Having come to India in 2005 for my graduation, the number of places I have stayed / visited since then, I hadn’t even seen a third of them during the pre – 2005 era. From roaming around most of the places in the South to visiting Kolkata and Guwahati in the east to staying for 2 years in an around the West, I have seen a lot this country has to offer.
Going for long walks with your girlfriend or best friends, going to movies after bunking classes, coming late to hostel, fighting with the warden, sleeping while the faculty is telling the most important of things, ogling at all the possible girls in your own as well as the junior batch, coming late to class so frequently that the day you come early, the faculty is shocked out of his / her daylights – College life is about all this and more.
6th July 2009 was when I made my first post on this blog. I give the sole credit to Himanshu Bhagat (2008-10) batch of SIBM Pune MBA Marketing for “indirectly” bringing out the social media guy in me. A team called the Internet Communications and Blogging team was established a year back to maintain the Official SIBM Blog and the entire online communications of SIBM Pune. I applied, got selected and the rest is history.
As my first post says, I used to write earlier in bits and pieces like some articles in Times of Oman and had been a part of editorial teams at college. But my real writing began when I started blogging. Be it my love life, friends, political issues, social issues, economic issues, I began writing about anything and everything. While writing, I realised that there was so much I wanted to speak about but probably wasnt able to. So if one isnt able to communicate very well in terms of physical communication, writing is the best medium to reach out to the world out there.
As I went on writing, I also realised that if I was interested in something, I could write a post about it in just 20 mins. Many people have always asked me as to how I choose the topics for my blog posts. I would like to say that whatever I write, I strongly feel about each of those things. I never make a conscious attempt to think much before on a topic and then write. Whenever I get an idea to write on something, I just pen down my thoughts.
Interestingly on the same day I joined Twitter too. This was also too for the team work. But I did create my account because I was told to do so. Truthfully speaking I didnt know anything about Twitter before and had the usual question as to what should I tweet about. Till November I had just about 150-200 tweets. But then all of a sudden I started tweeting like crazy. As I started getting the hang of it, I realised the importance of networking. This is the reason I improved my Linkedin account to what it has become today.
And so today, I am connected to 280 odd people on Linkedin, have 12,600+ visits on my blog with more than 7000+ new visitors with a rank of 72/100 by Indiblogger and 550 odd followers on Twitter. The statistics apart, I have realised the importance of having a very good social media presence in these times.
There are a couple of things I know I still have to improve on my blog like the design, making it interactive etc. Its all a work in progress and I am sure with time I would able to improve a hell lot.
Lately I have began my biggest ever project ever – Writing a novel. I have miles and miles to go before I sleep and I really want to be in this field for a long run.
The wind is hustling the leaves and making one feel really cold,
The visibility has dropped to less than 100m,
The whole campus seems so beautifully misty and foggy,
The paths leading to the college campus are gleaming with pure (yes it feels so at least :)) water from the sky,
The window in the classroom never felt a better place to sit near than now,
The umbrellas and raincoats have come out in full force,
The beauty of small waterfalls formed on the hills nearby is not to be missed,
The area around never looked as green as now with each leaf of a plant gleaming with droplets of water,
This is the monsoon at SIBM Pune, Lavale Campus – Can surely give Lonavla, Mahabaleshwar or Khandala a run for their money!!!!
Exams are the most important event in a student’s life. They decide one’s future if the person is in 10th or 12th like the college he / she would join and the career he / she would choose. When one is in college they decide a person’s future in terms of final placements, jobs etc. Not to forget all along especially in our country they help “differentiate” the best of the students from the rest. Though it’s always said that mugging and vomiting in the exam papers isn’t good and marks are not the be all and end all, it’s always remained like that and will remain. Ok I now I am boring you guys with a lot of such stuff.
My basic point here is to talk about how life is lived around exam days. When I was at school it was all so different. Parents were there to make sure I slept on time, ate on time, there was no disturbance like TV and computers, no one came into my room, no phone calls and what not. Though they always wanted me to sleep early in the night so that I would be fresh for the next day, me the person I am :P used to be awake till late studying in the street light and screwing up my eyesight.
At the undergrad and postgrad level it’s a completely different ballgame altogether. There are 101 ways of getting distracted and even if one can’t find ways to get distracted, some or the other way comes about by itself! There maybe friends who want to disturb a person whose studying, people may watch movies and play music at the highest decibels, the most intense discussions on the weirdest of topics happen during these times, the best and most delicious Maggi is made during the exam season and the most interesting of all things like IPL, the World Cup and a plethora of other events happen during this time which are sure to make one say “SAALA AISE TIME PE HI EXAM KYON HOTA HAI!
And as you can all see here, even though I have my Organizational Behaviour exam tomorrow, I planned so well that I studied in the morning, watched the match (though which CSK sadly lost ), tweeted quite a bit and also blogged.
That’s what we-to-be MBA Grads call “TIME MANAGEMENT”! :P ;)
The pre – Valentine week as they call it was a really interesting one for me. 63 hours, 3 cities, 4 people, 1 presentation – That’s how I can describe my 3 day sojourn to Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Tiruchirapalli (Trichy for short) and back from 11th – 14th February 2010. As soon as I was back, there were the 2nd internals to contend with. 9 exams in 2 days – 15th and 16th February 2010!!! So it was a week before I really got some proper sleep. But the trip really was an amazing experience to cherish!
First things first! One of the reasons to go for the trip was also the fact that I wanted to meet some of my friends and also make a trip to South India (which as all my family and friends know I feel very close to despite the fact that am a North Indian). So getting selected for a paper presentation competition was surely a good enough reason to go :P. But most importantly, the opportunity to give a presentation on “Viral Marketing through Social Media” (one of the fields which probably I can claim myself to have some decent knowledge of!!) in front of students and professors at a national level was one that I wouldn’t want to miss.
As I left SIBM Pune on 11th February by the 5 30pm bus, the main thing I was worried about was the fact as to whether I would do ok in the coming internals because they were there immediately the next day after I came back. I had all this tension despite the fact that my friend Priyanka Negi had taught me the entire Business Law portion and I had also gone through few other subjects before. An ice-cream at Baskin Robbins, pasta at Pepinos and two packed 6 sub sandwiches (WOW what variety!!!) was my dinner that night with my friend, Forum Parikh (ok guys before you think anything, that’s her NAME…Yeah and she’s a Gujarati..It means fragrance in Gujarati) before I boarded the Volvo Bus to Bangalore at 9pm from Swar Gate. Reading sometimes, sleeping, getting up, listening to songs, talking on phone, eating (had two more ice-creams that night on the way to Bangalore at a place the bus stopped) – and thus 15 hours (the travel time from Pune to Bangalore: 760 kms) passed by.
Since Trichy is not properly connected to the rest of the country, one has to go through Bangalore or Chennai to go there. And since Chennai isn’t connected by bus to Pune, I decided to go through Bangalore. Immediately after reaching Bangalore at around 1pm on 12th February 2010, I went to the Forum Mall (it is one of the most famous hang out spots of Bangalore). I am sure you guys would be wondering what the hell? He didn’t brush or take bath or whatever. How the hell can he just go to a mall? Since, my bus to Trichy from Bangalore was in the night at about 11pm, time was at a premium and I had to meet quite a few of my friends. In Forum, I met Yaamini Radhakrishnan (Mini) and Priyanka, both Indian School Muscat friends. After having “Emerald Ice” (don’t know why I always order that..GOD!!) at Java Green and a strictly OK! lunch at Transit, we bid Priyanka bye since she had to go to a marriage function. Then I met Nupur Duggal, one of my VIT friends who I had also met at Transcend ’10 (SIBM Pune’s management and cultural fest). It was really amazing and beautiful to relive old memories with all my friends. It’s not everyday that one gets to meet people whom you have told bye at school or college. Finally I went to Mini’s house to change, take bath, freshen up and eat HOME FOOD. When one has not gone home for 1 year like me, HOME FOOD anywhere feels delicious. But aunties, amazing mix of vermicilli with dahi and masala, rava idli and sambar and another kind of rice was as they say FINGER LICKING GOOD!!!! After such an amazing day of meeting friends and having excellent food, it was time to take the Airavath Volvo bus to Trichy.
Since I was really tired, I slept “nearly perfectly” on the journey to Trichy. We reached Trichy bus stand at about 5am on 13th Feb, the day of the presentation. As I got out of the bus, I could immediately feel the strong humidity (characteristic of Tamil Nadu) in the air. Before arriving, the organizers had informed me that there would be a van waiting at the bus stand which would take the participants to the college and after freshening up, all of us would be taken to the hotel where the competition cum conference was being held. But lo and behold! When I called up the organizer, he was completely clueless about a van coming for a pickup at the bus stand. The organizer told me to take the local bus to the college. Incidentally Bharathidasan University was the place from where I started my journey of paper presentations during my B.Tech Biotechnology days at VIT University. So it was fitting in more ways than one that I started my journey of paper presentations in MBA at Bharathidasan as well. Finally the organizer realised his error and informed me that the van would be there in few minutes. I finally reached the campus at about 6 30am. Few things which one can’t but help notice is the fact that the college is located in a vast expanse of nothingness. The only thing around is the magnanimous Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL). It is soooo big probably as big as a cricket or a football stadium. The hostel just starts all of a sudden. There doesn’t seem any outer boundary. I didn’t get to see the college campus because truthfully speaking I didn’t know where it was located :P. Would have surely been very far from the hostels though! Since the intake is very small, the number of hostels at BIM is very less. Instead of proper rooms in hostels, there is this thing like villas (which are very horribly maintained with the most pathetic thing about them being the toilets!) where 3-4 people stay together. After a decent breakfast of uttapam and meeting a guy AGAIN from PSG Institute of Management (GOD..How do I end up meeting so many people from PSG??). And guess what he was telling me how good PSG Institute of Management is, because of its toilets!!! WTH!!!
And then we were off on the college bus to SRM hotel (supposedly the best in Trichy) for the event. After the registration and the “BORING and DULL” inaugural speeches, the time for the presentations finally arrived. As I had informed the organizers about my exams the next day, my presentation was the FIRST. Now that made me a bit jittery (till that time I was cool) because being first, the onus was on me to make a good impression as everyone would be very much awake as well as attentive at that moment. And mine being a new and innovative topic, things could be all the more interesting. The presentation went off pretty well as I answered the 3-4 questions asked by the BIM Trichy students with ease. They did seem really interested in the concept and one of them even commented that. The judge wasn’t exactly convinced because for one I didn’t feel that he knew too much about this field (not saying to blame the judge but then I personally felt he wasn’t equipped to judge this kind of topic). One of the greatest things of the whole event was the fact that one of the professors asked me a copy of my presentation because he was really interested to learn more about it. Now what can get bigger than this? A professor asking a student for a copy of his presentation. AWESOME!!
I was finally free at 1 30pm and since my bus to Chennai was at 11 30pm, I had ample time to meet another of my VIT University friends, Fazal. He came to pick me up in his Nano along with one of his friends. (was an interesting experience to sit in it for the first time – it is cute and for sure an engg marvel..Splendid stuff!!!). Going to Marry Brown, then roaming on the roads of the Trichy – Salem highway trying to find a petrol pump, going to a dam, then again roaming around in the city in the Nano, spending some time in Fazal’s house, having dinner at Spice 6 restaurant, going to the Trichy Airport to CHILL OUT (Yeah people YOU ALL HEARD IT RIGHT!! Trichy Airport is like a proper hangout place in the sense nice green bushes and cool and calm and serene atmosphere to take a walk and just sit and talk..I know it sounds like a park :P) Guess this is because one doesn’t have many places around Trichy to go and take a peaceful walk. Finally they dropped me back to the bus at 11pm and I was off to Chennai.
I had already heard that both – Sruthi, my VIT friend and Sindhuja, my ISM friend who are in Chennai wouldn’t be able to meet me. So when I reached Koyambedu bus stand, I was already prepared to go directly to Kamaraj Domestic Airport. I reached there on time and in due course boarded my flight Jet Konnect to Pune at 9:55am and reached Pune sharp at 1pm.
All in all this was a trip filled with tiredness, achieving greater heights in terms of getting selected for bigger competitions, becoming proficient in a the field of social media and viral marketing which I am really interested to build my career in and last but not the least meeting old friends.
A TRIP TO REMEMBER FOR YEARS TO COME!!!
For all those who are wondering, why I am writing an entry about what happened from Feb 09 – Feb 10 instead of Jan, its my birthday today, so this entry is based on that. First things first, finally I have crossed the adult barrier of 21. So finally by all means, there is no scope for anyone to call me small (age wise) :D. A hell lot of stuff has happened in my life, in India around the world everywhere in all possible fields. But I will stick to writing about stuff that’s happened in my life during the last 365 days. And believe me, there’s a hell lot of stuff thats happened. Get set for a lovely journey!!
Last year during this time, I was in the final lap of my life at VIT. I was doing our stupid final year project in VIT with Ranjani (Ranju), Shahid and others in Karthikeyan sir’s lab. God! Those times were so good. Used to sleep at 3-4am and get up at 10-11am. I was always late and Ranju would end up yelling at me. But me being me, I never improved =P. I joined B.Tech Biotechnology because I was really interested. But as is the case, over the years it just became a mug and vomit and mug and vomit and mug game, though I did take part in quite a few paper presentations and other competitions. Even though we didn’t do something really useful in our project, I really loved whatever we did. But I guess then it was too late :(.
During this period I was also busy in my applications for different B – Schools for pursuing MBA. I had applied to so many colleges that I don’t even remember the total number. But had just got call from SP Jain that too on the basis of my profile. Sadly, neither my CAT nor XAT score was anything to talk about. In the end, I did manage to clear the first round but got eliminated in the second. I think I did perform commendably though considering the fact that both were group interviews and in both the panels I was the only fresher. But as they say all’s well that ends well (or in today’s lingo all izzzz well!!), I had SIBM as the last option. I did apply after a lot of natak and nautanki over not wanting to be an NRI again and blah blah and got through. The rest as they say is history.
One of the best things to happen during this period was to “re – discover” my friendship with Yaamini Radhakrishnan (Mini). She was in my class in 9th and 10th but both us didn’t speak much then. By a stroke of luck when she sent me a message, we started chatting on gtalk and phone. And lo, I was wondering how could both of us not talk when we were in the same class. It felt like looooooooong lost friends talking to each other. Its really been an amazing journey since.
During this period at VIT, even though there was nothing to study or no classes to worry about, there were other things to think (or be frustrated as my friends call me “frustogi”) about. The biggest problem a person faces in life is when he / she has to distinguish between the person he / she loves and who is his / her friend. People have always had this problem of not wanting to disappoint both their friends and the person they love. But sadly they end up doing that. I was in a similar situation and it was seriously like a storm inside me. But thankfully I managed to come out of this unscathed.
May 15th – May 18th 2009 were the days when all of us parted from each other, some to work and others to study further in India and abroad. Parting from Ranju after ten yrs and also Padhee, Anish, Sruthi, Giri, Mohsin (MBL), Arun (ADG) and others felt really painful. The fact that Giri, MBL and ADG came to drop me all the way up to the airport was so touching that I would have cried if I had stayed outside the airport with them any longer after they had dropped me. Somewhere deep down I did wonder as to how would I survive without Ranju by my side. Signing t – shirts, diaries, books, hugs, tears, goodbyes, promises of meeting up again, staying in touch were all done. And thus came to end my “Happy Days” at VIT University.
After a short visit to Muscat of about two weeks, I was back to SIBM Pune to begin the second and final innings of my educational career. Another friend who I “re-discovered” was Forum Parikh. She was in my class in 6th. But after that had lost touch only to meet her up in Pune after 9 years. Now that’s a looooong looooong time. I met her once before she left for a sojourn of US for 4 months. But we frequently chatted online and maan the way we chatted as is the case with Mini, it didn’t feel like we had been far away for so many years. Since coming back in October, she’s been my Pune tour guide too taking me around the city.
Before coming to SIBM Pune, I had heard so much ki MBA is this and MBA is that. But after a period of approximately one year, I really feel its been an amazing experience in terms of learning, activities and also meeting different kinds of people. There was a sense of apprehensiveness in me about the kind of people, studies and also whether I’ll be able to settle down fine because Mom & Dad didn’t come. They were like ” Beta tum bade ho gaye, we came to VIT..Now you go alone and get settled”. I was also wondering how it would be to share my room with someone considering the fact that I had become used to staying alone all my life. I did have early jitters considering the number of subjects we had (17 – 18 I think). But as time went by I did settle down.
Before coming to Pune, I had entirely lived in the South which is much more conservative and orthodox. Therefore, after coming here, it was an experience in itself to meet loads of people who were really “open” (“literally” & “figuratively”). especially the ones from Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication (SIMC) =P. Meeting people with work ex who were elder to me and learning different things from them was also an interesting experience.
Considering my itchiness to do stuff other than studies too as was the case at VIT, I did apply to the council teams as well as probably every other team possible =P. This system was completely different from that at VIT where for every fest or competition a different organizing team is there. At SIBM, each team handles a set of activities. Each candidate has to go through an interview to get selected. At one time, my roomie was like “U keep attending so many interviews. What do you really wanna join”. But when I joined Netspeak, I hadn’t realized that it would be my true calling. But as time went on, it opened a plethora of opportunities for me.
Netspeak is the Official Internet Communications and Blogging Channel of SIBM Pune. This team opened my doors to the world of Twitter, Blogging, Social Bookmarking, Podcasts and other Web 2.0 tools. This led me to my summer placement at Silicon India, made me start my own blog, led me to open my Twitter account and network with many people across the nation, learn to use the Web 2.0 tools to popularize my own blog, become involved with the online marketing of the South Asian Youth Camp and also a startup venture and also get the responsibility for all the Online Promotions related to Transcend ’10 (SIBM Pune’s management and cultural fest).
Scoring 2.65 out of 4 in the final exams was like theek hai chalta hai especially after the number of hours I used to sleep before every exam. Maan I was so chilled out. At VIT, I used to be more tensed and worried and think about not wasting time. But here despite the fact that all the exams were continuous, I was really chill. One reason was the fact that the internals have 60% weightage which makes the finals much more easier.
The student research publication – Shodh, Prayaas, Netspeak, Organizer of Ecclesia – Literary Events of Transcend ’10, Winner – Infosys Case Study Competition which was a cross cultural learning exercise between SIBM Pune and WP Carey School of Business Arizona, the online marketing team of a startup, online promotions of Transcend ’10, paper presentation competition at BIM Trichy and much more – as usual I have been at work here in SIBM Pune. Haven’t been able to go to either Lucknow or Muscat since coming here and have really started believing that I am what everyone thinks “a workaholic”.
Its been a great 365 days with rediscovering my friendship with Mini and Forum and also experiencing life at a B – School. Even though I was sad at parting away with Ranju and my other VIT friends, God has given me the chance to rediscover my long lost friends. Some one has said it right that “Jab ek darwaaza band hota hai, tab bahut saare khul jaate hain”
Here’s hoping for a great year ahead!!!