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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sach ka saamna - tagged!

Getting tagged is something that was very much in vogue when I started blogging (2005 puff! Its been a long time!!!). Now here, I am again tagged by my good friend Varun Reddy, and I thought it has really been long that I have done something like this, so why not give it a try!

Before starting, I would like to take the oath on the sacred Geeta (seen it many hindi movies) – “Mein jo kahunga sach kahunga.. aur sach ke sivay aur kuch nahi kahunga!”

Tagged By: Varun Reddy (U got me here dude!)
The ground rules
RULE 1- You can only say Guilty (means YES) or Innocent (means NO)
RULE 2- You are not allowed to explain anything unless someone messages you and asks!
RULE 3- Copy and paste this into your notes, delete mine and type in your answers and tag your friends to answer this.

I have always been an iconoclast, without much adherence to rules n crap, so RULE 2 I am sorry. I will have to explain at some places to make it more readable.

Also, RULE 3, I am sorry, as I don’t think I should compulsorily tag a few names and then get accused of missing out on others. I don’t even want to be in that phase where I keep sulking, that someone I have tagged has not cared to answer.

So, I rather make this appeal, that everyone reading this should answer these questions, and get some bhoj out of them!

Let me begin…

Asked someone to marry you? Guilty (well, wish you a very happy married life. )

Ever kissed someone of the same sex? Guilty ( well, not the kiss kiss kinds, it was just a normal game of truth or dare!!)

Danced on a table in a bar? Guilty (not exactly in a bar, but on a table in public yes, and yes I was drunk!)

Ever told a lie? Guilty (may times)

Had feelings for someone whom you can’t have back? Guilty (Long story, will take a complete post!)

Kissed a picture? Innocent (why??)

Slept in until 5 PM? Guilty (Many a times!)

Fallen asleep at work/school? Guilty (Well, I am from a B-School!)

Held a snake? Guilty (Snake park in Chennai!)

Been suspended from school? Guilty (well!)

Worked at a fast food restaurant? Innocent. ( I so regret this, I want to have this kinda experience!)

Stolen from a store? Guilty (remember stealing a bar of 5-star when I was 12 years old something. The irony – I now work for a chocolate company!)

Been fired from a job? Innocent. (I am still on my first job!)

Done something you regret? Innocent (No regrets, this is the life mantra. The bad phases due to some avoidable doing is just a learning. No regrets!)

Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? Innocent (now why would that happen)

Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Innocent (Snowflake??, I think a more relevant to India question would be “caught a fly on your tongue?”. The answer for this could be “Guilty”. It was unintentional though)

Kissed in the rain? Innocent (In the rain! One more thing that I desperately want to do)

Sat on a roof top? Guilty (Everyday!)

Kissed someone you shouldn’t? Innocent. (what do you mean by shouldn’t. I am not killing anyone!)

Sang in the shower? Guilty (Everyday again! I dare not do that in the open, so the shower is the safest place to vent out my throat muscles to stretch )

Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on? Guilty (many a times. Thank you bro.. this is the way he has thought me swimming)

Shaved your head? Guilty. (heard of tirupati balaji!)

Had a boxing membership? Innocent. (again I wish I did, atleast the card would have scared many people!)

Made a girlfriend cry? Guilty or innocent (No comments!)

Been in a band? Innocent. ( I wish I did, even tried playing the guitar. Thanks you Puneet. Realized soon enough that it was not meant for me! Thank you bro, for making me realize this!)

Shot a gun? Guilty (yes, the ones we used to get during diwali!)

Donated Blood? Innocent (scared!)

Eaten alligator meat? Innocent. (I wish I get to eat it someday!)

Eaten cheesecake? Guilty (why not?)

Still love someone you shouldn’t? Innocent (again what do you mean by you shouldn’t?)

Have/had a tattoo? Guilty (yeah, Bubbaloo has tattoo promo running right now and it is cool. Marketing it through every channel)

Liked someone, but will never tell who? Guilty (now those silent crushes I am sure everyone has.

Been too honest? Guilty (dangerously so)

Ruined a surprise? Guilty (Sorry bro, I did tell mom that I was sending the gifts!, So ruined the surprise that my bro wanted to give my parents)

Ate in a restaurant and got really bloated that you couldn’t walk afterwards? Guilty (I know, it does not show in my flabber)

Erased someone in your friends list? Innocent (what difference would it make?)

Dressed in a woman’s clothes (if you’re a guy) or man’s clothes (if you’re a girl)? Innocent. (fetish, will sure try it out someday!)

Joined a pageant? Innocent. (Nah!)

Been told that you’re handsome or beautiful by someone who totally meant what they said? Guilty (many a times, and I would totally want to believe that they completely meant what they said

Had communication with your ex? Guilty (han, we still talk regularly)

Got totally drunk on the night before exam? Guilty (this is something I consider brings in good luck. Was totally drunk before CAT, JMET and even the investment management exam in L. it has worked. Whisky it has to be)

Got totally angry that you cried so hard? Innocent. (why cry when angry?)


Huh! Now I understand what do people go through when they are sitting on the wrong side of the table during “sach ka saamna” kind of shows. The sense of humuor needs to be at its best while answering any of the questions.

So, that was it guys. I now request you to take it forward and let it out!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Love affair - 3

Now for the third part of this long love affair. The story till now, was that “she” had agreed to my proposal, and was showing strong indications. But, now I had this strong hurdle to cross – her parents.

She had set the date of me meeting her parents – feb 17th, 2007. The meeting was scheduled to happen in Hyderabad, and my dad was very supportive and encouraging. In fact, mom and dad both wanted to come along but I thought I would be better and more confident facing them alone.

February 17th, 2008

One more of those fateful days which you would never want to remember and it would anyways, never leave your memory.

Got up early. Got dressed. Prayed to god. “Lord, please please please…”. This is one gift I need badly. Grant it to me and you would never see my face again. God was surprised to receive this request from one of his biggest non believers. He had his chance now and he paid back.

I even had beer the previous night, as I think it gets lucky for me. It worked 3 months back when I proposed to her.

6:00 AM – Father called me and reminded me that this was the day. He wished me luck, and so did my mom and bro.

8:00 AM – started out to her place

12:00 AM – One of my friends called me to enquire what happened. But I was still waiting. Suddenly, I was called in and two elderly people – a lady in a well starched sari and a man in suit, asked me to sit. They did try making me comfortable and even asked if I wanted water.

I sent a good 45 minutes with them, trying to convince them that I am the best guy. I showed my smartness, and the intelligence, thanks to the arduous preparation since last many weeks.

Finally, after the grueling 45 minutes they were done, and I left. She told me later that her parents would decide in some days.

Days turned into weeks, and weeks into one whole month. Still no news from her neither her parents. I was anxious and curious. Even if it is a no, she should atleast inform me. Maybe, I would wait for some more time. Maybe I would move on with my life as it is. Maybe. But I needed the answer. This wait was killing me.

I met pavan after long and he was surprised at my state. He asked me for reasons. I was in no mood to chat. Discussion went back to college days and finally came to her. I could not hold back anymore. All the reasons came out.

She finally called one fine day in april, and we spoke for long. She informed me about her discussion with her dad about me, and asked me to wait for a couple more days when her dad would call. She did not know anything about their decision.

One fine afternoon on a hot sunny april. I was at home, just back from college after attending the exams. The last term exams were going on, and I still had three more to go. I was expecting the call anytime, and was hoping it was a positive call. I would get out of my mind, and get totally depressed and would end up screwing my exams if anything went wrong. I wanted her badly, and spent a good part of my college life pursuing her, when I should have been on the football ground, and attending parties in the MVP rooms. I even missed my farewell party, as I had gone to Hyderabad to meet her parents.

I got the call. It was from a common friend – pavan. He said, he had just got a message from her that her dad has let it out, and the result is put up online.

Overcoming my confusion, and the tension I told the same to mom. Damn! My internet was not working at the right time.

I ran to my cousin’s place, informing mom. She started her prayers, and wished me luck.

After waiting, for my cousin’s old Pentium 3 system to start and then waiting for the page to upload on the slow leased line connection, I had landed to the required page.

YOU HAVE BEEN SELECTED FOR THE POST GRADUATE PROGRAMME IN MANAGEMENT, AT INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT, LUCKNOW 2007 – 2009.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Love affair - 2

Hi Guys, am sure you all waiting for the second part of the love affair.

During the summer vacations, I had good fun. I enjoyed my time with her and got pretty close to her. We spent a lot of time together. I spoke to her about my ambitions in detail. I did not understand why she was as unattainable as projected.

Our story continued well after I came back. The first time I proposed to her was on 20th November 2005. She listened to me but gave no response. I was scared shitless after I proposed. Finally some time passed by and I was still scared. I saw all possible dreams of her refusing me. But in one corner of my mind, I still had some hope. But all my fears turned true. When I repeatedly asked her, she said "can't we stay friends for some more time?". I had no answer. But I was not ready to take no.

She told me I was too young for that, and I should wait for some more time, complete my graduation and then think about it. Graduation? I still had one whole year to go.

The association continued. I got a job from an MNC (a good American computer company, and not one of those mass recruiters) , and was having fun in the last year of college but she was still the dream. I still wanted her badly, in spite of the good job and the wonderful prospects ahead of me. We did keep in touch. I still spent time with her.

Even my father had come to know about her, and he was strictly against it. He wanted me to concentrate on my engineering and get into the MNC. I had different thoughts. My mom was supportive of this, and she encouraged me to pursue her. She just wanted me to be happy in whatever I do.

Time passed by and it was almost a year she had last said no.

The date had been decided and I met her and did the inevitable. I proposed. I tried convincing her with all my logic and hold on the vocabulary and the English language (I remember reading this somewhere – girls like guys speaking good English). She threw at me questions I was never prepared for. But, I put up a brave face.

I was sure the whole incident was a disaster. But she left the place without a word later. I waited for her response. With time, my hopes grew. She later sent an SMS saying she would give her answer on next Monday.

This time the response was positive and I was about to jump when she added, I am sure, you are one of the best guys I have come across and I would be happy if I say yes, but, I am not sure yet. She wanted me to convince her parents first.

I was dumbfounded. I did almost cry. But, the fighter in me said, don't give up. I took the wait in my stride. Our friendship continued. Little did she say an outright no. She just wanted to be completely sure.

Time passed by, and I was now in the last term of my graduation. I have to convince her, and spent nights thinking of the same and preparing for the D-Day. February was approaching.
My father repeatedly kept on asking about her. He had a very good opinion and was satisfied with my choice. He went to the extent of saying this was the first sensible decision I had ever taken in the 23 years of my existence.

The association grew stronger. I did not let her off. In one corner of my mind, she was still there. My position in college grew stronger. With it, the number of opportunities also went up.

She had said YES in January, and had said categorically that I had a little over a month to face the next hurdle. It was mid Jan 2007 and I decided to take the plunge. I gathered enough strength to do the dreaded – meet her parents. There was only one goal now and it was her.

With the help of some close confidantes, who were very much facing the same issue, we sketched the plan, and burnt the midnight oil, to pursue my dream.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Love Affair

Ticket please. The TT came in, asking for my ticket. I was off to a north Indian place. After showing him the ticket started staring at the beautiful view outside. Mom was sitting on the opposite seat, and jatin was fast asleep on the top berth. Staring at those lush green fields, and the wonderful trees, my memory started going to a trip. A trip, which has been rollicking, bumpy and also fun all the way.

April 29, 2006.

“The day would forever be etched in my memory. The day she rejected me and the day she said, I was not worthy enough. I had heard her reject me several times before. But this time it was different. I had convinced myself that this has to be the last time I am trying to win her. I can't forever be trying to woo her.”, manoj was ruing.

Was thinking about how it all started…!!

Thoughts came, racing back to me. I was searching for a clean pair of socks to head for a game of basketball, when I heard Pavan, my classmate at college talk about this girl. He was telling a group of our friends, how a lot of people he knew tried to woo her and failed miserably. The list seemed to be full of the who's who of my college.

I tried barging into the discussion telling him, no girl is unachievable. But being the dumb head he was, he did not listen to me. I thought wait till the day the stud (ME!) shows you my magic. No Girl is as unachievable as she seems. It's just pure chemistry buddy, I boasted.

She was destined to come into my life.

This time it was a girl from my class who was relentlessly talking about her. She was telling us how her brother tried and is currently shattered by her rejection. Every one at her home was worried about how he would cope with the dejection.

The word unachievable was still ringing in my ears. I am from the achievers club and unattainable always aroused in me a desire to prove people wrong. Me being me, I was curious to find more about her. I talked to friends and gathered a lot of details about her. I started working towards my goal.

One morning our paths crossed for the first time. The college library was where I first met her. I said hi to her. She did not bother to reply. My male ego was hurt and I left the place fuming and vowing never to see her again in life. But destiny had its own plans in store for me.

Library was destined to be the most important place in my life and Pavan one of the most influential persons. Now when I recollect, it was this association that altered my path forever.

It was 2 weeks after our initial tiff and the location, college library.

She was with Pavan and I tried avoiding meeting them. But, Pavan called after me and I had to go say Hi.

Pavan went ahead with the introductions. Pleasantries were exchanged.

Hi she said and I replied with a curt Hi.

I kept talking to Pavan, who was trying to get her into the conversation. After a futile attempt at avoiding her, she finally started (told you, I am a winner!)

"Did you feel bad the other day", she asked?

"Why should I?", I replied

"Friends??" Out of the blue she asked. Left with no better reason to say otherwise, I said yes.

The day I still remember was 21st December 2004.

This association surged ahead. In no time, I was completely enchanted by her. Thoughts about her drowned me in mire. Rest of the life took a back seat. It was she, she and she in my life. It was time for my exams. I had to pass the exams at any cost to be with her the next year. So, it was time for some serious study.

The night outs and those one day battings came to an end and the thought of staying without her for 2 months during the summer vacations bothered me. I wanted to spend the quality of my summer vacations with her. So, I requested my father to send me to join a crash course. Little did he know of my devious intentions? My father relented.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Life of TARGET

Its now been about three months selling chocolates, and it has just been getting better with every passing day. I have started enjoying sales, what with your daily report card right in front of your eyes every evening.

Chasing numbers of different kinds – Value, volume, coverage, efficiency, productivity and then scheme related targets. These were the lower limit numbers – something that you have to reach. More famously known as TARGETS.

There is another type of number called SLAB, defining the upper limit you can reach. A scheme is always budgeted and under no circumstances is one supposed to exceed them.

After the long mad chase for these numbers called TARGET, I am left wondering what exactly would be the biography of this thing called “Target”.

My humble attempt in profiling this divine phenomena – TARGET. Lets listen to it from the devil’s mouth itself.

My Name is TARGET
Imaginary, Multiple, Worldwide

About Me

Birthday– 1st April/ Every month at some places/ Every week at some other places. As we go lower down the hierarchy I could also be born every single morning.

Location

Arbitrary documents, Excel Sheets, Bosses / Employee’s Brains
Relationship Status- Impossible.

Here for

Sadistic Pleasures, or the kick! The way you take me.

First thing you will notice

I am too far, ever!

Introduction

Hello everyone my name is TARGET.
I exist in various forms across the globe. The biggest bosses in companies and corporate create me to continue their reign. I am thrust upon their subordinates who in turn do the same. I am the source of power for superiors at every level.

I get split into parts when I am thrust down the food chain.

Biggest Boss (1) --> Bigger Boss (3, 4)--> Big Boss (a few)....-->Employee (too many)
(Employee is the last node with no subordinate)

If someone gets too close to me, I am given a boost by the immediate superior.

HaHaHa (sarcastic smile) and I get away again. Yeah sometimes, like it happened to Bharat Jhurani last time, getting too close to me before my expiry could also mean danger. Bharat got too close to me on the 25th itself, and thought he has done a great deal. His boss praises him, showers him with all accolades, and then stretches me, to make me elusive again. The next month onwards, Bharat Jhurani always gets a big version of me!

Family

There are some close relatives of mine who never show up if I am not present.

Namely promotion and raise are my loved cousins. We are so close that they do not go anywhere without me. But they are considered socially awkward by the evil “humor recourse” people. So these people try to keep me away so that my cousins automatically don’t show up.

About Me Again

I enjoy a lot during my life. I see people slog to get me…oh I am so desirable :)
But my lifespan is too short; whether someone gets me or not I will die soon.
And I even know when I will die.

My Favorite tagline

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

Personal Advice

Do try to get me but don’t waste your life for me, coz I have multiple lives.
I will be born again with renewed strength and you will be the same, even more exhausted.

But what the heck I enjoy my life you too do :)

This is me – TARGET, and all the best catching up with me!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

perfect weekend - good end

I am sure by now you have all been following the story of the perfect weekend - I and II, and it is time now to announce the end of the wonderful weekend.

Continuing from the terrace, where me and P spent long hours extending well into the night, we get back.

Sunday morning. As usual we wake up pretty late, and we go out to the same small tea shop to have breakfast. She said she kinda likes the place after thronging the CCDs and the Brasitas of the world, that small shack really felt at home. More in India. Oh! I so like this girl. Se has no airs at all.

It typically happens, fresh into a relationship. You keep thinking and analysing different things. She likes this. She does not like this. With these small observations you would try making a mental picture of her inner mind.

After getting back home after breakfast, we plan to get away soon to catch up a movie. She had her train at 10PM. Damn!

But then we decide otherwise, and come to a common consensus (a rarity with the opposite gender) that the room is a better, more private place.

After spending lots of time doing nothing, but just staring at each other and talking random, we finally decide it is time to get ready if we want to watch the movie. We get ready and head straight to CP – my favourite hangout.

We reach CP right in time for the movie, and she agrees for Quick Gun Murugun after a lot of persuading. I like her. We have our lunch in the PVR itself. The movie was a laugh riot.

After the movie, I met Puneet on the road there walking out of castle 9. He was there with his friends. Me and P then head to Knights to have a late lunch, or rather early dinner. Beer it had to be. I love this girl. Come on, she loves beer!

We then get this crazy idea. My first proper meet with her was here at CP a week back, and we decide, “lets re-create it!”. Lets again go to the same places and relive those precious moments.

We then go to KFC to fill our stomachs with some actual food, rather than just beer and stuff. By the way, P also loves prawns and insisted for some at Knights. Wah! One more match. I am so much in love with this girl. Beer and Prawns, what better can one ask for?

After KFC, and she calling home and all, we also go to the CCD outlet. We were in no mood for a coffee, or anything for that matter. Also, it was already 9:15PM, and her train was about to depart in 45 minutes.

But then, we had to relive those moments. CCD is the place where we first met, and we had to go there. The same outlet. We have tea there, and run for an auto.

I drop her to the station, to send her off. That was an emotional send off. She was occupied with the reality that we would not be meeting for long now. She was going across the seven seas next week, and I would be leaving Delhi soon for my next stint.

I was more occupied thinking about my sleep. I had to go to office tomorrow. Her train starts moving, and I plant a kiss on her cheek and we hug each other. She leaves.

I manage to get back home in an autorickshaw. I reach home at about 11:15.

Well, 45 more minutes. The weekend is not yet over guys!

At home, Puneet is drinking with his friends – the same ones we met at CP. I join them, with some beer.

At about 11:45, we are done with all alcohol, and Abhinav too was back after the L reunion meet.

We all have a con call, and then i go to sleep. A very well spent weekend I was just thinking. And also, I have to sleep well, I have office tomorrow and it has to be a big day!

Puneet runs towards my room. “Dude, that guy is puking. What do we do of him?

Ha ha! The room is all messed up and stinking, and no amount of AXE spray helps.

yaar, tereko pata hoga ulti karne walo ko kaise handle karein”, puneet tells me.

Make him eat a lemon, or some water. It get him hydrated”, I reply.

Chill dude, just leave the guy. Let him extract the full out of his puke”, abhinav says with a definite assertiveness.

We all collectively agree that nothing much can be done. Let the other guy, who has no clue with the happenings, be there sleeping dead like he is on Pot.

The puking guy was left to his own peril. He was too heavy to be even budged from his own puke.

Puneet sleeps in the couch. TB is in my room, and the slosh guy is lost in his own puke!

Ha ha! Perfect ending to an amazing weekend! Looking for more!!!

This series of the perfect weekend was inspired by real people and real events, but to maintain the interest of the reader (you!) it has been converted to a work of pure fiction adding the necessary masala and curry wherever the tone went bland!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Perfect Weekend - II

After the wonderful response on the beginning of the perfect weekend, and the complete approval of the rest of the post, here i am with the continuation.

Continuing from the previous post, where I left you all eating at comesum at 3:30 in the morning. My friends then thought of getting back home, though I suggested staying over for some more time and then going to the new delhi station directly from there. (Why?)

We get back home at about 4AM, and then after a quick conference call, we retire to the bed. Doc was really sleepy and so were all of us. Me and puneet were woken up from sleep a couple of hours back for Comesum

At about 7AM, I get a call on my phone and I lazily answer it. “Hello.. I have reached the station. Are you there?”, the voice on the other side screams.

Huh! Oh okay, babes I am so sorry", Damn the alarm clock.

"Can you please come down on your own?”

She replies, “ Cool, no issues”, with a very obvious disappointed tone.

I sleep for some more time, and then again get a call.

Hi, I am at the gurudwara!”, the same voice.

Ah! Oh.. I.. I.. I am on my way. See you there in two minutes”.

Saying this, I quickly grab hold of my brush and finish shining my teeth. It was more to get over the smell of the cigarettes and masala dosa we had at comesum early in the morning.

Trying to hold my tracks ,I run down to the nearby gurudwara.

Hi baby, missed you so much.”, and I plant a kiss. It did not really impress her.

She was already walking towards the house when I pick her up. Visibly angry that I did not come to the station and then again for the long time I took in coming down here to lead the way home from the gurudwara.

One more kiss. Hope this gets her out of her angry mood.

The real reason that got me late to the gurudwara was not the brushing, but waking up Doc. He was sleeping in my room, and I had to clear him before getting P. Seriously, that was tough and time consuming.

Before entering the house with her, I peeped into my room to ensure the fatso was gone. He was still in there!!! I had to make her wait in the balcony, get this lazy bum out of my room to the couch in the dining room, and then get her to the room.

Lots of kisses, hugs and sweet talk later, we realize that we are hungry. This was like at about 10AM. It took us one more hour, and many more kisses and “ I love you.. I miss you” stuff, to realise we had to get up to be in time for the breakfast.

At about 11, we finally get up from the bed, still not tired of the kisses. We lazily walk down the road, crossing the gurudwara to the tea point at sharmaji's.

After a sumptuous bread omelette and tea, we walk back home. Even doc, who was sitting idle in the living room all this time, getting bored and trying hard to read a book lying there, joined us for breakfast. He is good company, and is a thorough gentleman with girls around. That much credit I give him. But then so am I! remember Doc, that night at QBA.

Doc asks me if I could stay out of the room for sometime, as he wanted to get ready, and I had to agree. I spent some good time in the balcony with P, reading newspapers, and talking about the wonderful view of the balcony, overlooking the garden. Dreams flew by, and so did talks, that we nearly ended up living in bungalow with a huge balcony. We just designed our future home in great detail.

Doc was done, and he was going to meet his grad friends. We bid him a good bye, and got back to our own little sweet, non-ac room. The other room mates were still all sleeping dead, with their ac ON!

Again after idling for long and chatting, at about 2 we decided to go out for lunch, and after further lethargy we got up from the bed. Not before I got kissed a good three times! (This was the bribe to get me off the bed!)

We went down to SAKET, the closest hang out place from our home, and were thinking of watching a movie. She was more enthu for kaminey.. while I wanted to watch Quick Gun murugun. We finally zeroed in on LAK. The show was at 5:30PM, and it was still only 3, so we though of having good lunch.

We entered this awesome british restaurant at SAKET, where a single pint of beer costed Rs.250/-. Shit expensive. Well, I had just got my salary a couple of days back, and it was an impressive six figure. I was in total mood for indulgence. We indulged.

A beer each please. Carlsberg”, I directed the fake smile faced chinese waitress.

Wow! This was turning out be like the best lunch date. I am out with a beautiful girl, and she loves beer. She also loved the prawns. Wow! A complete match.

At about 4 something, one pint beer down, we get mischievous. She heads towards the rest room, and we take full advantage of the isolated common area between the men’s and women’s washroom. Amazing! I had just seen it happening in films.

After that, I had one more beer, and she decides that she would just take a sip or two from mine. She was not that used to beer apparently. In the bill, we realize that happy hours are on, and we are entitled to one more beer due to the one plus one offer on. Beer anyday, so I go for one more beer, while her highness just stares at me. She had now shed her inhibhitions and after sitting long on the opposite chair, decides that it is better if she sits closer, right next to me. this way she can talk better is what she claimed! I believe otherwise though.

Probably one of the best luncheons I have ever had.

We then head to the auditorium and watch the movie. Corner seats.

After the movie, we were again on this decisive mode. One more movie, or home? She decides home it is, where we could have a romantic evening together. Anything for you ma’am!

We head straight to home, and change. We then set off again, to get some beer. Yes, she has now developed a taste for it. My roomies ask if I can get them some beer too, but then their order size was way too much to carry. One full case!

Me and P, head to the local theka, get three bottles of beer and then head to Café Coffee Day. CCD has a prominent place in our relationship. Our first date was at one of the many CCD outlets here in Delhi.

After spending some quality time there, me ogling at the beauty of delhi girls. (psst. There were two very good looking (read Supermodel type) girls sitting opposite to our table!)

We head back home, and order for Domino’s pizza and their newly launched pasta for dinner. Perfect romantic setting it has to be.

The pizzas arrive in sometime, while we were catching up with the 4th season of HIMYM on my lappy. She goes to the restroom for a minute, and I take this opportunity to have the perfect setting.

After a quick clean up of the room – clearing the newspapers and books, getting the bed clean, and arranging the laptop in a comfortable place. I then light a candle that I had bought earlier that week, and switch off the lights.

She is in for a huge shock. Obviously!

Dark room. Candle lights. Pizza and pasta with beer, and a super hot guy (Me! ). She was visibly impressed and gave me a tight hug.

All this for me?”, she whispers, nearly in tears.

yes darling!”, and I get a tighter hug.

After sometime out of the pleasant surprise and the hug, we settle down to have dinner and the beer.

What a pleasant time that was – everything was perfect. To add on, she was not like the other girls who always minded beer! (girls please, beer is much more better than vodka!)

After dinner, we head to the terrace which was my second plan. One more romantic setting. I just had this one night, so I had to get in everything fitted in right then.

Alas! I could not get the time to arrange anything up there at the terrace, but the moonlight did the magic.

With beer in my hand, and P in my arms, it was a wonderful feeling altogether. So now, if you my dear reader would please allow. i would like to spend some private time with my dream.

to be continued..

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Snippets

idle browsing through the internet prompted me to start this. Small snippets of the interesting (to me!) happenings in and around out little world.

Sorry if most of these are marketing related events, but can't help. You can't expect a chocolate salesman to write about Rocket launches and underground sewage system right!

What next?

Lazy people, and insomniacs demand an apology from karan johar. The movie’s title has hurt their sentiments. Why should someone force me to wake up. This is a free country, and I have all the right to keep sleeping, with anyone er! I mean anytime.

Two months here in delhi has made me literally fall in love with the city. Everything out here is amazing. Especially the food. There are so many eateries, offering a wide range of options to satisfy every pocket. In fact, my favourite part in MINT is their weekend mid page where they have a tie up with TIME OUT, listing all the happenings in the metro. The food section there gets the most time share.

One more addition to the same is PlanForMe.com, a one-stop solution for all planning needs related to the food and hospitality industry, with its new print avatar of the website, in the form of a magazine called Food and Nightlife.

It is being positioned as a Delhi-centric magazine. With a cover price of Rs 30, the 60-page magazine will have an initial print run of 50,000 copies. Editorial content will form 70 per cent of the pages, while the remaining 30 per cent will be advertisements.

An the best part, By the end of this financial year, PlanForMe will be operational in Mumbai and Pune. By 2010, the company hopes to expand its reach to all the metros.

Though I am not all that a big foodie, who does not like good food?

Coming to the basic needs of life - mobile phones. no hello! it is no more the luxury it was a couple of years back. Now everyone holds a mobile. infact, a recent article in ET states that many indians actually have more than a single connection. trust india on extracting the maximum of schemes. i work for an MNC, selling chocoltes, and deal with distributors and retailers on a daily basis. trust me, even a 1% scheme, which might ammount to less than a few hundreds in a transaction of about a lakh matters a lot.

Anyways, coming back to the core issue - mobile phones. How many of you feel you are addicted to your mobile?. 99 out of 100 would refuse and claim that it is just another thing. But well, I firmly believe that 99 of 100 are actually addicted! Okay. Debatable.

Okay, chuck that. How many of you actually sleep with the mobile phone next to you?. A vast majority I am sure. A study says, “more than four in 10 Americans say they “can’t live” without their mobile phone and and nearly half sleep with it nearby”, according to a global mobile-phone survey from Synovate, which found that cellphones are increasingly becoming consumers’ “remote controls for life.”

This issue is something I have been working on for the past couple of months. Diwali gifting.

With the festive season well underway, people are gradually loosening their purse strings. Freebies, gift packs, discounts – FMCG players have pulled out all stops to attract customers. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dabur and Parle are some players that have come up with attractive schemes as in the previous years. All major players are eyeing 25-30 per cent growth in sales during the festive season. And well, my company is aiming much more than that. A never before seen spectacle.

Coca-Cola with its ‘Coca-Cola Khushiyan Replay’ consumer promotion campaign, a computer generated lucky draw would provide consumers with a chance to win Camcorders every hour for the next 40 days

Not to be left behind, PepsiCo India has come up with no less than eight different kinds of beverage gift packs consisting of its brands – Pepsi, 7Up, Mirinda and Tropicana, along with gift packs of snacks brands like Kurkure, Lays and Leher Namkeen. Damn! Direct competition. “Chitta, yeh teri boundary hai.. aur yeh meri. Mere area mein aake maal mat bechna!”
Can Dabur remain far? They have started selling gift packs with health as the selling point. Along with the real juice packs, the ‘Gift of good living’ – a container consisting Chyawanprash, Honey and Squeezy Honey would try to further the basic brand appeal – health.

Parle is also participating in the race, giving away free gift packs of Hide & Seek, Milano and assorted biscuits.

And who creates this category? Who shifts the consumer from the traditiona mithai and the dry fruits gifting of Diwali? more on that soon.

Last summer, during my stay at home, I was filled with nostalgia when I spoted a young cousin of mine reading the latest issue of Tinkle. I, like many of my age, have grown with Tinkle, chacha choudhary and the likes. And now Suppandi – the funny simpleton character from the magazine, is set to jump out from comic strips to the silver screen. ACK Media is producing a stereoscopic three-dimensional animation film, with Suppandi as the main character. The film would hit cinema halls in November 2010.

So these are small random items to keep you occupied before you read the rest of my weekend. I have already written it, and it has gone seven seas across for proof reading and editing. Will post it once it is approved!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Wake Up Sid - Movie Review

Last weekend once agin was an extended weekend – thank you bapu. So me along with my roomies decided to watch Wake up Sid. Now I realize it has been really long that I have actually reviewed a movie. Not that I have not seen any. The last three months I have seen the maximum number of movie, if the number of movie/ week is calculated for any period of my life. Huh! An MBA makes you this.

now the review.. (chuck the globe, i care a damn about your movie outings!)

This movie is different from other karan johar ventures. It takes inspiration from Dil Chahta hai, Rock on and the types. It is about the today’s world. Today’s youth. Today’s generation and their problems.

It is about a coming of age we all go through. It’s a film that instantly strikes a chord because it’s full of snapshots from our own lives.

Sid is a grown-up kid, not a “man”, as he is often told by his good friend Aisha. Sid is a rich, lazy, unmotivated slacker from Mumbai. Between the kid and the man lies the struggle to find one’s identity, a struggle to figure out what is it that one wants to do in life.

When college days are over, it’s time to think beyond i-pods, parties, get-togethers and to chalk out a career. “But why?” He can, because he’s got a rich dad who even tries to lure him into his business with the promise of a latest Porsche as a gift. And the next thing you see is Sid sprawled on a chair in his dad’s office, munching on a pizza and yapping on his cell. A grown-up kid not willing to wake up to the altered reality around him.


When Sid flunks his college exam (and it feels terrible trust me!) he finds himself in a tight spot. Tired of being taunted by his parents, he leaves his home and moves in with his best buddy Aisha, who’s come to Mumbai to be “independent”. There, living with Aisha , Sid is confronted by his harsh reality. He can’t cook for his life. He doesn’t have a job. His credit card is blocked. And on top of it all, he finds that he’s carried the disorder of his own life into Aisha’s. It’s time to wake up. “ hello good morning”.

one can karan for those high rise moments which would draw a person to the theatre. For instance, that scene when Sid is photographing a mother cuddling up her kid. In a flash Sid becomes aware of his own love for his mother

Wake Up Sid is a light hearted movie that will make you smile. Full credit goes to Ranbir Kapoor and Konkana Sen Sharma's flawless acting. Ranbir spellbinds you with an endearing act like his expression by using his eyes, his voice, his oddly-pitched laugh and the tiniest of tics to make a flesh-and-blood character out of Sid.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Perfect Weekend - Humble Beginning

While in college I don’t remember ever waiting for a weekend. There everyday was like a weekend, and every weekend was like any other normal day. Simple, if there are impending assignments, deadlines, exams the weekend is spent in the library, and if there is nothing of that sort any day could be a Sunday.

But well, it does not work that way in corporate life. Here after a whole week of sweating out in the hot sun, one starts to wait desperately for the weekend. Sometimes the wait begins from Wednesday itself.
So here was this awesome weekend I had, and I am sure it is going to be a memorable one for a long time to come.

It all started right from Friday evening. After a whole day of sales on the streets of rajendar nagar, I was dead tired and just wanted to crash on the bed. I reached home at about 8:30 just to discover that the maid has not come. So no dinner! Ah! I was too lazy to actually order something. Chuck the dinner, I am sleeping. And wroom I am on the bed dead asleep.

P calls, and some others too, but I don’t care. I am too asleep to even listen to the “twist” ringtone on my N72. Doc tries calling and messaging but I am not part of this external bliss. I am deep into slumber. At about 1, I hear bangs in my room, and the light on! A huge body is standing in front of me, and is ready to pounce on me. Oh! My Gawd! Is there a bull at home? Nah! It was Doc.

Doc is home, and after his tries of waking me up get futile he tries abhinav, and is successful. After exchanging the initial pleasantaries (read expletives) and the hugs (read fights), and a smoke, we come to a conclusion that we all are hungry. But well, no food in the kitchen. Doc has this crazy plan – lets go to comesum.

So, now while we have the much required night snack at ComeSum, you too go grab yourself a bite.

Coming up with the subsequent continuation soon..

Thursday, September 24, 2009

FASTFORWARD - Marketing channel

In this ever-changing digital environment, it can often be tough for businesses and marketers to keep up and maintain relevance to consumers. To help this out, google has partnered with The Wharton School to launch Fast.Forward. This site is full of helpful content, including more than 100 videos from leading industry experts — like google CEO, Eric Schmidt — and academics like Jerry Wind, Lauder Professor at The Wharton School, AAAA CEO Nancy Hill, offering their perspectives on the changing world of marketing.

it elaborates on how to build community and customer bases in the digital landscape, through extensive videos. The Channel shows communications professionals how they can evolve to cut through the noise and spam, and build loyal audiences with tech savvy people.

Through short videos from some of the top industry minds the group hopes to challenge marketers to take risks and create better campaigns. For now, the site comes up short as the videos appear to answer questions in a very general manner with few specifics in terms of tactics and strategy. The most promising component of the site appears to be the "Free Tools" section with a list of resources including links to a website optimizer, search insights and 3rd party trends data from Facebook and Twitter. Right now, all of those links are dead.

The first rule of marketing: test your product.

As consumers become more and more technologically savvy, businesses and marketers have worked quickly to keep up. As a result, many companies are left questioning what they aren't doing that they should be, or what they should do next to stay in front of the right people, in the right place, at the right time, in an increasingly digital world.

A similar initiative by the UK marketing team of google, survival of the fittest already exists in partnership with London Business School.

More importantly, the videos also take a look at the implications of those changes for marketers and consumers. These experts tackle topics ranging from the importance of innovation and insights, to the new definition of speed. On the flipside, we also have videos from interviews with everyday folks, where we learn about the roles advertising and online content play in their daily lives.

In addition to the library of videos, the brand channel offers a "barometer" gauging consumer confidence levels and links to free tools designed to help marketers understand the online world a little better, as well as information on the Future of Advertising. A Wharton-led, research-based project, the Future of Advertising aims to explore and address a number of the business and marketing challenges in the current "Advertising Reality", while developing new models and empirical generalizations for advertising.

the event section aims to cover major marketing meets and events, coming up with some interesting behind the scenes footage.

So if you're interested in hearing what others really think about "advertising", if you want to check out what's happening at Advertising Week, or if you have your own opinion that you'd like to voice, check it out.

IDEA to airtel - with the same number

Mobile Number Portability (MNP), which has been on the anvil for long will finaly be implemented by the beginning of the next year. It would allow subscribers to retain their mobile telephone number while discarding one service provider for another.

So, airtel today, wait aircel has come up with pocket internet – SHIFT! Four days and boom I am on a different network. It would take a maximum of 12 days in Jammu & Kashmir, Assam and north eastern circles, though.
March 20, 2010 is stipulated to be the deadline for this to be implemented all across the country.
Ofcourse, there would be charges for the shift, and some other formalities, which I guess is completely worth the pain.

Brand loyalty is on question, and the consumer is the ultimate winner. The fight for ARPU (average revenue per user) is going to get more fiercer, and the telecom is to see some interesting times ahead.

I so thank TRAI for this initiative, though delayed. I had bought an IDEA sim long back in 2003, when other players were not all that good in network. But boom! What happens, as time passed by, other players came up with good exciting offers, and IDEA was still with the old times.

NIGHT call free, SMS at 1ps, and so many such offers which my college friends took full advantage with very good returns on the personal front. But I just lagged.

Why? I did not want to change my number! Now I finally can get out of idea’s hold.

I guess the next initiative of the government should be to absolve inter state roaming issues too. India is one country, and calling someone from kerala to JnK should be the same, as calling someone in the next room.

Maybe atleast, TRAI could come up with number portability inter state. So, for a person like me, who would keep shifting states would not have to change the number with every state.

All this would just increase the churn among the operators, which is at a very high level even now - 4.5 per cent per month in india, which roughly means that more than half India's over 400 million subscribers change operators in a year.

All for the good of the consumer!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Getting social

Trust rediff.com to stir the best of the discussions. There was a story recently on someone gaining access to a celebrity’s social network and how it played havoc with the victim’s life, while she was busy shopping in London.

Thus a discussion page started, about the pros ad cons of social networking. Look at some of the comments:

You need to select your password which is impossible to guess...and should also be alphanumeric and contain special characters which make the haccker's job a little difficult. Being a non-dictionary word is recommended


Well for an online identity a password is a must. The social networking site recommends the same. The issue here is, the hacker (or hacker as you would cal them) need not guess the password. There are system bots and other such malicious software which could leak the password too, without any importance given to the complexity of the password. It be “bharat”, or “gh56&*$hu”.

This would no doubt keep continuing till a biometric system is much in vogue. Already many computers are inbuilt with finger print recognition, so that could be enabled with passwords too.

Wide Spread Porn is circulated.

Every thing in the name of social?

Authority must look into curb it.

Wide Spread Porn" its there everywhere...

its a mentality bor...

intenet/social sites are just a modern medium..

Authority cannot do anything as they could not stop pros in last 100 years..how do you expect them to stop something that is already there in the society.. go ahead and legalize it accept it you problem will be solved

Right said my boy. Porn would exist, and I don’t see any reason for it not to. Yes, on sites which are meant for children NO. But well, every site has an agreement form to be signed up declaring that the user’s age is above 18. What else could the site authorities do? Physical verification?

And like we in sales say,

Undercutting is like prostitution, it would always exist, no matter what!
Similarly porn to internet, the sooner we realize the better it is.


Except email address do not disclose any other contact details in social networking sites

Why email address? I get large amount of junk mails everyday. (I do get genuine business enquiries and thats why I had advertised it) But there is always a danger that it may be misused
.

Never ever give away your official email ids on these forums. Email ids are free people, so why not create a special id only for these spam mail generating websites?

Social networking is a wonderful thing online, and has helped a lot many people to reconnect and unite. There is bound to be misuse, but then simple measures can help us to be away from them.

Monday, September 07, 2009

management funda in reaching the station

I am sitting here at the busy railway station and writing this article, waiting.

After sleeping at 3AM, on a Saturday night what time do you expect one to wake up on a sunday morning? Not before noon atleast, no matter what. The just gone Saturday was no different. We started drinking right from 10PM, and went on and on. After finishing off all the stock in the huge 165 litre refrigerator at about 2AM, Kapil gets this idea to go out for an ice cream. Not that we wanted to eat an ice cream, but just for the heck of it. We agreed.

So, after an ice cream and then a conference call in the balcony, we managed to sleep at 3AM. I set an alarm on my N72 for 6AM. What? 3 hours. You want to wake up at 6AM on a Sunday morning? Have you gone crazy?
Nah! I have a train to catch.

I am going to Chandigarh for a week for my upcountry stint.
Next day morning, at 6AM sharp the alarm started ringing on my cellphone. I have on purpose set a very irritating tone, so that it drives me crazy and I get compelled to wake up. I have been using this technique, and this very tone, right since my MBA days. I also always keep the mobile a little far from the bed, such that I would have to get up from the bed to switch it off.

But damn the snooze option on the mobile, I picked up the phone from the dressing table, put it on snooze and went back to sleep! I kept doing this for the next half an hour, or probably a little more.

At about 6:40, I happened to glance at the clock on the mobile screen and I was like,” what the fuck?.. I am Late!”. The train is scheduled to depart at 7:40, and the station is a good 45minutes journey by an auto. I am doomed.

I completed the morning ablutions in a whisker, changed and after bidding a good bye (I just shouted to the sleeping mates informing them that I am leaving), I left home. As usual, Malviya nagar is the only area in Delhi probably, where the auto guys feel more comfortable travelling without any passenger on their back seat.

After some negotiations (against my favour), and convincing (more of begging!), one auto guy agreed to come over for 90 bucks. The normal journey is charged at about 70 something. I did not really have the time to negotiate. This is at 7:10, and the train departs in another half an hour, there is no way that I could reach the station.

I kept pressurizing him to drive fast, and I urging him again and again. I had an unlit cigarette in my hand, which was not getting lighted due to the high speed of the auto, and the flowing wind, but I was more concerned about the speed of the auto. i just kept holding it.

I was so wishing that there be some system (or its failure), like in the movie SPEED, where the bus should not be below a particular limit of speed else it would blow up.

After about 10 minutes I ask him, “bhaiyya, aur kitna time lagega?”

He replies, “yahan se.. kam se kam 20 minute to lagenge

That makes it 7:35. That would imply that I will have to miss the train. No! this can’t happen, and I realize I have to convince him hard. This talk happens at a red crossing, and I light the cigarette taking advantage of the lack of motion in the auto.No, I want the damn thing to be in motion, in full throttle.

I again tell him in a desperate manner, “bhaiyya jaldi please, fast. Meri train 7:30 ko hai

(Management funda: keep some buffer for yourself)

Even in sales or any field for that matter, every level of the hierarchy has some extra buffer target for himself, and sets a slightly higher target when apportioning his target to the sub-ordinates.

He replies, “Arrey, aap to late ho jaenge sir. Thodi jaldi nikalna tha na!

This is how a saleman would reply while taking note of his targets. He would try his best not to accept the target, and keep cribbing that it is too high. Acceptance of defeat even before the war has started.
Now he is started zooming the vehicle but I am not convinced.

Yeah, as if I don’t know that i should have started early. Now I have got late, and lets do something about it. I try using the next funda of management.

(Management funda: Incentivize!)

I try making him believe, without making it explicit that he would get more money if I reach in time for the train.

It seems to be working, he has set the vehicle in full throttle, but probably he could do more. Now getting to the next principle,

(management Funda: Motivate and make him accountable.)

I try sweet talking to him, without disturbing his concentration on the road. I tell him inspiring things like, “Bhaiyya, ab aapke saath hun to aapko time par pahunchana hi padega. yeh aapka farz banta hai”.

I try to make him realize that it is like a question of his competency. These are the moments when his true skills are under test, and I also try to make him proud of his years of experience (18 years in this case). Ultimately, he is made to believe that his passengers should reach in time wherever they want to, and this becomes his most important KPI (key performance indicator). This is the pride of work that he lives for everyday, drives an auto all day.

Now the final nail, the traffic signals. He is still forced to stop at the signals, though it serves no purpose. It just delays my journey to the station.

(Management funda: authorize!)

I request him to jump traffic signals, and assure that I would pay the fine if any. I convince him that there are no cops around, and even try to keep in good humour by joking that all the policemen would be busy sleeping on their beds, afterall it is a Sunday morning.

He zooms, and I am at the station at 7:35 sharp! Huh! 5 more minutes left. Thanxs for the buffer time . It is so really important. We should probably have a complete elective on this in B-Schools.

I run towards the platform, asking passersby which platform is the shatabdi on.

It is on platform 2, or rather it was. I run towards the platform. I am on the foot over bridge and I can see the train moving! I run at the top of my speed, with two bags hanging on my shoulders, and screech down the stairs. still puffing!
.
.
.
.
..3 and a half hours later..
.
.
.
it is 11:15AM and I am still at the station waiting.

.
.
.
.
Well, at the Chandigarh station!, waiting for Rajeev to pick me up. Yes, I did catch the train!

Now all ready for one complete week in upcountry parwanoo away from the hustle-bustle of city life.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Awesome Monday

Its been more than a month here at Delhi, and after those initial hiccups I am now completely enjoying the stint. The days are filled with learning the nitty gritties of the processes and systems in selling chocolates. And the weekends are filled with loadsa fun and frolic. The campus setting is all recreated, what with the same bunch of people staying up together – every night is a potential party night.

Especially the past two weekends have been really awesome, and am sure its going to stay memorable for a long time to come. This post is about the awesome Monday that I had last week.

Early in the morning I was woken up at 4AM (my gawd! Who wakes up at that time? Not even the birds!), and after getting ready into my formal attire we start off to the New Delhi railway station at about 5. The train was to departure at 6:15AM, and we reach the station well in time. After the train departs, I wonder what to do?

Go back to malviya nagar, and start for gurgaon later? No point in this, as I would have to start as soon as I reach home. So a better option would be to get going to guragon (my office for the day, as discussed), though it is quite early to office. I take a bus to Dhaula Kuan, and then take another crowded bus from there to IFFCO chowk in gurgaon. I manage to reach gurgaon at 8 itself, while the office starts at 9:30 something.

After hanging around, and having breakfast at a roadside eatery, and tea and smoke, at about 8:45 i enter the office to find all staring in a strange manner. It was just the maintenance staff doing the cleaning, and by their looks it was apparent they did not recognize me. When I start settling down in my boss’s cubicle a guy comes running towards me.

sir, kaun ho aap?” (who are you?)

Okay, now that was pretty straight forward.

I reply calmly, with a smile on my face, “mein yahin par kaam karta hun” ( I work here)

Another guy comes in, and remembers serving me countless cups of tea, and thus confirms my appointment.

After lazing around there for some time, and a visit to the bathroom I try settling down in the cubicle. Right then, I get a call from boss, who asks me to come down to rohini instead.

Great! I check on googlemaps on my mobile, and it shows rohini being 40km away form where I am right now. It would take atleast 2hrs to reach there and that too after blowing up a considerable amount of money on travel, and a sojourn in the crowded public transport.

Can I do something about it? No! So, well a sleep starved myself gets on into a rickshaw to get to IFFCO chowk. Now another irony here is, I don’t know the best way to reach rohini. I was initially thinking of reaching Dwarka, take a metro back to central delhi and change for the metro to rohini. Nice option it seemed.

Luckily the shared cab I got into was going to azadpur, and my googlemaps (to which I remained hooked during the travel), showed that it is on my way to rohini. On confirmation with the driver and paying an additional 10 rupee, I could still sit in the cab. I get down at wajirpur (thank you googlemaps), and then catch an auto from there to the distributor point where I was supposed to reach.

At the distributor point I am in for a shock – it is locked. Oh! How could I forget, this market remains closed on Mondays!

I call up my boss again, who then asks me to come down to prashanth Vihar instead. Awesome! The map showed that to be comparatively close. I walk out from the market to the main road, and try loking for empty autos to ply me there. I could just find a rickshaw, who argues of coming only till madhubhan chowk. I was helpless, and I had to take it.

At madhuban chowk, after crossing the huge traffic signal lights there, and the metro above, I get to the other side of the road. I am again looking for an auto or a rockshaw to ply me till my final destination (hopefully). After a wait, and walk, of about 15mins in that hot sun I finally get a rickshaw. And after asking a zillion people, and travelling randomly I finally locate one of the sales officers, and get assured. Yes, I have finally reached the required destination.

I get a call from my friend, who announces her arrival to lucknow. Wah! I am just crisscrossing aross NCR, and within this time people have reached lucknow. The time it takes for me to office, is as good as the time taken to reach lucknow. Well, such is life!

The destination I reached was a food court called rameshwarams. Yes, we generally have our meetings at such places, and that day was the time for mid year review. I just sit on my laptop trying to interact with the sales officers, and trying to complete the work assigned.

After about 4 hrs there in the food court, discussing random stuff ranging from stock markets to the trip to manali, and also working in between, I get to talk to my boss at about 4.Well, the lesser I talk about the meeting the better it is.

At about 5, after being dropped to the metro station I set out home. I reach home at about 6:30 and find my cell phone battery down. Damn! Last one minute probably and I try caling up TB (my room-mate), but before he could answer, the battery is dead. It so felt like that scene in hindi movies, where a person is dying in the lap and is uttering something very important earnestly, but before he could say the actual thing he is dead falling on the lap of the holder, mostly with the eyes open.

Now no keys for home, TB had said he would be going to the snooker parlour. And I don’t know where it is. I have a pair of keys that Abhinav ( another of my room-mate) had given me a week back or so. I go home with a heavy laptop bag on my shoulders and hoping that the key would do the job. Nah! How could life be so simple?

After trying hard, and even going to the terrace and having a smoke hoping that TB would be back by then I give up.

I had to use some salesman jugaad (more about it in detail in the ensuing posts) to get through this. I could not be waiting for ever for TB. I walk down to Sharmaji (the tea stall owner), and hav a tea. I was looking for a dispenser hung somewhere with mobile chargers. They are such a common site in malls. But well, why would any pug following company set one up here in this housing locality.

Then an awesome idea strikes me.

Sharmaji, aapke paas mobile ka charger hai kya?”, I shout to the tea stall owner.

He gets all eager to help and asks his wife to check. The disappointment on his face when his wife finds one was apparent. He obviously did not want me to mess up with his things, lest I spoil them. He anyways gives the charger to me.

Alas! Why did nokia have to change their charger specifications? This one was of a thick pin, while my mobile jock accepts the thin one.

Now if you are still wondering why could I just not call up TB? Well, blame the mobile phones In the good olden days we would all have a small pocket diary having all the important numbers, but no more. The contacts were all in that dead phone. It seriously set me thinking, what if my mobile dies a permanent death someday. I would really land up in tough times.

I again get this rockstar idea, trying to convince myself – “come on dude.. you are a salesman.. use salesman jugaad

I ask,or did it sound more like a demand “sharmaji, ek baar apna phone dena”.

Sharmaji, who by now was relieved that I had left his charger did not know that I had more serious plans. He replies,

sorry sir, isme balance nahi hai.”

Okay, I am not interested in using up your balance.

nahi mere paas bhi number nahi hai.. mujhe to kuch aur chaiye”, i chuckle.

Very reluctantly he hands me over the phone, and just stands beside me. This phone really means a lot to him probably. I am sure, even a stock broker would not take his own phone so seriously.

I start removing the battery, and sharmaji screams as soon as I open the compartment of his phone.

yeh kya kar rahe ho.. kharab ho jaega!”, he is visibly worried.

kuch nahi hoga. Aapka phone sahi salamt aapko wapas kar dunga”, I try explaining him calmly.

Yes. The salesman jugaad has worked yet again. I call up TB from my mobile having sharmaji’s battery, and TB gets back home in 5 minutes. I can now go home in peace to open doors.

After such a frustrating day, a person sure needs some vent out. I change into shorts and go out with puneet to CCD. After a relaxing black coffee, without sugar (no! not inspired from love aaj kal, I am addicted to this right since my 4 seasons days in vizag), it feels completely calm.

I am ready for the next day, ofcourse after a good night’s sleep. It seems like days since I have slept.

Thus ended an eventful Monday, after a very good weekend. Now you know where the term Monday morning blues came from

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Online CAT: Further Update

Okay, I am in corporate life now, and I sell chocolates for a living. My job is to ensure that chocolate are available in every nook and corner of my territory and plentiful in that. But the passion of teaching still lies within and CAT coaching is something I have been doing for sometime now, and I think it is my moral responsibility to keep my readers updated about any new happenings in this arena. Especially after it being declared that CAT is going to be online from this syear, and I am sure this has created lots of apprehensions and doubts in the minds of the aspirants. So some more dope on this –

This is from an article on watblog about the recent update.

We all know that CAT is about to go online from this year, and in all probability it is going to be a computer based test.

The Common Admission Test (CAT) after recent months of speculation will finally be held Online this year. IIM has announced further details regarding Online CAT conducted from this year. CAT would no longer be a one day – one session appearance test but would now be conducted in 10 day long schedule with two test sessions in a day.

CAT-2009 will be held during November 28, 2009 to December 7, 2009. A candidate will be given choice in terms of test date, session (morning/afternoon), and venue across thirty centers (cities) all over India, subject to availability.

To appear for Online CAT, candidates will need to purchase scratch-vouchers from the designated bank branches, and later register online for CAT 2009. Vouchers would go on sale from 9 September 2009.

Some more frequently asked questions about CAT 2009

  • When is the advertisement for CAT 2009 going to appear?

CAT Advertisement will appear in leading newspapers on Sunday, 30 August 2009.

  • Once  the   advertisement   appears, is   one   expected  to   buy  CAT   bulletin   from  designated banks?

No. One does not have to buy a bulky CAT bulletin. We want to go paperless. A prospective candidate buys a scratch-voucher from the designated bank branches, and, later registers online for CAT 2009.

  • When does the sale of voucher start and end?

Sale of vouchers starts on Wednesday, 9 September 2009 at designated bank branches and their associate outlets. The sale ends on Thursday, 1 October 2009.

  • When and how do I register for CAT 2009 after buying the voucher?

Online registration for CAT 2009 will also begin on Wednesday, 9 September 2009 and end on Thursday, 1 October 2009.Instructions on access to online registration will be given in the voucher, and, detailed registration instructions will be on the CAT website.

  • When will CAT be held and can I choose a test date?

CAT  will  be   held  during the  period Saturday, 28 November 2009  – Monday, 7 December   20009. Yes, you can choose a test date, session (morning/afternoon), and venue across thirty centers (cities) all over India, subject to availability.

  • Can you give more details on taking test in a CBT format?

Starting  Sunday, 30 August 2009, CAT website – www.catiim.in will provide all the details.

A more comprehensive list of Online sites to help candidates are linked here.

So all the best towards your preparation for CAT, which I am sure is going on in full swing by now.

Till then, have a look at this article in TOI, and relish.

Booze flowed free for over 100 villagers, including women, who partied hard after a truck carrying foreign liquor overturned on NH-5 in Jaipur district.

Ah! Now when is such going to happen in Delhi. But what the heck? Alcochol is anyways dirt cheap in this union territory. Cheers Guys!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Mallu agzent

HI All, long time. Well, have joined office and have been travelling to places the last few weeks. Presently have been posted in Delhi for my sales officer stint for three months. (in detail this weekend!!)

Landed in Mumbai first, and then set out to some hill resort near Pune. Was back to Mumbai for a couple of days, and then packed off to Cochin for two days. Back to Mumbai, just to catch the next morning flight to Chandigarh. After an amazing week in Chandigarh and its adjoining places, am here back in Mumbai.

The last couple of weeks were filled with immense learnings, and loadsa fun. As they say it here, am presently in the honeymoon period of my job. Here I got to interact to a lot of people, industry veterans, Big time marketers and my colleagues – the purple stars.

Access to internet has been minimal due to frequent travelling, and so am starved of any time to blog. Any odd access to a computer with internet connectivity is just spent on accessing mails. So here, I am posting a long time back received mail on mallu accent. The recent trip to cochin re affirmed this mail, and the agzent.

1) What is the tax on a Mallu's income called?
IngumDax

2) Where did the Malayali study?
In the ko-liage.

3) Why did the Malayali not go to ko-liage today?
He is very bissi.

4) Why did the Malayali buy an air-ticket?
To go to Thuubai, zimbly to meet his ungle in Gelff.

5) Why do Malayalis go to the Gelff?
To yearn meney.

6) What did the Malayali do when the plane caught fire?
He zimbly jembd out of the vindow.

7) How does a Malayali spell moon?
MOON - Yem Woh yet another Woh and Yen

8) What is Malayali management graduate called?
Yem Bee Yae.

9) What does a Malayali do when he goes to America ?
He changes his name from Karunakaran to Kevin Curren.

10) What does a Malayali use to commute to office everyday?
An Oto

11) Where does he pray?
In a Temble, Charch and a Maask

12) Who is Bruce Lee's best friend ?
A Malaya-Lee of coarse.

13) Name the only part of the werld, where Malayalis dont werk hard?
Kerala.

14) Why is industrial productivity so low in Kerala?
Because 86% of the shift time is spent on lifting, folding and re-tying the lungi

15) Why did Saddam Hussain attackKuwait?
He had a Mallu baby-sitter, who always used to say 'KEEP QUWAIT' 'KEEP QUWAIT'

16) What is the Latest Malayali Punch Line?
" Frem Tea Shops To Koll Cenders , We Are Yevery Where "

17) Why aren't Mals included in hockey and football teams ?
Coz Whenever they get a corner , they set up a tea shop.

I am sure you had fun reading this, it is an even better experience reading it along with munching on Benana Chibs.

Now I hope no mallu comes over with a bottle of kokanet oil to slam over!! No offence indended guys!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea

I am about to join corporate next week, and here I come across this picture which aptly defines the current job scenario. The placement scene seen across campuses back then in march said it all. Just about a year back, these very companies were thronging the campus for a slot, and this time over even after a lot of cajoling and sweet talk they relented – Hiring on freeze.

Forget hiring, many of the companies are actually firing away their employees, and some 'virtualizing' them ala Mahindra Satyam.

This picture, got on a mail forward, very aptly describes the current market scenario. One can't be like the man jumping off, due to the huge liabilities attached and a very remote chance of a job.

Also, it is getting tougher with every passing day to continue in the same job with cost cuts, salary cuts, virtualized and all. It is like being in the position of the fish.

Why am I ranting on the negatives of the job market just before joining a job? Nah! I am all charged and decked up for the new role. This holiday has really been long, and now I want to work.!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

‘Online’ CAT, and nothing else!!

I have been coaching for CAT for the last few months, and think it is my duty to keep my students updated about any new developments in this arena. More so this year, with the CAT going online, and many of you having loadsa questions and queries.

Here I bumped into this article, where prometric - the body organizing CAT this year spoke to an online CAT portal and clears lots of doubts.

Prometric has for the first time revealed that computer-based CAT 2009 will actually allow test takers to "scroll back and forth" during the exam. This confirmation has a lot of significance for the thousands of MBA aspirants taking the test this year.

This implies that CAT 2009 will not be a 'computer-adaptive' test, but will only be a 'computer-based' test. A computer-adaptive test offers a new question based on answer to the previous question.

Thus, one thing for clear, answer to a question will not matter in answering the next question. So it is just like answering CAT like last year, the only difference being the new medium of a computer, rather than the traditional paper and pencil.

Some more interesting insights from the interview are like the information that the total contract value for conducting the exam is a whopping 40 million USD (a cool 200 crore rupees!!). Also, Prometric is assuming responsibility for all aspects of the CAT computer-based test, including item authoring, test development, test administration, scoring and reporting services. Prometric will add resources, including dedicated test development and support staff in India for handling the project in a better manner.

About the security in administering the test, prometric ensures that enough measures are being taken for ensuring strict security. All test centres hosting CAT 2009 will employ Prometric's identity management (biometric) solution, digital image capture of all candidates and digital video recording of all testing activities

Regarding the questions, the pattern, comparison of the CAT with GMAT, and other such 'confidential' issues, prometric remained silent. Also, it preferred to remain mum on the amount to be charged by the IIMs for the test.

Thus, aspirants who have been thinking of tweaking their strategies, and waiting for the notification has this clear – Computer exam, that is the only change. Nothing more!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Marriage invitation

Nah! Keep the rumour mongers busy, and give them fodder. That is what I seem to be doing, by this provocative title. Before you jump to conclusions, I clarify that I am not getting married, and this is not about my wedding invitation.

Bumped into a very creative marriage invite, and am sure a complete movie can be made out of it. The invite is that elaborate.

For better quality of the pic. click on the pic, and then zoom to get a proper view.

With this much of innovation in the card itself, this guy should have tried getting married in zero gravity condition.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Selling Education – Recession Proof Business

I have been home for the last three months or so, working for a coaching institute here as their part time faculty. Now this is something that I really enjoy, right after I completed 10th standard. Giving tuitions to neighboring kids, trying to tutor my younger brother, and also giving gyan to whosoever cares to listen. So, teaching is something that comes naturally, and after a stressful day, spending some time with the students, interacting with them, and learning at the same time gives me a wonderful kick.

I realize that teaching is no more an honorable role that it was previously. Teachers can build up people, a society or a nation through teaching (Ah! Big talk!), and it goes without doubt saying that teachers are valuable assets in our country. The basic job of a teacher is to inspire and enhance the confidence of the student, and to bring out his/her hidden qualities. Many more basic personality traits like honesty, integrity, ethics, etc… are inspired by a teacher, but here I am just relating to teachers at a coaching institute, and the institute in general.

One thing that I have been observing for these three months is the mass commoditizing of education, as if it was something to be sold in the market. The commercialization of education, carried out by these coaching institutes, and then the B Schools is altering or disrupting the teaching and learning process itself. Advertising and other commercial activities in order to increase profit just negates all the goods of a nice education. It is like:

Want an MBA?

Join our coaching institute. More than half the junta at IIMs presently is from our institute. (How many were regular students? How many of them were actual students at all?)

We have approved and audited results from the biggest auditory services firm in the country, confirming our
claims (Okay! I agree to your claims, but what is the percentage of the people who do not make it anywhere?)

Sitting in the office, I look at despair students with their clueless parents, hanging their big money bags under their vests, trying to look for some information regarding further education. What happens? Are they shown the right path by the counselors present there? Obviously No. Infact, they are marketed some or the other course available at the coaching center.

Sir, an MBA today gives you the highest ROI, Says one of the ads at the center.

Cool! Maybe right, but what about the interest of the candidate? Just because the money here is good, a possible excellent scientist is sold off to become a mediocre manager.

"I think my son should do an M.Tech after engineering? He is very bright in his core subject." asks the parent (say Mr. Despondar) very curiously.

The counselor retaliates, "No, An M.tech even in the IITs do not offer you a great salary, sir", as if it is a sin to do an M.Tech.

"He should rather try for MS in the US."

That is because the counselor realizes that to pursue M.tech the student would have to prepare for GATE, an entrance exam for which they do not provide coaching. So she would be missing out on a possible student.

"Nah, that would be too expensive. I don't think I have the funds to send him to the US", exclaims the parent.

"Oh! That is okay. Then maybe he could consider CAT", the counselor replies, cleverly leaving out the information that CAT is for MBA, and not for any technical course.

The parent is now totally confused – M.Tech, GATE, MS, GRE and now this new bird called CAT. What the hell is this?

The counselor now starts off, "CAT is for an MBA in the IIMs, sir"

"They are like the best colleges in india, and gives you huge salary opportunities and opens up wide horizons... blah! Blah!"

This is because, the center offers training for CAT, and she would get a high commission on admitting a student for CAT.

After about half an hour of detailed brain washing and hard selling CAT, she manages to convince the parent that CAT is the best thing to have happened to them. The son, all this while has no say, and even now when Mr. Despondar is totally convinced, he gets no chance. Typical Indian middle class, where the parents try pushing all their dreams and decisions on their child – right from the choice of the colour of the bike, to the girl the child gets married to.

The parent pays the hefty fees of around 20k, emptying his hard earned bulging money bag, and walks out happily and satisfied. As if his son has already made it into the IIMs.

Now, the student – the son, who was actually interested in going ahead with technical studies, is forced to write CAT. There, the country loses one more potential scientist and there is born one more mismatch citizen who would always crib his life that he is not in a job he loves. Thanks to the coaching center.

The only mistake being – His dad ended up at an institute which offers CAT coaching and not GATE coaching. Similarly, many a students interested in MBA, end up writing GATE, thanks to TEA.

p.s.: More posts to continue regarding the same topic – Education at sale.

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed are personal and my own.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Talk @ Community meetings

About three more weeks at home and then am off. Off to the land of dreams – Mumbai (or so it is called!). The last three months here at home were amazing, and I had a wonderful time doing nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Staying at home compels you to attend so many of these weddings, family gatherings, community meetings, which given a chance you would not want to be even seen around. I have attended hordes of such gatherings, weddings, parties, etc... Which were not really in my liking? One of these was the community meet we had a couple of weeks back.

I have nothing specific against these so called social gatherings, and it is really good that people do come forward to meet up, socialize, and talk to each other. After all, this is what differentiates us – The Human race, from the rest of the animals – SOCIAL. (Hated it as a subject during school!)

I made up my mind that I would try to be as social as possible, and try striking conversations with anyone and everyone, trying to know more people. Thus fulfilling the very purpose of such meets – Socializing. After all, you are supposed to talk @ Community meetings, meant for talking.

The funny thing is the very amusing behavior of people around you, and their talks, and more importantly their topics of discussion. The whole community members can be classified into many categories and each category would converse with every other possible category, so doing the math gives a whole lot of permutations and combinations of talks. Here I would specifically like to comment on some types of conversations I overheard in that evening of ennui.

Hair Dye Talk

Two 40 something males, with one small kid in the hand, and running after a not so small kid, while the wife is busy cribbing about life to the fellow wives.

Mid aged uncle 1 (M1): Hey, have you been to habib's recently? (As if Habib's is the latest restaurant in town, and every normal human is expected to frequent it)

M2: yeah, was there for a haircut. (His hair looks even worse than what a normal roadside barber would do. Seems like he has gone to those barbers who sit on the pavements with one nice chair, and a mirror in hand.)

M1: Oh! Sad, the hair cut there is not so good (Laughing within himself, proclaiming his victory), you should have rather gone to "Toppers – The saloon" for that.

M1: The hair colouring at habib's is really good. (Now trying to show off his latest hair colour, which removes all doubt that we are evolutes of the monkey race).

M2: Oh! Really, that is so good. Your hair really looks nice, what colour is that? (Chuckling within himself, laughing at the colour choice)

M1: It is the latest one available, the latest trend (I am so sure he himself did not know about it).

You know how much it costs, a full 1200 bucks for a bottle. (Getting back to his bragging mode),

add another 500 bucks for this colour of the streak (trying to show his streak, after he realizes that M2 is not really impressed with the 1200 bucks)

M2: Hmmm!

M1: Also, an additional 500 bucks is the service fee there (Still trying to prove his point that it has costed him a bomb to get that hair),

but well, I know the guy there (Now trying to show his affluence),

so it got settled in 400 bucks itself. (A sense of victory!)

Call Center Talk

I then move on to a younger group, when one of my cousin signals a Hi, and invites me to join them My aim of being social led me to this group. A group of 20 something youngsters (My age group!), with one common factor binding them all – They all work at HSBC, the call center. So obviously all the talks revolve around the processes there, the work, colleagues and HSBC, HSBC, HSBC... So even there in that group I end up as a total misfit, and just remain a mute listener.

The thing with vizag is - there is only this one call center of repute and MNC settings - HSBC. All BCom, BBM and other graduates, who know they would not want to work for long (Family Business!), but at the same time want access to the latest and the best happening people in town, join HSBC. This pretty much includes more or less everyone, of this age, in our community (Sindhi's)!

One typical thing about all these 20 something youngsters was their dressing sense. Updated with the latest trends, the best brands, the "I don't care attitude", and the complete urban metro look. Too much money at too young age I guess. Just a look at their mobile phone models and their bikes (or cars!), makes you wonder how much are they paid!

The talk here would typically go off with process, bands, Telemarketing, outbound calls, inbound calls, US, UK, Lead generation, HR, Customer phone sales executive, PM, AMO.. and so many other terms that I could not understand. One interesting thing here in this group was – though they all worked in night shifts, and many of them never ever met in office due to different timings, different processes and all – everyone knew everyone. And one thing that they all loved doing – gossiping and bitching about their fellow colleagues.

A talk between two girls in that group –

Girl 1: Hey, know what? That guy Phani is going around with that bi*ch Sheetal.

Girl 2: What? Really (With an equally snobbish attitude, still trying to arrange her mascara and a flabbergasted look)

G1: yes, last heard they were found in the office restroom making out.

G2: My Gawd! Tell ya, she is a total bit^& and she is great in trapping innocent guys like Phani. Poor Phani.

G1: yeah, only til last month she was with yadav, and their relationship seemed so intense!

…. The talks go on, and they describe stuff, not recommended for this blog. (the parental control would get invoked!)

You don't need a degree in Astronomical physics to understand the happenings. Sometimes, this makes me wonder – should I have joined HSBC during these three long months. It could have got me into the most "happening" circuit of vizag. Many a things could have happened!

Real Estate Talk

Now coming to the third group of people and their talks.

If the previous group was busy talking about the virtual estate, here we have over sized, pot bellied and bald over aged men discussing the latest real estate trends in the city. It comprises of an elderly group of people, most of who are very much into their own businesses, and have developed this new found love for the spiraling real estate prices. Each one of them thinks themselves to be a master of their art, and without any gusto declare their proficiency in the field.

This group compulsorily consists of one rich Baniya businessman, who after spending all his life selling sweets and pakodas, has now entered the real estate business. A building there, a shopping complex here, and selling it off to people from the same community. So this is like an ideal place for him to market his products with complete alacrity free of cost. And also, most of the times hook in customers there and then.

The talk here is too boring and diplomatic, with it starting off with Diabetes and ways to avoid or control it. Then slowly drifting towards the current market scenario, and then the Baniya halwai shifts the discussion to the booming real estate and why everyone should invest in that. After setting up this base, starts the pitching of his properties and his construction sites.

Many more groups, and their varied talks – a complete book can be written on this topic.

Alas! Amongst all these different noises was a poor blogger, who felt so totally out place, and could do nothing else but just wander from one group to another. Wondering – "Why the hell am I here?"

Oh! By the way, I too got smitten for the maddening rush to acquire the personal facebook page id, and succumbed to it. My ID on facebook is http://www.facebook.com/bharatjhurani That adds one more web address. The others being

iBlog @       http://jbharat.blogspot.com
Linkedin:    http://www.facebook.com/bharatjhurani
Twitter:        http://twitter.com/bharatjhurani

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/bharatjhurani