Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Man's Journey Through HelL - I

This is the first part. I do understand that there may well be certain points that may not be understood due to this having been written originally for circulation within the class itself, but I have attempted to edit those parts and make them more comprehensible. The spellings at points are moulded to fit the pronunciation and give some kind of an idea... but if there are bits that need clarification, please feel free to drop a comment and I shall attempt to clear things up, as it were...


A Beginning

He glanced out of his window. Aaah! This was what he’d dreamt of…well, maybe not exactly, because there were A, B and C to consider, but Hell, L is L…or Hell? Haha. Nice thing the seniors had coined there. He smiled in amusement as the taxi continued down the road to the Institute…

He had drifted away now. “Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you our new CEO”, he dreamt. “A star performer throughout, I am sure he will give a new direction..” Whoa! What direction was the taxi taking? Oops. It was a milkman. Riding his bicycle down the wrong side of the road. The cabbie merely cursed and drove on, while the milkman let out a stream of expletives and waved his hand at the cab… Wow! But then again, he was headed towards his dream…no milkman was going to spoil this day…and he returned to his reverie…

The induction passed off really fast. Two days of a variety of professors speaking about a variety of what seemed mainly like bullshit…but there were some stunners. Like a professor who said they would have a problem placing the entire batch and that GPAs would be important and that we needed to study rather than just pass. Bah, humbug! We all know this is an IIM. Heck, he was gonna get into an I-Bank…once again the dream set in…

The air of expectancy in the class was palpable. First lecture. Wow! He was on the path to Morgan Stanley…as were the rest of the 50 in the class. The door opened…and in walked, well, what seemed like a prof!! heck, not quite what he had expected in terms of personality or presence, but Hell, never judge a book by it’s cover…”Ledeej and gentlemen, I am here to teach you…Laa”. Oops. The pause between the “you” and the “Laa” was filled by a slow smile that spread across the little guy’s face, a smile that seemed to be born out of some orgasmic pleasure he was deriving, while salivating over the “laa”…

He woke up at the end of the Law class just in time for the attendance…whoa! When had he drifted off? That too in the first ever lecture. He swore to himself and decided not to drift away again. Hmmm…little did he know what awaited him a couple of hours later…

The Communications class passed really coolly. As expected actually. The professor was good and the class was one where there really wasn’t much to do. He quite enjoyed that, as he did the next class, which was the Quant lecture. The professor had been praised to the skies by the senior batch and he certainly did live up to his billing…


The Warm-up Ends

As they strolled in from the break after the Quant class, the class eagerly awaited the next prof. It was going to be the first Fin lecture for most of those in the class, and like all aspirants, this lot was also intent on doing Fin as a specialization. To Hell with all that the seniors were saying about it being “not worth the effort” and all that crap. Heck! This is where the money is!!!! Little did they realize what they were to be treated to…

“Hello franeds, I am going to be teaching you Manazement Accounting. In fact, Manazement Accounting is very different from Financial Accounting, because in fact, Manazement Accounting will concentrate on the Manazement aspects of accounting, whereas in fact, you will find that in fact, Financial Accounting does not concentrate on these aspects. And in fact, you will see that your textbook is called Financial Accounting, but in fact, what we are doing is not Financial Accounting but Manazement Accounting…” Considering that the author of the textbook in question was teaching the other two sections, this speech left quite a funny taste in the mouth of the students… If only they had known what was to follow.

The next few days saw some really stunning speeches and pearls of wisdom from the professors. Like one who went, “And behavhiul in olganijachhuns is quite diffelent flom olganijachhunal behaviul”. Another stunner was the IT professor who told them that “Yes…SAN (Storage Area Network) is fast, but it is too expensive. So people use tape drives instead. Huh???? Any IT guy knows that SANs and NASs are used for storing data that needs to be retrieved immediately while tapes are used for backup… Chuck it!!! Every institute probably had them he thought…

By the end of the first week, the “Laa” prof was recognised as, well, funny but good. Someone who at least knew his subject well and who was passionate about it…as shown by that smile ;-)…and this was more than you could say for a few others…

The Quant prof was amazing. A real pro. Never a minute late…he knew exactly what he was doing and the class followed him…most of the time… Rumour had it that he earned six-figure sums for Consultancy each year. No one was really surprised to hear that. Communication, well, what is there to dislike about a course like that? And the prof was decent so that was fine…The Eco prof did provide some entertainment. But he was decent too.

Finance now, THAT was something else! “See, in fact most of you must be scared what is a belence sheet. In fact there is nothing to really worry about in a belence sheet. In fact, in finance you need to remember only one thing. In fact when you were in school in fact, at some time you would have done a march past. In that you go left-right, left-right. In fact in finance you only have to remember that debit is left and credit is right. In fact, after this class when you would be going to the mess, don’t say left-right, left-right. Say debit-credit, debit-credit. That way in fact you would be always knowing that debit is left and credit is right.” Wow!!!!!

That wasn’t all though…there was more to follow. “And in fact, these rules of accounting are not formal rules. In fact these are more like guidelines that have been followed and in fact, they are followed by everyone so we are also following these guidelines. But in fact, if you want to do things differently you are free to do them differently, but in fact, in that case, you would be having to travel with your books.” After he had said this the fifth time, even the comic effect was lost. It was becoming excruciating to listen to him. Ah well, at least the quizzes he was setting were ridiculously simple. There were some good things, or were there???

“In fact, there is no benchmark as such for the value of this ratio, but you can say that ideally this ratio should be between 2.5 and 3, but in fact there is no real benchmark value except that it should be between 2.5 and 3.” Statements like this truly baffled most of the class. And of course comments like, “I am here to make you commandoes of Accounting.” Sure, nice going Colonel!

The IT prof was also becoming a pain. Like the time he asked the class to do breathing exercises in class and talked about yoga for 45 minutes. And of course, the statements from the Behaviour in Organizations class. “Aj a mattel of phact, you whill phind that in an olganijachhun, iph a leadal ij naat stlaang, the olganijachhun whill be suphelling.” Jeez, the only thing that seemed to be suffering right now was the class. Add to this misery, the fact that the profs, sadists that they were, were not too sympathetic towards people sleeping in class and you had quite a heady mix.

The mid-terms came and went in a blur. All too soon, almost. The IT paper was a nightmare. Quant was cool, as was Communication. Economics was a mystery to be honest. No one really knew what had to be done, so everyone “globed” (essentially wrote anything they could think of about the topic of the question, leaving it to the mercy of the prof to decide what was relevant and what was not). BIO was a mini-disaster. An objective HR paper where the prof expects you to quote the textbook verbatim makes for a disaster, specially when the syllabus spans something like 600 pages…worse was the fact that the paper was essentially a “globe” paper, but the prof wanted specific answers…quite baffling. But then again, this was the dream and HR really didn't figure in dreams about I-Banking after all :-D

Communications and IT, being half-unit courses ended with the mid-terms and Operations-I began. And it brought with it one of the best profs of the Institute. Folklore has it that he is the best Ops prof across India, and I don’t think anyone who has learnt from him will dispute it. THIS was what everyone had expected from an IIM, and now finally they were getting it. He had no “personality” as such, in terms of physical appearance, nor a vocabulary that floored people (although it was excellent nonetheless), not even a baritone voice (although one that did have quite an effect and did capture attention) and glib talk. It was all substance. He was the best prof most people had ever studied under. A pity that the course lasted only half a term (15 lectures).

As the term drew towards closure, the Accounting prof just was not able to contain himself. He had decided that he would leave an ever-lasting impression in the minds of his students. He had decided that he needed to kill forever any inclination they may have had towards Finance. “In fact, you must be wondering in fact why debit is left and credit is right (Oh no! Not again!!!). In fact, even I wondered many times. Then I realised that in fact maybe the person who made this system was in the army and was used to doing march-past. So he made debit on left and credit on right. Or in fact then I thought that it could also be that he was living somewhere near a parade-ground in fact and he would have been hearing the march-past and liking the sound, so in fact he put debit on left and credit on right.” By this time, some students had become so shameless in their lack of interest, that they were openly sleeping in class. This statement actually managed to wake up some of them, such was the extent of what things had descended to.

When the term ended, there was not a single student who was NOT looking forward to the week-long break. Yes, a week was short, but everyone, without exception needed time to recuperate from the massacre of the expectations and the assault of the inanity that had been Term 1.

14 comments:

surya said...

nice read...

On a serious note...Expectations always make life miserable....most of the problems we face today in any walk of life are caused by these "expectations"...especially those presumed ones....

Who cares wat they teach at a B-School?? it is the placement that matters..

StupendousMan said...

well! we've had our share of funny profs and funnier classes... i distinctly remember the fin prof, during his accounts classes, dictating the last line of each problem as 'you are kindly re-kwesheted to prepare....'... And he used to also go, 'What is the paa-paas (purpose) of capital structure blah blah'. Man. for the amount of digs we take at our profs, we deserve to go to hell.. forget placements, as surya just said...
nice post.

Darth Midnightmare said...

@Surya: Serious note noted. Expectations...true...that is what the cracks were about at the beginning... :-)

@Stupendous Man: Oh yes indeedy! The cracks on the profs are really infinite...like the prof who went "Iph a reesaaarch question is not quantitative...iph is is not quantitative, then...then it is saamtheeng aather than quantitative...Gandhi himself would have had a wisecrack to offer I am sure :D

But in the next few instalments, you'll find the infamous "Mike's theory of relativity as applied to women on campus", the "IIML Legend of Snow White and the more-than-seven dwarves" etc as well, in addition to the prof-baiting ;-)...

Oh and if anyone here is from L, please keep the trap shut really tight about the names involved... :-). I know it's folklore, but only in the class...or at max on campus...

Abhi said...

HaHa.This was good mike , real good.And I could almost touch the cloud of deja vu hanging over my head.And now I will shake out of that cloud and get back to my brand management notes.you see , itt ijj my eggjaam tumharrow.Keep em coming man , I am hooked !

luke said...

that izz hilarious .....waiting for the snow white and more than seven dwarfs taht sounds intersting ...

DJK said...

At college, we had a prof like your Finance professor who used to say, "like" at the beginning end and middle of all sentences. So to keep myself awake, I used to draw tally bars for every *like* he said. At the end the semester, I had to pay a fine for defacing the complete bench with nothing but tallys.

Vidhi said...

it was good fun to read this post! mazaa aagaya! i was laughing for a good 5 mins over that debit-credit issue! :))

btw, i read on angel's blog that u r from BITS, Ranchi...can u tell me u were there in which years?!

Darth Midnightmare said...

@Jughead: Thanks mate... ATB for the paper... I have that paper 2 days from now :-(... And yes, I think the second one will be slightly better ;-) (even thought I say so myself ;-) )

@luke: Thanks. Those will follow...this is the build-up of Term-I after all. Those insights came with time :D

@djk: Was saving that for later, but here you are. The record for the "in-fact" count stands at 143 in 90 minutes...beat that if you can :D

@Vidhi: Thanks. nice to know you had a good laugh :D. As for my stint at BITS, was there from 1998-2002...any particular point of interest? ;-)

inverted moron said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
inverted moron said...

Yeh dude...that's the whole irony.While we guys surely have a proven criteria (read CAT) to get thru,whether these chaps have any, I seriously doubt.

Zarine said...

I envy ya...atleast u were up and got to listen to hilarious stuff like this.I'd simply doze off :((..Save for the OB class,where accd. to the Prof. nothing mattered except 'Perception'. As a subj rep, he'd keep asking me,"Jaareen, what is the kilaas's perception abaat the subject?" Argh.

By the end of the term we all knew the key to scoring. Yes,it was the word 'Perception' in every sentence ;).

Darth Midnightmare said...

@IM: True...I wonder how many of them would clear CAT actually :-). Can't think of that many...then again, there are some that make up for the others :D

@Zarine: The idea of making a series of this kind was always on my mind, so I ensured that I was awake for a few classes and got some fodder. The rest was gathered from friends...and of course, through an imagination as fertile as any you can imagine...and I do pity the CRs in courses like that :D

Vishy said...

lovely !

just one point. the fraud called HR does count for ibanking. HR grades --> CGPA --> Ibanking

Darth Midnightmare said...

@Vishy: Who knew that in Term-1??? :-)