Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Finally the meeting started. Lazy Kunal had to sleep again so without any formalities he directly got to the point. He said, “This guy, blogger Kunal is just going on & on. I was busy doing nothing. But how can you guys let him become so influential? I certainly expected better from you, SAIL Kunal & IDGAD Kunal” IDGAD Kunal just gave a smirk implying “Dude, have you forgotten my name?” Creative Kunal interrupted. He was acting as a crusader on part of blogger Kunal.
He said, “This guy has given most of us a chance to showcase our talent. I, SAIL, philosopher, Reddevil, everyone; at some point of time, got chance to express our views. Even some of his attempts at humour were decent we must agree. Don’t you all think so?”
“Gooooaaalllll!!! Take that loserfools. Haaaaa. Manchester United rules!!” Reddevil Kunal shouted but realizing the gravity of the situation he stopped his match, pretending to listen.
“Sense of humour? Meh. Every guy has sense of humour” said MCP Kunal.
“What are you saying MCP? Don’t underestimate sense of humour of girls. They have tremendous sense of humour when it comes to relationships.” commented SAIL Kunal.
Everybody had a good laugh. Lazy Kunal put order in place. Philosopher Kunal said, “You guys are good for nothing. I am very happy with his writings on Ayn Rand. I am an eagle and I don’t have time for all you rats” and he left. SAIL Kunal and Reddevil Kunal too agreed that blogger Kunal has taken care of their views. Cry-baby Kunal has become thick skinned and didn’t have any problem on blogger Kunal having pop once in a while at his ‘failed adventures’. In the end it was agreed that blogger Kunal is harmless and his endeavours, while they last, are good for everyone, except lazy Kunal. Lazy Kunal was disappointed but he had already missed his sleeping time, so he blocked the blog site on his laptop and went to sleep.
Looking back from blogger Kunal’s point of view, blogging has been amazing experience. It is amazing how things become clearer and how certain errors become apparent once the thoughts are written down. After first few blogs, there was a feeling, “will I write ever again?” That feeling is fading away though traces of it still remain. I always have a line in mind when quizzed on passion for football and Manchester United: ‘There is thin line between hobby and obsession. I have long since crossed that.’ Passion/love turning into obsession has been true in certain other cases as well, and it is not necessarily good always but I hope this writing hobby takes a higher step. It might be a ‘conceited assumption’ that I write well, similar to the title ‘perplexed omniscient’ but writing has certainly made the MBA life easier. I got a chance to visit blogs of many people and it was amazing to read certain blogs and most importantly the complex thought process behind it. The writings of my two favourite authors, P.L. Deshpande and Ayn Rand have more than convinced me that writing is an art and it was great satisfaction to contribute a drop in this ocean of art.
The most honest writing can come out only if one writes for himself/herself, at least in the early stages of developing one’s own abstraction and that’s what I have tried to do. Once that conviction has been reached, then only one can address the sort of audience one intends to address. This is not an end of some magnum opus or some famous play, it is far from it but still I would like to thank those few but regular visitors of my blog for taking the effort of expressing their views, conforming or non-conforming. Special thanks to those very few who have understood the intention of posts to the fullest, nothing is more satisfactory to a writer than a reader grasping the full meaning. Hopefully lazy Kunal won’t interrupt me again.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Amidst all these, towards eastern corner of the kingdom existed a highly rated management institute. All animals wanted to study there, but only rats were admitted. Rats were supposed to be very talented individuals but they always professed the importance of collective. All rats used to race to get bigger pie of cheese. All the naive animals outside the institutes used to envy rats. Rats had a very peculiar way of going about their professional life. They had never identified what exactly is ‘life’ but they loved ‘segmentation’ and classified it as professional, personal, social etc, each segment supposed to have different codes of ethics. It never occurred to them that ethics ought to be objective, purely based on logic and reason. They had only one passion, networking. All codes were defined as per this passion. They had learnt early in a totally useless course that “only those rats who do networking succeed in organizations. “ Most of them considered learnings from important and core subjects as redundant and spend most of the time getting ‘contacts’ and more ‘contacts’. The rat which knew more number of rats was considered to be ‘made for the future’. When in doubt about the ‘need of networking’, they used to console each other by telling, ‘but there is no other way to succeed!!”. Eagle was the animal which rats hated the most. Eagle used to fly alone at high altitudes. Rats, coming out of their rat hole, used to bare their teeth at eagle. Eagle, oblivious to what is happening on the ground, used to fly alone hoping that at least someone will reach the heights he has reached, as it was lonely up there. Rats’ philosophy on the other hand was about getting everyone down to their level, so everyone has ‘level playing field’.
In the outer world, a scandal involving some modern technology was exposed. Tapes were released showing the ugly nature of the nexus between pigs, wolves and jackals. The general animal kingdom talked about it for few days and forgot because they were buoyed by a huge landslide victory of a pig in backward area of the kingdom. This pig was thought to be less corrupt and every animal hoped that he will bring that area back to glory. Animals were hysterically telling other animals, “See, not everything is bad. There is some good left somewhere. God is there.” Nobody for sure knew what this meant and for that matter what would happen next day, but it became fashion to forecast that this pig would transform the kingdom. It was not a belief formed from any study or information, but somewhere inside, they had this fear, “I hope it doesn’t turn out the other way, we can only hope.”
Rats too had joined the hysterical feel good fever, but they were more concerned about the scandal. “How can pigs, jackals and wolves form such nexus?” “How can they lobby?” Somewhere, it sounded similar to networking concept, but every rat hastily put that thought out of its mind. They convinced themselves, “these animals are public servants, whereas networking is the necessity of private life of uncommon animals like us.” Call it irony, but a scandal broke out at the same time in this famed institute. This institute, which was famous for branding anything and everything done in institute as ‘culture’, didn’t quite know what to do about the scandal. There was a ‘rat affairs council’ (RAC), in the institute dealing with all the rats related activities. RAC was (in)famous for tweaking the rules as per its whims, precisely because nobody cared to remember what were the rules last time. The rat involved in scandal was summoned to face an audit. All rats had gathered to witness the drama. Rats were used to having useless discussions for hours but sounding as if they were discussing something gravely important. So this being an issue of grave importance and consequence was discussed for 2-3 hours. All kind of words such as ethics, moral right, moral obligation, conscience etc were thrown into discussion though no one actually cared about them. Rat which did the scandal was trying to save itself while those on the other side were trying to get this rat ousted. They didn’t give a damn about ethics. Their basic problem was, “How can this rat try to get bigger pie at our expense?” Nobody cared to admit, but other rats were actually ‘disappointed’ that they were not the benefiting party of scandal. In rat and pig world, committing sin was not a crime, getting caught was.
Eagle, for once decided to stop and think, “What it is that keeps this mess going?” Eagle had studied history of human race which was extinct few centuries ago. It recalled how it became extinct and saw parallels between current animal world and extinct human world. It recalled the premise on which pigs, rats and jackals survive. A teaching learnt from a philosopher who was truly ‘human’. As long as no one names the exact nature of what is going on, anything and everything works.
Eagle pronounced the judgment and named the exact nature. Those who had the capacity to understand, but were often cursed for that very reason, withdrew support and left the kingdom for a place where only eagles had dared previously. Those who continued to evade reality perished fighting among themselves.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I was walking through the woods, alone. It was quite pleasant morning with forest birds chirping all around. A river was flowing through the forest, nonchalantly. At some distance sun rays had penetrated through the trees and the stream was glowing because of the rays. The warm rays had cause mist to rise in the forest. I suddenly saw a lady with fishing rod sitting at the bank. I walked towards her. It was Ayn Rand, with her dark black hair and big eyes. She looked at me and smiled. She looked amused. Probably she didn’t expect anyone to see there. I, on the other hand thought that it was inevitable that she was here, in this heaven like setting.
I said, “I have run away from the world, not because of cowardice, but there were too many questions bothering me.” I started talking without ‘Hi, Hello’ as if restarting a conversation stopped few days back.
“Hello, who are you?” she asked.
“I am Kunal Nichkawade, from India, a big fan of yours” I answered.
“Okay, what are the questions that are troubling you?”
"Ohhh, a great many. Probably I am too dumb to find the answers."
“That is for you to worry about. Figuring out if you are dumb or smart. I am more interested in knowing the questions.”
I told her about the supposedly ‘career defining process’ I had witnessed in my college few days back. The process which I think is a farce. I told her that probably I had no right to criticise or even to judge others, particularly when so many people work so hard to make the process a success.
“One should never fail to pronounce moral judgement” she said. I suddenly remembered an article of hers where she had explained this concept. “But judging someone doesn’t involve feelings or instincts. It is completely objective and rational process. One must always be prepared to answer “Why?” Tell me, why were you disturbed if everything went well?”
Because of the attitude of ‘All is well that ends well.’ This implies that end justifies the means, which I don’t agree to”, I replied.
“I hope someday people will learn that words have exact and literal meaning. Neither does end justifies the means nor do the means justify the end. There is no dichotomy. “ She said.
“Well, there is something which is troubling me more”, I continued. “ I was interested in the field of microfinance. Whatever labels of ‘selflessness’, ‘helping the poor’ etc people might put to the field, I had purely selfish reason of having a better society to live in, and somewhere helping people realise that independence is their basic right, but one’s ability is that one should trust and depend on and nothing else to realise that right. But for a short time when I worked in the field, I heard people say “need is greater than ability.” The person who said this was working tirelessly for years in small village for poor. I rarely fail in judging people and I knew that this person had no wrong intentions while working in this field. I can see the struggle he had put up over the years. I was wondering what made him utter the above sentence. “I pay my field worker more than my C.A. because field worker has 4 children while the C.A. is single” he explained. I never thought it was possible for anyone to say so. Is it the fault of the C.A. that he is more qualified and that the other person has 4 children? During dinner on the same day, I heard the field worker discuss with other field workers how the C.A was getting more influential in the organisation and that he should be stopped. He was speaking in local dialect of Marathi, forgetting that I am from same region and very well understood the dialect. The person running the organization will probably get baffled when he will see rift in the organization, but that would be the exact result of the philosophy of ‘need is greater than ability’. I have heard people say “financial inclusion is not a policy of choice but policy of compulsion.” The phrase is getting more popular nowadays. People hearing it are overwhelmed by the sentence and repeat it without understanding the proper meaning, thinking that it ought to help poor and punish rich. Compulsion? By whom? On whom? By what standards? Nobody will think. The mere fact that government is getting involved, but later clarifying that organisations must self regulate shows that regulation at later stage from government is inevitable. It is not too difficult to figure out who gains and who is punished when such philosophies are established. In the former case it were the field worker and the C.A respectively while in later case it will be ‘policy makers’ who will gain and banks who will be under compulsion to provide credit will lose. It doesn’t require an economics or banking expert to figure out the impact this compulsion will put on economy. The loans in microfinance can’t be compulsion. Those who want to provide loans can do so voluntarily.”
“Well, you are not as dumb as I thought” she said chuckling. “Tell me, isn’t interest in social sector for a student of my philosophy a contradiction?” she asked mockingly, like a teacher who knowingly commits a mistake.
“Contradictions don’t exist!” I replied instantaneously as if I had said something she didn’t know, quickly realising it was her and her teacher Aristotle’s philosophy which was in back of my mind. She was smiling. I thought, non-contradiction is the basis used to prove irrationality of an irrational number while learning surds in mathematics, yet the seeming contradictions are easily accepted in life.
“I don’t find happiness anywhere”, I said gravely. Neither in people who got ‘career-defining’ jobs for themselves nor in those who are working for others. That is why I ran away.
“Kunal, when were you most happy?”
I felt glad she addressed me by my first name. “While reading Atlas shrugged” I replied.
“Because Francisco d’Anconia was there, always.”
I saw a smile of satisfaction on her face. “Well, you have got your answer. The motive power of one’s happiness is within that person. It can’t be achieved by following random whimsical philosophies. What I wanted people to understand that it is not the supernatural talent of Francisco which is impossible but it is his spirit which is. It is not because that spirit is superhuman. It is because it is human in true sense as it is rational yet which is something the world has never seen. When that spirit is realised by everyone, no Francisco d’Anconia or John Galt will have to go in search of Atlantis”
I thanked her and waved good bye. I had found a new vigour to get back to work. Generally nice dreams are broken abruptly, this one didn’t.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
The disappointing part was that couple of my best friends were not really impressed by this relationship. They tried hard to convince me that this relationship won’t take me anywhere. Her big brother is a cool guy and was very happy to see us together. But my friends even hated my friendship with him and basically wanted to keep me away from the entire family. The worst thing happened on eve of New Year when couple of friends of mine, she and I had gone out. I could see that she was trying hard to clear the misunderstandings but my friends were very stubborn. It was one of the very rare moments when I saw her sad and depressed. This incident however, made our relationship stronger. My friends eventually gave up for sake of our friendship but were still advising me to take it slowly.
A year later, I was selected in one of the prestigious MBA institutes in country and had to leave job and the city. When I told her, she immediately said, “I will accompany you; I promise I won’t be much trouble.” I checked with some people who had studied there and they told me that it is perfectly possible to take her with me. I was very happy. The first year was fun and we did many wild things together. A small private detail: she really goes down very well. It is an art and she is a master. Gradually, we have settled into a more mature relationship, but the fun and crazy part is still there.
The best part about her is that she brings out the best in me and she also brings out the worst in me. I can share any problem with her and amazingly, she has solution for every problem. No matter how many different professional streams I have selected or will select, at heart I will always be a philosopher and she has been a major reason behind this.
Of late, I am reconsidering our relationship. It hurts to even think about it, but I thought probably it is for greater good of both of us. When I shared this with her, she laughed. She was not at all angry. Probably she is too sure that I won’t do so or probably she doesn’t believe in the shallow concept of ‘break-ups’ and believes in the age old concept of ‘made for each other.’
I am relieved. I too have stopped thinking too far in future and instead concentrate on enjoying our time together. There is no one like her on this earth. When she is around, she is the world for me. She is my lovely Scotch whiskey.
Monday, September 13, 2010
But few days back, I was having an interesting argument with a friend on John Nash vs. Adam Smith and in the course of discussion, my friend said, “theories are meant to explain how thing are, not how they should be.” Though my initial reaction was “nooooooo”, later I had to question myself because this friend almost always talks sense. Was I being too idealistic? I did quite a bit of brainstorming on the topic as I felt everyone, knowingly or unknowingly answers this question to himself/herself and more often than not, it decides course of his/her behaviour. Probably the contexts in which we both were talking were different, but still the question demanded answer. What should be the approach?
The logical answer seems to be seeing things as they are. That means getting hold of reality and acting accordingly. But what if the reality is not what it should be? What if it is based on wrong premise? It might be moral issues like, ‘it is almost impossible to get things done in government offices without bribe’- a common belief among people. It might be small issues like college administration making a big deal of ‘registration’ at the beginning of each term which is nothing but a signature on a piece of paper. (As if a student who has paid 10 lakhs is going to run away in between the course!!) It might be issues like business practices or company’s production line or introducing new financial instruments in market. It might also be about economists forming theories based on so-called reality, like Keynes. I read on Greg Mankiw‘s blog where he said, "The sad truth is that we economists don't know very much about what drives the animal spirits of economic participants. Until we figure it out, it is best to be suspicious of any policy whose benefits are supposed to work through the amorphous channel of 'confidence." I don’t even see the point of ‘understanding animal spirits’. Whereas not optimising production line will hamper only that company’s progress, wrong economic policies and wrong decisions in financial markets can hamper global economy. There is no point in discussing the recent global crisis again here, but if we continue to scoff at the basic premise of human beings as rational animal, and form policies saying, “Nothing is right or wrong, see the reality and act accordingly”, be rest assured that this so-called reality will change often. It will be a vicious cycle.
The other day I was reading ‘The Toyota way field book’. If Taichi Ohno would have left things as they were, probably we would have never seen ‘lean manufacturing’. Toyota way suggests that failing and correcting the shortcomings is a way to improve results in long term. Taichi Ohno had a vision how things should be and he patiently worked towards it and got the result. He surely didn’t bother about the concepts like ‘bounded rationality’ or ‘animal spirits in human beings’.
So, I think my friend is right in saying “understanding things as they are is very important.” It would always be the first step, no matter which field it is. But after that, reason and ethics would be the tools which would help in comparing with things as they ought to be and identify the gap. In the end, in my opinion, the ultimate aim should be striving for things as they ought to be.
Friday, August 13, 2010
But club football and especially Manchester United is a serious business!!! Here I would preposterously dare to compare myself with Sir Alex Ferguson, scrutinizing his attitude towards domestic league and European games. SAF’s approach towards domestic league and Europe has always been very different. In EPL, especially in away matches you can see him in Tees, face red, nose more purple than usual and ready to give ‘hairdryer treatment’ to his players if they go wrong. In European matches, he walks to touchline area all smiles, in Suit. Here he talks about matches in Milan and Madrid, beautiful ladies, stylish men, and the fragrance coming from stands, the atmosphere and what not. When it comes to premier league, it is only the title that counts and he wants it year after year, each year. When he talks, usually those are ‘mind games’ and even great managers like Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, Rafa Beintez (:P) and occasionally jokers like Kevin Keegan have been victim at some point or other . I know, comparing myself with him doesn’t seem to make sense here but I just wanted to drive home the point that how highly I rate club football than international football, just like SAF rates domestic league highly than Europe.
The transfer market has been relatively quiet which has been the trend since recession. Only Manchester City keeps on spending foolishly hoping to catch Manchester United some day. But barring Mario Balotelli there are hardly any other players which the traditional ‘big 4’ would have desperately wanted in their team and even Balotelli’s temperament is questionable. Here he would be competing for a spot with likes of Adebayor, Tevez, Santa Cruz, Bellamy all of whom are equally talented and can be equally dumb like him. Each year a new club has change in ownership. This year it is Liverpool. The fans who prided themselves for not being ‘owned’ by foreigner pre-yanks era, and later desperately kept hoping that they would bring in money, are now having orgasms thinking about Chinese or middle-east owners, the money they would bring in and title which they just might ‘buy’ sometime in future. Liverpool take-over saga meanwhile drags on. I quite enjoy the show at these two comedy clubs and hence dedicated a whole paragraph to them! On a serious note though, business tycoons viewing clubs as investments, interfering with transfers and daily operations of club are bad signs for the game. Nobody expects them to be philanthropic. Yes it is an investment and they should expect profit but they should understand that it is quite different business than usual businesses and hence should put command of club in proper hands rather than spending stupid money and then firing managers for not delivering ‘success’. The financial situation at Manchester United is also precarious but at least there is no interference from Glazers’ in footballing decisions and they won’t dare to do so till Sir Alex is there.
Manchester United has been relatively quiet in transfer window. Given the young talent, a formidable squad and signing of Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, United are strong contenders for the title as ever. Chicharito already looks a steal for 7 million pounds and can turn out to be the ‘buy of the season’.
I will spend the weekdays waiting for next match and analyzing the previous week’s match. Mind will be again fully occupied with football on weekends. I would get up on Saturdays happily in anticipation of football. Occasional United loss would be mourned by avoiding newspaper and football websites till next match. All the wins will be celebrated ‘as usual’. I am loving it. Bring it on!!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Today I tried to do reverse. Keeping ‘one more time’ phrase as a constant in mind, I tried to move the sliding scale through the lifetime, at various phases to check which incidences occur like a flash, without any effort.
I want to celebrate diwali like in childhood one more time. Get up little prior to dawn when it is not too dark but not too bright as well and light up fulzhadis (sparklers firecrackers) and try to draw temporary designs of glow from fulzhadis in the air. I want to visit those days of school one more time when I would finish my Tiffin during classes or during 5 min break so that the 20 min recess can be fully utilized for playing. I want to write diary one more time as I used to, capturing small, irrelevant details but writing in a manner as if I am a great author.
I want to go to my junior college one more time, when I didn’t even used to know quiz/mid-term time-table and used to carry ‘supporting material’ of all subjects and then trust my ‘special ability’ to get through. I want to live 4 years of engineering one more time. I want to relive that moment one more time when I decide to change my section in 2nd year, which till date is one of the best decisions of my life.
I want to enjoy those initial training days in HSBC one more time, when ‘one gets paid for getting trained’.I want to work with my last team in HSBC one more time. I want to relive those days in ‘Sharda residency complex, Erandwane, Pune’ one more time, creating crazy ‘kaka songs’ along with the best friends in life and literally rolling on floor laughing. I want to spend weekends exploring new restaurants and dreaming of having my ‘one-of-its-kind’ restaurant one day.
I want to meet her one more time, watch her first getting amused and then laughing at my silly jokes and use these moments as an excuse to keep looking at her. I want to tell her how much I love her fully knowing that she doesn’t feel the same way and then enjoy the feeling of burden being lifted from my shoulders.
I want to cry uncontrollably in happiness one more time like I did when Manchester United beat Barcelona in 2007-2008 Champions league semi-finals. I want to get stunned as I was when friends around me were celebrating when Edwin Van der Sar saved Anelka’s penalty and United were crowned European champions.
I want to let alcohol do the talking through Sher-o-shayari with some amazing friends from XLRI on TFEMR L-top and watch the huge flames coming out of Tata Steel change colour from blue to pink to yellow to black. I want to shriek in happiness finding beer bottle which I thought was empty, half full, experiencing firsthand the,’ is the glass half-empty, or half-full’ adage.
No matter whatever, however, wherever you do or plan to do, remembrance of some memories from past instantly bring out the response, ‘one more time’.
Friday, July 9, 2010
‘Art of Leaving’ phrase came to my mind while chatting with a friend few days back (Thanks, O friend!!). But I was pretty sure that there are many jobless people like me (& that friend :P) in this world and this phrase surely must have been popped in some ‘creative’ (?) mind earlier. So, I did google search. Google didn’t suggest alternative option- ‘art of living’. In fact Art of leaving itself was one of the suggestions in search box as soon as I typed ‘Art of…’. Now, mind runs 98979695959 raised to the power 23456007708 times faster than typing as proved by scientist Shambhumani. A word on Shambhumani. He is a maverick. BM-A XLRI, 2011 batch, ‘consumer behaviour’ course students should be knowing him through ‘Shambhumani, his gf Riya, lone servant Ramlal and their haunted house’ story which was discussed in class. Shambhumani’s theory was at work and even before I had finished typing, my mind thought that Google is very smart and it has predicted that people, especially in Asia might invariably be making spelling mistake between Living and Leaving and hence put Art of Leaving as a suggestion to help them.
First 3 results in google search were in fact on Art of Living foundation. But 5th result was titled ‘Art of Leaving’. Finally I had found someone creative. Art of Leaving is a 2004 documentary by Brian Kamerzel. It is described as a journey of self-discovery for a Romanian immigrant trying to regain the past through painting. I decided to explore it later. There was also a link on ‘Art of leaving and living forever’ on Indian PR blog site. It talked about trying to leave a thought so even while you leave an organization, you can live forever in minds of organization and its people. I marked it as ‘to be read later'(when I will decide to quit an organization). Instead I decided to note down what I thought is art of leaving and I remembered following anecdotes:
In school, once sports events were going on. Instead of cheering I thought that it was more logical to run away. So, I along with few friends climbed and jumped 8-10 feet compound wall even without caring about the fact that my bicycle was inside and home was 5 km away!! Someone spotted us, senior boys were sent after us and everybody except me was given the popular ‘public felicitation’ (beating). Teacher found it hard to believe that someone so short and thin can even dare to climb the wall and I got benefit of doubt! This is art of leaving.
Many lecture halls have front door and back door as was the case with my junior college. Leaving through back door after attendance, in tacit collusion with other students so that teacher doesn’t suspect or choose not to suspect is art of leaving.
In Engineering, once me and one of my friend were chatting during lecture. Because of my reputation (or lack of it) only I was asked to leave the class. My friend thought that it was his moral duty not to stay and instead accompany me to canteen. So he too left the class not caring about Prof’s warning. This is art of leaving.
In XLRI, Art of Living sessions were arranged for us in first year. Sessions were split across 3 days, morning and evening. After missing morning sessions for 2 consecutive days, I was politely asked to leave the course and I along with few fellow ‘sleepy’ rebels politely left. This is art of leaving.
On a serious note, letting things go which are not in one’s control is art of leaving. Easy to say, quite difficult to practice.
Moral of the story: ‘Leave and let Leave’
Friday, June 25, 2010
Window seat has always been very special to me. Most of us like window seats when travelling. I like it because it opens me to the outside world. I used to hate travelling by bus when I was a kid. The condition for travelling was window seat as it made puking easier. When not puking I used to keep looking for milestones and count every kilometre anticipating the destination. (I do somewhat similar in some lectures, no I don’t mean vomiting, I mean counting every minute!!!). Though Bus was and is always last option to travel for me, the ‘mature Kunal’ has learnt to enjoy it.
As I started travelling more often by trains, the window seat opened a whole new world for me. Here the probability of getting window seat is lesser and if at all one gets lucky then there is always some kid in the compartment who wants to sit there. As I grew older A.C. coaches became priority because of supposedly sophisticated crowd. But the A.C. coaches don’t offer this ‘luxury’ of looking out through the window. I stand at the doors of compartment for hours and hours together, watching and thinking. Eventually a policeman or T.T. comes and ‘shoo’s me away but I return and open the door again once they are gone.
Standing at the door, especially at night, I keep watching my shadow moving in sync with the movement of train. Once in a while, the train changes track. The perfection with which a train changes tracks and the sound generated takes me back to all the great achievements of mankind and makes me feel proud that I am also a human being, a species which is capable of doing wonders. A cold breeze blows at night, the sky is generally clear and one can see stars everywhere in the sky when the train travels through jungles and villages, a sight which no longer is so beautiful in cities because of pollution. In farms, there is an odd hut. Suddenly I feel an urge to jump from the train, go to the farm and stay there atleast for a night, watching the stars. Most of the philosophical thoughts with which I bug my near and dear ones occur during these journeys.
Once I started earning, I felt now I can travel by aeroplanes as I am no longer dependent on parents. (It is another matter that I invariably used to ask my mom to sponsor flight ticket).The window seat in Aeroplanes takes me to a different world. When plane travels through clouds I feel there can’t be any sight more beautiful than this. The sun rays cut through the clouds; it is an amazing combination of white and gold. The clouds look like fresh cotton. The overall sight makes me feel as if there exists a parallel world at other side of mountains formed of cloud, like Atlantis.
Window seat, where-ever it is, is very special but the aeroplane window seat always reminds me of a song from movie Mission Kashmir:
सो जा चंदा राजा सो जा चल सपनो में चल (Go to sleep, o’ my lovely child, my prince, let us go to dream world)
नींद की परियाँ पहेंके आई पैरों में पायल (The sleep fairies are here wearing anklets)
तुज़ को अपने नरम परो पे लेकर जाएगे (They will take you away for a ride on their soft wings,)
सोने का एक देश है जिसकी सैर कराएगे (for a stroll in a country of gold)
Thursday, June 10, 2010
One day, while returning from a picnic, the brakes of Car went dead on a mountain pass. Suddenly out of nowhere a big tree collapsed right in front of his vehicle. The car took off like an aeroplane, but landed 20 feet away, revolved 360 degrees, thrice and stopped. Everybody in the Car was safe and surprisingly the car was not much damaged either. His girlfriend Rene (Renuka) who was accompanying him was stunned and converted into a statue till a mild explosion from bonnet brought her back to senses. “What the hell”, she shouted getting out of the car and kicking the tyres. “Sell or throw away this Car right now or else the relationship is over”. Rene was a top HR executive in his company. Neel promised to do exactly the same once they get back.
That night he couldn’t sleep. All the memories with his beloved Maruti flashed in front of his eyes. But it was also a wakeup call. As told by Jai Jai Shivshankar, he almost saw God thanks to his Maruti. Next day he had a mysterious visitor. It was his friend Danny (DayaNayak). He talked in length about Toyota Corolla Altis and how he should buy it as the Car is ‘class above’. Neel went to Toyota showroom. His eyes immediately went to ‘Camry’ but probably it was a step too far for him. Suddenly he saw a Sage walking in suit towards him. It seemed like some miraculous transformation of an ordinary man. Afterwards he realised that it was a Toyota salesman and it was sunrays entering through transparent glasses in the background which gave the salesman a sage kind of look. Neel being a materialistic student visited showrooms of other companies like Honda,BMW,Skoda etc. After every meeting he noted down virtues and wisdom learnt as well as specific techniques and quotable quotes about the Car.
Finally, after much thought he realised that it was Toyota Altis which had rekindled his inner fire and Altis was ‘the most precious commodity’. He realised that the ultimate purpose of life is ‘change’. He got a free t-shirt as well, reading ‘Change is Good’. Neel sold his Maruti and yeah he did break up with Rene.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
A tries to understand ‘what is love’. It is Chaos all around. He sees around the so called ‘love’ly couples. He can see that the meaning of word love is twisted, degraded and taken to new low levels. World says love is without any reason. It is blind. A scoffs at the concept. Trusts his own mind more than anything else.
Chapter1: Conception phase
A is sure nothing which exists is without any reason. So something as important as love can never exist without reason. Then what that reason is? It is when you value someone so highly that you can take on any power in the world for that person. It is when you are able to realise the best in you in that person’s presence. It is when you realise that true happiness is possible on this earth.
Chapter2: Either-Or phase
A falls in love with B. He doesn’t know the reason. He knows B is not the right match. He subconsciously knows that unknowingly he has started walking on ‘love is without reason’ path. A hates seeing himself proved wrong. B as expected doesn’t reciprocate. A hates himself even more.
Chapter3: Non-contradiction phase
A meets C. A falls in love with C. C seems perfect match. He has never met someone so special before. This time there is every reason to fall in love. He is very happy. C too doesn’t reciprocate. But this time A is still happy. Partly because his stand of ‘true love is with reason’ is vindicated and partly because of the knowledge that people like C exist.
Chapter4: A is A phase
A has no intention of meeting D. He would have loved to be perfect match of C, but doesn’t want to worry about something which is not in his control. B seems a distant memory now. Not good, not bad, but a learning experience.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
While watching the burning cigarette, Life started flashing in front of his eyes …so many plans…so many goals… He had always loved the style of gently stroking cigarette bud so as to remove ash from the tip. Lying on ground, he couldn’t do it. Sarcastically, he smiled at himself.
Half way through, the feeling of ‘this cigarette is going to extinguish’ occurred to him. He needed another, but there was not much time left. Life is the ultimate goal, he thought. But in his case it was being cut short. This was not how it was supposed to end.
He looked at the stars in the sky. Someone had told him that your thoughts are disjointed but creative. He started drawing imaginary lines, joining various stars, trying to make sense out of it. Just when he thought he had found some pattern everything seemed to be going dark, stars became hazy. That’s how the life had been to him. Eyes went moist.
It was time for the golden shot. He enjoyed it like never before. He sensed the feeling where one knows he has lost but has no qualms.
Slowly the cigarette extinguished….
Friday, May 7, 2010
2009 came, and the inevitable happened. Cristiano Ronaldo left the club. It was never meant to be an ever-lasting relationship, it was a romantic, intimate affair. Again doubts were raised on United being able to sustain title challenge. Rooney stepped up this time, and with support from the ageless trio of Giggs-Scholes-Neville, United again challenged on both domestic and European front. Though the European challenge came to premature end, the domestic title challenge went to the wire. The Reddevil in me keeps saying that Chelsea will stumble at home against Wigan and we would win the title by beating stoke. At United, it is never over until it actually gets over. It keeps going till end. Thrice United have been crowned champions on the last day in premiership. The game is full of uncertainties and funny things happen. As Sir said few years back, “Football!!...bloody hell”. Yes it is bloody hell and that’s why it is pretty damn good.
Just few days back, Patrice Evra, on being questioned about Sir Alex’s retirement told that Sir can never sit at home, and watch football on T.V. He would rather die on the bench. This is the spirit which had carried United through for more than 110 years. This is why the banner at Old Trafford saying Numquam Moribimur (We’ll never die) is very special and close to my heart.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Though the labourers were probably not aware, their discussion had roots in part III (fundamental human rights) and part XVI (Special provisions relating to certain classes) of constitution of India. It is indeed unfortunate that when people talk about politics, what it is and its consequences, they conveniently forget (most of them don’t even know) that it had roots in Aristotle’s work. According to Aristotle, inquiry into ethics leads to politics and ultimately provides principles of “how men should treat other men”. Same point has been put forward by Ayn Rand while defining Objectivist Politics. She gives very apt example while explaining political philosophy where she says “political philosophy will not tell you how much rationed gas you should be given and on which day of the week—it will tell you whether the government has the right to impose any rationing on anything.”
So, when that person said, that “our constitution is utter nonsense”, he was doing the basic error of assuming something which is derived as given. Constitution can never be nonsense. It is the political philosophy which is flawed. The constitution is just the effect. Politics is clearly dependent on other 3 philosophical principles of metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. A political philosophy which has socialist values, which tries to integrate fundamental rights and special provisions to certain classes together can’t have any other consequences than those observed in our society. A political philosophy which deviates from the basic principles had to result in a disparity which is observed today. A constitution giving people the fundamental right to follow any religious belief but following it with special provision based on caste is not serving any purpose.
To conclude, whatever seems ‘nonsense’ in life is clear consequence of men’s actions from the point where they start to abandon reason. To quote the non-contradiction principle put forward by Aristotle and championed by Ayn Rand, “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. One of them has to be wrong”.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
One week into the internship and I got a chance to go on a field visit to ‘Gurukul’, a vocational training school, training young people who don’t have access to quality education mostly due to financial reasons. A joint initiative by NABARD, PanIIT and Rang De, the aim is to tackle the ultimate challenge, ‘employment for all’. Most of the youth in the pilot project at the training center are from Bahraich district, Uttar Pradesh. They are given different assignments like bar bending, Masonry etc depending on their skills and preferences. It is a 1 month long program, along with 6 month ‘on-job’ training, after which each youth will be a certified worker; a certificate which will be government recognized carrying similar weightage as that of ITI certificate.
The facilities provided are very good. Care has been taken in everything, right from choosing the right kind of mentors to providing basic amenities. But what amazed me most was the attitude of the trainees. Maybe the thought of a regular source of income, maybe financial stability but I guess more than anything else the thought of fulfilling the dream of becoming a skilled worker eventually was what which was driving them. The conversations we had with some of them were very interesting. Most of them had a big family with very few sources of income. Typically each one of them was either working in someone’s farm or was doing household work at some corner of India before joining the training. After receiving the training they want to break free of the vicious age old poverty cycle. They don’t want to keep doing what their forefathers did just for the sake of it. In simple terms, they want to do something which ‘adds value’. And no, they don’t use this phrase like Corporates do; they surely haven’t heard of it, but they mean it. There was a healthy sense of ambition in each one of them; there was spark in those eyes. They didn’t want to be limited to a 6000/- per month job. They wanted to work hard, learn more, improve and climb the ladder. All they need is an opportunity to show their worth. Most of them probably haven’t heard about Winston Churchill but those eyes were saying, “Give us the the tools, and we will finish the job.”
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The auto rickshaw guy, true to the unwritten rule followed all over India of looting outsiders, charged me double the usual price (so I was told later). As I have specialised in doing useless things at wrong time, instead of arguing with him on price, I was playing a game with myself of guessing the vehicle code for Chennai, but was disappointed as the first 6 auto rickshaw I spotted had codes TN-01, TN-02, TN-03, TN-05,TN-07, TN-09. Driver of the auto rickshaw that I had hired was probably Michael Schumacher’s long lost 3rd brother. But thankfully I reached guest house safely. Even here there was no reprieve (reprieve from fun that is). I was asked to fill a form with check-in time etc. I did some rough calculations on when I left station, how quickly Schumi bro drove etc and wrote 5:45 a.m. I was duly scolded. It was 5:39 a.m.!!! How can I write 5:45 when the time is 5:39? So typical Indian of me.
But the city is really good. The roads especially are very well planned and structured. Every care has been taken to ensure that it is humanly impossible for pedestrians to cross the road without risking their lives. But I have 3 yrs experience on traffic skills in another lovely city, Pune. I used the skills to fullest to run diagonally between two moving cars, buses etc. Food is really good here. But basically in restaurants, it is ‘eat as much as you can’ competition, where each person is given a big plateful of rice, which should suffice 4 people, along with 10-15 curries, vegetables etc in small tiny bowls. The first day was especially funny when I walked in a restaurant named ‘Mathsya’ hoping that, as the name suggests, they might have good fish dishes. It turned out to be a veggie restaurant. The Madrasi thali I ate is amongst the best meals I ever had. Guessing what exactly is there in each ‘katori’ was like playing minesweeper. It was fun.
There are lots and lots of film posters, banners on roads which are really brain-storming because it is tough to guess who is hero and who is villain. The loyalty in people is unbelievable because no matter in which language you ask question, the answer is always in Tamil. Bus conductors auto-drivers really want outsiders to explore the city and drop them to some unknown places and finding your destination becomes a game of treasure hunt. People really go out of their way to help. Couple of friends of mine asked ‘where is old mahabalipuram’ and got the answer ‘somewhere’. That really helps. It has been fantastic few days here. I am loving it. About Kashmir it was said, “If there is a heaven on earth, it is here only’. Same applies for Chennai, with couple of words here and there of course.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Years followed, world wars wreaked havoc. United were on a decline. Matt Busby was appointed as manager in 1945 and magically United began to find way out of troubles. United were back to winning ways. Flash forward, 1st Feb 1958 and I was witnessing a epic 9 goal thriller at Highbury, Manchester United beat Arsenal 5-4. 6th Feb 1958. The world stopped. A plane carrying Manchester United team crashed in Munich. 23 people including 8 first team players died. It included Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor. Duncan Edwards…21 years of age….A footballing talent who could have gone on to become the greatest ever. I heard Bobby Charlton, who survived the crash saying, "Duncan was the only player that made me feel inferior" and saying his death was "the biggest single tragedy ever to happen to Manchester United and English football". Charlton, who played 758 matches scoring 249 goals. Sir Matt Busby who survived the crash miraculously still used to see the ‘Busby babes’ play in his dreams. The Matt Busby and Jimmy Murphy philosophy was to go forward, never be afraid to express yourself and it's always been like that at United. Matt Busby started rebuilding team. In 1968 the turnaround was complete. United were crowned European champions for the first time. It was the ‘George Best’ era.
6th Nov 1986 and Sir Alex was appointed as manager of Old Trafford. He promised to knock Liverpool of their f**king perch and he f**king did that!! That United, who trailed 1-0 at 90th min in 1999 champions league final, scored 2 goals in 2 min of added time and went on to win it was befitting and was perfect gift for Sir Matt Busby on his birthday. It was destiny. In 2009, Manchester United equalled the record for most number of championship titles in 1st division.
Sun rays entered through the window, I woke up but I had found my answer. To put it in words of one of my friend, “We are those who saw and said, this is My Club!!!”
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Once upon a time there was a boy. Since childhood, his favourite line was, ‘why so?’ Because of this habit he was labelled as ‘hard nut to crack’ by one of his teacher. After graduation, he was struggling a bit, when a multinational bank bailed him out by offering some sort of ‘career restructuring.’ One day, he saw a girl. She was beautiful, bubbly and full of life. The boy, who always needed a reason, didn’t need one this time and was immediately attracted towards her. As luck would have it, he got a chance to meet her, talk with her and be friends with her. Boom period had started in his life.
A part of him was always telling him, “There is no chance of your feelings being reciprocated. There is nothing special in you. Don’t go too far.” But it was boom period of his life and he did what people do in boom period. Stop thinking. The inner voice was desperately trying to save him. It explained, “Have you ever observed paths of two diagonals? It is exciting watching them approach each other. But the destinations are different. They eventually move away from each other, never to approach again”. But the boy was in no mood to listen. He had heard, ‘The journey is more important than destination.’ He believed that if journey is sincere, destination will be matter of time. He was wrong. The paths kept moving farther and farther away from each other. One day, he decided to tell what he felt. It was too late. The girl was on opposite cliff, there was a grand canyon in between. The boy tried his heart out, but the voice won’t reach her.
Dejected, he started his journey, backwards. No matter how earlier I would have tried, it was always going to be late, and meaningless, he thought. He couldn’t have blamed the girl; she had always been a fantastic friend. He suddenly remembered his favourite line, ‘why so?’ There was no answer. The journey probably never had any destination. Far away, Bryan Adams’ song, ‘Have you ever really loved a woman’ was being played aloud, mocking him.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
So, In MBA terms, Sense of humour is my core competency. I am very slow in understanding such terms. For ex. I still don’t know how to ‘leverage’ the word leverage even after hearing it infinite times. I don’t know what cohort means. Not literally, but how it pops in some discussions and I go blank trying to remember the meaning and fit it into the context. No use. Till then, the discussion reaches on something which adds value. I try to calculate but then somebody tells me it can’t be measured. When I started working, I heard the term ‘deliverables’ quite often. Sometimes I used to wonder whether I am working in Software Company or maternity hospital. I somehow can’t use these terms. Probably there is no ‘incentive’ for me to do so.
I am really not sure why I speak so sarcastically about MBA when I have invested a huge sum, time etc in it. It makes me look all the more stupid. Ignorance is bliss they say. There lies the problem. I can’t ignore the underlying philosophy existing behind most of things which happen around me. Small small things. Take for ex. Why MBA? Now, I have no right to judge someone else’s choice and reason behind it. But I don’t understand something like, “I want to do MBA for money and good life.” Some openly agree others not so openly but general belief among MBA aspirants and those pursuing MBA is that this is THE reason why everyone does MBA and those who disagree are lying. The general argument is, I am ready to work hard and work ethically for money. What is wrong in it? Yes, it is perfect and best one can do. Working hard and ethically. Problem lies in failing to identify what is fundamental and what is derivative. Most of you must have heard about derivatives. In finance, Derivatives are those that derive their value from other fundamental financial instruments. Similarly money, which is a tool of exchange by nature, would have its real worth derived from what you do, why you do it and how you do it. Answer to these 3 questions would be the fundamental reasons to do something. Hence, Money which itself isn’t fundamental in nature can’t be a basis in choosing career path which clearly depends on one’s fundamental’s choices. One would argue why think so much. It is because, more often than not, what we get is result of choices we make. I see some amazingly talented people around me which makes me wonder what an average person like me is doing here. I don’t want these talented individuals to hit dead-end at some point in their lives.
If I can give so much gyaan, why I myself don’t put in practice? Why do I normally do nothing, even after being in a premier b-school and let things happen to me? I still believe I was right when I answered ‘why MBA’ to myself. But now, the image of MBA in my head is, few chosen ones being led blindfolded through a dark cave, being promised light at the end of the journey. I see myself standing in the cave, refusing to get blindfolded and follow the path. Standing still, unsure of where to move is my fault. Probably revisiting the fundamentals and putting them in practice would help me in my journey towards utopia.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
After much procrastination, I have finally decided to scribble something. Though My blog came into existence in Aug 2009, till today it was just making up the numbers and was 1/112,000,000th part of the blog sea (Please note that the number 112,000,000 is not random, Wikipedia says so). But my best buddy ‘lazy Kunal’ wasn’t the only one responsible for this delay. As MBAs are supposed to tackle every problem analytically I will attempt to do so and identify the ‘root cause’ of this delay. Though the exact details are unknown, the birth story of this blog (probably) is as follows: -
After a particular Gango quiz ‘innocent Kunal’ was brutally made to realize that he has entered wrong field. ‘IDGAD (I don’t give a damn) Kunal’ took him to El top for ‘a drink or two’ along with few devils from BM-A, XLRI who later went on to become ‘old monks’. ‘Cry baby Kunal’ also accompanied, as he was facing some personal (love etc kind of) problems in his life. (I hate this guy, cry-baby Kunal…he is good for nothing :@). ‘A drink or two’ became ‘double digit’ figure and as per the norms, ‘important topics’ were discussed. That is exactly when ‘creative Kunal’ started hovering around like ‘green fairy’ and suggested fellow kunals to write down their thoughts. ‘Innocent Kunal’, who was sitting awkwardly through the ordeal jumped on the idea, went to his room, ‘googled’ on ‘how to write’ (silly guy) and started following the steps. ‘SAIL (sarcastic and irony loving) Kunal’ who has the habit of being at wrong place at wrong time suggested names such as born individualistic and perplexed omniscient. ‘Innocent kunal’, who was always perplexed, didn’t get the irony and proceeded with the suggestion and that’s how the blog was born.
Though the blog was created there was obvious lack of knowledge on blogging. Few of the doubts faced by ‘innocent kunal’ were:
1) What exactly is my blog name? Born individualist or perplexed omniscient?
2) Weblog was geeky. Why was it changed to ‘blog’? What in the name of God was Mr. Peter Merholz (guy who coined the term ‘blog’) thinking?
3) If I write something ‘quality’, is it copyright protected?
4) Is blogging considered social or anti-social?
Amidst this entire furore, ‘Reddevil Kunal’ was watching these proceedings as if it was a farce. His only condition was, mention the words ‘Manchester United FC’ in every post else I will burn the laptop. All other kunals feared this thinly built psycho and agreed to his condition. The initial euphoria waned and there was no activity till March when thanks to two ‘writing enthusiasts’ at XLRI, Kunal Corp. Pvt. Ltd was back and this post was created.
I ‘wikied’ to learn more about blogs. The history of blogs is really fascinating. One thing which it has surely done is to get people back to writing. Earlier people used to maintain diaries, which later provided their own reflections. Blogs are in a way analogous to writing diaries. What started as people expressing personal views/comments on issues/incidents/events later expanded in scope. Corporate blogs came on the scene, and were used both as marketing as well as PR tool. Jokers from film industry jumped on the bandwagon; a so called perfectionist provided valuable information to the world by comparing his rival to dog and thus personifying hypocrisy. People were soon taking sides, but in the end the choice was opting for lesser evil. I had better things to do in life and hence ignored the frenzy.
On adapter-diffusion cycle I will lie in ‘laggards’ region but as far as writing is concerned I guess the old adage, ‘better late than never’ holds true. Apart from my favourite hobby (i.e. doing nothing), my first hobby was writing. The adage ‘Pen is mightier than sword’ was my favourite. (Probably because I was too weak to hold a sword, pen was any day lighter) I remember I wrote a film script at the age of 8. The plot had no heroine as I was too shy. Narration of a village trip at age 9 followed which was widely acclaimed (mostly by mom and dad that is and few close relatives and neighbours). The simple but creative Kunal got lost somewhere in rat race, unwillingly.
This blog provides the opportunity to get back the 8 yr old Kunal. Apart from random stories like above, this blog will be used as a platform to put forward my philosophical views which will be my tribute to Ayn Rand and sometimes provide ‘expert’ analysis on football which will be a tribute to the beautiful game in general and Manchester United FC in particular. (Reddevil Kunal, I have mentioned the name, please don’t burn my laptop).
All the members of Kunal corp. Pvt Ltd. thank you for spending time in reading this post.
P.S: The post name is tribute to the sitcom, F.R.I.E.N.D.S.