Tuesday, November 09, 2004
There are times when happiness knows no bounds and yet there are others, when there is no limit to the tears that come to the eyes. Some people say that this is what brings balance and fairness to it all. But why does it have to be like that? Why can't joy and sorrow be in moderate measures at all points in life?
Despite the kind of dare-all face that I may put forward to the world, I am frightened...frightened of all these sorrows that await me...of all those joys that might cause me to forget the people who matter. No matter how hard I try, I just can not make myself call Nani today. With exactly one year having passed since Nana passed away, I could not control my tears today. They flowed like they knew no end...compensated for all those tears that had dried up in my eyes one year ago...during the rushed flight from Chennai to Kolkata...the train from Kolkata to Patna...the Ghats where Nana was lying on the ground, all cold and silent, as if waiting for me to kiss him good bye. I never knew that a person's forehead could be so cold...and then the fire that purified...that took it all away from me...the guardian that I ever knew, even more than my father.
Baba is not keeping well and is bed-ridden ever since he came back from his yearly trip to Vrindavan. I tried talking to him yesterday but he couldn't even speak to me. The effort that it took for him to call out my name made me cry out at my helplessness. As Maa said, it is time for me to be strong because I am going to face some very big losses in the near future. As she put it, it is time for one generation to bless us and go on to attain salvation...sounds logical...but I am so selfish...I don't want them to go. I want to hold on to them, never let go.
I am actually ashamed to write all this on the blog...somehow, it feels as if I am trivialising the entire thing by opening my wounds and hurt for others to read. I still don't know why I am doing this, except for the fact that it helps me get over the thing in some way. I know that I am being selfish and just because I am afraid of my emotions, I am trying to give them a shape and figure that I can then ignore.
Posted at 12:13 pm by Nitai
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
To know that Prof. Uday Damodaran knew my by name did not come as much of a surprise (given his much acknowledged interest in student blogs) but that I came to know of it for certain in this way, really took the cake. It was the first of a series of UD's quizzes on readings from The Economic Times and I was peacefully writing whatever precious little I knew of the answers. I have this habit of moving my head and craning it upwards and towards the left at an angle of nearly 45 degrees whenever I am thinking hard (am not sure but I believe that I have read it somewhere that it is natural for people to look Left Up if they are trying to make up something, Right Down if they are trying to recollect something and so on).
To say that I had no idea that UD might take it as an indication that I was cheating, would probably be an exaggeration. I admit that it may look to the 'suspecting' eye as something not really out of a book but then again, the truth of the matter is that there was hardly anything that I could have cheated for (even at the cost of hypothetically admitting of my intention to cheat). Nobody would have known more than what everybody (including me) knew and so, it was not worth it at all. Whatever it may have been, as Ravi rightly pointed out, I am now in the spotlight and I better take care of myself and my neck movements from now on if I don't want any more trouble from UD.
I might as well go for that band those people wear around their neck for some back/neck problems...
Posted at 06:10 pm by Nitai
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Of Extremes, Munnar trip, Genesis of Gandh and others...
As she used to say, I am capable of only two extremes...either being the life of the party or being as aloof from it as humanly possible. I never believed her then and in fact, it was one of the things we fought the most about. After the Munnar trip, however, I think that she was actually right. The trip started off really well for me, with songs and dance aplenty, making life difficult for light sleepers like Mustu and all the more exciting for people like me. Having already explored the mountains of Munnar on my bike trip, the only reason I agreed to go along this time was that I wanted to have some fun. With 25 people coming for the trip in a mini bus arranged for the trip by the Women in Charge, the trip was certainly going to be fun.
And fun it was, till I decided to take myself out of the fun. We were all having a great time, singing songs, playing Antakshari and Dumb Charades, cracking some really pathetic jokes, building and popularising liaisons :-)...I don't know exactly what happened but by the time we were done with our late lunch, I had been turned off by something...it may have been some thing some one said, it may have been the food (if it can be called that), it may have been the memories of Kodaikanal and her, it may have been the lack of sleep for the past three days in a row...whatever it was, from there on, it reduced my role in the trip to that of a spectator who watched, smiled, and even laughed but did not speak...a loser, as the people on the adjoining dinner table would have defined the term.
Despite what happened to my role in the proceedings, life continued to rock and roll for all others. The genesis of Gandh group was complete, with a full court sitting on the matter of the three caps (pink, white and blue) and the Bond. With a detailed analysis by the special correspondent and some candid confessions by the witnesses, all came out in the open as the audience cheered and jeered at the revelation of who was after whom, whether the red cap was accessible, if it was, then for whom...or was it the pink (another one) who was sought after by the Bond...many questions and even more answers...
The next morning was a little better for me and as the day just broke, I was into another of my extremes (yet again), but this once, the extreme seemed to have been forced (by me???) and did not last for long. Before I knew, I was back in the Yes Sir, Yes Ma'am mood and it was thus that we eneterd into Calicut. The last couple of hours were well spent, with some more concept laying for the Gandh group, Reddy actually making an OB-style relationship map of all the liaisons that we were able to establish on the trip (by hook or by crook :-)), and the many photographs that we had as proofs of the real intentions (cruel???) of the femme fatales...
Myself apart, I found a few more people on the trip who were not really having a great time, or so it seemed. For some reason, the initiator and organizer of the trip, Pavithra was in one of her worse moods...though Karfa joined the party at times, he was a little away at times, too...or perhaps, I had been thinking a lot, especially since I was reduced to one of my reflective moods. Even the people whom I do not know well enough (haven't observed them enough) and who may normally belong to the quiet version (Kundan, Rahul, Qaynat...) were suspects when it came to finding like minded souls :-)
On the whole, it was a nice trip (I was in my full of life extreme for a majority of 21 out of the 40 hour trip) that made me realize that there is a lot that is possibly wrong with me, that there is more than a substance of truth when people describe me as idiosyncratic, that there are things about me that make me appear inaccessible and not-worth-it...that I waste a lot of my time thinking and cribbing about things that may or may not have any relation with reality...
Posted at 12:38 pm by Nitai
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
RJ Baba welcomes you all to the voice of IIMK. It is 30 minutes past 10 and you are tuned in to Kdio.
Kdio ke saare shrotaaon ke naam ek sher arz kiya hai:
Gunghat Mein Tujhe Dekha To Deewana Hua,
Sangeet Ka Taraana Hua,
Shamaa Ka Parwana Hua,
Masti Ka mastaana Hua,
Jaise Hi Gunghat Uthaya Is Duniya Se Ravana Hua
The intranet radio channel of IIMK went on air two nights ago and what awesome nights I have been having since then. Having taken over the RJing thing for the initial few days (just to promote the concept of the channel) from Chimpy, I did two night outs yapping away on the microphone. Kdio (and yours truly) was on air from 11:30 PM in the night to 4AM in the morning over the last two nights and believe me, it has been an experience that I will not be able to forget too soon.
I have never had any experience of RJing before but for this once when I thought that I will just try to be natural and do what I can do, without trying to emulate some body who goes live on Radio Mirchi or Times FM or MTV (yeah yeah, I know I have been going on for just too long now but...:-)). I don't know how good or bad, decent or attrocious I have been during these two nights of RJing and blabbering away in the nights (when I should have been studying for the OB quiz or completing the Finance assignment) but what I do know is that I had a great time.
The best part was to look at the dedications. With the imagination of junta taking huge leaps, songs were dedicated right, left and center from one party to another without either of the parties having any idea of what was happening. The girls, obviously, were in huge demand as they got connected to so many of the guys through songs as subtle as straight from the heart to as blatant as Rape Me (I applied some RJ discretion (sic!) and did not play all the songs as dedicated by the junta). All the same, no one can take it away from the girls we have here at IIMK, either, with Neeta and Priya having some real good time the night before with dedications and some fooling around with song titles (yes, I do know some of it ;-))
Two nights into Kdio and the radio bug has caught the campus. With KDio's popularity jumping from a peak of 15 odd listeners on the first night to a peak of about 60 last night, I am not too sure about what UD would say of the valuation of Kdio in IIMK and whether it will crash to below 10 in the final run. However, regardless of what happens to KDio finally, I believe that it has done its job...already there is some talk of a rival channel KLPDio (courtesy Kunal and JC) coming up tonite :-)
Posted at 12:41 pm by Nitai
Sunday, October 17, 2004
When days became 0, 1 and 2
As I don my ties and formals for yet another presentation by yet another company on campus, I can't help but wonder at the awesome work that the placements committee have done to make all this possible. Three odd days...30 odd companies...80 odd people getting placed...and the list goes on...not to mention the quality of companies on campus. Whether it be an Aditya Birla or a GE Corporate Finance...an Ernst n Young or a PWC...an ITC or an Asian Paints...a UTI Bank or an ICICI...the recruiters have been here on God's own campus, wooing their potential employees like they have never been wooed before. The game has been big and so have been the stakes for which it has been played. Competition with people you stay with 24 hours of the day, people you dine n wine with...euphoria...frustration...hope...cynicism...shock...expectation... haplessness...happiness...sorrow...tears...smiles...so many things that have been hallmark of the days gone by.
It all started with what is popularly known in B-School parlance as Day 0 when the companies at stake were the biggies...the ones where B-schoolers dream to be after completing their MBAs...the ones that offer the best projects to the people they consider to be the best fit for their organisations. The larger the number and stature of companies, the larger the logisitics problems for the placement committee members. The tension was palpable, what with companies asking for them to be slotted earlier than the others, asking for things like hot chocolate as if they have come for a picnic to some resort (agreed that the institute does look like a resort but still...). On top of all this was the problem of plenty that some students might face. With diverse and amazing profiles aplenty, there were bound to be multiple offers on Day 0 and it was the responsibility of PlaceCom yet again to make sure that no seat goes waste and that IIMK benefits wholely, and not just a particular person.
On a personal front, I was one of the luckier few. Having been shortlisted for a good chunk of the biggies, I was slated to appear in the Group Discussions for ITC, Asian Paints, Aditya Birla Group (Marketing), and Perfetti. Above this, I was also fortunate enough to be shortlisted for the telephonic interview to be conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the dream company for any MBA across the world. The first in line was the telephonic interview by PWC and I guess that the person on the other end seemed to be pretty impressed by my academic record. Let me see if I can recount the experience:
Hello...Good Afternoon, this is Nitai here
Good Afternoon Nitai, so how has your day been?
Pretty good, Sir...thank you
Ok Nitai, we have your brief profile with us but not your entire CV. Could you just take us through your academics? How did you select me then???
Certainly Sir. I did my schooling from Patna. I passed my high school examinations from there in 1996 with an aggregate percentage of 87.4
Did you say 87.4? Hard of hearing, too...what is PWC coming to?
Yes Sir...I then moved on to Delhi to do my +2 from Delhi Public School, RK Puram. I passed in 1998 with 88.4%. I qualified for IIT-JEE thereafter and joined Institute of Technology, BHU where I did my B.Tech in Ceramic Engineering. I passed in 2002 with a CGPA of 8.67 out of 10.
You seem to have a good academic record Nitai.
Thank you Sir I thought that I was needed to say something more but what???
What was the rank that you got in your graduation?
I stood 4th out of 29 students. Who knows what the truth is...I could have said I was first and what more, could have got away with it
Ok Nitai, tell us what you expect out of your summer project...I mean, what is the kind of work that you want to do?
Sir, I am looking at a position where I can act as a bridge between the client and the organisation, say for any IT Company. I would like to be able to offer complete business solutions to the company. I do manage to lie through my teeth, don't I?
You necessarily mean a consulting project. What if we are able to offer you a project with an IT flavor?
That would be absolutely fine with me as I already have an experience of IT solutions in Infosys. and I don't want to go back to it...please
Nitai, you have had a good academic record...why not continue as an engineer? Why did you decide to do your management? What a stupid question
As I joined Infosys, I realised that as an engineer, the role that I could play was very limited and that I could not really be a part of the decision making process...even if I were to become a part of the process, I wouldn't be prepared enough. What a stupid answer
What specialisations do you intend to take up at IIM?
Sir, I plan to take up Marketing and Finance. Here goes my foot in my mouth
Marketing...hmm...so why don't you go for a marketing project for your summers?
Sir, I have already seen Systems as a part of my experience and in order to give complete business solutions to my company, I need to have a fair idea about the other two important functions of business and that is why I chose my electives to be marketing and finance. The other foot, too
That makes all the more sense for you to go for a marketing project...since you already have systems exposure, get some marketing exposure too...so that you will be more complete.
I accept your point Sir but I wish to test my preparedness for the company when I come out of my MBA, during the summer project. Therefore, it will make sense for me to do the same thing that I used to do but with a different approach. What bull****
Hmm...Nitai, tell us what you know about PWC
PWC is one of the leaders in Consultancy arena in the world and believes in offering complete business solutions to its clients, including financial and IT systems solutions. I see a person-company fit here as this is exactly what I had in mind for my own career. Person-company fit in deed!!!
Nitai, do you mind if we do not offer you travel reimbursements?
No Sir, I don't. I do a lot, actually but can not tell that to you, can I?
Out of Bangalore, Delhi, Calcutta and Chennai, which one would you prefer as the location for your summer project?
I don't have anything against any center but I would prefer Calcutta as it is the closest to my home. and because it is your headquarters where in all probability, you will have some projects.
Thank you for talking to us, Nitai. It was nice talking to you.
Same here, Sir. The pleasure was mine. At least, it is nice not having to talk to you any more
So this was what one of the biggest consulting companies on Planet Earth asked me during my first ever telephonic interview for a job (I have had interviews on the telephone for research positions in foreign universities but that is another story...perhaps later). As I was just getting prepared to sit through the pre-placement talk of Asian Paints, news arrived that I had been selected for the second round of interviews for PWC, which will take place at 6:30 in the evening. I was in dual minds at the time, not sure if I was taking a good decision by falling for the brand, knowing fully well that the kind of work I want to do will not be offered by PWC. But what the hell, I could as well have ended at a Wipro or a TCS and a PWC was anyday better that both these combined.
So it was with the knowledge that six people out of a total of 21 were through for the second round for PWC, that I had to participate in the group discussions for the other companies. The first in line was Aditya Birla Group where we were given a case study on distribution channel problems. The case talked about how exclusive dealership for a particular high margin product led to conflict amongst the other dealers who now threatened to go to the competitor if they were not given a share of the pie. A good case and some good points raised, too. Debojyoti was at his notorious best, demeaning the points of all others with his monologues comprising of some solid Kotler terminology (I have still not got over from his co-capitation, co-participation and co-something-or-the-other :-)). Nikhil and I were shortlisted from the group of 10 while from the other group, Kashyap and Kunal were shortlisted, making a total of 4 applicants for Marketing position in Aditya Birla group.
Before the final interview at Birla, the GDs of other companies were due. And thus, I went for the GD of Asian Paints which was probably the best regulated, the most decent, the least fierce group discussion that I have ever been a part of. Everybody spoke and spoke at length on the topic There are no good or bad soldiers, there are only good or bad Generals. No body spoke unless the other had finished the point and it was really constructive, the way we thrashed out the topic amongst ourselves. That I was not finally shortlisted from the group did disappoint me as I thought that I had done quite well in the GD but then...
Next in line was the second round of the PWC interview for which I was already late. I had to run to the placement office and had hardly caught my breath when I had to speak to the people on the other side. This time around, they were even more cordial than before and talked stuff about confirming my academic record, and asking me about the grades that I received in the two subjects at IIMK, results for which have been declared (luckily for me, I had As in both of them). There was also some talk about whether I will be okay with down-to-earth projects on the lines of those that I may have already done in Infosys. After my saying (unwillingly) that I was fine with that, too, it seemed that they had made up their mind. They even asked me about what will happen if they give me an offer right then. I said that I was not really sure of the poilicy in that case and that they might have to talk to the PlaceCom about it. There were some just-for-laughs (at least that is what I thought) questions about what will I do if I receive offers from both PWC and Asian Paints. I answered by saying that this was a hypothetical question and that I did not have an answer to it at the moment. They were pretty happy with that (thank God!) and that was the end of the second phase.
By the end of it, I was almost sure that I had made it to their final list but I wanted to explore the marketing projects before I gave a final answer to PWC (in case they did make an offer). So I went back to the ITC GD with a new enthusiasm and yet with a laid back attitude, a kind of security over powering my intentions to fight it out further. The ITC GD was a little different, too (come to think of it, there were so many different GDs that I attended this day that I actually lost sight of any common strategy that I could have adopted). There was a case of a plane crash where the eight of us had landed in the tropical rain forests of Mizoram with about 15 things that we could use to help ourselves. We had to initially rank these items in order of our own individual preferences and then discuss the order in the group to arrive at the consensus for order of preference for the team of survivors. Debojyoti was with me yet again in this GD (he was not there in the Asian Paints GD and as I have already mentioned, that was the only peaceful GD that I had in the entire day :-)). As expected, we were not able to reach at any consensus about the order of preference and as expected, not even a single person from our group was shortlisted for the interview process.
The Perfetti GD was the last and I was bushed by the time I went in for it. With a group of 12, it was anyway going to be a crowd and with Debojyoti in yet again, I was almost prepared to lose out on any hopes. There were other big shots in the group, too including Qaynat, Neeta, Pavan and others who all had the potential to wreck a guy's chance in any GD by simply stealing the show. Though I had guessed the nature of the GD pretty correctly, I was in for a surprise as far as the perpetrators of that nature were concerned. There were two gangs in the GD with each talking in its own language and I was actually reduced to try and act as a bridge between the two (even that, as the result of the GD indicated, I was not able to do properly). The topic Marketing is more of a science than an art was pretty good and enticed some verbose participation from one and all. When I was asked to express my opinion, I thought that I had done a good job but as Abhijeet later pointed out, perhaps it all sounded like a lot of shit to others. One key learning from the GD: There were others far ahead of Debojyoti as far as making a mess of GDs are concerned...Nimish, Abhijeet, to name a few.
At the end of it all, when all I needed to hit a sack was a sack :-), Neel and Ron told me that I had made it to the final list for PWC and that if I did want to take it up, I should not waste any seat in other companies. Also, since PWC had not declared any wait list, I would be wasting one seat if I forego that for any other company. After saying all this, they said that there was absolutely no pressure on me :-). Actually, I did appreciate their coming and telling me the way things stood and as it turned out, they actually encouraged me to give the Birla interview process my best shot if I wanted to go for that.
Despite what these people said and wished me, I could not really take off in my interview with the Aditya Birla group. I was tired, I knew that I already had been placed and I was not sure if I wanted to try for Aditya Birla at all. In all this confusion, I made a mess of the interview, saying things like the total branded apparel industry in India is worth only 200 crores (when it actually is 200 thousand crores). I did some other major goof ups and as I came out of the room, I knew where I was headed...I knew, above all, that I will not have to make any difficult decisions (like Yash and Nikhil had to with their two offers from both Aditya Birla and GE).
It has been only two days since that evening even though it seems that a lifetime has passed attending presentations, celebrating successes, ruing missed chances, consoling and encouraging people, running around looking for people, talking to the HR people, pushing more and more resumes...
With another 50-55 odd people out of a batch of 134 yet to be placed, and with about another 30 odd companies to make their appearance in the coming days, the picture is certainly looking rosy, if not very clear. There has been some very hard work done by the Placement Committee that is being rewarded and any amount of praise for their dedication would be small. Thank you guys, for working so hard for all of us. I hope and wish and pray that you get what you want in terms of placement yourself (whether it is the lateral or final placement for seniors or the summers for juniors). I am sure that the entire batch will be behind you guys (with certain exceptions like Kiran, of course) in trying to get for IIMK and its students, what they rightfully deserve.
Posted at 10:27 pm by Nitai