Sunday, March 22, 2015

WIMWI Sentiyapa - Chapter Two


My IIM A journey started with the customary orientation at Ravi J Matthai (RJM) auditorium along with my fellow batchmates. Every minute that I spent in that auditorium was a beautiful reminder that I have actually made it into Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (yes, writing it in full brings a better impact). It was overwhelming and exciting at the same point to sit with a bunch of 400 people listening to the best management faculty in this part of the world. If I remember one thing distinctly from that orientation, it was this statement by Warden, Prof Sunil Sharma – “Welcome to commando training!”

PGP1s (first year) are hectic across all the bschools in India. We at IIM A believe that the PGP1 at IIM A is something special. It is surely the most strenuous amongst all Indian bschools. Through a maze of cases, assignments, classes and the dreadful quizzes, a first year IIM A student is taken through a wide variety of management courses in a very short duration. PGP1 teaches that there is never enough time nor enough data to take a decision. And you still need to make one. For the majority of us who are engineers, it was a challenge to move beyond solving well defined problems and dealing with ambiguity. PGP1 inspires one to push the physical and mental constraints that we tend to put on ourselves. It was a time when ALL of us had our own personal battles to fight. It felt like a warzone with all of us fighting it out together.

Despite being an extremely rigorous year, we do not have ill feelings about it. PGP Office and the entire faculty team took care in ensuring that the pain is evenly distributed and there were rarely any time when I felt that the pressure applied was more than bearable. And this is precisely what makes PGP1 at IIM Ahmedabad special. It is the institution’s ability to create the environment which pushes people but never lets them fall down. A fine balance.

PGP1 is like a roller coaster ride. You may stare at it from far. You may heard about it from alumni. You may read blogs like these. But the only way you can understand the thrill of going through PGP1, just like a roller coaster ride, is by actually riding it. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

WIMWI Sentiyapa - Chapter One

There is nothing else which incites nostalgia like how music does. I am back from an awesome performance by the IIM A music club at CT. The realisation has dawned on me that the number of days left on campus can be counted on finger tips. Hence, this sentiyapa.
If there is one thing that IIM A has taught (or atleast tried), it is the art of bringing structure to one’s thoughts. Thus, despite my left brain screaming at my right brain for making things all methodical and uncreative, my right brain has quietly won this battle.

Chapter One – People
It’s been over 25 years that I have been roaming around this earth. The bunch of people that I saw in the last two years were unlike any that I had seen before. A bunch of highly driven, intellectually sharp, go-getters.

I still remember the first time I met my batchmates. It was in CafĂ© Mateo in Indiranagar, Bangalore where some 20 of us met. There was a feeling of childlike anticipation and excitement about the coming two years. That meeting and the early few months of IIM A were spent in sizing each other up. At the end of this sizing up exercise one thing was clear – the peer group was the best that one could hope for. It was a bunch of people who not only had the best academic record in the country, they also possessed some of the best extracurricular abilities.

PGP1 is tough. And tough times bring out the worst in people. From the beginning of PGP1 till the end of summer placement process it was interesting to see how people coped up with the stress. By then it was easy to figure out who all I wanted to spend my time with.

Come PGP2 and things change drastically. I made new friends and strengthened the bond with the old ones. It was much fun to be out of the grinding PGP1 schedule and have the time to spend hours in tapri with anybody and everybody. Exchange raised the fun one notch up. Travelling is the best way of knowing people and making friends.

Some of the well-known institutes from eastern India talk about their culture and bonding. I must admit that IIM A doesn’t match up to that level of camaraderie. I believe this is because of the fiercely independent nature of individuals that we have here. I see individuals who are capable of taking up any professional challenge that might come their way and make their way out of it. It is so impressive that each and every person that I have interacted with here exhibit the highest level of confidence. Being around such people pushes you seek excellence, raise the bar and despise complacency.

I often tell this to my friends – it will be so much fun to come back on campus for our 10th, 25th, 40th…. reunions, because I am sure all of us would have done exceedingly well professionally and it will be interesting to see each other growing into business leaders.

I am glad IIM A happened. My life would have been incomplete without this awesome bunch of people. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Je t'aime Paris

Paris is like A. R. Rehman songs.

When you hear (see) it for the first time, you wonder what the fuss is all about. The hype causes disillusionment. You start hating it. But you grudgingly continue to listen (explore) it. It’s an A.R. Rehman song (Paris) after all. Then hate turns into apathy. You seem to develop a sense of tolerance for the song (city). And on one of those days, while you are still listening (exploring), you give that song (city) another listen (chance) with an impartial mind. That’s when you realise that you like the song (city).  Before you know it, you are hopelessly in love with that song (city).

My first interaction with Paris started when my roommates and I tried to get an apartment in this city. Man, it was difficult. Our student budget, extremely limited information about the city and the fear of muggers thronging the Parisian streets made this whole exercise an ordeal. We ended up with a belle petite (beautiful little) apartment. The Parisians know how optimize space like no one else.

This whole apartment hunting prepared me for this big bad city which was difficult to manoeuvre through. And this fear of mine came true. The moment we landed in Paris, one thing became quite clear. Knowing English in Paris was as useless as Hindi in Chennai. The Parisians positively hate people who start a conversation in English without any signs of apology on their face. If you start a conversation without the customary Bon Jour or Bon Soir (Good Day or Good Evening), you have committed a cardinal sin. The French have two response to such situations. Either they interrupt your monologue with a “Bon Jour” and stare you till you reciprocate or they ignore you and walk away as if you were nothing but thin air.

This language barrier made the navigation in Paris in the first few days a nightmare for me and my friends. However, it was a temporary discomfort as we became comfortable with the basic ‘systems’ in Paris. Paris public transport system is one of the best in the world and you don’t need French to navigate as most of your conversations are with the ticket vending machine which speaks (displays) chaste English.

Taking walks in Parisian streets was one of my best memories from my Euro Trip. One is bound to stumble upon quaint churches, roadside cafes, museums, canals, bridges, jardines (gardens) or the view of the graceful Eiffel, every time you take a turn.

There is something enigmatically positive about Paris. And to experience this, one needs to spend a certain amount of time. This post comes nowhere close to expressing my feelings about this city. It was painful to see this city go through the turmoil that it did in the last few days. May peace prevail.  

Tour de Eiffel. Arc de Triomphe. Champs Elysees. Sacre Coeur. Notre Dame. Versailles. Je t’aime.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Last One ... Not Yet

This was supposed to be the last post on this blog.

The Puppet Master decided to cut the rope and take away my best-est friend and my most favourite person in the world, a few months back. Losing Astha in a road accident has been plain devastating and I never thought I would write again. After all, she was the biggest fan and supporter of my writing. She was the first one to read anything that I wrote on this blog. She was relentless in her praise, irrespective of the quality of my writing. It was her support which kept me motivated to write for so many years.

Thus, a few months back, I decided that I should shut this blog down in her memory. It felt like an apt thing to do. Over the next few days I tried framing the last blog post in my mind. However, the content of that last blog post didn't feel right. Closing down the blog didn't feel like a thing which would make Astha happy. She disliked formalities and ceremonies. Playing victim would have been the last thing she would want me to do. She was the most practical person I have seen. After a few more days of deliberation, I realised that shutting down this blog was the opposite of what I ought to do. And therefore this is not going to be the last post.

It will be difficult to write something and not have Astha to proof read the drafts before I make it public. It will also be tough to not have any one to bounce ideas off. But I will keep writing through all this pain because I know she will love it, wherever she is. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Past Tense

Talking of someone in past tense is not easy. Not easy at all.
Reading memoirs is not easy at all.
Writing memoirs - the fact that you have to write 'was' instead of 'is' is not easy at all.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Violence of Death

For a 24 year old guy facing death of a dear one for the first time in his life, it is beyond a language's vocabulary to describe it.

Death is often associated with the violence which causes it. However, sometimes the cause of death in itself is very less violent. Cranial fracture takes away life in a jiffy they say. What follows death, more often than not, is way more violent.

For a mother who lost her dearest daughter, her best friend, her confidante, her mirror image.
For a father who lost his life line, the apple of his eye, the love of his life.
For a brother who lost his role mode, his brother-like sister, his companion in all his mischief.
For an aunt, who was the first one to carry her in her arms in the operation theater after she was born.
For an uncle, who was the biggest fan of her poetry and songs.
For that guy whose dream of living "happily ever after" turned into an anti-climax of epic proportion.

Mere words are an insult to describe what they are going through. Words are all that we have.
Lo and behold the poetic injustice unfolds.

Follow sushantkoshy on Twitter