Thursday, December 18, 2008

Will This Happen Again? What a foolish question!

Ever since the unfortunate terrorist attack of 26th Nov, I have been reading in the news papers almost daily the one question people are asking (I don't know to whom though!), 'Will This Happen Again?'. Many of the brave ones even take a step forward and even answer themselves, 'This won't happen again'. When I read all this the only thing that comes to my mind is What a foolish question! Whom are these people trying to make fool and why are they looking for false assurance!

Of course, this will happen again. Can anyone stop it? Don't take me wrong, but think logically. The only way to prevent this again is to implement military rule in the country with so many checks and counter checks at each point that its would be impossible for anyone to indulge in any such anti social activity. But this is of course not possible and also not advisable. Even our security agencies work on sampling basis. But sampling doesn't cover the entire set! So, in reality you can't prevent such incidents from happening again. So, even to ask such a question as 'Will this happen again' is shear foolishness.

I think when people ask such questions they want someone to answer them that this will not happen again just because it would give them a false assurance of safety, which they themselves know is false and secondly, so that they could have someone to blame when this will happen again. Its the general human tendency, nothing good or bad. But there is one very important question which one needs to answer, how much of the personal privileges are we ready to forgo to have a system in place to prevent these sort of activities. Very often I see people circumventing such checks when they are in place or arguing that they are not criminals or cursing that its waste of time etc etc... But they don't understand that criminals and terrorist are also one among us and its for our own safety.
But anyway, just a few days after 26th I happen to see an interaction on NDTV, between Pranav Roy and Sanjana Kapoor. Sanjana Kapoor was criticizing the incident (as everyone else was doing), but then Mr. Roy threw a bouncer at her and asked her, How much of the personal privileges and conveniences she is ready to let go off to prevent such things to happen again? Now, as it always happen you tend to form opinions about someone even u don't know them, so honestly with Sanjana Kapoor's background I had the impression that she would be just another dumb celebrity and she would give just run of the mill remark... But what she said made me changed my opinion and its one of the best I have ever heard... The lady has a lot of brain! She said that it not about giving up privileges. These sort of incidents can't be prevented come what may you do and this will happen again. What we need is a system in place which could react quickly and efficiently to control such situations and prevent them from becoming worse. Its the assurance which is needed that if such incidents happen again then they will be immediately controlled and taken care off.

To me that the sounds quite logical and realistic... and its the right direction to move forward. But the question to ponder upon is, 'Are we moving in this direction or just making hollow claims and looking for false assurances?'

Monday, September 1, 2008

Dedicated to ' The ' Eye Specialist :)

आँखों पर मरने वाले
ख़ुद आँखों का शिकार हो गए,
धीरे धीरे सपनों के भी पार हो गए।

कहते थे
आँखों की भी जुबानी होती है
आँखें आदमी का आएना होती हैं
उन्ही आँखों के प्रतिबिम्ब से आज अंधे हो गए।
आँखों पर मरने वाले
ख़ुद आँखों का शिकार हो गए,
धीरे धीरे सपनों के भी पार हो गए

जिन आँखों पर बने थे कई तराने
जिन पर न्योंछावर थे कई नज़राने
उन्ही आँखों के बाज़ार में कत्ले आम हो गए।
पर मरने वाले
ख़ुद आँखों का शिकार हो गए,
धीरे धीरे सपनों के भी पार हो गए

आँखों के नज़रयों से शरारत करने वाले
पलकों के पीछें से चोरी चोरी हँसने वाले
ख़ुद ही जाने किस शरारत से बर्बाद हो गए।
आँखों पर मरने वाले
ख़ुद आँखों का शिकार हो गए,
धीरे धीरे सपनों के भी पार हो गए

आँखों की कहानी में बस आँखें ही साथ होती हैं
हर आँख की अपनी अलग जबानी होती है
कुछ आँखें कुछ आँखों की दीवानी होती हैं
और इसही दीवानगी में वोह भी दीवाने हो गए|
आँखों पर मरने वाले
ख़ुद आँखों का शिकार हो गए,
धीरे धीरे सपनों के भी पार हो गए

Saturday, August 16, 2008

MBA Terrorists

Terrorism - 'Black Listed' world in the present world. I don't need to go into details about what is it and how is it affecting all of us. This post is just a fragment of my imagination of conversation between terrorist, who are MBAs :)
Disclaimer: This is post is not intended to hurt any entity. Please take it in lighter sense :)

Terrorist 1: We recently made blasts in B'lore and Surat. How was the impact of those ?
Terrorist 2: We had short term gains but in the long run I don't think we have gained much.
Terrorist 3: hmm... I also have the same opinion. You know, I think we have not planned our strategy properly. We should first have all our basics in places. We don't even have mission and vision statements defined!
Terrorist 1: Fair enough. Lets start by laying our foundation properly. Although we have some mission statement, its better to put that in writing so that the whole organization is aligned.
Terrorist 3: Yeah. So, our mission statement is "To create new business opportunities such that the highest cash flows pertaining to any budget in the world would be directed towards us. Hence, we are instrumental in running the growth engines of the world's economy by increasing the government's expenditure and also of that of the general public. We aspire to create tremendous employment opportunities through direct and indirect means and provide constant learning and growth opportunities to our employees by hand on experience on some of the rarest adventures of the world. We also help in getting back the black money back into the main stream where it can be utilized for the betterment of the people."
Terrorist 2: wow! You make me feel like a saint.
Terrorist 3: Now, the Vision statement, "We aspire to create a global organization with reach from Snow to Desert. We want to have 50% of world's GDP. For the better world we aim at controlling the world population by increasing the mortality rate and making it equal to birth rate by 2010 along with our partners and competitors. We also aim at removing the dearth of world leaders by creating new world leaders and public icons and our strong leadership and training programs are aimed to achieve this." Have I missed anything ?
Terrorist 1: Its sufficient for the time being. We can always improve our vision later.
Terrorist 2: Hey, but who are our stakeholders ?
T3: Common! Everyone in the world is our stakeholder. we don't discriminate and we touch each and everyone's life.
T1: Ok, now lets get down to formulate strategy... Let us start by analysing our position... Lets apply Porter's 5 forces model.
T2 (to self) Ahhh! I joined this organization to escape that crap and here again I am stuck with it.
T1: Lets start with our suppliers.
T3: Well, we don't have any fixed supplier! It keeps on varying...
T1: yeah yeah... you are right. So, that means that we are not dependent on any one supplier and hence supplier power is very less... so we are strong at this front.
T3: Same is true for our customers. We are suppliers to the whole world so we are not dependent on one region for our growth. Our risks are pretty much spread out and our customers have virtually no bargain power on us.
T2 (to self) What crap.
T1: How about the new entrant ?
T3: They are always beneficial for us... You see they are more of collaborators than competitors. In fact we don't have competitors as such.
T1: You are mistaken my friends... America is in fact our biggest competitor. But yes the entry barriers are so high that no one can easily enter this business without our help or our competitors' help.
T3: Oh! I overlooked that point.
T1: The situation is very odd over here. Our biggest competitor is also our biggest collaborator.... after all its only because of the these huge economies that we are surviving!
T2: !@#!@!%$^$^%$&$#@#$@$^&*%^*%^^
T3: And there are no substitutes for us. Peace and negotiations can never achieve what we can.... they will stagnant the world economy and lead to increase in population with no increase in resources....
T1: I think we are in a quite comfortable position... Thats a good sign.
T3: Not really... We have to think seriously about our competition else we will be eradicated completely.
T2: I think we should increase our business... That way our reach will also increase. Moreover, over competitor is bounded by various treaties and diplomacy so it won't be able to keep pace with us.
T1: Good suggestion. So, where can we really expand ?
T3: For deciding upon that we must keep in mind that the investment we make should have long sustaining effect.
T2: Yeah... we have just bombed 2 cities of India. How about expanding more over here ?
T1: Whats the use of that! The government of this country will not do anything.... People would be terrified for a day or two but since from past 61 years this is going on so they will become used to that also. There are no long term returns you can expect from this place. Moreover, many of our own people are in politics over here.... and rest be assured that Government is not going to do anything except talking. So, cost benefit analysis does not support this market.
T3: hmm... Africa is pathetic... so no chance over there... how about USA ?
T2: We have already tried it once and the response was quite good for us.... although we suffered heavy loss in Afghanistan later but I think that because we approached it incorrectly.
T1: Yeah, impact wise thats the most favorable area. It will lead to chain of events including heavy investments in various areas. moreover, our brand value will increase several times. The indirect marketing benefits would be worth several billions. In addition the present value of the future cash flows of terrors would be huge... In fact maximum. But we should hedge ourselves from the future losses because of that.
T2: That we will do. So, everybody game for USA ?
T3: Market looks attractive to me.
T1: I am also in.
T2: Fine then. We are targeting US. Do we need to access the market size ?
T3: Not really, we know that it will be the biggest. So, lets skip that part and concentrate upon our market strategy.
T1: We need to identify the area which would be most effective for us. From where our benefit to cost ratio is maximum.
T2: So you mean to say, our investment should be minimum but the benefits should be maximum.
T1: Exactly.
T3: US as you know is also competitor. So, going into its territory and doing business over there is quite expensive from the logistics point of view and we have to cut through all the checks and measures put against us. so, cost are really very high.
T2: Can we outsource that part ?
T1: To whom ? Its not India.
T2: Then we can do something remotely ?
T3: Remotely ?
T2: Yeah... Something like Remote Infrastructure Management... Something like that.... It should be possible.... lets think....
T1 (Thinking)
T2 (Thinking)
T3 (Thinking)
T1: Idea!!!
T2: What ?
T1: See our goal is to reap maximum benefits with minimum investment. Right ?
T2 and T3: Right.
T1: Then lets hit where we could have maximum impact... Lets destroy the backbone of US... Lets hit its economy.
T2 and T3: HOOO HAAA HAAA!!! What joke! We are terrorist not economist.
T1: Yeah, but we are MBAs too... Just think.... the panic which we can spread by that.
T2: and how do you propose to do that ?
T1: Hey, isn't this the same country who boast of advancements and blah blah... Just think carefully. It has computerised everything from stores to banks to its defence system. If we can just disrupt its databases... This can bring so much chaos which even 10 twin tower collapsing can't bring.
T2: Cool... and then we can even control its defence systems and turn it against itself....
T3: And all this through remote location.... minimum cost.... off shore model!
T1: Yes... and this will have rippling effect on the whole world. so, by just targeting one country we can bring the whole world to its knees. There will be chaos and civil wars and then wars between countries. So, our population control goal will also be met... I can see that we can very easily achieve our vision by this....
T2: Very true..... In fact we would be controlling the fate of every person on this planet.
T3: Yeah, and thats the first step... we can even control the mobile networks and hence every mobile device of the world. It would give us incredible reach.
T1: Great idea! Through mobiles we can get into personal life of any one and this will also help to identify future employees..... wow! there seem to be infinite opportunities.... I feel so excited.
T2: Me too.
T3: so what are we waiting for....lets implement it.
T1: Yeah, lets go and hired few Engineers from India....
T2: Why hire ? Lets kidnap a few dozen.... Remember we are in a cost cutting mode.
T3: As you wish...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Dark Knight

Today, I feel writing on 2 topics. One is the Cyber Laws, because I read something about Google being sued in the Bombay High Court, and the other is on Dark Knight, because I just watched the movie yesterday. But since my previous 2 posts have been a bit on the technical side so let me defer the idea of cyber laws for the time being and take up the Dark Knight.

I am not going to write about the story etc. There is a something in the movie which was very peculiar and I know that many people have noticed that. I am talking about the relation between Joker and Batman, especially the last conversation between them when Joker was hung on the building by Batman. Joker said that they share a special relationship. 'When an irresistible force meets an immovable object', its a classical paradox and this how Joker described his relationship with Batman. Interesting! Indeed very interesting. He said that Batman won't kill Joker and Joker too on his side will never kill Batman, because they are necessary for each others survival: they are same. I can relate the same thing to many of the classic movies I have watched like the Star Wars which brought out the concept of Force which had both, dark and bright side. But this took me back to my engineering days when over the dinner we friends used to have heated arguments :) and on one such instance Amit, Chintan and I were at loggerheads with Amit and Chintan on one side and me on the other and we were discussing the relationship between Hindus and Muslims (the evergreen time pass hot topic to discuss :). Time pass because you know you can never reach a conclusion but still you discuss just for the sake of it). We were discussing Gujarat riots when at one point I said kill Muslims today and when all Muslims will be killed then you will find some other thing to fight and then inter caste fight will start and then kill each other on the basis of caste and then something else. To this one of them said, "Thats how the world is. Human needs the existence of opposite for its own existence. It needs someone and something to fight against else it can't survive!" Well this is the very true, isn't it? Consider this. We say that God is almighty. He/she is above all, the most powerful. Then why does the devil exists? If God is most powerful then why don't he/she eliminate the devil completely once and for all? The reason is the same. God needs an opposite force for his/her own existence. I mean, how do you call something white when there is no black, something good when there is no bad, something sweet when there is no sour, something bright when there is no dark! It is the essence of everything.

The ending of the movie is also very good. This is because its about the selflessness of the true hero. Well, not a hero but a guardian angle. Just ponder over this: Batman took the blame of all the killings by the other person to keep the image of the hero alive in the eyes of the people because heroes are infallible. Its the matter of people's faith and he stood to protect that at the cost of himself. He didn't want to be a hero himself, but he is always there to protect Gotham. I liked the closing dialogue which Jim Gordon made, "Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now...and so we'll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector...a Dark Knight." Just think over it, it says a lot of thing :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

ICT - What it means to you

As many of you know, I am a B.Tech in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) from DA-IICT. In 4 years of engineering and even now, I have gained expertise in explaining people what exactly is ICT, because whenever someone used to ask me the question, " What are you doing ?", and now "What have you done ?" then my answer has always been "B.Tech in ICT". The next sentence from the other side has always been "Oh! IT". After that I have to explain them what ICT is, unlike many of my friends who took the easier path of accepting themselves as IT professionals and put an end to the discussion. The same question has been asked to many of my friends in many interviews and tomorrow again I am expecting this question. So, better to put it down for the benefit of one and all and hence this post.

Information is power. But what exactly makes information powerful ? Its communication and dissemination of information that makes it powerful and effective. This is the underlining philosophy behind ICT. In the 1990s there came a boom in IT. This was the phase when organizations and individuals alike started developing and using software - stand alone software. This phase was about converting data into information. During the late 1990s internet started gaining popularity. This was the start of the phase 2 - the ICT revolution. The focus was dissemination of information. So, ICT is the next level of IT. ICT includes converting data into information, managing information and disseminating information. Now, every technology, every device and every method which does all these is a part of ICT. People many times misinterpret ICT as Telecom. Yes, Telecom is a part of ICT but its a proper subset of ICT. ICT is much much more than just telecom. The earliest ICT technology which I could think of right now is telegraph systems. Presently, internet, telecommunication, web 2.0, embedded systems, smart homes, smart cards, RFIDs, ERP systems, CRM systems, railways reservation systems and the list will go on and on, are the examples of ICT in action. The mission of ICT in the present context is 'Connecting Everything with Everything Else'.

If you think carefully then today, everyone is heavily dependent on ICT. And future will definitely be governed by ICT. So, whats the next big thing happening ? If we look at some of the the stats then as of 31st March 2008 nearly 21.9% of the world's population is using internet (source: Mobile penetration in India is around 25%. These numbers speak something. They speak about the growth opportunities in these spaces. But apart from connecting masses, the real next wave of development is in accordance to the theme of connecting everything with everything else. All the devices will be connected together with your mobile phone at the center stage. I wrote a paper in my B.Tech and it was about how our mobile phones can be used as remote controls. Although my paper was not selected for the competition but I strongly believe that will become reality and with cloud computing and smart phones a glimpse of that can already be seen (you see how futuristic I am! But the problem is people don't easily accept when you present something new to them! woff.....). Mobile phone will be your digital identity. It will act as a key, as your credit card, as your remote control and any thing you can possibly think of. But this has sometime to become a reality, but surely within next 10 years. In the immediate future what is going to change our lives is the Windows 7 release in 2010. Microsoft surface technology is going to redefine the way we use gadgets presently. It will also help in penetrating the masses as touch screens are much easier to communicate with than any other device. The only factor which will be extremely crucial is the cost factor. If we look at the business implications of all these developments then the integration of mobiles and the goal of connecting everything with everything else will change the way in which presently any industry functions. PDAs are already popular in the business fraternity but this is going to create new businesses which will focus on providing application based on the principle of connecting everything with everything else. Network Security will boom. New devices will be innovated and all the devices will be revolving around the touch based technology. I am not sure of the bio tech impact. But surely there are some interesting researches going on in that area also and ultimately that will also merge with the connectivity principle. Remember the movie Minority Report in which personalized advertisements were given to 100s and 1000s of users simultaneously, Bio Tech can make that possible.

There are some challenges also. The challenges are less technical and more social. When you are connecting everything with everything else such that there is seamless communication, you are relying too much on technology. In other words there is always a danger of you being trapped in technology. And unethical hackers can destroy you very easily. So, security is of prime concern. At the same time user sensitive information is to be handled carefully. I mentioned in my earlier post of web 2.0 about the way people use a system. The point is people will continue to do so ignoring the underlining principles on which system has been built and later they will blame the system for it. So, proper user education is a must, which is the most difficult task. Another one of the most important point to note is the increase of digital divide. This is a very important point and if ignored it will destroy our civilizations because the political implications of the increasing digital divide where 25% of the population is 2 curves ahead of the other 3/4th will raise issues which won't be easy to solve! But there is ray of hope over here also. Since there would be gap in the society, it will create new businesses to fill that gap - afterall that what free market is supposed to do, but how far will it go is difficult to predict.

So, you see ICT is much bigger then what the general perception is. Hope this piece has helped you to understand ICT and next time there would be lesser people asking me "Oh! IT"....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Power of web 2.0 !

Heard of this term ? I am sure you would have. This is the buzz word around. Everyone, from students to businesses are talking about this. But only a hand full actually understand what is it. Now, I am not going to explain to you what it actually is (its quite boring to explain that, so please help yourself). But I am going to talk about the power which this, so called new technology (actually, its not a new technology) has given to the users.

Power, is a double edge sword. If nuclear power can be used to produce energy so can it be used to produce bombs (and of course it can make or break goverments). So is the case with web 2.0. On one hand where it has marked a paradigm shift by transferring the power to the users on the other it has made the users also vulnerable. Let me elaborate on this.

Giving power to users is to allow them to publish their own content in the manner they want. From companies' point of view, this is synonymous to "word of mouth" in the online world. Thats why so many organizations are humming this tune. But this has also given users to express themselves more freely and to generate their own virtual world. Its about creating one's image in the virtual environment. The popularity of applications like HalfLife and now the recent launch by Google exploit the people's desire to be something or someone that they are not and these applications give users the power to create profiles to satisfy those only. Even the social networking sites revolve round the same concept. Popularity of orkut in India or Facebook in US or Hi5 in Singapore, have created new developements in the online world that are based on user profiling and communities generation. But its here only that the people are made vulnerable to this medium. What actually makes them vulnerable is not the technology but their own carelessness or may be, their ignorance. They are made vulnerable because they forget or ignore the very fact which has given this medium its power. (Any guesses !) Its the openness that this medium offers. (I know you hadn't got it). Internet is an open forum and web 2.0 has made it even more so. This is NOT real world, but is quite different from it. Yes, it may look like our real world but the fundamentals are very different and if you assume the usual norms of the real world then sorry boss, you are at the wrong place. All your profiles, all your blogs, all your scrapbooks are open and public. If you think that you need a private space then you should not be over here. Why do you create profiles - so the others can see you in them. Why do you write blogs - so the others can read your thoughts through them. Why do you have scrapbooks - so the others can communicate with you. Now, these are the basic principles behind these tools. So, now if you have made your profile or your blog or your scrapbook or any such thing public you can't expect people not to read them or analyse them or do whatever they want to do with it. Yes, there are now tools available to allow you certain level of privacy so if you want that 'privacy' then use them! But assuming that privacy is default is sucidal. Its the other way round beacuse the system is made on the principles of openness.

In short, every system has some basics that govern it and drive it. One should not forget those basics for one's own good. The principles of web 2.0 are based upon user interactions and user ownership and when you are using any such medium you are signing an invisible contract of acceptance of those rules, so you can't complain later.

Friday, June 13, 2008


After a long break I am writing again. Its not that I didn't have topics to write but just I didn't feel writing. There are a bunch of topics to choose from. But let me not write on any of those. This time its about 'Emptiness'.

This word is being looked down upon by its fraternity as being Empty! But I just discovered the beauty of this word and surprisingly its the paradox, which I am sure half of you won't be able to understand but still - The beauty of this word is the emptiness it conveys and attracts attention because if something is attracting attention then there is this 'something' and if there is 'something' then it can't be empty!

See, I had told you, you won't be able to understand. But hey, wait. Don't just start banging your head. There is more to come.

Whether you believe it or not, whether you accept it or not but the fact remains that emptiness has a very important part in each of ours' life. Don't believe me! Then ask someone preparing a resume to know what it takes to fill in the empty space. The fun of having an empty tank on a highway is just indescribable. Emptiness of space generates ideas. If a glass is filled, its filled. Thats the end. There is only one possibility for it: to get empty. But if a glass is empty then imagine the scope it has! It can be filled with anything...Literally anything! Emptiness creates opportunities. If you are single, then just imagine the opportunities you have! (Yeah yeah I know what you are imagining). Emptiness of mind brings in peace. Emptiness of heart brings in innocence. And emptiness of soul brings in purity. Its the starting and the end. Everything else lies in between it or rather inside it (you see this is the paradox I mentioned). Emptiness is the driving force of the world. Its just the perspective of looking at emptiness. It has the unique dual power capable of both, depressing you or exciting you. It depends upon you how you take emptiness.

And if you are still not convinced about the importance of Emptiness then just flip your bank pass book. Under this inflation I am sure it would be empty. (Ouch! This really hurts!)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Endurance Test

What is the longest duration exam have you ever given ? If you are one of the participants of PGDSM-MIT then your answer would definitely be............. 8 hours. Yeap, I am just coming after giving a grilling 8 hour exam with a break of 1/2 an hour after 4 hours.

Exams keep happening. I have become immune to exams to some extent. After all I have been giving them since past 17 year ! All the exams are same. But there had been few which really stand out of the league. The first such exam I had was in my 1st year of engineering. The first time when I was exposed to an open book exam. Man! for a person who have been brought up in this Indian education system where exams are treated as WARs, where parents become more nervous then the child on the day of the exam, where exams are signs of your 'Talent' , where you can become a social icon or likewise an outcast on the basis of your exams, where your future can be decided by those crucial 2-3 hrs, where all that matters is to vomit whatever you have memorized a day before without even understanding, open book exams were a change. A pleasant change. Then came the one in 3rd Semester of B.Tech. This one had the concept of Cheat sheet. For those of you who have not been fortunate enough to live such experience, let me explain to you that in this concept you are allowed to take a sheet of paper to the exam which could have anything written on it. But with the condition that it should be hand written. I still remember scribbling all the formula in the finest and smallest hand writing possible on that A4 size sheet. Another fun, just a few days ago I had given a take home exam. Though I had seen my seniors going through it in my engineering days, I escaped the 'treat' at that time (didn't opted for that elective:) But this time I experience it. A whole new experience and what I knew beforehand came true altogether. But these exams had some thing which I will be telling you later towards the end.

My exams at my B.Tech had transformed my thinking from the typical 'Indian Thinking' (Don't ask me to explain that. You know it for yourself) to what I perceive as more broader and global thinking. It might be because most of my professors had the teaching experience or they had been educated in west, so their style differed considerably to general style prevalent in India. Emphasis was more on understanding. They didn't require stories in exams but precise and crisp answers. Well, I am in a B-school now, but obviously, here I could feel and even see that Old Style of Thinking (can't elaborate on that for the obvious reasons ;) But my course association with Virgina Tech just takes me back to where I feel at home. They don't concentrate on quantity but quality and concepts. Exactly like I had in my B.Tech :) In one incident a SPJIMR faculty asked me about how the Prof. from VT take pop quizes and when I told that person that the in a quiz we just had to write literally 3 words for 10 points, (s)he was amazed. I can understand the amazement.

Coming back to the main topic - My today's exam was another diamond to the crown. I would not call it a exam, but an Endurance Test. Its about surviving for 8 hours, as if Prof Sheetz would be asking "Do you have it in you ?". Let me ask those of you who are working, leave apart the student community, have you ever worked continuously frantically for 8 hours ! I bet majority won't even work continuously for 2 hours. Since the exam was of 8 hrs, people were pretty relaxed till the morning. 8hrs - 5 questions....what big deal. But as soon as the question paper was handed to us, I could find that lost look on every face over there. For the first 1.5 hrs I had not typed anything on my laptop. I could hear Prof Sheetz laughing that evil mythological laughter somewhere in my head. I quick look around told me that I was not alone... sense of relief. I got back started typing anything and everything that came to my mind and slowly it started taking shape... Finally I managed to do something, something worthy at the end of 8 hrs... At the end of those 8hrs we walked out of the rooms as if we were all Achilles. The great warriors who have just won a long War. We have done it !

After having all these unique experiences with different type of exams I have realized 1 important fact. They are all baits to trap you. People think, an open book exam means you don't need to study anything. Just learn the contents' location in the book so that you can look it up in exam. Or when you have the cheat sheet, just write the formula and you will sail through easily. And take home exams! what feast... search net, ask friends.... so easy. right ? and 8 hr long have too much time to go through the material, so just relax.... Well! absolutely wrong. I pity those who think these exams make life easy. Yes, they do make life easy as you don't need to memorize and then vomit that stinking material in exam, but these exams requires much greater understanding of the concepts. In all my open book exams so far, I have hardly found a occasion to open the book. They were so conceptual that books can't help you if you have not read them and understood the concepts and if you have then you don't even need the book ! In all those cheat sheet exams hardly ever a formula based question would come.... I still remember I was only being able to track 1 numerical to my cheat sheet in all those exams. And by God, Take Home Exams! they will require you to do indepth research. When even net fails to assist you and when you began to doubt the page rank algorithm that google implements, then its a serious issue. And Finally, long exams like that of today's 8hr marathon...they will make you sit there like fool. You would want to cry, but won't be able to do so. You would try to relax, (hey you have 8 hrs on hand), but won't be able to. When you start counting your sins for which you are being punished, you can understand the severity of situation.
But even after all this, when some prof tomorrow would offer you one of these options in place of the traditional Good Old Style Exam, you would find some idiots falling for the bait and with themselves they take the whole class into the deep dungeon.
As far as I am concerned, I would beg on my knees to have the traditional form of exam... they are much more easier to score!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


This post I wrote in today's guest lecture. It will give you a glimpse of my Management life :)
so here it goes:

I am sitting in a guest lecture on High Maturity Practices taken by the Associate VP of an organization. I am not even trying to listen what he is talking. I don't want to. May be because most of the things he is talking I already know. May be I am half asleep. But there could be one more factor and thats the first impression. He is wearing a business suit. But wearing something and wearing with elegance - there is much difference between the two. So although the gentleman is quite knowledgeable with good communication skills (IITB and IIMA graduate) and is talking sense, but still I don't want to listen to him. I think this is the effect of presentation.
Now he has given us an activity to do in groups on what he has talked about: Process Performance Measure, Control Charts and CAR. We have to apply these concepts on a case study. Now here is another twist. The case was sent to us few days ago. But as hardcore faithful followers of the long set Indian Student Culture, 90% of us haven't read it. And as I mentioned earlier, most of us (take it as all of us) were not grasping to what he was saying - the situation has become very interesting as he wants us to give presentation on our analysis after 30 min.
Various groups are making presentations at present. but let me take you to what has happened during the last 30-45 min. We formed groups in such a way that atleast one person in the group had read the case...There were not many of those species. After that the knowledgeable person bestowed upon us the case gist. And we started working. No one had any clear idea as to what to do (remember none was listening - physically present, mentally absent during the lecture) but everyone was working. Ultimately it boiled down to few things: c- charts, perato charts, Ishikawa Diagram, all drawn on big charts => presentation. Every group has managed to pull this part so far. Now came the presentations. And wow! what presentations. No one knew what had to be done. No one still has any idea, but everyone is making mind blowing presentation. If you are an outsider, it would flatter you. Full of jargons, strategies, cause and effects blah blah........ But if you are at the other side, the side to which I am there, you will see that its all gas. But still impressive. And the lecturer is quite happy.

This is the biggest learning of MBA. Rely on each other to get out of tough situation. Then, presentation matters a lot. Finally, given any topic, you would be able to speak upon it with some jargons here and there such that the poor fellow who is ignorant of this culture can't escape being impressed by you. Its the confidence with which people transmit this gaseous material that all of it seems to be as solid as rock.... Welcome! thats real MBA and I am still learning it

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Oh My Parents,
Oh My Teachers,
Oh My Lord,
Where have I come to ?
Is this your Earth ?
Or is this Hell ?
Where are the morals
Which you taught me ?
Where are the values
Which I have always valued ?

Lost I find myself in this degraded world.
Helpless I feel against the Sith.
Vices envelope people,
Darkness shadowing their hearts.
Demanding immorality as their Right
They fight shamelessly against the light.
Murderers of their own consciousness,
Traders of morality.
Demons of mankind,
Threat to humanity.
They challenge me for doing the right.

Quietly I sat,
Silently I watched.
Waiting for it to stop.
Trying to adjust to it.
I tried to close my eyes,
I tried to close my ears,
I tried not to think,
I tired to take it as "Real World".
But it makes me dead.
It sucks life out of me.
It makes me feel guilty.
It takes you away from me.

No longer will I sit quietly.
No longer will I watch silently.
Oh My Parents,
Oh My Teachers,
Oh My Lord,
Give me the strength
Give me the Faith
Give me the courage
To stand by virtue
To fight the darkness
To listen to my heart
And to act on it.
I won't let you die,
I won't let you lose.
I will not scum to pressures.
I will not let my conscious die.
I will fight this Sith,
No matter what it takes.
No matter I have no one with me.
No matter even the whole darkness engulf the sun.
I will light that candle.
That will create the new Sun.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

V-Day Special

Yesterday night I opened my ip messenger and saw a few interesting new groups created, "Single Comm", "SP's One Side Association" etc. Oh! Its Valentine Day tomorrow.
Every year this day has just been like any other day for me. I did not even know about it until the media hyped it and bring it to lime light.
But I like the concept. "One Day in a year when people can express their feelings (of love of course)". But isn't it a satire on the whole society ? We require a day to love !

But leaving that and coming to the thing which attracted my attention at the first place. Being alone on Valentine Day, how does one feel ? You feel when you want to feel. Oh yeah! in many cases you are also made to feel. Personally, I never felt anything. Four years of engineering and half a year in management and I don't have a girlfriend (Oh God! poore college life barbad kar de). But same is with my friends :) and thats why I never felt anything on this day. But I can understand how it might feel to the people in the opposite situation. Once, I was caught in such a situation when two of my "GOOD" friends left me between 2 young couples and it was not V-Day, but by any standards it was not a comfortable situation to be in.

So, for "single" people who are caught in such situations, V-Day is about social acceptance. Now, its an old saying "Make your weakness your strength". So, you can hear one-liners like this which I heard in the morning "If you have a girlfriend its Valentine's Day else its Independence Day". So people, keep the high spirits ON and rock for yourself. There is a famous dialogue "Someone Somewhere is Made for You :)".

BTW 14th Feb is very special to me. Not because of V-Day but because many years ago my Mom and Dad got engaged on this day. Of course at that time this concept was not in India and its co incidental.
The first call which I received in the morning was from my Mom wishing me Valentine Day. Happy Engagement and Valentine Day Mom and Dad.
I Love You !!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Parmenides' Fallacy

Parmenides' Fallacy is an interesting concept. All our decisions are generally based upon the measurement of the future benifits that can be drawn by making that decision. How will it make us better of than what we presently are. This is the fundamental clause in the decision making of most of the managers while making any investment. But what is interesting to note is that the things in the normal circumstances will constantly deteriorate in their own. So, if we don't take any decision then we might be worse off in future than what we are now. So, if the investment is made then it might be that we would be worse off than now but better off than we would have been without it.

It goes like this. When an investment in the field of innovation is made then in the initial year the cash flows are negative for a certain period of time and then it picks up. Of course all the cash flows are projected ones and are hence based on assumptions which might fail. Now, if the investment decision is to be made then the cash flows after investment in new idea is compared with the present cash flows which is assumed to be unchanging in future. This is a trap. This is becasue if nothing is done (i.e. no investment is made) then the future cash flows will not be same as the present ones as the competitors' sustaining and disruptive investments over time will result in price and margin pressure, technology changes, market share losses, sales volume decrease and a decline stock price. So, in actual terms our present cash flows will decline if nothing is done and a status quo is maintained. It is with this declining cash flow that we should compare the future cash flow from the new investment to make decisions. But this is not practiced in general and the trend is to comapre the future cash stream with the present cash streram extrapolated in future. This is Parmenides' Fallacy.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

She forced me to "Rethink"

Yesterday something very interesting happened. A girl asked me, "What will you do if somebody say something (-ve) to a girl with you ?" I told her it all depends upon the circumstances. Its in the moment. But in my conscious mind I will not indulge in a fight, but will look out alternate ways. I will rather use my mind then physical strength.
She was shocked at my reply. I think she expected me to fight. Its exactly how I would have acted till my 10th standard or rather till 1st year of engineering. But now I think I understand the rules of the game a little better. I know its not the heroism thats important but its the cause which should be your focus. In this case its the safety of the girl. First ensure the safety of the girl and then think about the rest. One of the most important principles of the war or any fight or any competition is, know your strengths first, then know your opponents strengths and then formulate strategy. Its totally foolish and irresponsible to jump into a fight without analyzing the situation. "Josh mein Hosh nahin khone chaheye". If you do so, then may be you will succeed by stroke of luck but more is the probability that you will loss and with that you might put your cause also at stake.
Uptill this point I know I was correct and I was not buffeted by whatever she was saying. But the bomb came after that. She said, "yaar agar tum janne wali ke liye kuch nahi kar sake to anjaan ke liye kya karoge". I haven't ever thought of it! What would I do if someone is saying something indecent to a lady stranger to me ? Its a question which I think we all need to answer. Will I remain quite or will I react aggressively ? I really don't know the answer to this and even my above given theory fails here. If suppose I keep quite then am I not encouraging those bastards. Isn't it just because of this reason that girls were molested at Juhu ? But straight away getting physical also doesn't seem sensible. What should one do ? I know its all impulsive and the moment defines it all, I have experienced this on several occasions. But if I just think coolly on it, then what is the best approach ?
I have not been able to sleep properly since yesterday. Its only this thought revolving in my head, what will I do in such situation and what is the best path. But most importantly, Am I doing the right thing ?