Saturday, December 31, 2005

This New Year's Eve

Just back in room after attending Director's Dinner for Class of 1970. Xmas was spent at 25th Reunion of 81 batch and new year's eve with 1970 batch. Most of them have retired from corporate and are independant consultants or professors barring a few who are leading some of the biggest firms in the country and abroad. Learnings from today's interactions :
1. Take risks. Do something unconventional atleast once in life and where the stakes are high. Going to Goldman Sachs or Merill Lynch or McKinsey doesn't really takes much (!!). Stand up and make a difference to your country !!
2. Stoop to conquer. Arrogance takes one no where however good your intellect is and however highly your alma mater is ranked.
3. Keep your rooms clean. (They visited some of our dorm rooms and was shell shocked is what I heard especially since Gujarat is a dry state and all !!)
4. Care for your life partner. "You would be working close to 12 hours everyday on an average for the rest of your working life. Always remember that there is someone at home putting up with your eccentric working hours and still standing by you. Care for her (or him as the case be). Love your family. Nothing is worth it otherwise.
5. Always remember that at the end of it all, all you need is a pile of wood (if you are a Hindu) or 6" x 3" ground to keep your coffin. Dont sweat life !

Some of it were very interstingly put by the stalwarts with real life examples from their life. All of them clearly underplays the importance of IIM A or it's elitist position. That was very coherent with some of my own thoughts about our generation of Indians. It is so blessed with opportunities that I personally do not think IIMs or for that matter an MBA should enjoy the status it probably enjoys today. You can do almost anything in life in today's India and if you are smart there is no stopping one's progression to amazing heights. There are millions of niche areas waiting to be conquered - I hear of people who have made millions selling corks for bottles, transportation for call centre workers, syringes,flower shops, pan shops, gear chains. We are probably witnessing the best that India has offered post Independance. Even speaking to my Alums the sense is that this is our time. The number of NRI returnees at high positions and the numbers waiting to get back clearly points to something which we have never witnessed before.
Let the new year take India to greater glories - Economically as well as socially ! (I know I sound like one of those morning speeches in School Assemblies but can't help feel optimistic about India when so many great thinkers and economists and professors share the same. All of them cannot together be wrong!!)
Me off to our new year's bash. Hope you all have a great year ahead and share in with this new dawn of our country.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Had an ossum Xmas here at A. Apart from the normal celebrations (without wine and champagne and rum - atleast officially) we had the re union of our 1981 batch - the 25th reunion. So the xmas eve was spent with people like Hema Ravichander (Discussing how she helped grow Infy from 250 to 40000+) and heads of Bank Am and Feedback. And boy was it an interesting experience! The thing that strikes one quick enough is that they dont blow their trumpets even the slightest. Ofcourse when they speak about Vindy and other industry bigwigs they use first names and it might be initially a bit jarring but then one realises that, that is the kind of relations that they enjoy !! So when Hema speaks about Nandan and Murthy and how they used to play pranks its kinda "amusing" !!:)
Also watched "Making of Mahatma" (Shyam Benegal's) under the LVMR Course. Did not like it as much as "Gandhi". One particular dialogue between Gandhi and Kastur remain etched in memory.
Gandhi," If I have to really help these people (suffering from wars etc), I need to empathise with them. I need to give up my own family, luxuries and desires."
Kastur," That is going to be difficult"
Gandhi," Can't you control your desires (for supporting this act of mine)?"
Kastur,"I can. But I don't think you can control your's.It will be like holding a storm in a teacup!"

The learnings from this years Xmas eve has been that :

Leaders are humans. Very much so.They like to speak to you. Share their life.As one of them pointed out,"Life is lonely up there and it's great talking to minds like you". Also leaders have their own weaknesses, desires and failings.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. Have a rocking year ahead.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Long since I've written anything at all ! Not that nothing exciting was happening ! Just that did not really get too much time to mull over the happenings. I am back in campus after a rather exciting course - ERI - Explorations in Roles and Identities. We were thrown together close to the Rann of Kutch for 6 days to discuss life, experiences, traumas and future !
In between we also took a safari in the Little Rann of Kutch seeing wild asses and Nilgais. It was an ossum experience and something unwordly in the MBAish definitions of courses and grades. We camped in tents close to a lake and would visit the lake in the nights at less than 10 deg temperatures to view the reflection of the full moon and think about the emotionally draining sessions. It was part traumatic part revelation listening to guys/gals who were comrades of ours in what would easily be the most whirlwind time of our life. People whom we know was along with us in the mentally and physically stressful first year at A. Lots of people clearly had enough emotional issues related to IIM A itself that though we all wanted to keep the red brick building and the happenings inside, out of our thinking, it would just not budge !! It was great listening to the "emotional" side of lotsa people whom we thought were damn tuff ! At the end of the day, personally, it was great to build some personal relationships with my friends with whom it was always a formal work/need based relations inside the college.
We shared our experiences in relations with Parents, Siblings,Friends & Girlfriend. Larger issues like coping with death, leaving a legacy, what is life and who am I to more mundane issues like career, I-Banking/Consulting careers, Work-life Balance,Meaning of Money and meaning of work. All in all it was a great and an entirely must break for the students before they pass out from here. Two years here otherwise would leave people mechanical robots without much of emotions and a clear lack of identification with other humans. I am grateful that this course existed.

Meanwhile tomorrow our final term starts. It is a short term since we have final placements in March. Just got my books for next term and again we have some amazing books to read. My "text" books for courses (LVMR) include :
Yuganta - By Karve
Saint Joan - Bernard Shaw
Machiavelli's The Prince
Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe
Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House
King Henry V and Othello by Shakespeare
The little Price by Exupery
Tughlaq by Girish Karnad
Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Cervantes classic of all times - Don Quixote
The Art of War by Tzu
Whether these shall help build leaders of tomorrow (which is one of the objectives of the course!) it shall be fun reading and analysing these classics in class.