2009 - The year that was

It is that time of the year again when you look back at the year that passed you by leaving you a year older by age, richer by memories and wiser by experience.So as I sit here counting the last few days of 2009 here is a look back.....

1st Jan - The new year could not have been more disastrous. But I promised myself that I would fight my way out of my personal mess and uncertainty of my student life and would not let it affect me as an individual.

16th Jan - Day 1 for placements at ISB and I landed up the job I wanted to get into. It was the culmination of the dreams that started in December 2006. I realized that just when you achieve the thing you wanted for a long long time, it doesn't feel as ecstatic as you thought it would. Human mind they say is insatiable...not without reason.But this was the first day in 2 months I laughed and cried in joy...and in pain!!!

8th April - Graduation Day at ISB and one of the proudest days in my life. Getting the Torchbearer award and being able to dedicate it to my parents on stage while they were watching must have been one of the most emotional moments for me. Graduation also meant that the amazing year at ISB was coming to an end. The memories I had made would last a lifetime but for now it was time to bid goodbye to guys who were by you through the tough times, who shared the joy, the pain and all the fun. The COBRA(my close friends group at ISB which had cult following at ISB CO09) dinner with parents was something to cherish. To cap it off the banner at the ISB gate as we left "Best of Luck CO 2009: Real Life awaits outside"...so apt as each of us would realize in the coming months.

3rd May - After the mayhem of ISB, all of a sudden I was at home and had a lot of spare time. Decided to put it to good use by travelling alone. Idea was to take a trip on my own, lazy experience. I booked my tickets to Mumbai and just as I thought spend 2 days reading, watching the landscape outside, eating at various stations and making friends with my co passengers. Mumbai was always a city I wanted to visit and it was really fun. Met up with friends, spent an entire evening with a close friend in Marine drive, had dinner at Jazz By the Bay, ice cream at Naturals and a train ride back at 1 AM at night. Mumbai really rocks when i comes to safety of its citizens. Met up with ISB buddies and watched Viren play in Bandra tournament and then midnight meet up at Carter road licking gelatos and wishing for the ISB days to come back. The only unexpected part of the trip was the auto accident I had on 3rd May when it overturned and I was extremely fortunate to get away with bruised shoulder muscle and swollen temple. It took me the rest of the 1 month of vacation to recover.

25th May - Employed again!!!! and doesn't it feel good. After all the pain of the last 1.2 years watching your monetary reserves dwindle, it was finally time to see some inflow. Met up with 14 of the brightest minds of the country from the Creme de la Creme B schools in India. The ADS batch 09 was born.

12 July - I am still not sure if it is important enough to go in here

15th August - COBRA reunion in Delhi. Another city I had not been to for a long long time. Had loads of fun with late night drinking and card sessions. Lunch and dinner at Oh Calcutta and the ambiance at CR Park Kalibari still remains fresh. Had a close brush with the real Delhi with a cabbie almost ripping me off for Rs 700 for a trip from South Delhi to Gurgaon. Witnessed desi nari power at its best to rescue me!!!!

26th October - Everything is not as they seem. For someone who always lives by his words, trusts people on face value and looks at world in Black and White, realized that most people are predominantly Grey. And when you are on the wrong side, the grey appears black. Patience is a key in life but I guess sometimes even the most patient of people lose it. Although a misplaced trust is a very disappointing feeling as some of you will testify, only with time you realize that you need to reconcile with people, circumstances as they are and move on.

25th November - Landmark birthday and end of a decade!!! Spent it at home alone. It was my last night in Bangalore and I was feeling nostalgic as well. The last 6 months in the city, I had really started liking it. The weather, the routine, the beautiful Infy campus all grows on you and you do not realize it.

29th November - Leaving for the US again. Emotional last couple of days at home with parents. My nomadic life continues and again new place, new environment, new life. Personal life shows no signs of settling down.

11th December - Bought a brand new Black 2010 Toyota Camry. Although the BMW of my dreams still lies out there at large, this is definitely a good start. First time I felt pampered and experienced a sense of achievement and success in life. I wish I would have shared the moment with people who matter the most...But I guess not every wish is granted in life........

With that, I sign off another chapter of life. I very eventful one to say the least.
I want to wish you and your family a wonderful New Year and hope it fulfills all your wishes!!!! When in doubt just say "All izz well"

Time to bid Goodbye to Bangalore

When I moved to Bangalore this May, little did I know that I would be staying here only 6 months. But wow...what a eventful 6 months it has been. The lovely weather, the nice Infy campus, the routine of office, home, friends, parties all meant that there was no dearth of excitement. So as I prepare to move again in search of "greener" pastures, I have mixed feelings. I am a pro at relocation but it still feels that I leave a part of me in each city I have stayed. Thinking about it, I think it is the memories - friends I have made, things I have done, the mental phases I have been through....everything combines to create this feeling.

Bangalore gave me an opportunity to reconnect with friends after 10-12 years, continue to party and have fun with the crazy batch mates at ISB, meet new people whom I had never met before and some probably I will never meet again. All experiences which I am sure I will recollect as I settle into another life. Special mention to my roomie who still amazes me with his organizational ability and wonderful talent of bargaining, my cubie and good friend SD with whom I spent hours discussing turbulence of life both professional and personal, SB for topping the list of ISB parties attendance, VS for giving me company at times when I felt really down and a few others who influenced my life in one way or other and left a mark...

I am not sure if my next post is going to be from home or California but as I embark on another journey..wish me luck... :)

Weekend (Movie,Work,Reading) - Now is it not Work Life Balance?

It was a very different type of a weekend. I mean I thought it would be one of those busy working weekends where I would spend better parts of the day articulating the business value of working with my employer to our clients. And it was with long hours on on the phone and endless staring at the PowerPoint presentation slides. "Honestly did u do the MBA to sign up for this?" My dad asked me when I told him my weekend plans and to which I had no answer (although a voice in me told me Yes but I did not want to admit).

These days it is really amazing how work follows us everywhere(laptop + blackberry = 24 x 7 at work). I spent the better half of Saturday morning watching the juvenile slapstick comedy "Ajab Prem ki Gazab Kahani". The less I talk about the film the better it is and in case you have watched it you would hopefully agree. Anyways so I missed the final 20 minutes of the movie(not that I even regret it) thanks to meeting I had to join a teleconference. I frantically searched for a place to join the meeting and did so finally from the relative silence of Landmark. It is in times like these one realises how difficult it is to find some place quiet in India. Anyways as fate would have it, I spent close to an hour on the phone and my friend (with whom I had the movie and lunch plan) got utterly bored going around checking out new books and ended up buying a couple. As I was coming out of the store, I saw the new novel by Chetan Bhagat and picked it up...I had not read since I came back from my eventful Kolkata pujo trip a month back.

So there I was working through the rest of Saturday and through a lazy Sunday morning. So post lunch today I decided to take a break and opened the book. And I finished it in 3.5 hours flat. 2 States is a really good read. It depicts the complexities of making a love story work and taking it to a love marriage in the context of complex Indian society and family structures....Ahhh doesn't it sound familiar? Anyways it has a very nice feel to it something similar to Five Point Someone which was his first work. The characters are real and you can almost relate to them as soon as you get to see their world.

The real achievement of Bhagat is that the book has incidents which each of us have faced in life. Emotional turmoil, relating and understanding people, dealing with expectations of families are all so familiar things of everyday life. Apart from the storyline and the inherent message, I really liked an incident in the book where the male protagonist speaks about the emotional burdens of the past to a Guruji in Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. The Guruji advises that one needs to let go of the past burdens of pain, anger, frustration, guilt whatever it might be to be able to make a fresh start. It is not easy but if we do not do it our current and future life can get very very muddled up. I guess even a light read as 2 States has some points that make you ponder about your own life, your own experiences.

Change is the way of life. The answers to any situation we are faced with are always inside us. The key is to have the right ear and the right mind to listen.

Mysore Revisited

There are two sorts of images that come to my mind when I think of a package City tour in India. It is either a bus full of devotees and elderly crowd on a mission to visit the holy grails of the religion or it is a band of foreigners who are out to see the land of snake charmers and elephants. So when we(me and my friend and colleague hereafter referred as SD) booked a ticket on Friday on a one day package trip to Mysore, the latter image was on top of our mind. But one look at the people waiting to board the nice Volvo and we understood that it was neither. The crowd was an eclectic mix of elderly, families, newly weds (who incidentally were finding it extremely difficult to get their hands off each other through the day), group of men who seemed to be out on a mission and of course foreigners. Anyways having met with a bit of disappointment at lack of interesting people in the bus, nevertheless we started on what promised to be a visit to the city of palaces or "palices" as our tour guide Ravi would keep pronouncing through out the day on the audio system.

Our first notable stop was at Seringapatnam, which incidentally was the capital of prince Tipu Sultan. We visited Tipu Sultan's summer palace which is also known as Dariya Daulat Bagh. The palace is internally made of wood and is remarkably cool even in the blazing sun outside. The wall has exquisite paintings depicting the 4 Anglo Mysore wars that were waged by Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali against the British. The palace is actually quite small but has a very intricate feel to it and one cannot help but wonder at the time gone by.

Having visited the summer palace we went to the Seringapatnam fort which is supposedly on a natural island on the Cauvery river. There is not much of a fort now with it being completely razed to the ground by the British in 1799 when it fell. The only notable structure standing inside is the famous Ranganathaswamy temple which is more than 1000 years old. Built of solid stone, you cannot help but wonder how it was put together in that era without the modern help of science. Everyone on the bus was specifically told to get back in 30 minutes but a couple of people were found missing. A small search and wait of 5 minutes revealed that one of them had bought a Texas style cowboy hat. Now who would think of buying a cowboy hat from a stall in front of a temple in middle of Karnataka. Apparently there are and we decided that during the course of the day we would borrow his hat to take a couple of pictures ourselves.

The first stopover at Mysore was the St.Philomena's church. It was a lovely church with an unique underground altar. It was pitch dark down there and just had a bunch of candles burning. You stand there and have a feeling of serene calmness. It is a different thing that on our way out in a dark passage I could not see a thing. And I was really struggling had it not been for SD who apparently was comfortably able to see everything, I would literally have to grope and feel my way out. A detailed discussion about this difference between our level of night vision revealed that SD indeed had the traits of a night predator with wider than average aperture in his eyes.

Lunch time and the topic of discussion and debate for us was whether the restaurant would be vegetarian. While I am a strictly non-veggie like SD, I am veggie on Saturdays at the behest of my mom. So while I was praying for the lunch place to be veggie, SD kept insisting that if it were a non-veggie, he would order extra plates of chicken and mutton just to keep it in front of me. And so it happened. While I had to make do with gobi manchurian and naan, SD feasted on mixed fried rice and chicken. Thankfully the chilled beer to go with lunch was at least vegetarian.

Mysore "palice" was really one of the best palaces we have seen. As our guide Ravi repeated probably 10 times on the intercom that all the materials in the palish was imported and only labourers were from India. Even today morning when I was attending a teleconference, I could not but remember that we still are the "labourers from India" even though I might be working in a sophisticated environment, moving in a comfortable car or flashing a blackberry. Anyways back to the palace and the grandeur impressed everyone. Whether it was the beauty of the Belgian glasses, the fusion architecture styles of Saxon and Persian or the elegance of the Diwan - i - Khaas. The Durbaar hall is wide, open, sweeping and overlooks the huge courtyard and garden below. Standing there you imagine the amount of power the king would have experienced being surrounded by his ministers and royalty and with thousands of commoners down below. No that is real POWER.

Anyways we visited Chamundi hill next and it really provides some breathtaking views of the Mysore city below. We came down the winding roads and made our way to the famous Vrindavan gardens in the evening. We had heard so much about this place but to be honest it did not live up to its reputation. The garden is nice but there are two basic problems. The maintenance really sucks and one can see plastic bottles floating in the fountains, dysfunctional fountains and moss and dirt in the structures. The second problem is that it has way too many people. I mean if you follow the TV series Big Bang theory and you really feel like agreeing to Raj's statement from a couple of episodes back - "I tell you there are way too many people there(India)....and dude they are everywhere". The fountain light and sound show was also a dampener. So all in all a nice place but needs some serious thoughts on maintenance and crowd management.

The trip back was largely uneventful apart from this incident at the place where we stopped for dinner (thankfully this was a pure vegetarian place). I was looking at the menu thinking what to order and an elderly person from our bus sits down besides me and just takes the menu from my hand (and I mean literally from my hand while I was looking at it), calls the waiter and orders. I mean how rude is that???? I was speechless for a couple of seconds and even SD who saw it was in awe. Unbelievable people there are!!!!!

Anyways a very enjoyable day overall...A day we enjoyed thoroughly and we have decided to plan for a bigger trip in the coming weeks.

PS: I will post a photo blog of the trip soon. So watch out for that.


Okay this is kinda landmark for me...Can you believe this is my 100th post??When I first started writing in 2005 the objective was purely the joy of expression. While this basic drive is still there, many other reasons for the blog came up in due course of time. It became a way to recollect the happenings of life, reminisce the good old days gone by and then ISB happened. I promised myself that during my stay at ISB I would try to give the prospective applicants a glimpse of life of an MBA grad and the emotional ride he goes through. Now that is over it is more about my life and happenings and feelings again. Anyways I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all the readers of my blog. Some of you have been the source of inspiration, critic and your inputs have been invaluable to me personally.

It has been quite sometime since this post was overdue and I kept thinking what it should be. Well to be honest I have not decided on that..so let the post be another of my rants about life in general and things that affect each of us.

"I Need someone to make me happy" - You hear this over and over again from people at different phases of life. While the basic tenet of the statement is undeniable, I think the finer and important point that most people miss out is that no one can make us happy unless we try to make ourselves happy. Each of us must "practice the art of being happy". People around us can try to make us feel special and happy but ultimately the onus is on us.

"You need two people to make a relation succeed" - Again an oft repeated and beaten to death statement. You need both parties to give an effort to make a relation succeed. Of course this is true but is there more to this? On the face of it this seems very natural but I think many a times it doesn't take two people to make a relationship work. It takes one person who has enough patience and maturity to ride out the difficult phase. Every couple goes through turbulent phases in a relation and the key to the relation is how to deal with this phase. And I think if one person gives the other time and space to sort things out on their own, things look really bright. Well the key assumption is that when things are better both people put in an effort to sustain it.

"You should never trust anyone unless they earn it" - In today's world you can literally be ripped apart if you do not follow this. Time and again it has been proven that we should be extremely careful as to whom to trust and how much. I somehow subscribe to a different view. Somewhat a judicial view that everyone is trustworthy unless otherwise proven. Does that mean I blindly trust people and get taken for a ride? No that would be foolish. All I am trying to say is not to look at everyone thinking they are there to cheat us. There are enough good honest people around us still. Sure you can end up getting hurt, loosing money and so one and so forth and hence I would advise you to think of the cons if you want to try this path out.

"Money doesn't buy happiness" - I am a total believer of this. But at the same point many people who use this statement are people who have money. The thing is while money cannot buy happiness it surely goes a long way in making our lives better. I mean these days you can literally throw money at any problem you can think of and get a temporary respite or a momentary high. But once the effect wears off you can be sure that feel good factor is going to vanish too. So in effect money is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition for happiness.

I would like to end this very heavy philosophical post with a thought. Each of us are inherently nice and we have the ability to make some people around us feel special and help them be happy. We should give this a serious thought. Trust me it will make you happy too. So go ahead spend sometime with you neighbourhood elder whom you typically ignore or play with the naughty kid whom you generally find irritating or gift something to the hapless or just Say Thank You to an important person in your life whom you never told how special he/she is.

Holiday Season

I am sure that Durga Pujo is one occasion which binds all bengalis and runs through their hearts. And what I have realized over the years is that the moe you become a probashi staying out of bengal, more nostalgic you get and more particular you become of not missing it. Durga Pujo marks the occasion of homecoming of Devi Durga but it also is the time of homecoming of countless bengalis to their roots and to their loved ones.

As I prepare to spend a pujo with family afte 6 years, one look around me at the Bangalore airport and its clear that pujo is here. The other day I was reading that this weekend close to 50,000 people are expected to travel out of Bangalore and I am sure most of them would be bengalis heading home. Anyways I am happy as you can probably guess from the incoherence of this post. Also I am pleasantly surprised at the ease of accessing the WIFI at bangalore airport...Somethings in India seems to have changed for the better afer all...Hope it is a sustainable one. See you all after I get back from vacation. The vacation promises to be eventful in more ways than one and I am sure I will have things to share once I am back. Ciao

Happy Teachers Day

Yesterday was teacher's day and I thought to myself that there used to be a time when this day meant so much to me. I mean I still remember when in school going with cards, flowers and showing my love and respect for the teachers who helped shape us into successful individuals today. I thought it would be nice to dedicate a post to the teachers in my life whom I remember and hold a special place.

Mrs. Samal (Class Teacher Class 2 - St Michael's School) - One of the teachers who believed in my potential as a student. My parents still are indebted to her for her advice on how to take care of my studies.

Mrs. Mousumi Chatterjee (Class Teacher Class 4 - St.Michael's School) - She was one teacher I was very close to in school. I still remember visiting her place with my dad and meeting her family. Recently I heard from an acquaintance that she was inquiring about how I was doing but I have been unable meet her in a long long time.Something I need to make right.

Mrs. Nandini Bannerjee (Chemistry Class 7-9 - St. Xaviers School) - Developed my love for Chemistry. She was extremely caring towards students and a fantastic teacher.

Mrs. Malini Ramdas (Physics Class 7-10 - St.Xaviers School) - There would be hardly anyone who studied in Durgapur Xaviers in early nineties and did not adore her. She was grace personified and her command over Physics was unparalleled. Professional in her approach, she knew how to lighten the class with her classic one-liners. She left Durgapur after our batch and I last heard she is teaching somewhere in Mumbai.

Mrs. Gita Mitra (Bengali Class 8-10 - St. Xaviers School) - A mother figure, she was someone who used to travel in the same bus as I did. Loved me like her son. It was a shock when I heard she expired a couple of years back. I hope her sould rests in peace.

Mrs. Neeta Bannerjee (Class Teacher Class 8-10 - St.Xaviers School) - She was possessive about me and the fact that I was the topper in the batch from her class. Someone who would push me to achieve more.

Mr. Debesh Chatterjee (Private Tution Class 7-8) - He was more a grandfather to me than my teacher. He was retired from service and used to guide me in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. The discussions we used to have, time we spent together were just priceless. He expired of heart attack when I was in Class 8. It was an immense shock and I still remember the day he was being taken away for cremation. I did not know how to cry but I remember, deep down I felt an excruciating pain.

Mr. Jibon Banerjee (Statistics Class 11-12 ) - One of the finest teachers I have studied under. The way he made a boring subject like statistics interesting is just unbelievable. Although our first interaction was not ideal with me being thrown out of class for side-talk in front of boys and girls (Statistics was a combined class), our relationship only went one way - upwards. Not only did he love me for being exceptionally good in Stats, he was kind enough to offer his services of correcting my practice papers for 12th before the actual examination. Along with the principal, I am indebted to him for believing in me and providing me the extra support before 12th to help me secure a state merit rank.

Mr. SP Ghosh (Physics Tution Class 10-12) - Someone who solved IE Irodov(the bible for IIT Physics) with effortless ease. Someone who told that each of us in his class should get through the IIT/Roorkee/JEE entrance or he would send them to exile in Andaman. He later went on to become the Director of NIT Durgapur but he really helped us negotiate IIT Physics. Incidentally, none of the guys from our batch had to be sent to exile and most are phenomenally successful in their own careers.

Mr Manas Hira (Theory of Computer Science BE College) - He was one of the wittiest persons I have seen. Himself a bachelors and masters from IIT KGP, he had diverse talents like writing poems, singing et al. Fantastic programmer himself, I remember learning a lot during our stint together in Bangalore at Truedisk in the summer of 2001.

Dr. Mrs Uma Bhattacharya (Compilers and Project Guide BE College) - She was my project guide in final year of engineering. She had an idea which I believed in and wanted to make it a success. The effort was worth it and the outcome extremely rewarding. My final year project paper on Fibre Optic Network Optimization, co-authored with her was selected for presenting at the IEEE Tencon 02 conference in Beijing. She was gracious enough to offer me the chance to go to Beijing for the presentation but I was not able to make it due to work commitments.

Mr. Dishan Kamdar (Negotiation Analysis Associate Dean ISB) - Voted the best professor at ISB in our year. And this is no mean thing when you have professors from Harvard, Kellogs, London Business School, Wharton, Insead and all. His hilarious jokes and practical examples of explaining negotiation circumstances are something each student cherished. One of the classes I would love to do all over again if I get a chance.

Parents - Finally last but not the least, I am indebted to my parents for being the best teachers for me. To be patient with me and teach me the values of life, help me with my studies, persevere though the difficult times and teach me the meaning of being successful.

I do not want to say that I am not indebted to lot of other teachers that I have learnt from over the years. This was just a small attempt to mention some of them.



Its been a hectic week at work and a hectic weekend as well. Some of you wrote to me as to why the blog has gone quiet for a while...so as another monday beckons here goes the latest post...miscellaneous

Go Carting - This was a nice experience. First time I was doing this in India having missed the great Runway9 experience at Hyderabad during my stay at ISB. The track in Bangalore is pretty small and it took me 3 laps to realize that you hardly needed the brakes. The cars were not that great and the steering wheel was a tard too hard for my comfort. Anyways it felt good to go driving after a long time. Although some random driver forced me to the tyre wall once, the drive was pretty neat otherwise.

Hard Rock Cafe - Had heard a lot about HRC Bangalore. I have been to HRC in SanFrancisco and Universal Studios but still wanted to go ahead and experience the one here. It did not disappoint. The decor is old heritage style and the HRC staff was typical HRC - flamboyant and different. Although the Saturday crowd was a bit too subdued than I expected.

Taking of Pelham123 - All you John Travolta fans out there...My suggestion go and watch this movie. It is a remake of a 1974 movie of the same name and although the movie itself is pretty average as a plot, it has rivetting performances by Travolta and Denzel Washington. John Travolta has aged but he still has the screen presence and suave style that made us love him in Pulp Fiction, Broken Arrow, Face Off, Swordfish and others.

Coast to Coast - Went to this nice restaurant in Koramangala serving Konkani food. The spcialty Chicken ghee roast and fish masala were absolutely yummy. It was worth the wait for a Sunday afternoon lunch and made me wonder at the variety of cuisines that India has to offer.

Fisichella shines at Spa - More people must have watched the Belgian GP today than otherwise with all papers carrying the Force India pole position story. While Raikkonen won, Fisichella put in a exceptionl performance to come second and carry Force India name to the F1 podium. It will be interesting to read what Vijay Mallya has to say about this achievement.

Bayern signs on Arjen Robben - Bayern pulled off a star signing and what more instant gratification than 2 goals to steamroll defending champions Wolfsburg 3:0 in the Bundesliga encounter. It will be interesting to see how Ribery and Robben combination lights up the midfield at Bayern both in League and Champions League. Fingers crossed...

So thats pretty much a round up miscellaneous post. Till next time..stay well

Child in Us

I happened to visit a family friend today and they have a baby boy all of 8 months. It is such unbelievable fun to spend time with children. Just watching them look at you and the world around them with their mystic eyes...You stop and wonder the purity in them, the innocence, the curiosity and their ability to respond to love. Andthen you think about yourself...what so many years of existence has made you. I truely believe the child in us always exists but it gets suppressed, spoilt, tormented by the big bad world.

I thought I would dedicate this post to the child in each of us. And what is better than a chant from Enigma (Lyrics below as guide).


(Sanskrit translation:
Who is of smiling face, bestower of all fortunes,
Whose hands are ready to rescue anyone from fear,
Who is adorned by various ornaments with precious stones )

Puer natus est nobis,
Et filius datus est nobis:
Cujus emperium super humerum... for to us a child is born,
(To us a son is given:
And the government will be upon his

Some day you came
And I knew you were the one
You were the rain, you were the sun
But I needed both, cause I needed you.

You were the one
I was dreaming of all my life
When it is dark you are my light
But dont forget
Whos always our guide.

It is the child in us

State-of-the-art Junk

First it was the metro tragedies and now part of the ceiling of the new swanky Delhi IGI airport terminal giving way in a rain of an hour. Some things never change. We tried to make ourselves believe that the government machinery is not equipped to deliver world class infrastructure. We needed Private Public partnership for putting us on the infrastructure superhighway. We got that but the result is out there for us to see. Maybe the infrastructure is getting built faster but the bigger question looms -Is it safer? Is it sustainable?

Actually the issue is not with the public or private. It is with basic lack of accountability. Contracts are awarded but rarely supervised effectively. Deadlines are imposed but the safety measures are blatantly ignored. The legal system is such that if you drag someone to Court it will take years and a lot of money and resources to prove the guilt. Another strange fact is that this particular incident will not get half the media attention and coverage as the fact that SRK was frisked in Newark airport due to computer based security profiling. Talk about priorities....

Anyways I do not mind paying the Rs.300 as airport development charge every time I fly through IGI or BIA or Hyderabad GMR. But when I see the actual reality of the so called "world class" infrastructure, it really pains to part with my hard earned money. I really hope that the much anticipated 2010 Commonwealth games go off without a major display of embarrassment.

And the Winners Today are...

One of the biggest things I miss out here is the availability of good movies to watch. I mean English movies you can still find if you have enough fire in you to search for the store, but world cinema? phewwww....I am a huge movie buff and when I have nothing better to do in life as is the case right now, find this rather irritating.

I really love watching world cinema and am fascinated by the way brilliant directors from diverse countries portray life, society, relationships, customs and most importantly people. The following is a non-comprehensive list of some of the best non-English movies among the long list of ones I have watched. It feels nice recollecting.....

Belle Epoque - Spanish (1992 Oscar winner Best Foreign Language film)
Romantic comedy set in 1930s and a story of a guy who falls in love with four sisters one by one before deciding whom to marry.

Kolja - Czech Republic (1996 Oscar winner Best Foreign Language film)
A touching drama which shows how the life of a middle-aged man is changed forever by a little girl. Sensitive, heartwarming.

Life is Beautiful - Italy (1998 Oscar winner Best Foreign Language film)
One of the most watched of all non-English movies this is a tale of unbelievable heroism and optimism displayed by a dad to insulate his young son from the horrors of holocaust in World War 2 Europe. Must cry movie while watching.

Amores Perros - Mexico (2000 Oscar nominee Best Foreign Language film)
This is the film on which the Mani Ratnam film Yuva is loosely based. The movie starts with an accident and shows us the lives of three protagonists from three different strata of society. Complex, superbly edited, non-linear this movie really transports one to the underbelly of life in Guadalajara, Mexico.

No Man's Land - Bosnia and Herzegovina (2001 Oscar winner Best Foreign Language film)
This is the story of 2 wounded soldiers, Bosnian and a Serb stuck in a trench in the demilitarized zone. Tragic with elements of comedy, it is a story of mental conflict, futility of war, common grounds and deep rooted will to survive.

Nowhere in Africa - Germany (2002 Oscar winner Best Foreign Language film)
This is an epic about a Jewish family who escape to Kenya from Europe to survive the onslaught by Germans during Second World War. Multiple layers of relationships, new life, twists and some sweeping landscapes of Central Africa.

Mar Adentro - Spain (2004 Oscar Winner Best Foreign Language film)
A movie which deals with the controversial topic of Euthanasia and the real life struggle of Ramon Sampedro for this right. Mind boggling performance by Javier Bardem (I became his BIG BIG fan after watching this movie) and wonderful juxtaposition of his free will and his physical disability. One scene where the camera pans from his room, through hills and mountains to the sea - the flight of fantasy of a quadriplegic Ramon is bound to bring tears.

Tsotsi - South Africa (2005 Oscar Winner Best Foreign Language film)
Set in the slums outside Johannesburg, it is the story of a small time thug who steals a car and finds a baby inside. The mental association that develops and how it plays out in his complicated life.

Talk to her - Spain (2003 Golden Globe winner Best Foreign Language film)
Another movie which deals with intricacies of relationships. It deals with intimacy, care, difficulty in communication between partners, secrets, infidelity and love under difficult circumstances. Moving performances and fantastic use of figurative. The scene where a play depicts the real life happenings in the lives of the protagonists is unforgettable.

El Crimen de Padro Amaro - Mexico (2002 Oscar nomination Best Foreign Language film)
Controversial and bold. Depicts the struggle faced by priests between faith, obedience and worldly desires.

Caveat: The above list is my personal preference and should be taken as such.

Hope - Faith

Slipping into what promises to be a very different weekend. Much different than the last one and even more different than the ones before that. Well how life can change....As the latest DOCOMO advertisement says it can literally change in a second..and I(yaah stupid me) am talking weeks...Anyways 4 lines of borrowed poetry to roundoff what has been an emotionally draining week for me...

A glimpse of what our future may hold
A beautiful story waiting to be told
Waking me in the middle of the night
Thinking of your smile my only light

- Unknown

Before I try to get some elusive sleep, here is remembering some of the best times at ISB and my close friend and fellow President Karthik whose birthday happens to be today. Happy Birthday President!!!!

Bulletin Board

If you are a software engineer who has worked in Bangalore ever in your life, you would definitely have heard of the Infosys Bulletin Board. It is the most famous collaborative platform in India (I am pretty sure about this) and can be described in a variety of ways. Its collective intelligence of 25000 smart people, collective queries of 25000 curious souls and collective creativity of 25000 geeks. So what do you do if you are confused about where to go on a weekend, how to get your form notarised, how to search for your dream life partner, how to .... OK enough lets take examples. The following are some of the discussion tracks today from the Infy BB.

Suggestions on buying a guitar
Where to take my wife to honeymoon (BTW who asks this in a public forum..well)
Remembering Rajiv Gandhi
Wishing NRN Happy Birthday
Alliance invited for a Christian Marthomite girl
Alliance invited for a Hindu Lingayat girl
126 Aircraft deal
Y is BB so quiet???

You get the point rite? Everyday at least 1000 messages are exchanged on Infy BB and trust me you will never be bored if you are surfing BB. And in between these glorious pieces of wisdom are some fantastic pieces of creative writing. Take a look at one below....Hats off to Infy BB and its contributors.

Nothing gets more exciting, thrilling and fearsome than to remain on the other side of the door of the Operation theatre, with the RED BULB on.

You guessed it right, she was expecting a baby and he was expecting news.

37 Minutes ago…..


With all the pain in her, he could see her biting her lips and he was holding her head, consoling her, telling her it’s going to be alright. He said it, but he wasn’t sure himself. He was scared. Very scared. Will she make it out of this? Will I see her again?

But he had to pretend strong, the usual way. Men’s worst fears are veiled by the pretense called courage. That’s the man’s strength and weakness.

The six feet stretcher kept streaming through that entire passage 3 metres wide. Patients, people, survivors, dead and injured all around him.

He seriously wouldn’t have expected it to happen today. The gynoec told him it was two days to go. How could she be wrong ? Blood oozing from his wife’s lips. Wipe it now? He didn’t know. These are the moments the brain fails to co-operate with the rest of the body. You know it, but can’t do anything.

She had clutched his hands too tight. He felt a heavy pain. He told himself, not worse then what she is going through.

He felt my fingers going numb. His legs kept moving in the direction of the operation theatre, His hands numb, His brain weaker, Eyes worried. But all these, his face would just not show. He kept smiling at her. It will be okay. It will be alright. He kept telling her. He repeated that again to himself.

She was looking at him. He didn’t know what was going through her mind. She continued. Was he supposed to ask her something? Does she want to say something? The noise that she let out was deafening for him.

“We are standing near the Niagara waterfalls now; the noise is so much that, even if hundred thousand motors were running, you still can’t hear them near this Waterfall… Now… Ladies, will you please be quiet so we can hear the lovely sound of the waterfall? “ ………..

His mind was racing….. A Man’s mind. Even if it is going through all pain, it still wouldn’t impede recollecting a very bad joke, from some old digest.

The white linen wrap over her was slipping; he had to hold the end of the stretcher so tight along with the bed sheet that it doesn’t slip.

His eyes quickly fell on the pretty nurse who was walking across the corridor with a tray full of strangely colored bottles. Fabulous she was. She is. She resembled his favorite actor. He remembered the day, he lied to his wife, going out with his buddies for her movie, reached around 2:00 AM in the morning, told his wife, “ Hectic day, sorry sweets…., Did you have your dinner ? “

He firmly moved his eyes off her, as she crossed the short path through the side of the flexi door to exit. He looked at the door again. She’s gone.

He could notice the drop of tears running in succession from the left corner of her eye. Her face was terrified; he could smell and sense horror. He wanted to wipe her tears, but just couldn’t. She held his right hand firm and tight. Won’t somebody help her? He looked around.

Careless attendants were walking, talking and listening to cricket scores over the small transistor radio. The attendant squealed, “S#$*! Sachin, again out on 99 ! “ , Run out !!!

He was cursing Sachin now, “How could he get so careless when he is just a run away from 1oo? “. Such irresponsibility. Who’s gonna come next? Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Pathan ? Sehwag is no use anyway…

The sound from the transistor faded now. He was staring at his sweetheart, she was still moaning. Now, he could see more blood from her lips.. Oozing. Someone, please wipe them off … His heart kept sinking. He quickly kissed her on her forehead; he didn’t know why he did that. But, he did it. She could hardly smile; she let out, a very weak and dry smile even in that terrible pain.

As he was struggling to wipe her tears, he could see one nurse piercing a needle through a hand. The syringe she withdrew now was filled with something that appeared like……. BLOOD. He saw blood trickling down the hands of the lady lying on the bed. He was about to fall, faint. He quickly withdrew consciousness.

It seemed Maroon in color, why do they call it Red Blood, then? Strange. Human mind is so fanatical. It still can afford to think ill logic in distress hours !

They were now near the door. The attendant from inside the room, made a screeching noise and opened the door. A small mouse, escaped through the door. He shockingly jumped up in the air. God, are they gonna take her inside THIS room? What was the rat running away from? Is there a CAT inside the room too? Even with seconds in his hand, before she was gone inside that room, he was searching for the cat inside.

The room inside was nauseating. Medicines, Bottles, Blood, Forceps, Scissors, Oxygen pipes and things he never saw before… Masked human beings! Does he know them? Who should he blame and curse tomorrow, if something happened today? He could hardly see them.

Yeah, I see, he told himself. One stout nurse, one slim one with a scissor in her hand, one attendant with a tray, one tall person, average height, green mask ! Ha! That’s enough! He consoled himself.

They now pushed him out of the room… “Sir, you must go now, please wait outside “, he tried to fight with them. She was now raising her head slowly and waving for him to come. The green masked person beckoned him to step closer. He ran towards the stretcher. She held his hand and he was close to her now.

He could hear her whisper. He thought he heard her say, “Don’t leave me”! What should he say now? “You stupid lady, you are the one who is in trouble, don’t you realize? “ or ……. He didn’t think any further, he kissed her again. He didn’t think at all. He didn’t say anything. He couldn’t. He had to leave. The attender now held his hand and he was out of the room.

He was pushed out. “ Hei, buddy, I am her husband !!!! “ he shouted. He shrugged. Doors closed. People in the corridor were staring at him. He could see a picture of a child hanging on the wall… one note was written on it… “ Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” !!!!!!


Seconds seemed like years.

RED BULB did not glow anymore. GREEN. He was impatient. The nurse came out and she led him inside.

What’s that pink stuff inside the white cloth next to his wife? What is it? He was restless. It moved. He was scared. He was very scared. His Wife now smiled at him.

He stepped inch on inch. He was now right next to the bed. There in the bed was the prettiest woman he had ever seen in his life and there ever could be. He never felt and saw her so beautiful. Ever. She seemed so, now.

Her left hand, gently moved over the white linen that was next to her. Nothing on this earth would have made him more heavenly than this moment. He grabbed the towel, it felt heavier now.

He saw now, crystal … IT’s a GIRL !!

What exactly happened between 9:16 and 9:53 AM?

Anything that you might want to read, will either turn out to be a spoiler or an exaggeration.

I suffer from inabilities in not being able to express the true emotions of a Father, whose heart beats for his loving wife and kid, and that of a Mother, whose feelings I cannot express.


Radio Taxi

So here goes the story....

It was just another day at work for Rakesh. He loved his job of being the driver of a radio taxi in Delhi. It gave him the financial stability, flexibility of working hours and most importantly the time to pursue his passion of playing the guitar. He was happily married with two kids and life was going pretty good.

The time that night was 11:30 AM and he was wondering if he should go home or bid for another pickup. The dashboard on his cab glowed. A trip from South Delhi to Gurgaon appeared for auction. This was not too bad and he was infact close to the pickup point. This trip would also mean he could take it off early and go for his guitar practice with his group for the upcoming performance. He pressed for the bid and yess he got it.

The pickup itself was eventful. Five people forced themselves inside the car - 3 girls and 2 guys. They were totally sloshed and told him in no uncertain terms that all five would have to be accommodated. They also offered a huge tip for the favour. Rakesh thought of objecting but then he felt it would create more of a fuss than good. It was not a battle he wanted to fight at that hour. He had seen the night life of Delhi and detested these kids of rich parents who lose control of themselves. His passengers were very loud but that did no affect Rakesh. He kept thinking of his daughter who will travel to US to study medicine. While on one hand, he was a proud father on the other hand he hated the fact that his daughter would have to go so far away from him. He always thought that daughter is his till she is married. Yaah he would find a nice guy for her and get her married in style. Lost in the thoughts he had already driven into Gurgaon.

They asked him to go from one place to another in Gurgaon to drop people off at their homes one by one and soon there were only 2 of them left. Two girls probably in their early to mid twenties. They told him the next place to drop and he heard the girl sitting in the front seat comment "What about him? He is good". The words did not register with Rakesh until 10 minutes later. The girl in the rear seat shouted all of a sudden to stop the car since she needed to have a smoke. He looked at the rear view mirror at her and what he saw shocked him. The girl had taken all her clothes off and looking straight at him. Rakesh felt his grip on the steering loosen for a second. But he recovered and said curtly that he could not stop since it was an extremely deserted place. Hearing this, both the girls got livid and told him chillingly that he has no option. Either he stops or they tear their clothes up and shout for help. Rakesh slammed the brakes hard and the Logan came to a grinding halt in the dark road. For a second it was all quiet. All he could hear was the sound of crickets.

Then one of the girls spoke up and said that he needed to satisfy them physically right then and there else they would impose rape charges on him. Rakesh could feel a chill flow down his spine. He was a righteous man and he could almost see the picture of him on the headlines next morning. How would his wife deal with it? How would his kids who loved and respected him come to terms with such a horrific allegation. His neighbours, people he knew...everything he had built up over the last 40 years of his life...all would be gone in an instant. He was just helpless...He felt two pairs of eyes glued on him as these thoughts kept spinning. He said he needed 2 mins for a phone call. And of all people he called his wife up. He explained to her the situation and pleaded her for help. Very few people would have probably called their wives but Rakesh loved his wife and she had always been the rock solid support in his life. The phone was silent for a minute and then his wife said........

That night left an indelible mark on Rakesh. The excruciating pain of doing something to save his social respect, his dignity, his family and life almost killed his sense of self-respect. He started hating himself and his self esteem went for a toss which took years to recover. His wife stood by him through the entire ordeal and was as bold and practical as she was that night. It was a trauma which even when he recounts, you can see the pain in his eyes. Today he just thinks about it and wonders where we are as a society and what values and morals parents are imparting to their kids. Were those girls not from a respectable family? They were his daughter's age for God's sake...And then again what is respectable? The only solace for him is that his son and daughter are as loving and close to family as ever.

PS: This is based on a true story


I sat at the airport feeling down. Looking out of the glass panes I could clearly see the runway. The frentic activity as the flights were being prepared for flying to their next destination. I have always been enchanted by airports. The fact that they offer the fastest form of travel between places and forms the bridge between two individuals, between friends, between families in the dispersed global world today fascinates me. It had been 4 extremely hectic days with lot happening in life. Meeting old friends,new friend, having fun, spending time with them was all wonderful. Yet I felt a strange feeling inside me. A feeling of pain...a feeling of longingness...A feeling that I dont know when I will meet them next, when I would be able to spend such wonderful times again.

Some places are special and are etched in your memories for ever. In my case the places like Oh Calcutta (Nehru Place)where I had 3 wonderful meals in 4 days, Saket Select City Walk where I spent an entire day with a friend watching movies and doing nothing, CR Park Kalibari grass lawns where I sat for close to an hour on Janmashtami evening. Every city has its charm and Delhi was no different. But I guess what makes every city special are the friends you have and the people you spend your time with. I think those special moments stay with us more than anything else. My first visit to Delhi proved to be as charming as I could possiby expect. As my Jet airways flight took off in the evening sky, I looked down at the sprawling capital city and said to myself....Adios...but I have a feeling that I will be back again soon.

Stereotypes and Getting Real

Is our life unique or is it stereotypical? This is a question that has intrigued me often. As time has elapsed, I have become more and more convinced that many of us view our lives in a stereotypical way. And its not unexplained phenomenon. It starts as early as 4 years when the child gets admitted to school. The kid is taught the rights and wrongs and also the stereotypes of the society - scoring good marks in school means intelligence, studying more means better results, parents pedigree means kids need to follow footsteps and so on and so forth. The list is endless but you get what I meant.

Then through the teens, a person starts stereotyping their personal lives. TV, movies, novels, even newspapers and friends all play an active part in shaping it up. The do and the donts...the idea of the perfect guy....the stereotype of the sensitive boyfriend. The stereotype of "being in a relation" is "cool" and those who are not being a bunch of losers. Stereotypes of "being in love"....Stereotype of the dream match....Stereotypes of the perfect guy proposing and the girl saying "Yes" with tearful eyes.

Stereotypes do not end at marriage. They are really part of us and move on along with us in each of our endeavours. But I want to just stop and ask myself. Should we really live our life within the boundaries of stereotypes? Do we want to be judgemental and anticipative influenced by our stereotypes. Do we want to perceive people, relationships based on stereotypes? Say if it says "To love someone takes 394 days 43 hours 15 minutes." Will we wait for the time to check if we love someone? "If something appears too good to be true, it is not true". Should we just believe in it or should we try to verify it ourselves? I just think that the world is a strange place inhabited by all sorts of people. And that probably makes it a more exciting place. Stereotypes are there ingrained in each of us. But it is up to us to get real. It is up to us to decide what is right, what is wrong, what is good, what is bad and what is ideal. Trust me that way this world will be a much better place for everyone.

Philosophy Revisited

Life comes a full circle. According to Hindu mythology this full cycle comes either in one lifetime or in multiple...but the fact of the matter is that it does. As I stand today at one of the most fluid phases of my life, I wonder if indeed I can see things repeating from my past...only this time circumstances and my feelings towards them is different.

Work - When I first started work after my engineering, I really did not have much to do. I remember going to work and being upset about the fact I was not contributing. Now 7 years later, faced with same situation, I know that its a temporary lull before the storm that awaits me. I left my first job in 3 months due to this frustration of not working and now I am enjoying the 3 months of honeymoon period.

Travel Abroad - Before I had travelled to US, this was definitely one of the top must-do things in my life. I craved for it and was extremely happy to have finally made the first trip in 2004. Now as I stand on the verge of filing a US visa again, I dont feel a thing. Infact I am not at all bothered by the time it will take. I am more like things will take their own time.

Personal Life - All I have to say here is that no matter how much you try to fit the wrong cap on the bottle it wont fit and jump out.Yet the right one seems to fit in quite effortlessly. Common sense but then who said that common sense is common.

Right and Wrong - This is a broad bucket under which would like to classify all my general perspectives of what I historically considered right and wrong. As days have passed, I have seen that faced with similar circumstances and issues, I am more considerate, more holistic and more insightful. I understand that a lot of times right and wrong depends on the viewpoint.And there exists a lot of issues which are in the shades of gray. Seeing life, cultures, societies and people in general helps.

Anyways enough of this philosophy - some updates from my life

ISB Alumni Meet (Bangalore Chapter) - This was really nice and happened at Geoffrey's in Bangalore. The dean had come down and it was a great opportunity to meet people from our batch as well as from earlier batches. Wonderful evening.

Phoenix - Seems this is the place where I might have to relocate. Having flown through Sky Harbor International multiple times, I liked looking at the sight of the imposing city on the northern fringes of the Great Sonoran desert when the flight takes a sweeping turn before landing. Now the feeling of having to stay where the average temperature is more than 40 degrees in the summers is slowly sinking in.

Infosys - A lot of debate as to whether the CISF commando deployment at Infy campus was a step in the right direction. Whether a company should pay for security from the government when it should be the duty of the state. I agree with concerns from many corners that many of the smaller companies would not be in a position to afford this security cover. But one needs to be cognizant of the fact that with the law prohibiting non-government forces from operating any automatic weapons, the private security is reduced to sitting ducks if a horrible attack does happen. With around 20,000 people in the picturesque campus in Bangalore, Infy is the showcase of the might of Indian IT and this deployment will go a long way to send a positive signal to clients and businesses across the world that India Inc is protected.

A New Generation

Over the last 5-7 years this phenomenon has evolved. The IT outsourcing boom picked up and it transported a huge number of middle class Indians to the shores of developed countries and moreso the United States of America. Young programmers in their mid 20s awestruck in a new country. They travel in groups, save money by staying dime a dozen together and then come back home "Phoren - returned" after a year or two. Then its the turn to get married and back they go to US on another assignment. And it is here the phenomenon starts.

The US as a country has a policy that any child born in the United States can opt to have US citizenship. Over the last 7 years or so there has been an explosion in the number of kids born to Indian parents in US who now by virtue of their birth are US citizens.And these are not people who have been staying there for ages. These are people who are on short 1-2 year assignments.

Wat is in a passport some might say. Well a lot. It can change your outlook, the way you experience life and even the ease with which you can travel. So anyways back to these kids. I trully wonder where a few years from now each school in India will carry different sections for these kids. International school is an option but I do not believe that all parents would be able to afford one. I also try to wonder the mindset of these kids. Will they resent being in India due to their parents? Will they grow up knowing they may have an easy passage to US or will they slog it out for precious scare resources(read IIT / IIM etc) like an ordinary Indian kid? Will they really have an advantage of the US passport 20 years from now? Maybe today's developing world will be where the opportuitites are... I do not know the answers. I just hope these parents maintain their sanity and bring up these kids with care and help shape their lives in a proper way.

The Other Murthy

Disclaimer: The following is from an article published online in 2004 which I happened to come across.

December 1992. It was snowing hard in Boston. The man stepped off the plane and made his way to a small hotel. He had a year to prove himself in this foreign land. "It was the first time I had seen snow in my life. The first few days were tough. They had nothing vegetarian. I was eating pasta three times a day. I was fed up. I decided I had to go to a McDonald's," says Phaneesh Murthy. It had been snowing all through the week. So he just decided to wade through the slush and reach the nearest McDonald's. "But they didn't have anything vegetarian either. I was freezing so I sat there and drank three hot chocolates and munched on a few packets of French fries. It felt good. Here I was in America and I was in McDonald's. The American journey had started," he says.

For the next decade it would be a ride without any punctuation. And then in June 2002, the American journey came to a sudden full stop. Accused of sexual harassment of his executive assistant, Reka Maximovitch, Phaneesh Murthy would be dragged into courts. He would stand accused of suppressing facts, misrepresenting them to the board and, as a former colleague points out, "guilty of a serious error in judgement". Rather than choose to fight, he would agree to a $3-million payout to Ms Maximovitch. Phaneesh denies being a party to the settlement, but Infosys Technologies says the exact opposite. With the Karmic wheel in complete spin, the price would be dear - loss of job and definitely some reputation.

Cast down from nine circles of heaven into purgatory, he would wander looking for a fresh start. He would find temporary relief in Quintant, a consulting outfit. He would raise $30 million ($15 million was actually invested) before his funding agency, the Rs 2,500-crore GMR Group, a successful investor in ING Vysya with large interests in power, decided to pull the plug. GMR says it wanted to invest in its power business. But there is talk of Phaneesh being unable to get the revenues and business, and his investors getting impatient. Without the redoubtable army of developers, Phaneesh would be forced to abandon the fresh start and allow himself to be courted as CEO of software company iGate. Life would slowly slip back into the familiar. The future looking more like a linear extrapolation of the past, Phaneesh Murthy would wake up from a new dream into an old reality. But what matters is that it's real.

He is ready to float once more.

Phaneesh Murthy is sliding across the globe. He's dropped off the 30th parallel into Singapore. A week later he has tumbled down the E151 longitude into the Kangaroo land. It's late at night in Sydney but he's still trying to keep his antennae up. "I know what you are trying to say... but that's not the incident which fits. Let me think.... Hmm... hmm.... Okay, here's what is interesting and this happened while I was at IIM...," he says. That's when it strikes you. Phaneesh Murthy is a modem. No, no, don't go away; this is serious stuff. Think about it. In much the same way a modem screeches, whines and wails as it tries to match its thoughts with the other modem at the far end of the line, Phaneesh keeps rummaging, shuffling and hunting through analogies, metaphors and incidents to help you 'prove' your point. "I don't think the physics teacher example really demonstrates the point about 'my persuasive powers'. I'll give you another example." And off he goes again. It is a glimpse into the mind of a man who claims he scaled up Infosys sales from $2 million to $700 million. (Never use this line when talking to Infosys - it infuriates them to no end.) He has to do it all over again now.

Phaneesh has been on the road travelling to various iGate offices. "It's been gruelling," he says. "The passion level is high but we still have to do a lot of hard work before we realise value from that passion." That's as much an admission as a confession from the man, who, even close associates say, never had to try too hard to make things happen. This time it is different. He doesn't have as disciplined a cadre as he had at Infosys. He does not have as charismatic and far-sighted a guru as N.R. Narayana Murthy ('NRN') to open doors. Neither does he have as capable a strategist as Nandan Nilekani. "Sometimes I wonder if it was all a fluke. I really want to test myself again," he told a friend recently, referring to his innings at Infosys. The innings was not supposed to end the way it did.

It wasn't even supposed to begin that way. Phaneesh wanted to study medicine. But, instead, listened to his father, appeared for the IIT JEE, got a 132 all-India rank and did the obvious: joined. The IIT years were pretty uneventful otherwise. Phaneesh recollects that at IIT he was quite a "vela character".

In 1985, when Phaneesh finished his Bachelor's, he heard the song of the medicine man once more. "This time I took the test for medical schools in the US and applied to the Top 5 schools," he says. Harvard made him an offer with financial aid. Once again his father asked him to wait a while. He took the CAT and was selected to IIM-Ahmedabad. His ability to think big started right there. "Once we were trying to raise funds for an event and we had kept the sponsorship price at Rs 5,000. I said let's take it to Rs 10,000, and it worked," he says.When he left IIM-A, FMCG was big. The Nirma versus Hindustan Lever battle was drawing to a close; most people from the top of the class headed for a Lever or a Britannia. Phaneesh made the first unconventional decision of his life. He chose Sonata Software, a start-up in a tiny industry. To put things in perspective, TCS, a $1-billion company today, had a turnover of $15 million in 1987. "I did not find soaps intellectually stimulating. I wanted to do product management. In soaps or industrial products, most of the product definition is rarely changed. In software, you can use the customer feedback to improve the product," says Phaneesh. In Sonata, he also started on his first Mission Impossible. Design and sell a software for the Indian market. All the heroics were in vain though. The Indian IT industry was undergoing a disruptive change.

TCS started the offshore business model in mainframes in 1989. Soon Indian firms figured that a dollar was 17 times better than a rupee. Phaneesh realised the domestic software industry would not go anywhere. Indians could not take advantage of great products as they were just not ready for automation.

And then, in 1991, India Today carried an advertisement.The India Today AdvertisementIt was a two-page recruitment advertisement for a company called Infosys. There was a small line at the end of the ad: "We also need a marketing manager for the US. Should be willing to relocate and travel extensively." The position did not require major qualifications. "I said this is a company that needs some serious marketing help. For every other post advertised they had at least a paragraph of qualifications!" Phaneesh hit it off with Nandan. And then the turn came to meet NRN, who would be his mentor, guide and, ultimately, his judge.

NRN thought Phaneesh couldn't do the job. Phaneesh did not smoke, drink or eat meat; NRN thought he would not last. But he liked the fact that Phaneesh was a numbers-driven, facts-oriented marketing guy. The deal was done. But before that, a target had to be set. Nandan, domestic business head Vijay Kumar and Phaneesh sat down to set one for the first year. "I told $1 million," Phaneesh says. Why? "Because it was a nice number!" Nandan agreed. Infosys' turnover was about $2 million then. Vijay Kumar was bewildered and asked Nandan: "Aren't you going to ask him how he will get $1 million?" And Nandan replied: "That's his problem. If he wants help, he will ask." Phaneesh was told that he had one year to show results.

Coming To America

His first negotiations were anti-climactic. He was dealing with Apple Computers. "When I went back with the contract I found the entire team... on the deal had been sacked. I admired them. They (knew) it not personal, not stigmatic. It happened and you moved on," he says.The years after 1992 saw a huge acceleration in IT offshoring. "We were getting so much work that when I bagged a huge order somebody said 'Shit! That means we will have to work more'," says Phaneesh. The big break came in 1994. Infosys was pitching to Nordstrom for a sale order management system. "I studied all the literature and approached the CIO. They liked the proposal but thought we were not familiar with the US market and so, gave us the merchandising system to develop." It was Infosys' first-ever million-dollar contract.

That is also when Phaneesh started building up the sales organisation. His rules were simple: agree on certain things - like not signing unlimited liability clauses, deciding on targets - and you have a free hand. That was the only one way to handle the salesforce and the bigger accounts that Infosys was trying to bag. "I met Phaneesh on his return trips to India every three months. He would be full of questions: How's so-and-so? Where have you been recently? What's the feedback on that firm? He remembered everything you told him," says T.G. Ramesh, founder, Bangalore Labs, who now works with Phaneesh.

The sales team grew after 1994 and threw up stars like Basab Pradhan, Srinjay Sengupta and Shobha Meera. "He created the 'two cultures' of Infosys. The process-driven, conservative software developers... (and) his team that was answerable only to the board," says a source in Infosys. Phaneesh feels it was more the customer-facing culture that he developed. "I believe people who interact with the customers should drive the organisation. As for a free hand - the only way you get high performance is if, after an initial watch period, you give a high degree of autonomy.

In 1996, that point was proved. For the first time Infosys went head-to-head with a formidable consulting firm - Cambridge Technology Partners (CTP). The contract was for about $9 million. CTP bid $8 million. Phaneesh and his team's math: total cost, including profits, of $4 million. The majority was for quoting this price. The sales team figured it would be a mistake: the client would think they had no idea of the project's complexity. So the team doubled the bid to $8 million. Infosys got the project. It was a crossing of the Rubicon. Infosys could beat the heavy guns at their own game.

Such victories made the man who was once a doubting Thomas, a believer. NRN became like a father to Phaneesh. Phaneesh had been a Maths Olympiad top scorer; NRN loved to communicate in mathspeak. "You could be discussing at a dinner table and these guys would start. It would begin with problems and degenerate into discussing the greatest mathematician of all times," says a person who was at one such dinner. The relationship grew till Phaneesh broke the inverted first law of robotics: "A human may not injure a machine, or, through inaction, allow a machine to come to harm." That machine was Infosys. Phaneesh had already met Reka Maximovitch. "He tried to hurt the company. He tried to hurt Infosys," says a person who knows NRN really well.

Phaneesh had one last victory. He says he won the $37-million Greenpoint deal for Progeon. But the stories of his power within Infosys, his conduct, his putting the firm at grave risk, grew and grew. And on 23 July 2002, Phaneesh resigned. Some say he was "de-risked".

Is there something in the last two years that Phaneesh would have wanted to change? "That's a very open question. But tell you what - to go back and study medicine; that's what I want."

The Road Not Taken

I remember the poem below by Robert Frost which we read when we were in Class 6 or 7.

The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I am not sure inspite of writing an examination, we could do justice to the true meaning of this poem at that age. The inherent insights, implications and how it reflects in each of our lives probably can be felt much later when we are older and have been through many such divergent forks in our journey of life.

Choices we make are extremely important in life and most of the times there is no going back. We end up having to select between family, job, place, person and what not. There is no answer of how to select one over the other. I believe that you should act in a way which will have give you peace of mind that you followed your convictions, values and your beliefs, whatever be the outcome later.


It was a nice Friday night dinner. A bunch of friends from ISB met at an Afghani restaurant called Samarkand, one of the better rated restaurants in Bangalore. The ambiance was nice and so was the food and we soon got talking over some nice starters and a wonderful drink called Angoori Nasha. But the first thing that struck all of us in the first 10 minutes of our discussion was the fact that all of us miss ISB.

ISB was everything a dream life can have. A group of very bright individuals and their families as friends. A gated community offering California lifestyle shielding us from the horrors of daily life. Wonderful stimulating discussions on all topics under the sun. Working your *** off till wee hours of the morning. Then sleepwalking to class and dozing off in a jiffy. Sharing the fun and the pain of everyday life with your friends and peers. And lastly the most awesome parties ever.

ISB parties are the single biggest phenomenon I miss now. There is no better fun than working hard and playing hard. Letting your hair down with a few drinks and then swaying with some wonderful music by DJ Ananth . And for grabbing a quick rest there was the grass banks by the dance floor which got renamed to the Great Wall of Bengal. And then there were themed parties... The rain dance parties with water sprinklers in the mirror pool and live chaat counters, the Bollywood theme party, pyjama party, section parties and the awesome Holi celebration. Thinking about each of them makes me sad and I long for those amazing times to get back. Here after ISB, I have not partied for ages.

Actually part of it also has to do with the company. Many of my friends have got married and I don't know why but their party appetite has now dropped to ZERO. Anyways for the friends who are still interested, I think we need to explore some nice places for partying in Bangalore. Although Bangalore nightlife gets over by 11 PM due to government restriction, its still better than nothing. I think over the last year at ISB, we used to frequent almost all the discs and nightclubs in Hyderabad in addition all the premium restaurants. And look at us now. We are not students anymore and earning now but our "quality of life" has degraded. Something needs to be done about this. I am serious.

The Dream Machine

Its been more than 1.5 years since I have last driven. It is the single most thing I miss ever since I moved back to India. These days looking at a nice car on the road makes me jealous and I crave to own one. But then I remember the traffic here and my heart sinks. I don't know how to drive here in India and I don't think I want to learn as well. I feel driving here most of the time is a big big hassle.

Anyways enough of India bashing. This post is not about that. It is also about affordability of a good car. The nice cars in India are very costly compared to what you earn here. Let us take a example, a brand new Honda Civic in USA would cost you around 20000 USD, which is roughly 1/4 th of the annual salary of a middle class person. Here the same car would cost around 12 lakhs which would be 80%the total annal salary of similar people. See the difference!!!!

I always loved BMW. Even though I have driven a Merc, BMW is just differen than others. Any of you BMW fans out there, please search for BMW films in Youtube and watch them. They are awesome. It was BMW's classic campaign to improve brand awareness and create well defined customer segments and is now a Harvard Business Case study. All the films are 5-6 minutes long and are directed by some of Hollywood's best directors.

Here is to the car I aspire to own when I relocate to USA- The BMW 328i. Wish me luck !!!


Its strange how predictable life becomes when we start working. In my 1 year at ISB, everyday was different. Waking up in the morning after barely sleeping for 5 hours, I used to wonder what the day has in store. Now it is definitely not the same. Mondays to Fridays, I definitely know how the day will pan out. Weekends are similar as well with more sleep and occasional movies and a dinner out with friends. Sometimes I feel it is fine and this is how life is supposed to be. But there are times when I want something different. Something to break the shackles of this routine. I guess these are the hallmarks of a Sagittarius man and more so ME.

This week, finally got allocated to business units after being dumped with loads and loads of information about the company. But on the lighter side got allocated to Manufacturing BU after having an experience of close to 5.5 years in Media and Entertainment. But then as they say, sales is sales and a true salesman can succeed anywhere. In spite of a wish deep down to go to Europe, I would be required to take a permanent transfer to US by the end of this year. [Sigh] I guess vacationing to Europe is the only way out. But in hindsight, maybe US is not a bad option. I know my way around after having been there for close to 4 years and most importantly Indians are accepted easily unlike countries like France or Germany. Once we go to our units from next week, the picture would be clearer regarding actual responsibilities and specifics of the location.

On a personal front, the week was eventful though. Attended the wedding of a good friend of mine in Bangalore and happened to meet two of my school buddies there after 13 years. It was so good. I think we strike up a bond with school friends the best coz even after 13 years of not seeing each other, we got along just perfectly fine. The weddings also make me realize that with every passing day I am being reduced to a minority group called "bachelors". So when people come asking my standard response is "I cannot get married whenever I want. I need a willing girl as well ". So much so for the curious folks in India who will go to depths of questioning about your personal life. Anyways changing topics, yesterday evening also happened to watch the movie The Hangover. It is one kick ass hilarious movie. I laughed so much after a long long time. Although it can be a bit loud for some, its definitely the kind of movie you should watch on a Friday after a strenuous week of work. So there it is... Saturday morning now and I am already looking forward to the predictable weekend.

Taare Zameen Par

It was very humbling experience I had today. As part of the orientation program, today we spent the whole day with an NGO which works with mentally challenged children in Bangalore. The world today is complex and each of us get so entangled and deep rooted in our own personal and professional aspirations that we fail to see that in our same world there exist people who are not as gifted as we are. Even things like logical reasoning, ability to do basic day to day activities and looking at world like we see can be a challenge to many. We tend to feel that our life is somehow insulated from theirs and we have nothing to do with them. Just because they are not our friends or families or acquaintances, we can easily distance ourselves. The same feeling that goes through us when a small child comes knocking on your car door at a traffic signal or when we see homeless people lying on the pavement.

After having spent more than 6 hours playing with these children and trying to understand them, I felt that how even small commitments from people in the society like us can go a long way in making their lives so much better. And believe me it is not the money donation. I think the most valuable gift that one can give is time. It is strange that when we left the place today, each of us realized that we could definitely engage in someway with organizations like these and try to do our bit for the society. However I am equally sure that these feelings would not translate to any action. Most of us would start to live our lives again and start running after material happiness, earning lots of money and being "successful". On our way back one of my colleagues said that he was not sure whether those kids in the school were mentally challenged or we who try to act indifferently are the actually challenged ones. I agree.

Over the course of the day I was overwhelmed to see the innocent joy in the kids and the instant bond they strike up with you. They learnt from us, played with us, and even performed choreographed dance. And to top everything they so easily trusted us. Strange is life....Here is someone who can trust you in an interaction of hours yet wen it comes to us we fail to trust people we have known for years. Anyways I don't know if these strong feelings of mine are going to get drowned in the din of competition, glitter of material gains and inferno of ambitions. Only time will tell.

Relationship Skills - Professional or Personal

The other day we happened to undergo a leadership training at work regarding Relationship Skills. Well I know what you are thinking...I thought of the same thing...IS this something that you can teach?? Anyways but due credit to the facilitator and the content, there was indeed some takeaways. Most importantly some concrete ways of gauging and measuring your professional relationships. So going out with your client for golf and beer are not valid indictors of how deep your relationship runs..So this structured approach to thinking can help decide your course of action and take steps t improve if needed...Fair enough and hopefully I will be able to keep this at the back of my head when I move to US or Europe in the next 6 months.

But the moot point which got me thinking later was whether inherent relationship building skills have any correlation with professional relationships. So for example if someone is essentially good with relations, does that mean he will be a good client handler or vice versa? I don't know the answer but then I heard the story where in many management consulting firms, people verify how successful you are in your personal family life before thay make you partner...Hmm maybe then there is indeed some correlation. Well as of now, I will have to wait and see how life pans out for me and people I know both professionally and personally. I think it will help me develop my own hypothesis around this.

Bangalore Update 2

Well finally.....I got my laptop and am back online....phew...checking mails from iPod touch for the last 2 weeks was a real pain in the neck. Anyways from now on I intend to be regular in blogging. Man it feels nice!!!!

Last weekend was eventful. Had a sumptuous lunch at Oh Calcutta with my school friends and on Sunday a couple of my ISB mates led by MB called me over for a wonderful English breakfast with sausages, ham, scrambled eggs, toast, fresh cut fruits and cold coffee. Yummy to say the least. Anyways we also happened to watch a hindi movie called 99. Not great but it was good fun and a good thing to watch without taxing your brain at all.

Work now has settled into a routine. Getting used to waking up at 6:00 AM and sitting through a lot of information dump. Anyways life is not perfect and working never was meant for enjoyment. The only variation was last week Mysore off site. It was a nice trip for a couple of days. The Mysore campus is just awesome and it really blows you away by the sheer size and scale of it. And it is not that I have not seen the world and have not been to good campuses. Apart from the team building activities during the day, one of the best bonding sessions was when we hit a pub called The Road. The place was nice and the decor reminded me of Pulp Fiction since the similar open cars and bikes were part of the seating area. After a couple of drinks we hit the dance floor and had a lot of fun with some House music and on my request we played the Official ISB anthem "My dream is to fly so high..." Remembered the awesome parties we used to have at ISB. Miss them and miss the wonderful set of friends I had. Anyways can't wait for Solstice when I can be back on campus again.

Bangalore weather is really wonderful. I am really in love with it, especially after having faced the sultry heat of Kolkata summer. No wonder people hate moving once they have settled here. So it goes into my list of probable places to settle down when I decide to. Ok 2 more days and another weekend beckons. Once you have got over Wednesday, the mind fills up with renewed hope of another memorable weekend. Till then Ciao....

Bangalore Update - 1

It has been such a long time since I have been online....Lot happened. Came to a new city, joined work after a break of more than a year, started looking for a place to stay and so on and so forth. But the good thing is that the first week has been pretty exciting so far. Met a number of extremely intelligent guys in my program from the best B schools of the country, enjoyed the company accomodation, watched Manchester United get ripped apart by Barcelona and most importantly got a place to stay. Good start it seems. Although much of this was due to providence, I guess I was due for some good luck for a long time.

The place is pretty nice, both my apartment as well as the city in general. Coming from the torrid heat of Kolkata probably added to its charm. Anyways more on the city and the new life later. I am yet to get my laptop and hence would be pretty infrequent on the net. For the first time in more than 1.5 years I am beginning to get what I call Sunday evening syndrome. The symptoms being depression, restlessness, longing and just plain disappointment that the weekend is over. So with tomorrow begins another week of struggle and survival.

New Trendz

These days one trip out of home and you can get to see the broad spectrum of life in India and also catch a glimpse of the so called affluent shining India society at large. I mean the beggars still roam the streets, shanties are abound next to sky scrapers and people still sleep on pavements. But that has not changed. I have seen all of that as I grew up. Some things really do not change. But what has changed drastically is the outlook of the burgeoning middleclass. Some examples?

Dress - One visit to the shopping malls and you have everything from girls wearing revealing tank tops, short skirts, tight slacks, low cut jeans and guys sporting ponytails, earrings and colored streaked hair. Man I feel so back dated and out of place...I can see the generation gap widening :(

Food - More and more people have switched to having sausages and sandwiches for breakfast instead of luchis or bread toast. Lunches typically are at work and dinners are mostly eating outs. Eating fruits are no longer fashionable and so instead of having mango people drink Tropicana Mango and instead of peeling and having leechies, people are having Tropicana Leechie Twirl. Fish is getting morphed with people having fillets instead of pieces. Everyone hate biting the corn and instead microwave the Act II popcorn. Even typical restaurants are out of vogue and in is the Pizza Huts and KFC.

Habits - Increasingly people have become bold. Public displays of affection are common and couple no longer have to resort to unlit street corners and shady parks. OH before I forget the trend I HAVE to mention. People moving around in crowded buses, trains, clinging to autos but with the earplugs on listening to music. This craze of listening to music while negotiating the mad traffic, crossing roads, getting tossed on a bus really amazes me. I just get anxious about the safety hazard it brings along. Well that is young India!!

There is more but my mom is waiting for me to take a shower so that we all can have lunch. Anyways, one small disclaimer before I end. I merely described the changes that I have observed and this is not a criticism against the practices. The debate about decency, safety, practicality, progressiveness is best left for another day and another post.

Hypocrisy = Complexity

I do not like hypocrisy...I never liked it. I mean call a spade a spade...why hide it? Yet people take resort to this time and again. Only it results in complications, heartburn, disappointments and frustration.

The other day I had been to Mumbai and happened to listen to one of my childhood friend's story. He was on the verge of getting married when his fiancee and her parents decided that she could not move out of Kolkata and relocate to Mumbai since it would mean that she would have to give up her job. My friend had been dating this girl for 7 years and although she had urged him to move to Kol had never ruled out the fact that she would relocate. My friend tried. But the opportunity he got in Mumbai was much better and hence he took it up and relocated to Mumbai from Hyderabad. Little did he know that this would come back to haunt him. So in front of both parents, the girl's dad says that the marriage needs to be put on hold till both of them decide on the location issue.

When you knew everything over the last few years what were they thinking? And if it was something they knew all along why did they not have the courage to just call it off earlier when his family and relatives were not involved. Some would say, why does the girl need to sacrifice and relocate? I agree... Why should she? But then there were other alternatives. She could have made it clear that there is no point going forward unless the location thing is sorted out. Or better she could have moved to Mumbai and tried to get something for herself. The problem is that people want everything to come on a platter. It is a daunting proposition to jump into uncertainties and then figure out the best way. No one wants to get their hands dirty. Anyways that is entirely a personal prerogative and if place is indeed more important that the person why try to project otherwise? It is much better for everyone if this piece of truth is spelt out.

Anyways people say life is complicated. However time and again I want to disagree. It is as complex as we make it to be. And hypocrisy really adds to this complexity.


He had the ball on his feet and with the goalkeeper beaten, a sure goal was in the offing. Yet he failed to do it and the costly mistake came back to haunt his team as Barcelona equalized in the second minute of extra time and went on to the Champions League final on 27th May. For those of you who saw the match know I am talking of Didier Drogba. A character who I always thought of as a maverick genius but I was wrong. His behaviour with the referee proved that he is an actor and a person devoid of integrity of character. He played to the camera to atone for his earlier mistakes on the pitch.

The Barcelona Chelsea match was one of the best champions league matches I have watched in a long time. I have immense respect for Guus Hiddink as a coach and I have no doubts that Chelsea approached the game with the perfect strategy. They infact went ahead to a wonder strike from Essien but Drogba failed to kill the match and wasted two glorious opportunities. I like Barca, I really do and one must admire their unrelenting energy and inventive football. But it is just that I felt that tactically Chelsea had done enough to mow down Barca. Anyways thanks to Iniesta (one of the best midfielders rite now) Barca find themselves having a shot at Manchester United in Rome.

Football has it all. It is just a reflection of real life. Probably that is the reason why it is so popular worldwide. So for Chelsea its a case of so near yet so far and the story of missed chances and what ifs...[sigh] [sigh]. The picture of a young supporter crying his lungs out clinging to his dad said it all. Heartbreak... :)

Mumbai Diary

Mumbai trip had been fantastic. Met my ISB buddies and more importantly met some childhood and school friends after ages (read 10 years). Visiting mumbai on a long weekend also meant that I did not face any of the horror traffics that Mumbai is infamous for. I wanted to visit this place for long and it feels nice to be here. Went out to gateway of India, saw the Taj Mahal hotel (even more famous after 26/11 terror attack) and chatted away to glory for close to 5 hours on marine drive. Saw the sun set on the Arabian sea and had a wonderful dinner at Jazz by the bay.

I also ventured out on the Mumbai local train to visit my schoolfriend in Vashi. It was a real fun get together and resulted in 2 of my friends deciding to skip work yesterday and just enjoy at home. Everything was ust perfect until 10:40 PM last night.

I saw it happening as if in slow motion. The car came speeding from the left and we were on a collision course with it. The driver of our auto braked and turned right to avoid a direct impact and the centrifugal force was too much for it. It toppled scratched on the road and came to a stop. I was the first to come out of it and people came rushing in. Luckily neither my friend nor myself seemed to be critically injured. First we thought of going to the hospital but then decided to go home and then assess the damage. So here I am with pain in my left shoulder, a bump on my forehead and a cut in my left leg. I hope it is not too bad given that I can move my hand and there is not much swelling. But the pain indicates, I might have injured a muscle or two. Maybe I will go vist the doctor tomorrow morning after landing in kolkata just as a precaution. Anyways the only silver lining to the whole thing is that things could have been worse.

Well what can I say...bad things happen. Destiny I guess....Anyways I have some pics from the trip which I will post once I get home. Ciao