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Monday, April 30, 2007


While I was arranging the books within an old cupboard, I found this green covered book which I had received as an award for topping the class, when I had just entered my teens. I remember having tried to read this book then, but somehow I could not go beyond the introduction. Now when I read this book, I simply loved it and hence devoting today’s post to capture some lines by virtue of which Tagore pictured the early lessons of his life. The book is “REMINISCENCES”.

On the memories -
Life’s memories are not life’s history, but the original work of an unseen artist.

On material possessions -
When material is in profusion, the mind gets lazy and leaves everything to it, forgetting that for a successful feast of joy its internal equipment counts for more than the external. This is the chief lesson which an infant teaches to a man.

On teaching -
The main object of teaching is not to explain the meanings, but to knock at the door of the mind. If any boy is asked to give an account of what is awakened in him at such knocking, he will probably say something very silly. For what happens within is much bigger than what he can express in words. Those who pin their faith on University examinations as a test of all educational results take no account of this fact.

On the feeling which he had when he had to leave behind his collection of stones which he had collected -
I was very troubled, on leaving Bolepur that I could not carry away with me my share of stones. It is still very difficult for me to realize that I have no absolute claim to keep up a close relationship with things, merely because I have gathered them together.

On the freedom that his father offered -
As he allowed me to wander about the mountains at my will, so in the quest for truth he left me free to select my path. He was not deterred by the danger of making mistakes; he was not alarmed at the prospect of my encountering sorrow. He held up to a standard, not a disciplinary rod.

On school -
I felt that my value in the social world was distinctly depreciating; nevertheless I could not make up my mind to be tied to the eternal grind of the school mill which, divorced as it was from all life and beauty, seemed such a hideously cruel combination of hospital and gaol.

On his cousin’s reaction for praising someone else for securing the highest marks -
My genuine pleasure at Satya’s success seemed to touch my cousin particularly. He turned to his friends and remarked on it as a very creditable trait. I well remember how mystified I felt at this, for I had not thought of my feeling in that light.

On the concept of rewards to children -
There is no harm in making gifts to children, but they should not be rewards. It is not healthy for youngsters to be made self-conscious.

On the death of Clive -
I still remember the surprise with which I heard how Clive, after establishing British rule in India, went back home and cut his own throat. How could there be such dismal failure within and such brilliant success outside?

On the changing sociological context -
We still meet for business or political purposes, but never for the pleasure of simply meeting one another. We have ceased to contrive opportunities to bring men together simply because we love our fellow men. I can imagine nothing more ugly than this social miserliness.

On poetry -
The utterance of feeling is not the statement of a fundamental truth, or a scientific fact, or a useful moral precept. Like a tear or a smile a poem is but a picture of what is taking place within. If science and philosophy may gain anything from it they are welcome, but that is not the reason of its being.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


This is perhaps the most unusual post I have ever written. This is likely to be a personal mail for someone whom I never got a chance to know well enough. The interesting thing is that I still don’t know if this mail is targeted to the right person. And the unfortunate thing is that there is no other way I can trace this person out, apart from this blog.

S…If you are the same S which I am thinking you are (am I crazy…how will you know which S I mean…but maybe you are the same S and maybe you can identify this post), then wish you all the very best for your IAS final stage. I know you will crack it. Cheers.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


I was debating the OBC quota issue with one of my friends…and the outcome of the discussion made me look once again into the same issue from a different frame. I am strictly against the quota system and the person with whom I was discussing the issue gave me the following reasons supporting the system.

1. A kind of informal quota system exists in the top US universities, which these universities like to define as “diversity”, more so in the social or demographic context. These universities like to restrict profiles from one particular society and demography. For instance, every university has an informal idea of the break-up- whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians, and Africans etc. The selection criterion is much stringent for an Indian to study in the top US University than an African. An Indian aspiring to enter a US top 10 should target at least 720 in GMAT while the score can come down to as less as 650 for someone from Africa. Thus the competition of the white is restricted to other whites, blacks with blacks, Asians with Asians etc. each with relatively different selection criterion. Now the question is “Is merit sacrificed in these universities”?

2. The second point that he raised is that Indian universities admit and produce “like-minded individuals”. For instance, Indian top B-Schools are likely to produce people who generally restrict themselves to the corporate context. Social management is not considered something “challenging enough” amongst Indian top b-school students. Compare this with someone from Harvard who moves on to Africa with a mere 1000 dollar package to start a team to fight various diseases etc.

3. The third reason was that Indian selection definition of “meritocracy” and “talent”. We define meritocracy as cracking 120 tough questions in two hours, or scoring a 700+ in GMAT or solving the IITJEE paper. Now, is this really the case? Is academic brilliance (extremely high IQ) a pre-requisite for a relatively good manager or a technocrat? Elements of pragmatism and practicality are not so visible in the entrance examinations.

And to quantify the success of our universities, what have the average alums (IITs and IIMs) achieved apart from success in academic and the corporate world? Most of the people from the IITs and IIMs have their presence felt only in the corporate sector or in the leading US universities. We rarely find them active in politics, organizations like ISRO, DRDO or carrying out initiatives in rural India or similar things which are much more challenging. This is not the case with the alumni of the US universities.

I also had my reasons explaining the negative aspects of the quota system but certainly I find some logic in what my friend argued.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Came back home after attending two weddings….almost dead…marriages in this part of the country are too traditional and boring (personal opinion)…nevertheless…got two new sister-in-laws added to the list of ever increasing list of relatives…

Traveled by a long distance bus…after almost a decade….saw the small mountainous mining town of Keonjhar on my way….this was the place where I spend the earliest days of life…life was so different then…from all dimensions…

I was chatting with some of my friends from ISB (CO07), who were present during the orientation week and realized something striking in the CO08…people from IT background seem to be in minority…CAs occupy a much bigger number as compared to our batch and one can find a lot of Indian Civil Services people (IFS, IAS, IPS kinds), army men and marines in this years batch…IITians from non-IT fields occupy a healthy number as usual. But the most important trend is the rising number of international (not NRIs) students. That means more challenges for ISB…as there will be more customized profiles. But there in lies the fun…more the challenges the sweeter the success.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


From the day, we land up in primary school, we are taught how tolerant we are as Indians. But are we really tolerant as compared to the people of other countries? Simple things like the following give an answer to this issue. I can only limit my examples to those situations with which I am familiar with.

When we drive our vehicles, we know how intolerant we are. Traffic decorum doesn’t carry very appreciable levels.

Another instance is when we react to the success of other people. Even in places like IIT and ISB, when someone cracks a so-called great job, the first reaction that comes out of a reasonable chunk of population is “how can he/she make it to such a job”. At the time of applying to various universities, when someone makes it to a good school, people keep on throwing the same question. I think personal jealousy levels are quite high in India

Even the best of friendships end when people join the same company in somewhat similar roles. Professional life is marked with even higher levels of intolerance. We, as Indians always have a strong ego to live with.

When I read the comments sections of the electronic media, I realize that intolerance level of the people is at an all time high.

We always derive great pleasure when we move ahead of someone and find it difficult to absorb the feeling that someone else is better than us. Individual achievements are often given higher importance than team spirit.

There are number of other such issues of day to day life, which is making me believe that we are not as tolerant as we should be.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Class of 2008 started their ride yesterday....was spending some time reading some of the blogs...experienced a kind of vicarious pleasure...I have added links to some of these blogs...will keep on adding more as I discover more of these.

Talked with H today...she is in ISB these days for the orientation week...delivering gyan in marketing and media related fields....Chatted with A...He got his joining date advanced and will start working from tomorrow...Mails are flowing in the alum mail id that was provided to us by ISB...range of topics is huge...from job postings to typical ISB spams...The bonding of this small but well-networked alumni community seems quite interesting.

As for me, I am still to get used to the slow pace of a vacation...will be travelling to Mumbai on June 3rd...quite some time to spend in home.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Yesterday evening was fun….met 269A after a year….had met him a year ago when I was about to move to Hyderabad. 269C got married on 12th of this month in Chennai and this was indeed an interesting topic of discussion last evening. Lots of changes in everyone’s life, yet when we meet, it is the same lingo we use…same topics of discussions…same longing eyes trying to search for the past memories… 269A has been staying in Calcutta since the last two and a half years…is already married…and now planning for his MBA…facing the normal set of confusions whether to do MBA in US or India….

The topic of discussions was indeed beyond 269...We talked about how things used to break the moment Ap used to touch Sam will be dealing with his female fans as a professor...what finally forced A to take shower everyday...where will the latest married couple of the batch move to celebrate their honeymoon...who is the richest person of the batch....M's journey to Harvard....blah blah..

BTW…I was 269B….and 269A and 269C were my roommates during first year of engineering.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


During our MBA lectures, we were used to the 20-80% rule. In its simplest definition, this rule suggests that 80% of the best, effective or profitable things come from 20% of the top performers. For instance, for a bank, 80% of the profits come from 20% of the customers. Carrying this concept forward, we can notice that 80% of the most successful contracts are gained by the top 20% of the employees. The top 80% of the best research in a university is done by the top 20% of the researchers….

This concept is more articulately dealt with by Malcolm Gladwell in the first half of his bestseller “The Tipping Point”. So let me write down very briefly about the “the law of the few” and the “stickiness factor” which are described into great depths by Gladwell.

According to “the law of few”, there are exceptional people who are capable of starting social epidemics (of course, in a positive sense). Malcolm Gladwell describes the three types of exceptional people whom he addresses as “few” – Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen.

In a social epidemic, Mavens are the data banks, connectors are social glue, and salesmen are those who have the skills to persuade the world when people are unconvinced of what they are hearing.

Maven is not a persuader. His motivation is to help and educate others. In the words of Gladwell “a maven is someone who solves his own problem and emotional needs by solving other people’s problems”.

Word of mouth epidemics are what connectors are really good at. Such people are socially very active are well known for contacts spanning over a wide range of professions. They need not know each of the people very closely. In fact they define their social contacts as acquaintances (or weak ties). Connectors know well the strength of such “weak ties”. The closer an idea or product comes to a connector, more the chances are that it will be successful…and spread like a wildfire. The importance of connectors is a function of both how many acquaintances they know as well as kinds of people they know. One way to appreciate the concept of “connectors” is through the “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon”, where not all the degrees are equal.

The interesting feature of a successful salesman is the extent to which he can be persuasive in a way quite different from his words, by the virtue of his energy and enthusiasm, carrying the philosophy of an optimist.

Though Gladwell goes much deeper in explaining the nature of these three kind of “the few” people, in the first half of Tipping point”, yet the basic theme is limited to the type and the efficacy of these people measured with the concept of stickiness. Stickiness suggests that there is a simple way to package information that can make it irresistible in the minds of the public. The more the idea stays with the public, the higher is the stickiness factor.

It is quite easy to link this concept to the real world. Just by looking out the successful people around, one can define them either as a connector or a Maven or a salesman. Some extraordinary people are three-in-one, but such breeds must be really quite rare.

Monday, April 09, 2007


My first post post-ISB…..typing lazily from the comfort and luxury of home…

Convocation was great…Within a span of twenty seconds, I had the opportunity to shake hand with Mr. Rajat Gupta, Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Dean Rao…..what a moment was that...

Now I am the proud possessor of the ISB certificate…we got two certificates…the PGP certificate from ISB and the other congratulatory certificate signed by the deans of Wharton and Kellog….

Missing ISB terribly….missing each and every moment spent at ISB…I think the campus would be in its most deserted days…and it will remain until the next batch arrives….a matter of a week.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Sooo friends...finally the day has come when I have to say goodbye to ISB. Tomorrow, my laptop will be out of the ISB network...and for the next couple of days, I will busy with the convocation and the final exit formalities. This post is likely to be my last post from ISB....
Many thanks to all the readers of this blog...for all the comments and encouragements.
I will continue to blog even after I leave ISB....lots of things I have always wanted to type down...but never got the time.
Before I say the final Goodbye from is something I will like to say to the Class of 2008
"All the very best for this amazing year you will be spending in this amazing place. Enjoy every moment of that at the time of leaving, you can look back and smile at those wonderful memories."

Monday, April 02, 2007


I have written about all those that transpired in ISB….I wrote about what happened to F-6. I wrote about where two of my quad-mates (NM & SC) are heading to. What I had missed out was the story of NA, my third quad-mate. Well….not without a reason of course.

I knew NA was brilliant from the very first term (undoubtedly he should be in the top ten of the batch….). But what I did not know about him is his amazing ability to handle stress and tolerance for ambiguity. This gentleman, at 32 can work harder than most of the people in the campus. Starting from the family leather business to the super-marts of US….from acting on the stage to achieving a CA degree in the midst of lot of responsibilities…from Wipro to American Express….the kind of experience this guy has collected till date is simply amazing.

He was amongst the top ten….yet none of the top three general consultancies selected him….some said he did not have an educational pedigree (IIT or CA big four blah blah)…others said he is too old for the profile.

Initially this was a shock for him…I still remember the expressions in his face when he informed me that he got the reject mail of the final interview of one of the big consultancies. That evening we went to a nearby Chinese restaurant and spend the evening thinking about life and all the game it plays.

The placement week moved ahead….NA interviewed a few companies and these companies were read to pay him 20L packages. But our man was just not ready to compromise with the role. He did not accept any job and kept the battle on.

Placement week got over…the frequency of companies visiting ISB also reduced….in spite of pressures from all angles, our man decided to keep searching for the dream job. He started contacting alums…met as many people as possible…traveled to Mumbai so many times….but no way he was ready to compromise with his dream.

Finally…as they say...fortune favors the brave…NA is amidst jobs…and not one or two….and all of them fitting so well into his aspirations. He received offers from one of the most revered financial consultancy firm (of the world) and some other offers including corporate banking as well as investment banking…..

This man deserves his success….he deserves every bit of his hard earned success.

Cheers for one of the most amazing persons I have ever met in my life.