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!

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 or

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

For any questions regarding this event, please see the FAQ on

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...



Happy Birthday, dear blog!