September 29, 2004

Wishful thinking...

Madam, IIM-A dom!!!

September 23, 2004

Dumber and Dumber’s Con-Quizt

Circa 2002: This is a small story of how Rahul and Me availed ourselves of entertainment and tremendous satisfaction at Fergusson College’s(FC) English Lit. Quiz.
We’re usually the last to arrive in time for anything. And Lord knows, as my usual pardner in quizzing Maniche will affirm, I’ve been late to a fair share of Quizzes as well, though not intentionally. However by a freak happenstance here we were, about 30 mins. early for the elimination round of some quiz and minus our respective partners ( Maniche and Bimal).A board near the info desk informed us that the elims of a Literature Quiz were as a matter of fact in progress, somewhere in the premises. So we scooted to the said location. We located a room full of teams of two huddled together and apparently intent on some really hardcore lit stuff.
We made bold as to approach the supervisor (let’s call her X) and enquired if we might participate in the same. Here follows a transcript of conversation as I recall:

Me: Can we participate??
X: Which college?
Rahul[oozing attitude]: COEP
X[oozing even mor attitude and a fair degree of contempt]: COEP???…Engineering??…But this a “LIT” Quiz!!!
Me[ feigning humility and dejection]: Oh I see… can we at least try??
X[humouring us]: hmm…sure

So we walked in and were handed the elims sheet, thru which we breezed in approximately 5 minutes, and triumphantly handed over to X, with an impatient air.
It was taken with an I-told-you-you-engineers-suck-at-this triumphant air.

However, at this stage Rahul made a snide remark the exact content of which eludes me, but the import was basically “bwehehehe…what a faltoo quiz..we must have got every Q right”.
This prompted X ( who I believe knew Rahul from his earlier days at FC, and prolly thought he was farting as usual..:D ) to check our solitary submitted sheet, right then .
We still had time to kill , so we stuck around to observe the other supposed “ Lit” worthies struggling through the elims sheet. By this time X had finished checking our sheet , and approached us with a different air altogether.

X[visibly shaken and apologetic]: you did really well!! and you came in late!and finished early!![puzzled air]
Rahul[grinning from ear to ear]: yeah…we know, just tell us when and where the final is…

( I gather we topped the elims)

To be fair to X, she did tell us the correct time and place for the Quiz Finals and we did turn up as promised. Also continuing to be fair to X, we were treated with a lot more respect on this day, despite the fact that on this day It was our turn to ooze attitude and act like merciless slobs [ rotflmao…couple of our wild guesses had all the staff in the Audi turn red like beetroots…raunchy is us!!]

We called ourselves “Dumb and Dumber”, which, although not particularly original as a quizzing moniker, gave X a rather embarrassed air throughout the proceedings.

FTR We had a real ball on stage,won the quiz, and all we had to show for our efforts was an “Oxford advanced Learner’s Dictionary” apiece… :’((…. BUT IT WAS FUN!!!!!!

September 22, 2004

The Boss Is Left

Heard this bromide?..."The Boss is right, the boss is ALWAYS right"..?...me confesses that I have never been too convinced of the truth in this one...but here's the real truth from my perspective... (cf. title of this blog)

Mr.Lalit Kumar, the man who owns and runs TIME mumbai has quit TIME, to pursue his own avenues and interests. What prompted his departure , I cannot really say, but it is inexplicable in the light of the fact that he has nursed TIME Mumbai through its most difficult initial phase, and all the time and effort and money he has pumped into this venture, will only begin to bear fruit now, yet he quits at this juncture...

I've had my fair share of disagreements with the man on a professional front. But at a personal level, he's a GOOD man- always fair in his dealings, tremendously capable, an astute businessman, and above all a great person with a touch of the philosopher in his heart. Sir, I'll miss you at the workplace.

Mr. Lalit kumar, if you're reading this, it's only fair you know that I think you da MAN!!!!

His place will be taken by one Mr.A.R.K.S. Srinivas ( IIM-C alumni , who currently heads TIME Kolkata with his biz pardner and batchmate Rahul Reddy, who, I presume will continue as bossman of TIME Kolkata)

[aside]hey, Rahul(singh)...here's an IIM duo who also coincidentally are an ARKS & Rahul pair...hopefully we both make it there this time...you'll get there, but sometimes I wonder, wot with my lazy butt and all...hehehe[/aside]

September 14, 2004

The BCQC is now officially famous

Hey Everyone!

My friends were in the papers today... not the NY Times I admit, but for all that these guys have done to preserve the finest quizzing traditions in Pune, this article ( LINK) in the Pune Times was the very least in the field of recognition that was long overdue to them...

haven't seen the actual article but have hrd that it features a pic of my quizzing senior Ramanand ( BBC Mastermind 2002) , Nupur,Mankar, 'Not'rajan,BVHK, a couple of guys I can't place ( guys forgive my degenerating greycells--in my defense ? the pixellization isn't too good is it?),and my quizzing pardner in crime Maniche Mahajan!

My thanks to the likes of Ramanand, Sujay K, Gaurav, Neeraj, Niranjan, George T, Kunal V ( whom I've never met, nevertheless!), BVHK, for providing me with someof the most fun sunday/saturday afternoons I've ever had

And just so things are put in perspective I think its a cruel shame that the fine traditions of the BCQC ( Boat Club quiz Club) have been preserved by fewer COEP/PIET ians with every passing year, Manish & self can hang our heads in collective shame too.. Once again my thanks to guys like Hirak, Navneet, Swapnil, Samrat, Kunal S, Salil, and other true "insiders", though they not be COEPians...


YooHoo once again for the BCQC !!

September 12, 2004

"Fingerprints of the Gods" by Graham Hancock

What do you do when you come across a scholarly treatise that flies in the face of conventional wisdom, what if the facts as stated and the conclusions as drawn are perfectly appealing to the eye of our reason?
Such a work is "Fingerprints of the Gods", by Graham Hancock,which claims the existence of an advanced civilization around c.15,000 B.C that perhaps persihed or left the planet around the eleventh millenium B.C. ..on whether he may be right or not ,I'll reserve judgement , but the book is a fascinating read...
In fact, there have been, as he acknowledges, several theorists who have over the years forwarded this or similar theories, principally, Geologist Professor Charles Hapgood who first publicized the apparently shocking conclusions one would be forced to draw from the Admiral Piri Ries' map of 1513. Astronomer/Civil Engineer R.Bauval who forwarded the initially ridiculed but now well accepted theory that the pyramids in Giza are arranged in a floor plan that closely resembles the astral arrangement of stars in the Orion constellation, as it would have looked around c. 10450 b.c; also Egyptologist Anthony West who claims on the basis of water erosioon lines on certain ancient rock monuments,esp. the Sphinx and the valley temple at Giza and the Osireion at Abydos, that these monuments must have been around for millenia not merely on the desert as it is today and indeed, as it was even in the time of the Ancient Egyptians, but when the valley was like a vast savannah and received significantly more rainfall, another geological instance that takes us back to the Eleventh Millenium B.C...

On these seemingly strong premises, in additon to the astonishing facts his research has revealed about South american Maya/Inca/Olmic civilizations, the Angkor Wat in Cambodia,and the commonality in the threads of various mythological traditions around the world, the bizzare and controversial conclusions he forwards are these:

Has there been an ancient advanced civilization who have beqeuathed or communicated their technology to us by means of these monuments and mythologies , as they were in the sudden and final throes of their civilation which was sudenly snuffed out by a cataclysmic disaster??...Is such a cataclysm approaching our own civilization??...How are we so sure that the doomsday sayers are wrong??...Is it plausible, that despite the tears rolling down our cheeks in mirth at their stupidity, they may just have a teensy weensy bit more than blind faith on their side, i.e the precise mathematical calculations/ astronomical hints of an ancient advanced race, who were the originators of our mythological traditions?...Fair liberties taken by the author...but fair, and not as far fetched as it sounds...

This book believe or don't believe (the author), was simply unputdownable!

September 10, 2004

Two Movies!!

And that too in a single day..not unlikely by my standards though and I've done two movies a day on too many occasions , even stopped counting it as anything great. In fact the most I ever saw in a day was 5 with my friend Prabhu, we're crazy..:)...But then, that only happens on days off, and unfortunately nowadays my days off don't coincide with those of my friends..the pitfalls of training students to crack the CAT ( that's what I do for a living nowadays..lol!!) is that you can be damn sure you have a weekend to call all your own...( coz the entire world has a weekend on a sat-sun, boo hoo! )

Anyways, the movies: "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi" which was a take on meet the parents, and " rakht" which is a take on "What lies Beneath"..now the movies were good, but I'm pained at the ceaseless necessity of bollywood to replicate all concepts hollywood..get original guys, and if you still can't write that magic script mebbe you should be scouting for better script-writing talent..(hint!!..I'm not averse to obscene cheques..no sirree!!)

Now there is such a quark in the world of science and technol0gy called the strange quark and the reason I recall this tiny friend of mine is that the last time I caught two movies in a day was "Deewar" and "Hum Tum", which were come to think of it "The great escape" and "When Harry met Sally" respectively..."strange" coincidence??..perhaps I should quit taking in multiple movies in a day...

Two movies I still wanna see " I, robot" though N ( N>infinity) Asimov-fan friends of mine have warned me against it, but still...and the other one is "Dhoom"...so finally the little B has a hit and i'll be damned if anyone can dissuade me from watching this movie..the only dissapointment for me today was, that the little B has a really small cameo in "Rakht"....

September 08, 2004

No Roadies for me...

Just found out yesterday that I haven't made it to the roadies 2 show..
No big deal, but what surprised me was that although I made it to the final 23 from Mumbai , they did'nt even show as much as a glimpse of me on their review..or so say my friends and they would recognize me if I were there is my guess..
Mebbe the real reason for that is this...they called 23 of us from the previous day,(which was fun though!)and took an interview where the panelists tried to "phaado" the interviewees...muhahaha!...well they taped these interviews and while they were taking a look at the tapes it probably struck them ( they're so dense that it probably took 'em this much time) that instead pf "phaado"ing me, they got "phadaao"ed BY Me!!...therefore editor Bob was flown in from California or wherever and I was edited away...

September 07, 2004

Que sera sera??

Things are coming to a not quite so comfortable pass at work.( Basically, i get a feeling that I'd get a lot more free time if i were to become a part time faculty, and also, as full time faculty one thing that's sure screwed for me is my weekend...however, that's not the only thing, several minor squabbles with the guy who owns TIME mumbai, and our relationship is now a bit strained..My boss, Mr.Lalit Kumar views me with cautious concern and vice versa...there's more, but more on that later).Now, the situation created at work makes me even more resolved to never take up a JOB ever again. If I can avoid it. I'm just not cut out to be low/middle level employee. In fact, truth be told I'm not cut out to be an employee at all...Consultancy/Academics/Entrepreneurship, here I come...!!!

But, what's my ambition? Given that my heroes include the likes of Lincoln, Vivekananda,Feynman,Asimov, Gates, Buffet,Chomsky,Ambani, Iacocca and the Tatas ( Jamsetji & JRD); I could, if I choose to follow their exemplary life-paths individually or in combination ( to whatever extent I am capable), end up being anything or anybody!!

Now, I'm completely comfortable with such a vague life goal but I'll grant that very few others (if anyone!) will be satisfied with such an answer. And, since this blog happens to be my very personal but very public diary, esteemed reader for your sake I enumerate a few of my possible ambitions:

(1)
One position in the world which without doubt is considered the repository of POWER in todays world is that of the POTUS, and 3 of my all-time heroes have been POTUSes (if that is the CIA plural?) viz. Abraham lincoln,Woodrow Wilson and FDR. Can I become a POTUS?..not unless Arnie manages to change the US constitution. Do I even want to?...No, I'd much rathr be the PMOI ( indulge me my abbreviations,plizz)...hopefully, by the time I'm in a position to aspire/ascend to that lofty position, THAT would be the repository / pinnacle of world power...but do I really want to be PMOI ( even assuming that by this time PMOI>POTUS?)...No, I'd actually like to be the General Secretary of the UN possibly ( however, not the emasculated chair that Mr. Annan presides over)...Why??...bcoz I don't believe that politics is a dirty word, I do believe that politics is for those with a sincere desire to shape society and the conviction backed by a desire to take a people or peoples to a better future.

Other heroes in thiss:
Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi, M.Singh,A.B.Vajpayee, Jaswant Singh,APJAK,Churchill, Laloo ji (purely and only for spunk!) , Narendra Modi , Parrikar, Nitish Kumar, and of course Arvind Kejriwal !!

(2)
My fascination with science dates back to my cradle possibly, and therefore, a career in Science has always been one of my most sought after pursuits. I've had several life-experiences that have reaffirmed my faith in my abilities as a scientist, as also, I've had more than several experiences that have made me doubt my prospects in this field. But on the whole I'd say that a career in Science notwithstanding, no one can deny me from pursuing it as a (much more than!) part-time obsession/passion.
Having selected Engg. when all I really wanted to do was a B.Sc in physics, having majorly hagaoed in the IIT-JEE, then having been rejected by 6 top US univs after majoring in Engineering have all led to me believe that I've probably missed the bus on this route , but I don't give up so easily, and hence you never know if there is a Nobel prize in store for me or not..(heheh!)

Here(oes):
Feynman,Gauss,Einstein,Schrodinger/Heisenberg,Pauli,Dirac,Faraday,Boltzmann,J.C & S.N. Bose, M.Saha, Sarabhai/Dhawan/BrahmPrakash...this list is really mind bogglingly long !!

(3)
Who wouldn't want to be rich?..Atleast I'm not immune to such base desires yet, and, this I believe--There's lots of money waiting out there to be made iff you go into some form of entrepreneurship.So i'd list being a greatentrepreneur as one of my other ambitions.Given my passion for science , nothing would give me better pleasure than to merge these two passions and turn tech-preneur a-la-Danny Hillis for example.But to me the real joy of being an entrepreneur lies in the intensely rich human interactios that are necessitated and made possible only because one is an entrepreneur. Being an intensely people person I'd say that even going into entrepreneurship that is completely divorced from technology would be well worth it!In the ultimate analysis, the entrepreneur is invariably in a position to positively affect the lives of those around him, the society he lives in, and in particular cases business Maharajas have vastly enriched their countries and sometimes improved the world itself..( I mean who can fail to appreciate the Tatas' contribution to making the india of today?)

Heroes:
Tatas,D.Ambani,Birlas,Bajaj's,Iacocca,Welch,Morita,gates,Buffet,walton,A.P.Sloan,A.Carnegie

OTHER Careers for me, and If chosen Who I'd aspire to become:

(4) Writing/Poetry:
Asimov, Clarke, Kipling, Poe, Dickens, Shakespeare, Blake, Wodehouse, Christie, Narayan, Tagore, Wilde, O'henry, Russell, Tennyson, Frost, Longfellow

(5) Teaching/ Academia :
Dr.S.Radhakrishnan( 5th september ticked by unnoticed in an ungrateful nation),I.Asimov( whose lectures in Biochemistry at the Boston univ. school of madiceine are legend!), R.Feynman ( the Feynamn lectures in Physics!!)

>>from personal experience<<
Prof.P.Lal ( his discourses on the mahabharat at birla audi. kolkata are a tourist atraction.. a must visit if ever you're in Kolkata)
All my profs in Hindu Junior College, Chennai - especially Padmini Iyer & Ramalakshmi m'ams and of course our VP 

(6) Singing/Music:
Kishore Kumar,Ghulam Ali, Bade Ghulam Ali, Bhimsen Joshi,Illayaraja, A.R.Rahman, Sonu Nigam, Hariharan, Sukhwinder Singh, G n' R, Iron Maiden, Queen, Jim Reeves, Nat "King" Cole,System of a down,Strings

(7) Proffesional MCing/QMing/VJing:
Siddharta Basu,Any of my BCQC seniors, my friend Prabhu ( for MCing!), both the cyruses on MTV, and gaurav from [V]

(8) Making Movies:
Kurosawa,Ray,Spielberg,Ratnam,Santoshi,Kundan Shah,Shekhar Kapoor,M.Bhatt,Ivory-Merchant,Peter Jackson , J.P.Dutta, and David dhawan ( deewan mastana alone entitles his presence in this list).. likewise, whoever made Andaz Apna Apna (RKS !!)

There now I've told you.

However, after this confession, it is meet that I add something in my defense.How feasible are my goals?..dunno..I MIGHT achieve everything and more on my list, then again I MIGHT NOT achieve anything or less...at this stage, and probably even in retrospect, it's enough for me that I wanted to achieve all of this irrespective of whether I actually do or not....

And, like my friend Prabhu once told me," I'm either destined for the history books or for the ignonimity of anonymity"...completely agree dude, me too, though I never felt this way till more recently, I guess we're just not the kind to be satisfied with mere "success"...

Brevity!

Brevity, is wit....

September 04, 2004

On Quizzing and breaks from...

It's been ages since I've participated in a Quiz ..and while there is no dearth of open quizzes in Bombay or Pune, which from my home at Vashi is only a 3 hour journey, the snag really,is that I have weekends working and Sunday is the usual day for such dos..

So today there is a quiz at FC.."Inquizzition "...LINK HERE...now this happened to be the first quiz where me and my usual partner in crime Manish Mahajan tasted complete victory in Quizzes (i.e a First place as opposed to the 2nd and 3rds we'd been piling up)..and it was like the proverbial tasting of blood, our duo then notched up several subsequent good wins...However, and here is the moot point, my college was choc full of super-stud quizzing seniors, and even our victory at Inquizziton (2002??) could partially be ascribed to the no-show (or If you ask Gaurav,showed-up-but-disallowed) by the final year team of Gaurav-Neeraj from our college.

Anyways, the open quizzes were places where the usual suspects like Samrat,Ramanand ,Niranjan,Gaurav,Hirak,etc. would turn up and win with impunity...and that is where our performances got better after this victory, we notched up several reasonable performances after that in open quizzes like the Shyam Bhatt & Gen BCJ memorials ( we've yet to winan open quiz, but then "Time!...is on our side..."..:)..)

As far as I know, today at Inquizzition , there is going to be a small team of Ramanand & Gaurav
participating...If you're a betting person, call this an informed tip as to the likely winners of this quiz... prize money stands at 12,000/- bucks... 6k for the winner... damn my job, which prevents me from being there...also, dang!! they never had a cash prize when we won...boo hoo!......:(...

September 03, 2004

Paychecks

Just yesterday I received from my employer a small piece of paper, called the paycheck...It makes you remember that the previous 30 days when you dragged your lazy butt to work, and cursed your job almost 10 times (atleast!) daily, were not completely in vain..Hey, so your job sucks!... but atleast you get paid for it...However, things are happier in my case ..my job does not suck..but then, since I have a lazier-than-usual butt, I guess I sometimes don't allow myself to enjoy my job as much as I should...