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

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Beena (Class of '08)
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Pragna (Class of '03)
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Prashant D (Class of '05)
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Other B-school Bloggers

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Saturday, July 24, 2004
Spins a web, any size...

Spiderman, Spiderman...
Does whatever a spider can...
Spins a web, any size...
Catches thieves, just like flies...
Look out! Here comes the Spiderman!

To me, this neighbourhood Spider Man jingle forms the real theme of the movie SpiderMan2. The movie is an exceedingly mature portrayal of a Super Hero's real life, something that can be related to so much of what actually happens around us. Peter Parker is the average guy next door, who has his own concerns and life. He goes to college, is quite brilliant at his studies. He has money problems just like the rest of us. He makes ends meet by doing some free lance job for the news paper, The Daily Bugle, inspite of getting repeated 'firings' from the boss. He delivers Pizza and that too, just a minute late, making the Pizza company pay for the order. He is Peter Parker...he is SpiderMan. This is where the jingle comes in. He is the hero who saves so many people in trouble. He is the hero who is on top of the favorite lists of all kids on the block. He is the hero who is swooned over by females of all ages and classes. He is the hero who is praised in the jingle that is sung at the local inn.

The question that is raised by the movie is if this hero is actually up to the task that has been thrust upon him. With great power comes great responsibility...Peter's uncle had said once...but does he really want to take up this responsibility at all...and that too at the cost of his own love and life? To explain the philosophical side of the story, the director has taken certain liberties with the story line and the original SpiderMan idea. On the whole, however, these liberties only give back to the story, showing clearly the vulnerability of even a Super Hero...taking us through the insecurities that one can fight out of if one is able to invoke the hero within. In fact, in one of the more inspirational, yet subtle, dialogues of the movie, Peter's Aunt May tells him that there is a hero in all of us.

Coming back to the starts with the pizza delivery that I have already talked about. It goes on to show how much of a wretch Peter Parker's life has become. He is certainly pitiable with money going out of his hands as soon as it comes...with reaching college late and the instructor actually telling him that he will be failed in the course...with the guilt of his uncle's death on his conscience...with so many other worries including, primarily, the fact that the one he loves, Mary Jane Watson, is someone he can never really commit to...all this because he is Spider Man and he has a great responsibility which has come with great power. The last part about MJ is highlighted even more, keeping in mind the real comics story where MJ is, indeed, a very important and strong character, pretty much in line with Louis Lane of SuperMan. There is one very sentimental (sob sob...) part where Peter promises to come to see the play of Mary Jane (Incidentally, the play is 'Importance of being Ernest', one of the more comical plays I have read) and is actually not able to make it as he has to save some people from harm. The disappointment of MJ, the resigned and defeated attitude of Peter are really well executed.

To set the cash registers ringing, the story line also has one of the typical Spidey villains and this time, it is Dr. Octavius or Dock Ock, as the papers call him. With a fusion experiment gone haywire, Dr. Octavius, the scientist, is turned into Dr. Octopus, the monster. He wants to complete his unfinished fusion experiment and this time, the monster will do whatever it takes. The nuclear material is available with Harry Osborne, son of Norman Osborne (The Green Goblin). Harry trades the nuclear material with Dr. Octopus in return for Spider Man (who, he believes, is responsible for the death of his father). Peter Parker knows where and who Spider Man is, since he delivers snaps of Spider Man to the local news paper. Dr. Octavius now targets Peter to know the whereabouts of Spider Man.

In the manwhile, Peter Parker is all done with his responsibilities and his color spilling costume. He decides to make an exit when even his powers start declining and he becomes the old Peter again (I don't think that this is mentioned anywhere in the original comic book story line...his losing powers). He is happy now, attending classes regularly, even being able to watch the play of MJ and possibly talk her out of her coming marriage. His reverie is finally broken by the words of his Aunt May, his own conscience and above all, the Spider Man jingle at the neighborhood joint. He is changed again, and when Octavius abducts MJ and sets Spider Man as the ransom, Spider Man comes back, and as expected of a super hero, vanquishes all enemies to emerge victorious. During the course of all this, he even manages to show his identity to a number of people in the train scene (well executed again, but perhaps not in line with the comics where he hardly shows his identity to any one), and finally even to MJ, who now knows that Peter Parker and Spider Man are the one and the same.

The story ends with Harry Osborne, who also knows the identity of Spider Man (how many more!!!), discovering the Green Goblin apparatus in his home, promising the possible return of the Goblin in SpiderMan3.

Kirsten Dunst does a good job of looking confused and even pretty in some scenes (for a change). She is exactly what the doctor ordered, pained at the neglect that Peter shows to her and then again, confused at his subsequent expressions of affection. Dr. Octavius is also played to perfection with the humane side evident in the characterisation. Instead of a hard core villain, the good doctor is efficiently shown to have been actually affected by the bane of science. The movie, however, belongs to Toby Maguire, who is brilliant in his portrayal of a real life Super Hero. He is vulnerable when he is Peter, confident and charismatic when he is Spider Man.

For the movie goers who are into Spider Man for the thrills, the movie might turn out to be a tad disappointing...but for all those waiting for a good movie in its totality, Spider Man 2 is a decent bet.

Statutory warning: All those expecting the SpiderMan1-sque kiss (as I was) junta...will not find the full satiation of their need either. :-)

Posted at 10:40 am by Nitai

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Friday, July 23, 2004
On the grind

The very first quiz of the two year course is over. Micro Economics, right from day one has been perceived as an interesting but complicated subject and with the quiz due today, there were many a candles burning last night. The paper did not veer much from the expectation. The only downer was that having expected an original question from Dr. Sumit Sarkar, the MicroEconomics faculty, I was a little disappointed on knowing that he had taken the questions straight from the book. I know that my answers did not exactly match those that were given in the book but I guess that they are not wrong either and that is the beauty of most of the courses taught here at the B-school. You are not necessarily wrong or right, whatever you may write as an answer.

The senior Student Council went into the active mode from their hibernation and came out with the list of nominations for this year's elections. Expecting less number of people from A section (given less of the apparent leaders in the class), I was surprised to find out that actually there are nine nominations from Section A and only seven from the other section B. Two out of nine is the ratio that is going to be fought over in my section. The list of nominees have each been given a particular subject for which they are going to act as temporary Class Representatives. The class will have a chance to judge these CRs over a period of next two weeks before the elections actually take place on August 10. The mechanism is good and well in place but I have just one small question...why, oh why did I have to get the Information Technology class to manage? This is the worst that could have happened...IT is one subject whose classes are the most bunkable, especially for our batch with nearly 75% people coming from an IT background. How can I be expected to attend the IT classes, leave act as the CR and sit attentively in the front rows???

Anyways, since I have already put myself into the fray, I have decided to take it up. The propaganda has started, and I have set the balls rolling with a common mail to the class offering my services as an HTML tutor for the coming IT project in August. :-)
For all those who think that it is too much too soon, wait till you read about the reaction that my mail got from one of the other candidates (this one from Section B). He actually got the case study for tomorrow scanned and sent the soft copy to the entire class so that they do not have to take the pains of going through the hard, that's what I call dedication and real service to the class mates :-)

Posted at 07:53 pm by Nitai

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Thursday, July 22, 2004
One lazy bum

I finally missed one day in my long and so far, continued series of posts after reaching IIMK. Well, I did have one omission last Saturday but that was more because of the lack of facilities (with the computer center being down) than the lack of intent. I guess that it is a normal reaction for the reader to assume that the 'busy' schedule at an IIM may have 'forced' me to spend my time elsewhere and not actually to posting something as meaningless as my mind's wanderings. I do concur, but not with the part about being busy. In fact, thinking backwards, when I was in college, a day like yesterday would have hardly qualified as an average day in terms of my so called business (can the word be used in this context?).

The Infosys experience has made me one lazy bum. Yes, there was a presentation to prepare for Konsult, the consulting group at IIMK...which I did not complete finally. Yes, there was this case to study for the marketing class today...which I did not manage to do finally. Yes, there was this marketing quiz looming large for today...for which I did not prepare finally. Yes, there was this financial accounting exercise scheduled for today...for which, as the reader may have guessed by now, I did not practice finally. So, why the hell was I not writing blog entries and having a relatively nice time??? Hmmm...honestly speaking, I don't know. :-)

As for the other things on campus, the election scene is heating up every other day with even threats floating around freely regarding what one will do to the other if the other does not get out of one's way (a la hindi fillum style). We finally closed both our major with the bank for study loans was finalised with Indian Bank at 9% rate of interest and an additional rebate of 0.5% if interest is paisd during the moratorium period...the other deal for the laptops was finalised with IBM. They are offering their R51 Centrino model for 62K, which, I feel, is an excellent deal as far as the money involved and the features provided by IBM are concerned. It might turn out to be a little difficult to get much software out of IBM but with so many CDs floating around in the campus with all sorts of software possible, it will definitely work out.

The study schedule out here is a little packed (compared to the hlluva peaceful time we have been having) in the coming days. We have back to back quizzes scheduled for Micro Economics, Marketing Management, Quantitative Methods, and Information Technology. To top it off, I have to prepare all the presentations that I have planned for the next week's activities. There is still more icing on the cake...we have just received a revised schedule that incorporates two more subjects, viz., Social Transformation in India (sic!) and Managerial Communication. The new schedule promises to give us a gala time, what with the classes choc-a-bloc on Fridays and Saturdays (going on to as late as six in the evening), and even scattered across here and there on Sundays.

Posted at 06:25 pm by Nitai

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Vote for...

FAME, like a wayward girl, will still be coy
To those who woo her with too slavish knees,
But makes surrender to some thoughtless boy,
And dotes the more upon a heart at ease;

"Two Sonnets on Fame", John Keats

IIMK Campus, especially the first year, is abuzz with the election excitement. With a number of committees coming up for elections in the next month, nominations and support requests have started to flow. The apparent and potential leaders (refer to my last post for details) are both up in arms and the stage is well and truly set. The concept of popularity or fame, as Keats calls it, is being re-defined every other day. There are announcements and then, there are some more announcements.
Fill up the industry contacts, ho!
Go for the new laptop, ho!
Here is the deal for desktop, ho!
Get the loan for which you opt, ho!

To top it all, it is not just a bi-party politics that is promised to the students of IIMK. There is the third side, the dark side (more dark for their purpose than intent), that promises to make the contest more exciting, or at least divide the vote and make it difficult for the leaders (apparent or potential). The two committees at the top of reckoning are the all-pervasive Students' Council and the glamorous PlaceCom (Placement Committee for the slow learners). Talking of these two committees, I couldn't help but overhear that traditionally, there has been quite a bit of tension between the two. I have no idea as to how our seniors have handled this supposed conflict but as someone said, "there is no smoke without fire".

Coming back to the activities, Student Council nominations are already closed and there have been 18 nominations received in total (11 from Section B and 7 from my section, Section A). Having had my fill of politics and responsibilities at college, I did not want to be a part of this madness but am nevertheless into the fray, representing the dark :-) side. I have not communicated my intent to the entire batch a la the other nominees who have followed a mail to SCon by another to the batch asking for support. Even if I do campaign(!!!), it is going to be a bit more subtle (remember the dark horse funda???). A firm believer in the philosophy behind the first four lines of this post, I am going to play it smooth, if at all I do not change my mind and decide not to play at all...lets see...Ravi had asked me, almost cajoled me into filing this nomination but I don't really know if I am up to it.

In the meanwhile, having thrown myself headlong into the various interest groups, I have a lot on my hands nowadays.

For Konsult, the consulting interest group, I am going to present the strategy Infosys adopted to counter its dipping employee satisfaction. This might take place tomorrow.

Also for Konsult, I am a part of a team of five that is working on a launch strategy for Haier, a refrigerator manufactureer from China, into the Indian market. This might be shifted to next Wednesday.

For Omega, I am a part of a team of two that is working on a book review of 'Straight from the gut' by Jack Welch. This might happen next Thursday.

For Atharva, I am planning to organize a Bollywood (Hindi movie industry) Quiz. This might happen next Friday.

For Mpower, I am planning to make a presentation on the increasing brand advertising through Hindi movies. This might happen on a Monday two weeks from now.

For PlaceCom (not an interest group but a full fledged well-fought-for committee), I am working on the Summer and Final Placement Brochures. I am not too sure of my role in this and don't really know what is happening. I should be meeting Richard, the senior who is co-ordinating this activity.

Posted at 06:52 pm by Nitai

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Monday, July 19, 2004
Party Time!!!

The first party on campus and I must say, what a party!!! At the stipulated time of 10:30PM, India were still playing against Sri Lanka and more importantly, with Dravid in the middle, there was still hope. It was thus obvious that the party got a little delayed as all of us stayed glued to the television screen in the mess. In fact, there were people (me included) rooting even for Balaji and actually shouting that India will be able to make the required 20-odd runs off the last over with Balaji and Pathan on the forefront. Well, so much for high hopes and lost causes...

Coming back to the party, it started off with some real loud static from the mammoth speakers placed at two corners of the dining hall. After the initial glitches, the stage was set for the party to begin. But as usual, nothing at an IIM is complete without a presentation. It is something like the Ganesh Pujas that need to be done before the strat of any auspicious task. Similarly with an IIM, it is so very important to show a Power Point Presentation before anything kicks off...and so it was with the party last night...there was a presentation of some campus snaps of the senior batch arranged in a PPS (Power Point Show for the uninitiated) with the Dil Chahta Hai theme song forming the back drop. I must say that the seniors do have an appreciable aesthetic sense, and the way the snaps were arranged (I specifically liked the bit where the camera zooms in on the same frame with each consecutive snap) was extremely good. Since I had already seen the presentation during the alumni-freshers meet in Chennai, I could not watch it for a third time...yes, there was an encore.

There was another little delay after that and it was because of the accounts conscious people trying to realise some return from their investment. To put it simply, there was a huge crowd at the food and drinks (drinks highlighted) stalls and junta stuffed themselves with beer, vodka, rum,et al and the pathetic (to many) teetotallers like me had to do with soft drinks and Veg Pakodas (yes, my pathos knows no bounds, I am a damn veggie, as well :-)) Coming back again, by the time people started pouring in to the dance floor in small groups with a bottle of beer in one hand a glass of vodka in another, the music was already starting to rock. Four hours of bindaas dancing later, there was hardly any strength left in the poor feet. I had a rocking time and as the night grew younger, the atmosphere became even more conducive for letting your hair down. In fact, I even sat on the ground to make bhang on the tunes of "Khai ke paan Banaras wala". Later, with "Mehbooba Mehbooba" from Sholay going on, I was on my knees again, swaying like the Hippies do. I was drunk with the Patiala peg...not even a single drag of smoke...not even a single drop of alcohol, and yet, I was able to lose myself in the intoxication of the party and that is saying a lot.

The party was not without its share of side lights, either. The background was made and the stage set even before the party started and that was in the afternoon, when we were having a batch meeting to decide on the loan that we are going to take for our studies. To get the facts straight, the reader must understand that like any other group, our batch has a bunch of people who are the self acclaimed leaders. Whether it is a part of Organisational Behaviour class or not, I have seen similar group dynamics in the earlier groups that I have been part of. I call such people the apparent leaders. There is another group called the potential leaders, which has all the qualities that the apparent leaders possess but may not want to project it with the same abandon. There might be a third group of actual leaders that may arise out of either of these two groups or from an entirely unexpected quarter...but I guess I am going off-track here. The matter of the fact is that there was a clash between the potential and the apparent leaders during the group meeting. With the apparent leaders occupying center stage as usual, the potential leaders (in fact, just one of them took the baton) decided to call the bluff and make a shout about it. This was enough for the undercurrent to be present through out the night party, as well. With alcohol getting the better of restraint, tempers ran high and though there was not a direct clash (which most of us teetotallers would have enjoyed), things were said on both sides that were not exactly pleasant (sic!).

As in any place where drinks are served, some people went overboard and started letting out their inner thoughts. The most interesting part, at least from my perspective, was that so many of my 'intoxicated' batch mates came up to me and told me in clear words as to how much of a loser I am. Having read my blog, they commended me on my writing skills (God bless them), but at the same time pointed out that they found me pessimistic in my musings. They identified with my state of mind when I wrote the blog but would still have liked me to have a more rose-tinted approach towards life. By the way, it is not just under the effect of alcohol that people have advised me to do this. Even otherwise, I have been told not to worry too much and that things will fall into place sooner or later. People, I really appreciate all of you coming forward and telling me these things. If you are reading this, I am sure that with your continued support, I will be able to come out of this mental block which might be preventing me from blending in. Also, as I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, do not take my ramblings too seriously. It is just a state of mind from which I, as expected of a typical Gemini, can come out any time. The highs are as much a part of my life as are the lows. Thank heavens that yesterday was a big high...

Posted at 03:22 pm by Nitai

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