cogito ergo sum

Friday, September 10, 2010

Saai itna dijiye...(26-08-2006)

- Today was a really hard day. FYI I am undergoing my training and induction in ITC IBD and am based out of Gorakhpur, ‘UP’ presently. I don’t even know when will I be able to come ‘DOWN’ to Hyderabad, a city I had no love lost for till recently. But after spending the last one month in Uttar Pradesh, I am inclined to call it ‘good ol’Hyderabad.’

- I covered a distance of about 200 kms on a TVS bike, of course with me riding pillion. The roads of UP were anything but ‘mulayam’ and ya…a pain in the ass! What I really enjoyed most during the day was the shelter a small farmer offered us inside his tiny hut when suddenly lord Indra decided to be generous. The hut was bereft of any modicum of furniture; all it had was a small charpoy which yours truly occupied throughout his one hour stay there. And when finally we decided to hit the road and brave the rain, which had slowed down to a considerable extent, the weather was as pleasant as an Indian win over Pakistan in World Cup Cricket! I don’t think I would ever be able to describe this feeling of riding a bike at near full speed, with lush green fields lining both sides of the road and tiny droplets of water hitting your face creating an almost orgasmic pleasure for the soul! Aisa des hai mera…

- While in the hut I generally started chatting up with the farmer and joked that if it rained for long, he would even have to provide us food. The farmer, as simply as he could, said, ‘saabji, kisi Kisan ke ghar se apko aur kuch mile na mile, ap bhukhe kabhi nahi jaoge.” And as if to add enlightenment to admiration, he quoted Sant Kabir: “Saai itna dijiye jaame kutumb samay; main bhi bhukha na rahu sadhu bhi bhuka na jaye.” Maybe I am being too simplistic, but he summed up the whole purpose and meaning of life, didn’t he?

- While pillion-riding the bike back to Gorakhpur after covering ITC’s e-Choupals, a thought suddenly struck me. It may sound like reinventing the wheel as we must have all heard it somewhere. Here it goes, and I quote from Paulo Coelho’s Maktub:“Today would be a good day for doing something out of the ordinary. We could, for example, dance through the streets on our way to work. Look directly into the eyes of a stranger, and speak of love at first sight. Give the boss an idea that may seem ridiculous, an idea we've never mentioned before. We could phone someone we vowed never to speak to again (but from whom we would love to receive a message on the answering machine). Today could be considered a day outside the script that we write every morning. Today, any fault will be permitted and forgiven. Today is a day to enjoy life”

- Sounds pretty much doable right...So that’s what I decided to do when I talk with my mother at night. I decided to be the same Vivek who would come back from school, all glowing and cheerful, after having come first in his class. I tried it and the effect was visible-my mom forgot all about the design of furniture she was worried about since morning! Tell you what, Coelho rocks!

- One of the things I have noticed and observed in myself is that sometimes, when somebody is speaking to me, I am all ears but little attention to him/her. I may agree with somebody verbally, but my soul opposes me tooth and nail. Why then this dichotomy between what I say and what I do? It is this dichotomy which is at the root of the many ills facing me. Why am I afraid to be what I am? Why am I afraid to show my emotions, why am I afraid to laugh heartily and why am I afraid to cry? I think I should go back to being a kid once again. Crying is one of the first things that we learnt then and that put our hearts at ease. And the very next moment we started clapping and laughing because our mind was diverted toward some other toy which now gave us greater joy! I think being a child once again is what I want most right now.

- Talking of being a child, I hate being away from home. I want to go back home and still wake up groggy-eyed on a Sunday morning and find my mom fixing breakfast, my dad working away at the calculator, my elder brother reading two newspapers at a time and my younger brother watching TV! It seems like an ideal world to go back to, away from ITC’s training and induction, away from the decent paychecks I am getting, away from the trouble of coping up with the tantrums of certain someone. I think I shall get to be a kid once again-when I become a father! But that is some distance away man.


I have thought of writing a blog in the past also. But it always ended sooner than it began. The initial euphoria was always hard to sustain. I don’t know why. Every time I start again, I think, this is it. This time will be different. Let’s see.

Another common thread running through my various attempts has been the fact that it’s always been somebody else who made me want to write something or do something. It was Nitin Kochhar and Bhaskar Rana during my IIFT sojourn who made me want to write a blog for the first time. And it is Abhinav Jain, a fellow ITCian, who is inspiring me now. Sometimes I think it’s wrong to do something just because somebody else is doing. We’re not doing things for the right reason in that case which is bad.

If I extrapolate this urge to start writing a blog onto the bigger canvas of life, a lot of uncomfortable questions and truths pop out. Did I really want to do an MBA? Did I really want to give up CA? Did I really want to take up commodity trading as a career option? Did I really want to be in ITC or did I always want a bank or a financial services company? Do I really want to do a job? Didn’t I always want to be a businessman? Didn’t I always want to do my own thing?

Deep in my heart I know the answers to most of the above questions would be harsh truths for me to face. So why have I always compromised in life? And why have I always brushed the uncomfortable questions/realities under the carpet? Why have I always gone for ad hoc solutions? Why do I always do the agreeable thing? These are too many whys for my comfort and peace. I am already beginning to feel uneasy as I type this. Why do I always not confront the situation, go to the root of the problem and go for the correct alternative even if it is the unpleasant one?

Why have I never been able to make up my mind? Why did I first take up Science in class XI and shift to Commerce subsequently? Why did I write my CA foundation exam, do brilliantly in that and then give it up for a MBA degree when after looking at other CAs I always regret? Why was I even ready to take up a marketing job during college placements should the worst case scenario come true? Why did I always try to take the path of least resistance and the path which was most likely to succeed?

In fact if I am not wrong this is the first time that I am even accepting that the problem exists. This is the first time I am ready to face the fact that I have always gone for the short cut, always gone for the less risky, always gone against the voice of my heart. Why do I do it? Why am I always unprepared to take seemingly big risks? Why am I always so scared about the uncertain? Why do I seek certainty? Why am I what I am?

I think I have rarely been honest with myself. I have rarely been honest enough to face unpleasant facts. I have rarely had the gumption to take the path less taken. I have rarely had the courage to face the consequences. I have always been scared. Fear of the unknown, fear of the uncertain, fear of somebody else’s reactions has always guided my actions. I think I have always done or desisted from doing something because somebody else may or may not want it that way. I have never really tried to listen to my heart. I have never been strong enough to take a risky decision, never had the balls to back myself, the feelings of my heart! Do I really have a mind of my own?

I pray to god to give me the strength to continue this.

Hell, but why did I ever start writing this???

written in July 2006

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Long time no see...

It is with mixed feelings that I am attempting to start posting on my blog again. I doubt whether the posts will dry up again, whether I will be able to express myself fully via this media again. Another question that merits thought is whether I really need to start posting on the blog again....too many questions right at the lemme "chak de(m)..Shahrukh ishtyle.!

As is quite apparent, a lot of water has flown down the 'Ganges' since my last post on this blog. The biggest change (Is it really that big???) that has happened is that I am no longer 'Ltd' by 'ITC' or for that matter anybody else. It wasnt really an easy decision to take. It was in fact the culmination of a lot of pent up feelings, lot of sleepless nights, lot of heated discussions, bitching-all over good food and royal living (sponsored by ITC of course).

A lot of people have questioned me over this decision of mine. I completely understand their rationale and I will use Behzad's (a fellow ITC AUT-2006) logic to justify it. We are very lucky to be born a human being. Probably, one in a million. After that the rat race continues throughout school where you are typically among the top 2 to score in the high-nineties and get into the SRCC's of this world. It doesnt end there; on the contrary it keeps getting tougher. You are among the top 100 out of 35000 odd applicants to get into IIFT ( Source of Data: Dr Prabir Sengupta, ex- Dir. General, IIFT, Former Petroleum and Commerce Secy., Govt. of India). You slog for 2 f******years and are lucky to be among the only 5 people to be selected by this organization to join them. Oh wow! culmination of years of hard work and the labour of patience! But no..things dont always happen the way u want them to. Life's Like that.

There comes a point in life when its imperative to take a decision. A decision that will define and shape the future course of one's life. And if the decision is not taken, the 'feelings' mentioned in the earlier paragraph would continue to pile on and create a unmanageable heap.

Thus the decision was taken and I am happy I took it. Some were shocked, some were happy and some said it was pretty uncouth of me. I respect them all and thank them all for their concern.

One thing I have learned during the past 25 summers is that Life's decisions are never easy. Nonetheless, it is important to take them and more importantly, to stand by the ones you take!

You will never live to regret them.
God Bless!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

About Me !

Here's a little something I have sent as a one page write up on myself to my employers, ITC.

"I would describe myself as an ordinary person blessed with an extraordinary set of people around me, be it my family or friends. I believe in the power of dreams and like to think big and execute my plans to perfection.

Born and brought up in a middle class Marwari family in Calcutta, I received the best of both the worlds, solid values mixed with cutting edge modernity. I did my schooling from Calcutta Boys’ School (CBS) and followed it up with a degree in Commerce from the prestigious Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC Delhi), before grabbing a seat at the IIFT, one of India’s top B-Schools.

CBS gave me some of the finest years of my life, a wonderful amalgam of fun and top class education, contributing in no small measure to the man I am today. Organizing the first ever Joint Nature Club-Computer Club inter-school fest e-green 2000 and Concord 2000 as the Finance Coordinator were the highlights of my stay at CBS. Vice-Presidentship of the Computer Club, Secretary of the Nature Club and treasurer of the Quiz Club were the other responsibilities I shouldered with full commitment.

SRCC Delhi, brought along in its wake a new set of challenges – an alien (and supposedly unfriendly) city, new set of friends and of course the pressure of competing with the very best in India’s best College for Commerce. But in no time, the college and the city became my second home, I had made friends for life and yes the competition took care of itself.

Life at IIFT was an eye opener. Even before we could distinguish Dia Mirza from Aishwarya Rai, we were thrown into 20 hour schedules peppered with 8 hour classes, endless projects, assignments and group activities, Yoga classes and compulsory-but-informal interaction with the seniors. Sleep became a scarce commodity, conspicuous only by its absence.

Organizing Tradewinds 2005, IIFT’s flagship National Symposium as the elected coordinator of BLASH-IIFT’s Trading Club was the highpoint of my stint here. I love reading fiction, writing articles and swimming. Apart from the extra-curricular activities, IIFT also found me specializing me in Finance and Marketing with a minor in Commodity Trading, something I am passionate about.

I believe I am in the right organization, in the right country and at the right time. The present is pregnant with opportunities and challenges galore and I am convinced I am up to it. If it is right for India, it is right for ITC and if it is right for ITC it is right for me.

Finally in the immortal words of John Lennon,

You may say that I am a dreamer,

But I am not the only one!

See you all!


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Tradewinds 2005 - BLASH Session

Tradewinds 2005, The Flagship Annual Symposium of IIFT culminated on the 11th of November 2005 at the New Comference Room, IIFT Premises. Organized jointly by the 6 clubs at IIFT, each representing a sector/functional area viz. Trading (BLASH), Pharma(Catalyst), Marketing (Brandwagon), Operations (OPMAC) and Finance (Cashanova), Tradewinds comprises 6 sessions of 2 hours each.

The BLASH(Buy Low and Sell High) session was on the 11th of November and it marked, to repeat a word, the culmination of a couple of months' planning and hard work. Tradewinds to me symbolized hope, fear and will-power at the same time; hope that it would be a stupendous sucess, fear that it may turn out to be a damp squib and will power to think positive even in the face of regret mails and bash-sessions from the Program Director and the Chairperson.

Nevertheless, as they say, all's well that ends well.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

F*** the Pakis!

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Three explosions ripped through New Delhi within minutes of each other Saturday evening, killing at least 55 people.

The date can be different; the city could be less sensational than the national capital New Delhi but the message that the Pak-based terrorists send out each time to the Indian government and yes to you..and me..indeed every Indian citizen is the same. That we are all eunuchs, capable of doing nothing. Others may come into our homes and do what they want. We will make momentary noise before the press, give a demarche to the Pak High Commissioner at most, maybe even bring up the matter meekly before Uncle Sam and before we all know, its off the front pages. Public memory and more so, the media's memory is very short.

We the people have our own problems; rising prices of onion; work related tension; everything else except concern for the nation. Chillingly and brutingly put u may call it, but the fact is you dont realise what terrorism is unless it comes home to you. Ask George W Bush. So happily we will wait and this wait is never gonna end. Meanwhile we'll live upto the Indian Credo of "Atithi Devo Bhava" even though the atithi is a SOB and has nefarious designs.

I am not a right-wing nationalist. I am not a secularist - no , neither a true secularist nor do i practise the secularism practised by the Indian politicians. I am neither a radical nor a bloody peacenik.

I am an Indian.
And my blood boils everytime there's a blast - be it in Kashmir or the Indian Parliament or a cinema or wherever!

And i do nothing more than just bite my lips and let the momentary anger disssipate.

I know we cant..we simply cant have an out and out war with the Pakis. They have almost the same toys as we do and are capable of wreaking as much upon us as we can upon them.

The very simple effect of this deterrent on either side is that while we declare a no first use policy they happily know Indian will never have the balls to even displace a hair off their head. So they launch intrusions into Kargil; disfigure and mutilate the bodies of our soldiers gorge out their eyes and even do their own soldiers the ultimate indignity of disowning them after death. No damage done, we say we wont the war and whats more we lost fewer soldiers than they did.

Emboldened by their partly successful mission, they now have the gumption to attack the seat of Indian democracy and power, the Indian Parliament. An attack on the Parliament should be deemed to be an attack on the Indian state...which means the enemy...yeah the Pakis had declared a war on us...which mean we as a nation were at war..which means we shudve bombed the daylights out of them.

But then, India being India and our politicians being what they are would not even think of such an 'outrageous' respone leave alone go about doing that.
Just try throwing so much as a stone on an Israeli soldier doing his 'duty' in the Gaza would be taught what 'response' means..As a nation we are meek and submissive; aggressiveness is lacking in our psyche just as nights lack sunrays. Asking our political bosses to take stern and defintive responses each time is liking pouring water on a duck's back..

Cant write any more..wont write anymore..wont serve any purpose.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

bungee jumping
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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thoda aram karte hain..Sentosa Island, Singapore!
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Hrithik Roshan (to my immediate right)
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With Manu Arora (IIFT)
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Rendezvous with Mr. Gandhi
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Last Man standing..Buddha Manthan, Thailand!
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With Mamaji and mamiji in Thailand
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With Amit Bhargava (IIFT)
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YashVardhan cousin!
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With chweetest sis
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(From left) Bhaijee(Abhishek), Buaji, Papa, Mom, Anand
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mamma and papa
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