March 24, 2006

The uptown girl , The downtown train.

I have been hearing something called as ' Opportunity Cost', quite frequently these days. My flat mate recounted the incident of an interview session at IIMB wherein a girl candidate was thoroughly convinced by her interview panel that she's better off not joining any IIM becuase her cost of opportunity if she enters into an IIM will be far more than what she would otherwise be able to generate if at all shes does not enter into the same. Obviously that was a simple number game played by the interviewers as part of their usual soft beating they do around with candidates . But yes, there's an element of truth, and a hard-headed fact somewhere in that game - That is, MBA is the way to 'fancy money'.

So if the question is 'Why MBA?' , the most common and grounded answer one hears is - ' For Money' and only few would give you an answer such as ' I want to learn', ' Marketing,Finance, Banking are my passions' or ' I need a value addition in my profile'. No wonder with a surge in foreign placements from top B-Schools, and an ever increasing thickness of pay packages, who the hell after all will be concerned with learning and value-addition.

And that's where I think is a thick line of difference between those entering IIT's and those entering IIM's or take it even one level higher - between aspirants of engineering and aspirants of management. For the former, money is not a direct motivation for gettting into their dream institution but for the latter perhaps that's the only one. Money or job is not an issue in the minds of students entering the IITs or mayb other engg institutions also, because aspirations are different. People there enter with a different philosophy, with a different craze and with an insanity of doing and learning the only thing for which they have toiled so hard to get into. But I am seriously skeptical if the same holds with those entering B-Schools.And because money comes easy( now that's something contentious here ) after an MBA, is why every other graduate in this country is bidding on doing MBA.

The other time 'Opportunity Cost' made its appearance, suddenly erupting in the middle of my discussion with someone, I knew that this word is going rounds these days, adding more hep to everyone's post-modernist jargon and that too completely cost free. The issue in discussion was the exorbitantly high fees of ISB, that is providing at least an inhibition towards my inclination to apply in there. And pat came out this word as he tried to explain me that one should think like a businessman even when one is not and see that return of investment one year down the line in terms of saving my whole one year ( the MBA curriculum at ISB is of one year. ) and the package I would earn in that saved on year will eventually pay me back the cost of that opportunity, obviously ignoring the facts of any kind of value addition, or learning or even my interest in doing that at personal level.

Far away from all these real-world implication of the word 'opporunity cost', its business value, economic aspects and what not, I kept wondering is that all left in this world to calculate, to even before grabbing an opportunity see the costs involved and leave it if its exceptionally high but hold it if its not much and meanwhile the TV kept playing an unknown video song on a channel, in which a guy jumps off, of a moving downtown train, beholded by the amazing beauty of a downtown girl walking in the opposite direction of train he saw across its windowpane. I rejoiced at the thought that at least somethings still need not be weighed on the balance of 'oppotunity cost'.

March 11, 2006


With no Bush around, no political uproars, no new releases and no
substantial turnarounds, it's been difficult for me to write. So
reading loads of blogs in search of content and topics (read as
'masala' in local terms !) has been a gud pass time in last few days.
And except for few definitely good posts I came across, most of them
stood as dead as mine, with no new posts of late. In one such post by
Youth Curry, a complete statistical analysis of the blog world is
beautifully presented.

I will quote some lines from it, and not provide the direct link (Yes,
I want to take credit and also fatten up this post, without thinking
hard ;D). Just kidding, with due acknowledgement to the original
author, here are some startling, some boring and some plain facts
about the blogdom along with some of my own researched ones.

- 98% of India is still unaware of what a blog is.

- In the blogosphere's superpower(who else but the US), most Internet
users - 62 per cent according to a survey by the Pew Internet and
American Life Project - aren't exactly sure what a blog is.
- The Google for blogger is, a search engine that
tracks blogs.
- A scant 9 percent of net users read blogs frequently.
- Out of the thirteen activities on net Gallup measured in its poll,
reading blogs finished dead last.
- The number of blogs which are 'active in some way' is just 20% of
the 'total'.
- At the close of 2002, there were some 15,000 blogs compare it to the
'total' figure today which stands at somewhere around 28 million.
- More than 56 new blogs start every minute.
- Those updated in the last 30 days account for a mere 13%.

- Only two blogs get more than 1 million visitors a day and the
numbers drop quickly after that: the 10th ranked blog for traffic
gets around 120,000 visits; the 50th around 28,000; the 100th around
9,700; the 500th only 1,400 and the 1000th under 600.
- IBN is the first Indian media company to start 'official' blogs'.

Well, those were some pacifying facts for me, as the figures reflect a
not so intimidating plethora of bloggers and I can count myself as one
of those early birds, who's not in search of any prey. The blogger
community is as varied and diverse as the global citizenry itself. And
so are the posts - from politics to humour to sarcasm, to critcism to
a complete movement, its all there on blogs. Bloggers have realized
the inherent power and reach of this medium that they are overjoyed in
having such a means at their disposal. BlankNoiseProject
is one such social movement which appalls the profanity of eve-teasing in a very silent and organized way. With IIPM issue already handled in a surprisingly unified way
by this community more and more people are using blogs as a perfect
non-violent tool for expressing their outrage.

But its not only about contriving protests, expressing against or in
favor of different causes. There are people who've gained limelight
and popularity as bloggers, by the very style of their writing and
humorous yet sensitive content. With competitions in place for best
bloggers in various categories and readers voting with far more sense
of responsibility than they have for general elections, blogging has
kind of become a serious business. Those like me who don't consider it
any more significant than a bathing exercise cater only to a
nano-audience - which comprises of and is limited to one's friends and
family circles, or ocassionally of few more regular readers, adding up
to not more than 20 or something visitors daily.

Where as the big bullies of blogdom attract a torrential number of
regular readers to their posts. With almost a million daily hits on
the most popular one ( and that's close to the average of 1.7 million
visitors per weekday which the online edition of The New York Times
receives) blogging is catching up pretty fast with the other media in

Certainly neither aiming at such a popularity chart or coming even
close to these types is the idea behind my blogging, but what
certainly intrigues me is how far and to what extent will this
powerful form of tech-media expression go in future.


March 3, 2006

Beating around the 'Bush'

Bush was...sorry...he's still very much alive and here in India. Infact today's he's unintentionally letting Hyderabad's traffic go haywire. But I didn't let him see me[as if he cared ;)]. You see I have my own priorities to manage . But yes a whole cult of people out there from all parts of the country are more than obsessed to greet him with anything black they can lay their hands on.

So, what is it all about telling Uncle Sam, that he's a persona-non-grata (obviously not officially) in India?. I dont recall Bush's government putting any sanctions, or reclaiming all those jobs which have been outsourced here, or even for that matter doing anything to disturb the childhood of any young Indian. Still the coverage of protests on various news channels against Bush's visit is rivaling the coverage of his own entourage. I doubt even if half of those dissenting, know about the acts of Bush for which he should be despised. I confront, even I dont know with clarity what is the percentage of truth in his dark side which makes him a subject of worldwide reproach, but then am not going to become a part of that black balloon campaign against him. Instead I would rather prefer to sit here on my desk - unprejudiced and unbiased about his actions, and try to decide which side I should take.

The fact that Clinton during his presidential visit did not witness his effigies burning on mid-roads, rules out that certainly the protest this time is not against the American government, or the nuke-deal, or Laura Bush exacting herself as a 'desperate housewife' ( which might have provoked those pro-indian shiv sainiks), but solely and only against that one man - who unfortunately still lags behind, in the process of evolution of human species.

People, I think need a reason to protest, if not all of them, atleast the members of 'Left' certainly do. I have never ever heard 'Left' not being a part of protest of any kind. Looks like they are born 'Protesters'. From hike in oil prices, to privatization, to breach of the protocol by the government (incidentally this time they are part of the coalition) , to any god damn thing on earth - they will protest against. Being a leftist is demanding it seems. Whatever it be ( I don't give a damn to these protests), Bush's visit has certainly raised eyebrows - some in contempt and some in hope. But being an optimist I definitely don't like to look at the negative aspects when there are other seemingly hopeful and positive turnarounds. The all hyped Indo-US Nuclear deal is just one of those aspiring things which I somehow have been able to appreciate out of all the crap - whether it materializes ( that depends if bush goes back to convince congress) or not is a different issue.

However, for that 70% population comprising of common and general mass, it's a matter of minutest significance whether India gets an uninterrupted supply of Uranium for civilian nuclear reactors or not, the more important thing is whether at the end of the day, all this chaos and gala affair will eventually help to make a better difference in their lives. Sadly No. He came, He saw, He left - is all what Bush's visit to India would mean to a silent citizen who will remain flashed amidst all the limelight thrown over at Mr . President by media. Press would continue to analyze the joint statements and minutes of those high-level diplomatic meetings for few days, untill another sting operation or a new scam would finally take over the front pages and 'exclusive' reports on all news channels.

As I write this, US choppers hovering above in the city sky, giving an impression no less than that of a global emergency similar to the ones depicted in sci-fi movies of alien attacks, have finally touched ground to let president board on any one of the three Air Force One's, randomly decided at the last minute ( That's my guess, for what other than this purpose those 2 extra boeings accompanied Bush's caravan) .

I was just wondering if US could possibly have faked this whole Presidential visit by sending a look-alike of Bush to India (If people can doubt US mission to Moon as being faked, I dont think their is any exaggeration in my thinking the same about Bush's visit to India) because of their exorbitant concerns related to Presidents security that even the food for Bush was flown down from US itself. I guess packaging and shipping of the atmosphere along with the climate and air is still an ongoing research in Pentagon, that left Mr. President with no other choice but to breathe in Indian air.

All's not well that ends well - Bush will head for Pakistan where preparations for giving a warm (rather burning) welcome to him are in progress. A bomb blast ceremony in front of a US consulate took place yesterday in view of this. This guy has his admirers all over the world I must say [;)].

However, my wishes as a fellow human are always with him. ( Whopes !! did I say human.)

This biography of Bush is a good read , I found while researching for the content of this blog.

March 1, 2006

Avertible Inevitables.

This off late reticence of mine is no sign of my busy schedule ( It's more than 7 days since my last post !!) or even of my ineptitude to write without having anything in my mind - like those top-of-head posts which I had already attempted to write once, sadly without any voyeuristic satisfaction.
Besides no one was really bothered this time so as to bother me out of their craving to read me. But believe me that wouldn't have helped anyways. I will disclose why, but later.

I guess writing without even having a vague idea of what one is writing is fun both for the reader and the author unless the structure and language control are completely incongruous with that vague top-of-head idea. Not to panic, this one's definitely not from that league. It has all the sense I can possibly put into it.

The past few days, I have spent more time on net than before, yet it comes as no surprise to me, that my blog did not play host to any new post all that while. Not that I completely forgot about it, or that there were other hard pressed issues which digressed me but because of an experiment I was trying upon my own self. The experiment to try to avert all those inevitables I have been living with - Inevitable both in terms of events and objects.

The events which have coup over to govern my life. The objects which have insidiously became an indispensable part of my earlier 'have-lived-without-them' life. These such as the cell phone which has evolved more or less like an organ of my body, its address book which is like my own identity proof (even though it does not have my own contact details), the bike which has rented me that insecure freedom of movement, that debit card in my wallet which lets me wander disembarrassed from hassles of paper money, those email accounts which make me feel my presence and last but not the least- this blog which gives a sense of possession to me, are the quintessentials of those objects.

I dread these seemingly superficial indispensables which have kind of over occupied me and left me gasping for that little volume of fresh air, to which I have the right. I found that the things which I thought I could not forgo or dispense with, can actually be made dispensable and I have decided to stave off from them in turn. Its just that my blog happened to be the first subject of my experiment but nevertheless it does not disparages or lowers it in any manner. The idea of this experiment came about involuntarily when I switched to a new mobile which did not had my address book. It was more than a realization for me, that I could easily manage to live without my address book. It was not something for which I need to be unnecessarily careful about or be apprehensive of loosing just in case it actually got lost.

A similar record which an instructor during my time-management course narrated pertaining to his life abetted this belief of mine. He said that he has practiced to keep his mobile switched off whenever he's in a session. Though at the start of this practice he did feel uncomfortable and concerned about missing any important/urgent calls and of possibly breaking the hell upon him if he did not recieve those calls. However, when he looked back at those 10-15 years of his professional life he had lived normally without the facility of being contacted in any emergency hours by anyone because mobiles were not in use in those days, that he recognized the fact that he still can manage to forgo the use of it, if not at all times then at least for the time he's in session. And since then, he says that he has never felt either the guilt or been vexed because of this practice.

So, the idea is clear, our disposition to make every little, unimportant, and avoidable event or thing, an indispensable part of our lifestyle, is what is killing and torturing. Clearly its not easy to either filter out necessary from unnecessary or discern all of our actions but a little practice would certainly help. Trying to spend one day without a mobile in the pocket, without that urge to check your favorite news site or the email account, without rushing back to watch that episode of your favorite soap, without the notion of that insecure freedom of movement your bike renders, without that sense of security of having the debit card in your wallet and then see the color of the new freedom, the thrust of its wings, which we have unintentionally kept ourselves devoid of.

I know it all sounds puritanical and prudish but I know that I would be the last person on this planet to become a puritan so its not something out of my philosophical inclination but rather out of my experience. The crux to all this crap is - do/use/believe/maintain/produce something only to the extent that if it comes, one can easily manage to live without it and have one's freedom and dependency completely disjoint from it. It's a commonly felt notion that desires drives the necessities of our times which eventually make us our own hostage and bondage to their dependencies.

Thus, Passion->Obsession->Obligation was one series, and Desire->Nescessity->Bondage is the next one I have discovered for my own rejoice.