The last few days have been hectic, busy and interesting. Lot of time spent at work, swimming classes at 6 in the morning, and a huge back ache on a monday evening chennai traffic jam, is forcing me to leave work an hour earlier. Some application forms remain to be filled, by tommorow and then I am all set for the much awaited GOA trip of mine from Dec 27 -Jan-1


Sanjay Subramanian's Concert

Margazhi mood,Margazhi Music,margazhi menu - it is definetely a feel good atmosphere at Vani Mahal, during the Chennai Music season.Sunday the 7th of December was one such day.The mood was evident in the quality of connoiseurs who had turned up, the lovely ghee dosais served in the Vani Mahal canteen and in the colour surrounding Vani Mahal. There was something in this old-world sabha that conjures up a lot of images,memories of the classical Chennai music season, as compared to the state of the art auditoriums that dont quite have that "home grown turf" classical touch.

The audience were huge in numbers except for a few seats in the backrows, but the Chennai music festival is growing in prominence and proprtion as time goes by.The December festival is a cultural melting point where and artists and rasikas converge to get drawn to the sensuality that carnatic music exudes.
I have attached a few videos of the Concert in Chennai last sunday of Sanjay Subramanian. The artiste was carnatic vocalist Sanjay Subramaniam ably supported by Guruvayur Dorai in mridangam, Nagai Muralidharan in violin and Neyveli Venkatesh in kanjira. As a fellow rasika sitting near me observed Sanjay never eased up with any simple compositions, but kept on with quite challenging raagas.
Though I dont understand much of music,The best part about carnatic music is its non invasiveness and peace that it brings to oneself during the concert.


What makes Rajni tick?

Born as Shivaji Rao Gaikwad 57 years ago, Rajnikanth made his first steps into tinsel town with his first movie "Aboorva Ragangal" in 1975. Since then in the last 31 years.He has won 14 awards for his movies. A harder look statistics reveal that all of Rajnikanth's movies ran for more than 100 days, including his latest movie "Chandramukhi" in 2005.

The above statistic easily makes him the most watched Indian superstar amongst his peers. So what intrigues me is what elavated him to that cult status?

Was it his villainous moves and the angry young man looked he potrayed in some of his earlier movies? Was it the panache he displayed in terms of his unique style of flipping his sunglasses or throwing a cigarette right between his lips. Or was it due to the fact that a majority of people could connect with his "bhola bhala " roles in some of his movies post 80's which had the look of a loser simpleton who won in the end?

Rajnikanth remains an enigma to me, in the few movies of him I have watched. There was nothing spectacular about his acting or dialogue delivery, but I feel some of his earlier movies had this arrogant stylish cocky image that caught the fancy of people and that just stuck on, and by the times the late 80's and 90's came, he blossomed into a " people's hero" with tailor made roles that had a sense of ruralness connected with the way he acted.

I remember the famous line "I can talk English, walk english, laugh english" which instantly made him positioned for the masses, with people easily relating some part of their lives with Rajnikanth. Not that I am against him, but I feel that Rajnikanth's USP was his "pandering to mass" brand positioning that helped him come to the limelihght.

Since his brand has grown over the years like a tsunami gaining force, I see a lot of people accepting Rajnikanth as their "hero" and when Rajnikanth got this vital support from the masses, he started concentrating on throwing in political entendres in his movies, to suggest a hypocratic image of "If I want I can be the CM, but let the people choose me" . Nothing wrong with that too, he is a shrewd guy, who has learnt to capitalise on a certain brand positioning.

But If I were to pick the best Indian actor, I would definetely place Kamala hassan and the late Sivaji Ganesan as one of the most versatile actors of this era. I'd then rate Amitabh Bachan, for his dialogue delivery and that voice that has been the cornerstone of Indian cinema for a long time. If I remember right, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh bachan owed a major portion of their success stories to the erstwhile singer Kishore Kumar, for some mellifluous songs that feature them, just as Rajnikanth owed some of his major successes to movies that had the "loser has the last laugh" image (most Indian movies have that, dont they ? )

Another reason why Amitabh and Rajesh Khanna figure higher than Rajnikanth on my rating would be the fact that the movies and the roles that they acted in were far more decent than some of the movies that Rajnikanth acted. In someways I feel Rajnikanth's roles were limited by the paucity of the quality of Tamil films in the 80's and 90's to leave a lasting impression on the mind of a viewer called Kartik Kannan. Even though some of Rajnikanth's movies were bordering on the run of the mill " I am my Mom's best son" types, it still had a huge fan following, while in the 80's and the 90's , Rajnikanths other adversaries had experimented with better movies and better roles.

So the argument is whether the quality of Rajnikanth's audience a discerning audience at all? Were they swayed too much by the hype of a man, over a stuck up" middle class, loser who wins" image?

I personally felt he had no exceptional qualities as a hero, neither did he have any quality movie (except Dalapati) since the 90's that could match the roles a Kamala Hassan or an Amitabh did. But I must say Rajnikanths star power in terms of the number of days his movies ran, is stil a record for an actor, and I keep wondering whether the brand positioning was what elavated him to his current king status.

Let the discussion begin :

The Music Season

It was a sunny day, before the sun faded away,painting the evening Chennai gorizon dark, with rain imminent. It is in such a season, that music seems to be in the air, and given the fact that I was attending a Carnatic performance, this evening, I was raring to go.


The Venue was Chennai's Vani Mahal, situated on G.N.Chetty Road.The lead singer was




Though my knowledge of music is not all that high , I nevertherless watched his conert with awe as Krishna sang with domineering gestures,enjoying singing, probably envisioning beyond the melody percieved by tyro's in music like me. Even as I say, he had a domineering gesture, in sharp contrast was a man, who looked simlpe and some one who enjoyed showing his repertoire to the knowledgable gathering at Vani Mahal.


I had recorded a few clippings of his concert that I managed to catch up.


Video 1





T.M.Krishna seems a pretty media savvy young person, who even has a website for himself to interact with his fans. I am informed, he had studied at The School, K.F.I, which was quite close to my earlier house at Adayar. Al in all, an enjoyable evening, listening to the various moods and expressions of T.M.Krishna, through his music.


Incase you are an ardent fan of Carnatic music and want daily season tickets for Concerts in Chennai(Read Complimentary) , you can contact Team Sulekha ( hemak@sulekha.net ) for Tickets.


There is a caveat though.... YOU NEED TO EITHER CAPTURE THE MUSIC CONCERT ON A DIGICAM AND BLOG ABOUT THE EVENT(A MINIMUM OF 10-15 LINES). If you are game, I suggest you call up my team mate, Hema at 044-66789810 or mail her at hemak@sulekha.net



Sulekha.com  is covering the music season on a group blog (http://musicseason.sulekha.com ), which is updated by daily blogs on the music season in hennai with reviews and pictures. Please do spread the word to music connoiseurs, about our new music blog page.  


Application Blues

The past few days have been quite busy checking out various B school brochures and seeing where to apply with my current GMAT Scores.I have lesser schools to select from as my scores are not in the 'Normal Indian" bracket, so that way I wont be wasting time even thinking about the IVY league. I have decided to schedule the GMAT sometime next year in February, which would be useful for applying for fall of 2008, but some schools may accept for the fall of 2007, especially the ones that have deadlines a little late, as far back as in April or beyond, but I would not be eligible for scholarships. Scholarships are preferable, but not essential as they are far and few in between when it comes to an MBA,but my focus on getting an admit is more so towards the course structure, my profile, the B school profile, the average GMAT score to apply at the B school and of course the Average Salary.

But somewhere down the line, the irritant that keeps nagging my mind from an ROI perspective is the fact that its a lot better, I wait a year and apply with better GMAT scores.In all likelihood, I may wait another year, but may apply to just get a feel of the programs and the interview experience, so that I can apply to the better league of colleges next year with renewed vigour.

Some of the schools where I have decided to knock the doors at least temporarily are these(subject to change- based on finances/essays and realistic admits).

Fox,Temple University- Philadelphia
Kelley- Indiana
Georgetown- Washington
UCD Micheal Smurfit SOB(School of Business)- Dublin
Peter Drucker School of Management-California

IE Business School-The Management in Marketing program-Spain

Essec Business School-Paris

INCAE Business School- Costa Rica

Oh Yeah !!! in this quest of Phoren B schools, I quite forgot some of the desi applications. I am takng JMET and Narsee Monjee(NMIMS) this Sunday and SNAP next Sunday with XAT to follow right after my GOA trip.

In between all this there are the 12 hour work days and the compulsarily made optional saturday that is there to work, leaving absolutely no time for other pursuits...(or am i a bad manager ). Too Many questions, Too much analysis, very few answers....Thats life right now.


On Your Mark, Get, Set, Go !

This particular incident came to my attention when I had gone to see of my friend last weekend at Central station, thankfully choosing to be away from Justin Kemp's slaughter on the Indians. When the evening train from Kolkata arrived at the platform where we were seated, we noticed the frenzy of porters who quickly arrived from nowhere and started to squat in serial order.I could understand they were waiting for the passengers to alight, so as to solicit their order of getting to carry the luggage. What I couldn't understand was however, the fact that the porters were aquatting at a certain position even as the train slowed.I wonder, if there is any tradition behind this act, or has it been something that has been transferred hands across generations.

Railway stations seem a lovely place to sit down and unwind memories, especially if you need a relatively not-so-costly and unobtrusive place.There is this cozy little 4 seater seat on Platform 10 of Chennai Central, a little after the Saravana Bhavan and Marry Brown Restaurant, which is not inhabited by many people. So if solitude and peaceful gossip is what you are looking for, this place with a Fresh and Honest Cafe near by seems a lovely hangout.

However dirty and yucky the stations might be, I still never seem to get bored of travelling by 2nd sleeper class. It may be a little tough trying to fit my tall frame on the limited rectangular space provided, but the very experience of travelling in a train , next to a window seat, seems to be lovely companion, providing you support, even as you keep your face on the horizontal poles on the window and waft away into thoughts.

I would always feel,as if I am on an army tank in the time of a war, (When I travel in a train) so I would condition my mind and stomach, to see anything comestible as a gastronomic delight and still I find that, the excitement of buying the dirty bondas and cutlet from the VLR stall, has never diminished. But one thing that still seems to draw a nauseating cringe to my face is the way the 2nd class toilets are maintained.The flush invariably doesnt work, and the only liquid that flows through the toilet seems to be the urine, and the male folk only add to the misery by spraying it all over. But for the toilets in 2nd class, life is still bindaas travelling by 2nd class, the biggest attraction being the amount of networking one gets to bond with people of different places and economy levels. The friendships made in a train journey are invariably like the lovely dream that lasts only for a few minutes, or more like a eye watering mirage. I have very rarely found any true companion and maintaine a friendship through such companions, though the journey and the moments spent with such strangers has always been fascinating.

My Next train journey would be on the 27th of this month,when I would be boarding the train to Goa with some of my college buddies for a much awaited re union.I am just hoping the journey is eventful and I reconnect with newer buddies.

The route that I have taken is quite a strange one, due to the lack of connecting trains and availability of tickets.I have tried to minimise the dependence on local buses, trying to make sure that the journey is confirmed, at all points and doesnt muck up, because one part of the journey depends on another part of the journey.

27 Chennai -Mangalore , leaving at 11 am

28 Reaching mangalore at 5 am , waiting for the connecting passenger train at 7 am to Madgoan.This is the KR2 Konkan railway train, replete with hajaar tunnels along the way. reaching Madgaon at lunch and boarding another passenger train that reaches Tivim, a way side station near the place we are lodged(Mapusa).

29 Explore and snore

30 Explore and snore

31 " Where's the party Tonight"?

1 Travel back ... Madgoan-Mangalore-Chennai

2 Reach Chennai at 5 am. Start running the race of life....


"Maami Samayal"

Christened a Tamil Brahmin for some time now has made my ear quite perceptive to anything that has a tag of "Iyer", my caste and community. It has also made my taste buds dance to the tunes of the food that is typical of a Brahmin household. There are times, when I have searched high and low for a meal that reminds me of home when I am far away from it, but I found only North Indian dishes closest to what is made at home(mine or a north Indian's home).South Indian food was largely left unexplored, often culminating in the quickie that Saravana Bhavan or Ratna cafe fed me. But these 2 hotels were frequented more by me for their "closer -to -home" status and the ubiquitous sambhar they served.

But since change is the only thing that’s constant in life, my southie foodie habits took a better turn last Friday in Chennai when the "MAAMI SAMAYAL" food festival was inaugurated. With the enthusiasm of the weekend setting in on Friday evening, I quickly found my way to the DaysInnDeccanfoodPlaza. The Olives restaurant was decked up with a pandal giving it a festive mood

I sat in my chair, waiting for the waiters, nattily dressed in white with the traditional Veshti to add to the authenticity of the place. Lady Chef Gowri Mami, from Mayiladutharai, showed up, from nowhere and I was introduced to her and found that this was her first such culinary expedition outside Mayiladutharai, and at that point I quite didn’t realize what an awesome debut she has made.

The wide array of the spread had my attention and the hospitable gesture of the chef prompetd me to taste, shunning all inhibitions of social eating.

It started off with the Neer Moar Panagam, which is a welcome drink, that had the pleasure
being gulped down thrice my throat, after which my tongues wagged towards the Podis and pickles. The Podis had the Paruppupodi and the ellu podi, and the pickles had the vepilai kati. Once the starters started to allay the fears of a stomach revolt, I proceeded to the main course. Porichakootu and Araithavitta sambhar, entertained my taste buds, before the Maami from Mylai, informed me that it was one of her favourites. Also in the main course and worth a nibble were the Kathirika Podi satham and the kuzhambu vada, which elicit memories of marriage functions and festivals at home.

Another mouth watering dish that I encountered was a special made by the "Mylai Maami", having meshed bananas with Dosa. It may seem a little out of place to have bananas with dosai, but I have tried this out at home some time back, but considering that this was professionally made, my mouth had a mind of its own, as long as it could take enough of banana dosai, until the deserts came to the scene. I am informed that the menu here changes daily in terms of the specialty dish that the "Maami" cooks during the 10 day festival.

The sweet tooth in me was waiting to explore the viands on display and the "Akkara Adisil,Gothumai Halwa and Kunja laddo add to the experience of savouring a lovely lip exercise, even as the mild instrumental carnatic music wafts you away releasing all the pressures of a hectic week.

I also happened to meet up with the executive chef of the Days Inn restaurant, Mr Shankara Subramanian and got to know about his work style. He spends his time researching on the web for newer recipes and wants to explore a food connoisseur corner on the internet to share his experiences with like minded people. A major chunk of his time, is spent on hunting for people /cooks from the "Real India" to add more authenticity to his food festivals. Sometimes its a "maami" fest or a "Rajasthan ka Khaana" or a Andhra food fest, all year long at his restaurant, for which he does the planning and execution of the food festivals.

He is of the opinion that working in a bigger hotel allows a chef to experiment with more cuisines as compared to a smaller hotel chain which is too busy poaching commercial interests as against exploring the nuances and researching of some more viands.

Wait a minute, I am not yet done!!. The Chef asked me to wash down my stomach with a kumbakonam digiri coffee, and guess what? They gave all diners a pack of goodies, the same traditional way goodies are packed at the end of a marriage and given to the guests. I was more than impressed with the finesse with which the food festival was conducted and professionally managed giving that all important personalised home touch.

Mami Samayal is from 24th November to 8th December 2006 at "Olives" the multi cuisine restaurants for Lunch and for dinner. Check out www.deccanhotels.com and you could contact the assistant F&B manager, Mr Suresh at 09840987713


Back in action

I am feeling relatively better now, though the proper reason of headaches and recurrent fever, is not yet sorted out. Doctor says, too much strain, lack of excercise, eye power increase and improper bowel habits may be a reason, which to an extent is true, but I am not really sure whether that is the only reason for recurrent headaches. I still have not got an appintment with the neccesary doc, but I guess over the course of the next few days, things should be sorted out.

Started the weekend in a lovely fashion, went to a lovely "Tam brahm Maami food festival" in Mylapore at the Deccan Inn and came back at about 11 pm last night. Then watched American Pie 4 and "The Guru" till about 2 30 in the morning with a couple of close friends and zeroed in our respective lives and our goals... till about 4, after which each of us fell asleep and got up at 8 am. It was one heck of a night watching and laughing laudly at both the movies, which could be described as the -sex comedy- genre of movies. I actually watched a full movie after a long time...and boy it was like reliving college day gang movie watching with friends in the wee hours.

I do plan to put up some photographs of the food festival, by the weekend.


Service Tax ?

The Indian goverment certainly, knows where to position the message, so that the message is "loud and clear" to the consumer...ahem the male half of the population.Now lets see an ad from the goverment that entices the female population too :-) .


Kartik C headache B fever 6(8)

The past 6 days have been quite puzzling, in the sense that both headache and fever have played truant with my health for an all important week, and show no signs of abating.A local doctor initially called it normal fever, then some one else said viral fever, and I actually dont know whom to belive. If the fever abates the headache doesnt, and a slight increase in headache starts to trigger the fever. I was feeling better on tuesday, but a trip out to ashok nagar in the evening chill(I know Chennai aint all that chill, but ...) seemed to have worked inimically against me.

Lying in the bed whole day long, seems actually pretty boring, as it makes me even lazier.It'a yucky phase of life that must be endured till a solution is found.Some time back,when I was studying my final year of engineering, similar bouts of uneasiness came by, with excessive stomach ache and headaches as symptoms.After a year and 6 doctors whom I consulted, I finally found the right doctor in Mr Rajkumar of Lifeline Clinic,Adayar, who diagnosed my problem as Tubercolosis of the colon,and I had to endure a rather painful laser operation which put me off for about three drugged months.

I am a little hesitant to move anywhere outside as the chillness in the air seems to affect me immideately and the last thing I would want is a headache while writing the all important CAT exam in a matter of 40 hours from now. I just hope I find the right doctor who is able to isolate the problem and free me from this tyranny of a headache, which makes me so paralysed, that I cant even bend my head down.

Hoping to get better...


I hear India has just lost a warm up game in Benoni. I think the team needs a dose of inspiration from Sandy Gordon, to psyche them up for the series that is getting under way in some time.The team is totally a pale shadow of what it was 9 months back after back to back series victories against England and Pakistan.


What does it take to the beat the Aussies

Ashes-What the Poms should do?

The Poms have just started their tour down under and have been just thrashed by a second string Australian XI by 186 runs. Will the Poms be thrashed severely in the Ashes? My take on the Poms is that as long as they are able to have a steady bowling attack that can unsettle and dishevell a few aussies, who knows the Aussies can be given a run for their money.

England needs to settle into a strategy where their batsmen need to dominate the Aussies at more than 3 an over and not to try to match the high Aussie run rate.Sometimes the advantage that Australia gives the opposition by their fast run scoring is, the time it gives the opponents to strategise against the aussies.Thats how India almost knoocked the wind out of the Aussie sails in 04.The Aussie strength lies in their mental mien that they exude, while that is just what England lack.Performance under testing conditions makes you belive in yourslf and since the aussies have done that quite consistently for some time, I presume hiccups for the aussies would be quite minimal and what England need to ensure is that they strategise well on and off the field.

10 Tips for England to keep the urn.

1) Dont give up on Verbal Banter.Give the aussies as good as they get.

2) Try to bounce out the Australians like the English summer of 05.

3) Attack the Aussies to make them lose 2o wickets.

4) England for heavens sake, please get out of your slumber and start performing from Test 1, as the first 2 tests have always been warm up games for England, as seen in the 94,98 and 03 series, the English performances start to peak only after the Sydney test matches.

5) Have the Barmy army in full force to vociferously support you.

6) Dont prepare Tactics against warne, just learn to hold on for dear life.

7)Learn to defend Mcgrath and Co and negate them and then attack after being settled.

8) If you are in a winning position, dont try harakiri against the Aussies, they are getting too bored.

9).Dont do foolish things and have your players injured.If I remember right the 93 or 94 series against the Aussies had 34 different English players playing in 5 test matches and the one day series.

10) Remind the Aussies hard that they lost the ashes last time and let Ponting and Warne only be spectators


In Search of life....

I am right now filling up an application form, for my Masters in business administration and when these questions stare at me, I just seem to copy it and stare blankly at life

Do I have a life?

Am I living the life I want?

Do I know what I want to do?

Do I know where I am heading in Life?

Do I know the right people to trust in life ?

My answers to most of the questions vacillate between a yes and a no and seem more inclined towards a NO. These questions are hitting me a week before CAT, and ya the timing couldnt have been better. My CAT scores havent really looked up, but humankind has invented something called hope, and I seem to subscribe to that more often than not. Life actually seems a rat race day by day and the added pressures of life, seem to take the sheen of life, and add it to the hedonism factor that my brain loves being pampered with, you just want to ask me " why the hell do you want to do management? ".

I guess life wouldn't ask me such questions If I was getting 14% ile higher than the current mock cat scores and if I had a seat at a premier business school by now.I would have cool'ly assumed that life was taken care of and not even recognize that my soul cant answer 5 basic questions that the conundrum called life put to me.

Its not a linear world, and nobody is out to give you sweets.They give you a box of sweets if you indirectly gave them a ton of sweets.Everybody is running, so am I, but when I take breather...I ask myself why am I running,where am I running, will running in this direction help me?even as someone running along with me lies to me that, this is the best path to run,since he needs company to accomplish the running task Sometimes the breather or the break extends a little too much into overtime and I again start running. While running there are rogues that push mud on filth on you, or make you trip, as they need to overtake you and even as you overcome all this, you still are wondering what a great leveller life is, it pulls you up only to be pushed down.

While you just relax and mull, there comes a comment that "X's daugher has gone onsite, Y's son got admission into IIM A, Z who got a lesser grades than you, somehow managed to become a program lead and hajaar such comments that keep reverberating in your mind to mindlessly push yourself against the wall to expand your horizons. Not that you dont appreciate their success, just that you ask yourself, why not me? and even if you didn't what are families there for?

Life for the last 3 years has been like trying to walk across a slimy surface and slipping time and again.The end seems near, but the 7th class lesson of Optical illusion seems to only seems to give you bad memories.Sometimes honesty gets you nowhere, while you see incompetent fools, avoiding the slimy path, as they get the "divine exemption". Does that mean, I change myself? I probably would'nt , but I would prefer to rely on persistence to get through the slimy surface inch by inch and then take on the injustice.Sometimes, you feel like getting all charged up and fighting back, but its always safe to not challenge the power of the waves, just allow the waves to hit and you,while you stand firm..and just wait for the waves to abate and rubbish the advice of a 100 " well wishers" who'd advice you to fight the tide.

43 minutes past this post I still have not found the answer to those questions.But since I need a fat pay cheque and a good life, I will eventually go back to lying about 5 questions and prove to the B schools that I am applying that

"You know what, I am the guy, whom your program desparately needs to add the diversity to the MBA Program, and .....blah blah blah........".

So give me examples of how you have handled crisis situations ?

"Once My friend threw cowdung on my face during a discussion and I immideately said "you know what, You dont know how much of protein and vitamin supplements you have given my face, I may now not want to use that "fair and lovely" cream for the face vitamins, as the shit that you have accorded my face, seems to be glowing my skin.but it seems to have hit only one part of my face, would you wanna paint the other part brown?"

The Result:: My other friend who was "networking" (flirting) close by, got convinced of my crisis management capabilities and gave me a job in his company.

Give some details of awards won

Award for the most "out-standing" student in college, as I passed all exams without actually being in the class.

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt in the Corporate World ?

I learnt that Pareto, didn't actually waste his time creating theorems, Infact one of his theorems was so practically followed at the places where I used to work.
The 80-20 rule does apply, with a slight deviation though :-
80% of the work is done by 20% of the people
The remaining 20% ask 80% of the questions *

How useful was the 6 Sigma concept ?

Well, according to popular management folklore experienced by friends of mine at various companies the concept is Indianised into6 Nagma concept:

6 Nagma's is what it takes to ruin your career.The 6 females laugh aloud at the workplace, get all the promotions, get to assign work to you, get to screw you in the "zor ka jhatka dheerey sey laga " way , get to laugh at you, get to leave at 5 15 before the honcho leaves and get to "network" in the female restrooms the time you spend on your machine staring at code.

Get three evaluators to write about you ?

First Person: Kartik...was an extremely intelligent ...

Second Person: Kartik is a potential L.N.Mittal .....

Third Person: Kartik is an immaculate guy .......

After three long praising essays I get happy at seeing so many good things written about me, but later concience pricks me, as I have done this mono acting of me being all the three reviewers, partially exhausted the word list and lied so much, that depression and grief puts me to sleep before the alarm raises its ugly head early next morning.

What are the three things you expect at your "ideal" job ? **

Better Pay
Better Pay
Better work atmosphere ( Better Chicks)

But, that’s not what you can say on your B School application now, can you ?
So, you come up with illuminating reasons. Some of them being:

Looking for higher exponential learning across various verticals.

Looking to increase exposure, for personal enrichment.

-------Its a vague rant alright.... but somehow I feel all this crap of "management selling" is a false way of life to project yourself and even a career progression depends on how you suck up sometimes and how you beg for the extra increment,every quarter....over a period of time.

MBA Schools know this, but still expect you to say lies in a smiling armour. Dont get me wrong,I may have not seen much of the world, but get a strange feeling that all the glitz and glamour that the corporate world promises...is only a false screen where puppets like you and me get that extra second of coverage.

* , ** Concept inspired from (: Sudhir)


Clash of the Titans

The ICC Champions trophy final is all set for a grand finale between the Aussies and the Windies. The Carribeans have been the most improved team since April, after their rather stunning turnaround in the one day series against India. I guess playing Zimbabwe at home, and beating them hollow 5-0 did a real favour to the West Indies as they found ways of winning which seemed almost non existent in recent years. As I was having my lunch, I picked up an old issue of The Sportstar dating to 1995,which talked about how Richie Richardson, the erstwhile WestIndies captain, made jarring comments about the Australian team calling them the "weakest team to tour the carribean", even after losing the series 1-2 to the Aussies.

That was the beginning of the end, in terms of WestIndian cricket, as victories have been few and far in between happening only versus India,England and Zimbabwe (1998 vs England 4-3 ,1999 Coca Cola Trophy,2001 Coca Cola Trophy, 2002 India TVS Cup and the 2004 Champions trophy). In between we got to see the worst of Carribean cricket,even though individual performances by Lara,Sarwan or Chanderpaul still shone through. So Will this Aussie match again be the turnaround in fortunes for the Windies? I belive so,atleast, as I see a ceratin hunger and a method in madness,in theirgame,which sadly has been lacking for a good part of 10 years.A victory at the ICC Champions trophy again can do a world of good to the Carribeans,in terms of reinstating their position back at the helm.

The semi final line up, pretty much were the most adaptable and improved teams since the last world cup.New Zealand and South Africa,in my opinion would continue to be on the top, since they are a team of 11 players , than being 3 or 4 star studded individuals making the team. Pakistan and India continue to show glimpses of brilliance, mainly bordering on inconsistency,while the lankans lag behind,when facing quality attacks and pressure.

The Poms, are going through an extended horrible run since 1995,and dont really seem to have set the Thames on fire since then(Victories include 97 Texaco trophy,Champions Trophy(Sharjah) and the Ashes Test series in 05).Otherwise ODI cricket wise, they have had a bad time, even though they did show some promise under Nasser Hussain.The Poms lack the ideal elements of a one day team.They just have 3 worldclass batsmen in Strauss,Flintoff and Pieterson,while the others fire once in twenty games(with the consistency of an Agarkar).Their bowling looks propped up in terms of pace, but lacks the momentum in the middle overs to complement Harmison and Sajid Mahmood. No Allrounders means, the death knell and all England can do is to compete fiercely with the likes of Zimbabwe or India to get some confidence before the World Cup.

So as they say, the new order changeth... I foresee the same semifinal line up in the World cup too(depending on the draws). I would be cheering for the Windies though...its time the bajans celebrated their existence in ODI Cricket


Whats up with the CAT?

The Common Admission Test(CAT) is one of India's most hyped up tests, in terms of media attention and in terms of adrenaline. I prefer to call it that way,even though I have been plain bulldozed twice before by the CAT, but this time around, though I dont really have any ammunition in terms of performance on the mock cats, I am just hoping for d-day to light up.My Percentiles in the mock tests are consistently hovering between 75 and 90 and I dont seem to be getting further at all. After work,coming and prepping is the hardest thing to do, but ya, that can be the lamest excuse. I have realised that CAT is not just about prep,but largely strategy oriented to help you sail through and thats one thing that I am banking on, to make me sail through. I guess just to test my ego, I would attend IMS's much hyped National Open Free Simcat Challenge.I really liked the way,Webchutney went about marketing it for IMS, given the fact that some of its earlier ad campaigns for Makemytrip was such an instant hit.

Sometimes the lack of prep helps you in a better position to solve only questions that you would bloody well know for sure. My GMAT flopped badly with a rather poor Verbal ability and a rather high quant score.I plan to revise some of my mock papers for the next week or so and ten get back to preparing hard for the verbal part for GMAT,which I plan to schedule it for the 3rd or the 4th week of November and also simultaneously take an honest call on the recco letters that i can honestly prepare from colleagues at work, as time for that is pretty less, given the fact that 2nd round admissions of most imminent B schools end in November December.

These are times, when you cling on to hope and smile all along.I feel like David walking up with a sling and stone in hand, as Goliath comes nearer day by day. Watch this space to know what happens next in a couple of weeks.


Social Bookmarking

Social Bookmarking, seems a relatively new phenomenon to have hit the on line world that seems to have hit the on line world by storm.Social bookmarking involves a user voting for a post, signifying his approval for the article.Lets say I read an article written on the " Indian Cricket team selection",by a user, and to elicit my approval for the story, I click the "vote button" near the story, the story gets an increment in the number of votes, proportionate to the number of people who liked reading that post. Its very similar to the model that is present in the Sulekha News, where users and commenter's help other readers read what would be only the best news or blog items.

So when a mass community helps you as an isolated reader, select the best news items to read, it saves you the time to sift through all the posts,and as the wont is, you to would not mind spreading the goodwill gesture by sifting through some of the articles.This in its true avatar is the changing face of citizen participatory media which is of immense value considering the dynamic nature of the content on the web.I am doing a small documented research on Social Bookmarking sites. If any body has a few ideas,examples to share, please do feel free to get in touch with me. For starters, I just see

as 3 sites to start of from.

I am contactable at kartik (dot) kannan (at) gmail (dot)com and my research is more so on how the social Bookmarking phenomenon has revolutionized the Indian News reading sites and the influence of such sites on increasing the traffic on one's blogs.


Chennai in Spate

As I sit typing this, in my office, I hear winds buzzing past my ear,even though the windows at office are closed.Trees in and around office,are shaking to the tune of the wind.I am in office,right now,because I cant dare go back home, where I am sure, water would have crept into my ground floor home.I have shifted some of my books and other possessions to the first floor, but since there is no current(power) at home, I had to get out of madipakkam, wading through the slush.

The whole city, is battered by the recent rains and every where I see, road blocks and diversions and huge traffic woes.I dont intend to go back home for the next 2 days.I plan to stay in office as the winds and the rains are threatening and menacing to any driver riding his vehicle on the road. As observed in the mumbai rains, people longed to come back home,but I kinda differ, I feel more at ease at office than, being at home, as its worse at home with no power and all water all around.My only source of worry, is that my mother and grandmother are at home,and are pretty much marooned back home. I just wish and pray the rain clears, so that I can try my luck going home in this rain. I couldn't start from office at all, with the heavy rains through out the day,and given the fact that I need to bike 22 km's, the whole journey seems so unsettling and scary.

Right now, I am armed with my chair and trying to take a nap, in my cubicle,even as the winds threaten to blow away Chennai.


Whose BRIDE is it anyway?

A couple of days back, I had reached office , I received a phone call from my friend asking me whether I was interested in attending a colleague’s wedding, which I had conveniently forgotten in the melee of the 4 day long weekend. The marriage hall was identified as Om Shakthi Kalyana mandapam, in South Boag road T nagar.

I hurried my way through the traffic and met my friends at a predefined point, and then proceeded to locate this marriage hall titled “Om Sakthi”. After 10 minutes of “vulture” eye, tactics my friend swooped on the place, where a small board said “Om Shakthi” Manadapam.We parked our vehicles against the adjacent wall and went inside to observe that the marriage had long been over and people were belching there preparing themselves for a god siesta at about 10 30 in the morning. My friend Kishore, the intelligent guy that he is , gave a stunning explanation, that since the marriage muhurtam was at 11 00, they were waiting for the right time to arrive and assemble there

Waiting ?? ok , but that doesn’t mean the hall would have a deserted look.” Anyway, exceptions are in vogue, this season “ that’s what I said to myself and proceeded to search for my colleague “Ramachandran”(whose sister was getting married) who was not to be found anywhere across the lengths and breadths of the marriage hall. Since I had already spent a good 10-15 minutes searching, and was hungry,I decided to go and quench the call of hunger, hoping that “Ramachandran” would turn up to serve me food.That didn’t happen, and I was all to absorbed in having the idli,dosa and pongal drenched in mouth watering Sambhar of a typical “Tam Brahm” wedding.

After having our food, in between the belching, we felt odd that we didn’t know any one in the marriage hall, and there were no signs of Ramachandran.The time was 10 50 am now and as per Kishore’s logic, the bride and the bridegroom must have been on the altar now,but the bride was busy waiting someone after having her tiffin in the same session as us. Since , I had to also return to office,I wanted to get done with gifting the bride and pushing off,but it would’nt sound nice if the gift were to be given to the bride,without she actually knowing us. So we waited, for what must have been another 200 seconds,but seemed like eternity,before I mustered courage to stop this wait any longer.

I went up boldly to the bride and turned around and looked at her with a confident look,and suavely asked her “ U must be the sister of Ramachandran? “ . She gave me a quizzical look akin to a 4 year old boy seeing calculus. I cleared my voice and told that “I am for Sulekha.com and I have been searching for Ramachandran, your brother” , expecting that atleast now, she would put that faint smile that a bell would ring when she hears “Sulekha”, but alas ..she gave me an even more quizzical look, askin to a 4 year old kid in a topless bar. This was it, the height of insouciance, the bride cant be so irresponsible, not even knowing where her brother worked.Before I could figure out what to say next, the bride blurted “ I don’t know Sulekha.com” …..splash..just felt like a squashed tomato hit me and I retorted “ Its not about the company, but its about your brother” .

The bride all of a sudden pressed the panic button when her quizzical looks were spotted by some rather jobless family members who were contemplating when to doze off, with some paan(paaku) stuffed in their mouths. An old man , asked me what I wanted, to which I bluffed “ I wanted to give the gift, but forgot to address all the three gifting people involved” so, with that I bought some time to save further embarrassment , and went immediately to the next set of empty chairs and sat down with my two companions and gave them suicidal looks and asked them whether the marriage hall was the intended one. Just as the Bollywood movies would inspire a “ma –ki –saugandh sey bolta hoon”, Kishore gave me a stern look, to say “he’s absolutely damn sure that it was Om Sakthi Kalyana mandapam”. Having wasted eons chatting in an unknown place,I decided that I would go and check the name of the mandapam from outside, pretending to write the name of the Bride on the gift wrapped material. To my surprise, the board was stuck at a bout 10 metres saying “Om Shakti”, but what we missed was a board stuck 2 metres below it that said “Murugan Kalyana Manadapam”, to which I simpered like an idiot, though a furnace of anger was spewing within me, for having made a fool of myself in front of the bride.”Om Shakti” was on the first floor and it took us a minute to digest the fact that we had eaten in a marriage, of whom we were not related in any way.

Finally on the first floor,I saw a gleaming “Ramachandran” welcoming me, and enquiring why we were late? I had to name my boss as the villain who called me in for a surprise 8 am meeting (by the way the office starts at 9, which I forgot).When confusion and chaos reigns one realizes, that it takes seconds to start blabbering. He asked me to wait and have lunch , to which I politely refused, but he seemed adamant that he wanted me to see the bride,as he wanted to introduce us. Thankfully we only had our names on the gift wrapper, not the other “bride’s” name. But the bride, was busy dressing up …and we couldn’t eventually meet her. But I was suffering from too much guilt and was being the butt of my 2 other friends chaffs about my “ 30 second dialogue with the other bride”. After a few apologies, about returning to office, I left the building to start my vehicle, and just as I was waiting for my bike to start, I saw the guard in front of the “Murugan Kalyana mandapam”, with a wry look at we three, which seemed to silently mock at our Mandapam Misadventure.


The Ashes-Part 2

Ashes Part 2 – Obituary of English Cricket

A hundred and twenty four years back, when the English cricket team lost for the first time to the Australians at the Oval,The Sporting Times in 1882 carried a satirical obituary stating that the English cricket had died, and the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.

Fast Forward now to 2006, Yesterday, October 21st , the 7th match of the ICC Champions trophy , where before the toss, the match seemed to have all the makings of a thriller, but the contest flattered to deceive and was a totally one sided contest, with England being a pale shadow of what it was a year back when the Ashes was won by them. Cornered tigers, they say are more dangerous, but the cornered Kangaroo can actually be more ruthless, and this match hyped as the “Ashes “battle, saw a clinical display by the Aussies to demolish England. Having seen the way England has performed in the last 26 one day internationals (winning 5),I assume its time they renew the “ashes” and burn another bail, to mourn the obituary of English cricket all over again.

English cricket fans could have never had it worse, this is their team’s worst patch in recent years and it doesn’t seem like improving any soon though. Ricky Ponting won the toss and inserted the opposition, as is the wont of most captains preferring to bowl first during the afternoon, than to lay their hands on a moist ball later in the evening, with the dew compounding their problems manifold. The English openers got off to a splendid start with Bell and Strauss, going hell after leather; bring 50 from the first 10 overs. Ian bell, was severe on Bracken and Mcgrath, with 60% of Bell’s runs coming in the region of point and midwicket as he packed 6 boundaries in those regions. At 83 for no loss from 18 overs, England was well set for a 250+ score, when their usual listless batting style came to the fore.
Bell seemed a totally changed player, from what had one seen him against the Aussies in the last ashes series, and just as he was about to get into change gears, the brakes were applied by a rather ugly long hop from Shane Watson, which Bell mistimed into the hands of the cover fieldsman Mike Hussey. This was the beginning of the end, as batsmen fell like 9 pins, no one showing resilience to spend some time at the wicket and accumulate runs. Peterson, the next batsman in, did his reputation no justice, when he poked his bat at an away going delivery by Mitchell Johnson, whose delivery had just done enough to elicit the edge, straight down Gilchrist’s throat, and the Aussies were cock-a-hoop with the Poms reduced to 85-2.

It took some excellent bowling from Australia here on, to stifle the run scoring from 5 an over to less than 4 runs, as Strauss and Flintoff seemed to struggle to get runs, after the double whammy that the Aussies struck. Soon frustration gave way for 2 indiscrete shots from the skipper Flintoff and his deputy, when they departed in the space of 3 overs and 5 runs, with England in a huge mess at 115/4. In came Michael Yardy, and his promotion ahead of England’s highest run getter this season, Paul Collingwood, certainly warranted a debate, but even before you could spell d-e-b-a-t-e , Yardy was gone, to a doubtful decision, caught down the leg side, but even if he had been given the benefit of the doubt, he hardly looked convincing in the 4 runs he scored, consuming 15 balls. After that it was a procession that followed that more or less sealed England’s fate at 169, hardly looking like troubling Ponting’s men.

The problem plaguing English cricket, is that apart from Pieterson, Strauss and Collingwood, nobody really has the ability to turn a match around or the confidence to pace the innings. Andrew Flintoff is just back after a long lay off, and will take some time to get into the groove, while the rest like Dalrymple, Read and Hardy , being more so batsmen who would prefer the safe mode of stroking singles. Another major problem for England has been pacing the innings, as their batsmen don’t seem to rotate the strike well, and consume a lot of balls before getting out, helping the team cause to no end.

The Australian chase started like the bullet train, with Gilchrist and Watson putting on a quick fire 30 in 4 overs before Gilchrist succumbed to rush of blood, being comprehensively bowled by Mahmood, off the latter’s first delivery, which followed a brief flood light power failure break, that seemed to have undone the Aussie’s concentration. Ponting didn’t last long before, playing an Anderson delivery to the slip cordon which Strauss juggled, but managed to hold the ball for dear life and England were ecstatic with the cheap dismissal of the Aussie captain. More disaster was to follow when Shane Watson, under edged an intended pull on his stumps to the leave the Aussies tottering at 34-3.

Did some body say “we have a match on here”? Martyn seemingly didn’t’ hear that and went on to produce an innings laced with audacious shots that seemed to bludgeon the English bowlers into submission, while Hussey on the other hand was content playing second fiddle. Martyn picked his bunny in Harmison, who seemingly was still fresh from the insipid bowling effort against India, and Martyn clubbed him for three fours in an over, and that scathing attack that Martyn delivered seemed to knock the wind out of England’s sails with Martyn reaching a quick fire 50 off 35 deliveries.
Martyn’s swashbuckling innings came to an end when Harmison priced him in the dying stages of the match, after Martyn knicked an innocuous delivery from Harmison. Martyn’s initial carnage had brought Australia 19 short of a victory, before he was dismissed for a strokeful 78. Hussey and Clarke carried out the formalities by seeing the Aussies through by 6 wickets.

So one elimination has been decided here, England will most probably go back home after their next match against the West Indies, but can still expect a favor or two technically speaking from India. If India beats both the Caribbeans and the Aussies, and England managed to defeat the West Indies by a huge margin, then it will boil down to net run rate amongst West-Indies,Australia and England. But whether India has the might to do England a favour is question that hangs in balance,as India’s one day form all too recently has not been that impressive to make the Ladbrokes put their money on them.


The fact that I had a 4 day long weekend, and some time to spare on saturday helped me compose this little piece.Cricket related journalism is something I'd love to do, so hence a write up on the match, with me envisioning myself to be a sports columnist. :-)



Whats all the Commotion?

Today Chennai resembles a mini Baghdad of sorts with Crackers bering bursted every second in some direction and I resemble a patient in bed, who just see's the 4 walls of the house. The whole of last week,I was unwell with cold,fever and an extremely bad throat..and I just seemed to have aggrevated it, by participating in an office function hungama. The urge to burst crackers is long gone,and it feels boring to do it all alone.Parents and family seem like aliens to me as people come and go into the house,while I stay stuck in my room on 2 counts, one being plagued by head aches, and whenI feel too tired about sleeping allday long, I decide to pick up my GMAT book and pore through its contents. The GMAT gets over on Monday, and is it party time after that? Hmm...if the GMAT scores falls within a certain expected range, then yes...but a heap of mock papers lie unused and unscribbled on my table and I need to immideately resume my preparation for the CAT which falls on the 19th of November.These 2 days, if they go on well, can make a hell of a difference towards making my life better.

There are times you just cling on to hope, with the hard work in the background, its one of those times now.There's a lot of frustration, coupled with a few moments of joy.Its about balancing these emotions in a fine ratio that helps you face the worst of adversities in the best possible manner.So hoping for things to get better.


Happy Diwali and Ramzan

I would want to use this occaisson to wish all my readers a a Very Happy Diwali and the years forward filled with happiness, health, prosperity and fulfillment. I happened to come across this picture in one of the email forwards sent by friends.

Simple picture and concept of promoting harmony and brotherhood amongst the various virtual factions that we have in the Indian society. Quite literally "Who are we to draw the line"?

Cricket at its best

The ICC Champions trophy 06 seems to be getting better after 2 extremely close and keenly contested matches,where more than Pakistan or the West Indies, the spirit of Cricket was the winner.Both the matches went down to the wire and only guys with nerves of steel, managed to see their side thru, namely Abdul Razzaq and Jerome Taylor, the respective lynchpin's in their teams victory. Last night as the score board read 32 runs of 30 balls with 5 wickets at hand,I was just thinking that there was no way that Australia was going to lose this game,as if any one can snatch defeat from the jaws of victoy, then dont look beyond the Indian cricket team.A couple of years back, India was at this very position against the Aussies at Melbourne with 31 required of 30 balls.6 wickets in hand and Saurav and Yuvaraj at the crease at 257/4 off 45, the game was just a few shots away frm India's grasp, but India flattered to decieve and lost that game(Click here to see scores).

After seeing Autralia's bewildering collapse last night,I am convinced the law of probability is finally catching up with the men from down under.


On Guard

The last few days, I have seen many people affected by the rather popular Chickungunya virus and have been praying to providence, that I should be spared.I've heard that its a day mosquito that wreaks all the havoc and can be avoided to an extent by being in AC room, or under the radius of the fan.When one becomes defensive to play safe,one never knows from where another virus may come.While I was gearing myself up to be hale and hearty till my twin exams of GMAT and CAT pass by, a milder version of throat infection hit me last morning.It seemed pretty innocous yesterday evening,but over a good night's sleep, its grown into a monster,making life pretty difficult.I am not able to drink water properly or even swallow food properly and it sure does pain,when I try to talk something.Health issues frustrate me a lot and it feels so much better to believe that you are all fine ,even when things are probably not all that fine, just to keep your mood better than having a glum face.

The Chickungunya threat seems all the more menacing,as there is a huge stagnant pool of water almost round the year, surrounding my house.As of now I am with Odomos, a fan and an AC as a team to ward off the chicungunya threat, as inactivity due to any damn virus infection may prove problematic,with exams round the corner.


ICC Champions Trophy 2006,A few observations

ICC Champions Trophy 2006-A few observations

Yesterday afternoon,I happened to chance across the television commentary team of SET MAX, and their inane ramblings left me exasperated. Sample this

Mandira Bedi: Cricket is coing to the Brabourne after 11 years after a match was played here way back in ………err…. 1996(Mandira, thinking it was the Wills World cup).Brabourne, they say has a history behind it, so in terms of history, it’a a famous ground.What about the other grounds Charu?

Charu Sharma: Oh yes, I think Shonali Nagrani, our team reporter who has covered the 4 matches may want to share some of her experiences on the ground.

Charu Sharma :Hi Shonali, in all the 4 matches that you have seen, which ground has appealed to you the most?

Shonali Nagrani: I actually like the Chandigarh chicken with white Makkhan, but amchi Mumbai is the best,where Igot to party all night with my friends.The gujrati lunch at Ahmedabad,was awesome,but I gotta saw the jaipur cuisine was also great.

Charu Sharma: ( Head starting to perspirate, attempts to divert the question after a perfectly inane answer). Well Shonali, great to know you are having fun there.I heard you met Murali and Sangakkara.How confident are they about the match.

Shonali Nagrani: Yes Charu, They are cho chweet.They talked to me so well and they are very confident about winning against the West Indies, but they were saying that it’s a one day match and they have equal chances of losing too,so I feel that Srilanka is going to rock today’s game. By the way,I saw Murali’s kid, and Murali wants him to be the next-ace spinner after him.

Mandira Bedi: Oh! Is that so, but on a cricketing note, did you ask him, where Murali’s 1 year old kid would play cricket for , would it be India,Srilanka or Australia.

I stopped dead in my tracks and given that Mandira Bedi was in a Sari and not in her noodle straps , I muted the television, and pretended to be busy reading a book,even though I really wanted some expert info before the start of play.Just when, I muted the TV, Tony Greig and John Wright started to talk,so I again unmute to listen to a few seconds of cricket gnyaan,before Sony’s telecast policies take off the cricket experts and start to focus on Bollywood.

Their idea of marrying cricket with bollywood is allright, considering the fact that these are the 2 most watched modes of entertainment for the common Indian man.What I cannot tolerate is the essence of dilution, the coverage has in terms of commentators with Mandira Bedi,Rahul Roy and the likes of Shonali Nagrani simply vitiating the atmosphere,with greats like Barry Richards and Tony greig , pushed to the sideline.

This is where I miss the quality coverage of ESPN STAR, with the exalted company of Gavaskar,Bhogle and Shastri. Add to it a Ian Chappell,Tony Cozier and Richie Benaud and the frenzy voice of Bill Lawry, you are done, as a Channel you can have me hooked on to that television Channel for 9 long hours, increasing your TRP Ratings and advertisement value, rather than driving me away by throwing nonsensical ladies like Shweta Jumaani,Mandira Bedi and Shonali Nagrani at me.

If Max is going to still, continue with their “mixing cricket and entertainment”, I suggest they have Mandira Bedi,Shonali Nagrani,Shweta Jummani,Arjun Singh(The HRD guy),George Bush and Kanchi Illiah, One cant have a greater set of lunatics providing entertainment to us, a 9 hour comedy show, that also shows Cricket in between.


Who wants to be Ravan?

Its Dussehra time, and I happened to come across this rather funny advertisement about Dussehra and brand Ravan.Wow, People wanting to be Rama are passe, move aside folks, Ravan ala re.I must say, this ad by AXE has defietely caught my attention.


Oh Those Lovely school days

A few days back, during a huge power outage in Egmore for an hour,I decided to spend my time fruitfully and in peace.Generally for a short break, I'd prefer the groundnuts available on kennet lane in egmore,or a saunter along the egmore railway station.I wanted a new place to explore, and decided to pay the age old museum, that lies in the same as road as my office, a visit. It sure was a trip down memory lane, seeing kids out on a picnic.These kids, although policed by their teachers to form a straight line and walk quietly, walked haphazardly, chatting with an oblivious joy of being outside school and of course with the off dose of mischief.The kids reminded me of the lunch bag with a small lunch with three boxes,which I used in school.All of them assembled on the lawns and were making quite a noise during their lunch.My school, before its revamp was typically a gurukula, in the sense that parents used to meet their children at lunch and feed them, and for lunch we had some awesome spots under the tree,under the lovely shade where we used to have lunch. Sadly all the trees and the spot called the jungle gym, are all done away in my school, expanding it for more classrooms.

This is at the musuem,where the kids assembled for lunch

Walking in a line, a 100 diminutive kids clamouring past the 'finger on the mouth' orders seemed like life on a rewind mode 15 years back.It is the very innocence and simplicity of this school life that one misses, in our day to day life which is pretty stressful considering the pressures of work,appraisals and the 101 things that we plan to worry about in a day.


Sleepless nights with GMAT

The next few days are going to pretty busy with my GMAT exams and CAT exams to be given.That pretty much explains the inactivity on my blog.I have prepared a few short articles but never completed it . I also have another good news hopefully,as I hear that my Sony Ericcson phone may be brought back to life.I hear that no major damage has happened to the microprocessor of the phone.I am going to the "ICU" tommorow to check on it.

I am feeling pretty worn out and tired and have developed some back complications, due to studying with crazy postures and unearthly sleeping hours.The last few days are the slog overs that I am banking for my preparation, for both these exams.

I might end up putting a few short posts the in the next few days to break the boredom of forcing my eyes to be active in the wee hours of the night.Expect to see more pictures.


Sania and the Grandslams

I saw this hoarding at the Mount Road Cenotaph Road Junction.It's one of the few good eye catchy adlines that I have come across recently.It's an ad that combines a Tennis affcianado's interest as well as fulfills TataIndicom's new service.Click on the Image for a more detailed expansion of the advertisement.Signing Sania Mirza probably may have increased brandrecall for the TaTa's, but nothing to beat the brand recall Adidas has in the form of T-shirts and skirts that Sania wears, where most of the attention is diverted to,rather than her game. Talking about endorsements for expression based services like Mobiles and pagers, earlier the route followed by Bharti pagers and RPG cellular were more geared towards presenting an advertisement that showed a whole family being united or a whole nation being united by the cellular service. Mobile phone branding has since then come a long way, with atrocious, but working ads like the "Sehwag ki ma" , reliance ad concept that seemed to appeal to every common man, who had grown up watching "ma-beta" bonding in Bollywood(a la Deewar-"Mere Paas Maa Hain").

Out of the brand positioning ad's that I have seen, in terms of quality HUTCH never seems to have pandered their product to the lower masses,betting their market on the suave upmarket Indian.Airtel for a while, did have few good expression based themes, but have managed to maintain a brandpositionng that attracts people in the moderately rustic-moderately suave, between Reliance and Hutch, in terms of the customer market.

Reliance after focussing 3 years on the rural -semi urbane low cost market, has also resorted to taking a bite in the suave modern Indian market by launching its just dial service.They have Mandira bedi and Riya sen, with plunging necklines wooing customers to call them.The ad certainly looks inviting and seductive, but I'd prefer to have Mandira Bedi here than to see her on SONY TV distributing cricket gnyaan along with experts on EXTRAA INNINGS from today.
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Death , of all human emotions teaches a person the maximum in terms of intensity of feelings and penitence.The first time, I encountered death of a close family member was when my Aunt was flown away by the flash floods in 1998.That is when I saw the seriousness of death and how much it meant to my cousin.Its been a source of irrepable damage and that incident has still left a lot of mental scars in his upbringing after that.To me, it was a shock, that made me sit up at nights and worry why people died,and how would they die.It was then that I saw , death could strike any time.It could be the moment of irrationality while on the road.It could be the carelessness of human nature,avoiding medical treatment and other easy routes to disaster.I was afraid when my parents used to return home late after work, a sense of insecurity tends to creep in days after an incident like that.It took some days to recover my first experience of death in the fanmily.I used to escape the very thought of death, by covering myself wrapped in the bedsheet, for the Chennai winter of 22-23 degrees :-) . That was my automatic cushion to escape any such scary thoughts of death,before the Chennai sun and the local madipakkam electricity board gave me enought uninterrupted light.

The second major incident was of course my grandfather dying last year.The day he died, I had just reconciled myself to the news that he wasnt there anymore, when at around 6 am, the local newspaper guy, came about delivering the newspaper ,when I quickly made a dash at the paper, more so by habit, and then to realise, as my uncle emotionally remarked, "dont hurry, Your Grandfather is no more going to compete with you for the newspaper headlines".My grandfather and I had this small cold war,where both of us were adamant in letting each other the first glance of the newspaper.He wanted a cursory glance of the headlines and the editorial,while I wanted a detailed sports news report in the few minutes I had before going to school or college.He won for quite a few years,but subsequently due to failing ear hearing problems, he couldnt hear the Newspaper cyclists's bell properly, so I won most of the times.I somehow had this innate pleasure of de-flowering the newspapers warm and folded virginality, and that explains why I still dont like anyone else laying a hand on my newspaper :-) .

Coming back to the phenomenen of death,My grandfathers death more so involved analysing what mental factors could have led to his heath problems and then getting back to the normal routine of work and life. Death of an extremely close relative is when the mind is filled with hallucinations,on replaying how could it have not happened and mind being filled with guilt.No other joy in life, now seems interesting or even worth laughing.I've had two such major deaths come this year in my life.When the first death happened,I felt like cursing myself and wept internally for not being around when it happened,as I was on a bus from Bangalore to Mangalore.My lovely moments with the deceased were thought on that journey through the night and I quickly gave up on my penitent thoughts,as I was hugely responsible for the death, and it seemed to be eating me from within.I got up in the morning,and saw the rising sun and seemingly took the matter in my stride,deciding not to worry about it further,even though I was reminded again and again of the sad incident on the STD public phone when I called home.

My friends, thought I was remorseless and careless,but it takes a certain mental level of maturity to not display your emotions to people who are by and large not remotely connected to you.My efforts at forgetting it, made me fel lighter for the rest of the trip.

The second major loss happened a couple of days back,when a rabid biker came and hit my bike on the side,when he did a mistimed swerve from the left of a corner road on to my stationary bike.I fell and in the jerk delivered, from behind, my closest confidant fell on the road, and was smashed to shreds immideatly by 2 company buses and a couple of cars.All I could do lying horizontal on the road was to see mutely my confidante being run over by the passing huge vehicles.It was too late, before I could go and gather the left overs.There is no worse feeling in this world than to see your confidante get knocked down and crushed right in front of your eyes, while you helplessly try to stop the vehicles running over.I was shattered.All my life's victories and losses are first shared with this confidante of mine,however lifeless she is.My Sony erricsson mobile's display is all screwed up,with scars of cracks through the mobile and other mangled remains of its backside.The first mobile"death" was that of my Motorola c650 handset,which somebody flicked from my pocket/or it fell down earlier this year.2 mobiles gone in a year and thats 22,000 of my money gone vanished into the air, and more than that, the lovely priceless monments I spent with my mute companions thats also gone.

I have to see if the mangled remains with a new display can still sustain the phone,else I would have to for the rather costly option of investing in an other phone,which would take easily a couple of months to save some money for it and then buy, as I have to save up quite a sum of money for my MBA applications in India and the International options. So , life's not that great at the moment with me going through a mini mourningof sorts every night,when I realise that my w550 Sony erriccson is lying but is lifeless like rape victim in coma.

When I see this, I get another doubt in my mind, which would be my next blog on whether, if the phone was a lady in my life and an accident criplled her for life, would I abandon the lady and go for a new marriage, considering that she is crippled for life,and I need a married life?

Some food for thought, till next time...when I compose a blog based on the above topic.Any similar feeling can be echoed to me in my comments box below.


Speed Breakers

When you are racing on the highway called career, you encounter a lot of speed breakers which slowdown your speed and makes it difficult to maintain the same levels of enthusiasm, which needs to be restarted, just as you look to gain speed after passing a speed breaker. Speed breakers are shocks that occur around the workplace that seemingly gives you jitters about the manner in which certain official issues are handled. Yesterday was one such incident, when I encountered a “speed breaker” at work. I was appalled by the chinks in the functioning of a certain person, who apparently misuses office resources for personal things. I was shocked at the gall and impunity with which, dishonest things were being committed. There was no penitent feeling at all from the person, who does the act coldly without even thinking twice.

Generally at work, in say any company most employees, misuse office property for personal gains and the more they start doing it, the more empowered they feel, and surprisingly when a person is questioned at an advanced stage of looting, they behave as though they never knew this was illegal. Its perfectly acceptable in making the odd mistake, which many people have done, but to do it with a heartless and insincere way is just not acceptable. It is this dishonesty at work, that seems a “speed breaker” apart from the fact that people, resort to other distractions, that only makes the official work at office go behind schedule.

Some instances are

1) Taking huge personal copies of print outs, advocating the reason that “they can save some money”, as if this was done in a proper store, it would cost them “huge” money. The odd print out here and there is pretty much acceptable, but when you do it en masse without any pangs of guilt is when the chinks in one’s character seems visible, behind the cloak of joi-de-vivre that one exudes in corporate life.

2) Making the office STD line for personal use and using it abusively for talking long hours(again to save money).

3) Taking time off from office, and doing personal work and later saying that they went off to meet “ a potential client”.My classmate is a fine example of this,who lives his life farting to hell,about his work :-)

4) Using community sites like Orkut and messengers in office beyond a certain minium level.The odd scrap in orkut, is not a problem,but given the addictive nature of an orkut or a Gtalk, most folks seem to be logged on to both, thereby affecting productivity.

5) Speaking on the mobiles for a long time, being away from work, and constant messaging at work, is another huge factor that distracts employees from completing their work properly.

6) The biggest culprit of all, are the forwarded mails that come along. Not a crime seeing a few and forwarding the, but folks must know when to draw a line.

7) Coffee and tea time- Given the fact that most IT jobs are said to be stressful, most employees take that piece of data , only to invest half their time drinking “free” coffee and tea from the vending machine.

All of these reasons are happening simply because the job market is booming in India.If one place asks you to go, after you have put a reasonable amount of work experience, the other companies are more than willing to hire you, and your shenaningans for a higher price.It is the openness in the markets, that allow people the gall to work the way they do,the way they want, often in disagreement with the said rules of the company.Given the fact that most Indian companies have proper HR departments, the erring employees are never given the sack, but persisted with in the hope that things would be better.

Though it is the mistake of the employee, of falling prey to any of the 6 criminal factors at work,it is also in a small way the responsibility of the management or the immideate managers,who have not weaved a dream or a vision on which the employees work.There is a very thin line between working with a vision and working just to meet deadlines,and it is the company’s strict supervision couple with freedom of speaking one;s mind that determines the relations between the employee and the employer, which I turn decides how committed the employee is to his work.

All of the 7 reasons might seem familar most employees of any company, but gross misuse of the company resources for personal gain, certainly reeks a lot about the character of the person commiting it.It may seem a small thing, for a company to keep tabs on such activity, but if it does, it can automatically realize the honesty levels of employees.

If any of you have been able to tackle such a menace at the workplace in terms of curbing the attitudes of such people and transforming them, please do add in your thoughts and experiences of the same, in the comments box below.

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