Monday, October 29, 2007

Thank God It's Over... Or is It?

So the F1 season is over on the track, but not yet decided. Appropriate really, given the way the season has, literally and figuratively, unravelled. It should not really surprise anyone that McLaren has chosen to appeal the Stewards’ decision in the final race of the season and much though I wish I could deride the team for this, I really can’t find any logical reason to do so.

To recap – I love doing this – it all started in fairytale fashion for Raikkonen. Pole and victory in the first race was really the stuff that dreams were made of for him. Hamilton though, caught the eye as a driver for the future, or so at least, one thought, given the presence of double World Champion Alonso in the same team. The race while uneventful, had huge ramifications off the track.

This was the race when McLaren showed it’s possession of confidential Ferrari data when the team reported the movable floor device on the scarlet cars. It led to a modification and clarification of the rules and Ferrari and a number of teams had to change their floor design. While this is not a generally well-known fact (thanks to the amazingly biased British media) McLaren too was one of the teams that modified the floor design on the cars.

Without wasting too much time on race results, it suffices to say that McLaren and Hamilton were on the ascendant after Australia while Kimi suffered his usual luck with technical glitches and retirement. He as well as Alonso though, started facing something that neither was used to viz, team-mates who were outpacing them! Massa overtook Kimi in the standings and Alonso found himself trailing Hamilton. That of course was where the similarity ended as Alonso promptly threw all his toys out of the pram while Kimi chose to get along with racing. Not, mind you, that he is ever the most expressive, but surely the contrast is worth noting.

Ferrari continued to be dogged with reliability issues and also lacked speed on certain circuits (Monaco and Canada spring to mind as does Indianapolis) and both the team and their drivers slipped off the pace in the Championship tables but something else overshadowed all of this – Stepneygate of course. The spy scandal seems simple enough for all those that care to see it without wearing rose-tinted glasses.

McLaren as a team was in possession of confidential Ferrari data which they used to garner an unfair advantage. Let’s face it. Set-ups and fuel levels combined with pit-stop schedules are just about as good as information can get when you’re racing each other. McLaren therefore benefited as the team had not just these pieces of information, but also design details as well detailed information regarding the weight distribution of the cars.

This was where the FIA began shooting itself in both feet with a shotgun. The initial decision that held McLaren guilty of unsporting conduct but let the team off for “lack of sufficient evidence”, was farcical to say the very least. After all, how can the team be guilty if there is no evidence? And in the face of the evidence, how can there not be sufficient evidence to penalise the team when there is sufficient evidence to pronounce the team guilty?

Then of course, things got even worse. Mad Max shot his mouth off in the Press and went to the Court of Appeals which quite rightly held McLaren guilty and imposed a massive fine and also disqualified the team from the Constructors’ Championship. Now, McLaren’s decision to not appeal this vindicated the decision and showed that the team was only too aware of its guilt, but here too, the FIA goofed up. They decided to let the McLaren drivers retain their points saying that they could not be punished for the team’s crimes. This just increased the farcical nature of the judgment.

Can anyone really say after the e-mail transcripts that Alonso was not aware of the truth?
Can anyone say that Alonso or Hamilton turned in evidence thereby getting under the ambit of that exemption that the FIA promised the team members that did so?
Can anyone say that the team did not derive any advantage on the track from the knowledge that they had?

The answer to all these is an obvious no, so it’s quite clear that the FIA and Formula1 clearly had the commercial side of things in mind when reaching this decision. After all, the audience does not really care too much about the Constructors’ Championship. Most watch F1 for the Drivers’ Championship and this was the closest race in decades. So, the show went on and finished so memorably in Brazil of course. All done? Not quite…

McLaren has chosen to appeal the stewards’ decision to not strip the Williams and BMW drivers of their points. While this may seem like a childish and churlish response to Kimi winning what many see as a deserved Championship, one needs to look at this from the other perspective also. After all, what if this had been the first race of the season or the fifth for that matter; essentially any but the last. Would people still be accusing McLaren of being sore losers? I think not.

Also, once again, are the FIA and Formula1 administration just brushing things under the carpet to just bring an already chaotic and controversy-marred season to an end? How can the Stewards not have evidence in this matter? It is the simple matter of measuring temperatures! Surely in a sport as highly technologically advanced as Formula1 there can’t be too much doubt about temperatures! There are clear rules governing this aspect of the sport and like it or not, if a team breaks those rules, there needs to be a punishment.

Saying that a team should not be punished or should not appeal the lack of punishment in the last race is like giving the entire field a license to cheat in the last race of the season. Surely an avoidable scenario, this. The tragedy of the entire affair is that these drivers would very likely have finished ahead of Hamilton regardless and the result would still have been Kimi winning what I too regard as a deserved title, but that does not, sadly, change the facts.

My opinion? Well, the FIA would do well to take actions similar to the ones when meting out punishment to the McLaren team. Penalise the team the positions and let the drivers retain their places. It matches the amazing let-off the McLaren drivers had and also lets the season standing stay intact. Still, I regard this as a sad state of affairs in the sport. How can a team be guilty of benefiting from unfair methods and their drivers be let-off? A bad precedent to set for future seasons, but the FIA has only itself to blame for this situation today.

It’s the fans who lose in this, once again. F1 has lost a lot of credibility in this season. While the close race for the WDC kept the viewers tuned in despite the retirement of F1’s greatest driver ever, the off-track shenanigans have stunk to the high Heavens and barring another close season, F1 seems destined to lose fans whichever way the November 15th hearing goes.

The appeal can be summed up in Heidfeld’s latest quote, “We were not illegal, because we were not punished”, he has said. Quite. Just like the McLaren drivers then. “We were not illegal because we were not punished. Out cars may have been illegal (since they were punished) but hey, what do the cars have to do with our racing?” Ironic…

A last word on Alonso. One can’t help but feel that while he deserves a lot of the vilification he has had to endure, a lot of it has been undue. After all, he has indeed been the driving force behind the McLaren being a fast car this season and his contribution to Lewis’ success can also not be overlooked. Just look at what happened to Lewis when Alonso stopped sharing his set-up data! Out went the toys from the Lewis pram then… And remember too, that while signing him up, Dennis could scarcely have told him that he would be in the same team as a British driver who would be favoured by the team. Forget the British media and look back to Dennis’ statement about how “we were not racing Kimi. Our race was with Alonso”, and ask yourself if you would like being in a team that was literally fighting against you.

Alonso and Ron really do deserve each other in that sense. Both are childish and churlish and love throwing their toys out of the pram and wailing to the world about perceived atrocities against them…

The man who shone the most – apart from Kimi – this season? Undoubtedly Felipe Massa. Barring some reliability issues, he too would surely have been in the mix come Sao Paolo and one should not overlook the fact that for a significant portion of this season, he was ahead of Kimi in the standings. Surely a driver to look out for in 2008…

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Beautiful Game...

Every once in a while, I start looking in a slightly more kindly way upon the Arses from London, yep, the ones managed by the aptly named Arse-ne Wenger (euphemism for Whinger). This season was one of those occasions. With them having got rid of the worst footballer I can recall – the Simian Ape ‘Terry’ Henry also known as ‘The Bottler’, ‘The Knob’, ‘The Excuse’, ‘The Invisible Man’ and ‘The Twat’ – I stopped detesting them as I used to and still believe that they have a good team of youngsters who can do better than they have done in the past.

The problem though, as always, is that the moment one starts thinking of them in a nicer way, their supporters – appropriately named the ‘Gooners’ and as big a bunch of Arses as you could ever hope to see – go and start crowing so loudly that you immediately see them for the Arses they truly are (and will always be, it seems). Take the last round of European games for example.

Arsenal beat a sorry Slavia Prague side (yes, I too asked that, “Slavia who???”) by 7 goals. Now, of course, the London-based press and every Arse fan in the world (yep, you can actually count them. Small club, after all...) are proclaiming them as the greatest team ever ever ever and are waxing lyrical about how this is a game that nobody will ever forget etc etc and how it’s one of the greatest football games ever ever ever… You get the picture.

Remember though, that this is the same side that crashed out against a woeful PSV side last season (which in turn lost to Liverpuddle, thereby giving you some idea of how poor they were to have lost to even that bunch of tossers). Man United of course, were busy thrashing a flying AS Roma with a 7-1 win!!! Why didn’t one hear the same strains at that time? Errr… Big club, big ambitions. We (United fans) knew that there’s nothing to these wins unless you go all the way and win the Cup. We didn’t. End of matter.

Bottomline? Well, a small club like Arsenal will always search for these rare wins to crow about (remember how they went on after beating Inter in that fluke?) while for a big club, these are routine matters. Like Real beating Barca 5-3, United thrashing Arsenal (at Highbury at that) 6-1 and so on… Hardly worth one’s while to get worked up about these things…

On the English League front, things are interesting albeit predictable. The Bin Dippers (Liverpuddle, in case you didn’t know that already) are of course on their patented path downhill. With a manager like Rifle Bunny-Toes, they really do need Clattenburg in 'charge' (though you could be excused for thinking that the ref at Goodison was someone in a red shirt) of their games. Can’t see them making the UEFA Cup spots without him to be honest. I mean, when you play Stevie Wonder as your midfield lynchpin, you don’t really give yourself much of a chance…

Chelsea, well, can’t see them going on a sustained title charge. Ten Cate will help them for sure, but there’s only so much he can do. They’ll still do well though. Lampard may be a real knob as a bloke, but regardless of what the press tell you, he’s better than Liverpuddle’s Stevie Wonder. He and Drogba along with Malouda should ensure that Chelsea finish in the top 4 at least.

Arsenal? Well, surprisingly, they are my pick for second spot. With 'puddle being as woeful as they are and Chelsea lacking the inspiration of Mourinho – and facing the spectre of the prolonged absence of Drogba and co for the ANC – they really just need to ensure that they don’t slip up too often to ensure that they finish clear of ‘puddle, Chelsea and the rest.

Manchester City are actually my pick for cracking into the Top 4. They have a class manager in Sven. I said it all along that the British Press really did not know what they were saying when they slagged off Sven. Bottom line is that he is a class manager who led a below-average bunch of over-hyped and overpaid inflated egos (the England squad) to greater success (the QFs) than they deserved and only really lost out when their ineptitude really couldn’t be masked tactically (in a penalty shoot-out, there’s really not much the manager can do if the players insist on shanking!!!). At City, he has got some excellent players in via transfers (Elano for buy of the season so far, anyone?) and has some good names coming through the ranks (Johnson has been phenomenal for them). With Sven at the helm and no European distractions, City could surprise a lot of people…specially with the implosion at Chelsea and the downward spiral of the Scum from Merseyside.

Manchester United now. They’re my pick for champions and I’m not just saying that as a fan. They have battled - and are still battling – a huge injury list from the start of the season and are still flying high and with the goals now beginning to flow, they are looking like an irresistible force: the only glimpse of class in the mediocrity that characterizes the Premier League. Their demolition of Villa (who have been good under MON) was just another performance that speaks of a growing assurance. Anderson and Nani have settled in well and while they are far from the finished product yet, they are still superior to what their opponents have to offer (the likes of Stevie Wonder, Alonso and company). With Hargreaves, Neville, Saha and co yet to return to action, United can only get better. Their clash with the Arse at Ashburton 'Grave' (I'll really miss the 'Highbury Library' chants...) should be a real test of an under-strength United team, but should they win that one, people will be forgiven for thinking that they will stroll to the title.

The relegation battle seems simple too really. Derby are certainly heading down I’d say and Bolton too. Bolton had a chance till a few days ago, but with Megson tipped to take charge there, there is no way they are staying up. I only wonder whether Anelka will move on in January or wait till the summer. For the third relegation spot, well, much as I’d love to say Fulham or ‘boro, I think it’ll be Wigan. They sorely lack any sort of quality and to top it off have an inept manager (Bramble for England? What???). Sunderland have a squad that really should never have made it to the Premiership and a squad that could so easily have gone down immediately, but I rather think that Keane will save them. He’s proven to be an astute and capable manager and I think he’ll literally drag the Black Cats to survival. It will be a lot tougher for him though if Jones gets injured…

My tips overall then?

1. Manchester United
2. Arsenal
3. Chelsea
4. Man City (How I hate to say this... Must wash my tongue...)


18. Wigan
19. Bolton
20. Derby

So there! Oh and yeah. Disclaimer: I can’t be held liable for any money anyone loses due to gambling on my predictions. I also refuse to be held liable for any notional losses people may sustain for not gambling on my predictions based on this disclaimer. Now go ahead and bet. Till I return with something on the sumptuous La Liga then, cheerio!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Wet Knickers and Chysanthemums...

Was directed by Father Murgi – Priest of the Wastrels (Sri Murgi Vella Swamy) to his latest blog post about, yes, you guessed it, his love for his name and the varied mutations it has undergone at the hands of the followers of the Dark Side, such as…well, such as everyone who knows him frankly. Which self-respecting bloke could ever resist having a crack at a name like that after all?

Not that I have been exempt from ‘name woes’, mind you. My surname is given to easy mutation and the worst of it is that the mutation – and there is basically just one – is never creative! It is simply, well, there! Anyway, I still think I get off quite lightly. After all, being a guy, there are far worse things that can happen to you than being called a woman’s undergarment! But there were so many poor souls who really had no such luck either…

Parents, you see, have this great yearning to name their children in the image of either what they truly love most… Or what they believe their children should be like…

And then of course, there are those who want their children to be advertisements of their own prowess at…well…child-bearing I suppose… The Goans and Mallus were quite exceptional in these fields I found out when in school. For all you Gults out there who complain about your names being the directions to reach your great-grandfathers’ birthplaces, imagine living with the names below. At least you chaps get away with initials!

Cinderella D’Costa: I don’t know if she slept in the cinders, but I assure you that she was constantly and cruelly assured that she looked as if she did…

Whiskey Chacko: With an elder sister named Brandy (spelt with a ‘y’), what chance was there of this being an accident? (All puns and insinuations fully intended)

Conception Dias: What did I say about the kid being an advertisement?

Aashik Pinto: Didn’t help having all those Hindi movie titles. Couldn’t have helped him with the women either. “Hi! I’m Aashik…”

Koshy Kosky Koshy and also Varghese Varghese… Do I really need to state the issues here?

Then of course, there are those names where you really can’t tell the name. I remember this chap introducing himself to my manager at an earlier organization I worked with…

“Sir, my name is Dixit Roy Mahidhara”
“Oh! So, don’t mind my asking, but is your surname Roy? Or Dixit?”
“Sir, my surname is Mahidhara…”

Not that initials always help of course. There was the curious fate of the man with an initial at the end of a perfectly normal-sounding name. Shrikant Kiran… How unfortunate then to have an initial ‘D’ appended to the end of that name… I wonder though, if it was merely evidence that someone in his family had a particularly sadistic sense of humour… As anyone can see, the most common question among people who knew him was, “Well then, who is Shrikant?” So much for being a Gult who did not have a roadmap substitute for his name…

Then of course, there was this chappie in my college called Pradeep Singh Brar. At the ‘Senior Hunt’, the clue for his name read, “His name is Deep; preceded by a Pra and succeeded by a Bra”. Ouch… Being a Punju didn’t help with the Pra bit either I guess…

I fail to understand though why people can’t be more considerate with their kids’ names. I mean, just lay off, please! You name us and that’s the beginning of the end. What about the fact that the kid is the one that labours through life carrying that insane burden? Imagine going through life with a name like one of those mentioned above.

I know that there’s nothing really that one can do with the surname, but surely you can be careful with the name you curse the kid with! I mean, Father Moogooran, Lord of the Wastrels, may have grown to love his name over time, but how can one live with being called Conception? Or, well, having your name denote your belonging to the oldest profession?

I know that people think the names are beautiful, but hey, if you’re toying with the idea of naming your kid Chunamani, please do think again. I know that the Southies think it’s an exquisite name, but for just a moment, think of what that name’s going to become on the playgrounds…

I swear I know a chap called ‘Virgil’. I mean, puh-leeze! Ban that name already. Others include ‘Chastity’ and ‘Purity’. Not to mention that I have heard of (not met, but heard of from a very reliable source) a person called…wait for it… Immaculate… Sigh… I wonder… Do they have a chance? (at whatever your twisted mind deems it fit for them to have a chance at ;-) )

Then of course, there is the matter of the part of the name that the parents really can’t do anything about. Like that prof who entered our class in junior college and sternly informed us that she didn’t like her name being ‘mutilated’. Unfortunately, turning Gulanikar to Geela knicker did not really involve any genius… Sigh…

And then there was the sad case of the guy named ‘Bhaiya’. Of all the luck he had…

So the next time you think of complaining that your name makes you the Lord of Wastrels or sounds like a roadmap, pause a tad and think of what could have been… As they say, ‘a chrysanthemum by any other name would be easier to spell…’

Friday, June 22, 2007

Of Vince's Death And Clients' Breath

“Dude, Vince McMahon died dude. Did you see that? Bad dude…”

Huh? I mean, like, WHAT? Now I really have seen it all. The chappie who said that stuff to me was a 29 year old Engineer. Heck, he refused to believe me when I told him that the WWE was all fake. He actually believes that the little twit John Cena really does all that stuff and that the Undertaker really is what they show him to be and all that… And there I was thinking that guys learn about the WWE being fake about a year before they’re told that Santa Claus doesn’t exist… Just shows you how much I overestimate the IQs of my fellow humans…

Well anyway, this incident – happened yesterday in case you are wondering – prompted me to look back upon some of the time I have been working and recall all the stuff I have been forced to listen to over the past year that has been at such a level. Surprisingly, I find that there is an over-abundance of riches in this regard and that’s what has prompted me to jot them down here. The intent, quite honestly, is not to get a laugh, but to record these here and be able to read them later and laugh rather than bang my head against the walls and tear my already thinning hair out… Oh and yeah, none of this is doctored… It’s all written verbatim.

During client interactions:

V: M, in this field on this screen where it asks me to enter the coupon number, can I enter alphabets instead?
Me: No V. As it says there, you need to enter a number.
V: OK. But is it case-sensitive?

V: M, how could you miss out this feature in your design yaar?
Me: Miss out? You never asked for that at all!
V: Oh come on M. If I am expected to tell you everything I want, then what are you here for?

V: But M, while I acknowledge that you are right, I can’t accept what you are saying.
Me: But V, someone here needs to be logical!!!
V: Yes. But I can’t be.

Me: See, compare the Parent and Child Items given here with the values for the Child and Parent given in the other place and if they match then blah blah…
(2 weeks later, in the middle of chaotic scenes where the stuff is just not working)
Me: But what the Hell? Isn’t it made as I said?
R: Yes, I matched the Parent here with the Child there and the Child here with the Parent there…
Me: Yeah, sue me for thinking you were higher than 1 on the IQ scale…

Me: V, you said that this was what was needed last week! Now how on Earth can you ask for something completely different???
V: M, don’t talk about last week yaar. I forget things after 4-5 days… Just go by what I tell you… That’s all…

V: Guys, but why has work on Phase 2 not started?
C: Because work on Phase 1 is not yet complete.
V: That’s ok yaar… Just make Phase 1 later. Right now ,just make Phase 2 properly…

V: M, is that document complete?
Me: Eh? How can it be? I don’t yet have any of the detailed process parameters you are supposed to give me… What will the input parameters be?
V: Actually, we are not aware of the input parameters right now…
Me: Hmm… OK… And what is the output required?
V: That we shall decide next week… But please design the process flow for the system by tomorrow…

At a client meeting:

A: Hmmm… So, from the BCS side, M will be handling this. Who will handle this from our side?
V: (raising hand) Me! I’ll take care of it!
A: OK. Now, in the next two weeks we’ll need you to prepare the initial documentation with M and then taking M’s inputs, you will need to make the presentation for the SMC.
V: Yes… Yes… Will do.
A: So, can we set the presentation date as being two weeks from today?
V: Yes. Absolutely! One thing though, from tomorrow, I am going on leave for 3 weeks…

Yeah, I swear these incidents really have happened. No kidding. Then of course, there are the delightful exhibitions of intellect that I endured in my classroom sessions in college that I have detailed. And what can one say about the experiences I have documented in my Mars posts? All in all, I think I can deem myself to be fairly fortunate going by the share of hilarious experiences that life has hurled my way… Like this one at the Airtel showroom the other day:

Me: I’m having a problem paying my bill online.
Rep: Oh sir! (sorrowful expression) Sir, may I ask what the problem is?
Me: I’m unable to login. It tells me to reset my password and says that the new password will be SMSed to me, but I never receive the SMS!
Rep: Oh sir! So sorry sir. Sir, then, can I ask you to please login using your password and then lodge a complaint online?

Or a great bank:

Me: I need to
Rep: Oh sir. Sir, for this you need to have your PAN number associated with your account and that is not done as of now.
Me: Oh! Can you do it right now then?
Rep: No sir. For that you need to use the online banking facility.
Me: Ah! OK. Now, I have forgotten my password for that.
Rep: No problem sir. You can apply to reset it and we will mail you the new password within 5 working days...
Me: Mail me for an online thing? Damn! I need this urgently. Can’t I get it faster?
Rep: Yes sir. You can visit the nearest branch and request them. Then they will complete the task…
Me: And how long will that take? It's faster you said. So will it be reflected immediately?
Rep: No sir. Not immediately, but it will be done within 7-10 working days…

And a classic from the client to close:

V: M, yaar, don't say that this is not within the scope and it's impossible and all yaar. I am also human yaar. I also breathe. So, think of that and try to help me and do this not for my sake but for that sake...

Yep. Thanks guys… It’s been a pleasure…

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Man's Journey Through HelL - VI

“See, in fact, depending on the method you use in fact, your calculation can give you different answers for the same numerical”, spewed the emaciated Wall Street wannabe. Strange though this would undoubtedly have sounded to him before he had entered the hallowed campus, by this time, he had been rendered immune to such hilarities and he barely paused in mid-snore as these words whizzed past his barely-conscious brain. It was the last class before the mid-terms and all he could think of was just what he would write in that endemic irrelevance of his campus, called the ‘Feedback Form’. Comments like “In Term1 he merely shredded my interest in Finance…in Term3, he truly massacred the remnants…” were rife in that, but everyone knew that it was merely more fodder for the shredder… Ah well, how the cynical had fallen…

The first lecture after the mid-terms was decidedly different though. It was, all of a sudden as if everyone had returned to that bright-eyed and wide-eyed attention of Term1 and then some. As the Hunchback of Notre Campus entered the class, so too, it seemed, did the Angel of Doom, for there descended upon the room a deathly silence and upon the faces of the students, a pallor that matched. Reputations, they say, precede one and for this Quasimodo, the reputation was that the deformities that mattered were hardly those that were apparent to the eye…

“Understanding? Or confusing?” he sneered from the elevated platform, gazing upon an offender who had dared to lower her eyes to her notebook for a second. “That’s an F for sure,” whispered someone. Not surprisingly, the lady in question happened to score a very respectable B, but the very fact that this happening was not surprising is the beginning of the mystery and enigma that is called Baba. Rumour of course was very inaccurate about him, citing reasons like mental instability and a deep-seated sadism coupled with a lack of understanding of basic statistical rules. The deep and dark truth was actually quite different. Hunchie, it was ultimately discovered, took all the uncorrected answer sheets and stood at the bottom of the staircase of the Faculty Block. Then, at the stroke of midnight of the first full-moon night in March, he took the name of Devi…oops, Satan (That was the beginning of Devil, you dim-dums, before you get any ideas), swigged a double scotch, slit a rooster’s neck and tossed all the answer sheets high up in the air. Then, depending on which stair the sheets landed on, he awarded grades… Marking was then completed by him to ensure that the results were fair…

This of course was all very fine with the mid-graders as suddenly a chappie with only a D and an F to show for his first two attempts at Statistics, landed up being the topper, while of course, J Pappoo ended up with a remarkable D…although the Math Olympic Gold Medalist topped him as well…with an F. 29 Fs, 17Ds and no A+s or As…now THAT’s what constituted a REAL normal curve… It was only now that the people of the class began to understand the true depth of that seemingly innocuous question that someone had asked in Term1 (“But why do we use the same normal curve for all the questions???”). Here, at long last, was evidence… They didn’t… Normal is as normal does, it would seem, eh?

All, of course, was not dark and morbid in these days. The college fest had been and gone and had been quite spectacular in terms of the spectacle it provided…depending of course on how much you cared for it… The inauguration had set the tone really, when the opening address began with the immortal quote, “I welcome you to IIML, the best B-school in Lucknow…” Thereafter of course, the fest followed this honest tone, with an introduction going, “I would like to welcome Mr. S Raha, the Chairman of IOCL”. “Psst…sir, that’s ONGC!!!” went an usher… “Yeah, yeah, same thing” announced the illustrious speaker. These two, quite sadly, formed the acmes of the fest…along with the amusing reality that the website that carried the fest’s name, seemed to be a gay porn site… Ah well, the effects of being late with registering an oh-so-creative name…

For the remainder of course, the term ‘drogged’ on and enthusiasm ‘dropped’ just like the ‘drog and drop’ that they were subjected to in the classroom… The bright spot of course was that the Fin Prof had changed after the mids and they now had a Bong who seemed at least, to be aware of what he taught. The fires in their Financial bellies now had a new vigour…until that fateful day… “Too-day, bhee will laarn the Oraan-gootaan thyo-raam. There was an experiment in bheech there was waan team of phinaancial ex-paarts and the aather team was sitting with an oraan-gootaan and a dart-board with stock names written on it. The phinancial ex-paarts made and aapdated their portfolio on phinancial principles and the aather team invested on the stocks that the oraan-gootaan’s darts were hitting. Aapter three years, there was a dipherence of .25% in the retaarns…”

It was fairly raining Bongs of course…what with their penchant for the Methodolgy of Research… “Iph a paarticular question is not quaaanteetative…” went this one, “than it eez saamthing aather than quaaanteetative.” It was just the orgasmic smile on his face that prevented the brighter sparks from perhaps pointing out to him that this may actually not be as big a revelation as he believed it to be. Not, of course, that it made any difference in the bigger scheme of things, but these brighter sparks always seem to be on the lookout for things to discuss with the professors after the lecture…

HR of course, was a totally different cuppa. The prof quite obviously shared the students’ view on what a classroom really was made for, but that was about where the similarities and the prof’s sympathies ended. Sleeping in class, when one is a prof, presents one with the slight, although easily surpassed, difficulty of just how to ensure that the class is not disrupted more than normal. The pre-mid guy had apparently perfected his strategy over the years though. It was simple and effective and ensured that any lack of sleep elsewhere did not in any way hamper his productivity professionally… The strategy was so surprisingly simple, that it’s a wonder that the others in the Faculty had not thought of it yet… Get the students to conduct the lecture, occupy the seat of one of those conducting the class and then do exactly what the student would have done, had the prof been the one talking. Smooth and simple…and vindictive of course, but hey, who’s complaining? Oh wait, nobody’s thought of it? Hmm… I think VG may have something to say about that…

Post-mids of course, things had stabilized with a guest lecturer who believed that he would rather see the students sleep than bother himself with the tedium of listening to them… But hey, he did reveal the questions before the paper, so one is probably safe in saying that he was one of the more popular figures on campus…till he reneged of course…

Quotes of the Term: (Taken from the written material handed out in the course regarding the Management of Materialistic ‘things’.

“Temperature is measured in ‘Celsius’. Earlier it used to be measured in Centigrade…”
“Simplification reduces the nature of parts of a product.”
“Parts and components can be defined as parts and components that are used.”

Perhaps the one real hallmark of the Institute though was that those in positions of authority did not seem to consider it at all necessary to believe in the importance or the necessity or indeed the veracity of the topics they taught. How else could one explain a Communist teaching Keynesian Economics or an MIS professor who believed that ERPs were the worst thing to happen to the corporate world or a Quant professor who did not, seemingly at least, know what a normal distribution was or, of course, a Marketing professor who spoke for an hour on the importance of listening? Ah well, summers were approaching and with them came the promise of a new experience…one of freedom, professionalism, learning, stipends, networking…and most importantly, beer…plus of course, the opportunity to meet, from a position of considerable advantage, all the girls that had gained admission into the new batch… Yes indeed, pride goes before a fall…

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Man's Journey Through HelL - V

Hmm... A few days ago, sombody asked me if I was in possession of a fifth installment. As it happens, I now am. I shall not, of course, for reasons of not wanting to be arrested for treason, divulge who exactly it was that authored these pieces, but suffice to say, that I know him well and he has not objected - thus far at least - to my using these on my blog. Should you care to read the previous ones of course, they are at the links below:

A Man's Journey Through HelL - I
A Man's Journey Through HelL - II
A Man's Journey Through HelL - III
A Man's Journey Through HelL - IV

“And in fact, in this in fact, we can use simple in fact, compound interest formula…” He rose, bleary eyed in a state bordering on disbelief as he heard the emaciated monstrosity on the classroom platform spew this as the response to how a certain case in Financial Management was to be solved. They had faced this commando trainer in the first term, yes, but surely this was beyond the realm of the slightly-more-than-mild insanity they had believed the clown to be suffering from!

It did not stop there of course, as there was more to come in the next class…and the next one… Yes indeed, if Term 2 could be called the Crowning Glory, this term was definitely making a case for itself to be christened Reclaiming Glory… There was incident aplenty to be found now, so much so that the oddity now was to have a sane moment…whether within class or without.

The Finance Professor of course headed the pack out of the blocks. With unforgettable gems like, “Of course we can use in fact this CAGR. In fact, can you tell me in fact what is this CAGR which you are talking about?” to “In fact the case says that interest is 5%, but in fact we will in fact assume it to be 14% so that in fact we can reach this solution which I have in fact solved in this Excel…” But the nadir of the nightmare session was perhaps endured by the then not-so-Express American who approached him to request a relook at a quiz paper.

AE: Sir, in this question, you have given me a 0…
SCB: In fact beta, what is this a/(a+b) and b/(a+b)???
AE: Sir, in a weighted average question, that is simple arithmetic!
SCB: Hmm…ok, come to see me tomorrow…leave this here with me…

The next day:

SCB: See beta, in fact I looked at your solution in fact and I saw that after the third decimal place in fact your answer is wrong… So, I think that you must have got this far by accident…


Oh yes, there was a lot of fun to be had in this term…if one could first wake up in time to reach class…and then stay awake through lectures! There was the fat, little geriatric cove that the administration had dug out of his grave to teach how Materialistic Management students had become and of course, there was the quintessential HR professor (Which term could be complete without one?) who was quite obviously leading a troubled life at home…

“Materials Management is about learning how to manage materialistic things…” said old Geriatrix (Sorry G&U, but I couldn’t resist lifting that one) as he kicked off his course; the same course in the course of which (sorry, but once again, I just couldn’t resist that one) he was to ensure that his resurrection - approximately four centuries after he was interred - was not in vain and that the authorities that had sanctioned his exhumation would never have cause to complain that he did not provide entertainment. While it would take more than a few volumes to encapsulate the wisdom of the ages that the old cove endeavoured to spread, a few samples would surely be in order as one attempts to eulogize the hallowed One.

“If I have to explain to you a supply chain, I can do it best with a comparison. Mere bachchon, imagine a cycle. A cycle uses a chain. Why does a cycle use a chain? We can use something else. Imagine a long short rod. If it pumps up and down, it will not move the whole thing efficiently. So, we use a chain. Now, a supply chain is like a cycle chain, because both are having links that make the chain move smoothly as if it was lubricated… So now, you know what is a supply chain. So remember that if you ever have to think of a supply chain, just first think of a cycle chain and your solution will be complete and obvious…” I swear by all that I hold sacred (like my Jennifer Aniston poster and my pink knickers) that he actually said this in these exact words…

Mere bachchon, I want you to be like the Taj Mahal. After my classes, all of you should be like Taj Mahals. Lots of Taj Mahals…” Yeah rrrright! Like, housing dead souls, perhaps?

While all this and more transpired within the walls of the classroom, there was yet more entertainment to be had on the ‘other’ side. With their departure nearing fast, the senior batch seemed suddenly to have become acutely aware of the fact that the junior batch was blessed with more than thrice the number of girls than their own batch. This phenomenon of course, coupled with the knowledge that they hardly stood (ok, I don’t even know if there is a pun intended here!) a chance in an environment where women were not solely restricted to the specimens on campus, led to yet another round of the - by now – routine exposure of the depths that the male gender can plumb when faced with the hugely favourable odds of 1:500 rather than the 1:5 billion that would be faced outside campus. (The fact that the female gender may be willing to wait for more favourable odds for themselves, has never really struck the male gender. This is perhaps aided by the fact that Jerry Seinfeld summed up in the words, “We men seem to end up with women anyway!”)

DG: Wow maan! She’s hot. I think I shall propose to her before I leave campus.
DM (spilling coffee all over my jacket in my shock): Whaaa? Errr… as in…WHAT?
DG: Yeah! Can’t hurt… I mean, this is my only chance after all…
DM: OK, so you think you have a chance, but like, isn’t it true that you’ve never spoken to her?
DG: Yeah, but she must surely know who I am…

Then of course, there was the Students’ Council election that was coming up. That was brilliant of course, what with the fact that only the ones with the lowest absolute IQ seemed to deem it fit to ‘stand’ for election. Not that anyone was complaining of course, given the manifestos that were written and the deep and philosophical thoughts that the candidates revealed themselves to be in possession of. Like this candidate, who revealed that her top priority if elected would be “to ensure that there is student representation on the Faculty Council.” Of course, in her esteemed opinion, it was a completely different proposal to that of having Faculty members being on the Students’ Council, but hey, perhaps the rest of the campus was just not smart enough to see her point… That she still ended up second in the polling stands as testament to the fact that even IIM students have senses of humour…and compassion…and libido…

The Term was not even half-way through and already there was plenty to talk about…unless you were the HR prof of course. For want of any other evidence, it was never alleged too seriously, but there were serious doubts over his state of affairs (No, no idea if the pun is intended, but his appearance would suggest it isn’t anyway) at home, but he did seem to have a major point in common with the students… The opinion that classrooms were quite definitely contraptions that were invented by those that had a very good idea of what surrounds would stimulate the best sleep…

Till later then… The mid-terms are here and surely that merits a break… and no, not of a leg…