Sunday, July 29, 2007

Social Pariah

I thought that I still have a decade before the Bridget Jones syndrome catches up with me. But I am afraid that it has already started taking its toll on me. For starters, here we have an average 10-hour schedule, 7 days a week along with weekly FCQs, unscheduled (and useless) batchmeets and presentations at short notice (this happens essentially when the faculty is not prepared for a lecture and they pass the buck to us by asking us to do a group assignment of 20 mins each which will safely see them through the agonizing 2 hours). All these leaves us with very little time for socializing and CL (campus loafing).

That’s bad news for my mom since she was fervently hoping that I would hook up with somebody! Worse, I have become so rude that when my friends come online, I don’t reply to their messages, mostly because I am busy doing some last minute project with the help of Mr Google. My family and relatives have stopped calling me since I don’t pick up the calls (cell phones are not allowed in the academic block where we spend a major part of the day) and I am too broke (thanks to laundry charges, fine payment for bunking lectures, Sweety Stores, and the Luxury Coffee shop) to call them back (no matter what Shahrukh Khan says, Airtel is still expensive)!

I don’t know what education MBA is imparting to me, but it’s definitely eroding whatever little social skills I possessed (I admit that it’s not one of my strengths).
So, once in a while when we do manage to get away, we behave like chained prisoners who are suddenly exposed to civilization.

However, I am starting to appreciate the little things in life which I used to take for granted- new clothes, surprise courier packages from home (alas, I no longer shop during monsoon sales), the joy of catching a movie in the small screen of our auditorium (multiplexes are no longer a part of my life), desserts at the nearby posh restaurant (long live student discounts) and yes, the occasional glimpse at the gossip pages of TOI in the library (newspaper/ news channels are a luxury)!


Saturday, July 14, 2007


The terror of FCQ has caught on and I feel completely victimized. 18 subjects, you can have tests in any of them! That is not my idea of an ideal Saturday morning. Invariably we end up taking some “calculated risks” and invariably they don’t pay off. Like today, most of us ignored Research Methodology and we had a paper on that! I had no clue what to write, chewed my pen for 30 mins and royally gave up. Of course, it doesn’t make much of a difference since our entire room was dismissed for indiscipline and our papers were SCRAPPED!. Not that I would have scored more if we were evaluated fairly! The second quiz was French, and it was ridiculously funny. I was racking my brains on French verbs when the invigilator walked up to me and said that my paper will be SCRAPPED. I had no clue about the reason- I just thought that it’s her habit to say “your paper will be SCRAPPED” every ten minutes! But when she told me it was because I was wearing a sleeveless kurta, I felt like bursting into laughter! So our CGPA is also a function of the dress code. I had to feed her up with a pack of lies about my sorry wardrobe, about the dhobi not returning my clothes, about me wearing the same dress for 3 days. At last she bought it and let me off this time. Even if I get a good percentage, the relative grading really screws things up! In other words I have started wondering whether I made the right career choice and if MBA is indeed my cup of tea!
As a part of Corporate Communications, I finally get to do a lot of stuff that I love to do and don’t really mind the hard work, the long meetings, bad tempered seniors or deadlines… in fact it gives me an excuse to stay awake in boring lectures and write something constructive. But yesterday, we had our first encounter with the director and it far from pleasant- let’s just say he handed me the most humiliating moment of my life. But the seniors seemed so immuned to it, and apparently he was quite decent to us! I don’t think I am ready to go anywhere near to his office in the near future. But one thing is for sure, if I survive his abuses, I can safely survive any number of irritable bosses!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Human Face of Business

In the last couple of days we have had the two most inspiring lectures since I stepped in scmhrd- the first one was our Vedanta lecture at 7:15 am and the other was one marketing lecture by Mr Banerjee, both of which moved me to tears for very different reasons!
I know I have cribbed about scmhrd’s sadistic schedule and one very prominent example was the weekly Vedanta lecture on Monday morning which usually invites a generous dose of abuses from the students- half of us bunk it or come late, while the other half sleeps during the lecture; but if you forget the initial agony of waking up at an ungodly hour, it can be a really enriching experience. We have an Australian guy ( a young lawyer) as our mentor, and he is simply amazing- I know when you speak of spirituality and Vedanta, we have a tendency to stereotype and we end up visualizing some boring old guy with a holier-than-thou attitude looking down on us and making us feel like losers or sinners, just because we happen to make more money than he does! But this guy is somebody with whom we can relate to, who gives us a balanced view of things without getting judgmental and he actually encourages us to imbibe spirituality as a way of life rather than something very esoteric or austere! He is somebody who has seen both sides of the coin, and embraced spirituality as a matter of choice rather than compulsion. He talks about his own experiences, about the white man’s perspective when he is traveling in Indian local trains, about his life in an ashram in the remote corner of Maharashtra as opposed to the monotonous comfort back home- all of it in a practical, down-to-earth manner with no complaints, no grudge and endowed with generous doses of humour: a firang in a white kurta, successful yet humble, modern yet supremely in touch with the roots of humanity, a spiritual guru who laughs at himself is indeed a rare combination!!!! I learnt more about management in that one hour than I have learnt in the past 4 weeks!!
The other lecture which touched a chord with the students was todays Marketing Management class where the faculty was teaching about how consumption is shaped by family lifecycle! I have always found marketing a somewhat intimidating subject which gives a damn about people- it’s a field which requires charismatic, aggressive people who are not easily swayed by emotions, who can push their product hard, make a mincemeat of their competitors and eat into the consumer’s pocket with scant regard for their feelings- once the sale is done, they move on the next “target”. Well, in the past month, Mr Banerjee had changed a lot of my half-baked, ill-informed ideas, but today he made Marketing sound like psychology!! He explained the family life cycle in lay man’s terms taking the example of a young couple and tracing their lives right from the time they started going around with each other till one of them died- it was just another middleclass family and somehow in between he sneaked in the changes in their consumer patterns and how marketing people keep a track of the changes in their lives and target their products accordingly- gosh, who knew psychology could play such a vital part in selling stationary and toothpaste… at the end of the 2 hours we were sitting like zombies, sombre and quiet feeling guilty about taking our parents for granted, and at the same time visualizing our near future as we shall all experience those stages of life! One guy actually declared that he was going to call his parents today itself! It was one lecture that I shall remember throughout my life- one of the very few lectures that I actually cried (and not out of fear or boredom). Talk about marketing- that man can sell his ideas, and the best part is the Big Idea is all about being a better person, and not a hardcore competitive executive!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Milap 2007

Somehow I have survived one month in a B-school, and last Saturday, for the first time, we had something which could actually qualify as “FUN”!!! For starters, the dress code was “strictly party wear”, a welcome break from the regular monotony of the 3-piece salwar suits! After all, it was Milap 2007, the traditional programme where we juniors welcome our seniors who are back in campus after working so hard for their Summers (here I am reserving my judgments). It works something like this: we slog ourselves till the early hours of morning practicing our dance routines, skits n honing our singing talents in spite of a deadly schedule, rains and annoying foundation exams, take the trouble to extend an artistically created invitations and the seniors turn up fashionably late in their pyjamas, and then ruthlessly boo our performances….
It was a bad start as we faced technical glitches and those boorish idiots (some of them dressed up as ridiculous clowns) started chanting not-so-kind slogans! However the rest of the show went off quite smoothly, with stellar performances from the singing group and the dance troups which really involved the crowd. At some point most of the crowd was up on the stage and somewhat turned a classic performance into a roadshow!! But it was a rare occasion when we lost all our inhibitions and let our hair down. The day finally ended at midnight, all in good humour, but the fun was just beginning! A few people went to the nearby restaurant for a few pegs which turned into a few more and eventually ended in some drunken revelry with some interference from the local police. The fun in the campus was not far behind as we got drenched in the rain while “dancing in the dark” with a few seniors throwing dustbins from their rooms upstairs! Finally we girls were sitting in a group at 1 am in the morning chatting and mourning the absence of hot guys, while our sweet brothers in the boys hostel called up, and started singing “Summer of 69” and “Hotel California” as we rocked on the not-so-melodious but amazingly sweet music bellowing from the mobile loudspeaker.
We ended the day, tired but happy, and all geared up for Aarambh next week!