Do We Remember Those Moments?

We humans have a tendency to forget the things too quickly and I am no exception. However, there are certain moments which probably always remain in our brains, our hearts and our nerves for whatever reasons. If you are thinking that I am going to talk about love, ishq, pyaar-vyaar etc., then your guess is wrong.

Let me start with my own experience first. It was when my parents (my mother to be very precise) put me in a Dehradun based boarding school named Scholars Home. I was very excited to shift from my old Hindi-medium school to this new English-medium school in the beautiful Doon valley. My father was in no mood to send me far-away from him and he was quite shocked to learn about the news of I having cleared the admission test. Somehow, my father conceded to my mother’s demand to get me admitted in Scholars Home for the sake that I would get better education over there.

Now, the new phase of my life started. As a rule, everyone had to talk in English over there. Since, I didn’t know how to speak fluently in English, I used to prefer keeping my mouth shut most of the times than getting caught & subsequently punished for speaking in Hindi. It was one of my first few classes when our Economics teacher Mr. Pant came to teach the subject. As a rule, whole class got up and greeted the teacher with “Good Morning Sir” phrase. However, somehow Mr. Pant couldn’t help noticing my greeting style. In my own ubiquitous Gaon-wala style, I wished him Namastey with my both hands folded together. I still remember his words “Beta main tumhare sanskar samajhta hoon, par yahan pe sab tumhara mazaq udayenge“. After saying this, he started with his class session on economics. He was talking about luxury goods and suddenly he asked me to give some examples of luxuries. I thought for a while and came to a conclusion that I had heard that word or a similar one before. I started citing grease, oil etc. as examples of luxuries only to realize later that those were lubricants. My fellow-classmates couldn’t help stop their laughter after listening to my examples. And today, when I think about that moment, even I can not stop from laughing at myself .

Let me narrate you another experience, this time of my engineering college. Before I stepped into my engineering college, I hadn’t even felt the touch of a mouse, leave alone using it to surf the web. I used to get scared in my practical class of “Fundamentals of IT” and I used to search for the company of someone in the computer lab who could assist me in knowing the computer system better. Things rolled on and as the semester approached its end, we had to appear for the internal viva for the same subject. I was asked by our teacher if I had my mail id. I thought ” Hey Bhagwan, ye viva me mere se e-mail id jaisi hi-fi cheezon ke baare me kyon pooch rahe hain“. I faced the teacher and answered his questions somehow. That day I asked one of my friends, Varun Verma, to assist me make my mail id. Finally, I had my first e-mail id in the year 2003. I know I am talking as if I innovated something great, but frankly speaking, it was no less an innovative step for me. The main hurdle was pending yet. I was still to face the final practical exam of the same subject. I hardly knew any answer correctly in my practical exam and I after getting out from the computer lab, I broke into tears. That day changed my life.

I purchased a brand new HCL computer and started learning on my own. By the time I reached third year of my engineering, I could see my articles getting published in software sections of various International & National magazines. That was like a dream come true for me. No one had imagined that one who didn’t even know how to scroll a mouse could even get his software articles published in various magazines.

I am sure most of you would have also gone through numerous similar kind of situations in some form or the other. Those wonderful moments are our strengths and we can always bank on them to derive courage whenever we feel low. Let’s not forget those fabulous moments. I have made an effort to remember some of these moments by capturing them in my blog. Someone has rightly said that memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are and the things you never want to lose.

The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments. ~ Gustav Flaubert

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My Alma Mater – I Salute You

Today is the day when my alma mater, Symbiosis Institute of Operations Management (SIOM) Nashik, completes its successful journey of 5 years. And my blog post coincides on this beautiful day of foundation of my alma mater. It was on this very day of the year 2005 that existing Nashik campus of Symbiosis Centre for Management & Human Resource Development (SCMHRD) was rechristened as SIOM after inauguration at the hands of Mr. Baba Kalyani.

When I joined SIOM to pursue my MBA in Operations, I thought that two year period would be a long duration. But, time passed away so quickly only to realise later that the day to bid adieu to my institute had arrived. Most of us had doubts galore when we entered the institute to pursue our Masters. But today when we look back, we certainly not only cherish the memories of our time spent at the institute, but also thank our destiny to bring us to such a place.

I found it difficult initially to adapt to a 7-day working schedule of the institute. But, gradually I got used to it. First semester exams at the institute were one amongst the most horrific times of my life. Two final exams scheduled every day for almost a week in the first semester gave me the sleepless nights. I tried my level best to sleep as early as possible; however, the nightmare of two tough papers scheduled for the subsequent day virtually never let me sleep for a week-long exam time. Today, those horrific moments have become memorable moments for me.

I still treasure the teachings & assignments of Mr. Y. R. Rao, when we used to sit at the green turf and discuss the case-studies for hours without any breakthrough. The teachings of Mr. Rao, who served as the CEO of many public limited companies, gave a new angle to my thought process. Another wonderful fellow was Mr. Vivek Kaul, former Head HR India– Kimberly-Clark, who made a seemingly boring subject like “Principles & Practices of Management” most interesting for us. These two teachers were my all-time favourite.

Today, I take immense proud in calling myself an alumnus of SIOM. For everything I am today, I owe it to a large extent to none other than the institute. Hope I’ll able to visit my institute some day again for all the good reasons.

Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I’ll miss you until we meet again!

Book Review: Connect the Dots by Rashmi Bansal

Before reading the book Connect the Dots, I thought “Why to learn from success stories when the greater learning lies in failures?” However, when I read a few stories in the book, I realised that the book doesn’t go about mentioning successes of the entrepreneurs, rather it mentions about their failures which ultimately culminated in success stories for them.

Rashmi Bansal’s new book – Connect the Dots, at least in my opinion, is a sequel to her National bestseller in non-fiction category – Stay Hungry Stay Foolish (SHSF). There are many reasons to believe that it is a sequel:

  • Connect the Dots caters to the aspirations of budding entrepreneurs like SHSF.
  • Both the books have classified the entrepreneurs into 3 categories.
  • In both the books, after each story follows the advice to young entrepreneurs.
  • Connect the Dots has a similar cover design, page design, layout and typesetting as that of SHSF.
  • Even the website layout and design of Connect the Dots is same as that of SHSF. (Browse www.stayhungrybook.com and www.connectthedots.in to know more)

Connect the Dots covers inspiring stories of 20 non-MBA entrepreneurs unlike Rashmi’s first book which had stories of 25 entrepreneurs who did their post-graduation from IIM-A. When you see the cover of the book, the first thing you’ll notice is that the title of the book has been written upside down. The one who hasn’t read the content of Steve Jobs’ speech or hasn’t gone through the below note given in this book, fails to understand as to why the book’s title has been written upside down.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust… in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life”

~ Steve Jobs, Commencement Address at Stanford University (2005)

Rashmi herself mentions as to how she connected the dots in Author’s note section in the beginning of the book. She was passionate about writing from the very beginning. During her course of study, she often asked herself during her miserable first year at IIM-A as to why she came to study there. After around 14 years of passing-out from IIM-A, one fine day she got the opportunity to write on IIM-A entrepreneurs and she grabbed it which later became a bestseller in the form of SHSF. She was on campus for her 15th reunion in Jan 2009 when sale of SHSF crossed 50,000 copies. To celebrate this, the dean of IIM-A presented her a silver plaque in the same classroom where she occupied a seat during her first year on campus. That day she was able to connect the dots!

The book has a diverse and interesting mix of entrepreneurs. The age was certainly not a bar for choosing entrepreneurs (for the fact that book covers people as old as 56 years old and as young as 25 years old) as long as they could fit into one of the three categories viz. Jugaad, Junoon and Zubaan of the book. One of them-Raghu Khanna, with whom I have personally interacted also, is even younger to me.

Some of my Supply Chain concepts of Postponement and Modularization got revisited when I read Prem Ganapathy’s experience of offering 108 dosa items in menus of Dosa Plaza using mix-and-match of 5-6 sauces, 5-10 chutneys and vegetables. These entrepreneurs know by virtue of their real life experience many things which are taught at the B-schools today.  As correctly outlined in the book, whether you are selling tea or servicing a Fortune 500 client – the principle is always the same.

All in all, the book serves a wonderful means for anyone interested in pursuing entrepreneurship as a career option.

Mayawati: Love her or Hate her, but you can not ignore her!

Now a days, there has been a lot of fuss about none other than the honourable Chief Minister of UP, Behen Mayawati. A lot of bad mouthing about Kumari Mayawati is doing rounds in the social media. According to Behenji, this is the handiwork of people with ‘manuwadi’ mentality. But see, these manuwadi people never mention about Behenji’s achievements. There are so many of them that I don’t know where to start with. She has authored two books which are available in both Hindi as well as English editions. May be these books have grown so much in popularity that the profits earned from these books have been used in part to make a currency garland reportedly worth Rs. 5 Crore to welcome Behenji in Maha rally to mark the BSP’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

But let me remind you, writing books is not her key skill.  Her key skill lies in organising mammoth rallies. It is this very skill only which has made her enter into Limca Book of Records. In 2006, Behenji brought BSP into Limca Book of Records for organising largest political rally comprising of over 5.76 lakh people! I wonder if she has so good human mobilization skills, why doesn’t ISB, XLRI and IIMs invite her for guest lectures in subjects like HR. May be she is so much pre-occupied that even these B-Schools recognise it. What I feel is that when there are lakhs of people to listen to Mayawati in her rallies, why should she go for a guest lecture in ISB, XLRI or IIMs where there will be an audience of at most a few hundred people.

One shouldn’t get complacent with one’s success. Perhaps, it is this very mantra only which has kept Behenji going. That is why she wanted to outdo her past record of organising gathering of over 5.76 lakh people, by planning a Maha rally with an expected turnout of 20 lakh people on March 15, 2010. The UP government had declared March 15 a public holiday in view of this expected turnout. But much to everyone’s surprise, only two lakh people turned up, if media reports are to be believed. May be weather conditions were not that suitable for a rally at this juncture, otherwise, she would have made BSP enter into Limca Book of Records again by outdoing her own past record. But mind it, this figure of 2 lakhs doesn’t include the swarm of bees that kept hovering around Behenji’s rally! We could see the inconvenience caused by their unexpected arrival as due arrangements were not made for them. May be from next time, functionaries of Mayawati’s party will make arrangements for bees also.

But probably, this time she made another record of being the only Indian politician to be welcomed with a garland of currency notes reportedly worth Rs. 5 Crore (Who knows, the garland may be worth more than Rs.5 Crore also!). Instead of making entry to Limca Book of Records, Behenji’s BSP made an entry to the books of the Income Tax department this time. I think it’s only a matter of time before Mayawati enters into Guinness Book of World Records. I wish Behenji good luck in all her future endeavours and sincerely hope that she will not disappoint her followers as well as detractors with manuwadi mentality!

Love Behenji or Hate Behenji , but you can not Ignore Behenji !

Getting Placed: Was it Hard-Work or Mere Luck?

Before the placement season started at Symbiosis Institute of Operations Management (SIOM), Nashik, I had decided that I’ll apply only to firms operating in the services sector and I won’t keep my expectations too high. Each one of us used to eagerly wait for the mail from the placements mail id. One day we got in our mailboxes a mail asking the interested students having more than 2 years of experience to apply for KPIT Cummins Infosystems, Pune for roles of Project Lead & Operations Manager. I being having 21 months of work-experience was not eligible to apply as per the required work-experience criterion. However, going by this condition, a large chunk of people falling in the bracket of 20 to 23 months experience were not eligible. I amongst many others requested our placement team to insist the KPIT Cummins to relax their condition of work-experience. After talking to KPIT Cummins, finally this condition was relaxed and students with more than 20 months of work-experience were allowed to apply for the company. With around 84% of my fellow class-mates being having prior work-experience, I thought I had bleak chances of getting short listed in the company.

It was on December 18, 2009, when KPIT Cummins visited our campus. They had a shortlist of just 7 students for the role of Operations Manager. I was pleasantly surprised to find my name at Sr. No. 2 of the shortlist. I had not prepared anything for the selection process. I quickly went to my hostel room and picked my file having all the academic & extra-curricular certificates. I asked one of my friends to take the print-out of my resume and in the mean-time I quickly had my lunch. After that I immediately rushed towards the interview room. Interviews were about to begin and my turn was immediately after the first candidate.

During the interview I was bombarded with many questions. I would like to share one question for which I gave a very funny answer. I was asked by interviewers to choose any one of the two subjects viz. History & Geography. After thinking for a while, I chose Geography. Interviewer asked me to explain the reason. Here goes my funny answer:

“It’s because History keeps on repeating itself and I’ll get to learn history one way or the other from the future happenings. But Geography I’ll have to explore on my own!”

Finally, when the interviews got over, out placement co-ordinator announced my name and asked me to meet the interviewers. This was primarily a negotiation round wherein I was supposed to divulge my expectations. I was unable to control my happiness and I was ready to accept any reasonable package for the position of Operations Manager and that too for a place like Pune. They offered me X.XX LPA and without even a sign of reluctance, I readily accepted their offer. I couldn’t believe that I got placed and that too in a company for which I was initially not eligible! This is what destiny had for me. Today when I look back, I realise that chance attributed more to my placement than my hard-work.

Identity Theft: Are We Aware of Consequences?

Now a days, social networking has become buzz of the day. People continue to throng social networking sites in more and more numbers every day. There is nothing wrong with social networking as long as it is used for the purpose it is meant for. The problem creeps when one tries to befool others by pretending as someone else after stealing that person’s identity.

I’ll tell you an interesting piece of story on Twitter to which I was myself a witness. A girl named Ritu Walia (name changed to protect identity), a 19-year old teenager from Haryana, created a Twitter account with the name of Nareshgoyal9w, mentioned profile name as Naresh Goyal, wrote in the Bio as Chairman of Jet Airways, uploaded a background design featuring exclusively Naresh Goyal and also used his photograph as profile photo. Since, Mr. Naresh Goyal in reality had no existing account on Twitter at that point of time, anyone could easily leverage it to one’s advantage. Probably, Ritu’s intentions were not in that line and may be she wanted to just exploit it for entertainment purpose.

Gradually, she started tweeting many famous personalities posing as Mr. Naresh Goyal. One amongst them was our dear Mr. Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra Group. Posing as Naresh Goyal, she tweeted Mr. Mahindra, “I am following you”. Mr. Mahindra reciprocated by mentioning, “And i shall follow u back, Nareshji!” (See the actual snapshot below)

From here started the tussle. After corporate big shots themselves started following Nareshgoyal9w, many ordinary people like us also fell in line with them and as a result, the followers of the user Nareshgoyal9w started increasing exponentially. However, a judicious user named Mr. Kumara Guru (kumaraguru), Associate Director – Dean’s Office at Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, preferred to confirm with Jet Airways if Nareshgoyal9w was the official Twitter handle of Mr. Goyal. JetAirways tweeted Mr. Guru with the following message:

Mr. Guru was quick to retweet it to Mr. Mahindra to bring it to his knowledge that NareshGoyal9w was a fake user posing as Mr. Goyal. Realising this, Mr. Mahindra in turn retweeted this to all his followers to spread the word:

Only after Jet Airways, threatened to sue Ritu for impersonation and reported the matter to Twitter, she realised that she had committed a blunder and the only way to escape was to disclose the full identity and seek apology publicly. She then changed the profile name to mention her name explicitly and mentioned the Twitter account Bio as Fan Club of Naresh Goyal. She also tweeted Mr. Mahindra that she never stated that the account belonged to Mr. Naresh Goyal. Then Mr. Mahindra retweeted this to all his followers taking the sympathetic view.

The problems didn’t end here. How can such an issue remain away from the glare of media? Ritu started getting the tweets from Surender Sharma, a Delhi based journalist. He continuously tweeted Ritu and insisted her to give her phone number or else make a call on his number. Ritu was so afraid by this point of time that she was not in a position to take any step without the guidance of her parents. The journalist was continuously insisting Ritu (through tweets) to share her side of the story. Ritu didn’t call the journalist. But, the next day, she could see her actions becoming news in some of the web media and this was reported by the same journalist – Surender Sharma.

See, how an act, though committed unintentionally, may lead to serious consequences and one may end up not only getting defamed but also find him/her behind the bars within no time. 19-year student old Ritu Walia was a real-life example.

Some people may be lucky enough to not get the attention of their Identity Theft efforts. One amongst them is Mr. Jaydip Parikh who seemingly ran a parallel Twitter account of Mr. Narendra Modi, Gujrat CM by the name thenarendramodi. From first look, the foremost purpose of his creating the account seemed to be directing the traffic to his website from the links posted in Tweets from this account. I was well aware of the official account of Mr. Modi because I was following and was also being followed by Mr. Modi on Twitter. It was only after my tweets to Jaydip that he changed the Twitter Name from “Narendra Modi” to “Narendra Modi Blog” and mentioned in the Bio that the account was an unofficial blog and not real twitter account of Mr. Modi. Otherwise, his case could have been even more complicated than that of Ritu Walia.

Under Indian Cyber Law, Identity Theft on social networking sites is a crime and as such the person committing this act is punishable under the law. It’s high time we understood the consequences of Identity Theft on social networking sites.

Remember that Social Media should improve your life, not cost you your life!!!

What Motivated me to Blog?

To start with, let me tell you about the motivation behind my first blog post. It’s not that I had plans to write a blog from a long time or that I wanted to start my blog just for the heck of showing off to the world.  Then, what motivated me to blog?

Although, I am an Internet savvy person and love to engage in social networking in whatever possible and meaningful way, yet I had no plans to write on anything till recently. It was on March 1,  when I read the tweet of Mrs. Rashmi Bansal (Author of the last year’s Best Seller – Stay Hungry Stay Foolish) asking for sharing placement experience on which is going to be based her next blog. In order to get featured in her blog, I quickly started my Microsoft Word and started writing my experience. Within an hour’s time, I was able to finish up writing my experience and immediately after I mailed her the document describing my experience. A day after, I received her reply:

“Wonderful – well written – and congratulations”

This was motivating enough to make me start a blog. I always thought that I was not a good writer and as such writing a blog was never something serious stuff for me. But now having started, I’ll try my best to do justice to my blog.

I would love to receive your comments on my posts because it’s only the readers who can do justice to a piece of writing. I hope you won’t mind if I make use of my art, so-called Poor Jokes by almost everybody, to make my blogs more interesting! With this short post, I would mark the beginning of my blog!

Caution: Reading my blogs can be injurious to people who get irritated by Poor Jokes (PJs). Due diligence has been taken to inform such readers beforehand!