Saturday, December 10, 2011


A short Victorian Poem - Invictus inspired Nelson Mandela for 27 years. Pure, unadulterated, sheer inspiration.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

- William Ernest Henley (1849–1903).

Friday, August 12, 2011

One month down the memory lane

It’s been nearly a month in IIM Shillong and I am just in love with the green campus we have and the natural beauty of Meghalaya, especially that of Cherrapunji and the areas nearby. I visited Cherrapunji along with my batch mates on the very next day of jaunt to MawPhlang forest. Undoubtedly, Cherrapunji is among one of the best places I have been to. The highlands are as lush green as they can get and their power to transcend you to another level is truly exceptional. Then there are smoky clouds which seem to converge on you and make you feel majestic. The journey itself epitomizes a tourist destination. And the most amazing thing about the trip is that I can still see those exceptional views when I close my eyes. I can see the lush green hills, extremely deep valleys, a beautiful garden, several waterfalls, forests, beautiful wavy roads and those clouds. It is as if somebody has painted the canvas of life with different shades to bring out the best nature can offer. I can just visualise myself looking out of the window of our bus and the breeze rustling through and making me feel free. The very view of a clear sky, untainted by any amount of pollution can be liberating. Those were the emotions that I don’t have the words to describe. I can just feel them. And that was a high of its own kind not experienced by this writer before.

Anyways, I will come back to my campus and will shed some light on the special events of the last month. As expected, none of us missed an opportunity to have fun at any point of time. We had the birthdays of many of eminent personalities of our batch and we celebrated them like anything. But what transpired at Kush’s birthday cannot be discussed on this blog. Nevertheless, more than any single event, it is more of a combination of small-small moments that make life special here. It can be as simple as fighting to get hold of a badminton or table tennis racket or taking a walk in the campus when everyone has gone to sleep or the long discussions. The discussions tend to range from heavy to extremely stupid and silly things. But the essence is in the belongingness rather than the subject of discussion. It has a beauty of its own.

By now, the reader must be wondering that IIMS is all about fun and all is cool here. But let me just tell you that they make you feel rigour instead of just putting it in a brochure. We have days where sleeping looks like an activity of past. Even the shortest possible amount of sleep looks unachievable. You have got assignments, clubs and committees work and other commitments to honour. Loss of sleep and changes in behavioural patterns is directly proportional to the speed at which a course goes. And the expectations of the instructors should not be talked about. Amidst all this chaos, many of us did not even realize that at least one fifth of many course books have been covered and we are expected to know everything because a surprise quiz or random questions might be round the corner. And it does not end here. A lot many of us wait for the weekends to finish the backlog, only to find that it is already booked with corporate visits, guest lectures or knowledge sharing sessions. In a short span of time, we have had the honour of interacting with chairman of ISRO, Minister of DONER and Chairman NEC, President of HCL, CEO of Hammer communications, Chairman UPSC etc. to name a few. These interactions have a charm of their own. And being a part of an academic legacy, you would not want to miss out on those interactions. So the result is more sleepless nights.

In a nutshell, you need not go to an amusement park to find what a roller coaster means, come here to experience it first-hand. It will be exciting, humbling, encouraging, thought provoking and worth every bit of effort you put in. That is what life is made up of at my Alma Mater. This is Life @ IIM Shillong.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Life @ IIM Shillong

It’s been nearly three weeks since I first stepped in at IIM Shillong campus to become a part of the fourth batch of PGP participants at IIMS. But it seems like a thing of distant past because a lot has happened in these three weeks. I don’t know from where to start. The very first day I spent in hostel was filled with palpable excitement. We were getting to know each other and the topics for fluent conversations were scarce. But first week changed everything. I had heard the concept of hell week at many IIMs but what it takes to experience the same is a different thing all together. Just imagine yourself being bombarded with sessions, assignments, presentations and senior-junior interactions for twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. All you talk about is the next case study or article review or a coming presentation and the constant anxiety of what the future has in store. Sleepless faces were omnipresent so it never took a flash of genius to figure that out. But amidst all the chaos, there was something that was changing every one of us and was making us better at what we need to do. We were actually shedding our inhibitions and it was the time when belongingness and care for one another was being seeded in our minds.

I still remember the days when I was extremely apprehensive about joining IIM Shillong. I had calls from IIMB, IIMI and XLRI in addition to that from IIMS. I was not able to convert the first three and needless to say, I felt devastated. I was in a dilemma that I did not want to handle. But looking at the present moment, I feel happy to be part of IIMS family. I used the word family because this is the feeling that I have observed in the air of IIMS. We are not just a bunch of individuals who are here to compete. We are here to learn from one another and to help one another in becoming the best we can. We are the Incredible 106. Yeah, that’s what we call ourselves - ‘The Incredible 106’.

Destined to do great things in times to come, we have already announced our arrival at the Talent show that got concluded on last Saturday. We had very talented participants in almost all the areas. Dancers did a fabulous job and were backed strongly by the singers and guitarists. Then there was Apoorva, who got a standing ovation for his extremely talented mimicry. The surprise package of the whole event was a fashion show that got the audience really excited. To top everything, we had the batch video made by Rajan. I cannot describe the feelings that the video evoked in our batch. That goes to reinforce my belief in power of movies to evoke emotions. The incredible 106 did not stop at just the talent show. We have been to journeys together and have shared wonderful memories. The time spent at the Badminton court, Common room, Old boys’ hostel ramp and at the birthday parties will probably be the one giving us most cherished of moments in years to come.

Wise people say that in order to appreciate peace you need to experience chaos. Well, I could not just agree more. Three years in one of the most chaotic parts of the nation and now I could not just help appreciating the beauty of Shillong and the peace it has to offer. Today was one of those days when I experienced a profound sense of peace and beauty in one package, all because of a faculty organized excursion to “Sacred Groves” of Mawphlang near Shillong. It was ‘Pandora’ personified in the real world. The clan taking care of the groves have a hierarchical system of their own. Their belief in the deities and spirits of the forest has endured the tests of the time and sustained itself. There is so much to write about these groves that it might require a new post but even then I might not be able to do justice with the actual experience. One has to actually go to the forest and experience it in order to understand how profound untainted natural experiences can be. I just want to experience it again before I die. I want to sit there uninterrupted, close my eyes and sit in silence. Silence can be liberating as well as haunting. Today, it was liberating. I am really hoping for many such experiences as life moves on at IIM Shillong aka IIM ONE (IIM Of North East).

Monday, May 30, 2011

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

I remember this poem as the first poem in my English book when I was in school. Back then, I was too little to realize the depth of this brilliant poem. But now whenever I feel like tired, this piece of poetry helps me to regain my strength and motivates me to keep going. I just love it. Here it goes!! Enjoy!!

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

- Robert Frost

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Bleed Blue - World Champions 2011

April 2, 2011 will go down as one of the most celebrated day in Indian Cricketing History. A long twenty eight year wait of a nation obsessed with cricket is finally rewarded handsomely. The men in blue have done it. They exhibited hunger, passion and full commitment to the job. In fact, it has nothing less than an exceptional display of skill, integrity, team effort and courage to win the most coveted cricketing trophy. The tears of Joy, the roar of victory and a set of overwhelming emotions were at the display when the final line was crossed, when the final ball was lofted towards the long on boundary for a six. It was a six that will remembered and cherished for a long time. The years to come might fade the visual representation of the view but it wont be able to touch the feeling and the experience that this victory has brought. It was a feeling beyond words and believe me, it is not an over statement.

Looking back, one can say that the 'Men in Blue' were always tipped off as the favorites to win the cup but nothing came easy for them. They played against a spirited Ricky Ponting in the Quarter finals. Definitely, it was some brilliant display of bowling that restricted Australia to two hundred and sixty. But a team like Australia always had a reputation of asphyxiating the opposition in chasing this kind of a score. That was why it was not easy and required composure from likes of Yuvraj and Raina to see India through. The reaction of a pumped up Yuvraj was enough to decipher how badly he wanted to win. A win, at that level, meant that India was getting ready for what was declared as 'The Mother of all Clashes' - India v Pakistan. The media was having a field day. They had the got the best story of the world cup. Corporate India was supposed to be on an official bunk. Projectors and Big Screens were being set up to witness what could be a golden day in history for Indian Cricket. So was the excitement, nervousness, anxiety and hope among the supporters that a defeat was unacceptable. This was supposed to be a true test of composure and ability to handle the pressure. After a lot of nerve wracking and nail biting moments, Team India managed to emerge as victorious and registered a date with the destiny.

So it was today, the final of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, where India needed to perform and win it for Sachin, for themselves and for more than a billion Indians. Today just reaffirmed the reputation of India as a cricket crazy nation and it is quite evident that there is nothing as Cricket that has the ability to unite and uplift India as a nation. And Men in Blue did it. The 'Captain Cool' and the 'Second Wall' answered the call of the duty and made the country revel in moments that will last a life time. Thanks a lot for all the efforts that you guys put in and congratulations for the victory at the biggest stage. Enjoy Team India !!
Revel in the moments of glory because you guys are the deserving champions. You did it !!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Helping Hands

This year has been an erratic one till now. I experienced a lot of different events and emotions in just 15 days. Most of the fascinating experiences were attributed to the Helping Hands Event, an endeavor to help poor people fight winter by distributing Blankets. It was something that was initiated last year by a group of motivated individuals. The idea was to generate as much money as possible from people working in different companies and to use it for getting the blankets for poor people. I was lucky enough to be part of the initiative for a very brief period. But that brief period was enough to motivate me for this year’s task.

Last year, a total of 170 blankets were distributed and this year, we all wanted to take it to a new level altogether. We started by informing as many people as we can through our social circle. We floated a mail introducing our co-workers about the cause and asked for the support they can give to the cause. I was hopeful as well as nervous when I wrote that mail. A lot of new faces had come up in my project since the last effort and I had no idea how they would respond to the mail. But at the same time the network had grown bigger. We had Alcatel Lucent, TCS, SatyaPual, Flour Danial and a few others aboard the ship and that meant that even the smallest of trickle at any of these places could lead to the avalanche we were looking for. After all, we needed all the help we can get.

Just a day after dropping the mail, I saw funds pouring in faster than my anticipation. The response was overwhelming to say the least. Soon we crossed 10k mark from my project and then it was 20k in two more days with more than 70 people coming forward alone from my project. Similar responses were seen from Alcatel Lucent and other companies. It was wonderful. By Thursday, the date we were planning to purchase blankets on, we had generated more than 70k from all the sources combined together. Stage one was doing handsomely. Now, we had to move to stage two and buy blankets at the best price we can get. This led us into the hearts of the Cloth Market in Chandni Chownk, Delhi. Wandering through the narrow streets of the market, we finally zeroed in on a retailer who had quality blankets at a decent price. After a time consuming but a fairly satisfying selection, we got over four hundred blankets in 68k. Finally by 11 in the night, we had the blankets in our warehouse and the satisfaction of a job well done in our hearts.

We had already started with distribution by giving out six blankets while coming to Gurgaon from Chandni Chownk. More hands came forward to help us on Friday. Some took the blankets to Faridabad, Noida and Delhi while the others kept the pace up in Gurgoan. One part of the process was to roam around at night and give the blanket to the one who needs it. It was an instant success just because of the support that we were offered from all the sides. Second aspect of the distribution was to target strategic locations and gather people there from nearby areas. The biggest challenge that we faced in this process was to identify the one who really needs a blanket and is bound to use it. We knew that we cannot eliminate misuse altogether but we aimed to minimize it by taking all the precautions we could. We made sure that people use the blanket while taking them. The packing material was collected by the volunteers and was disposed of properly. Availability of monkey caps and ear covers (we got some more funds after purchasing blankets) turned out to be a boon in final distribution process. This increased our reach and also helped us to control the crowd where things were bound to go haywire. By Sunday, we had distributed majority of our stock and felt great about it.

Personally speaking, the distribution was one hell of a roller coaster ride. There were many moments when I felt that I need to be more thankful for what I have instead of cribbing about what I don’t. On Friday night when we were near Sheetla Mata Temple, I saw a man, physically handicapped, lying in the shade of a tree with a very thin blanket as the only cover against the freezing winds. I went towards him and covered him with a blanket. All he said to me is that it was pretty cold and he needed the blanket badly. I left the spot after giving him the blanket. But I could not help wondering about the sorrow and pain that plagues our world. Life did not seem to be fair at all. My problems seemed inconsequential as compared to that of such people. Needless to say that it was a reminder of the fact that I need to learn gratitude and that I must appreciate the gift called life. I also realized that what I am doing is not everlasting and does not constitute even a fraction of what needs to be done. Of course, I felt good that at least some people will be helped by the blankets. But at the same time, my actions were too small than what I can actually do and their scope was too narrow than the actual need of such people. When I met a man running an NGO specifically for the upliftment of slum kids by providing them with education, I felt the long vision of such a work. It is something that I would like to associate myself with. It would be like teaching them how to make their own blankets. It would be great. Anyways, blanket distribution was a great learning curve and an eye opening experience for me. Hopefully, i will be able to do more stuff for people who need me.

Signing Off,