesses Lallan shoot Michael.

This is where the three threads of the story meet and move ahead. In a well concluded end, Arjun gets convinced by Michael and enters politics (even gets back Meera in the bargain, who sees Arjun on TV, and comes back to him, all impressed with his heroics). Four students, including Michael and Arjun stand for the bye-elections. The police, in the meanwhile, is hot on Lallan’s scent after the attempted murder of Michael. Lallan joins forces with Dada and kidnaps all other candidates except Michael and holds them to ransom. The students are finally able to escape Lallan but not before Lallan starts following Arjun on the second Hooghly bridge in a deadly chase. In the middle of the chase, Arjun manages to grab the mobile phone of a passer-by and calls Michael to the rendezvous for the climax of the movie.

And what a super climax it turns out to be, one of the best and most wonderfully executed scenes in the Hindi movie history. Though a little high on gore, the scene proves Ratnam’s technical wizardry beyond any doubt. In no way inferior to any scene from any Hollywood flick, this scene sees the three central characters battle it out on the high traffic bridge. With vehicles zooming past as the fight scene unfolds, frame by frame, it sure is a treat to watch.

Acting wise, Abhishek Bachchan is superb. He had to come to terms with his brooding personality and his flair for roles like these, sooner or later. Mani Ratnam has surely portrayed the best of Abhishek to the audience and I would say, later than sooner. Rani Mukherjee is a class act, as expected from an actress of her caliblre. Ajay Devgan is as usual, good and despite being typecast as the brooding, silent and yet angry executioner, he carries his role well. However, it certainly would have helped if Ratnam had chosen to show Devgan as a fiery young professor than a young student, because if anything, Devgan sure looks above 30 years. Esha Deol, for a change, looks cute and naughty. In fact, I was surprised by the way she has performed and managed to look good too. Vivek and Kareena are good because they have not over played their parts and have stayed within their roles, giving a good performance. Om Puri is also good in his role of the corrupt politician (certainly not challenging enough for an actor of his caliber). I personally felt that Ratnam could have made much better use of this actor.

Over all, the film appeals not just to the classes but equally so to the masses. The final scene when the four elected candidates make way to the Legislature in denim jeans and shirts is really encouraging and promising. The timing of the movie’s release could not have been better. The movie portrays the entry of youth into the political arena, youth who are well-educated, qualified, have opportunities to study abroad, earn money and yet those who can do much more than merely crib about the nation’s bad state. With the face of Indian politics actually changing, and the young people (even if they are here because of their surnames) actually changing the color of the Parliament, Yuva is a welcome movie and a very realistic indicator of the times…

Posted at 02:09 pm by Nitai

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