Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The koward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!"
                     oscar wilde , the ballad of reading gaol

When was the last that I thought of you...I know not...but am I the one who goes alone on this path...and should I but care only a little for the souls that follow or those as march ahead?

Mode C is a way of life, perhaps my way of life: C for Cool, C for Cold, C for Chaos, C for Calvin. Ultimately, all of it boils down to the way you look at things. Are they not how they are but just how they appear?? No...and yes...Almost all the seriously critical fundamental concepts of life...aren't they just the bogies under Calvin's bed that he is afraid of? Miss Wormwood, Susie, Mom and Dad, and of course above all, Hobbes...aren't they all merely the means that he uses to attack these bogies?

Reflecting on 'living the Calvin way', I have started to believe that life and our reaction to it can only be explained by a number of Calvin and Hobbes strips combined together. The philosophy, as I like to call it, is to know that you are not alone. It is not just my perspective alone that is going to help me fight my bogies. I will be able to inch towards the Calvin way only when I perceive the other perspectives on my way.

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

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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Saturday, July 17, 2004
Of yin, yang and the free sex

"The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown is all about the balance...the balance between the sexes. Rooted deep in the foundations of the most popular religion on earth, the novel is a work of fiction that bares apart the foundations on which Christianity stands in the world as of today. The excellent part about the book is its use of what the author calls symbology. Even in a country like India, people are aware of most of the symbols that the book mentions. The crucifix, the cross, the very unique architecture of churches, and above all, The Holy Grail are symbols that even a non-Christian but educated Indian will identify. This book goes one step ahead and actually tells the readers the significance behind the symbols and what they actually stand for.

At the very outset, the book claims that it is an authentic work based on truth and as such, the different analogies and symbolic explanations provided by it come across very strongly. The basic premise of the book that is brought forward by the explanation of these symbols and their hidden meanings is actually an aberration as far as the teachings of the church are concerned. Directly opposing the very premise of Christianity, the book claims that Jesus Christ was like any other human and had been immortalised just to encounter the Pagan worship prevalent in the society. The author tries to explain that Pagans were not necessarily Devil-worshippers but were the original worshippers of nature and Gods like the Sun God. However, with Christianity taking hold, Pagans were made the scapegoats and Christ immortalised to make Christianity prevail.

The ploy of the church had to face stiff resistance from the fact that there were proofs of the mortality of Christ (it will be unfair to the readers of the book to disclose the exact nature of those proofs). These proofs were held safe by The Templars, followers of the Pagan faith and King Solomon's faithfuls. A secret group is said to have been formed, called the brotherhood, or the Priory of Sion, that is given the responsibility of safeguarding these proofs. The group is believed to have many members, the prominent among them being The Grand Master and three others who follow the Grand Master and share the ultimate secret of the location of these proofs. The book goes on to mention distinguished names in the history of art as the previous Grand Masters of this Priory of Sion. The names include heavy weights like Issac Newton, Victor Hugo, and above all, Leonardo Da Vinci.

The book begins with the murder of the three followers and the Grand Master, who are collectively in charge of the secret. To ensure that the truth does not remain buried forever after their deaths, the Grand Master, Jacques Sauniere, decides to leave clues for his grand daughter, Sophie to enable her to find the location of the secret proofs. The cryptic message that The Grand Master leaves is based on the works of Leonardo Da Vinci and thus partially(there are other associations of Da Vinci with the book, too), the name The Da Vinci Code. The proofs being so sensitive and mysterious in nature, Jacques instructs Sophie, through his last message, to contact Robert Langdon, a Professor of Symbology at Harvard. Robert and Sophie, in the following portion of the book go on a treasure hunt based on the cryptic message and further clues kept in place by the last Grand Master. There are several other characters in the story, including the villain, The Teacher, who is the one who gets the Grand Master murdered and wants the proofs for himself.

The primary reason because of which the book appeals to the reader is that it sends the reader on a wild goose chase after a secret that is so well hidden for ages. It gives the protagonists as well as the readers, the same platform, from which they go ahead. It is not that the clues provided by the cryptic messages of Sophie's Grand Father are not solvable by an average Christian who has some knowledge about the religion and more importantly, the lore. When the clue actually gets solved and the reader is able to view the truth, it looks too simple, even for the ones uninitiated to the world of symbology.

The other good thing that this book does is to bring to life the various master pieces of art that have fascinated the human beings across borders and across generations. The famous works like The Last Supper, The Mona Lisa, symphonies of music maestros, etc form the basis of this book and the sheer revelation of hidden meanings in these works of art might force the readers to even a second look on these masterpieces. The way this book reveals the meanings of some of the most common concepts and understanding that we have of the Christian way of life and even the English language, as such, is amazing. For example, did you know that the word 'sinister' is actually a manifestation of the Pagan suppression that the Church practised and that it did not originally have a negative connotation? Similarly, the horns of the devil are actually symbolic of the Greek God of fertility who was worshipped by Pagan followers the world over, that is, before the church decided to project the devil as a horned creature.

All this notwithstanding, the theme of this book, as I mentioned in the very first line of this post, is the balance between the sexes. The book talks liberally about the yin and the yang and how the balance between the left and the right is vital to the survival and growth of the world. It also talks about the sacred feminine, the Goddess, who has been neglected by the church. The book stresses the fact that the male dominated church actually disturbed the pefect harmony that existed and should have existed by belittling the sacred feminine. The church made witches out of women who were progressive and even the midwives were not spared because of the technical skills and knowledge that they possessed. The church made the priest take the vow of celibacy and made sex, expecially, free sex, a thing to be frowned upon and discussed only within doors. This was in direct conflict with the spirit of Hierros Gamos, the sacred game that celebrated the joy of free sex and actually made it a ritual.

I know that it might ring a bell in the minds of the Osho followers and some might even think of the other Sadhus of India who have had the notorious distinction of advocating free sex. Though the book does not explicitly mention this, I believe that this might as well be an indicator of the closeness of Indian culture and the Hindu religion with the Pagan faith. In fact, the Goddess worship is so very prominent in the Hindu mythology that half of the things that the Secret society, the Priory of Sion, is shown to have believed in, is actually an open belief-turned-fact in India. The game of free sex, Hierros Gamos, is also not very different from the Raas Leela that Lord Krishna of the Hindu faith is said to have indulged in with abandon.

For the Indian reader, therefore, the book makes even more sense, not just because it is a good work of fiction carrying the thriller element along. Indians do love their spices, even in the books they read. More than that, however, is the association that they feel when they see a direct relation between their faith and the actual origin of one of the most popular religions in India (not popularly practised, but still popular because of the long English occupation of India). In fact, personally speaking, while reading the book, I even felt a sense of superiority and respect for my faith which was the original faith, the faith that had to be suppressed by Christianity, the world's so called most popular religion...the faith that refused to die in front of all opposition...and the faith that took in so much and gave out so much despite the oppression, despite the mistrust.

Posted at 12:56 pm by Nitai

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Friday, July 16, 2004
Taking a chance at chance

The classes at IIMK have just moved on to the first gear, or that is what the seniors want us to believe. In fact, thinking about it myself, I don't feel that there has been anything so far that can be really classified as load. We have been having tons of free time and it has actually become a bore. Also, the very basis of my expectation from an institute like IIMK has been shattered. Now I know that an IIM is not radically different than any other college (UG or PG). However, there do exist some subtle differences which not only need to be nourished but also improved upon by constant innovation and experimentation.

I do not know if things stand where they do because there has been lack of effort from any party. Actually, I seriously do not think that this can possibly be the case. As in the example of my own team at college attempting to get sponsorships for the various college fests, I can understand the case of total effort and yet less than optimum results. In my opinion, for all it is worth, it is all about creating the right opportunities at the right moment and more than that, about the opportunities making themselves known to you. There have been so many cases in my own past where I have not been able to identify obvious chances that could have given so much and so much more easily compared to opportunities that I and the team actually created for ourselves out of nowhere.

I know all this sounds very abstract so far but that is because the context is not there for the reader. We had another session of Omega, the Operations Management Interest Group at IIMK, last night. This session was focussed primarily on the Six Sigma concept as seen by Deepak, a summer intern and a Pre-Placement Offer Recipient at GE. The session was informative and interesting, perhaps not so much for the people who are uninitiated into operations of any company. For the majority of our batch however, that is not the case, and we have all seen at some stage or the other, the working of an organisation in quite a bit of detail. So it was not all Greek to me, as Deepak took us through the jargons and his interpretation and usage of those jargons. Most of the jargons, being a part of Six Sigma and not of the CMM model practised at Infosys, were unknown to me but the basic concept remained the same.

The second part of the session, the smaller part, focussed on the lack of options that we have in Operations in the college and the small amount of interest that has been mostly responsible. Perhaps it is not my place and experience to say anything at this juncture but I do feel that things can be managed more efficiently in a lot of organisations to get more active participation. I am saying this not because I am just being 'global' in the IIM lingo. It is because I have done it in the past. Having been the Literary Club Secretary in my college, I had this daunting task of trying to attract junta to a dead club, that was believed to be the bastion of the dull brains of the batch. I had tried to change the impression by adding glamour to the group by getting events sponsored and actually combining literary activities with theatre to come up with events like a modified version of Dumb Charades, etc. I knew that this was not the real purpose of the club and I even faced opposition from the faculy in charge of the club for 'belittling' the ideals of the club.

All along, my intention had been to get those people in, who do not really know about their interest. Literary skills are something that are more often than not cultivated and not necessarily inherent in an individual. Once an individual is pulled in by some 'cheap' events that are well marketed, the agenda can later be turned to a more serious one. That was how I was able to manage a crowd of about 80 people for the annual Literary skills workshop that earlier had a record for highest attendance of 20-odd.

In the five days of classes that we have had, Accounting and Micro Economics look to be the interesting classes. Perhaps it is an indicator of things to come and the probable shaping of my interest and specialisation. As for the interest groups, as was my practice in college, I think that I am going to attend and like all of them since they involve an informal and student approach that appeals to me, whatever be the occassion.

I finally met Prithesh yesterday and he was good enough to actually come down to my room. I know that it shoud have been the other way round but I do really appreciate his gesture. And not just his alone, the way this entire senior batch has been treating us is with kid gloves and I must say, we are lovin' it.

Posted at 02:21 pm by Nitai

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Thursday, July 15, 2004
On the Mckensie way

It was only last week in this space that I had been blasting Konsult, the consulting committee of IIMK. I had this thing in mind that the session that was used to greet the majority of freshers on their very first day was absolutely boring and a major put-off. I was vindicated yesterday when attendance to the Konsult session dropped from a huge 100-odd to merely 20-odd people. The primary reason, which I also tired to explain to the seniors, especially Harish and Mukesh, was that the first session gave the impression to most of us that Konsult was something very hi-fi and that most of the juniors will not have enough band width and capability to do something like this. Also, the repeated stress on the fact that the projects need to be completed or else Prof Saji will be on your neck, was not at all comforting. The detailed brief of all projects that are being done by Konsult were also a no-no, perhaps on the very first day.

Last night in the Konsult meet, the seniors had planned a game, which they could have possibly had on the first day itself. Also, the format of the game should have been more competitive instead of just inviting questions from the junta. In such a scenario, only those who are able to understand respond, and the rest of the people feel completely left out. However, if you make a competition out of it, I feel that most of the people will participate.

This is not to say that Konsult should have people who are not really interested in it and end up in becoming something similar to the glamour driven Mpower. But on the other hand, Konsult does need to attract people, especially those who have not yet made up their mind over what they are actually interested in. Though I have not actually volunteered for working for Konsult, I do have these suggestions and if any one is listening, good enough...

Father Cyriac did not turn up today for his first OB class, which I was actually looking forward to, because of the HR part of the course. Marketing by Prof Panda is also not going to be there today...a good day, so far but definitely, there will be compensatory classes soon enough :(

Posted at 09:20 am by Nitai

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Today was officially the first full day of classes. We have been having a lot of orientation stuff that has been filling our daily routine but the first officially course content filled day was only today. The statistics class that began the day was as much a bore as it could be, probably because it was the first and introductory class. Once we move on to concepts like standard deviation, variance, co-relation, etc., I am sure that it will become more interesting. The worst part of the day, however, turned out to be two back to back classes on Information Technology. I can appreciate the need of IT in a management course, especially in today's situation, but somehow at IIMK, I have felt that there is quite a bit more than required emphasis on IT. This has also been the probable reason for the batch profile that has come in this year. Predominantly from the IT sector, the batch can be easily placed in the IT sector where they belong...or at least that is what the administration of this college thinks.

Last night was another interesting event in campus and that was Atharva, the quiz club, meeting for the first time this session. There was a general quiz conducted by Sanjeev and it was quite interesting. Surya from our batch seems like a good quizzer and our team (formed ad hoc and also comprising of Abhijit and Ramesh) came up with a decent performance by answering 17 out of 28 questions correctly. We did miss a few sitters but even if we hadn't, we were nowhere close to the winners who were in the 23-24 range. It might require a little more reading but we definitely can be in the reckoning in days to come.

I am planning to conduct a Bollywood Quiz soon. I had plans to do that on a grand scale in Infy but somehow, that never really materialised. I had prepared some questions and had devised an interesting format, too. Animesh had even adapted my quiz in parts to prepare his own quiz that he had conducted in Infy Mangalore. I have asked him back for all the materials and I guess that I should be ready with the quiz on a day's notice if the guys at Atharva give approval. On second thoughts, this might as well turn out to be the ice breaker I have been looking for...let's for now, I am off to the last class of the day which promises to be sleep, because I have already had my stomach filled and two, because the course is Micro Economics, which is supposed to be a pathetically theoritical one.

Posted at 01:59 pm by Nitai

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Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Marketing the drizzle

Kozhikode is certainly a beautiful place and the campus of IIMK, especially so. I missed my jogging today because of the Tuesday fast but even if I had decided to go for the jogging, I couldn't have. There was a slight drizzle in the morning that made going out not impossible but certainly a little difficult. However, the kind of view the rain, combined with the beautiful hills around this place, gave was simply out of this world.

Classes have started here and are now in full flow. For the other section, the load has been a little more since they had two classes yesterday as well as today. For the A section, which is supposed to be luckier in terms of the teachers, the routine is not so hot on the first two days of the week. The coming three days are going to be a diffrent story, however, with the Quant Prof., Professor Gopal Chouwdhry, having already asked us to study the first chapter before coming to class. The schedule is also a little more tightly packed with four and even five classes on the coming days.

We had the financial accounting class today and the teacher, Professor Broca, was very energetic, to say the least. The first impression that I had of this teacher was that he is carrying with him a sense of fullfilment on being chosen to teach at IIMK. Also, he seems to be a person not used to too many changes. He has a distinct methodology which looks to be quite rigid. I don't know if these observations are correct in their entirety but they would certainly come to the forefront before long.

We had the most interesting of the student committee meets yesterday. Mpower, the marketing interest group at IIMK met last night for a very interesting session. Starting with the weekly updates on the marketing world, the focus shifted to a quiz that was well conducted and well fought by the IIMK students. It almost felt as if it was a beginning of the concretisation of my interest in marketing as a discipline. I have not yet decided on the specialisation that I am going to follow for my MBA but if Mpower was any indication, marketing may well have a role to play in my future.

On the personal and emotional front, things continue to be as far from rosy as possible. I am still not able to break the ice and in fact, have somewhat resigned myself to fate and decided to give things some more time to settle down. My only worry is that if I give too much time, the situation may become unsalvagable.

Posted at 05:02 pm by Nitai

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