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Showing posts from January, 2013

Nagpur and More

Don't know why, but coming to IMT Nagpur feels like coming home- hope my wife is not reading this, sitting in Pune. But jokes aside, it is a homely feeling on campus. I can understand the pangs of students who have to go away after spending just two years here. I am also reminded of some 'professional students'-mostly Indians on American campuses who did not want to leave the campus, and continued to enroll in some program so they could continue living there.

I was recently in two other campuses-Bangalore and Kolkata IIMs- in my quest for faculty to join us. They also had a unique feeling to them, though my stay was only a part of a day. Of course, I did spend almost two years in my avatar as a PGDM student at IIMB many years before. We played Frisbee footer then. Nagpur also has golf, if one is so inclined. But it does not matter much what the physical facilities are. It is the feeling of being away from the so-called 'real world' of anxieties, EMIs and all, that…

Kolkata- A Capital City

Kolkata it was, for the fourth of our alum get-togethers. In a historic setting, reminiscent of the British Raj. The hoary Tollygunge Club in south Kolkata was where we had the party. It was a small, intimate gathering unlike the very large crowd in Delhi and Mumbai. That could be because job opportunities in Kolkata are fairly limited, and most companies that recruit MBAs do so for other places of posting. But there were people from ITC, Proctor and Gamble (a good combo of professions), and so on, with some entrepreneurs too- a sort of contradiction in terms in Kolkata (this is not Gujarat).

However, that gave us a chance to chat peacefully, and exchange views over a drink or two.  Having three former members of our Alcom (students' committee that looks after Alumni relations) lled to a lively discussion about the past and the future of this important function in the context of IMT Ghaziabad,

It also gave me a chance to revisit the Calcutta Metro that I had seen since birth and …

David- A Tribute

They also play a pivotal role in many films. rarely do they get talked about, such is the hero-worship in the world of Bollywood and its media coverage.

One of the delightful cameo artists was simply known as David (others, a few I can recall off-hand, were Durga Khote, Dina Pathak, Leela Mishra, Nazneen, AK Hangal, Om Prakash, Utpal Dutt, and many comedians along the way). He was inconspicuous, but when he came on to the scene, he radiated a charm and positive energy, making you smile. He did not seem like he was acting too- a natural.

Many a film benefited from his unique charisma (non-heroes have it too, you know)- a partial list of which is here-

Khubsoorat (1980)Gol Maal (1979)Baton Baton Mein (1979)Hamare Tumhare (1979)Khatta MeethaChupke Chupke (1975)Abhimaan (1973)        
The playful guy in Golmaal who tips off Amol Palekar on how to 'patao' Utpal Dutt with moustaches and a penchant for our 'pavitra sanskaar' brings tears of laughter even today. Similarly he is…

Word Play- Daft Definitions

Word Play, forwarded by a player. Running out of original ideas due to Dilli ki sardi.

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown..

7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with
Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.),: The belief that, when you die, your soul…

Fogged Out

Thus speaks the wiki on Fog-

Fog is a collection of liquid water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. While fog is a type of stratus cloud, the term "fog" is typically distinguished from the more generic term "cloud" in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated locally (such as from a nearby body of water, like a lake or the ocean, or from nearby moist ground or marshes).Fog is distinguished from mist only by its density, as expressed in the resulting decrease in visibility: Fog reduces visibility to less than 1 km (5/8 statute mile), whereas mist reduces visibility to no less than 1 km . For aviation purposes in the UK, a visibility of less than 5 km but greater than 999 m is considered to be mist if the relative humidity is 70% or greater.

The fictional character in Jules Vernes' book 'Around the World in Eighty Days' was called Phileas Fogg, I don't have the foggiest idea of w…

Golf Jokes

Image
Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle, followed by a good bottle of beer.

Golf ! You hit down to make the ball go up.You swing left and the ball goes right.The lowest score wins, on top of that, the winner buys the drinks.

Golf is harder than baseball.In Golf, you have to play your foul balls.

If you find you do not mind playing Golfin the rain, the snow, even during a hurricane, here's a valuable tip ........ your life is in trouble.

Golfers who try to make everything perfect before taking the shot rarely make a perfect shot.

A 'gimme' (for novices, this is when a putt close to the hole is considered 'given' by the opponent, without actually putting it) can best be defined as an agreement between two golfers ...neither of whom can putt very well.

An interesting thing about Golf is that no matter how badly you play, it is always possible to get worse.

Golf's a hard game to figure.One day you'll go out and sli…

All About Bacteria

This is a very interesting book, though I don't agree with all that it proposes in terms of lifestyle changes. It is written by a guy called Ravi Mantha, who is a health activist.

His major proposition is that preventing ill-health is better than treating bad health. Agree 100%. Also, his remarks on the pharma industry trying to increase sales of drugs and costly treatments are bang on.

He suggests that bacteria are good, necessary, and we are mostly bacteria, and the world as we don''t know it, is also mostly bacteria, with humans and complex organisms in a minority.

He has some interesting theories (supported by some research mostly) on treatments too. But his emphasis is on prevention of sickness.

Major points- iron in excess is bad for health and causes many health problems, some fatal. Not in a day, but over a few years. He quotes some treatments that are similar to bloodletting that was practised in the medieval times, as a cure. Only, he says it can be a civilised …

Strong Arms

First there was Neil. He was over the top, so much that he went to the moon, though some contentitous folks keep contending that he never did, that the U.S. faked it.

Then there was Lance. He conned the world with a series of steroid-induced cyclathon victories over decades.

Does that mean strong-arm tactics don't work? You could be in a never-ending 'arms' race if you tried taking on the world? Arming yourself to the teeth with weapons of self-destruction would seem to be the arm...sorry, norm, for some.

What if we had things like honesty, admittedly an outdated virtue, in our 'armoury?' Would it hurt badly? After all, being number one in the world in anything, is a mirage, and fairly short term, as even the 'Superman' and 'The Greatest" found out. Why then, this arms race to strong-arm yourself into that position?

AACSB and Faculty Development

I am in Mumbai on work, more on which later. But I got a chance to talk to some faculty members at K. J. Somaiya School of Management through a friend/co-author who works there. It was about the state of research in management schools and how we can do more.

Another interesting discussion was about how foreign B schools in Asian countries (non-Indian) have positioned themselves better through accreditations and research output and so on. IMT Ghaziabad, and  KJ Somaiya have both applied for AACSB accreditation, considered the best in the world. We at IMT are working hard to get it, too, and hopefully should in a year or more. We had a useful sharing of info on what it entails. One of the important things again is research output improvements. Second, accountability in the form of Assurance of Learning for our students. Documented and delivered, audited. Good stuff! I think schools (not just B schools) at all levels should do this.

Earth-shaking Queries

I have a few grave questions that need answering-

1. Are Mentos the favoured brand that mentors chew on?

2. Which are the pens favoured by writers in a 'pen'sive mood?

3. If an emerging economy performs 'sub'-par, does it become a sub-merging economy?

4. Can a Gupt-a keep a secret better than a Khulla-r?

5. Who invented the spelling of Albuquerque (a town in New Mexico, USA), and why?

6. What is the second-commonest name after Smith?

7. How do you convert a Pande into a Deshpande?

You are welcome to answer some or all of these. Or raise a few of your own, that you were afraid to ask.

An Idiotic Post

Not just three, we were 110 idiots in a place called Bilekahalli, Bannerghatta Road (IIMB campus, then brand new). This is a short tour into our life in 1982-84, as viewed through a picture album. I am in a pic or two, but most of them were taken by me.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/116627093463110607592/albums/5751671323571008225

Have fun!

Up and About

Some funny stuff from a friend who might have looked it 'up' somewhere-
UP is a very strange word!
There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.' It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UPa report? We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and thinkUP excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special. A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it 

Fixing It

Here are a few dictionary definitions to get us started (from the web).Definition of FIX transitive verb 1 a: to make firm, stable, or stationary b: to give a permanent or final form to: as (1): to change into a stable compound or available form fix nitrogen> (2): to kill, harden, and preserve for microscopic study (3): to make the image of (a photographic film) permanent by removing unused salts c:affixattach 2 a: to hold or direct steadily <fixes his eyes on the horizon> b: to capture the attention of <fixed her with a stare> 3 a: to set or place definitely :establish b: to make an accurate determination of :discover<fixingour location on the chart> c:assign<fix the blame> 4 : to set in order :adjust 5 : to get ready :prepare<fix lunch> 6 a:repairmend<fix the clock> b:restorecurefix ed him up>
The recent meanings, however, if you have got a fix on them, have much to do with shady dealings. Whether it is the Hansie-Cronje-led fixing of matches in the…

Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola

It was a mixed set of reviews that prompted me to check out the film. And first of all, I must say I enjoyed the film. It is not dark, like Omkara was ( I didn't finish watching that, actually). It is a lot of fun, exuberance, and some lurking evil here and there.

Pankaj Kapur is one of our most talented actors, and he's got something to chew on here. His performances, even the one in Karamchand Jasoos on TV eons ago, were outstanding-of course, he was one of the villains in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro too.

His zany take on the man named Mandola is superb, and some moments (in the end, he does a doggy after the villain lady calls him a kutta in a damning dialogue) are absolutely ROFL! Anushka Sharma has lots to do, and with her mix of good looks and peppy acting, she does it well. I think she has rocketed after Band Baaja happened in her life. Imran Khan is the weak link here, and someone of Nana Patekar's calibre (younger, of course) could have added a lot more to his character.

A Rocking Party

As part of my regular forays into the India Habitat Centre, I forayed there once more last evening. As part of my portfolio of work, I am in charge of alumni relations (sounds a lot better than 'affairs'). And what an event it was. Hats off to our student team who organised it.

The hall started buzzing so most of the speeches got drowned-but who cares for speeches in such an event anyway? A lot of our faculty gamely turned up, including two goras- from Britain and Grenoble, France- and one of our alums who is now a faculty member at University Of San Diego, USA. (In a Hindi-film like coincidence, this alum was also an alum of Georgia State for his PhD and took a course from my brother who teaches there!)

There were young and middle-aged guys and gals (though the gals did not LOOK middle-aged, I should emphasise, in case they take offense), and a great mix. I am not referring to the beverages here. It was unadulterated enjoyment, of the kind that happens when friends meet thei…

Apni Dhun Mein Rehta Hoon

I discovered a new website thanks to an article I was reading in the Mint Lounge (the saturday paper that I have come to like). It is www.rekhta.org which is essentially a one-stop site for re-discovering all your Urdu ghazals, nazms etc. Done in a format where you can search for the ghazal by Poet or by Lyrics, it is in both English and Hindi scripts. I found it brilliant, and so might you, if it interests you.

I tried finding two of my favourite ghazals- Apni Dhun mein rehta hoon and Dil mein ek leher si utthi hai abhi, and found the lyrics in a jiffy. Meanings of words difficult to fathom are available if you click on the word. Very useful. My Urdu will improve by leaps!

The first (Apni Dhun Mein) is a ghazal you can find Ghulam Ali singing (if you want to listen to it while I continue in my dhun), at http://gaana.com/#!/albums/anmol-sitare-vol-7-hindi

Learnings From Traffic

Traffic is the ultimate punching bag for all of us, with apparently no redeeming features. But during one such heavily-filled road journey, I came up with the following things one can learn from negotiating traffic on our roads (apart from of course, learning to use choice expletives, which some consider a useful part of language training)-

1. There are no kings or commoners here. We are all as the maker intended-equal.

2. This makes us contemplative- note that my (above) contemplations happened on the road.

3. This teaches us patience- I would have said forbearance, but I realise not many would recognise the word.

4. It lets us appreciate the beauty of our existence- the mind wanders into all the beautiful places that one could have been in -especially when you are not driving (it could be fatal if you ARE).

5. It makes us acutely aware of how much we long to be at home, or even at work. Therefore, it increases our positive feelings for both. Even the boss appears to be better than w…

A Mathematics Riddle

Not even sure if I should expose my ignorance (or that of others) here. But this question has been bugging me for a few years now. And I don't see any street protests by mathematicians anywhere. So may be I am wrong. But let me get the bug out of my system anyway.

A percentile is a great invention, by someone who wanted to compare people. As scales go, it is supposed to measure things on an ordinal, or comparative, scale. By definition, it is the number of people below you, if your percentile score is being discussed. If I have a 75 percentile, it should mean that 75% of the students who took the exam with me are below my score (whatever the raw score- that could be 5, or 50, or even 0, if negative marking is allowed, coz some would score minus marks in such a scenario).

Now, a percentile score of 100 is an impossibility by this definition. Because you are one of the people who make up the 100% of the test-taking population. Therefore, you necessarily have to exclude yourself whi…

Using the Freeze

Apparently we in Delhi and around it are experiencing the deep arctic freeze, the likes of which happen only once or twice in our limited lifetimes. While pondering over the positives of this phenomenon, I imagined the following -

1. The gaalis freezing on the giver's face even before he gets to the colourful part.

2. Conservation of water as the urge and the necessity of bathing diminish.

3. Sales of many products rarely used increase- such as thermal underwear, room heaters, gloves, scarves, mufflers, shawls and so on..

4. Sales of some frequently used products like rum, brandy etc. may shoot through the roof, along with tea, coffee and other hot stuff including parathas.

5. People may discover the joys of staying indoors, and visit corners of their houses thus far unvisited.

6. Rediscovering of the simple joys of a bonfire- as long as it does not convert to a wildfire.

7. Writing more blogs, as there is nothing much to do outside. Don't know if it's a positive for the …

English Bites- Book That Does Not

This is a book that tickles. Manish Gupta is the author, and the byline of the book, or its subtitle is-My Fullproof English Learning Formula.

This is the second book about English I have read recently, after Etymologicon, and it does not disappoint. I will give you some free samples from it, and let you decide for yourself, whether it will disappoint you or not.

Darling literally is 'little dear', from the ancient 'dar' for dear, like duckling, or pigling. Remember that, the next time you use the word to address an endearing personality.

Amphibology is any ambiguous usage in English. Examples in the book-

1. Fine for parking. Get the double meaning?

2. Eat our curry- you won't get (any) better!

3. A quote by Groucho Marx- I once shot an elephant in my pajamas-er,  how did the elephant get in them?

4. Our dog eats everything and loves children.

About punctuation, there is a famous Oscar Wilde quote- 'I spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of t…

Bengaluru Summer

I was in Bangalore for the IMT Ghaziabad alumni meet. This is a part of a series of meets across all major cities in India, done once a year as part of our outreach. The IIMs have also recently started this tradition, and it is a great way to keep in touch with alums. We did this at Nagpur with our alumni too.

However, the interesting part of this visit was that Bangalore had a high of 26 degrees or so, while Delhi had a max of 11 and min. around 3 degrees when I left. Not very different, as I can see now.

Anyway, I had three different alumni meets, while there. Met a few of my classmates of IIMB, and talked about our impending Tees Saal Baad in a couple of years. Also, met an alum of PESIT who works for VF Corp, the brand owners of a few well-known garment brands-Lee, Wrangler among them. She has kept in touch through these years, and it was great meeting again.

All in all, a nice summer outing out of freezing Delhi.

Launch of The Hussaini Alam House

It was my newly found habitation again- India Habitat Centre in Delhi. But the occasion was cerebral- a book launch of this book I have been raving about. A few classmates made the occasion even better, all Osmaniacs from engineering days, including Huma, the author.

It was well conducted by Zubaan, the publisher represented by Urvashi Butalia and her colleagues, who provided the tea and then kept away, leaving the floor to Huma and to engage her in a talk, Vidya Rao, also a Hyderabadi who does not live there right now. The reason this is important is because the book among other things looks at a Hyderabadi way of life gone by, and maybe that is a microcosm of the world anywhere else. It also speaks of events in the background of the lives of its characters, and though mellow in its criticism of stuff like Babri Masjid and Police action and the Godhra riots, forces us to introspect on where we are headed as humans. The Delhi gang rape that recently took place brought this home force…

Cricket on Coldest Day

We had a different kind of Cricket. There were some Englishmen and South Africans involved, but no Pakistanis. It was actually a conference organised by a centre for rural innovation, knowledge management and entrepreneurship at IMT Ghaziabad, which goes by its acronym, CRICKET. This conference is partnered by the University of Essex's entrepreneurship centre.

Happened to be the coldest Delhi day yet this season, with arctic winds and freezing temples (the body parts), but the conference went on quite nicely at the India Habitat Centre. And the day ended with a dinner at the same venue.

Tomorrow a friend's book, The Hussaini Alam House, gets its Delhi launch at the same venue. Huma, who wrote it, is my classmate from Osmania engineering college, and the book is her first. I had reviewed it here before, but suffice it to say that it is really well-written, and evokes memories of a world gone by.

At this rate, my habitation at the Habitat centre may become rather permanent.

Dave Barry- Greatest Hits

Barry has defined a sense of humor as "a measurement of the extent to which we realize that we are trapped in a world almost totally devoid of reason. Laughter is how we express the anxiety we feel at this knowledge." His comedy is awesome, and I present a few nuggets from the book Greatest Hits which I am presently reading. ROFL-LMAO humor (I am humouring him with the American spelling of the word).

On making Your Own Beer

Yeast is a wonderful little plant or animal that, despite the fact that it has only one cell, has figured out how to convert sugar to alcohol. This was a far greater accomplishment than anything we can attribute to giant complex multi-celled organisms such as, for example, the Secretary of Transportation.


On Wine

A sommelier is a wine steward, the dignified person who comes up to you at expensive restaurants, hands you the wine list, and says "Excellent choice, sir," when you point to French writing that, translated, says, "Sales Tax Included.&…