Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Tail of Three Patils

While the National Security Guards, the Armymen, Home Guards, Navy and Mumbai police were all fighting tooth and nail with the terrorists in Mumbai,  Mrs. Pratibha Patil , our President and the Supreme Commander of our Armed Forces sent her moist condolences from her holiday trip in Hanoi. It would have got over at some point or the other of course so why bother to be back and be with the countrymen in moments of such crisis. 

Mr. Shivraj Patil, perhaps the greatest Union Home Minister, the country has ever seen was utterly frustrated that the terrorists had left without even saying goodbye to him. He could have taught them a lesson or two in probably changing nappies, a job he is doing so well for this country.

Mr. R.R. Patil, the Deputy Chief Minister of the state of Maharashtra is ecstatic that only 200 people managed to die at the hands of the terrorists when they had actually come to take down 5000. Wow...And in true Bollywood style he summed up the whole episode  saying  'Bade Bade desho me aise chote chote batein hoti rehte hain'....

If humanity was up for sale somewhere, I would give up all my savings to buy these people some of it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Can I borrow a spine for my country ?

As I sit and watch the horror being enacted in Mumbai, I just cringe at the fact that our lives have become a matter of chance now and we might as well add death due to terrorism as a natural cause of death in India.
People have died with no reason to die and predictably all my Prime Minister says is that he strongly condemns the attacks. There is again no conviction in his voice, there is no sense of direction or semblance of leadership in such an hour of crisis when people are frantically searching for some ray of hope.

The visuals seem to have been lifted from some commando video game but the only difference is that the blood is real.

Will we ever strike back or should we follow Gandhian principles of holding up the other cheek to be slapped ?
Unfortunately, there remain no cheeks even to be slapped, we have been slapped again and again and again and we have condemned again and again and again.
The impotence and spinelessness of our reactions makes me boil with rage, but hey we should act with restraint and maintain calm for we are Indians and are renowned for our level of tolerance.

Is this the same country where people shook off the clutches of a 200 year old foreign rule? I just sit back and wonder what has happened to that grit and resolve of this country where people are being butchered at will and random and we just resume our lives the next day with a hackneyed reference to the 'undying spirit' !!

When do we think it would be enough ? How many more need to die for us to realise that we have reached the dead end of tolerance? These attacks are not just taking innocent lives, they are sucking away the self respect of a nation and I as a citizen of this once great nation hope that the powers-that-be for once take some steps which would instill a fear among such perpetrators, a fear so strong that should chill the marrow of these inhumans at the very thought of raising a finger against the nation.

I hope and just hope .....
I pray for the families of all those killed in this gruesome act of terror and salute those brave individuals who are risking and many losing their lives in their continuing efforts to cleanse the scum which has maligned our self esteem like never before.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Elusive Degree

Engineering introduces a grave many bugs in one's system and I had no vaccinations that would have saved me from my share. While some of these are of the type which sit on your head for a short time, fiddle around with your un-shampooed matted hair, realize the hopelessness of what lies underneath and then move on for more fertile pastures, some on the other hand, merrily outlive their stay and keep gnawing away till they hit the soft spot.

One of the most potent and destructive of all bugs and one which has often found mention in this under-nourished blog is the viral thought of pursuing a post graduate degree in business management. With a heavy heart today, I confess that I am suffering from the dreaded disease of MAIDS or "MBA Aspiration Immuno Deficiency Syndrome".

(Please note that sympathies would only be accepted in cash or online transfers)

I had the first attack around the final year of engineering, a time which is normal for this virus to strike engineering colleges and thus I did not take it seriously enough. Little did I know that this virus was as destructive as diabetes and you need to continuously monitor your pee.

This reminds me of one very stinky anecdote from my childhood. Excuse me for this slight digress but I have to share this. When I was a kid of around 6 or 7, there were some very bright young individuals in my neighborhood who had brilliant ideas about everything in life and regularly used to catch up on their intellectual discourses over borrowed cigarettes and udhar-ka-chai. Somehow most of these discussions were related to 'female upliftment'. Such visionary people they were and they were never reluctant to share and spread their knowledge. I came to know from them that a person suffering from diabetes pees multicoloured. Red, Green, Blue, name it and a diabetic can pee that colour for you. This was fascinating information for me. To my luck there was a cranky old fella living just next door to us who had diabetes and for quite some time thereafter, as soon as I would hear his bathroom door opening, I would rush to the nearby open drain to catch the colour of this leak. I would sometimes shout "Gimme Red" or "Gimme Magenta" under his bathroom window and man did the Oldy go bonkers hearing it!! Heee hee hee ...still makes me howl with laughter.
Its a pathetic and an utterly gross story isn't it ? I know..I know....

Anyway coming back to my own illness, I wished to share with you all that I got a severe bout of the attack around June this year and under the severe influence of the virus, I took the GMAT examination.

One would have thought that the worse was over.
Lessons in underestimation were given a new chapter following the ordeal that I went through in the months to follow.
Slowly and steadily, the will of the virus began to take a firm grip on my intellect as I saw myself helplessly applying for the one year MBA courses at IIM Calcutta, IIM Ahmedabad and ISB Hyderabad.

The application process is a devil in disguise and while you write the essays and keep iterating them, you can feel the devil making inroads through your brain as answers to questions like "Why do you want to do an MBA from this college?" which a healthy person would have easily answered "Obviously for the hot moolah your passouts rake in" are now answered as...."I am looking forward to this course to get an overall picture of the various aspects involved in senior management levels and the course structure of the executive degree in your college has just the right diversity that could impart me knowledge on the crucial aspects of business management. This I believe would equip me with the expertise and edge required to succeed in my chosen career." ..Blah ..blah ...and then some more blah......Can you beat this ?

But I did not have the bodily strength to fight back as I patiently sat and wrote all the essays. ISB had one particularly interesting essay which needed me to write an election speech for the post of the president of their student body. While I was actually thinking of proposing Free Beer and Lowering the number of required credits to pass the year,I ended up writing about the need of social entrepreneurship.

IIM Ahmedabad was the most benevolent of the trio as it let me off without even bothering to shortlist me for the interviews and thus saving me from wasting a lot of productive man-hours. Not so in the case of IIM Calcutta and ISB who even after reading my essays did not get a clear picture of the immense pain that I was going through and shortlisted me for their interview process.

The suffering was soon to scale new heights. But I will not make you dear readers go through the Ram Kahani. To cut a long story short, I have been rejected by both the institutions.

This last prolonged attack has left me exhausted but I am sure that the bug will not lie down for long enough. It will soon strike back with renewed enthusiasm and this time it will go global for the Round II applications for National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University are still open and I am yet to find an antidote for this yearning to be a manager.

Failures are the stepping stones to they say. I have a strong suspicion that the engineer who is designing my steps had spent a considerable time studying when in college.
The resuls are for all to see.....

A piece of advice to him....."Mate, Please unlearn fast and get your act right"......

Till then Cheersa !!