Sunday, 31 December 2006

HNY!!

Wish you all a very happy new year!!

Very Funny Ads

Check this site out: http://veryfunnyads.com/

gmail search tip

Gobbledygook version
gmail indexes whole words separated by whitespaces, not partial subsets of text.

In plain english
When searching for different word forms, such as publish and publication in gmail, it's necessary to search for both words separately. Searching for publi is not going to fetch any results :-(

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

What MGTO missed out

Watch Kramer vs Kramer or Jerry Maguire? The scenes where the two chaps get fired are pretty neat, eh? Here's a thought. Would an MBA grad be able to fire the two characters any differently?

Is there a fundamental disconnect from being an MBA grad and being a manager? Sure, an MBA (maybe) teaches us the quant skills and the hard facts to look out for when we are running a show. But then, doesn't it take a bit more to be a manager? Let's go back to the firing aspect - how would I, as an MBA grad, be able to tell a subordinate that he is going to lose his job, because of no fault of his? Should I take solace in the fact that it is a decision based on profitability?

A lot of companies go through crunch situations, and lay people off at one time or the other. Strangely, some people are willing to go back and work for the very same companies when times improve. I think that probably happens out of goodwill, more than anything else, of the managers. And I doubt one can learn how to create that goodwill at a b-school. Yeah, you could have courses which focus on how to improve one's personality, and how one should train oneself to react to situations; you could also have other influences during an MBA program, such as ideas of social responsibility. That, however, is one end of the spectrum. On the other end, an MBA might teach you how ensuring goodwill with fired employees reduces recruitment cost later. Somewhere between these two extremes is where MBA programs are creating the manager of today.

MGTO = Management of Organisations, a course we had in the fourth term, one of the few people-related courses we've had.

Another ad mismatch

Paresh Rawal danced to a "ta-ra-ra-ra-ra-ri, pizza aaye free" for Domino's. That tune doesn't seem to go very well in the Arshad Warsi ad, does it?

Monday, 25 December 2006

PM on the steel industry

Excerpt from the PM's speech at the IISCO steel plant, Burnpur, West Bengal. Here's a link to the story on NDTV.

Why does Lakshmi Mittal or Ratan Tata have to buy foreign companies to establish a global presence and expand steel capacities when our per capita consumption of steel is so low and when there is so much opportunity here?

Let me see if I understand the PM's statement correctly. Is he suggesting that:
1. Mittal & Tata should not be establishing a global presence? OR
2. Mittal & Tata buy only Indian companies to establish a global presence? OR
3. Mittal & Tata should match their companies' production capacity only to match domestic demand, which currently happens to be low, but could rise in the future?

Maybe we should just stop attempting to make sense of ambigous statements made by politicians and assume they're playing to the crowd.

Saturday, 23 December 2006

The network comes home

They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And they come with different ideas of life. Each one of them is brimming with gyaan about the college, about resumes, about life, about careers, about everything. And boy, are they getting an audience. Here's what's happening. Our annual alumni reunion - Solistice - is on this weekend, and the alumni have descended from all over to our campus. I guess it's a good way to end a week that was jam-packed with assignments for almost everyone.

I ran into alienwan shortly after he landed up on campus. Almost expected him to be reviewing someone's resume, and he didn't disappoint. Also met ford prefect. There are loads of other alumni I met, some for the first time. Interesting to hear what they had to say about post-ISB-life.

They've started to test the speakers on the lawns outside our block.. looks like it'll be a very loud party tonight. I'd better finish that SOMG work in the next 120 minutes :-(

Saturday, 16 December 2006

Advertisements, rebranding & bias

  • KitKat's latest advertisement shows people wearing pants twice the size they usually wear. So, is KitKat now a health food?
  • Sony Ericson advertises a music player.. it takes a while for the viewer to realise it's a mobile phone. Got to admit, I love this ad; should try to locate it on youtube sometime.
  • ThumsUp rebrands itself as a men's drink, something that women won't understand.
Seriously, what's up with these brands?

--------------------------------------------

When on of our professors fired a "name three ads that you've seen today", we were stumped for a few minutes. He went on to say, "See, that's advertising for you. There's hardly any recall." I agreed with him then. But now I don't. If you ask people to name three political news headlines they've seen today, chances are good that they'll be stumped on that question too. That, dear readers, is selection bias.

--------------------------------------------

BTW, as the first three lines show, I seem to fare better on ad recall than the news recall :-( I hope advertising turns out to be a good elective next term.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Using tab-stops in MS Word

This post ought to interest people who are busy updating their resumes.

Please open up your resume in MS Word, and hit the button that looks like this symbol - ¶. That button is available on the standard toolbar – you might have to add buttons to view it.

Now, let’s take a look at two snapshots of a resume.

Figure 1

Figure 2

Make note of the poor alignment on the right side in Figure 1. The two lines don’t end at exactly the same length. What’s more, there’s an arbitrary number of tabs and space bars one has had to use to get the alignment as close as possible to ideal. But hey, what happens when you change the margins of the document? You’d have to go tabbing and spacing all over again to fix the alignment. Figure 2, on the other hand, seems a lot crisper. There’s only one tab that has been used, and that has taken care of everything. If figure 1 is what your resume looks like, and figure 2 is how you would like it to look, please read on.

The following steps will help you use a feature called “tab-stops” which is present in most word-processing software (including MS Word), but can be quite a pain to understand and use.

So, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Create a new style
    1. Menus --> Format --> Styles & Formatting
    2. Click on New Style. Specify the name, font, font-size, etc. Ensure that the Style Type is set to Paragraph.
    3. Click on “Format”
    4. Click on “Tabs”. A new options box should pop-up. The tab stop position should be set by default to 1’’
    5. Click on “Clear All”
    6. In the tab stop position, write in the length of your horizontal ruler. This would typically be the width of your page minus the margins that you’ve specified. For a page setup using “Letter”, and margin 1.25”, this would be 8.25” – 1.25” -1.25” = 6”
    7. Set the alignment as "Right".
    8. Click on “Set”, then “Ok”
    9. Save the style with a meaningful name
  2. Write out your line saying “Indian School of Business Hyderabad India”. Ensure that you provide only one tab between the words “Business” and “Hyderabad
  3. Apply your newly created style to the line.

Hopefully, your alignment problem would be solved. Now, if you need to change the margins of your page, you’d need to reset the tab stop position to something that suits the new margins.

Thursday, 16 November 2006

She said he said she said...

..that so-and-so are seeing each other.

Now, I know these two quite well.. and I'm really surprised they didn't tell me themselves. It's not like I'd go and tell people and start gossipping. I might blog about it though, but that's not the same as gossipping.

Bottomline - A party's due!!

Taxi Tale

The gatekeeper had a pleasant smile, but it was definitely made up. No one likes being woken up at four in the morning, why should the gatekeeper be any different? Nevertheless, he had done his job satisfactorily after being woken up, he'd called for a taxi well before dawn for the two guests of the family in Apartment 14-A. Now the taxi was here, and the two guests were getting in now - luggage in the trunk, trunk snap shut, people in the car, doors shut, and the taxi was off.

M & Chi had reached Mumbai the previous night from Hyderabad, shortly after midnight. M's uncle had an apartment in Worli, where they caught up on a few hours' rest. And they were to catch a flight at this ungodly hour to Indore. In Chi's opinion, it was a crime to expect someone to wake up before 10:00 on any given day. And this was a weekend. To make matters worse, time adds up. If a flight is supposed to leave at five-forty, which by itself is bad enough, they expect you to check in at least half an hour earlier. Add travel time to the airport, and the time it takes to get ready, and then the additional buffer time in case something goes wrong. All of that meant waking up at four in the morning. But there wasn't anyone he could complain to; after all, it was he who'd booked the flight tickets. Now in the taxi, Chi thought he could catch a few winks, but one knows how sleep is. It doesn't come by when one needs it the most.

Neither Chi, nor M was familiar with Mumbai. M had close relatives there, but had never lived with them. Chi had lived there ages ago, but he was too young to remember it. Yeah, there was something that Chi noticed - Mumbai's roads were better than Hyderabad's. Maybe it was because of the early hour, but they seemed a lot wider than any road that Chi had seen. Another few hours, and these roads would be bustling with the life that Mumbai is known for. He imagined how the roads in Indore would be like - probably narrow and very pot-holed. He'd find out soon enough. They'd be in Indore by 6:30 or 6:45, around two hours from now. Hmmm.. almost 15 minutes had gone by sitting in the taxi. The airport was a good half an hour from the apartment, so they were almost half way through.

It was a too early in the day for any coherent thought. Maybe the upcoming competition at Indore had filled M's mind, Chi kept checking and re-checking their flight tickets. It was an Indian flight, he wondered if Indian's breakfast is any good. Strange name, Indian. You've known the airline as Indian Airlines all your life, and one fine day, someone just renames the airline as Indian. He wondered what they got out of the entire renaming the exercise. They keep doing this renaming business at Bangalore, Chi's hometown. Chi often thought when Brigade Road would be renamed.

It was 4:40 now, they should be reaching the airport. Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport. And yes, the taxi was slowing down. But the familiar ramp of two terminals at the airport was not to be seen. Maybe it was right around the corner. There came a small fork in the road, and the driver pulled the taxi to a halt. Surely there was nothing wrong with the taxi, for the engine was still running.

The driver turned around and asked, "Aapko VT ke railway station jaana hai ki Bombay Central?"

Damned gatekeeper!


Epilogue
For the next half hour, the taxi flew faster than any aircraft that I'd been in. We managed to reach the airport at a quarter past five, and yes, we were in time for check-in.

At Indore, I exited on the first day of the Ashwamedha, but M made it to the second round. SS, from IIMI won the competition. More on that in a future post.

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

In my last company, our company's President always used to talk about how he admired Sergei Bubka, for his ability to break his own records. It was his way of inspiring us to perform better. ISB is a bit like that; it breaks its own records. Just when you get the feeling that you're done with the craziest term ever, you get a term that's even crazier to deal with.

Some alumni had been telling me about how the PGP eases out once you move into the electives phase. Now, I am convinced that I had sampled the wrong set of alumni, for my fifth term is awful - it's packed with a thousand things and I don't have a clue about where I'm headed. I've had to rename my "to-do" list to a "not-yet-done" list, and even that is growing faster than Hanuman's tail. With placement preps, half-baked attempts at b-school competitions, co-ordinating between three different study groups for three different courses, one PaEV course, I'm surprised I still retain my level of sanity.

I hope for a more relaxed weekend - I'm finally off to Indore for two full days, and I'd be spending the better part of Sunday in Mumbai waiting for a connecting flight. So no studies, and no ISB-related work - just a competition, and a novel if I get the time. It's a pity I won't be able to travel around Indore, but never mind that - I'm glad to be heading out of Hyderabad for a change.

It's three in the morning. Time for an omelette au fromage :-)

Saturday, 4 November 2006

Global Social Venture Competition

The Global Social Venture Competition began in 1999 and is a student-led initiative pioneered by the Haas School of Business, Columbia Business School, and the London Business School. The Indian School of Business is a full partner -- with responsibility of promoting the competition in business schools in Asia, mentoring the teams, and holding the Asia semifinal round. GSVC is a business plan competition whose mission is to promote entrepreneurial businesses that satisfy two criteria:
  • They have clear and quantifiable social objectives and impact
  • They are financially sustainable, in the sense that they are profitable or self-supporting through revenue generation.
The team must have at least one person currently pursuing a full time MBA programme or has graduated during 2006.

Further information is available at www.socialvc.net or www.isb.edu/gsvc

Important dates are:
  • Registration with five page summary (optional, if teams require mentoring support) - Wednesday, November 15, 2006 (to ISB at GSVC@isb.edu )
  • Submission of final plans - Friday, January 12, 2007 (to ISB at GSVC@isb.edu )
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For any questions regarding this event, please see the FAQ on
http://socialvc.net/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.viewPage&pageID=109&nodeID=1

Friday, 3 November 2006

The price of being disorganised

My desk is a mess - there is a telephone, movie DVDs, my laptop's adaptor, coffee mugs, books, papers and God-knows-what strewn all over it. And my bookshelf looks worse. There could be a monitor lizard sitting behind all those books and papers and I wouldn't know of it before April 2007. And the silly thing is, the institute encourages this kind of clutter. Honest. Last term, our MGTO professor told us in class that clutter on the desk is a sure sign of a top-notch CEO in the making. Since then, I've lost all incentive to clean my desk.

In any case, I could never keep my room a 100% tidy; it can be very tidy for a short span of time, or slightly tidy for a moderately long period of time, but never very tidy most of the time. Thank God, Mum hardly visits, else she'd tear my hair out asking me to clean my room. I still recall my time in Bangalore - cleaning my room was one task that was always on my to-do list. It had occupied some kind of a permanent position on the list. Whenever Mum asked me to clean my desk, I was always ready with a quick "Next weekend." And weekends are wonderful days.. they're meant to stay in bed till late, not give a care about the world, and worldly chores such as cleaning rooms. Actually, I have a ready-made excuse in that regard here. ISB doesn't have weekends. Weekends exist on calendar but are not real - they're loaded with as much work as weekdays. So there, Mum, I'll clean my desk on the next "real" weekend :-) Unless the monitor lizard decides to come out from behind the books before that.

Coming back to the CEO-in-the-making-theory, it has occurred to me that it also takes a CEO lot more than a mere untidy desk to stay in the race. One also needs a very powerful memory to remember where one shoved those tiny bits of paper that other people gave you telling you they're important. You know, those little things that seem so insignificant when you accept them from others - things like lecture notes, class handouts, case discussion slides, etc. And I seem to be lacking severely in the memory department.

Our Operations course in the third term had a case study about a restaurant called Benihana of Tokyo. Actually, the name of the case is a bit misleading. Since the restaurant is located in the US, the case should've been named "Benihana of Tokyo of the USA". Adds to the clarity for folks who haven't seen the restaurant themselves, or pre-read the case. The misleading name apart, the case was an interesting read. The restaurateur's idea is a fantastic concept. But profs shouldn't make us discus food or restaurants right after a meal at ISB's dining hall. Makes you feel really bad about not getting your money's worth. As I always do with every case, I picked up the discussion notes which I later lost in the clutter of my desk.

And in the fifth term, we have the same case all over again in another course called Marketing Services. The professor for this course (he's fabulous, btw) expects us to pre-read every case and submit a written analysis before the class begins. The question he wanted us to answer for this case was "What is the role of the chef in the Benihana restaurant?" I distinctly remember the Operations prof discussing the exact same question back in the third term. And in my eagerness to prepare the perfect write-up, I spent a good half an hour trying to find my old case notes... but couldn't find 'em. And then I spent another half an hour trying to answer the question by myself. That's a full hour. One hour of non-productivity, one hour lost in the race to become a CEO, but more importantly, one hour less of precious sleep. Anyway, I shouldn't be complaining; I made up for my lost sleep in the Marketing Research class :-)

Thursday, 2 November 2006

and a year later...

E|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
G|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
D|--------------------5--4---------------------7--5----------------|
A|---5--5--7--5---------------5--5--7--5---------------------------|
E|-----------------------------------------------------------------|


E|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
G|------------7--4---------------------5--5--4---------------------|
D|----------------------5--5--4--2------------------5--7--5--------|
A|---5--5----------------------------------------------------------|
E|-----------------------------------------------------------------|


Happy Birthday, dear blog!

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

More on Gazzag

I dug a bit deeper into the Gazzag thing after my last post. I created a dummy Gazzag account to see what's on the site, and here's what I observed:
  1. The sign-up process does not need an invitation. Anyone can join in, without any restrictions. The sign-up process does not even have a CAPTCHA system to trap bots. So one can expect a larger number of bot-generated fake profiles on this site.
  2. There are tools to automatically import contacts from orkut, yahoomail, Multiply, MSN Messenger, Outlook & Outlook Express. Imagine if you import your Outlook contacts at your workplace and your CEO receives a Gazzag invitation from you. That'd be fun, eh?
  3. There are ads all over the place - a combination of graphics, Google-generated text-ads, and those irritating pop-ups (I deliberately used Internet Explorer to see what the majority Internet users' experience would be like). Of course, Firefox & adblock would be able to clean most of this in a jiffy.
  4. Take a look at the profile information it asks - one of the fields is "Children in the future". Hmm..
  5. One of the features that Gazzag is trying to market big-time is the live chat - one can chat with anyone who's logged on to the website. Either that's really useful, or really irritating.
  6. Gazzag Dating - this is a site within Gazzag, name explains all.
  7. I couldn't find a link where I could delete my account -- not true anymore. Please see update below.
On the whole, the site seems extremely nasty, and intrusive - definitely a lot more intrusive than orkut.

Now, a slightly tangential line of thought. The tool that allows one to import contacts from yahoomail & orkut requires one to enter the username and password of those sites. And a lot of my friends, including a few tech savvy ones, have done exactly that. My question is why??

Would you trust me with your yahoomail password? I think not, I hope not. Then why would one trust gazzag or any other site asking for your yahoomail password? There have been a whole range of sites that have been asking for yahoo & gmail passwords:
  1. Meebo asks for your AIM, ICQ, Yahoo! Messenger, GTalk, Jabber and MSN Messenger passwords
  2. Multiply asks for Hotmail, orkut, gmail, livejournal passwords (maybe a few more)
  3. Plaxo asks for your gmail password.
I'm sure there are tons more that can be added to this list.

All in all, I am a bit flummoxed as to why one would want to share passwords on a new service, just for a little convenience. Sites like orkut & gmail allow one to export their contacts' list into a CSV file. One could use that to add contacts manually on gazzag or multiply or whatever service they want to use. Though this needs a bit more effort, I think this is a much safer approach to importing contacts.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Update [26 Oct 2006]

After Venkat's comment, I dug some more if Gazzag accounts could be deleted. And yes, I did find these instructions:
  1. Select the "Welcome" option in the main menu.
  2. Select the "Account Settings" option in the submenu.
  3. Select the "Terminate Account" option.
I found these instructions on http://www.gazzag.com/help/en_US/myaccount.jsp#10. Look for the question on how to delete one's profile.

de-gazzagging my inbox

I've got tons of emails in my inbox asking me to join this site called Gazzag. There are tons more that I've deleted. And what's worse, the number of invites I've been getting per day is going up.

Gazzag seems to have taken cue from gmail's Viral Marketing [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_marketing] to popularise its social-networking service. What they've done differently from google is that they've automated the invitation process - that is a trifle irritating. In fact, some new users don't even realise that they've exposed their addressbook to this website which sends out invites to all their contacts.

Thankfully, gmail filters are here to my rescue. Gazzag, your invitation emails are being summarily trashed.

Thursday, 19 October 2006

Indore, here I come

That crazy schedule has paid off.. I'm now a finalist in the Ashwamedha [pdf] competition :-)

I'll be going to IIM-Indore in the second week of November, provided there are no major clashes with the schedule here at ISB. I've heard a few good things about the Iris fest, and am looking forward to seeing it myself.

BTW, here's a link to klueLESS, an online game that the Iris team had put up last year. Don't spend too much time on it - it's very addictive.

Saturday, 14 October 2006

Top-hat & Tricolour

Guess what movie this frame is from.



Answer (select this line with your cursor to view it) : Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This frame comes on when Harry, Hermione & the Weasleys reach the Quidditch World Cup scene.

Friday, 13 October 2006

Two 'P's fail

There's a concept that details the four Ps of marketing - products, place, price and promotion. Recently, when someone mentioned "packaging" as one of the Ps, I was stumped. A friend was kind enough to drop a hint in my ear, "If you'd read Kotler, you'd know that some people consider Packaging as the fifth P." Anyway, I'm not trying to highlight my ignorance with this post, so read on...

A really successful company had this nifty idea of repackaging their product. They wrapped up it up in a flashy cover that also served as a carry bag. Pretty convenient for the consumer, one might think. Strangely, the retailers always give the customer a carry-bag with the product, even if no other product were purchased. The carry bags are always black in colour - so the logo of the product isn't visible to anyone. So no secondary advertising there. Bit of a flop marketing exercise, eh?

The company: United Breweries
The product: McDowell's Whiskey

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Holidays != no work

The last two days have been more hectic than any two days in the last term. Having procrastinated a lot for the first two days of the term break, I finally started work on the four competitions and the PaEV submission sometime on Monday morning. Here's the timeline.

1100 - Wake up, smell the coffee
1130 - Start working on Entrepid. Can't believe I'm doing DMOP again.
1330 - Hide & Seek serve as breakfast. Yes, I know the time, thank you.
1500 - Sid calls. Time to break off from Entrepid, and start work on PaEV.
1530 - Meeting at the cafe. Pizza & cold cofee a good lunch make.
1600 - Sid & I set up shop in the library.
1900 - Data, data everywhere, but not a clue to think.
2045 - burst of inspiration! Google rocks! Powerpoint sucks!
2230 - one document down, one more to go, but it's time for a dinner break.
0000 - both documents done. now to work on the b-plan competition.
0030 - numbers not good. Company is the second biggest money guzzler in history.
0045 - numbers changed. Now it's the biggest money guzzler in history.
0050 - Drastic changes! Layoffs! Salary cuts!
0115 - Give up. This is of no use. Hope that sanity shall return with the sun.
0130 - chat with Dee. Discuss next steps for the next day.
0145 - party going on in SV1 lawns
0150 - SG on the violin. AG on the tabla. SD on the whiskey.
0200 - a quick swig of signature :-)
0230 - back in my room, checking emails, playing catch-up on orkut.
0245 - Entrepid deadline's postponed. Leaves me Ashwamedha & Papyrus to work on.
0250 - Start dawdling on Ashwamedha.
0330 - Still dawdling on Ashwamedha.
0400 - The meaning of the first case hits me! I see light!
0415 - Wah Taj! Cuppa black tea. Wish I had lemon.
0430 - Yahoo! chat with my cousin. He advises me to sleep. Ha, I reply.
0500 - back to the case. Time to test my writing skills.
0745 - my hard disk starts creaking. Shut down laptop. Need a break anyway.
0800 - Skimpy-clothed models on Channel V
0820 - Skimpy-clothed models on MTV
0840 - Skimpy-clothed models on Channel V
0845 - Another cuppa black tea. Again, no lemon.
0900 - back to the case. hard disk still creaking.
0945 - the first case is done, whew!
1000 - AM reviews my write-up. "As arbit as the case", he says.
1100 - searching for inspiration to analyse the second case.
1200 - still searching for inspiration
1300 - start writing..
1400 - eyes heavy.. need to finish this doc before I can sleep.
1800 - hmm.. it's dark. great, I must've fallen asleep. now back to the doc
2200 - dinner at Kan's place
2330 - half an hour to the deadline. kase komplete! send out analysis to the IIMI blokes.
2345 - ooh, that was a quick reply. Oh, they've postponed the deadline #$%@!&*^!@

Time to get on with the other competitions...

Sunday, 8 October 2006

New look :-)

I finally gave this blog a long-due touch up. Stuff that I've changed:
  • White's out, black's in.
  • Fonts are a lot cleaner.
  • The blog now uses a larger screen width than earlier. So one has to scroll a lot lesser.
  • There's now a dynamic blogroll that's generated out of my bloglines account - yes, it has a few bugs (some of the links point to my blog, not the ones they're supposed to), but I'm hoping to fix that soon.
  • New links for accessing atom feeds through Google/Yahoo/Bloglines feed readers.
I hope I can put in as much effort into the PaEV submissions that are due on Wednesday.

Update: the blogroll issue has been fixed.

Saris & Suits

The fourth term was the last one that we had as a section. We all go our separate ways now, each in their own chosen stream of subjects and courses.

To mourn/celebrate/rejoice the last term as a section, we had a lot of theme days - from a cas-ormal (casual + formals) day which fizzled completely to a very successful cap-day to a heavily photographed Formals Day. We also managed to get the Deans to pose with us on the Formals Day. Some memories...


Sharks in suits?

Formal Flintoff ;)

Walking the walk


With the Deans

Colours galore!

The entire section (minus Mama, the photographer)

A bird's eye view
A wave of blue



My study group


These snaps have been shot by Mama, SK, and docrahul. I again feel the effects of not owning a digital camera :-( My snaps will take their time to come, but they'll probably show up on my flickr account.

Sunday, 1 October 2006

I'm moving back!!

What's worse than suffering from an injury? Self-inflicting some more.

As if tearing a ligament wasn't bad enough, I deliberately asked for permission from the ASA to move to the first row. And they didn't have the heart to deny my request. I ended up sacrificing a perfectly-hidden last-row seat to swap places with SR in my last term. Then it got worse. Not knowing how long my injury would take to recover, I asked ASA to allow me to continue on my first row seat this term too.

But I'm getting better now. And I now have a chance to redeem myself. AB's now been casted and is on a wheelchair. And thanks to the limitation of the wheelchair, he has to swap his last-row seat with me. So, AA & KanKan, I'm going to be your new neighbour for the last few days of the term :-)

BTW, here's a pic of me handing over the baton, er.. crutch.

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Dunked, er... drenched

If you can't take the horse to the water, take the water to the horse...




While celebrating birthdays, section-C maintains a tradition of dunking the birthday boy's study group, close friends, not-so-close friends, innocent by-standers, and people who show up just to have the cake. We proudly kept up our tradition on the last birthday of the core terms.




Happy birthday, Watson!!

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

After a long-due haircut..

..here's what a bloke gets to hear

R : (over sms) nice hair cut, much needed.

Major : hmm.. fauji hair-cut, eh? You look like a fauji, returned from the front, especially with your crutch.

Kan : You used to look like a pomeranian before you got your haircut.
Me : (with one eyebrow raised) What do I look like now?
Kan : A pomeranian with a haircut.

ATK : You must be feeling very light-headed.

Fender: Act 1, Scene 1

  • Fingers hurt just as bad as my ankle used to.
  • A dissonance of strings frequently emanates from quad A-09 in Student Village #1
  • Flatmates eye me as menacingly as Fulliautomatix looks at Cacaphonix.

Yours truly is learning to play his first guitar, a Fender.

Friday, 15 September 2006

One pizza too less

This blogpost contains many references to non-vegetarian food. If you are repulsed by talk of non-vegetarian food, or are related to Maneka Gandhi by blood or by ideals, please stop reading right now, move over to the next blog you were planning to read and pretend that you never opened this post.

What does one do when Domino's takes down the order for a Pepper Paneer Pizza, but delivers a Pepperoni Pizza? Does one:

a) Curse Domino's
b) Go hungry
c) Fall back to good-ol' Maggi Noodles

d) Turn non-vegetarian
e) Option (a) followed by inky-pinky-ponky between (b), (c) & (d)

At the outset, let me clarify -- I still am non-vegetarian. The above-mentioned decision dilemma didn't affect me, it affected two of my quaddies. Domino's managed to bring my pizza alright - a delicious Meatzaa1, which is supposed to have every non-exotic meat that Domino's serves in India. Non-exotic - that's the operative word here. As most of us non-vegetarians know, you can't really get exotic meats easily. Can you call up Wan's Kitchen and ask for a dish of "Yak curry"? Probably not. Anyway, Meatzaa comes with this great assortment of chicken, keema, ham, and umm, that's it, I guess, that quite literally melts in your mouth. (Damn, my mouth waters even as I write of it) Oh, and I think this particular pizza has the greatest density of non-vegetarian toppings per square inch ever. Probably not good for those who care about their cholesterol; but then if you do care about your cholesterol, I'd suggest that you not order pizza.

All right, let me come back to the original problem. The four of us had ordered four pizzas (two non-vegetarian and two vegetarian) to celebrate A's birthday. And thanks to the static on the phone provided by the Huawei equipment that separates Hutch & BSNL, a Pepperoni pizza was delivered instead of the desired Pepper Paneer. To make matters worse for my vegetarian friends, we noticed this problem after yours truly had devoured most of the garlic bread (I should ask them to send more of the dip the next time). So now we had two veggies and one veg pizza. (I faintly recall someone named Gabbar saying something very apt for such a situation). Nice people that we non-veggies are, we asked V to switch to non-vegetarian ways. But his response was a quick "No", which he topped up with a "Maggi banaoon kya?" to the other veggie. Somehow, Maggi noodles didn't seem very appealing to them after a pizza, and they decided to pretend to relish their lone green pizza & 7-up and then went back to their studies.

I think I heard the cupboards in the kitchen creak later in the night, but I have to sympathise with a bloke who's been denied his Pepper Paneer.

1 I'm not sure if the name Meatzaa ends with one or two or three 'a's - I've just taken the average (yes, I pay great attention to detail).

Saturday, 9 September 2006

The Ferrari lies parked in front of A-block in SV1, untouched for the day. Its temporary owner has started to use a crutch to limp around the campus. A chap who could run for twenty minutes non-stop a few weeks back can now be easily overtaken by snails.

After a long day, as I sit back in my quad, mulling over my new-found respect for snails, V walks in and asks if his French beard looks all right. "It's perfect", I reply. V goes on to describe how he needs constant reassurance about how his beard looks. I give the most sensible reply that I can think of. I say something monosyllabic that starts with hm and ends with mm.

Thankfully for me, the conversation shifts to V's new-born son. He shows me a picture of his son, sleeping peacefully. "He's always sleeping", V comments. "As are you", I observe. "Oh yes, he's just like me. I used to look exactly the same way when I was born", says V. Twenty-five years hence, if this kid dons a French beard and V is kind enough to send me a picture, I might be able to make more than a monosyllabic comment.

Back to the present, a case on Palace Hotels is staring at me in the face. And the clock reads 2:58 AM.

Saturday, 2 September 2006

Cuteness explained

Dee & I had our first meeting for our PaEV1 project. Our meeting was far more productive than what my quaddie, A, has been having for his project. He leaves promptly at nine in the evening to work on PAEV and returns at two in the night after having watched a movie. So far, he's managed to watch Omkara, Les Miserables and The Unrecollectable.

I, on the other hand, have not had to rely on PaEV meetings to watch movies. Having created an average of one movie per day of the break right on the first day of the term break, I had very little carrot to distract myself from making the initial document that we set out to do. Plus, an email reminder from a professor saying "You're a week late, duffer!" is a pretty big disincentive all by itself2.

Anyway, once our PaEV idea document was scribed and owls despatched to our pre-occupied team-members for comments, Dee & I had a lengthy discussion on cuteness. I had posted eons ago that I had one theory on what made something cute. I never got down to blogging my theory, though. But Dee & I were able to elaborately define the broad area of what would and would not be considered cute. Actually, it was Dee telling me her views, and I was trying to impress her with my listening skills. By the way, my listening skills are legendary; I have a diagram from yesterday’s conversation to prove it.

It transpires that the factors that lead to cuteness can be of two kinds (I had suspected this all along) - the lusty and the non-lusty. Yeah, some of these factors can fall into either category (the diagram below makes that evident). And you could also have situations where people negate an aspect of their cuteness with some other part of their character. And, there could be cases where a person is cute due to multiple reasons, one of them being lusty and the other, non-lusty.

Anyway, being an Engineer, I shall resort to this fabulous diagram (I can hear the applauses, thank you) to make things clear. Oh, and the "size of eyeballs" factor is what my original theory was. That's what helps Nickey to be perceived as cute and Mr Tinkles as ugly.



"All right, smart engineer," I hear you say, "so what's the point of all this?" Well, here's the meat of this post. If you're a guy and are trying to hit on a girl, you should position yourself in the lusty-cute type. People with casts on their legs fall into the non-lusty cute category. Seriously, breaking a bone or tearing a ligament while playing basketball won't get you anywhere on the lusty-cute-index4. Even if you are wearing a cast and getting a lot of attention, it's the wrong kind of attention. It's the kind of attention that kitten get because they're small and vulnerable. There's no difference between you and the li'l bird that a lady on her morning walk picks up from the street, says "oh, cho chad" and puts it back in its nest. Apparently, this is a reinforcement of Darwinian theories here… I won't bore you with that (even though Biology was one of my favourite subjects till XII5); instead, you can check out this article on NY Times.

Right, so that was what I've learned about cuteness in the last 24 hours. Shall update this space if my views alter significantly.


Notes:
  1. PaEV = Planning an Entrepreneurial Venture - a course that we have.
  2. No, I made that up. ISB's professors are more polished than I've described.
  3. Dee - I've made some modifications to this diagram from yesterday. Hope you don't mind.
  4. The author is in a state of vexation due to the newly-found realisation of his cast's dismal value.
  5. Primarily due to the opportunity to dissect rats.

Why do I like iTunes?

'Cos every now and then, I find a feature as cool as this!

Here's the iTunes main window:


Here's the lower left hand corner where you create new playlists:


Notice what happens when you hold the "shift" key...


You can create a smart playlist that allows complicated searches of this kind:


Of course, one better have one's mp3s tagged accurately :-)

Friday, 1 September 2006

Trashmail

Trashmail is a remailer service that I've been using for some time. Pretty handy when one's filling up one of those anonymous surveys on the Internet. It's also available as a firefox extension.

This post has been inspired by the increasing number online surveys that ISBians are being requested to participate in.

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

This has got to be the dumbest thing I've read this week.

Shivangi has done a good job of analysing Karan Johar's movies. I agree with her sentiments wholeheartedly, except that I liked the first three movies - sensible or not. Heck, I've watched each of them at least thrice.

Anyways, there's one thing that KJ didn't quite explain in KHNH. If Preity Zinta was an evening-MBA student, what was her full-time job? Not that this piece of information will help me find the Holy Grail; yet I'm curious.

Friday, 18 August 2006

Cast Away

The architect in the previous post lies bedridden with a cast on his left leg.

And here's how it happened.

Wednesday night - basketball court - section-C playing the TAs. The TAs start scoring left, right and center.. A scores two three-pointers to make the TAs race up the points ladder. At half-time, Sec-C decides it's time for more aggressive tactics. Chi-boy alternates with N to play point guard. Amidst the familiar chants of "Sec-C! Sec-C!!", we make a few successful shots and play some good defence to bring down score difference to six.

Then comes a defensive rebound which Chi-boy tries to grab. In mid-air, his ankle gets twisted between two other players and bang! he hits the hard concrete on his right shoulder. Chi gets replaced and the game continues... well, I don't remember much of the game as I was more worried about the ice-pack. But I did see J convert a few great shots. And yeah, not to forget R. He was all over the TAs.

We lost 47-37 eventually, but we're happy we gave the game a good shot.

Turns out that the twisting of the ankle resulted in a torn ligament. And a cast.

Casts apart, thanks to all who've helped me out yesterday & today.. K, A,
N, Adi, R, Dee, Tutu, Disco, Sid, Laks, V, Mu, Major, my quaddies (of course), and lots of other names (I'm sure I haven't recollected all). And thanks to all my classmates who've tried their artistic talents on my cast. It doesn't look like a work of Picasso, but definitely beats the boring white :-)

Thursday, 17 August 2006

House of cards

When classes get boring, houses get built...


..and here's the architect.



The structure was too fragile for me to add another level. Perhaps, I'll manage it the next time. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

basketball woes

Why is it infinitely more difficult to get a shot right during a game, when it seems so bloody easy during a practise session?

I hope tomorrow's game goes right for our section. For starters, I hope I'll not doze off while taking a shot.

In other news, I actually managed to run four full kilometres on the treadmill today - yay! Hope I can hit five soon.

Tuesday, 25 July 2006

last week

end-term-exams - think-I-did-DMOP-well, but-can't-be-sure; faffed-my-way-through-the-other-three; ldp-presentations; night-out-on-comp-strat-project; more-presentations-at-ldp; late-night-bus-to-Bangalore; bus-driver-drives-like-a-maniac; reach-Bangalore-safe-and-sound; catch-up-on-few-hours-sleep; masala-dosas-for-breakfast; drive-my-car-around (really-missed-it); sort-out-form16-ye-ye-ye; lazy-Saturday-morning; meet-up-with-cousins; head-to-Forum; buy-the-fourth-Harry-Potter-DVD; T-loses-cellphone; celebrate-his-loss-in-Firang-Pani; PVR-tickets-sold-out; grilled-fish-at-Transit; drive-around-late-night; meet-loads-of-relatives-next-day; pack-up; can't-believe-term-break's-over; catch-overnight-bus-to-Hyd...

...and I'm back.

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Chi-boy ko gussa kyun aata hai?

Kyunki exam khatam hone par bhi term-2 khatam nahi hua hai..


Tasks to be completed before I feel the term break has really started:
  1. Comp Strat project submission - hopefully, we'll do it tonight
  2. LDP - course on Advanced Business Presentation Skills

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Tie-ISB Connect 2006



The Indus Entrepreners & the
Wadhwani Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, ISB are organising the TiE-ISB Connect 2006 from September 20th-22nd.

More details and registration information available at - www.tie-isbconnect.com

Tagged!!

I’ve been tagged by Kapil, Nikhil & Swapnil. So here goes...

I am thinking,
Why made Zidane make that fateful header?

I said
something inconsequential, I hope.

I want
a telephoto lens for my camera.

I wish
for Term 2 to end fast

I miss
my car. Badly.

I hear
(right now) the wind.

I wonder
why I quit my job.

I regret
nothing, really. No point regretting anything.

I am
human

I sing
when I’m happy


I cry
when I watch The Man in the Iron Mask

I dance
awfully

I am not
perfect

I write
carefully, cautiously.

I hate
self-centred people

I confuse
myself when writing answers to questions like these.

I should
be sleeping. I should be asleep right now.

I finish

last. Almost always.

I tag
Dee, Tee, & Disco.

Monday, 3 July 2006

Corporate Quiz at ISB

The Net Impact Club of the ISB, in partnership with Asha (Hyderabad), will be conducting a corporate quiz event. The quiz offers participants a chance to pit their brains against the best, win attractive prizes and most importantly lend their support to a deserving cause. The proceeds received from this would go towards the mid-day meals provided to the students at Ramakrishna Upper Primary School at Yellammabanda, Kukatpally, Hyderabad.

The details of the event are as follows –

Date: July 30, 2006
Time: 1:30 P.M. – 5:30 P.M.
Venue: Khemka Auditorium, ISB
Quiz Organizer: J.Krishnamurti (J.K)

More details & registration forms (for participants & sponsors) available at http://www.isb.edu/ACE2006/

Saturday, 1 July 2006

Owl snaps

I should've posted these snaps a long time back... I guess better late than never.



I'd posted about this owl ages ago at http://chiranth.blogspot.com/2006/01/avian-visitor.html

Thursday, 29 June 2006

The lemon tree and the monkey

It's two days to our mid-term examination, and I ought to be studying. I am, but not to great success. I wandered around the Internet, and finally ended up reading Disco's blog. A couple of quotes from Prof Waterman took me back to another story that one of profs from Engineering had told us.

A trader and his wife moved to a new town. The trader eagerly established his business there, and dedicated himself to the cause of making money. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, but the trader's business didn't do well.

The wife, religious as she was, decided to seek divine intervention. She'd heard of this sage of infinite wisdom who lived in the forest nearby. People of the town revered him, and believed he could speak to the Gods themselves. The lady approached the sage, and poured out the couple's woes. The sage listened, and suggested they do a yajna. An auspicious date was set, and the sage visited the trader's house. The sage performed the yajna to please the Godess Lakshmi.

After the yajna was over, the sage collected the ash and asked the trader's wife to bury the ash near the roots of a lemon tree. "As the tree bears new fruit", the sage said, "your husband's business will prosper." Then the sage added a condition, "As you place the ash, do not let the thought of a monkey come into your mind."

Thursday, 22 June 2006

After-effect of Argentina vs Netherlands

Time : 0850 hrs
C's location: Academic Center 2, Lecture Theater
T's location: SV3, Quad CX, bed

T's phone rings for about 10 seconds. T picks up.

T (in his usual peppy voice): Bol, Chi!!
C (hushed whisper) : class! class!
T (looks at watch) : oh f***!! oh bloody f***!

Tuesday, 20 June 2006

Biking to Bidar

This post comes a bit late, not due to the delay in getting snaps developed, but because I've been caught in a whirlwhind of Term-2 activity. Well, as the saying goes, better late than never...

We got a term break of five days after our exams last term. I dare say I've made the most of it. First up, I took a train to Vizag to attend Suresh's wedding. Met up with a few people from my previous job.

The day I returned, I packed my bags again as Disco (aka Sumit), Kanika, Tuhin & I headed out for Bidar - by motorcycles. We started off under the cool summer afternoon sun, hit the road to Panjagutta, Begumpet and then reached the highway. Realised after five minutes it was the wrong highway, turned back, hit the road to the correct highway. Finally, we reached the major landmark of Kotpally. Crossed the place, and took our first break for sometime.

A few kilometres later, we came up to an intersection that read "Gachibowli - 5kms left" (Gachibowli is where the ISB campus is located). We'd covered about 35kms of Hyderabad's roads to reach the highway that was right next door :-( Cursing our maps and our map-reader, mostly the map-reader, we trudged along. Stopped for lunch at Sangareddy and hit the road again. The breaks we took were fun, with papayas falling and some people resorting to Tarzan-line antics.

The empty road

in a field we invaded


the falling papayas

Kan-kan playing Tarzan, er.. Jane?


We reached Bidar at around six in the evening. Didn't do much for the rest of the day.. there was dinner at good old Kamat and the opening game of the World Cup.

The next day, we spent about an hour (maybe more) at the Rangeen Mahal of the Bidar Fort. The Rangeen Mahal has lots of intricate designs made by Persian artisans using Mother of Pearl We spent a good deal of time exploring photo-ops in the rest of the fort. There was the solah-khamba masjid with a lawn that's been surprisingly well-maintained.

The roof of a chamber in Rangeen Mahal

In front of the solah-khamba masjid

We headed for Ashtoor afterwards, eight tombs stand tall, but one of them is in a peculiar run-down state. I'm surprised how it still stands.




Our last place of visit was the sacred Nanak Jheera. Legend has it that Guru Nanak came to parched Bidar, moved a few rocks with his feet, and a stream flowed. We wrapped up our trip of Nanak Jheera with lunch at a Punjabi dhaba.

The return to Hyd was pretty uneventful, but with more photo-ops for us. Here are some more snaps from our trip. There are more I've put up on flickr.

The Sun peeps through the clouds..

Tuhin shooting Chiranth shooting Tuhin shooting Chiranth .. ad infinitum


ek, do, teen, chaar

L to R: I, Tuhin, Disco


p.s. The snaps that look brighter and have the date printed on the bottom right corner have been shot off Kanika's camera. The studio made a big fiasco with my snaps when they developed 'em. They scanned the print copies instead of getting the images directly off the negatives :-(

update:
I've done what I could using Picasa.. let's hope my snaps look better now.

Monday, 5 June 2006

Time to unwind...

... in a few hours.

Our first term at ISB comes to an end tomorrow. We've got our final two papers - Statistics & Marketing. We had two of them today - Accounting & Economics.

Both the exams we had today were open book. But they were two very different species of open book exams. Accounting was a good one - given a question, one could figure out which part of the prof's handouts one needed to look in to. Economics, on the other hand, was a disaster.. half way into the exam, I closed down all my notes (there weren't many) - their presence added a zero value to my performance.

I hope tomorrow's papers are a little easier on our poor mortal souls.

There's going to be some serious partying by my classmates tomorrow evening. Unluckily for me, I'd be missing all of that as I've a train to catch in the evening. I'd be travelling to Kakinada and from there to Vishakapatnam to attend a wedding. I'd be cut off from the Internet for the next few days. So, if any of you are expecting an e-mail from me, you'd have to wait for a while.

Logging off!

Thursday, 1 June 2006

loooong day

I can hear the peacocks screaming somewhere. Having taken over the traditional job of the rooster, they're announcing the arrival of a brand new day. For some people in section C, group 8, it's the end of a day, a long one at that. And for one person within that group, it's two days merging into one.

Yeah, my guess was right. I do sound a bit incoherent after an all-nighter on an assignment. Anyway, the good news is that the Economics assignment is done. After a lot of haggling, I finally set the price of SOMA at $0.77. God knows how I did it, but Ashraf tells me that my procedure was something known as the Monte Carlo method. Really? All I did was run some data through some formulae on a spreadsheet. Never mind, I'll take Ashraf's word for it.

Now the not-so-good news. Today's the last day of term 1 - excluding the exams, that is. We've already bid farewell to Prof Finn yesterday. And today we bid farewell to Prof Vohra & Prof Waterman. Seems like yesterday these profs came in for their first class. Don't know anyone who's come to grips with how soon this term's flown by. If I multiply this by eight, I'd complete my course here in eight flashes. Or eight winks.

I sometimes go through great trouble trying to stay awake in class. Having been awake through the night, I think my troubles just rose exponentially. Let's see how it turns out. Oh and to think of the impending deadline for the Accounting assignment...

50 more minutes, and it'll be time for breakfast :-)

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Hsss....

A few weeks back, a brown snake came visiting our Student Village. It'd probably lost its path on the way or something, and it found itself sitting near the stairs of Arjun's quad.

It soon met its death at the hands of the security chaps, turning soon into a mangle of flesh.

Snake in coiled posture


Snake's demise


ISB's pretty rich in wildlife. In fact, if one gets lucky, one might see the whole food pyramid in operation. First, you've got the insects. Then, you have the frogs - and mighty huge ones, too. Some of the frogs here measure up to five inches wide. Then follow the snakes. Finally, you have the peacocks. I'd love to capture a peacock devouring a snake here.. it'd be a darned good shot to take.

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

sleep - where art thou?

  • Rohm & Haas for Marketing
  • The weekly quiz for Accounting
  • An assignment on Economics
  • Reading material on stats

I'm suffering from a serious lack of sleep...

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Pink Papers

At about 8:15 in the morning, I opened the door to head to the dining hall for a breakfast. I was speaking to one of my quaddies at the time, and wasn't looking outside the front door. I'd just held the door open and my hand touched something on the outside of the door. For a moment, I thought it was a lizard - there are quite a few of them here on campus, some of them quite colourful. I looked back, a bit startled.. and there it was. A pink paper stuck to the door handle.

A week into ISB, someone (I don't remember who) asked me at lunch (or maybe it was breakfast), "Have you started reading the pink papers yet?" My facial expression quickly transformed to one betraying all of my ignorance. "What's a pink paper?", I asked. "The Economic Times, The Financial Times!", came the reply. I could never make sense of ET & FT all these years, and I don't expect it to start making sense now, just because I'm in a b-school. But maybe some day it will. And I hope that "some day" is within the next 10-11 months.

Anyway, people around me are trying to read stuff. And I've not even figured out where to start my reading - academic or otherwise. I hope some inpiration to read rubs off on me soon.

Friday, 28 April 2006

Go, fetch!!

A few days back, some of us decided to form a new club at ISB - the water polo club. Unfortunately, we never swam in that direction. Until today.

Finding ourselves in the pool at six in the evening, we decided to play water polo. As enlightened about the rules of water polo as we are about accountancy, it turned out to be a game of catch-the-ball-if-you-can. Thanks to some real long throws by Sushim & Tuhin, it felt more like a game of Water Dog, with the thrower screaming "Go, fetch!!" Yeah, Stuti's short throws altered the scream to a "Come, fetch" :-)

Anyway, it was fun.. hope to play again sometime over the weekend.

Sunday, 23 April 2006

Five MFH Words

Five MFH words at ISB (in no particular order)

  1. McKinsey
  2. Placements
  3. Consultancy
  4. Career
  5. Perspective

p.s. MFH = Most Frequently Heard

First post from ISB

Eight days, four parties (one of them starting at one in the night), innumerable gyaan sessions from our seniors, one lecture from a prof.. it's been a very sleepless start here at ISB. Can't wait to see how the year unfolds.

My pre-term course starts on Wendesday, so I have some time to breathe today, tomorrow and day after. Let's see how it turns out.