Monday, April 5, 2010

Kolkata "Night" Riders!

The pic above is from one of my favorite places in Kol, something I had crossed earlier a million times but never paused to admire.. its the overbridge/walkway which connects two sub-divisions of kol - one which begins with a Lake and the other which ends with one (Lake Town and Salt Lake).. the road below is called the VIP road, one of the relatively fast roads connecting the city to the Dum Dum airport....

Atop this bridge you would see a plethora of people - the busy executive running back home, some vendors selling their stuff, lovey dovey couples holding hands, students and some onlookers (like me)... stand there for around 30 mins and you would see people from all walks of life. To top it all a cool breeze which blows will be an amazing respite from the heat... a fav place when I am too bored sitting at home and just need a relaxing moment with myself... even with all the noise and the people, the breeze is a great stress and heat buster.

Ohh just before I forget - the title is dedicated to all the two-wheelers and their riders who cross the road below @ few thousands/hr....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

10 days to launch......

Well the pic says it all.. in another 10 days I will be part of the Class of 2011 at ISB*applause*
A dream which started a couple of years back and culminated on Feb 12th 2010 with that auspicious email from PGPAdmissions.

Dear Avishek,
Congratulations! We are delighted to inform you that on the basis of a comprehensive and careful evaluation process, ........ yada yada yada.... you have been offered admission.... yada yada yada.....
We look forward to welcoming you to the Class of 2011.

I still remember the Friday morning, when while browsing through the morning emails on my iPhone I saw these golden words... I would have read the email atleast thrice before I literally screamed and danced all over my room. Life has zoomed past @ 110mph since then... had had a difficult time leaving my amazing set of friends back in US, leaving Kraft, Chicago and yeah even Infosys... had walked among my set of friends, relatives and acquaintances with my head held high...and had felt both great and humble along the way. In short the last month and a half had been a fairy tale... have enjoyed every bit of it (minus the heat in Kol) and glowed in all the attention and adulation I received.

Now that there are only a handful of days left before I begin my journey I cannot help but pause and introspect about what this 1 year would mean to me... will it be all positive or will I even lose something... let's begin...

Admission to a premier college is more often than not a passport to a good career... its the springboard which gives you the extra push from behind.. in an otherwise normal life this elevates you to a different level... if you are smart enough, if not anything, it does attach some credibility to your name and also gets you a network of high achievers around the world. There are other several benefits both tangible and intangible which has been written over and over in several newspapers and journals and self help books the world over. So is really everything an icing on the cake... Will I lose something or is everything going to be on the way up from here?

Well this question eludes me all the more now.. here are few things I feel will change (and I leave it open for one to decide if they are positive or negative)....In all probability I will be part of a rat race amongst a set of high achievers... the competition and pressure will be maddening... almost everyone will try to outsmart each other, learning and enjoying in the process and am not only talking about just this ONE year...ISB would just be a trailer to what lays in store for me in my life ahead.... a good job generally translates to more hard work, additional responsibilities and maybe added tension and a busier life. The bar is raised and so will your life (not only materialistic) but otherwise...

So is this what one would really want? Is this just another way of feeling self-important? well I think neither.. I am a firm believer that if you find something you enjoy then it stops being a liability... one of the biggest reasons I wanted to do MBA in the first place was to break free from the monotonicity of my life and my job, and in this regard getting back to school does give you the time to pause a little and do some self-introspection... another chance to maybe try out something new... and an entry into new avenues and perspectives which otherwise would have been either impossible or very difficult to achieve....and this is where places like ISB and other univs in the West with their diverse group help foster to a certain extent....

How far will I be successful? Only time will tell... How am I feeling at this point in time? - well both exuberant and scared.... the next 1 year is going to be crazy and also probably (as many alums say) the best year of my life yet..... I hope am able to live up to the expectations of my well wishers and yeah both learn and enjoy along the way!

ISB Class of 2011, here I come!!! whoooooooooooooooooooooooooosh

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The MOTOR Recipies

well the pic says it all... I happened to visit one roadside stall which sells chicken rolls (umm am hungry... yum yum) and come across this masterpiece. As most of you would have figured out this is nothing but Aloo Matar and Matar Paneer... perhaps one of the most obvious example of Bengali's fascination with everything 'O'.... honestly I dunno why.. is it bcoz we bong love rOsOgOllas or something else... whatever be it Bengali still remains one of the sweetest language on earth!!
Go BONG! Eat your MOTORs :D

this is Ovishek signing off!!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Anyone who has been to Bangalore are well aware of the importance of autowallahs for the purpose of commuting in Bangalore. No matter how many vehicles you have, you will definitely be using the services of one of these quintessential auto-wallahs during your stay in Bangalore.. they rule the road so to speak.. it is with this in mind I chose to write about these "rulers of the road"….

With every passing day their costs are increasing and so are their tempers. Imagine this just around 5 years back an auto wallah used to start with a basic fare of 8.80 (yeah thats right) for 2 km and increments of around 20 p with every additional half a km. Fast forward to present day Bangalore the meter starts with 14 bucks and which keeps increasing by 50 paise every 250 metres or so… the same distance I used to travel in 20 bucks costs somewhere around 45-55 bucks… thats more than double the costs..

Okay now lets talk about something besides the cost factor… increasingly there are news of disruptive behavior from these guys… with every passing day they are becoming more and more notorious. Also there is always a 100% chance that the first auto you take will not agree to take you to your destination. You need to wait for an average 2-3 before you can get one which takes you forward....

But is everything about these guys are heading towards doom's end… absolutely not.. like I mentioned at the beginning of this post they are literally indispensable… mobility in and around Bangalore would have been a lot more difficult if it was not for these guys to help you out… they are also the saving grace in many occasions and an easy way out when you want to beat the traffic and above all the trauma of parking your vehicle in the central business district.

Back to some more stats (yeah the idea of business school is taking a toll on my head and my fascination with stats), I happened to spend around 6 days in Blore on my return from US enroute Kol… and I happened to use their services around 3-4 times a day for average distances.. guess how big a hole did I burn in my pocket… just around 1200 bucks (yeah!!!!!!)

Oh Calcutta!

No this is not the shout of despair in seeing the crumbling infrastructure of the city… it is a expression of jubilation when I went to the restaurant named "Oh Calcutta" in Bangalore… this restaurant is operated by Anjan (the same guy behind Mainland China) and I believe have an outlet in all major cities of India… Its an upmarket restaurant and if you enter this place be prepared to burn a decent big hole in your pocket. Here is my review of this place :-

1. Ambience - (3 out of 5 stars) I thought they could have worked a bit more in this department. Though I like subtlety decorated places I found this a bit too plain.. c'mon you are charging a fortune atleast put in some decent amount of wall - hangings and posters of the city for the people to get a feel of Calcutta

2. Service - (4 out of 5 stars) the place has knowledgeable waiters who can guide all non-bengalis through the maze of tongue twisting bengali dishes and will suggest you something good depending upon your interest.

3. Food - (5 out of 5) if possible I would have given it a 10 out of 5 stars. the food is absolutely delightful… I for once have NEVER had yummier bengali food outside of my home in my life to date. Right from the starters to their in-house drink (Aam Panna) and to the Entre's it was a delight… a word of caution though - I am not sure how much it is going to appeal non-bengalis and specially vegetarian non-bengalis. We for one did not order even one dish which was vegetarian so am not sure how is their veggie dept. For the rest some of the fish dishes (esp. Hilsa) may not appeal to non-bongs as they are a pain in the butt to eat but as every bong worth his salt will swear these fishes are a class apart in taste.

Will I suggest this restaurant to anyone? Depends… For one you need to have money in your pocket and for two you should be ready and open to experiment with authentic bengali food… if you have never eaten beyond your home and McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Subway are your idea of outside food, then this place is not for you!!!!

As for me…. I happily burped away into the night echoing Oh Calcutta Oh Oh Calcutta!!!!

P.S. I was right.. its rated as one of the top 5 restaurants in India

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The state of "Joblessness"

Well its some time since I read about the finite state machines in college but my current state of activity can also be categorized as one of the "states".. maybe we should open up another branch of finite state machines and call them "life-state machines"... okay enough of nerdy PJs... here I am with few salient features of self-proclaimed life-state machine - "state of joblessness"
You know you are in this state when
  • you do not have any fixed time to get up in the morning
  • when you get up, you are at a total loss of how your day is going to be or what needs to be done during the day
  • you brush your teeth at 11 AM and then again go off to sleep
  • you spend 90% of the time you are awake staring either on your laptop or the idiot-box
  • you have only food in your mind the rest of the 10%
  • you are at the peak of procrastination
  • you need to kick-start your brain for the most basic of its functions
  • you are too lazy to do things which you swore on doing when you were busy
(am too brain-dead to think of anything else)

Also for advanced courses, the state of joblessness can be categorized into two :-
  1. Happy - when the joblessness is self-inflicted... typically the period of inactivity before something big.. the lull before the storm... u know this is your time and you want to make the most of it because these happy states of joblessness do seldom come in your life....
  2. Sad - when the joblessness is some third-party cause... this can be depressing as you did not want this state but was forcefully thrown upon you... typically resigning from ur job due to discontent, fired, etc are causes behind this... God forbid but I hope no one falls into this state as its not at all pleasant and probably the least wanted....

now that my gyan is over.. time to again get back to my HAPPY state of joblessness... duh I took 20 mins to type this much... thats around 2% of my daily time.... too bad...
lets go back to inactivity!!! :D

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The year so far….

Not very long ago, I was fighting one of the fiercest battles with myself on few issues which had been eating up my head for a long time. It had spread like a cancer in my brain and all attempts to diagnose it were failures. I happened to visit NYC to one of my dearest friend during the Christmas weekend and had an amazing time, and during the same trip he kinda remarked, that the new decade should be different for you. Though it may sound kiddish, but sometimes all you need in life is a little encouragement and an assurance that things would change for the better. So in I went, into the new decade, into 2010 with a lot of hopes and determinations. I had one of the best New Year celebrations in a long long time…. couple of my friends went to a local pub and ate, drank, made merry… and on 1st I surprisingly got up really early, went for a drive, paid regards to the Almighty and saw Avatar! Pretty much a perfect start….

Days started passing by and I was totally consumed at work… broke a number of professional records of putting in uninterrupted number of hours at a stretch and also coped up with Ishan’s travel out of the US. Jan for the most part was uneventful and I was busy planning the next phase of my life.. cursing myself sometimes of messing up few great past opportunities. An email at the end of January changed everything… yes it was an interview call from ISB… I had little hopes of getting an invite especially since I felt I couldnt put my best in the applications….the next few days around 10 to be exact went in preparing for the interview… it was easily one of the most stressed out weeks for me, with tons of work, rescheduling of the interview and managing social life left me exhausted… finally the interview happened and again I felt that I could have done better… honestly I felt I had a 50-50 chance and was cursing myself left n right for not doing a better job!

The historic day of Feb 12th changed everything…. I got an invite from ISB, actually 3-4 days before the actual results were supposed to be out. It took me some time to digest, for the feeling to really sink in that I had finally made it to one premier b-school after years of trying, deliberation and messed up schedules. What followed was to an extent unexpected – the process of exiting from Infosys and Kraft! I was not very happy the way my professional life was shaping up.. though I was currently working in a very challenging project, somehow things were not right. More than anything time was running by and I wanted to finish my education fast before I get too bored/old to study… so in that effect ISB happened at the right time. I was ecstatic and was sure that the next few days are gonna be a breeze….well it was exactly the opposite!

Today is Mar 9th, approximately 3 weeks since I informed my managers of my intention of leaving Infy and within just a few days (3 to be exact) I would bid goodbye to my friends and colleagues at Kraft/Infy and embark upon a new journey after a short break of 20 days! What has touched me is the way everyone has come forward to wish me the best in this new endeavor… my clients (absolutely lovely people) had been so supportive and encouraging… seriously this had been a dream account to work for.. seldom do you meet such an understanding and motivating group of people (clients) who make your work literally a treat!

Kraft I will really really miss you!!!

Another touching and unexpected behavior was from my friends at Infy… now that I am leaving I truly realise how blessed I was to have so many friends around me to hang out with.. watch movies.. gossip.. chat.. do anything under the sun. Even their reception towards me had been so warm… had one of my best dinners ever in BD’s and I am sure there are few more send-offs planned in the next few days….

Really people (you know who you are) I will truly truly miss you all!

Well I guess thats enuf of senti-talk for one post… have to finish off with packing and other pleasantries… clock is ticking… tick tock tick tock!!!!