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Monday, November 29, 2004

Chp 4. Castrol

Finally I have recovered completely from all the partying!!!!! Man that was one heck of a wild week…..
Here is what all happened….

After a fruitless Day 1 of my placements, I got back to my tiny pad and noted down the points where I should improve during interviews and GDs… but even before I could reach point number two, my mind was already off to the NBA2004 game that I’ve just borrowed from a friend. So I said screw it, and started playing…..

Day 2 was my lucky day. Part 1 of Day 2, my interview with Castrol (British Petroleum) went off really well. I was asked only personal questions and I could relate all that with the current marketing scenario (like, I was the captain and pointguard of my college basketball team, and in today’s world, we need more pointguards than pivots bcoz the pointguard is the play maker and the entire market depends upon how he makes his decisions etc… you catch my drift?) and I was quite confident I would make it to the final round. But never-the-less I attended all the other GDs which have an open slot. That night I went to sleep with a much lighter heart. No NBA2004. I really need a good rest.

The next day, which was part 2 of Day 2, the final interview list for Castrol was released and only 5 people made it. I was one of them! But sadly that interview did not go as well as yesterday’s. It was a purely technical interview, and I blabbered everything I knew about the market and economics. Yes, I felt indeed dejected… but all my closest frens (who got placed in Day 0 and Day 1) were always there besides me cheering me up… I went to the balcony and dozed off under the cool Bangalore shade… At around 3pm, the Placement Oficials came up to me and said they needed to talk to me… My heart started pounding away and my knees felt a bit weak (or was it just my imagination)… they took me aside and they said “Kima, don’t tell anyone. Just go to the Placement Office and sign-out bcoz…” Even before they could complete their question, I was already in Cloud 9. Yes, I nailed the big cat called Castrol!!!!!!!! Woohooo…….

After showers and showers of congratulations, I satyed back at the MDC. A couple of my close frens still didn’t get an offer. Anyway, the offers are usually released only at the end of the day and only few companies like Castrol gives out the names in advance bcoz they have to fly back to wherever they came from. Soon, the final lists was out. Yup, all the guys in my gang got an offer!!!! Which means we don’t have to dress up in our suits for Day 3. Yipppeeeee……….

That night, we head-banged like mad @ this pub called B-11. All of us were completely sloshed and man my body and throat were in deep agony the next day. But it was all worth it. And on Sunday we had the L^2 party to celebrate a 100% placement. The remaining students all got placed in Day 3. IIM-B truly rocks…. Monday, we all had another party… Tuesday we had a small drinks party in my room… Wednesday and Thursday we didn’t drink bcoz of a tough marketing class…. Friday, partied away to glory and Saturday another L^2 party!! Danced my brains out till 8 in the morning… Sunday was a weezy day, if u know what I mean. So, after all that, its finally time to get back to Acads….. No wonder the motto of IIM-B is “Work hard, Party harder”.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Chp 3. EDS

Today was my first job application ever (other than the fact that I did apply for a job once, and that was an interview infront of a camera in a Pub which was then broadcasted to thousands of viewers later on TV… yes, I once participated in the SS Music VJ Hunt a couple of months ago before I got into IIM, but then that’s a different story…)
Our Summer Placements started yesterday. Yesterday was Day-0, and only the top Investment banks and Consultancy came… I obviously was not short listed for any of them…  Today was Day-1. For various reasons I cannot reveal the names of the Companies that come here for Summer recruitment….

It was a boring day. Right from 8am till 10pm, there I was, walking up and down the waiting hall in my best formal attire. My new Red Tape shoes really hurt my feet and many a times I had to sit down and remove them. All I did was eat, drink, smoke… eat, drink, smoke… eat, drink, smoke….

Hospi did a great job… there was a free coffee and Pepsi/7up/Miranda/Mdew vending machine plus snacks here n there. There was also Dominoes, but unfortunately that was not free. I ate, then had one of the free drinks, and then smoked (oh, even the cigarettes were free!) . After that, I ate again, drank, smoked. Man, I think I smoked atleast more than 40 cigarettes today. Wherever I went, whichever group I listened to, the only thing my frens were talking about were assets, hedging, retail banking, balance sheet… aaaargh!!!! I tried finding a group that was discussing English Premier League or the latest Hiphop songs available on the net or even Paris Hilton’s sex tapes… but alas, it was just me against the World…. So I grabbed another plate of chicken sandwich, poured myself a pepsi and stuffed another cigarette into my mouth….

How time goes by so slowly… Everyone around me so active and running from one interview to the other. Me, I was completely drained, not that I did any running around mind you. I was drained from all the eating and drinking and smoking... At one point I even gave a miss-call to every person on my phone book. But they just smiled at me and then continued discussing whatever they were discussing… demand, supply, segmentation, targeting.. who knows. Some of their discussions were “How much is the price of a barrel of oil in US dollars currently…” Jesus, the only barrel price I care about is the price of a barrel of draught beer! Ah… sweet draught beer… wish you were by my side…

Eventually I was short-listed for one company (Yay, bring out the champagne, ma!) I had a GD. Well, it was a disaster but then I did make one strong point. Ofcourse it was the only point I made during the entire discussion, so who knows, if the Gods are happy with me, I might get short-listed to the interview rounds tomorrow….

So I got back to eating, drinking, smoking. Hey don’t blame me, but eating makes me thirsty. And after drinking, I always feel like lighting a cigarette. And after smoking, my mouth taste horrible so I eat something… and it goes on and on….

So frens, tomoro is another day. I will crash now as I have to get up at freaking 6am! Man, that is too early to start my ritual of E.D.S. (eat, drink, smoke), but then, that’s what IIM is all about. It teaches you how to act under pressure. Goodnite…

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Chp 2. Fight

What makes a chinky fight...

Yesterday, professor Vasanthi was teaching us about Organizational Behaviour, about the work cultures of various individuals from different part of the globe. What motivates people to work hard? Indians work hard mainly because of social status. You can clearly see this, if you look at the Matrimonials...
"24, Male, computer engineer, IIMB graduate, currently working in Goldman Sachs, seeks alliance with beautiful and broad minded engineer, preferably working in an MNC blah blah blah..."
And she also explained why people from the Oriental East progress so fast in terms of technology. It is the fear of failure. Failure leads to shame. And eastern people consider shame as their biggest fear. Hence the brave samurai commits "harakiri" if his dignity loses face. And then i started thinking.... yes, shame is our biggest fear. And as i sit there in the classroom, everything becomes so clear. It was like the Heavens were opening up and a bright radiant light was beaming down upon me. Now everything makes so much sense!

All my life, people have asked me this one question. Why do us chinkies fight so much? Why is it that when we get into a disagreement, instead of arguing, we start landing punches on one another? Why do we stubbornly challenge an aggressor to a fight even though we are out-numbered and the chances of us winning is extremely bleak? Once again, the universal question: Are we stubborn maximus?

And as i sat there, oblivious of the fact that the lecture is still going on, my mind started wandering... far away from this institution, far away from Bangalore, even far away from this present time that we live in. I started thinking about those brief moments i spent in a typical mizo primary school when i was but a mere child. There i was, playing marbles with my friends after school, happily engorssed in our own sweet world, when all of a sudden, three big high school kids gate-crashed our game and kicked our marbles away. Me and my frens stood up and stared at them. It was a three on three situation, 3 puny innocent 6 years old up against 3 ugly pimple-faced 12 years old. We lashed out at them immediately and a short fight erupted. My fren Zova was the first to go down. I remebered that very well because as i look at him fall down, a fist came flying out of nowhere and the next thing i know, i was on the ground along side Zova. As the numerous cloud of stars that i saw cleared up, i could see that our third fren Mark was still in the heat of the battle. He was always the wild one among the three of us, and the big bully was having a hard time pinning him down. Mark even managed to land a couple of soft punches on his opponent's face, until a hard kick on his groin followed by a quick chop on the neck sent him screaming down to mother earth. After ensuring that they won, they left us. We slowly got up, rubbed off the dirt from our body and continued playing marbles. After sometime we all went home.

Now as i think about those good old days, two things which i have never realised before struck me.

1. We fought even though we know we couldn't have beaten them. There was no fear in us, and even if there was, it was subdued by a much bigger element. Shame. The shame of running away from a fight. Come to think of it, i have been in and also witnessed many fights back in Mizoram. People fight solely because they do not want to be branded a coward. It does not matter if you win or lose. As long as you accept a challenge, then you are a man. The moment you run away, that is when you lose everything. You cannot show your face in public, you cannot socialize, you lose every respect that others have for you. In other words, run away from a fight and you become an outcast. Such is the intensity of what shame does to people. I just want everyone to understand that we do not love fighting, as many people perceive it to be. Having that false opinion also make others think that we from the North-east are uncivilised. That is just the way we are, and the way we are brought up. Its like how a southie would eat his daily meals from a leaf, or wear a piece of cloth around his legs to a function. That does not make him any less uncivilised. That is their culture and tradition, the same way getting into a fight is in our blood.

2. The other thing i realised that day when i was lying on the ground with my fren Zova wallowing in our pain was, Mark was fighting with the bully all by himself and as i have mentioned, at one point, he managed to punch the big guy. But even then, the bully's two frens (lets call them bstrd 1 and bstrd 2) just stood there doing nothing to help their fren. Thinking about that, i realised that, in all the fights i have seen in mizoram, there was not even a single case of people ganging up on one guy. Every fights have always been strictly one on one.

One fight i remembered so well was a couple of years back. Me n my frens were playing basketball and one of our frens got into an argument with another guy regarding a foul call. So they said lets fight. Since we respect the sancticity of the basketball court, we all walked outside, formed a circle and these two guys faced each other inside. Some passer bys also joined us, and there were these two police men who came running to watch the fight too! One of them even said "No hitting below the belt" before the fight started, but it was more of a joke rather than an authorative order. And then the fight started. Within no time our fren was bleeding profusely. The other guy was thrashing the lights out of him. And finally we guys rushed in to stop the fight. Our fren still wanted to continue fighting for fear of losing face, so the other guy finally said he doesn't want to fight him anymore as he's "tired" and that our fren has won the fight (which was just a polite way of saying, "dude, i don't wanna kill you"). The point i'm trying to make is, even though he was a very close fren, we did not help him fight the other guy as it was his own personal fight. Helping him is like insulting him, as if we are mocking him that he can't handle a guy by himself (which was clearly the case this time) :-)

As we grow older though, we fight lesser and lesser. Just recently, we were playing this basketball tournament. It was the finals and dad came personally to watch me play. During the game, one of the guys intentionally fouled me really hard. Although an intentional foul is a part of the strategy tactic in basketball, especially towards the end when we were leading by a small margin, i was a bit pissed off. But after the game, my temper has died down. We won the match and i shook hands with this guy and walked out of the court. Dad came up to me and asked whether i'm going to fight him. Frankly speaking, the idea of fighting someone right infront of my dad does not sound very appealing. Its like having sex with someone and dad watching it!

Come to think about it, yes, fighting is so similar to sex. When we have sex which result in this AMAZING orgasm, it is somewhat similar to being victorious after a gruelling fight. We feel great and definitely don't mind doing it again but not right now as we are completely drained and the last thing we wanna do immediately after this act is to get into another fight or sex (although its a different thing for girls. A thousand curses to them for being blessed with multiple orgasms). And then, there are times when we cannot just perform during sex, thanx to all those damn tequila shots we had just before slipping into bed. That feeling is similar to losing during a fight. It sux, but never the less, we are filled with small sense of satisfaction because we know we just had sex, or we just got into a fight.

So, to sum it up, in our culture, as long as we fight, then there is no clear cut winner or loser... except right now, i am the obvious loser, because i sat through a very important lecture and i did not listen to a single word the professor was saying.
This is me signing out for the day.... ta ta

Chp 1. Freedom


During one of our BGS classes, professor Ramnath a.k.a Swamiji suddenly asked us to submit an assignment on what we think freedom means to us. It should be of our own perspective, and we were shown a couple of documentaries by the notable Amar Kanwar himself who came personally to our campus for the screening. And so i sat in front of my computer the following day, trying to recall what was shown to us... decided to write my own version of what i consider is a definition of Freedom.... it was a very bold and unorthodox move as i did not write much relating to the documentaries we saw... but wonders of wonders, i got the highest mark in our batch! :))

Given below is the assignment that i submitted....

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FREEDOM.
  

Coming from the troubled North-east, the very word “Freedom” has a complete different meaning. Born under the sounds of gunfire and air raids, brought up running from one hide-out to the other, through thick over grown forests and caves, at the same time every parent trying to convince their children that there is nothing to worry about surely has made a deep impact on me about my forefathers and the freedom one has in order to live, eat and sleep.

There is no greater pain and anger a man can feel when the territory he claimed to have owned all this time is taken over by an alien force, brutally. And the voice of the protest is killed by the sounds of gun-fire that cuts through the very essence of struggle. No questions asked, no answers sought. Any individual that dared to stand up against the conqueror is terminated immediately, thus setting an example to the other protesters that their struggle is, and will always be, in vain.

But the spirits of freedom will never die. It cannot be killed by mere bullets. Stories of bravery passes down from one generation to the other, through the earliest form of communication man has invented. Such stories continue to fuel the hearts of every little voice that dares to protest against anything.

Normalcy returned to my state Mizoram in the year 1986 after the Mizoram Accord was signed between Mr.Laldenga of the Mizo National Front and the Indian Government, thus bringing to an end one of the fiercest under-ground separatist groups the North-east has ever witnessed. I have longed come to accept the fact that I am an Indian citizen and that, in times of trouble I am ready to lay down my life for my Country - India. But events that has happened in the past still haunt me, and the anger I have hasn't completely died down. Laying down one’s life for a cause is noteworthy, but how does one feel when no one knows that such a thing has happened in Mizoram. When your very existence itself has been erased completely from the face of this Earth, is there really a need to carry on fighting then? When the rest of the Country is completely blind and deaf about what actually happened during the so called freedom struggle of the 60’s. When hundreds of my brothers were massacred by the Indian Army just because we all “look alike” and they could not differentiate between who’s a separatist and who is not. When hundreds of my sisters were brutally raped by the jawaans in uniform. When lands and houses were mindlessly burnt down by the Army because they believe the “rebels” were staying there. Of course  the “rebels” are staying there. It is their home after all. To them, the only thing on their mind is, “We were never ever a part of any Rulers or Dynasty that has ruled over the rest of India, except for the British. We were happily minding our own business this side of the World. Why this now? Why the aggression? Why are you killing us? Why are you raping our women and children?” Infact, nobody knows that Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram and my dear city, is the ONLY Indian city to be bombed by the Indian Air Force in 1966. Bombing an entire city itself is not only cruel, but diabolical. And do we read about this in the newspapers or history books? No. Why? I don’t know.


In other parts of India too, we had heroes, heroes who laid down their lives fighting for a cause they believe in. Commander Pratap Salve and Shankar Guha Niyogi who were killed while defending the basic rights of the oppressed in Gujarat and Chhatisgarh. They will forever be remembered by the people they fought for, and also the rest of the Country because they were all over the news. But what about those who laid down their lives in the North-east? Forget the names, people don’t even know what those 7 sister-states are. I have come across so many people who have no idea what or where Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradeshetc are. They always ask me if I am a Chinese. They not only ask, but stare.

Still, at least I have what my fore-fathers never had, Freedom.
I have Freedom.
The Freedom to walk anywhere I feel like without getting shot by the security forces.
The Freedom to play football without fear of tripping over a land-mine.
The Freedom to drive around in my car without the fear of a bomb being dropped on me from the skies.
The Freedom to marry a beautiful Mizo girl without the fear of an Army man raping her. That is Freedom to me.