Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why I love Manchester United

It was just another night, 6th Nov 2009. I only have two passions in my life, and this was a big day for one of them. Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson had completed 23 years as Manchester United’s manager. By far the current longest serving manager and second only to Sir Matt Busby in modern era, post world war. I hit the sack thinking about the time since I started following Manchester United. Why did I fall in love with Manchester United? What was so special? I don’t remember exactly what happened next. It was black and white. It was 1878. Newton and Heath LYR was being formed by the workers in the railway yard at Newton Heath for their passion, for football. Come 1902 and it was renamed as Manchester United. In 1908, first championship was won and a ‘special feeling’ of anticipation set in.

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

The journey that had no destination

Note: All the characters in this story are real. Any resemblance to a living person is clearly intentional.
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

Me, MBA and Philosophy

Writing the first blog was an amazing and unbelievable feeling. (Especially after such a fantastic response). They say, ‘well begun is half done’. Right. It is only half done. So, will I be able to write better or at least as good in future? No idea. Lazy Kunal is very dominant. This also reminds me of a fear I always had since childhood. What if, one day I lose my sense of humour and sarcasm? (Yes, I have good sense of humour and I am arrogant about it.)What if One day some person is talking on topic other than football and philosophy and I actually seriously start listening to him and SAIL(Sarcastic and irony loving) Kunal goes dumb? Shudder, Shudder and more shudder. I haven’t learnt anything else in my life!!! I will probably start wandering around like Salman khan in ‘tere naam’, with handcuffs and that Greek warrior robe. But then, it hasn’t happened in 25 years, the ‘sense’ is intact and hopefully will be in future.

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

The first ever

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.