Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Last Post?

Hi, this i just to inform you that I wont be writing about life anymore. I mean I would be writing about other topics, maybe, but not about life and its materialism. (But because that is all I have written for a long long time, hence am not too sure how I can continue writing this blog further) Someone just told me that I was basically a non-achiever, who talked about materialism to explain my failure to do anything subsatntial in life. Something like grapes turning sour, infact very sour. He believes I keep writing all this stuff so that people cannot call me a failure, but say something like, "This guy is a stud. He could achieve this, achieve that, but he doesnt want to do that." Even though I dont believe him, I think its my duty to take out this impression from his mind. So I shall stop commenting about people being mater1alistic and all that. And this guy is a super-achiever. He has gone a long long way in life, and is only expected to go further ahead. I respect him for that. But he also has this fetish for everything being neat and clean, well ordered, and is easily able to pass judgement on people based on their appearance. For him, all that glitters is gold, and all that is black is coal. And because I respect this person, I am ready to change myself according to his whims and fantasies.
Well, maybe, I am being too harsh on him, he does not judge people on the basis of their appearance, but he does tend to form a first impression of people, and it becomes hard for him to shake that first impression.
He loves me, and so wants the best for me, and so he wants me to feel bad for the current state of affairs I have landed myself in; but hard as I may try, I have never felt better my entire life. And I believe that is all that matters; but as he feels this is not right, and wants me to change my lifestyle, I am going to change it, not for myself, but for him; so that he feels good. And that means I am trying to go and start achieving things as he has. Because he has always been responsible, practical, well-ordered. neat and confident, while I have always been the opposite. Hence he has the higher ground in this, and I am cannot argue with such a super-achiever. So this might be my last post on the uselessness of life in a long long long time, until I achieve something worthwhile. I dont think that I have achieved little in life. I think I am an achiever of a different kind, but this time I will go and achieve things in a different vein: I shall get some tangible results, produce something materialisic, so that then I can tell him what I really am. And till then i will try looking for alternative topics to write on : Politics, movies, books and

On a separate note: Well do people who have sacrificed their CG and else for hostel affairs deserve something? Why do seniors make it sure to ruin their juniors' lives by making them work so hard for the RCA, GC and a selection of other trophies? Is a hostel's pride even worth it? Do emotions like friendships and love matter in the real world? What is more important, a good resume made up of lies, or a bad resume because you are not clever enough to show all that you have done? Should people who work for hostel only for building their resume, and forget all about it ones their job is done be quantified as studs? Should people who say "I won't participate in this and this anymore, because I already have a lot of this on my resume" deserve any credit for their 'service' to the hostel? And do people who have been working only for the hostel's cause not deserve more? Arent most of these people impractical and foolish, especially since most of it doesnt even matter in the end (read placements, CAT or MS/PhD)? I am seeking answers. If anybody can provide me with the answers, I will only be happy to get back to the Mr. Super-achiever with them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Of CG and other demons

Another placement season is here. Another season of hope. And despair. Another season of someone ruing the fact that "If my CG was a bit better". It is a thought that is realised a bit too late by most students. And irrespective of all that I might have written earlier, if you are looking for the more materialistic pleasures of life, all you require is a good CG. Like the good old Metallica song, "Nothing Else Matters." With a good CG, a bit of aptitude (now considering you have made it to IIT, this should not be to hard) and smartness (now thats a bit tough, especially if you are one of those good for nothing maggus) nothing can stop you from getting a "good", highly paying job. And no, irrespective of the JEE which filters student (it used to filter students this way, but now apparently it has stopped doing even that) on the basis of their levels of understanding, CG in IIT is more an indicator of your slogging abilities than anything else. While JEE tests your "intelligence" (I wont shy away from use of that word) the exams at IIT are nothing much than testing an ability for rote learning.
The most successful people, they say, are those who are able to change with the times. It means, consequently, that the most successful people are those who dont stick to anything, who are unable to stick to their principles. Surely there are exceptions (and I really respect people who reach the top sticking to their principles) , but thats the general rule and I will stick to it. And are the most successful people also the nicest people? I believe (I just dont think, I believe) that its rarely the case. And the most succesful people are also not the "best" (this refers to being the most talented) people. Success is a combination of many factors, of which luck probably is on the top. I just read one of my most respected seniors (Lets call him B) writing this about another person, one of my better liked juniors (lets call him A) , (and who happens to be one of the best friends of the senior guy) who has just got an offer with one of the top consulting companies, and was close to securing a job in the other big consulting company as well (Forgive me if this sentence has become too complicated) : "If nothing else, there is one quality that I know I possess, and that is being a good judge of people. Yesterday, two of the world's leading consulting firms happened to concur with me." (Hope I am not infringing upon the copyright). And this set me thinking:Does B judge people by how successful people will turn out to be, or do companies choose someone on the basis of how good the person is? The second surely cannot be the case, I think, for otherwise B would have been the foremost candidate for the two companies. And he wasnt even shortlisted, because again, his CG happened to be on the bad side of seven. The former also seemed unlikely, because I cannot imagine someone like B judging people on how successful they are going to be. So I guess he was wrong on that account: The company had not offered A the job because he was a nice guy (not that he is not a nice guy), but because he was the best guy: That he had a pretty good CG. And a fabulous co-curricular record.
Now, coming back to the point, here is what it seems to me: irrespective of whatever crap do companies speak about selecting all-round talents, what they want are people who are ambitious (and their definition of ambitious is just : Having a good CG. You might have plans, and the right ideas, for moon travel, but if your CG is not good enough, you are not ambitious enough). If you dont have it, you might be good enough to crack 100 percentile in DI in CAT, but even then these so called Data Analytics companies wont take you because you dont have a good CGPA.
What exactly does CGPA measure. Nothing more than how much can you be a constant slogger and your ability to be in the good books of your professors. I have been lucky that most of my professors have been pretty good. So my bad CG can mostly be explained by my lack as a slogger. Because I believe myself to be one of the most "intelligent" persons around (As in, I believe myself to be one of the more intellifgent persons on this planet. So if you dont want me, F*** you, Mckinsey!F*** you BCG! And F*** all those companies that make such a big deal about attracting all-round talent!Be honest to yourself, and to the students you come to recruit. And if you are still about attracting "highly ambitious" guys, take my middle finger. Up Yours!! You might be the most presentabler guys around, but neither are you the best, and deifinately not the nicest. And I care only about nice persons, which means I dont care about anyone, because I am also the nicest. Just f*** off! Like the brilliant REM lyrics of Ignoreland,
If they weren't there we would have created them. maybe, it' true,
But I'm resentful all the same. someone's got to take the blame.
I know that this is vitriol. no solution, spleen-venting,
But I feel better having screamed. don't you?
And I feel better as well, already.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The King Of Solitude

He is enjoying the evening
With his many friends;
Suddenly he remembers those days,
Those walks, and her beautiful face;
And now he starts feeling sad,
She left him, when he wanted her so bad,
And while his friends are enjoying jokes, some of them lewd,
Starts crying, the king of Solitude

He is among many people,
but still feels so alone;
"Stop this merry-making", he wants to say
And wants to go back a hundred days;
Friends call out to him,
"enjoy some whisky and gin";
But he refuses, without sounding rude,
sulking is the King Of Solitude

He doesnt want to spoil the party
So he goes out to take a walk;
His friends want him to stay
But he just wants to go away;
To where he can never be,
"She'll repent it later", he thinks;
The thought makes him smile, improves his mood,
Now he is laughing, the king of solitude

He had got it all,
and now he has lost it;
But all that remains in his mad head,
Is her memory, which refuse to fade away.
He is alone, and declared insane,
And then he feels the most pain
All his friends have gone away, left him to suffer
In Solitude, suffers the King Of Solitude

He hasnt yet realised,
that love is the cause of his troubles
And that his friends were for name
When disaster struck, not one of them came
As and when he knows this noble truth,
that love and friendship are for fools
will he be happy to be alone,
In Solitude, will enjoy the king of Solitude

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Of Cricket, Hockey and Football

One of my many ambitions as a six-year old was to represent India in Cricket, Hockey and Football (Six-year olds can be very crazy, you see. My other ambitions included becoming a pilot, winning the Wimbledon, a doctor, an engineer, and the Prime Minister of India. COMBINED, but that is beside the point). I wanted to be a player who could guide India to another World Cup triumph in Cricket and Hockey, and make it a new superpower in the world of football. None of these 'dreams' became reality, ofcourse. Neither have I been able to make it to any of these teams (I havent been even close) and neither has India got back the World Cup in Cricket and Hockey; in football, World Cup qualification is still a distant dream. And now, looking as obscene(obese??) as I have ever done, I am just looking back at those days, when I first encoutered butter. (That is another long story!) Otherwise I could have been the new star on the horizon, and India a major sports power, just like Australia.
These thoughts came back to me because of a statement by Gerd Muller, the highest scorer ever in World Cup Football and the general-secretary (or something of that sort) of Bayern Munich, which was in Calcutta (their U-21 or second side I guess) to participate in the IFA Shield. The statement roughly analysed the three games' status in India. As a lead up to the tournament, Hindustan Times (or was it the Times Of India, you can hardly tell the difference nowadays) published articles of past Bayern Munich greats. This is what he wrote, "I know that football is not as popular in India as cricket, the national sport of India, is..". And then I realised it: Cricket is now considered the national sport of India even by foreigners. We Indians had given up on hockey a long time ago, but it still remains the national sport of India. And I waited the next day, and the day after that, for some apology by the newspaper, giving hockey its due. But none came. What was worse: No one even pointed out this glaring error to the editors of the daily. So it remained, and that day, it got confirmed: Hockey might be the official national sport, but when it comes to cricket, there's "nothing official about it" tagline attached along. For otherwise, how would we explain the massive protests over Ganguly's exclusion from the team; and not a similiar incident when Dhanraj Pillay is excluded even from the list ofprobables. Why dont people start writing blogs after the golden boy of Indian Football, Baichung Bhutia, fails to make it to the Indian team. Why do we shower a godlike status on our cricket stars while failing to recognize even the names of Indian players in other teams. How many of us, for example, can name 3-4 players who played (and won, mind you) in the SAFF Football Cup in Pakistan. (Or well, did you ever come to know that such a tournament was being organised?). And how many of you could name the Hockey team taking part in the Challenger Series, where India finished sixth among six teams (But, they were the world Best Teams).
I dont have anything against Cricket as such, but I was just looking at the coverage three events running simultaneously got on the press and the media, and there it was. Cricket covered 3 out of the 4 pages of the Sports Section, while Hockey got a quarter. (This was the challenger trophy, the best of the best in the World Of Hockey!). And India's football win was just in the Sports titbits section. No doubt, that while six years old in my time wanted to represent India in more than just cricket, now every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to be a Sachin Tendulkar.
The year I was born, cricket was just a blip on the horizon. It was a game that was catching up fast on hockey, but there was a chance for football as well. And then, one fine Summer Afternoon at Lord's, (JUne 25, 1983. I am not very sure about the date..again) it all changed. Kapil's Devils had won the World Cup Cricket, and India lost every other sport. Since then, it has been cricket all over, and because it has matched up so well with the Television boom, is now India's unofficial national sport.
But all is not yet lost for hockey and football. My mother still remembers how she and the entire family stopped eating for a full day when India lost to Pakistan in the Semifinals at Munich in 1972. And I remember, how proud I felt reading about Indian football reaching the semi-finals at Melbourne olympics way back in 1956. When was the last time you felt proud about India beating Pakistan in Hockey? And in football?
All it takes is for IHF and AIFF to remove their old bastions of power (KPS Gill and Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, respectiviely) and make a new start. These two sports need a Reliance World Cup. Or better still, good performances for a start.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Mostly Harmless

(Earth finds just two words in the Hitchhikers' Guide to The Galaxy: Mostly Harmless. It is also the fifth book of the Hitchhiker's "trilogy" in now five parts. So finally I got to know of someone who did not like the Hitchhikers' Series. So, well I modify my last post's to : Till now, I have known only one person who has ........ )
The third part of my Philosophical discourses. The end of the trilogy.
Mostly Harmless. Thats what a lot of people probably think of me. Atleast, thats what I think about a lot of people. Infact all people are mostly harmless. And they are mostly similar too. Irrespective of the differences in colour, religion, caste and creed; people are alike in a lot of ways. If you have read the Merchant Of Venice, (and if you are from the ICSE board, there is a good chance you have) you will remember Shylock's speech about Jews and Chritians. "Hath not a Jew eyes, ears......If you cut us, do we not bleed, and if you stab us, will we not die." (Sorry Mr. Bill, but I could never remember your entire speeches correctly). The speech is a great testimony to the basic similiarities between humans, and the need to eradicate human biases.
Mostly Harmless. Thats what a lot of us are. All of us are, infact. I have interacted with a lot of people over the years, and at the end of it all, I find that noone is purely bad, or purely good. Any man is a mixture of the two. In the end, it all depends on how we want to see a particular person. That is why I think, the saying "First impression is the last impression" is so correct. Once you form an impression of a person, you continue seeing him in that light.
Man had the basic needs: Food, Clothing and Shelter. (Mr. Arun Jaitley shall probably want to add Bijli. Sadak and Paani (BSP) to it), but now he has more. I believe now people work for recognition of their efforts. And the other thing that people really want is respect from other people. And money, and with it, the ensuing power. And the love of the girl they love. It is a combination of all these that spur a person to move forward in life, and go on trying to achieve that. And, satisfaction? Satisfaction is another of those craps invented to explain all the things above, People want the four things above, and name it satsfaction.
And there are various things a man tries to get what he needs. Everyone is good at heart, just the methods might make him seem bad. This is all what Hitler wanted. Or Napolean. Or Genghiz Khan. Or Stalin. Were they good or bad? I'll say they were good. And if they were bad, then so was Churchill, and Roosevelt, or Truman.
I have made a hash of this post. I am disappointed at having written this, but I'll publish this anyway. And then I will brush my teeth. Good Morning and have a great day (Its a Sunday!). Keep Blogging!!!
(On second thoughts, people like Hitler are probably better, because they are honest about what they want. What about me, who doesnot know what I want, or my friends, who will never admit to what I have written here?)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

So long, and Thanks for all the fish

(For all of you wondering about the title of the post, please read the earlier post before reading further. For those still wondering, please read the hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as soon as possible. It is a wonderful read).
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. It has made a lot of people angry, and has been widely critizised as a bad move. " Any novel containing such outrageous sense of humour ought to become an instant favourite with the reader. I still have to come across someone who has read the entire book (it used to be a 'trilogy' in four parts when I read it, but since then, the fifth, Mostly Harmless, has also been added to the list), and hasn't liked it. Its full of some very good crap, and apparently, a lot of people, and I, tend to like some very good crap.
Thinking about Douglas Adams, also reminds me of my very serious falling as an author: that I am horrible at writing humour. Any type of humour, be it sarcasm or slapstick, doesn't come naturally to me. But, I will try it sometime. Till then, I am better off doing what I do here always : writing about love and other issues.
Have recently finished reading two books, both of which have left me thinking about myself and my life. One was called Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins, who is one of the top rated American writers, but surprisingly isn't very famous in India. The second book is by Chetan Bhagat, and he has again managed to create a tale around friendship, though this time his novel is a lot darker. Its called One Night@ The Call Centre; and that's exactly what it is, describing an eventful night at a call centre in (wherelse could Bhagat set the scene in?) Gurgaon.
Skinny Legs and All is a masterpiece, because not only is it a fabulous read, but also because it manages to ask some very basic questions about human existence. And whats more, it even tries to answer these questions itself. And even then it manages to keep up a fast pace, and the entire story is told humorously, which makes me appreciate it even more. The book preaches a similiar philosophy to what I had like to teach the world someday : Money is crap, as is religion. Politics and law are just measures introduced to curtail basic human freedom. The book lays stresses, among other things, that humans need to give more attention towards nature, the living, the dead and the non-living. It also points out that individual freedom should be emphasised.
One Night@The Call Centre, on the other hand, is a typical Chetan Bhagat book (if you can actually generalise his genre based on Five Point Someone). Its again about people whose life are in a deep mess, this time though not entirely of their own making. Its about the youth of India, and how do they come up on top against the odds. The book is much more narrower in vision than Skinny Legs and All, but because it talks about people like me, who feel and act much like I do, it strikes a chord. Sometimes I do wonder why am I working so hard for America]s prosperity, but then I realise that any other job will also have almost the same effect; the real benefit will be America's.
Now that I have got my degree (finally!), my family members want me to leave my current job and start looking for greener pastures, basically a job that pays me better and has better value in terms of work experience. But I am in no mood to change for two primarily reasons. One is that even though I need money to sustain my drinking and eating habits over the weekends, I believe I am earning as much as I need. And I am not asking for more. Because I do not beelieve in money in the first place, I think its the most overrated commodity in the world (I am not sure commodity is the right word. Probably Adam Smith will have some objection over its usage). I will only want money when someone who depends on me wants it. But that is in the distant future, and as far as saving for the future goes, I am giving myself time. Also, I am pretty much liking the atmosphere at my office and the people, so presently, I have no plans to shift. The second reason I attribute to the way my parents have brought me up. They have always taught my elder brother and me to appreciate and be grateful for the small things in life that God has given us. And this extends to favours that people extend to us. "Never forget anybody's favour, and never refuse a favour to others.", is what my parents used to tell me. And I am just following that. When I was without the degree, and badly in need for a job to sustain my extravagant lifestyle, my company gave me a lifeline by letting me stay. And how do I return the favour? By telling them that well it has been a great journey, but its been "so long, and thanks for all the fish." I possibly cannot do this. Sometimes, I just wonder how ethical can I get at times. And it makes me feel good. It always pays to have ethics, even though here I am losing money I think.
On a separate note, I heard the Lobo song "Don]t expect me to be your friend." I possibly could not have had understood the meaning before, but now it sums up how I have been feeling the past few months. The lyrics go like, " I love you too much to ever start liking you, so just lets end the story here, I love you too much to ever start liking you, so dont expect me to be your friend." I just hope she will understand this, and possibly come and tell me "So long, and thanks for all the fish. Good-Bye"

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Life, the Universe and Everything

{Apologies to the Late Douglas Adams for using the title from the third book of his five book "trilogy.")
I am supposed to be the most relieved man on earth today. I am like a death penalty convict, been granted special pardon by the President a day before the execution. (This is actually a truer analogy than it seems). After four and a half years of taking Minors and Majors I have finally passed out of the Indian Institute of Technology. And that is a big thing, to finally have a provisional B.Tech from one of the country's premier educational institutions. It was a tough ride all the way, and after having completed this slow and unsteady race (which by the way, I ended .finishing 37 in a class of 45 odd), I should be happy for the fact that I have at last done what I set out to do: get a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Delhi. For sometime, in the past month or so, becoming an engineer was all that I cared for. Infact, I had even contemplated suicide if I didnt get a degree. (Now, again, dont pass judgements about me..plzz. I am a lot more psycho than you think. And moreover I believe that suicide requires much more courage than is attributed to it. It is the ultimate surrender, to life itself, and I believe only a courageous person can accept losing).It was a matter of life or death for me. So well, I thought that the day I finally got my degree would actually be the happiest day of my life. Except that, I am not happy. Infact, the realisation that I have finally become an engineer has left me sad. Sad is probably the wrong word, but now this doesnt seem to be affecting me as much as I thought it would. No, not as much as I thought it would, but it hasnt made any difference at all.
I remember reading once "Success is counted sweetest, by those who never succeed", and today the full meaning of these lines cannot escape me. Is it because of this that having finally got the degree I am unable to cherish it as I should have? Or is it something else, something even more philosophical?
Did I ever tell you that I also plan to open my own school of philosophy thought? I guess I have not, but I believe (my this belief, like all my other beliefs, is shared by me alone) that someday I will be able to write a book on philosophy. For that, I dont intend to read any other philosophy, as I want my thought to be original and pure. So well here is the first point of my pholosphical discourses.
Problems are broadly of two levels : 1) Minor and 2) Major. Not getting through a good company, or flunking a course or a semester, are types of minor problems. They hurt, but the wound heals pretty quickly. On the other hand, loving someone who does not love you, or (which I feel is even worse) not loving someone who loves you, are probably the two scenarios when you are hurt the most. In between, there are other things we are wary of: death of your dog, your cat and so on. But being the hopeless romantic that I am, I feel that the two of the above hurt much more than anything else. Also, the minor worries are the ones that seem to eat the majority of your time. Or we try to give our minor problems more time in order to forget our major problems. Time is a great healer, and that is what we rely the most on, in order to lessen the pain from the major problems.
So well, my point is, that when I had got my degree, all my minor problems were over (at that point of time atleast), and because man (I have a habit of generalising things; maybe I should use I) is pessemestic for the most part, he has to worry about his problems, which left me pondering over my major problems. And that made the world seem a much more problematic than it was before. Because you can't do anything about people not loving you, or even about you not loving people. There is only one thing : give it time. You try shutting yourself away from everything, but somehow her memory comes back to haunt you. Again and again. You try to keep it out, but the mere mention of her name is enough to remind you of those days. And make you sad.
So much for my philosophy, probably its because of this, that I felt sad after the degree. Or maybe, there was another reason. More of it in the next post. And sure enough, it will be called "So long, and thanks for all the fish."