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.

<< July 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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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)
Divyabhanu (Class of '07)
Firdaus (Class of '07)
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IIMK Photo Blog
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Karan (Class of '05)
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)
Ridhi (Class of '07)
Ronald (Class of '05)
Saurabh (Class of '08)
Sheeba (Class of '07)
Shrikanth (Class of '08)
Sriram (Class of '07)
Suma (Class of '07)
Sumit (Class of '06)
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Surya (Class of '08)
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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Thursday, July 08, 2004
The very first day of Life@IIMK

The first day at IIMK is finally over and life goes on. The strangest thing about this place is the absolute lack of bonhomie that is actually supposed to make up a college. I don't know if it is because the people out here are trying too hard to be professionals, to actually separate themselves from the run-of-the-mill college junta or if there is something deeper running within. I can understand the hesistation of the junior gang to actually gang up but the way the seniors have been behaving looks to be pretty senior-ish, if you know what I mean. I think I saw a lot of people I could identify with from my previous chats, blog comments, etc but I could not really talk to them. I could probably identify Prithesh, Divya, Ronald from the senior batch and Neeta, Malini, Vidhyut from my own batch and as I mentioned, if talking to seniors was a luxury, my own batchmates did not provide any thing free either. Perhaps we are all a little afraid of each other, all a little apprehensive about what the others will make of us and so we are all a little cautious to begin with. I know that a major part of the blame lies on me, too but the kind of atmosphere that's been created somehow prohibits much interaction.

The very first gathering of seniors that addressed us was actually for a committee called Konsult, which is a marketing consulting committee of IIMK. I know that it looks like a good idea to impress firmly over the minds of the future IIMK-ites that people here, especially the seniors, mean business but it doesn't really look like good sense to actually torture people on the very first day with some CNBC crap by Sumantra Ghoshal (God rest his soul in peace). If the seniors did really plan this, I must say that it was in poor taste. We could and should have had an informal gathering to start the proceedings and committees like Konsult could have possibly waited for a more opportune moment.

All the cribbing above apart, people here are in deed very very interesting. Inspite of the engineering college and Infosys experience and the DPS experience much before that and much more enriching in terms of content, I think that this is the most varied gathering of people that I have come across. There are freshers and there are people with 7-8 years of work experience. There are people in jeans and tees and there are the simpletons with formal shirts and trousers. There are the studious kinds with a dead-pan look on their face whenever there is talk of studies and there are lazzards (I invented the word) like me who give a sheepish grin to show their intentions on these occassions.

As I go on writing my blog, I don't know if I would be doing justice in assigning names to the characters that I meet and interact with during my two years at IIMK. It is good to be honest but I don't think that it is my right or anybody else's to publicly pass comments on some one. On the other hand, I think that this blog of mine has seen some of my private moments if it has been home to some well and truly public reviews of books and movies. I don't know how many of my batchmates actually read my blog but I do want to mention that even if you do and if at any stage of my two years here, you find something offensive in the blog, please do not take it to heart as it is just the ramblings of my mind and might as well turn out to naught before long.

Since I seem to have come out of this dilemma and seem to have finally decided, thanks to writing this entry, that I am going to name my characters and continue being honest to my blog, I hope that life does not become too difficult because of this.

Yesterday evening was spent shopping but not before I met Yogesh, one of my class mates from DPS. Ever since I had heard the name Yogesh Goswami in the roll call at the IIMK gate, I knew that it was going to be the same Yogesh. I won't say that he has been amongst my best friends but we certainly have spent a lot of time together and it was a pleasant co-incidence to see him here. Yogi joined Abhijit, Ravi and me as we took our two bikes (Ravi's ThunderBird and my poor Caliber) down to Kunnamangala to get some utilities. That done, we had another horrible meal in the mess (I can't really believe Ravi when he says that the food actually used to be good before we landed up), which was followed by the absolutely boring, stiff and sleep-inducing session of Konsult.

Posted at 10:44 am by Nitai

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Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Inside God's own country

Finally, I am in IIMK. After a short and almost uneventful stay in Chennai, I had to pack my bags for another trip, this one much smaller than the marathon Buxar-Chennai one just a couple of days back. With the bag already spilling over and the suitcase packed as tight as any suitcase could possibly afford to, I had to bring my favorite Globus bag in use and the helmet was another addition.

I was planning to get my bike to Kozhikode sometime next month but the managerial skills of Ravi have already started showing effect (after all, he is attending the remedial classes). He convinced me to get the bike along and that's what I did. After a little shopping at Spencer's, I went ahead to Chennai Central and booked my bike in the train. The cost was not too much, considering that the porters there looted me for some two hundred bucks for supposedly packing and loading the bike. Since Kameshwar had the tickets, I did not have to do anything else but wait for the train. I went back to Bijon's place (incidentally, I also met some of my K classmates there at Bijon's home when I reached Chennai, all Calcutta Bongs, going a day earlier by the same train by which I travelled yesterday) and had a good long bath before going to the station to meet my new friends for the next two years.

All of them were there except one, with their luggage all loaded. Vikram was the first one I met and he was in deed the same as I had thought, a lean guy with a good sense of humour and a somewhat funny Hindi accent (perhaps because he has stayed in Chennai throughout his life even though he is a Rajasthani). Kameshwar was next and he turned out to be diametrically opposite to what I had guessed. Instead of a tall guy with a serious expression on his face, he turned out to be a rather short, chubby and sweet guy with a pleasant disposition, the most likeable of the lot. His mother was sweet, too...she gave chocolates to all of us :-)

I had already met Niranjan in the IIMK fresher alumni meet and as usual, he was a pack of energy, chatting at a speed faster than my comprehension at times. Rahul was again an exact image of my thoughts, a serious enough guy with a smiling face, the typical Infoscion look. The journey was cool and short with all of us chatting for some time, throwing open our horoscopes, as Kameshwar said, and later going to bed for a comfortable (but jittery, for me) sleep.

Kozhikode (in Hindi) or Calicut (in English) turned out to be a pretty small station (definitely bigger, however, than the other stations of Kerala that we encountered on the way) and the Parcel Office was even smaller and more so, slower. It took the porters almost one hour to unload my bike and get it ready for release. I seriously wondered (and not for the first time) about the hardiness of my bike after seeing the kind of stuffing that the lugage van and as a result, my bike had to endure. With some two more bikes proudly occupying the supine position over my bike and some dozens of cartons hiding any signs of my bike from sight, I almost got confused if this was the luggage van that I had got my bike loaded into.

Some seven eight seniors (God bless them) were at the station with a Volvo (or Valvo as they liked to call it) bus. After waiting for the Mangala express coming from Delhi (which gave me ample time to get my bike released), we were ready to go. The institute is some fifteen kilometers from the station and the highlight of the journey were the numerous supermarkets with bakeries. I don't know if it is the norm in Kerala but all the supermarkets in Calicut did have bakeries with them.

Journey from the IIMK main gate to the hostels was fascinating and for me, who has not been much among the hills, specially so. I have enjoyed the oceans and the plains a lot but the hills and trees are almost a first for me. The campus is in deed very good and beautiful and the hostels are even better. With brand new rooms pleasantly reeking (???) of the smell of plastic paint, the next year at IIMK promises to be auspicious.

I met a lot of my batchmates today and with names flowing across like Tabu's hair in the Siberian winds (wow, what an analogy!!!), I am not sure how many I am actually going to remember. I haven't met many seniors yet but I guess, we will have some meetings and not before long. Another thing that I am sure of is that there is going to be a lot of masala for my blog out here, considering so many people in the college (of both years), their differing characters, and my undying hobby of character sketching.

Posted at 04:29 pm by Nitai

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Monday, June 21, 2004
Revelry of the young and old

For the past few days, I had been thinking of organizing an outing in Patna. Nani has been feeling so lonely ever since Nana left and she just used to sit idle, staring into the darkness. It was very important that she have a change in her daily routine. Mananmama has got a new car and a trip for Nani in the car was also due. So it was that yesterday, we decided to go to the local Zoo for a picnic trip. Rita Mausi was here from Muzaffarpur and Mausi was already here in Patna. It was decided to have two trips by the car to transport all twelve people to the zoo.

To add to the spice, the pump at home was burnt out. Water had to be stored into drums and buckets because the mechanic had given Monday evening as the probable time of fixing up the motor and pump. Mananmama decided to have a full bath at Mausi's place in Rajiv Nagar. Since we also had to pick them up for the trip, I, Mananmama and Shanu left for Mausi's place with all our clothes for the first phase of the trip. How little we knew that this phase was all we could have hoped for. The rain gods unleashed their fury as soon as we were all ready to depart with Mausi's family for the Zoo.

After some hour-long deliberations on what to do and a score of telephone calls later, it was decided to have the picnic in Mausi's home. Mananmama went back to pick up everyone else, including Nani. I agreed, though with a heavy heart (because of the plans getting cancelled), because it would anyway have turned out to be a good outing for Nani, especially since she would be able to meet up her favorite daughter. Pappumama, as expected did not turn up. I always knew that unless the plan to the zoo materialized, he will not come. That was another of the reasons for my being upset by the change of plans.

Everything turned out to be good in the end as we did have a nice time. The lunch was good and full of fun and some good laughter all around. The most satisfying part was that Nani was having a good time and that's what finally mattered to me.

Chatting away with some friends in the night (thanks to the twelve hour internet pack that I had bought yesterday), I could not help but philosophize a bit about life. Here was Nani, all alone and full of life, slowly losing recognition of all those she held dearest to her through out her life. There, just a few days back when I was in Varanasi, was Bharat Bhaiya's new born baby daughter, who is fast busy gaining recognition of all those who are going to be close to her. So much is at stake for one while the other already has her plate full. The difference, however, is negligible. For an outsider like me, who is not in constant touch with either of them, what is important is not to let their attention wander into loneliness...keep them occupied...the methods differ but the objectives don't. Both of them are fragile as fragile can be. Both of them have to be pampered and cared for. Above all, both of them are so…so very dear to me...

Posted at 10:36 am by Nitai

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Sunday, June 20, 2004
What's your lakshya?

Farhaan Akhtar must have had some sort of insecurity when he started to make Lakshya. If he did want to make a war movie, there was absolutely no reason to disguise the real content of the movie in this way. Lakshya, in the end, is nothing else but a well-disguised and well-presented war movie. The movie does talk about the frustrations, ideology and final salvation of an individual but the backdrop is beautifully crafted as the Kargil war between Indian soldiers and Pakistani mercenaries-cum-soldiers.

Hrithik Roshan is Karan Shergill, who wanders around in his laid-back style and weird yet suitable hairstyle and is reminded, more often than digestible, by his girlfriend that he does not have any 'lakshya' in his life. The girl friend is Preity Zinta, who plays the role of the journalist Romilla Dutta. She does look good in her new hairstyle and some exceedingly well-chosen outfits that suit not only her personality but also the kind of role that she plays. The movie begins in the present with Hrithik having just joined the regiment headed by Colonel Sunil Damle, played to perfection and yet wastefully by Amitabh Bachchan. In fact, any other actor could have played the character of Sunil Damle and Amitabh was not really required for the role. If at all Farhaan wanted to effectively use the services of an actor of Amitabh's caliber, he should have chosen a meatier role for him and could have actually shown him to have some real influence on Lieutenant Karan Shergill finding his 'lakshya' (the aim of his life).

As it turns out in the flashback, Karan was a laid back person studying in Delhi and having absolutely no idea as to what he wanted to do with his life and career. Boman Irani, who is insipid in his small role, plays the well-enacted character of his father. It probably is a tribute to his astonishingly good comic performances in his last two movies that a relatively serious role in this movie, albeit small, may not be appreciated. Karan is in love with his classmate Romilla who has plans to follow in her father's footsteps and take up journalism as her career. Romilla is the steadying influence in Karan's life and she encourages him to take his first decision when he decides to go for an army career. When Karan comes back from the Military Academy days later because of the strict regimen there, Romilla greets him with disdain and literally tells him to either be a man and stick to his guns or beat it.

Karan re-joins the IMA, becomes a competent army officer and is posted to Kargil sector. He comes back home, vindicated for the cruel (tsk...tsk) remarks of his girl friend. He even takes revenge in a scene where he calls up Romilla and when she wants to meet up, tells her that since she decided not to meet, he will be the one to decide when to meet....ridiculous, what?

Anyways, he is called back from his vacations when the war starts and that is when the movie really picks up the pace. With Romilla too joining the war scene as the reporter (remember she wanted to be a journalist) covering the war for her news channel, the story moves into top gear. The war scenes are well enacted and directed. Instead of wasting the footage trying to do justice to all the big names in the movie (as was the case with earlier war movies like Border and LOC), the war is shown with Karan as the central character and it does make the necessary difference. Somehow, the viewer is able to identify netter with the theme and the individual frustrations and adrenaline rush of the soldier. Hrithik Roshan does a fine job with some well brought out emotions at the correct places. He subtly manages the change from the laid back Karan to the extremely disciplined and determined Lieutinant Karan Shergill. The change in hairstyle and the clothes are definitely helpful but he also seems to have grown as an actor since Koi Mil Gaya. Preity Zinta is good in her role and does look like a journalist. She has avoided the temptation to look glamorous and has instead gone for a look and acting style that suits the character of Romilla Dutta, the journalist, to the tee. Amitabh Bachchan and Om Puri are excellent, as usual, but utterly wasted. Having watched the movie and the utter lack of space that Amitabh had, I seriously failed to understand the hullabaloo over the casting of this movie and Farhaan's said disputes with Amitabh.

Farhaan Akhtar has done a good job if he wanted to make a sincere war movie that is shown from the perspective of the current generation whose members are widely believed to have no aim in life and even if they do have some aim, those aims are frivolous according to many. He has succeeded in making the viewer empathize with Hrithik's character and finally rise to a crescendo with Karan Shergill realizing that the aim of his life is to fight for his country's honor and his actually achieving this aim by winning an army post from the Pakistanis in the Kargil war.

The music and songs are good and do not look out of place in the flashback portion despite the 'Main aisa kyun hoon' song actually coming out of nowhere. The songs in the second half, although a part of the story and supplementing the mood, somehow seem to be an extra. The background music is unexpectedly quiet for a war movie but does set the mood as and when required. Also, since most of the movie is shown from an individual's perspective, the silences and the tastily done background score suitably reflect the pensive atmosphere in the second half.

To summarize, if you want to watch the movie because it might give you a taste of Dil Chahta Hai, please stay at home. If you want to watch the movie as the second of the three June releases of Amitabh Bachchan, please stay at home. If you want to watch a movie that entertains you without requiring you to put the slightest stress on your mind (Main Hoon Na, anyone???), please stay at home. If you want to watch a sincere, well crafted, in its own genre movie that entertains you as much as it makes you think, you have your Lakshya.

Posted at 11:29 pm by Nitai

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Thursday, June 17, 2004
The glory of old

Banaras Hindu University is in deed, a great institution. Despite the four years that I stayed there for my engineering degree and even during the course of my two later visits to the place, the very grandeur of BHU's mansion-esque buildings have never ceased to amaze me. The sprawling hostels, the tree covered pathways, and the vast stretches of lush green fields play their own roles in enhancing the face value of this astonishingly beautiful and huge university.

There was no specific reason for this particular visit of mine. It was just that I was in Varanasi and had to meet my cousin who stays near the university. Since I was in the vicinity, I decided to drop in. My cousin had some work and could meet me only in the afternoon. I had started from my uncle's house in Chowka Ghat early in the morning right after my breakfast, and so I thought it better to complete my BHU visit first in the schedule. An auto rickshaw from the Cantt. railway station dropped me at the gates of BHU and I could see Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviyaji standing there, watching and blessing the university's hallowed portals.

I decided in favor of a regular rickshaw instead of the auto for my journey inside the campus as the latter would have hardly given me any time and space to watch any and all changes. I was right but wrong, too. I had not really thought of any change in particular but just had the impression that some things would certainly have changed since the last time I was here. However, the changes that I had expected were nowhere to be seen.

BHU was still the same old campus that I (and all my batch mates, I am sure) have been familiar with. Mahila Maha Vidyalaya (WC for the IT-ians) still had the guys waiting patiently for the ever-elusive girls who were busy chatting up elsewhere in the famous phone booth there. Madhuban still had that odd couple sitting there, holding hands and sipping the Pepsi they had bought from the Madhuban Cafe. Faculty of Performing Arts (FOPA) had some enthusiastic people discussing a forthcoming event in full earnest. Although I could catch only a few words, they were enough to fuel my somewhat dormant memories of the college festivals. I could also see the students lining up in front of Maitri Jalpaan Grih for their morning breakfast.

The biggest of the memories came flooding back when I reached the Vishwanath Temple (VT for the IT-ians). The temple was standing, as usual, in all its glory, the benchmark of all buildings in BHU and the guiding tower of the institution. The bevy of shops surrounding VT had no new faces and the lassi shops, the studio, the paav-bhaaji shop, the juice corners, and especially the samosa-tea shops including Bihari's shop were all there, waiting for their customers. Before enjoying a sip of the old days through the mouth-watering delicacies, I decided to pay obeisance to Vishwanath Bhagwan whose blessings have made all that I ever wanted possible.

As has been the norm more often than not, the shoe stall had the phoren maal sitting there, adjusting their cameras and talking some gibberish in their language. It did seem a little odd when I had to pay for keeping shoes in the stall. The BHU Identity Card used to be my only ticket and payment during all my previous visits to the temple. The temple, too, had its share of couples holding hands and there were even a couple of guys in jeans and stylish tees which told me that their probability of belonging to IT-BHU were quite high. My thoughts were vindicated when I saw them vanish round the back gates of the temple.

The special tea and samosa at Bihari's stall were the most exciting part. Sitting at the same place that all of us friends used to make merry for four years made me all nostalgic. The feeling was special not just because this place was a part of my institute. It was special because of the memories that it carried, of the discussions that took place, the plots that were hatched, the people we made fun of, the birthday parties we many memories that I really can't do justice to all of them.

My return journey was through the hostel road (Raja HarishChandra Road for the quizzing enthusiasts). Limbdi Corner (I made a detour), DG Corner, Morvi Hostel were all the same, though a little silent because of the vacations. Birla and Broacha were still as menacing as they have always been in the stories we have all heard at IT-BHU. IMS had a new lecture theatre and auditorium in their name (I could almost imagine the efforts by IT Cultural Wing guys to book it for their events).

Nothing had changed BHU over the past two years and as I was leaving the place, I realized that most probably, nothing would have changed BHU over even longer periods. The institution is so historic that it absorbs any and all changes that its current occupants decide to bring about. The situation was a little different, however, when I moved outside the campus. There were quite a few shops that had mushroomed all over the place. The most notable ones (keeping in mind the latest developments, even amongst the student community) were a number of ATMs and an equally big number of mobile phone shops that littered the Lanka landscape. Host restaurant had finally lost the battle for survival despite somehow managing to break even in spite of getting milked dry in sponsoring the numerous festivals of IT-BHU. Our branch was the beginner of the Host downfall. How can I ever forget the way we sold the idea to Host owner that two 50% concessions are equal to one 100% concession and how can I ever forget all that followed the Housie stall in the Valentine's Day fete??? The poor guy might not even have got a flat in the high-rise building that has come up in the place where the restaurant used to exist in its entire sponsoring splendor.

Having met my cousin for lunch and a little stroll to the Assi Ghat later, (the weather was exceedingly pleasant owing to the intermittent showers that have been visiting Varanasi over the last few days) I was ready for my next stop, Sankat Mochan. The temple has gained special importance for me ever since I started my Tuesday fasts at the end of my third year in college. I had been thinking of visiting the place for quite some time and after the IIM results and my sister Priya's amazing success in her B.Com examinations, it sure was high time I bowed my head at the temple. The red 'sindoor' and the chants of Hanuman Chaleesa created the mood as the sticky red 'teeka' cemented my ties with this historic Varanasi city yet again.

Posted at 08:53 pm by Nitai

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