Sunday, July 26, 2009

Har Bashar ek Lafz Hai, Lafzon Ke Maane Dhoondhiye,
Boond Bhar Jal mein Samandar Ki Kahani Dhoondhiye,
Zindagi Ko Jalte Huye Sehra Se Bachane Ke Liye,
Aaj Ke Insaan Ki Aankhon Mein Paani Dhoondhiye,

Main Nahin Kehta Milna Chhod De Auron Se Aap,
Khud Se Bhi Milne Ko Kuch Shaame Suhaani Dhoondhiye,
Dil Ke Behlaawe Ki Khaatir, Kaun Aayega Yahaan,
Apne Hi Dil ki Koi Dhadkan Puraani Dhoondhiye,

Aye Kunwar Badh Jaayegi Aankhon Ki Chamak,
Is Zameen Par Khwab Koi Aasmaani Dhoondhiye

--- Kunwar Bechain

* Bashar = Insaan

Sunday, May 20, 2007

One fine day during the Economics lecture sometime in February when some students
told the Prof. that we are not too knowledgeable about writing a Project Proposal
the Prof. joked that proposals are very common nowadays indicating that a very
famous proposal was made recently. I quickly recalled that it was an indication
of the Abhishek's proposal to Aish...So this was the talked about thing even in a
Macroeconomics class..And then I kept hearing about it till I came back home for
summmers...and saw while surfing the TV almost everyday that SRK, Rani has not
been invited and how preparations are going on...
The face of crazy Indian media was evident... A big fat Indian wedding....Two bollywood stars getting married....Full focus of media channels to increase their TRP.....And a time to
get free publicity....and some did encash that fully...right frm the mysterious model who slashed her wrists to the guy who chose to marry on the same day after 10 years of affair...And then finally there was a newsflash that some press photographers got hurt during a lathicharge by police & then a new drama by the media reporters started asking Big B to apologize..But
Hello..there were other issues which can be shown on the news..more important
things that concern the nation..

There is more to the country then cricket and bollywood...But cricket sells and
so is bollywood...Some 160 crores were lost by the cos. when India crashed out of
World cup...and there was huge disappointment...and now we see that the team
which lost to Bangladesh is in the limelite again before their tour of Bangladesh
as if they are going on a tour of Australia....Can't say whether Bangladesh rose
to Australia's status or India fell down to Bangladesh's status...but thats how
it goes.....

Strangely if one is intelligent enough he can easily identify the the type of
marketing media channels are doing nowadays...Some of them straight forward
target a specific news and keep covering it day in and day out..some keep showing
the same crime story ...and some the same political story while some keep
targetting Bollywood and hollywood....I don't need to know why Sachin could not
attend the practice session and when is Aish leaving for Honeymoon....But plz. tell
me when will the media become more constructive..??

Friday, November 24, 2006


5 months into XLRI and now I feel quite settled here. Have seen the most dynamic changes in my lifestyle, attitude and ability to handle things in the past 5 months. A B-school teaches you things which no other place can probably teach.

Nowadays, the uncertainities in my life are pretty much influenced by the suprise quizzes and dynamic schedules.....Really speaking, suprise quizzes are not surprising any more. The initial tryst with the life at a B-school is pretty enthrallling.....New people, new friends, new methodology, new rigour, new study technique(the continuous learning process which most engineering colleges lack) and a new pattern of evaluation for most people.....And then there are the numerous exciting communities to showcase your talent......There is action all around and everytime. Life flows at its fullest speed and doesn't give you a chance to stop and look back...

The biggest among all the changes that one which one experiences is the moulding into the culture of a B-school....Every B-school has a culture.......XL has its own too and its really a jubilant one......The level of interaction and support from batchmates and juniors is something which is rarely found at other places......The discovery of XL bonding for me is has been pleasant surprise which keeps throwing new instances of camaraderie with XLers all around....I feel a proud member of the family now.

A typical day in my life:

mailto:Wakeup@8:30 ----> (The wake up time for most students vary from 8-8:55) ----> Taking a bite of sandwich on the way to classes@ 9 AM is a common experience which people get accustomed to soon.............And then suddenly you get a Balance Sheet problem to be solved in 10 mins....Stakes are high and time to react is less.....Decision making in crunch situation at every moment......Yes thats MBA teaches....

At 10:30 AM the class is over.......the wait for next class @11 starts.......and another session follows till 12:30 PM when we break for lunch......Breaks are meant for gossiping, socializing and chatting except in cases where casestudies are to be solved, presentations are to be made or when quizzes are to happen in the next class.......

Attending a CEO
forum@2:30 PM at times or an Economics lecture for that matter keeps the intellegentsia awake......Evening games happen......Basketball,Football, Volleyball,Tennis and TT......There can be a class @4:15 or @6PM or @ 7:45........and if you are really unlucky you may have a day with classes at all the slots.......Breaks give the chance to browse and connect to the outside world also......virtually.......Browsing through ur laptops.......

The life continues till 4 AM in the morning with assignments , studies and parties going on......
there are wet nites......there are Bike rides.......there are grax sessions.......Overall its worth enjoying ....!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Adventure Camp @ XLRI : Experience the Thrill

Ever thought of rock-climbing , rafting in the turbulent waters, moving in the caves and rappling on a cliff.I never thought about it before joining XLRI though I had once read about it last year in the newspaper that XLRI is the first B-school to start such an initiative as a part of its course and now that I am here I got the opportunity to experience it and the experience was one of the most memorable ones definitely.
I went to Tumung around a month back on an Adventure Camp conducted by the Tata
Steel Adventure Foundation. Going on this Adventure camp is a part of the curriculum at XLRI
and every student has to go on such a camp during the First Term.Students were going on the
Adventure Camps in batches of 50 every weekend.I was on the last batch of students who went there and I had heard a lot about it from the batches who visited earlier. So I was a eagerly awaiting for the D-Day to arrive. And one fine Friday morning(28th July,2006 to be precise) we started from XL on a bus of TSAF (Tata Steel Adventure Foundation) who conduct such Adventure Camps not only at Tumung but also at Everest Base Camps.
We were singing throughout the journey while some of the friends were still half asleep as we were back from the Fresher's Party previous night. Many of us were straight
back from the Party after dancing throughout the night. XL offers various such instances when one big event is just waiting at the doorstep after another and this was yet another similar occassion indeed.
We reached Tumung( a very small hamlet) located in the remote Jharkhand area. The area was hilly with big boulders and rocks all around.Nearby was a big lake and the scenery was
picturesque with lush green fields around. We reached the place where we all were addressed by the Head Instructor.He briefed us about the objective of conducting the camp, the use of such camps in corporate's lives, dos and donts, what to expect and how to go on performing activities with care. At this point we were split up into small teams of 6 each. Each team of 6 was a unit now and was supposed to perform different activities together.
It all started with certain games like passing the pillow, crossing the brick maze.These games helped the teams to get into the thinking mode and work like a team on different strategies. The teams were interacting with each other on each and every strategy and move and soon we were all charged for the things to come. There were team leaders assigned from among the team members for every team for different activities and it was in one sense a test of leadership skills too. Next we were shown the obstacle course which every team was expected to perform. It comprised of a series of 8 obstacles --- Trolley, Rope Walking, Net Climbing, Crawling, Passing through the tyres, Monkey crawling, crossing a small cave and then the Tarzan Swing. The activities involved speed and stamina with continuous running as the teams were competing with each other and had to complete the series of activities together in the minimum time. Xlers have been making and breaking records in these adventure camps as we were told by TSAFand every batch was performing better than the previous one.The first day we did those activities in 19 mins. Next day we were supposed to beat ourselves and we did it in by doing that in just 12 mins(another record was set). Every team improved in the performance by leaps and bounds.
And then we learnt the various rock climbing techniques which involved climbing different cliffs and boulders. I remember climbing places which I would never have imagined to do in the wildest of my dreams and discovering that its not so difficult as I thought to be. But rains also made things difficult as clawing the slippery rocks was more difficult.Still we managed to do the activities successfuly.
But the weather was not too easy for us. It was raining continuously and various activities continued even in the rain. Rain brought with its share of dunks in muddy water below the Tarzan Swings. The 2nd day we went for caving crawling and searching our way out of curves and bends in the caves and at times it we had to cross from the caves lying down in a single crawling posture. We had to move inside a cave almost fitting the size of a person and come out of it along with the team. It was a test of patience and carefuleness.
The most breathtaking of all activities was Rappling where we came down using ropes from an almost vertical cliff around 70 feet high. When we started with the activity we were
thinking how we are going to do that. One needs to walk back down the cliff slowly leaving
himself/herself down the cliff with back facing to the ground. The ultimate experience was letting your body freely move down and then coming down to the vertical portion of the cliff knowing that you are at a height of 70 feet from the ground. But we Xlers were courageous
and confident enough and some of us did this activity thrice even in the rainfall!!
After that the Orienteering began where we we were given maps and we had to locate
certain items in the village based on the latitudes and longitudes shown in the map. Time was limited and different points were alloted to different items. I had seen such things earlier only on Adventure shows and this was a new experience altogether.
The 2nd night was the peak of the adventure with rains pouring heavily for continuous 5 hours and all our tents were down. The one where all of us were sitting in the night was about to
fall and we managed to hold it back using several measures throughout the night. After all
it was an adventure camp and this stuff was more adventurous and trying then anything else.
The last day we went for Rafting at Dimna Lake where we had to make our own rafts with rubber tyres and bamboo poles and compete with other teams. The exercise involved constructing a raft, rowing to the other end of Dimna, coming back and dismantling the raft in the minimum possible time. This continued for around 3 hours and we returned back that day in the evening singing and laughing all the way back cherishing the memories of the camp.
How circumstances develop bonding is something we learnt on this tour at each and every instance. We also learnt the power of teamwork and strategy and the art of problem solving in the most trying circumstances. The biggest gain was definitely the mental strength which we showed and the extent to which we got to know our capabilities.And we proved once again that XLers can excel everywhere!!
To have a look at the photos of the Camp please visit:

Friday, July 21, 2006

In the Villages of Jharkhand: A tryst with reality

7 Xlers(myself, Shilpa, Prabhakar, Satheesh, Sowmya, Vartika and Soham) left for Patamda(a village block 30 KM away from Jamshedpur) on 30th June at 9 AM in a Sumo.Father Augustine and our Dean came to see us when We left. We did not know each other well but conversationstarted soon and we started planning about what we can buy on our way...AFter all village was going to be a totally new experience for us and we were expecting nothing for survival there...

After half an hour we crossed the famous Dimna Lake and stopped by to take a look at its beauty.And soon We had reached into a zone which should be called a jungle...more or less topeople who have spent their lives in megacities...

At the Patamda headquarter of the NGO called Tagore Society(a Kolkata based orgn.) wemet a committed social worker Mr. Nandlal Bakshi who left his home 15 years ago to servethe needs of poor villagers in Jharkhand...and to our surprise there were many like him.Meeting social workers and seeing how they work was a humbling experience for me.

There were lot of eyeopeners on this trip awaiting for us to come and explore them.After having our lunch(a luxurious one i must say) we left with a Field Worker(a localitevillager who was in touch with the NGO) to visit the first 2 villages which were17 KM away frm the place....The first one was Bantoria....a village which 5 years back was devoid of waterand was the victim of migration....We me villagers there and soon I discoveredthat knowing Bengali there was a boon for me...I was able to communicate well...Most of the villages were on the border with Bengal and boundaries are not therestrictions for language and culture was the message that I got there.Villagersthere were happy to meet us...They said that the canals built by Tagore Society therehelped them in agriculture and now they were able to get rid of the migration problem.

Another eye opener was this conversation with a villager there:

Me: DO u watch movies?
Villager: I have never seen cinema.
Me: Ever been to Kolkata? any city?
Villager: No.
Me: Any desire to go to the city? Are u happy here?
Villager: I am very happy here...never feel like going anywhere else..
Me: At what time in the morning do u go to the fields?
Villager: We don't know abt the time....we don't have a clock out here

This conversation broke many of the perceptions . Reality was showing its face.

Then we visited a villager marriage....The girl tried to take our blessingsby touching our hands...Satheesh was almost dumbstruck at this...An old villagerwho was talking to me for sometime called me in a corner and offered the wine made from Mahua...I smiled and said no to him.Their hospitability struck me.

The next village was Jorsa, where we met a tribe called Santhals and they were getting new homes built by the government there....but they were shy people who liked leaving away from those...their language was out of my understanding, their only means of livelihoodwas making hats of bamboo sticks and their condition was really pathetic...They are survivin on snakes and rats at times. The village road was in bad shape. I was thinking about what these people would do with the homes if they don't have proper food to eat.the sights there were horrifying...

We returned back to the headquarter and had a reflection session on what we saw.Soon I started thinking abt the movie Swadesh and the things depicted there...It was indeed true.

After 10:30 there was no generator power and we were forced to stay awake on the terracewaiting for the power resumption till 1 o'clock....It was scary to be on the terracewith darkness to be felt as far as eyes could see...On the top of that we were being toldhorror stories by the experienced people.:-) There were arguments.....there werecard games and then we felt that it was really difficult to live without a mobile networkfor 12 hrs and we had to spend the next 2 days like that only..We knew each other well by of us was confused, other one was a scary storyteller and one is a future IAS officer...

Next day we went to the villages called Bankunchia, Dimudih and Aamjhora. We met the tribecalled Paharia who lived in hilly areas and who used to earn their livelihood by selling honey. I saw govt. contractors working there to construct homes for them but the villagerswere not interested in earning more by working for them...even though these homes were being made for them....The govt. was forced to bring labour frm outside...but theseppl did not want to change their style fo living....I met the village headman and came toknow frm the field worker that the village headman had sold a goat for 350 bucks 2 daysago and he has spent half the money on drinking....

Another interesting conversationfollowed with the village headman:

Me: Do u know how to count, add and subtract? Ever been to school.
Villager: U don't need to go to school to learn how to count money.
Me: U have spent ur money on drinking....why don't u stop drinking its bad...
Villager: Don't u ppl drink too? Whats wrong in that...

I was outwitted by his answers....We left that place and this was the place whereNaxalities are active nowadays.

We met a women Self Help Group then who used to collect money and deposit in the bankamong themselves and used to give that as a loan in times of need to the needy membersof the group....This SHG concept was a very good concept which I saw in most villagesIt is making the villagers self dependent and is leading to women-empowerment. In most of the villages schools were 5-10 KMs away with no vehicle and means of transport available..the only motivation for study to them was the MEals offered by the govt. in the schools tothe students...We met children and women asked them about various issues and quizzedthe children on current affairs....We distributed sweets, chocolates,stationery itemseverywhere...Shipa made sure to ask about the schools and their conditions in every villagewe visited...

Our driver Raju was an interesting person and he used to play the Himesh Reshamiyyasongs most of the time...he also used to pass comments on our nature,style...He was a typical bihari driver...but was highly observant....He was oblivious to all the experiences which we were having.....He was not there to feel anything it seemed.....

We met the 70 year old retired doctor who used to teach the villagers on various issueslike Animal Husbandry etc. I was amazed to see his commitment...Then there was a brush off with the corruption...Two ponds constructed side by side---one by the Govt, another by NGO-----the size of latter was thrice the former the money spent was equal..Horticulture was being practised in Dimudih..

In the evening ,We discussed with the NGO on the business plans and prospects of those areas withfull assurance of suppport from XLRI. Tagore Society's work was commendable in the area.The NGO is active in Bengal,Jharkhand and Orissa and is making the real difference...

Last morning of the trip, we visited a village Ashram at Rakhdih village, an old Kali temple was there and then in the village we were taking the photos with a Digicam when suddenly a villagerbrought a handycam to take our photos....this was the most developed village of all...but we soon realized the divide between rich and poor which the progress brings....This village was aiming to have internet was available there..

We returned at 11 o'clock in the morning from Patamda with a variety of mindblowing experiences....stopped at Dimna on our way back......We had our share of good times. We felt the misery and poverty that exists in this world. We saw things from a close proximity. We felt the ground reality.....

I was forced to think::how about leading a life in one such village......Can I survive there? 70% of India lives like that....Can we make a difference? Can we make a better world? yes WE CAN and WE Will..!!!!!

Friday, March 03, 2006

An interesting incident

Though I love travelling, often I don't get time to do that. Recently I went on a journey by train and witnessed an interesting incident.
I was wondering how life teaches one to deal with problems and people daily. With all due respect to the Marketing Managers from the world famous B-schools, I will narrate this incident to show that Marketing and Selling is the job for one who does it practically and some people with almost no theoretical knowledge do it better than those who study loads of books in the classroom and fail at the time when they have to deliver.

This Tea-Coffee Vendor of the Indian Railways is an example of successful marketing and that too with oodles of self-confidence and panache.

So, here on the train were four elderly gentleman playing cards with utter involvement and professionalism and were sharing their piece of mind among themselves with sometimes entertaining the fellow passengers (may be intentionally).
And then they stopped this Tea-Coffee vendor and one of them(who thought himself to be the cleverest of all) asked the Vendor: Coffee hai?
Vendor replied: Haan Hai
Man: Coffee Acchi hogi to?
To my amusement and surprise this vendor replied: Nahin, acchi to nahin hogi.

Now the gentlemen were too surprised at this answer but the way the vendor replied made them more interested in the coffee than the playing cards. The vendor was now the centre of attention and the next remark from one of the gentleman was:
Dene ke pahle hi bol raha hai ki coffee kharab hai.

But this answer has increased their curiosity so much that they can't resist ordering 4 coffees. Now this guy started pouring the coffee in the cups and after filling two cups he said that:

Coffee khatam ho gayi....Sir, chai le lijiye.

The gentlemen asked for 2 more cups in order to share 2 coffees among 4. The vendor showed his prowess again.

Sir, cups counted hain. Extra nahin de sakta.

Now they agreed to take 2 cups of tea from him. The hawker was smiling after putting the money in his pocket. His smile symbolized a deal completed successfully.