Dear SRK-Who are You?

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Dear SRK,

Who are you?

For the last twenty five years, I have kept asking myself this question. Who is this person who is able to effortlessly make my mother smile? She doesn’t know Hindi but she knows you. She doesn’t understand the lyrics but she sings your songs. What is this irresistible charm of yours which has captured the hearts of so many others like her?

As a kid, I just knew you as the ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ actor. I envied your hairstyle then and I still do. Countless visits to the salon did no good to my hair though. I have been lucky to be part of the generation which not only grew up watching your songs on National television, but slowly graduated to watching them trend on YouTube,Facebook and other media. Thereby giving us the illusion that you are more accessible now than you were a decade back.

Tracing your journey across the years is in a way like trying to trace our growth and evolution as individuals. Through you, we’ve been able to understand ourselves better, but we are still unable to decipher the paradox that you are.

Common Man or Superstar? Actor or Star? Hero or Villain? Jehangir Khan or Kabir Khan?

Your journey to stardom has been the topic of discussion in countless articles,interviews and books. However to me, the lyrics of two songs perfectly summarize them. The common man in Yes Boss singing ‘Bas itna sa khwab hai’ and the Baadshah in ‘Baadshah’ singing ‘ Main Baadshahon ka Baadshah’. One talks about a dream, while the other talks about the perks of ‘owning the entire world’ after achieving that dream.

Right so. So as we sit glued to the screens, we wonder. You have transgressed from a common man to a superstar. We have however only moved from Cathode ray-televisions to LCD-televisions. What has remained consistent is the content that we watch. Your movies.

Seen from outside, your life is synchronous with our ambitions of a lavish lifestyle of power, fame and love. Yet when we watch your interviews, your references to family, kids, upbringing, struggles and success seem to be as grounded and as real as our lives. This puts us in the quandary of deciding on what we need to aspire for and if your true success has been in becoming a global icon or still being a family man after all this stardom.

Box office hits. Critically acclaimed movies. Plenty of both in your closet. Not that we are complaining, because as an actor you would probably be approaching both the categories with the same dedication. Just that as audience, when asked about which movie of yours we like, we are unable to zero in on movie and say this was his best! For every movie of yours has touched us in one or the other way.

The vulnerability of Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, the surrealism of Don, the hard hitting reality of Swades, the mystical virtual world of Ra.One, the mustache in Paheli, the beard in Chak De,the sophistication in Dil Se, the buffoonery in Happy New Year, well…the list is endless. One minute you are making love to the heroine, the next minute you are throwing her off the building.

I believe as a fan, your movies are also a bundle of contradictions and dichotomous like the very person that you are.One minute you talk about being the greatest actor in the world. The next moment you talk about waiting for your best act to come. You are always surrounded by people yet there is this unmistakable air of loneliness surrounding you. You capture many of our own inherent fears and insecurities perfectly. Maybe this why your stardom has been unrivaled and palatable for the last twenty five years. For you are relatable.

In many ways, I think your act in ‘Dear Zindagi’ reflects the kind of person you really are in life. It was an act which taught a lot of us to get in touch with our imperfections as individuals and still be happy about life.Kudos to Gauri Shinde for this master stroke in casting you as a therapist in this absolute gem of a movie. Anyone who has seen you over the last twenty five years would readily admit that you aren’t perfect. But those infinitesimal imperfections in your personality reinforce our belief that you do not need to be perfect to be great or to be loved. Which gives us hope and panache.

I know that ten years from now, my questions on who you are and why you do what you do would still remain unanswered. Maybe it is meant to be that way. All that I know is, irrespective of how many years pass, my mother is still going to smile watching you on screen the same way she does now.

I would be at peace maybe then in abandoning my quest for your identity. For a half-open door is always more enticing than an open door. These small peeks into your personality every now and then would satiate me and keep me thinking of plausible explanations for understanding the phenomenon that you are.

Let the mystery deepen. For in trying to find you, we might end up finding ourselves….

Yours Sincerely

A Fan.

Donald Trump- The First Day at the Oval Office

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Date: January 20th 2017

The White House waited in silence. Waited for its 45th president. Donald Trump.

The walls echoed with the Chief Justice reciting the presidential oath which was to be repeated by the new president.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States…“. However the rest of his words were drowned by a series of expletives from the new President. The gathered crowd gasped in disbelief. The Chief Justice looked mildly curious and gave the President an enquiring look.

“What? I was told that this was a swearing in ceremony. Am I going to be ridiculed for swearing in a ‘swearing in’ ceremony now?” thundered President Trump. The Chief Justice gave the crowd a condescending look and continued reciting the oath with particular emphasis on ‘ So help me god’.

President Trump heaved  a sigh of relief. These formalities always irritated him. He had to now indulge in pleasantry with that ‘nasty woman’ who he had struggled to throw off his back over the last eighteen months.

“All the best President Trump” said her voice at the other end of the telephone.

“Thank you, well fought Mam” he said distractedly. ” We will be following the news closely ” she said with a hint of contempt. ” You nasty woman, you better watch the news so that you can get your affairs in order before I come after you. You and your smug faced husband…” he screamed. ” I merely hinted at following your term at the office Donald”she said, a little taken aback by the sudden outburst. ” I will make America great again by obliterating the likes of you. You better watch your E-Mails.” he said and hung up. This was trouble he thought.

Sure enough. In a few minutes Twitter was abuzz with tweets about how disrespectful the new president had been with his competitor who had merely wished to congratulate him. ” I didn’t say anything of that sort.I was merely suggesting that she get her affairs in order now that the elections are finally over” he blatantly tweeted. Life was a lot like the objective tests administered to him in his high school. He would keep marking the wrong answers until he was left with nothing but the right answer. He could keep rescinding his comments until he sounded politically correct.

His reverie of thoughts was however disturbed as his predecessor at the Oval Office Barrack Obama called him next. ” Hope you are having a great day mate. I just called to tell you that whatever be your past, you have the power to obliterate it with the vision for America’s future. Don’t let the past weigh you down” he said cheerily. ” I wish I could say the same for you Barrack. I am going to prove that you and your partner in crime Hillary founded the ISIS to shake the very foundation of America. As a symbolic gesture of this my first step is to shove your Obamacare down the drain. You think America needs this? You think this is your Africa where we have naked black kids running around the country? ” he replied disdainfully.

No answer. Obama had hung up on him. Strange for a man who was so voluble.

As he gathered his thoughts, his phone beeped with requests for a date from all those beautiful models who were now dying to throw themselves at him. His body gave an involuntary twitch and his hands fidgeted restlessly in his pockets. Old habits die hard.

The rest of his team were looking at him intently.Some directions. Some advise. Well that was going to be tough. ” Catch them young” he said still fantasising about those beautiful nymphs. “Sorry Sir? We didn’t get that” said his team looking quite clueless. ” I meant talent. Talent is what makes America great. Recognise talent at an early age” he said looking visibly flustered. He didn’t realise he was thinking out aloud.

Vice-president Mike Pence offered some solace as he steered the topic towards lunch.However lunch wasn’t going to be peaceful as well. As the chef served them the ‘burritos’, the President gave him one nasty look. ” When I meant a wall, it was a wall to not just stop people, it was also to stop nonsense like this. This is my two-pence on this Pence. No Mexicans. No burritos. Let’ s leave” he said sardonically and walked out.

A surprise awaited him however back in office. President Putin had sent him a delicately wrapped basket whose contents were yet to be revealed. The President ripped apart the wrapping. Ripping the wrapping reminded him of many an escapade of the past where he had ripped apart the clothes of countless women.

Lying docilely in the basket were tiny pussy-cats. As if on cue, the telephone in the office shrilly rang. ” Hope you liked my gift Donald. Heard you really liked to grab them and kiss them.Now that you are a star, they might not even object. A great start to our relationship” he said. Muttering under his breath, he hastily thanked the Russian President and hung up. Symbolic gifts.

Day one was a lot tougher than he thought. ” Sir, our foreign policy. We need to make a start somewhere. People need to know” interjected Mike Pence. ” Yeah. Ban those Muslims. Tell the Chinese that they better be ready to pay what I demand for their imports.As far as Israel is concerned let me make a deal for peace. Rip that Iranian nuclear deal. Anything else? he said. ” Do we make statements this blatant? Would you like to re-frame them?” quipped Pence nervously.

” As a President let me make my intent clear to the people first.They knew what they were getting into when they voted for me. Grammar and vocabulary will eventually follow. I still have no clue why I need 5 whole years to make decisions.” he said as he marched out of the Oval office.

End of Day 1 at the office. He had survived. The butchery would eventually begin.

God save America.

A change in Outlook after TAPMI

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Disclaimer: The following post is a culmination of a series of unpublished thoughts that have occurred to me randomly over the last few months. At no point of time am I projecting this to be a collection of wistful memories or drawing your imagination to a boy who types this post with red eyes as he is still unable to get over the fact that he is done with his MBA and terribly misses his college.

So when I said change in Outlook, I meant there is a big change in the kind of mails that we receive now on our MS Outlook. Mails must lead to actions. Actions will have consequences.  The degree is what ultimately makes the difference.

Now when I say degree, I am not talking about the PGDM degree because once you enter the corporate world, your degree is immaterial. The degree I’m referring to is the degree of severity of a consequence pertaining to a particular action. Okay I am veering off-course.  Moving on!

 

  • A mail with the subject ‘Examination Rules’ was a reminder to all of us that our mid/end term examinations were around the corner. So we had to decide if we wanted to study now or not. In the corporate world, a mail with the subject ‘Timesheet Defaulters’ is a reminder to fill those timesheets with numbers that justify our bloated salaries/egos. Decide if you want your full month’s salary or settle for a loss of pay.

 

  • A mail with the subject ‘ Timetable for the Month XXXX’ was a sneak peek into the horrors of the next month. Particular focus was on days which had just one or no classes even as plans were made for outings. These plans were in full knowledge that such days were ideal days for Guest Lectures and Conclaves and these plans were merely verbal fetish. In the corporate world, mails with the subject “Tasks for the Week” start as Monday morning motivators (when we feel nothing is impossible) to transforming into a mid-week crisis on a Wednesday. By Friday we know that the tasks are surely insurmountable as we make plans towards a rave party on a Friday/Saturday night.

 

  • A mail with the subject ‘ Registration for Term X on xx-xx-xxxx from 9.00 am to 12.00 pm’ usually arrived during the term break ( even a one day off is considered a term break). This mail usually arrived when I used to board the bus back to Manipal leading me to fantasize an unhealthy interest bordering on obsession with the new course-packs and textbooks. The reality however used to be in the form of a sore shoulder after a long walk to the hostel.Such days really added to the’burdens’ that we were already carrying. In the corporate world, mails which contain the word ‘Registration’ are clearly filtered and deleted. For more often than not, these are registrations to webinars and seminars and contests and what not. What’s the worse that would happen if you don’t register? The organization would do it automatically for you after repeated reminders.

 

  • A mail with the subject ‘Moodle’ was essentially an implied warning to you that you would any way not fare well in the mid-term or the end-term examination, so these twenty minute ‘quickies’ would give you, your best shot at a decent grade. Your success in a ‘Moodle’ was based on your ‘position’ in the lab. Now by position I am referring to where you are seated during the moodle and not how you are seated in the lab at 3.00 AM in the night. In the corporate world, these mails generally arrived in the form of Requests for a Meeting with your supervisor to discuss your performance. What was there to discuss when you knew that the Bell Curve originated with you right there at the bottom?

 

  • A mail with the subject ‘Research Seminar’ was probably the only mail which we could afford to ignore in TAPMI. For the ‘Research and Publication Committee’ did not hold us students accountable for any efforts towards faculty’s research efforts. If anything, we could only be guilty of sabotaging their efforts, not assisting them in it. In the corporate world, the mails we ignore are the ones which carry the subject as ‘Application downtime due to maintenance’. Truth be told, we wouldn’t even know unless someone told us specifically because there are so many applications on the portal, most of which are not even in use by us.

 

  • The months of February, July, August and September fill your inbox with the biggest scam that we as students indulged in. A scam that we call as ‘surveys’. I scratch your back, you scratch my back. You fill my survey, I fill yours. At times these operating principles were given an exception when the mail was from an unusually pretty girl in your batch. In addition to filling the survey with more diligence than filling the answers in your moodle, you would add a personal reply to the survey request (Filled the survey, let me know if you need anything else ). In the corporate world, such mails arrive in the form of ‘Refer your friends-Exciting Opportunities Await’. As you look at the listing of such jobs in the firm you wonder if these postings are in the same firm that you are working for. At times you reply to these mails shamelessly asking if these requirements could be met internally as well (no harm in trying right?).

 

  • All through the year, you are a recipient to ‘Birthday Mailers’ in TAPMI. Sometimes you know the person, sometimes you don’t. But all that is irrelevant in the face of free cake and a chance to perhaps ‘feed’ that person the same cake. Now ‘feeding’ is extremely subjective. For the nature of the crowd determined if you would feed the person with the cake or feed the cake with the person.   In the corporate world, birthday mailers do not contain rhymes. Your birthday is highlighted as a solemn event in the mail, so much so that you expect people in the surrounding cubicles to observe 2 minutes for silence for your birthday (Okay I’m being a little harsh here, but well there is no revelry here).False promises for a treat are made akin to the false promises of a promotion.

 

  • There is one mail that you dread though in TAPMI. A mail which reads as ‘Night Canteen will remain closed’ from the ‘Welfare Committee’. For the night was dark and full of secrets, but without the night canteen, there really wasn’t enough motivation to be out there on the slope. In the corporate world there is a similar mail that you dread. A mail which says ‘Our Offices will be Open on Saturday and Sunday’. Associates with critical deliverables are required to clock in the mandatory hours. Oppressed.Suppressed. Depressed.

 

  • Last but not the least, a good portion of your mailbox contained a lot of mails with the subject ‘MIP/Final Placements‘. Yeah you are right. These very mails kick started your journey into the current job/position that you hold in your current firm. You remember how jealous you felt when you saw that your dream firm was visiting the campus after you got placed?  In the corporate world, such mails with job offers that make you feel jealous are generally from various job portals. They aren’t directed to your official mail for obvious reasons.  Yet all you do is apply on the link they send and wait patiently. Your only consolation being that blazers and ties aren’t compulsory any more. Your absence no longer needs to be condoned. You would never know even if you were rejected.

 

So this is a peek into a world where our ‘Outlook’ has changed post our MBA. The essence I believe is still the same. Perhaps only the presentation has changed.

Oh Yeah..and the Money!

 

 

‘About Last Night’

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The three of them sat at a bar. Drinking in silence.

The bartender gave them one look as he wiped his glasses. ” Shouldn’t you be leaving?” he barked.

“One more round” their voices said in unison unexpectedly.

Not complaining about the extra business these three weird men were giving him, the bartender poured them their drinks and went back to scrubbing the glasses clean.

Silence. Nothing could be heard except their slurping of the drinks.

The silence didn’t last long as one of their phones buzzed out of nowhere.

” Yes I know, I know it is an early affair tomorrow. I will be there” he said and hung up.

He looked around to see the other two men who seemed lost in their own worlds.

For the purpose of the prospective readers, we shall refer to these men now as M1,M2 and M3. 

M1: My family is out celebrating while I am here in the middle of the night. Drinking. A drunk groom for tomorrow’s wedding!!

M2: Congrats! Shouldn’t you be happy about it?

M3: Congrats! You are drinking? Forced into marriage Bro?

M1: Not forced. We have been together for the last one year. We are deeply in love. Just that, this is the last night I can probably do all this. She hates seeing me drunk.

M2: Well you were lucky enough to fall in love at least. I am being advertised on all the leading matrimony portals. Feel like the brand ambassador of arranged marriages.

M1: Is that why you are drinking? And we haven’t heard anything from you (nodding at M3)

M3: My sister is getting married.

M2: What’s worse than an arranged marriage? Getting rejected by a prospective bride after several rounds of snacks at each other’s place. And what is so depressing about your sister’s wedding?

M1: Well that can be depressing, pretty much why I do not believe in the entire arranged marriage scam. I am lucky that she shares my views on this as well. And yeah, don’t you approve of your sister’s choice of a partner?

M3: Naah..he is really qualified. A great bank balance too, she was smart to choose him.I was a fool to believe otherwise.

M2: Well a bank balance doesn’t really qualify as an option. I pampered this arranged marriage prospect for several months before she called it off. ” We want different things from life” she said.

M1: I am sorry but I do find all of this a little hilarious! You guys actually went on dates and stuff, pretty progressive! My brother wasn’t even allowed to see the girl after his engagement.

M2: Well we sneaked out obviously. I had to prove my manhood didn’t I? Besides she too hated all these blind beliefs.So it was an escape for both of us.

M3: Prove your manhood? Don’t get me thinking otherwise, but I find it strange that after all that she actually left you.

M2: Well she didn’t ‘leave’ me. We are good friends. Or so she says. I accept it too. Yet the chauvinist in me can’t believe that a woman could say ‘no’ to me after all that.

M1: Well well, women are humans too. No lesser than men. She exercised her choice bro. Stuff like this is above genders. Which is why I”m not even going to say ‘Be a man!’ to you.

M2: Easy for you to say, getting married ain’t you?

M3: To each one, his own. What do women want from men like us ultimately? This question would go down in history as one of nature’s biggest mysteries.

M1: Yeah and isn’t this mystery what makes a life with them worthwhile? You better cheer up, your sister seems to have made the right choice from what you say. You will have your day too.

M2: My parents are now asking me to edit my photographs on the website. They firmly believe that the photographs depict me as a very short person and this could be a reason for all this. I am short. But I believe I’m kind of tall where it matters you know?

M3: Hahaha well ignorance is bliss my friend! Stop bragging to men about your manhood now!

M1: Trust me on this, when it is meant to happen it would. I never thought that I would land up with her, one year back.But here I am, a night before my wedding. Drinking with two strangers. Cheers!! One more round on me guys!

M2 and M3: Cheers!!

The clock struck 2 am. The bartender had no option. He had make these men leave. As he made his way towards them, the doors of the pub opened to let in a new visitor.

The rest of the night remained a blur to the bartender. For he never thought that he would have to resort to drinking that late in the night because of his customers.

The newspapers however carried an article headlined ‘ About Last Night’ which briefly said that a bride had called off her wedding as the groom had chauvinistically criticised her late night drinking habits, a night prior to their wedding.

The newspapers didn’t know what the bartender knew and they would never.

One night later.

The three men sat together. In muted silence.

The bartender approached them and said ” I might have been drunk last night, so I am asking you again. Was it the same girl?”

They nodded in unison.

M1: She called off the wedding.

M2: You can still be friends with her the way I am. Maybe you both ‘want different things from life’.

M3: Well you could also be her ‘brother’ the way I am. So much for you talking about being ‘above genders’? Chauvinistic Pig!

Bartender: Men will be men!! This round is on me! And you guys better clear the pub early tonight, I am not entertaining three depressed souls who are in love with the same girl again ever in my pub!

The doors of the pub opened again……

This time four hearts skipped a beat.

Three for the woman, and one for the impending horror of yet another night.

 

 

The ‘Pseudo’ MBA

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‘Traitor’!!!!

Their voices screamed out from the shadows. He ignored them and quickened his pace. The last thing he wanted was an altercation in the middle of the street. He rushed to the waiting cab and heaved a sigh of relief.

As the cab made its way out of the IT park, he opened his laptop. There were a few changes to be made to the Excel file that he was working on. It had to be sent to the client for approval. While the company fancifully called it analysis, it was mere entry of data and an extra dose of formatting to the cells in the spreadsheet.

By now he could do this in his sleep, and his attention slowly wandered. As he stared out of the window, he saw an array of billboards displaying a large number of products. The sight of them gave him the creeps. For he was now sure that there was no escape. He couldn’t run away forever. His body shook violently and his eyes involuntarily closed.He knew the voices would reach out to him now.

He did not know for how long he had kept his eyes shut. As he opened them, he realised that it was pitch dark. His eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness and he tried to figure out where the hell he was.

It seemed like a giant establishment with people constantly hustling. They seemed like people but what were they doing in the dark? The entire structure seemed to be built on a graveyard. For he could still read the names of some of them, though the gravestones had begun to crack and fade into nothingness.

His own movements seemed almost mechanical. His feet just seemed to be taking him somewhere and his head felt strangely empty. It was as though the brain had stopped functioning or had been plugged elsewhere. A mechanical beep signalled that he was now authorised to enter this establishment.

As he walked down the path, voices from the underground hissed…’Traiiiitorrrrr’……!

He ignored them and walked on.

Eventually he settled down on what was supposedly his workstation.  The drill for the night had begun.

His first task for the night demanded that he analyse the competition in his domain. He meticulously began with a 5 point agenda for the same.

A voice whispered to him “Skip all this, we will tell the client that you can be billed for $2 per hour. No other company would stoop so low. This would seal the deal and render any other competition insignificant “

The deal was won. Somewhere the gravestone of Michael Porter cracked.

The next task involved interviewing a candidate for a position in the establishment. On being asked why he wanted to be part of the establishment, the interviewee expressed his desire to feel respected and to be given a chance to explore his full potential.

“You mean Esteem and Self- Actualisation? Sorry, our establishment doesn’t cater to those needs of an individual. We ensure that these kind of needs are rendered useless in this establishment. Sorry you are rejected” he said.

The candidate left with a sunken face. Somewhere the gravestone of Maslow cracked.

The third task for the day involved mapping an individual to a project. As the expectations of the role were being discussed and the competencies were being mapped to the needs, he raised his hand and said “ But surely we aren’t doing this. Achievement arises from affiliation with those in power. Competency is irrelevant in the face of all this. That ought to be enough motivation. Stop treating people as individuals. They are mere ‘resources’.

Somewhere else the gravestone of David McCllelland cracked.

The final task for the day involved a review meeting with his superior. They were to discuss the team performance and suggest ways to increase the operational efficiency . As he began his presentation with graphs and charts, his manager blatantly ignored his analysis and asked him to come up with something else. “But why??I am right with my analysis” he said indignantly. The manager looked at him condescendingly and said “ You are our biggest constraint. I am merely exploiting you.”

The gravestone of Goldratt burst into a million fragments.

Done.

He had spent the nine mandated hours in office. Another electronic beep signalled that he could now leave the establishment. Strangely his head felt heavy. As though the brain had been plugged back in.

Was all of this a dream? Was it a nightmare? Was he merely hallucinating? He now knew the source of those voices that shrieked at him every now and then.

He would never know.

As he alighted from his cab and turned to pay the driver the fare, the driver remarked “You corporates keep our business going.  Are you a software engineer Sir?”

He smiled. His conscience pricked him. Yet he unabashedly said “ I am a B-School graduate working as a consultant here. I finished my engineering and pursued my MBA.”

“All the same” said the driver.

For the corporate world believed that anyone could be anything irrespective of their backgrounds. You would earn the tag of being ‘flexible’ then.

The 4Ps of marketing were reduced to a single P.The P which represented a ‘Project’ and rendered anything and everything else related to an individual’s competency useless.

The farce would continue.

A farce that promised a hefty pay cheque at the end of every month for selling your soul ‘flexibly’.

 

 

 

100% Placements- Yet Again!

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100% Placements:

 

99 out of 100 times, the above two words are all it takes for an institute to ensure that their admissions for the next year doesn’t take a hit. So what is it about the seemingly magical ‘100%’ that entices students into opting for an institute or an institute using these words to ensure that their brand remains relevant?

Now before I dissert my opinion on that, let’s focus on two words in the above lines. ‘Seemingly magical’.  I will justify the use of the above words with a lengthy dissertation that would probably resonate with some of you.

Let us first consider the various entities involved in the ‘placement’ process. We have:

  • Students
  • Faculty
  • A Placement Committee
  • The Institute
  • The Industry

So these entities together interact in a given institutional setting to ‘facilitate’ the placement process.

Now akin to the 4Ps of Marketing, let us now talk about the 4Ps of a job:

  • Profile
  • Package
  • Place of Work
  • People ( Colleagues)

So this broadly is the setting for a typical placement process. The above entities interact to facilitate the fulfillment of ‘at least’ one of the above ‘P’s of a job. Everything looks well-structured and smooth right?

Yes it does.

Except for the fact that as an institute you are dealing with the dreams and aspirations of 600-800 students under your tutelage.

It is pragmatic that given the capability of a particular institute, it would not be possible to nurture and fulfill the dream of every student. However what is not pragmatic is coercing students to share an institute’s vision of 100% placements and hence give up on his/her dream or competency.

Picked from the same batch are a select set of students who constitute a committee which acts like an interface between the students and the corporate. From engaging corporates in guest lectures and various conclaves to acting as SPOCs during placements,contacting and convincing firms to visit the campus, these members are part of the team called the Placement Committee.

Now with the idea of ‘student driven placements’, we infer that this committee has its own targets to meet. They are accountable to a placement chair who is in turn accountable to the management and so on. So now weigh the scales again.

800 Unique Dreams Vs 100% Placements

So if Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs were to be used to explain this process, the dream job of a student could lie somewhere at the bottom while the ‘100% Placements’ objective reinforced by the placement committee and the institute would be right at the top.

It is my understanding that great academics doesn’t translate into great jobs. Vice versa.

Having said that, there are going to be students in every batch who might need an extra push towards the placement process. A push only because sometimes there is a sense of complacency that a student undergoes as he feels he is entitled to a job because the institute promised ‘100% placements’. This push is often a classic tale of a carrot versus a stick. This can be remedied only by faculty for it is they who would need to mentor a student on the choices that he makes. Something that makes him come out of that feeling of ‘entitlement’ towards a job.

For students are humans. The marketing act of a ‘push or pull’ strategy isn’t going to work here.

The success of an institute has been perceived largely based on its ability to fulfill this ‘100% placement’ criterion. However behind this veil of success lie stories of shattered dreams, coerced jobs, meek servility and a lot more. It is a classic example of ‘The Ends justify The Means’.

The efforts that institutes are taking towards reaching out to corporates is fantastic. With guest lectures, alumni meets, panel discussions and what not, they surely do seem to be having a healthy engagement with the corporates. However in this process, they seem to be losing out their engagement with their students. Quite possibly even not understanding what is it that students expect at the end of their placement season.

All along students are tutored to take their own decisions. Yet in the face of something as important as this, they are to trust the ‘facilitators’ that this was the best they could get and that the decision was made keeping in mind their best interests at heart.

Limiting the number of offers a student has is yet another tool that facilitates 100% placements. Companies who visit the campus early walk away with the cream while the latter ones are forced to contend with the leftovers. Severely hurting the chances of them visiting the campus again.’One Student One Offer’. This is not a government scheme that is supposed to guarantee employment.

So in this rather long ‘supply-chain’ of jobs, whom do we blame? It would be tough to pick one person and say he or she is responsible for it. For each of them seem to be driven by their own demands of the positions that they hold. Right from the HR who walks into the campus knowing that a Marketing student isn’t going to be able to write codes in an IT industry to the student who sits or is forced to sit for the process, there is some trace of blood on everyone’s hands.

We probably need to take a leaf out of the West’s book and look at job booths where a candidate is in a position to sell himself and his competency without the burden of being a brick in a rather detrimental wall called ‘100% placements’. For more than anything it reinforces confidence in students that they are ‘competent’ for a particular role rather than waiting for someone else to ‘fit’ them in a role that they may not be competent at.

All in all, the system needs to understand if their education and the associated benefit called ‘placements’ is going to give students a ‘job’ or a ‘career’.

 

P.S:

These rants of mine are possibly a reflection of the dissatisfaction that a lot of my friends seem to be faced with in their current roles in their respective firms. It is also a reflection of my brief stint in the education sector which helped me understand how institutes perceive placements as the end result towards enhancing their brand.

 

Unrequited Love: Of One- Sided Affairs

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So this is probably the first ever time that I am writing about ‘romance’. To say that this post is about romance is an exaggeration because I honestly believe I do not know much about it. However there is a certain kind of romance that I believe I am well versed in and this post is an ode to the same.

Unrequited love.

Our lives have mostly been a bundle of contradictions. We’ve chosen to conveniently establish ourselves in the space between the world and the heart. With one foot in either realms. A rather safe position where you try to weasel your way out into getting the best of both the worlds.

Yet once in a while, you find yourself as the recipient of an emotion that is so intense and so personal that you do not wish to share it with anyone else around you.An emotion that truly belongs to your heart. It is an emotion that sprung from the knowledge that you are never going to have that person with you. An emotion that arose from unrequited love. Something that only you can feel.

It can be maddening. It can be comforting. It can be motivating. It can also be extremely humiliating. It is an example of what an unsaid or said ‘NO’ can do to mess up those cells in your brain. Much like music, the variations in the dynamics of your relationship before and after that ‘NO’ range from silence to a terrifying crescendo. A phase where you come in touch with your best and with your worst.

Don’t mistake me. This isn’t a post where I glorify singletons and literally fold my hands in obeisance to all the Devdas like characters who wasted away their lives for their unrequited love. Maybe there is nobility in that.  However it is a nobility that I cannot fathom. A nobility that I do not wish to talk about.

The reasons for love being unrequited are numerous. And like in every case, both the parties seem to present compelling evidence which leaves the ones judging the entire act in a quagmire. Yet what perhaps needs to be examined is the way you begin seeing yourself after this. The reactions are often between seething anger and a solemn coldness that is often misdirected at the people who are actually willing to love you. You probably then begin to critically evaluate yourself and draw comparisons with others who seem to be luckier on this front.

However what you do not stop doing is…hoping.

It makes for a wonderful fairy tale where our hero braves all the odds, hides his grief and attends the wedding of his love. She miraculously has a change of heart near the altar and runs back to him. But reality is perhaps different. It is good to hope. The only problem with it is that while you are stuck in 2014 where you still asked her out, she is now a person who has been in/out of a relationship in 2016. So the equation sure as hell has now changed and so has she.

Unrequited love in a certain sense has also been the brainchild behind the various relationship ‘zones’ that you see around you. Zones that have been created to ensure that relationships thrive even if they aren’t what they are meant to be. Let’s just say that Amrish Puri chose to adopt SRK as a son and not a son-in-law in DDLJ. That’s pretty much how ‘some’ of these stories span out.

You find yourself in a quandary suddenly. One half hoping that the other person be kind to you and promise you that they would still be there for you. The other half hoping that you never set your eyes on the person ever again. For try as you want, somewhere that ego of yours has taken a beating. You are at stage where you would probably get to hear a lot of ‘ I never saw you that way’, ‘ You deserve better than me’ and ‘ I think we both want different things from life’.

All of which might be true. You might accept it grudgingly. Yet there are moments when it often feels like walking on a path of thorns. There is a certain masochism that you invite upon yourself as you still hold on to pieces of the past that you once thought belonged to you.

Beyond the otherwise clichéd tears, clichéd Facebook updates and mushy messages, I do think that there is a certain nobility that exists in unrequited love. A nobility that is personal to you. A nobility that perhaps that you do not wish to share with the rest of the world. In the fear that they would kill what is genuine about it. A nobility that lets you love the person without sharing that love with the person. Something that I believe is extraordinarily strong.

It isn’t selflessness. Honestly.

Unrequited love is one selfish act. Perhaps the only selfish act that with this nobility in it.

For an incomplete tale….has no end.

 

Dear Useless Friends,

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Tale 1:

Facebook suggested that I add her as a friend. Sent her a request. She accepted it. We now trade ‘Likes’.

She is my ‘Friend’.

Tale 2:

We lost touch after our college days. My son found her son on Facebook. Soon enough we were trading tales of our lives after college. Our sons were busy trading ‘Likes’.

We are ‘Friends’. Our sons will get there soon.

Tale 3:

I missed having friends like her. So I dug up all the photos I had with her. I made a collage and publicly told the world how much I miss her. I waited.

One hour later. I still had only ‘5’ likes and ‘1’ comment.

I made a better collage adding few more friends and tagged them too.

Tale 4:

I missed having friends like her. So I dug up all the photos I had with her. I made a collage and mailed it to her. I waited.

Two days later a bigger collage was delivered to my place. By her.

Tale 5:

The two of us sat across each other in the restaurant. After the customary ‘Check-in’ on Facebook, we realized that we had nothing to talk about. Our silence was compensated by the loud cheers and jeering of several old men in the adjoining table.

‘Uncivilized’ we said together and left. To a place that would add to the already existing silence between us.

Tale 6:

The four of us huddled around a table in the restaurant. After the customary inquiries about each other’s families, we indulged in friendly banter and recounted tales of the past. Our jeering was compensated by the silence between the two young individuals in the adjoining table.

‘Friends or strangers?” we wondered and left. To a place where such questions didn’t exist.

Tale 7:

A college romance brewed into a lifetime relationship. They were to be married in two months’ time. The best photographer was hired. Exotic locations were chosen.

Soon enough all their friends were requested to ‘SAVE THE DATE’ and treat this request as a personal one.

Tale 8:

A college romance brewed into a lifetime relationship. They were to be married in two months’ time. A driver was hired. A good car was chosen.

Soon enough all their friends were graced by their unexpected visit inviting them to be a part of their wedding. It was not explicitly mentioned. But they saved the date and treated the invitation as a personal one.

Tale 9:

Thousand friends and counting.

“How do you know him/her?”

“Ermm…”

The true friend who was inactive on Facebook sat silently disguised as an acquaintance.

Tale 10:

Ten friends.

“How do you know him/her?”

All the ten began wildly gesticulating to share their stories.

 

Ten tales with ten perspectives.

This could be your tale. This could be mine. However what it is, is a reality that we need to awaken to.

Yes. We need to re-evaluate our positions in people’s lives and vice versa. Are our relationships getting increasingly transactional in nature?  Do we remember the existence of people only when we ‘need’ something? Has socializing eclipsed the true meaning of ‘friendship’ and ‘meaningful’ relationships?

I can hear your indignant voices dismissing this post. Well if you are indignant then I assume you are as guilty as I am. Of letting technology do the talking while your ‘raw’ emotions still lay buried deep down. Leaving you in a quandary of using the choicest of words on social media to garner the attention of the majority of people who don’t even matter to you in your life as opposed to the ones who really might.

Your misgivings towards a person end up in you not ‘liking’ or ‘following’ the person’s post on social media. Rather than resolving the issue, you resort to something like this.

A ‘like’ or a ‘comment’ or even the ‘react’ option is FREE. Nobody is paying you for it. It is like the white crayon in your color box which no one cares to use. So stop assuming that it could bear a significance on the other person’s actions let alone their emotions.

There is a difference between ‘friendship’ and ‘good company’. Not to say that the latter couldn’t graduate to friendship. Yet do think if good company would necessarily translate to a good emotional connect. Regularity of meeting people trapped in the same quagmire like you isn’t going to give you any meaningful relationships.It is an escape from a common problem that you all suffer from and a problem that you all are going to return to.So much so that you might end up resenting the person if he/she fights their way out of the problem.

It is socializing. Which is fine if you know what that means. Just ask yourself if these are the people you would reach out to first, when you have a problem.

It is something that occupies your weekends. Yet something that would mean nothing to you when you wake up on a Monday morning.

All of this is under the guise of ‘networking’. It is a great con job. A wonderful act of deception and self-deception.  The guy who wishes you ‘Goodnight’ every night does so hoping that you don’t forget to text him the bus timings the next morning. The girl who added you on Facebook is on a ‘Liking’ spree only hoping that you would consider her for the upcoming role in your play.So on and so forth…

Our ‘networks’ have become so entangled now that we do not really know where our friends lie and where acquaintances lie. Much like where our ‘heart’ and ‘mind’ lie.

The world has become smaller. So have our hearts and even our brains.

Even if Facebook says I have 1411 friends.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Harry Potter!!

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Dear Harry,

I hope that this owl reaches you without being intercepted on the way. It has been more than ten years since I wrote to you. I am writing to not just wish you on your 36th birthday or to celebrate your presence in our lives again with ‘The Cursed Child’, I am writing to keep you appraised of how much things have changed ever since you left us after dropping off Albus Severus at King’s Cross.

When you were first introduced to us in ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’, I indulged in you and your adventures more out of boredom than anything else. At that point of time,I never realized that you had unwittingly lured me into a world of magic which I had always dismissed.

Slowly but steadily, I began delving more into your world.Before long I had finished reading your escapades until ‘The Goblet of Fire’.  At that age I probably had just two definitions of a character. It could be good-which was you. It could be bad-which was Lord Voldemort. The rest of the characters to me seemed like mere sidekicks as I was too naive to probably comprehend their relevance in the plot.

‘The Order of the Phoenix’  is a special book for me. For it marked the start of ‘Harry Potter Books as a Birthday Gift’ for me. Being lucky to be born in the same month as you and even luckier to not have been on the ‘Most Wanted’ list of Lord Voldemort, I was able to look forward to reading your books during my birthday over the consequent years.

It was also an achievement for me as I delved into that mammoth of a book often priding myself that I was capable of reading ‘BIG’ books. The death of Sirius left me with a lump in my throat. But that lump was often assuaged by me re-reading the chapter that narrated Dumbledore’s Duel with Voldemort.

The sixth book is the closest book to my heart. For it was probably the first time that I realized that I had a favorite character in the series. I recall throwing the book on the floor and breaking down after Dumbledore’s death. My parents were dismayed by it and I guess probably thought that I was attacked by Dementors for my outward display of such profound grief. I haven’t shed a tear ever after that for any other book.

The final book that dealt with your much anticipated victory over Voldemort left me wanting for more. Snape’s sacrifice seemed too melodramatic for me to digest.Allegations over Dumbledore’s character and past seemed unwanted.There were too many deaths that I had almost given up on keeping a track of who was alive. The climax reminded me of many an Indian movie that I had grown up watching.

This was ten years ago.

Over the next ten years, as you led a happy life with your family, you know what happened with us?

We grew up Harry.

Over the last ten years, I have revisited these books at various times in various forms.And as we grew up, we began gaining new perspectives on characters.

I realized that over the years, Sirius seemed to be more of a relatable character than Lupin who was considered to be the ‘good boy’ among the marauders. Sirius seemed more achievable. Ron’s obsession with Hermione told us that it was okay to be in love with your best friend. I began accepting that Dumbledore could be a flawed genius and that I could still love him for what he was to the wizarding world and me. Snape’s sacrifice taught me that nothing in the world was ever black or white. Ron’s little jealousies over your unprecedented fame was something that I have been able to relate to over the years.For I too have my insecurities among my group of hugely talented friends. I wondered what was this inexplicable pull that Voldemort had towards Hogwarts. I realize that it comes from calling a place ‘your home’ away from your actual home for the first time. Something that I can relate to now after having recently graduated from my B-school.

So in essence, while you and me differ in the worlds that we live in, over the years I have begun to realize that your magical world is as human as mine or vice versa.

Let me halt here and let you enjoy the rest of your birthday in peace. I sit here like I did ten years back.Excited over the release of your next book. Waiting for some part of my childhood to be rekindled.This is probably the best gift I could give you on your 36th birthday. These are merely ‘words’.

But as Dumbledore said  : Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic,capable of inflicting both injury and remedying it“.

Waiting for your ‘words’ to rekindle the kids in us and the magic in our mundane ‘Muggle’ lives.

Warm Regards

Krishnakumar S

Muggles’ Process Consultant @AnITFirm

 

 

 

‘The Girl who Loved’

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That day began just like every other day in her life had. She had gotten used to the monotony of her life and her classes so much that she resented her very existence on this planet. She had deemed her very presence in this world as painful.

Until that day.

As she opened her mail, her heart skipped so many beats that she could have been dead for all you know. Yet she lived on as magic had found her even though she had begun convincing herself for long now that magic didn’t exist.

She felt as though an invisible force was dictating her actions. In exactly an hour from the moment she had received the mail, she was standing outside the gates of her surrogate home as though waiting for someone to sweep her off into the world that she had always dreamed of.

She had not bothered to bid farewell to her friends or give anyone the reason for her sudden departure. The more she thought about it, the more foolish she felt about the entire exercise. What if the whole thing was a hoax?

She stood there in silence waiting for something to happen. For something to reinforce her belief which had now begun to weaken.

Miles away. People who had received the same letter as she did were standing in the same way she was. All of them in anticipation.

Suddenly she felt a peculiar sensation near her navel. As though something was being strapped to her. The air around her seemed to compress her lungs as she struggled to breathe. She felt herself being bodily lifted.She shut her eyes terrified by the sudden turn of events.

And then it stopped. It stopped as suddenly as it had began.As she opened her eyes she found herself on an all familiar railway station. A station that had captivated her dreams for years now.

“Let me help you” said a kindly woman who ushered her into a platform which had previously been invisible to her eyes.

As she entered the platform, waiting for her was the gleaming red train. A train that brought back memories to her. A train that she associated every train with and every railway journey with.

She hastily boarded the train lest it leave without her. She saw others board the train along with her. Some of them seemed familiar with the entire exercise. Others had the same look of incredulity that she did. An expression that mingled fear and surprise.

She looked out of the window. Still wondering what she would do as she was yet to purchase the bare essentials to survive in this new world. It was then she saw him.Standing outside the train, he seemed to be whispering something to an young kid who by the looks of it was as new to this exercise as she was.

She froze. Half her mind wanted to jump out of the train and just talk to him once. The other half was still too scared that she couldn’t make it on time to the grand feast in the great hall if she missed the train.

” I wouldn’t jump off the train if I were you” said a snide voice.

” Let her jump off. It surely would create an uproar” said another voice.

” Well I wouldn’t want to miss the grand feast just to meet him. Besides she herself is in for a surprise soon” said the third voice.

It terrified her beyond her wildest nightmares to hear voices without fathoming their source. ” Who are you? What do you want?” she said keeping her voice as steady as possible.

No reply.

Before she could repeat her questions, she heard the shrill whistle of the engine. The train had begun moving. Students hastily boarded the various compartments.

She looked out of the window one last time to catch a glimpse of him. Her prying eyes met his olive green eyes. Both of them froze in the same instant. His look of surprise met her look of admiration. But there was no time to decode each other’s expressions as the train soon left the platform behind.

She could hear the sound of muffled laughter again from those voices. She decided to ignore them. Soon enough the doors of her compartment flew open.

He was accompanied by one other boy. They gave each other furtive glances before settling in.Clearly they were as uncomfortable as she was. It was as though they had intruded in on something private.

By now she was so used to being surprised that his presence in her compartment felt like just another anomaly in her new world.

“I was asked to give you this” he said as he handed an intricately wrapped package to her.

” What is this?” she asked. Fully knowing the contents of the package.

” Our world has been awaiting you for quite a while. This is rightfully yours. My Dad asked me to hand it over to you ” he said.

The wand had intricate carvings that resembled clusters of elderberries. She could feel the core that reputedly had ingredients which only the finest of wizards and witches could control.

Engraved on the case of the wand were the following words:

From ‘The Boy Who Lived’ to ‘The Girl Who Loved ‘

“In the hope that this wand helps keep your belief in magic alive every time you feel that you have outgrown the age for magic. Your love for me contains more magic than all of the magic contained in the Wizarding world. It would be shame for me to lose it just because you feel you have grown up suddenly. This is the start of your story. You can choose to take it forward or let it wither and die like you had decided a few days back.Use it well.”

Harry Potter

She fought back her tears. Even as she extended her arms and said ” Thank you Albus Severus Potter. I am…..”

“Yes you are famous in our world as ‘The Girl Who Loved” he said with a mildly amused expression.