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Seam Reap: Enchanted October 24, 2011

Posted by Karan in General.
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History and its books have always fascinated me. The culture of people, the unfolding of events and the romance of it all has few other things which compare. During school days, I loved studying my history books and imagining about what would have transpired during that period. I often found myself walking along the streets of Harappa, listening to the arguments of Birbal, feeling the heat of it all in Paris, staring at the temples of Angkor… Who knew that one day, I’d actually get to visit the temples of Angkor?!

Amidst fears of floods and rains, we set off for Siem Reap in the exotic country of Cambodia. I was initially sceptical about the trip added to the fact that the timing of flights from Kuala Lumpur would leave us with less than 36 hours in the city. However, it all turned out perfect for us- the cab, hotel bookings all leading to one of the better trips I’ve had.

I was amazed to know that the city of Siem Reap has over 500 temples, and one could feel the pulse right on landing at the airport. As one of my friends put it, the airport seemed to be “a resort taken over by the government and converted into an airport”. Along the line, there were various grandeur resorts and hotels, but we (group of 10) opted to stay in a budget hotel which cost us just over 7 USD a head. Surprisingly enough, USD seemed to be a more common currency here than the local Riel.

After getting things in place, we headed to the first temple we wanted to see- the Angkor Wat, the symbol of both modern Cambodia and the ancient Angkor empire. This 900-year old temple is the largest religious monument in the world and the size of the same is overwhelming! We took three hours to see this temple, and one can easily an entire day for the same. The feeling I had while at this temple is indescribable- I had Goosebumps all over me on multiple occasions here. Even though the temple is now a Buddhist one, the details of the inscriptions were all milestones from Hindu mythology and the “Churning of the Ocean” was especially magnificent. In fact, the churning seems to be a central theme across various temples in Siem Reap. Walking along some of the aisles of the temple while drowning myself in the walls, I felt immensely in peace with myself. I have not seen such a stunning temple anywhere in India!

The last major King of the Angkor empire, Jayavarman 7 built the Buddhist Angkor Thom temple (The King was himself a converted Buddhist). This temple has the “Smiling Buddha”, the secret behind which we tried discovering in a stunning laser and dance show called “Smile of Angkor”. The walls of this temple depicted the war between the Angkors and the Chams (the latter still exist in parts of Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia). The last temple which we visited in the day was Ta Prohm– the place where the Tomb Raider movie was shot. This is a temple which is quite unexplored. The most amazing part of the temple was the growth of massive trees at random parts of the temple, something which was a result of the temple being deserted for centuries.

The next day (I am conveniently skipping the exploration of night life of Siem Reap- the highlight of the same was the local massage, where the masseur uses legs too!) was spent in another beautiful sight- the floating villages in the Great Lake of Tonle Sap. The lake is massive- apparently it can carry us right unto the capital city of Phnom Penh. The culture of the people and floating villages were lovely to watch, and a very unique phenomenon. It was amazing to see the way these villages still existed, and a thought about the life which people have to lead at the same.

All in all, it was a short but memorable trip. I leave with a promise to come back to Siem Reap- it’s a place which deserves much more time.

PS: I’ll write notes about my Singapore and Langkawi trips soon.

The Widening Generation Gap June 4, 2011

Posted by Karan in General, Uncategorized.

The other day, I went for this movie with two of my family friends- both guys who are younger to me by six years. Now I remember many of my cousins hanging out together in my hometown Ranchi with this range of age difference but seemingly in the same generation. There was not too much of a gap in the thinking and exposure level of these guys, and they happily got along very well with each other. Today, however, I think the case is not the same. The world has become more dynamic than ever before and changes occur at a neck breaking pace; so much so that guys six years younger than me often seem to be from a different generation (Though I may still get along with them)

The dictionary defines a generation as a period of 25 years. I think over time, the number of years between generations has reduced dramatically- generations change much faster now. Today, while parents try and bridge the ‘generation gap’, I think it’s going to be increasingly difficult for parents in the future in trying to understand and handle their kids. Guys having cell phones at the age of 11, watching the kind of movies which we never did at the age and having a half baked understanding of things at ages you would not have imagined etc are remnant to the same. I think this makes it all the more stronger case to stay in the family, which is unlikely to happen. But the positive side of all this is that kids these days become smarter very soon. One consequence of which is that we’d probably see smarter CEOs and deadlier criminals at much younger ages in the future.

Having gone through this experience, hats off to the parents who truly are friends to their kids.

Sachin’s Journey Consummated April 3, 2011

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Unbelievable. For all my posts, I try and structure my thoughts, put them in a framework and present them in a readable fashion. Not today. Even 12 hours after THE moment, I cannot stop thinking, stop putting it all together.

THAT twirl after hitting the six. It was as if MS Dhoni was saying, I don’t give a rat’s ass to you guys- did you freaking see that? It was the expression and satisfaction of a man having actually led his team. On a night of emotions, his calmness even after hitting the shot was one of the most amazing emotions. Numb. A feeling many of us have even now.

THOSE tears. Harbhajan Singh was putting Sreesanth to shame. Yuvraj Singh was the one with eyes moist, body pumped and world conquered. His hug with God which lasted over a good one minute was a memory which will remain etched in my memory forever. It was as if he was saying, “This is for you, Lord. Just you. Fucking savour this.”

GOD. He didn’t know what to do. Smile? Cry? Can you just imagine? A dream for which he has given everything? Blood, sweat, tears, vomit. Something which kept him going. Something for which he has given everything. Can you just freaking imagine? To my mind, it was fitting that his biggest fans, people who he has inspired, guided, mentored and loved- Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh completed the jobs. It was like a tribute, and a signal that the Master’s lessons had paid off. It was a proud moment for God when he saw his disciples do the job which he had always dreamt of. It was THE emotion and moment which we all crave for. It was to say, God, we are ready to take over now.

THAT statement by Virat Kohli. Today my despise towards two people turned into respect- MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli. THAT lap for Sachin Tendulkar. What would have the fans felt then- seeing God up close having the most awesome expression and feeling EVER in his eyes.

Absolutely unbelievable. Little wonder that I just fucking could not sleep in the night. The night when I reached a high which alcohol can never take me to. The orgasm which sex can never give. The feeling that to hell with everything, I can peacefully die now.

Love you Sachin. Thanks for all the fish.

The Artist In Us February 7, 2011

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I’ve seen a couple of brilliant movies in the last month. It started with Dhobi Ghat– had to be awesome with Aamir Khan, isn’t it? The painter seemed to be a metaphor, and you felt that the Director was creating a canvas of modern art on screen. While there was no seemingly central message, the 90 minutes inscribed a lot of subtleties in you; not least of them that it made being a loner seem cool. More on that in sometime. The other brilliant movie is Yeh Saali Zindagi. While this movie is also a piece of modern art, it seemed to be like one of those puzzles which we had to solve when young. The way Sudhir Mishra connected the dots was fascinating; it kept the audience on its edge. Didn’t you ever want to make an awesome piece with a lot of randomness to it?

Now the most fascinating aspect of these movies is that they seem to be unadulterated, they take Hindi cinema to the next level, while giving unbridled joy to the scriptwriter and director by bringing out the true artist in them. With this, and looking at the patterns around me; I’ve a feeling that the more of a loner you are, the more it brings out the artist in you, and the more fascinating pieces of work you have. Be it Aamir Khan in Dhobi Ghat (which seems to make a loner look cool, and hence brings urges the artist in us on) or my friends who write a lot of poetry, being a loner seems to drive you on and bring out the best.

While that’s one theory, I think bringing out the artist in oneself bring unadulterated joy in you. It could be writing for me, dancing for my dear friend, random photography for somebody else. However, it’s this aspect which gives you immense happiness, makes you think and refreshes you for your next phase of life. Needless to mention, it also brings out the best pieces (albeit with some random ones) of art.

With the last month at IIM Indore and a lot of time on hands, I urge each one of us to bring out that artist in us. Soothing music is one thing which can help you towards it 🙂

Random October 30, 2010

Posted by Karan in Personal.

Life is a bitch. In a poll, possibly a widely held opinion would be that it’s so with them. It’s true, isn’t it? Boss not reasonable, pressure from all quarters, struggles everywhere. You work for something, expect the results and they don’t come- You see your neighbour win, and the feel the blood being sucked out of your limbs.

Sometimes, it looks like all of the environs want their retribution for a crime un-attributable to you. Sometimes, even tearing a part of your soul and channelizing it is not enough of an effort. Sometimes, you seem to be in the accusatory hot pot for all the good intentions you had. Sometimes, nobody seems to understand you and the sacrifice you make. Sometimes, the hurt sucks you to an extend that even the tears refuse to flow. Sometimes, you feel like running away from the ones who understand and love you the most.

Sometimes, you just want to give up. After all, is it freaking worth it? Is there something for you in there? Anything at all? For if your closest ones do not sympathize with your efforts, should you carry on? Are all those sacrifices being counted? Aren’t you messing up your life? After all, even the river does not flow till the Sun recognizes the snow clad mountains.

In such a situation, it is amazing what an innocent “Thank You” can do to your soul. It is soothing to see the respect you might have earned, if just in a limited arena. It is divine to talk to yourself and realize that this was your calling.

Cheers, to the amazing feeling called life!

Morpheus a.k.a Prof. Sunil Handa October 25, 2010

Posted by Karan in IIM Indore.

“Tumhare professor yahan baithe hai, but even then I say.. Woh business shuru nahi kar raha kyuki uski phat ti hai”

The sentence probably captures the spirit of what Prof. Sunil Handa was trying to convey.

There are times in life when you are down and out. There are other such times when life just goes on, with that spark or the X-factor missing. At such times, you need an inspiration, an angel, and a stimulus. You need an initiative, some of those trillions of neuron fibres activated. You need vitality about life; you need to add that jazz. In short, you need a Sunil Handa.

Prof Sunil Handa spoke about basic things- but stuff which was reinforced in a striking way. For example, he gave an instance of a salesman trying to sell a product for Rs. X, while the customer said, “Bahut mehenga hai”. Prof. Handa defined a good salesman as the one who does not give up and say, “Abe tu ruk, 10 minute aur is product ke bare mein gun gaan gaata hoon, gaatha sonata hoon.. Aur tab tu yeh product kharidega”. This example had the audience wishing for a marketing professor like him!

There were these numerous instances of Prof. Handa speaking about his students, peers, colleagues, employees. All of these stories had something to tell you, something to motivate. He inspired, mocked, pleaded, forced and did what not to drive home one point- “You are the maker of your own destiny. Do you have the bloody guts to take up something of your own?” He even shattered myths by proving that getting trapped in the matrix of being an employee is far more risky that being an entrepreneur or a businessman.

The way Prof Handa connected, interacted with the audience was fascinating. I mean, it’s not every day that the audience wanted more even after four hours- today was one such day. How I’ve wanted more such days during my stay at Indore!

Personally, after all the frustrations of the last few days, this was a morale booster, warm hot chocolate for the soul. Thank you Prof. Handa!

I’d like to finish off by saying something which Prof Handa reinforced in a beautiful way, “The day someone comes and tells me that your son is a boy of gold, I shall be happy to die! Remember that this is the only thing which every mother wants from you. And this cannot be achieved by doing a bloody job.”

I could see tears in the eyes of the audience after this narration.

MI vs RCB: 21st April at the DY Patil stadium April 22, 2010

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The cheerleader stand: We’d initially entered the allotted stand based on our tickets. However, observing the free movement possible between stands, we moved to the area right in front of the Mumbai Indians cheerleaders. And needless to say, it was a lot of fun, with Mahindroo and Anant dancing on the mini podium with them!

SRT..: All of DYP was cheering for the master, whether he was batting, setting the field or speaking on the microphone. Towards the latter part of the Bangalore innings, when Sachin was injured and was looking on from the sidelines, the crowd went into a delirium when he was shown on the big screen. “Sachin.. Sachin” is all one could hear.

..And the rest: The other players cheered were Pollard, Harbhajan, and surprisingly Malinga. “Ma-Lin-Ga” is easy to chant and the affable player responded with a wicket in his first over. Pollard was cheered all through as well.

The poor Bangalore fans: There were four Bangalore fans in the entire stand- and they were seated right in front of me. While critics might say that the IPL will take time to build franchisee loyalties, you should have seen the hatred in the MI fans’ eyes when they looked at these chaps. For me, the moment of the day was showing them the finger when Uthappa got out after the crazy Harbhajan over.

Dale Steyn and Lasith Malinga: We all know how fast the South African is, but the Sri Lankan was surprisingly quick as well. The ball was reaching the keepers gloves in a flash when these chaps were bowling- it was fascinating to see it in the ground.

The boos: All of DY Patil booed 1) whenever there was a third umpire’s decision against the home team, 2) when KP had a confrontation with Rayudu 3) when Uthappa came into bat.

The ohhs: Collective gasps were common whenever the ball went past the edge! Ohh.. and the Mexican waves kept failing!

Singh is King: Trust Harbhajan with his antics. In the 18th over, when the match was nearly done with- Harbhajan came unto our stand and asked us to show some passion and excitement! The notorious stand that was, the collective slogan was “Singh is King.. Singh is King”. Bhajji loved it, and so did the stand and the square leg umpire (Billy Doctrove).

Yo beauty: After SRT, the loudest cheers were reserved for Deepika Padukone. The junta went bananas when the big screen flashed her.

Balle Balle: The stand out feature of the IPL as opposed to the ODIs and Test matches I’ve seen before is the constant entertainment- it was amazing to be dancing to Bollywood tunes with so many people. It was one awesome party!

All in all, a terrific experience. Looking forward to Sunday’s visit to the ground!

Serendipity November 12, 2009

Posted by Karan in Uncategorized.
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Lonely and dark no more,
The woods are the place to be
Miles to go I definitely have
But the warmth of her hand I now can feel

The feel, the touch, the breath, the voice..
Its all so magical and utopian.
The angelic presence of the lassie
Makes me forget all my fear and ambition.

She gives me the look
And It fills me with ardency
In her chromatic and beautiful eyes I dwell
And lose myself in fantasy.

The conjuncture was never intentional
Nor was the story conventional
For some, it takes ages to happen
For me, that one moment…
That one moment had all of what I wanted to see in the depths of her gaze.

The way it kills you and yet you want more of it..
The way you’r together always and yet cant subsist for a minute without
The way you tried to escape and yet the arrow buzzed and bit.
Is this what they call love? Or rather serendipity?

Happy Birthday IIIT! September 2, 2009

Posted by Karan in Uncategorized.

Thanks to Himank, I got myself to writing this post. First things first- Happy birthday IIIT-H. Just like the Indian economy, it’s that stage of the life cycle of IIIT where it is growing really fast. And for the growth to be really meaningful, the efforts need to put in to take the institute to another level.

For me, the most important thing which has to change is the work culture of the students. Be it assignments, academics, Felicity or a general attitude towards anything – we are far too lethargic and laid back. Except for the last few days in the lead up to Felicity and Placements, we refuse to put in meaningful work. Even when we do for a few occasions, the effort is hardly structured. For us to really reach the next level, we need a change – a change in a lot of ways things are done in college. And for that, a new work culture needs to brought in.

Comparing IIIT with IIM Indore, two institutes which started around the same time, there is a fair bit of difference when it comes to processes and functionalities in the student body. Even given the point that things are expected to be better in IIM-I with the virtue of it being a part of a premier brand name, IIIT can do much better. This, especially considering the fact that the quality of students is quite high in IIIT, probably matching the standards here. There is so much potential among the students- all of that can be harnessed with some effort in changing the work culture.

If there is one wish for IIIT I have, it is certainly this.

Meanwhile, I really miss a few things from undergraduate days- prime among them is the camaraderie with my batch mates. This of course, includes my circle of friends, but also the others. The next thing I miss is the culture of the place. I so disagree with one of my professors when he says that we don’t have a culture in IIIT. I think we do, and I feel it all the more when I’m away from the college. Take for example, the kind of discussions we would have in the corridors of the hostel. And finally, though I’ve spoken about the work culture, I do sometimes miss the laid back days of old! All the times when I’d just hang out in my pals’ rooms.

PS: It’s a new life here in IIM Indore, and I’ve gotten used to it. It’s just that after the chat with Himank today, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic.

Love you IIIT!

Of academics, placements and others : IIM Indore August 1, 2009

Posted by Karan in General.
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It has been a month in IIM Indore, and it’s amazing to see the amount of effort which people put into their academics over here. Of course, people were pretty serious about their academics in IIIT-H as well, especially in the first semester; but certainly not to these levels. The competition here is pretty intense, and there is a clamour to present the best assignment or give the best quiz. I mean, there must be at least 70-80 students vying to be in the top 20. Of course, it’s bound to change over the next few semesters- how much is the big question.

There is one more factor which cannot be overemphasized and contributes to this phenomena- the amount of importance the admin gives to your academics. With the number of surprise quizzes (12), assignments and presentations we’ve had in the last 30 days, it’s been like going to a Gurukul. Of course, academics are the primary function of any university, but it’s pretty different over here. For one, students are very serious probably because this is their last degree before they are thrown into the real world for good- they’d possibly be using the concepts learnt in a B-school more than anything else. Two, the stakes over here are pretty high, in terms of the jobs and packages you could possibly land up with. Three, there is a level of maturity which comes with age and value for an MBA from a good B-school.

However, it’s not been just that at IIM Indore over the past five weeks or so. There are a host of other activities to keep you on your feet 24*7. Even your extra curriculars are taken pretty seriously over here- given the interest people have. Kidding, it is the interest- but is more about the value such activities add to your resume. 😀 Ahh.. resume and placements are the biggest catchwords over here. I wonder what’ll actually happen during the placement season!

All in all, it’s been a pretty hectic last few days, especially given the lethargic final semester we had spent in IIIT-H. I’ve finally begun to find my feet and enjoy myself at this place. It is that time of the course now, when I am really looking forward to the next few months at IIM-I. 🙂


PS: Planet-I residents- Read about the PGP1-Sec C CP phenomena here. More on CP later.