Thursday, November 24, 2005

Picture this

Here at Nirma University, our computers / laptops are connected with a LAN. Students use a software called IP messenger, over which we can exchange messages and documents. Of course, the IP messenger is THE great communicator post midnight when the boys and girls have to stay restricted to their respective hostels. :D There's no roaming around on this beautiful 110 acre campus at night. This is one of the few things which I feel is not right about the institute. I firmly believe that post-graduate students should be treated like post-graduate students and not school kids who are not mature enough to take correct decisions.

Getting back to the IP messenger. One of the features of this software is that of sending multicasts, i.e. the same message to all/selected people who are online. Sometimes, these multicasts can be extremely annoying (in fact, most of them are). But it is also where people play anagram, i.e. the guy who hosts the game puts up a jumbled word and those who unravel it can send their replies back to the host. There is usually good competition between the juniors and seniors on this one. I tried my hand at it, but it proved I was just about average.

The other day, a very interesting pic was multi-cast to the entire batch. The picture circulated was this one:

I opened the file and saw the above pic. I kept looking at it for about a minute or so (trust me, 60 seconds of silence can be long) and a number of thoughts went through my head. How long had it been since the child had had his last meal? When did he get his next proper meal? DID he get a proper meal next? Obviously, the food he is getting to eat is not very safe. Did he have to suffer any disease because of what he ate? Where are his parents? Are his parents alive at all? If they are, what must be going through their minds when they see their child eating like this? How terrible must it feel to know that you are unable to feed proper food to your child?

This problem of poverty and malnourishment doesn't exist in India alone, its a worldwide phenomenon as the divide between the rich and the poor widens. This has almost become a cliche in all the economics classes that we attend in colleges. What are we doing about it?

Quite frankly, I don't know how I could do a great deal about the problem. Perhaps, someday in the very near future when I begin to earn, I'll make it a point to keep a portion of my salary to help the poor. But as of now, there's something which I have decided to do, something which is very simple. STOP WASTING FOOD.

This is something so simple and easy that each one of us can follow it. How often have our mothers told us when we children not to waste food? And yet, we continue to do so, unmindful of our duties towards the society. I have stopped wasting food from the last few days, I only take a small amount in my plate during lunch or dinner and don't mind getting up for another helping; but wasting food is a complete no-no.

Tomorrow onwards, I'll be headed to "Confluence 2005", the annual fest of IIM-Ahmedabad. IIM-A, being the best B-school in India, attracts the industry leaders and the best thinking minds, whose efforts change the way India functions economically and socially. It should be a fantastic 4 days ahead.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

How far that little lamp throws it's light

I've been extremely eager to write about the following experience. Not because I want to have praises heaped on me. It is just that this apparently small and simple experience has had a tremendous effect on me.

This was about 2 weeks ago. (I could have blogged about this earlier, but time was a crucial factor then and I wanted to give this post plenty of thought.) I was in a bus and was travelling from one end of the city to another when at one particular stop, an elderly gentleman got onto the bus. He was almost bent double with age and had a frail body. He was walking with the assistance of a walking stick; in fact, the bus conductor made sure that the driver stopped for ample time so that the old gentleman could get onto the bus safely. Someone soon offered him a seat and the rest of the journey was quite uneventful.

It so happened that both he and I had to get off at the last stop. Although getting up the steep steps was not much of a problem (thanks to the handrails), getting down was. I was right behind him and supported his arm while he slowly got down. I followed. As soon as I stepped down, he requested me to help him cross the road. Nothing unusual. I agreed and he put his hands on my shoulders and I guided him across the busy road. It took us roughly a minute to get across the road, owing to the evening traffic.

As soon as we had crossed the road, he promptly said "Abhaar" (Gujarati for "Thank You") and followed that with "May God bless you". I mumbled "Not at all" and something along the lines of it being my duty, but by then, the gentleman was already on his way. But here, the heart took over.

Now, dear reader, you would do well to remember that this was the time when I was under great stress owing to the (then) upcoming examinations and the project presentation. But the wonderful feeling that had come from helping the old man cross the road had put a new spring in my step. Even in the then quickly failing evening skylight, I could feel an unmistakable glow within. I couldn't stop smiling to myself as the words "God bless you" resonated within me. For a second, I was selfish. I wished to God that the old man's blessings may be transferred to good luck for my presentation with which I was facing extreme difficulties and pessimistic thoughts by the truckloads.

But the very next moment, I realized my mistake. Hello? What had I taken God for? A manager of some Swiss bank who, instead of currency, transferred blessings from one account to another? And, in that one moment that I wished to God that I was happy with just the simple blessing that the old man had given me, I realised something very important.

I realised that life and love are way above the success/failure of an MBA degree. It cannot be measured by any percentile, nor any Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). Both, life and love, can be experienced either during the length of a heartbeat... or the length of a lifetime. I do not wish to be the next spiritual guru, but I appeal to you to do some kind deed today.

Go, find Love; find Life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wassup folks?

Hello people,

I'm back!! Well, not as emphatically as "I'm back from the dead", but yes, back from a week full of tension and turbulence. Wow. The exams are a rollercoaster; you don't know when you're on a high and when you're staring into the pits of hell.

Anyway, I had thought that my first post after examinations will be a long one. Unfortunately, it won't be so. I need to rush since there is a CEO lecture at the institute in an hour's time and I really need to catch up on some studies before that.

However, I thought I'd make it a point to edit the template a bit and add 2 blogs to my all time favorite list. One is titled "Youth Curry: An Insight on Indian Youth" and the second one is "Fotosia". Both are absolutely refreshing blogs. I visit them often, either to read Ms. Rashmi Bansal's blog (Youth Curry) or just view the pics on Gosia's site (Fotosia).

Do check these blogs out. They are real nice.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Sorry folks...

Hello all,

I'm sorry for not being able to post for the last few it the Vicious Circle of MBA education. In fact, this post is just to inform you that it should be quite some time before my next post. I've got my mid-term examinations from 15th November and a couple of other things to attend to during the next two weeks.

Once that's over, expect fireworks.

Take care. And all those in India who are preparing for CAT, especially to my pals back in Calcutta, best of luck people. Go for it !!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Happy Diwali

Hello Folks,

HAPPY DIWALI to you all. This is the first time that I'm spending my Diwali away from home and family members. Yup, I've opted to stay back at the hostel during the Diwali vacations too. Really didn't make any sense even trying to go home, it takes 3 days by train to go home and another 3 while coming back, leaving me only 2 days with my family members. What's the point? And I would've missed Diwali anyway. So, here I am...

Hey, I need to update you about Saturday. Around Thursday last week, Anil Sir (our librarian) asked me whether someone could make a book review on "Who Moved My Cheese?", the bestselling book by Dr. Spencer Johnson. I admitted that I'd read the book and hadn't liked it too much. He said it didn't matter. The moment I heard that, I jumped at the opportunity, for he was talking of making a presentation at Zydus Research Centre. He wanted someone else to present alongside me. I looked around for options, but most people were leaving by Saturday evening, i.e. when the book review was to be done. I finally got Rohit Srivastav to agree, although I doubt he would've agreed had I asked him when he was awake. (I woke him up in the middle of a deep sleep, mumbled some gibberish about some presentation, and he said it was ok, thinking that the presentation was the regular Wednesday book club meeting in the campus for students.)

Finally, on Saturday, we made the presentation. Srivastav covered a general review of the book and I looked at the practical applications of the book. I spoke of the Crossword Bookstore and Amitabh Bachchan as examples to how corporate entities and individuals can change.

It was great fun and Anil Sir has promised more such outings for us. I hope I am a part of many of them, for I just enjoy speaking in public. And the bigger the audience, the better. I just relish at the idea that I'm going to be talking to so many people at a time. It is almost a feeling of power, the power that you wield over them over the duration of your speech. Boy, is it fun.

Anybody shares the same? Would you like to share your experiences about public speaking? And what of the book "Who Moved My Cheese?". Did you like it at first go, or are you a convert, just like me? Comments welcomed.