Transition of Thoughts

Weaving thoughts into words

Month: December 2009

Book Review – “A Cause Untrue”

“Combining the pace of Forbes, the action of Ludlum and the imagination of Forsyth…Blacker’s intoxicating thriller is a technical tour de force”. That’s one of the reviews at the back of this amazingly gripping novel written by David Blacker, an ex – Srilankan Army guy who has seen many combat operations with the Liberation Tamil Tigers Eelam during his stint with the army. I picked up this book randomly or you can say after seeing the cover which has different shades of green, brown and black and the fact that the name of the book had a line below it saying  “Sri Lanka’s Tigers take their war across the world…”. Till date I have always heard of non – fiction novels based on 9/11, 26/11 and other terror attacks (I am sure fiction must be there too…but never heard of it). So on seeing this, I felt really excited hoping the book would be a great read. And the book doesn’t disappoint one bit. Personally speaking its one of the most amazing novels I have ever read.

Blacker’s achievement lies in his ability to make what is essentially a Sri Lankan conflict into a thriller with global appeal. There is simply no comparable work of fiction by a Sri Lankan author. Writ against the backdrop of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka and terrorism, the book weaves a plot that ricochets from Sri Lankan battlefields to the autobahns of Germany, from clandestine meetings of terrorists in British pubs to suicide bombers on the rampage in Canada. The violence reachers a crescendo with an international hijacking and a horrific hostage crisis.

The way Blacker intertwines reality (yes there is reality to an extent) with fiction always keeps the reader interested. He doesn’t waste time talking about how the LTTE came about. But directly explains stuff like what really happened in those parts of Sri Lanka where they once ruled like in terms of their exploiting and recruiting people including women and children, mining the area, bringing about the idea of suicide bombing in modern day terrorism etc. The locales of the countryside especially the Jaffna Peninsula among others are splendidly described. He moves the story effortlessly between different places in Canada, Europe, America and Sri Lanka.

But the most important parts of the book are the action sequences be it the the hostage drama, the bomb attacks or even high speed chases. Blacker’s work is hugely believable due to the fact that he uses familiar names, incidents and locations. The amazing Lewis Hamilton like pace of this book makes one read on and on (basically once you get your hands on it, you surely cant leave it for anything and would get up once its completely over!). The talk about LTTE, the different special anti – terrorist units of different countries along with the names of different places in Sri Lanka keeps the thrill going along. This novel though is not for the faint – hearted as it contains a lot of graphic details of death and destruction which is a day – to – day thing for army units as well as terrorists.

Quite a lot of people may criticize the book or the author for the violence or probably the romanticization of the conflict or even painting a racist picture of the Sinhalese or the Tamils. But all in all “A Cause Untrue” makes for an undeniably great read.

And yeah this is one book which should be made into a movie…It should be a treat to watch 🙂

Rating – 4.5/5

The Indian Judicial System – What a joke!!!

39,55,224 – That’s the amazingly small or the humongously large number of cases depending on how you look at it lying in the Indian courts today as of September 2009. By now it would have surely risen by many thousand more. Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Babri Masjid demolition, 1993 Mumbai Blasts, the Coimbatore blasts in 1998, Godhra riots, the Black Buck killing by Salman Khan, Jessica Lall, Rizwanur Rahman, Madhu Koda and thousands of other politicians whose names I have forgotten over the years, Harshad Mehta scam, Abdul Karim Telgi, Arushi Talwar, Satyam, Kasab, Ruchika and millions more – This is not some names of random people or timeline of any incidents. It is the list of some of the most prominent cases of how the judiciary in our country has time and again done what it does best – Not catch the accused or even if they caught the accused, they would give them the most royale treatment probably better than they would get at their respective homes.

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy was an industrial catastrophe that took place at a Union Carbide pesticide plant at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on Dec 3, 1984. Around 12am, the plant released methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other toxins, resulting in the exposure of over 500,000 people. Thousands have died since from various gas – related diseases. Till date no one has been prosecuted related to the case though everyone knows what exactly happened that fateful day. Warren Anderson, the CEO of Union Carbide is sitting in his palatial house and living a life of luxury while the people affected by it directly or indirectly continue to suffer each day. It has become the biggest joke round that every year on Dec 3rd there are demonstrations on this issue by various human rights groups and then again the whole year no one except the affected people bothers and then again the same routine is repeated. Does anyone really care? This case has no hope left at all.

The Babri Masjid was demolished on 6th December 1992 when a rally by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) turned into a mob of thousands of kar sevaks who went on a rampage to completely rip apart the mosque. Everyone knew that leaders like Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar and others were involved in this horrendous act but it took Justice Liberhan 17 – Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, 17 looooong years to officially prove that. Ok the fact is that there were a very high number of delays due to the politicians and other issues obviously because the politicians didn’t want this to be proved and so on. But the point is what the hell was Liberhan doing for 17 years???????? Had he gone to sleep? Had he forgotten about the legal system as to how to punish someone or how to take a case forward? Had he taken money from the politicians to keep quiet all these years? Had he decided lets show the report after everyone’s forgotten about it so that no one will get punished? And in the end what does he come out with? A 1000 pg report full of what we call in a B – School as “PFAFF” because its all what we know about. And anyways what is the point of all this? Because as predicted, nothing has happened to the politicians and nothing really will in the future as well.

The Mumbai blasts that is the first one in memory (I know loads of them have occured over the years) which occurred on March 12, 1993 was the one where about 11 locations were attacked. More than 250 people died and thousands were injured. Even though its widely known that Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim were involved in them, the case ran till 2006 to find only certain people guilty with more than 100 conspirators missing. Even the guilty ones, especially the high profile ones like Sanjay Dutt were having such a fun life that you would surely wonder whether he was a being treated as a criminal or just leading a normal simple life. What is the point of only catching the people who helped in this act and not the other ones? For this though Pakistan is involved and they are the least I would expect from to do anything good for our nation.

Jessica Lall, Rizwanur Rahman, Ruchika, Madhu Koda, Ramalinga Rahu are all cases where you realise that if you are a big man and have a lot of power you can do anything in this nation. Manu Sharma shot Jessica in the bar and left because he didn’t get a drink, Rizwanur Rahman was driven to sucide by his father in law, the big industrialist Ashok Todi, Ruchika, a 14 year old budding tennis player was molested by the Haryana top cop SPS Rathore just because he wanted to satisfy his voyeuristic pleasures, Madhu Koda, the ex chief minister was charged with laundering money worth upto Rs 4000 crores, Ramalinga Raju took more than 50,000 employees at Satyam for a ride by being involved in a fraud of Rs 7000 crores probably one of the biggest in the history of modern India. In all the cases, the commonality was that the person who was involved in the crime was damn rich, had power to make the politicians, business leaders or the police dance to his tune and also finish a person’s life if he she wanted. Manu Sharma and Ramalinga Raju are living such an amazing life in jail that they would not want to leave the luxury of it. Ashok Todi was never caught because CBI could never prove (in India everything happens on the basis of proof) that Rizwanur Rahman was killed or driven to suicide because of him. N yes look at Madhu Koda’s daredevilry – he managed to dodge the notices of the Enforcement Directorate four times before being caught because he obviously knows that nothing will happen to him. Ruchika’s case was completely dead and buried until recently when a CBI court gave a 6 month sentence to Rathore who is even fighting that. All these years, he ripped apart the happiness of the Girhotra family. Can the media activism bring justice to them?

Arushi Talwar was found murdered in her house on May 16, 2008. It became a national news with the sensational coverage being given to it by the media. Sadly or probably for the good depending on how one takes it, it was telecast as breaking news. This kept the police on its toes to find the criminals. But in all this as has been the case the DIG made some horrendous statements about the character of Arushi as well as her having sexual relations with the servant or with the father. God!! In this world, I had thought there was some respect one needs to give to a person who has passed away. This was a complete character assassination of a simple family and a simple girl. With time people forgot about the case and no one has been prosecuted till date.

Kasab, the only terrorist caught alive from the 26/11 blasts has made a complete shame of our judicial system if there was any left. His was an open and shut case from the start. But the way it has gone, its like he is some normal criminal being treated in the best possible way. He asks for walks to refresh himself, biryani, newspapers in Urdu and what not? God what the hell!! He even has a pretty big Wikipedia page and has 503,000 search hits on the Google page. Wow! We have maintained our tradition of “Atithi Devo Bhave” for him truly. Off late he has retracted all his previous statements saying that he was confessed to confess under duress. God till when will this tamasha go on??

These are some of the few among the millions of cases which are reported. In this nation rapes, deaths, murders, terrorist attacks, suicides, thefts everything occur by the second. But sadly today the people in the khaki who we are supposed to trust have become the biggest criminals that people are scared to go and tell them anything. And the people know that even if they write an FIR, by the time the judiciary would come out with its verdict, their kids would have been born or maybe even become old.

And thats why the Indian Judicial System has become the biggest joke across the world!!!

Air India / Indian Airlines or “Indian” (Whatever the name) – It is the biggest disgrace to our nation ever!

Travelling from Lucknow to Delhi, the Indian Airlines flight literally fell from 30,000 feet to about 20,000 feet in 5 mins. This has been one of my biggest scares ever.

Air India was founded by JRD Tata in 1932 as Tata Airlines and it became a public listed company in 1946 under the name of Air India. In 1948, when the Government of India acquired a 49% stake in the company, it was allowed to operate international services. By 1953, it had a majority stake in the company. Indian Airlines was formed by the Government in 1953. It was decided that Air India would operate on international routes while Indian Airlines would target the domestic and regional ones.Indian Airlines was formed by integrating Deccan Airways, Airways India, Bharat Airways, Himalayan Aviation, Kalinga Airlines, Indian National Airways and Air Services of India.

For many years it was the one and only Indian airline operating in India as well as the money spinning Middle – Eastern region. But when liberalization came about in 1991, and slowly the “open skies policy” was introduced, private players like Jet, Sahara entered the market with better services, aircrafts as well as on time performance. The entry of low cost airlines like Deccan, Indigo, Spice Jet and luxury airlines like Kingfisher and Paramount airways continued to dent its business. Around 2006, Indian started showing heavy losses.

Air India went on expanding over the years across US, Europe and 0ther destinations across the world. A large number of Boeing 777s were bought especially for long haul flights. Sometimes this makes me wonder one thing – WHAT THE HELL does Indian Airlines or Air India think of us Indians? I mean the planes used to the Gulf or other regional destinations are so pathetic. They make noises which sometimes makes you wonder whether the plane will crash or something. Guys do observe this the next time you make the mistake of taking an Indian Airlines flight – When an Indian Airlines plane takes off, it makes an odd noise for sometime till the wheels go inside. Now this is because the landing gear is somehow getting stuck with the wheels. Scary isnt it? Neways this doesn’t mean that the planes they have to the West are amazing or something. More on that later. By 2006 – 2007 both Air India and Indian Airlines showed a combined loss of Rs 7.7 billion. After their merger to form “Indian” in March 2009, the losses went up to “JUST” Rs 72 billion.

There have been a number of reasons for the dismal fall – de – grace of our National Airline. But nothing can be worse than offering the most pathetic service, pathetic planes, pathetic crew who don’t even know how to behave with passengers, pathetic facilities basically everything “PATHETIC”. Even though the crew is old, they need to have basic etiquette’s while behaving with passengers. There have been many stories of hostesses or stewards shouting at passengers, asking them questions like “Tell me what do you want instead of What would you like to have sir” and not caring for them in any instance possible.

Most of the planes are literally like the government. Spoilt, centuries old (probably made in the previous century – though many of the new planes are pathetic because they are so defectively made as if the government was trying to save money), devoid of any servicing whatsoever (look at the Air India Regional formerly Alliance Air – its subsidiary’s planes lol…The way they are, it looks like they will break any time) and above all they all seem to have hundreds or thousands of problems. The incidents of a plane not taking off because of incidents like a rat being there on the plane or because of no water in the toilet are possible only on Indian. Failure in the hydraulic brake system, fire in any of the engines, pieces coming out of its wheels after take off and many more instances have happened over the years with amazing regularity that one has begin to wonder whether the government thinks that the people are dumb stupid fools.

The government has also a lot to be blamed for its failure. The big shots of the airline company could take their relatives for free for any number of days in a year on the airline. Even the ministers made so many trips without paying that one forgot whether it was a profit making airline or a “CHARITABLE” initiative. Everyone milked it as much as they could for their own uses. The increased slots and spots being given to the foreign airlines at our airports has also played a role in denting Indian’s financial prospects. And now the nail has been driven into the coffin with the decision to open the Middle East sector for private players (I am all for competition though). Here people would now prefer the private players because of better service and better planes rather than sitting in the world’s “SHITTIEST” flights of Indian.

The latest incident of Air India Express flight from Mumbai to Chennai being stranded for 7 hours in Mumbai with the passengers having to spend a horrendously large amount of time in the plane without even airconditioning confirms the fact that “Indian” is a disgrace to each and everything that is “INDIAN”.

Pyaar Impossible – Music Review

Pyaar Impossible has been directed by Jugal Hansraj (In case you forgot who he is..He has acted in Papa Kehte Hain, Mohabbatein and directed Roadside Romeo) and produced by Uday Chopra. Doesnt sound interesting surely..Does it? Especially considering the fact that Uday Chopra (who I really hate cuz I seriously feel that he looks like a monkey who hasn’t evolved properly into a homosapien) is acting in the movie. But one thing is for sure – the role he essays in the movie of a stupid, dumbo who falls in love with the amazingly hot “Priyanka Chopra” suits him to the T. Salim – Sulaiman are the music composers.  So lets see hows the music of the movie.

From the first song “Alisha” one gets an idea about the youth feel of the movie. Its been the first promo on television. The best thing about this song is Anushka Manchanda (of VIVA fame). Her husky rendition which brings a lot of attitude to the song is apt considering that Priyanka’s character in this film is supposed to be this hot-difficult to get kinda gal. She does a good job in the “Remix” version of this song as well. Her change of pitch as well as tone in this song deserves a thumbs up.  Salim Merchant also does a good job whenever he comes behind the mike. All in all a good start to the album.

Soon after, Dominique Cerejo along with Vishal Dadlani come up with the title song – “Pyaar Impossible”. This is yet another Westernized song confirming the theme of a rom-com musical. Dominique is as soothing as always in her beautiful voice as she takes the lead here. Vishal comes behind the mike intermittently throughout the whole song. The remix version is also really well done. Good!

Neha Bhasin and Benny Dayal do a good job with “You and Me”. Benny Dayal shows his versatility with this song after his “Kaise Mujhe Tu Mil Gayee”. This mushy love track would be there in any kind of urban love story. It has shades of some English songs (which I don’t sadly remember!). But nevertheless, this number has the potential to be played in clubs, lounges and parties across the nation.

However the best part of the song comes with “10 on 10” where its firmly established that this a complete girlie album. Mahua Kamat and Anushka Manchanda bring amazing energy into the song with their tremendous rendition. For some reason this song reminds me of little Avril Lavigne in the beginning and the video kind of reminds me of the prom nights in English movies. The video also establishes Priyanka Chopra’s popular and difficult-to-get status in the movie. Naresh Kamath comes towards the end with a few lines. But eventually the girls take the cake in this song.

Finally comes “Ek thi Ladki” which is crooned by Rishika Sawant. It has a story telling setting to it and doesn’t disappoint at all. She tells this story of a girl meeting a guy who falls head over heels in love with her. Though its more of a situational song and would sound well when one watches the movie, the music sounds really nice.

All in a well the music of “Pyaar Impossible” sticks to its urban youth rom-com feel throughout. It delivers what it promises. Highly recommended for the youngsters! A job well done :).

Rating – 3/5

Padhee and Anish – You guys are the best! This ones 4 U :)

Yeah, this took a looooooooong time coming. Since quite some time back, I had thought of writing about these two guys but somehow couldn’t due to lack of time or my poor “thought” process as to what all I should include in the post. But nonetheless, I am here to tell you guys about two of my closest friends – “Padhee” (ok before you ask, his full name is Siddharth Sourav Padhee…Then why Padhee?..cuz he has always responded to Padhee and that stuck to him so much after a certain period that when people called out Siddharth or Sourav, he never bothered to even look around :D) and Anish (My junior at VIT not in age though but he still calls me his “elder brother”.. one of the very very few guys in this world who I feel I share a number of qualities with).

So where should I begin? I met Padhee in the beginning of 2008 or so and Anish in the middle somewhere though I spoke to them the most in the last sem. Unsurprisingly, I met both of them through the one and only Ranjani. Ranjani became friends with the Mechanical group – Kalla, Rahul, Padhee, Udayan and others. Among them, she became really good friends with Padhee and this gave me a great chance to get to know him a lot more.  Initially though they used to keep talking and I used to say “Hi” and then “bye” and go away to hostel to speak to people. But as time went by and I and Ranjani started sitting for CAT practice in the library, I came to know him a lot more. Since both of us were practicing while he used to take in the usual technical knowledge from “N” number of books, (God! seeing him take so many books from the library, I used to always feel guilty as to how I just end up studying from xeroxes all the time, but thankfully I never let this guilty feeling turn into useful action :D) many times we would just end up doing timepass and talking and chatting on anything and everything happening around be it the girls, the gossip, the relationships of anyone in class anything!

I met Anish – one of Sruthi’s closest friends while working on the IIT Guwahati Business Plan sometime when he spoke about bra sizes, types and everything else as if he was an expert on that! It was an interesting first meeting though I guess he got a pretty nerdy 😀 opinion of me at that time. I seriously laugh thinking at the way I asked him if he was interested to be a part of the Riviera editorial team when Sru was there at that time in the canteen. Maan it feels so funny thinking of it now…Hahahaha 🙂

The times we – me, padhee and ranju or me, ranju and anish or all four us have had together sitting outside FC, having gobi65 continuously over many days, trying new dishes very frequently like cheese dosa, thick milk shake to name a few, walking so many times around campus till we got tired, at Singh is King (when all three of us were drooling over Katrina and Ranju dint know what to do) in Raghavendra – the “world class” theater at Vellore which I really miss (maan Rs 30-40 tickets), visits to the best ice cream parlour in town “Gelato” which I am sure was specially open for VIT students, just walking around campus and Ranju updating us on all the gossip saying “You know what” till the time we thought that cmon lets have an ice tea (the Nescafe parlour guy would surely be a rich man cuz of the number of times we frequented it :D) or go 2 FC and many more have been so beautiful, so amazing and are really cherished.

The best experience of probably all four years of my life was making the movie for “madame’s” birthday and planning for it. Maan the way we planned each and every bit about the birthday and the way we systematically spent about 1 hour for 1-2 hours for approximately 10-15 days for the video was tremendous. God! I doubt I planned on my studies so well seriously. Mine and Padhee’s nomenclature of my friends as Badi Madam, Choti Madam, Roller Coaster Madam, History Madam etc was hilarious to say the least (Though I shall not name the respective people here for privacy reasons :D).

I always thought the last sem will be soooo boring and dull because many of my friends had left to do projects outside. But in the end, it turned out to be one of the most busiest semesters for me in 4 years in terms of the amount of “mental” stress I had to go through some of it through my own making and some through others. But thankfully to their presence, I think I remained sane. The conversations all three of us – Padhee, Anish and me had over love, life, friendship and careers were really amazing. I remember all their suggestions, advices and talks on all these issues.

The day when Ranjani left for good was a day wherein I couldn’t control myself but thankfully managed very well due to their presence. That day interestingly all of us slept in Anish’s room. I guess were talking till about 2-3 or so.

In the end I would just like to quote something what Padhee has said – “I wouldn’t ask that why didn’t we meet earlier cuz I seriously feel that the times we spent together were the most amazing of our lives”!

Unreserved compartments of trains in India – An experience in travel!

The Indian train system was developed by the British and even today it exists with mintoTravelling by trains in India is one of  the most amazing experiences (positive or negative) for any person be it a foreigner or an Indian. The various landscapes, people, cultures, rivers etc can only be experienced and seen by travelling on trains and not airlines or luxury liners.

Till the time I was back in Muscat, travelling by trains used to be very rare. If we took a train, it would mostly be Shatabdi from Delhi to Lucknow. Now Shatabadi is the best and fastest train in the country with the most modern facilities and services. The full train is equipped with A/C. It wasn’t until I reached VIT that I started travelling by other trains to. Needless to say till the time I was in Muscat, I had no idea about the way to book tickets. Actually there wasn’t a need to learn because dad easily did everything.

But over the four years, along with learning to book tickets, I learnt to travel by all kinds of classes that is sleeper and unreserved. Actually I had travelled so much by unreserved that after two yrs when I travelled to Lucknow on a 35 hour journey by Raptisagar Express in 3 – tier A/C, I felt that I am travelling in ultimate comfort. My first journey was to Chennai from Katpadi station (Vellore). After getting the ticket for Bangalore-Chennai Express, I realised that there was only 2nd sitting. So I was surprised as to how this could be possible since trains normally have 5 – classes : First, 2 – tier A/C, 3 – tier A/C, sleeper and unreserved. Later on as I travelled more and more to Bangalore, Trichy, Coimbatore etc, I realised that the night trains have the above mentioned classes while the day ones  have only 2nd sitting. The knowledge of these classes maybe obvious to the common man. But me having spent my life in Muscat, it was a new, exciting and learning experience.

When I took a ticket for the unreserved class the first time, I just thought how it would be like? Whats the difference between the other classes? On first sight, it reminded me of the scenes of Swades. Many people sleeping on the ground, some sitting near the bathroom as well as inside the bathroom, people with huge parcels and boxes to keep in such a small place (god! They never seem to understand that there already is a large concentration of human mass in that area and adding more load would increase the problems.), some lying drunk on the ground, some taking drugs or gutka, some sitting on the footboard jam packed ground with people and luggage with no place to walk are few of the interesting things I got to see on entering the place. The general crowd in the compartment is the low income groups where people have families of 5-6 and above.

There were loads of difficulties as to many times there was no place to stand forget sit. I have seen that in an unreserved compartment a lot of people go to the toilet without chappals (Now that is yuck!!…and no it wasn’t for Swami Ayyapa or something.) The kind of smells, dirt and people stinking of drugs and alcohol can make a normal person crazy. But this was a great learning experience for me. Being in Muscat, I had never got the opportunity of travelling across India. Other than places in Tamil Nadu, I also got a chance to cross through Central India to reach Roorkee as well as East India to reach Guwahati and see the changing climates, cultures, people etc.

Even though there are newer forms of transport coming up in today’s world, trains were, are and will always be the heart of the Indian transportation system.

Vision and Mission – Fashionable words or something meaningful?

Strategic planning is regarded as the most important process in an organization. To achieve the objectives of strategic planning,  every company or organization existing today has a vision and mission statement. All the top executives, CEOs, businessmen always stress on the fact that any company or even a new startup should have a proper vision and mission statement in place before they start their operations. It is said that these statements help explain the would-be customers as well as the employees of the company as to what the company will do, how it will do and what benefits it will provide to the people.

Ok now that was too much of theory and I know its too boring. Same here!! When we started the Strategy Formulation and Implementation class this semester, I was wondering what was this subject all about. After three classes, I can say that all what we have been taught till now just seems pfaff (pronounced Phaff – basically gas as in stories and kahaniyan which everyone knows). Before you guys start saying something, I know Strategy is very very important for a company and especially for a management grad.

Vision statement basically refers to the long term vision of a company as in what is its intended objective to be 10 yrs, 20 yrs, 30 yrs or even 50 yrs from now. A mission statement indicates how an organization goes about fulfilling its mission. Ok now that sounds tooo simple na. But its not that simple seriously.

Lets discuss some of the vision and mission statements of few companies in India. Before starting, I would like to point out the fact that many companies don’t display their vision and mission on the website. To show the differences, I am taking two companies each from the aviation industry, the FMCG industry and the manufacturing industry – all of them pretty diverse sectors.

In the aviation industry, lets consider Kingfisher and Paramount. One is  known to be India’s most luxurious airline while the other has created a name for itself with the help of a unique business model of providing business class with economy class fares. Both the websites don’t show any mission. Kingfisher’s vision statement is “The Kingfisher Airlines family will consistently deliver a safe, value-based and enjoyable travel experience to all our guests.” Paramount Airways’ vision statement is “Paramount Airways will be a Premium Service Schedule Airline offering Competitive Fares, and first time Direct Services to a number of Commercial Hubs in India, connecting these to Primary Metros across the Country.  The only Airline in India to offer Full Business Class service at prices comparative to Normal Economy class fares of other Airlines. Our focus will be on unparalleled Comfort and Convenience.” If we look at the first part of Paramount’s vision as well as Kingfisher’s vision, it doesn’t give even the slightest of hints that what’s different about them i.e. the unique model in the former’s case and the luxury element in the latter’s case. Only in Paramount’s second part of the extended vision does one get to know what’s really different about them. The point I am trying to bring out is the fact that the vision is a long term objective and I really feel, it has to show the difference between companies or organizations.

In the FMCG industry, lets consider ITC and HUL – two of the biggest players today in India in every sense of the word. The websites of both the companies display both their  vision and mission statements. ITC’s vision statement is “Sustain ITC’s position as one of India’s most valuable corporations through world class performance, creating growing value for the Indian economy and the Company’s stakeholders” while its mission statement is  “To enhance the wealth generating capability of the enterprise in a globalising environment, delivering superior and sustainable stakeholder value”. HUL’s vision statement is “Our long-term success requires a total commitment to exceptional standards of performance and productivity, to working together effectively, and to a willingness to embrace new ideas and learn continuously” while its mission statement is “Unilever’s mission is to add Vitality to life. We meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life.” The difference in both ITC and HUL’s vision statements is on the fact that the former talks about creating value for the Indian Economy as well as the stakeholders while the latter is more generic. The mission statements for both these organizations differ on the fact that for ITC, enhancing the wealth generation of the enterprise is more important while for HUL its mission to add vitality to life shows that the most important thing for them are their consumers, the people to whom they cater to.

In the manufacturing industry, let us consider L & T and Jindal Steel and Power. L & T’s vision is “To be a professionally managed Indian multinational, committed to total customer satisfaction and enhancing customer value” while Jindal Steel and Power’s vision is “To strengthen India’s industrial base and improve Quality of Life through Sustainable Development approaches.” Now guys what the hell maan. Both of these are manufacturing companies but their vision seems so general that it can be used by any god damn organization in any industry in any country.

From all my examples I have not tried to say that companies shouldn’t have a vision or a mission statement. I strongly agree that it is very important to write these statements. But from my examples I have tried to point out how many companies have made these statements so generic that they lose their basic purpose. Till the point they keep doing this it will surely be a “Fashionable word” and we the “Management Grads” would be like this is just pfaff and nothing else.

Xeroxes – The elixir of a college going student’s life!

Xerox – What does one think after hearing this word?. About the company Xerox?. No! Especially a college going student would be the last person to think about the company upon hearing this word. What comes to mind is the photocopy of a sheet or notes which he / she would have to study, copy, submit whatever. Xerox is a 103 year old company manufacturing printers, photocopiers among other things. Over the years it became a generic name wherein rather than using the word “photocopy”, people started using the word “xerox”.

Till I was at school, like a “good boy”, I used to take notes and be very disciplined and obedient. When I came to VIT, writing notes became a big task. Initially I used to take notes but as time went by laziness crept into my system like the way a virus gets into a person’s body or into a computer (Amazing what an analogy! :D).

Slowly and slowly we realized that most of us in the class were in the same boat (lazy and disinterested to take proper notes except a certain “few”). Those few were certain girls like Liza, Aditi, Arundhati, Debanjana to name a few. But among them Liza took the cake for taking down all the notes i.e. basically each and every word what came out from the teacher’s mouth. She used to have different coloured pens and stuff. Two facts about her completely stand out – She had 100% attendance and the way she wrote in every class irrespective of the fact that whether it was early morning or towards evening. Most of us would be sleeping, msging, looking here and there when she would be doing this.

Just before exam time, we used to get tons and tons of xeroxed printed notes from the college. Liza’s notes (unsurprisingly) were xeroxed by the whole Biotech batch. To make it easier, people used to give her different subject books to one of the xerox shops so that they can keep many copies of them as everyone took it. One of the shops went to the extent of putting a notice saying “Liza’s notes – Comprehensive Package (All subjects) – 50 Rs – To be ordered one day earlier during exam time”. She was a brand. Whether anyone knew her or not, hated her or not, liked her or not, most of them studied her xerox notes for every exam.

During the exam times one could always here students shouting stuff like “Dude, shit maan even that Xerox is there”, “Dude how much is there in this xerox”, “Yaar main toh yeh xerox pura nahi kar ke jaa raha kyunki bahut bada hai”. After the exams used to get over and people would embark on their vacations, tons of xeroxes would be found thrown away in the dustbins.

In all this the xerox shops had the most merry time. Imagine 14,000 students of this college wanting xeroxes. They had all the business in the exam season which was approximately total of 1 month in a semester. But the business in that month much more than compensated for the remaining period. More than 20 xerox shops had sprung up around the college in the four years we were there. At one point of time we had even contemplated of starting one as an entrepreneurial venture :D.

Liza – This is a big thank you from VIT Biotech Batch 2005-09 for helping us study from your notes throughout these years. If it weren’t for you, we seriously would have faced loads of problems.

And yeah If it weren’t for “Xeroxes”, we wouldn’t have managed to get hold of Liza’s notes 🙂

Sleep – My best and most fulfilling pastime :)

I am writing this post at 2 30am sacrificing my hard – earned sleep. At the outset, I would like to state one fact that this post is not about the technical aspects of sleeping, its causes, how important it is or not or anything whatsoever related to this.  It basically deals with how sleep has shaped my life to what it is today (ok I know that it sounds like as if its a great deed I have done or an inspirational speech I attended which has changed my life :P).

Sleep is the best thing which has been discovered or invented or found out or whatever by man (ok I dont know who found it srsly). It is among the few things which can change a person’s mood from good to bad or vice – versa as the case may be. Lack of it can make a person cranky to everyone left, right and center. ok ok I know you are bored of this crap. Obviously because its about “me and sleep” and nothing else.

Without proper sleep I keep getting angry at anyone and everyone without any fault of theirs. But ya the matter altogether takes a different turn when I may sleep at 10pm the previous night and get up the next morning at 8am to finally end up yawning whole day in class (who was that who said 8 hrs of sleep is enough? because for me even ten don’t seem enough :P). Waking me up has always been and I presume will be (I know you guys will be really angry at me but what to do as old habits die hard :P) till the time I live in this world.  From ISM to VIT followed by SIBM at present, numerous people have been entrusted with the task of waking Aseem Rastogi up. While at school, mom, dad along with the house boy used to struggle to wake me up somehow by different means be it throwing water, switching off AC / fans, putting something burning hot on me to scare me what not (god I think this would be right up there as one of the toughest jobs in the world :P). While in 12th it became really horrible when I started yelling at my parents for no fault of theirs (only that they had woken me up). I remember recalling one particular incident when the house boy woke me up and I ran to hit him because I didn’t want to be woken up and in this anger he got scared. So he locked himself up in the bathroom and my banging into the door made a crack (which made dad call me the Iron Man of our house). I would like to sincerely apologize for my misdemeanors back then. Thankfully I have become much better since then in terms of controlling my anger in this matter (I know you guys would be like me and controlling my anger how can it be possible).

While at VIT, waking me up reaching dizzying heights of craziness and madness. Over the years many people such as Ishani, Ahalya, Ranjani, Mohsin, Arun, Girish, Juvin among others were entrusted with the responsibility to wake me up from my deep slumber. Ishani, Ranjani, Ahalya had phone numbers of many friends of mine and they used to message guys in my hostel at a particular time to wake me up. As Arun would describe it “the doors of 10 rooms would open at 6pm and the ten guys would walk to my room and on reaching and seeing each other, they would be like even you are there?..After some time of discussing, they would knock and knock and knock till after ten mins I would open the door all sleepy – eyed and say Thanks only to SLEEP AGAIN!!. How can I forget the way Sruthi used to wake me up for the IMS CAT classes and Test Series for TIME and IMS. Sruthi seriously because of you I was able to attend most of these classes as well as exams. At SIBM Pune, my roomie as well as some other friends (Mini in Bangalore) who now have the responsibility of making sure I wake up are slowly coming to know about my sleeping habits which I have nevertheless improved. Getting up on my own for class as well as having breakfast frequently for about 70-80% of first sem as well as in 2nd sem speaks volumes of how I have changed.

I know this may not be much but here’s a big THANK YOU to all you guys who have cared for me throughout my college years to wake me up despite having to piss most of you off by my sleeping habits.

On a lighter side, one thing I am really happy about is the fact that I can sleep any time and any where I want to. I mean what the hell even after sleeping for 12 – 14 hours on the trot, I have got up to have food and then sleep for another couple of hours (Now that’s what one calls stamina).


P.S – Till the time I went to VIT, I thought that I was really Kumbhkarna but Mohsin (MBL) was really the baap of Kumbhkarna. He estabilished a record of 19 hours which he was “VERY” proud of. Sadly my own record of 15 hours couldn’t come even close to it

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