Transition of Thoughts

Weaving thoughts into words

Month: February 2010

Indian Aviation Sector – 20 years of the Open Skies Policy!

India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) manages a total of 127 airports in the country, which include 13 international airports, 7 custom airports, 80 domestic airports and 28 civil enclaves. There are over 450 airports and 1091 registered aircrafts in the country. In the early fifties, most of the operating airlines were merged into Indian Airlines or Air India and this monopoly under the Air Corporations Act continued till about the 1990s. 1991, was the year when the Indian Government came up with the Open Skies Policy and the Indian skies were never the same again.

As of today, India has 1 government airline (that’s if one considers Air India and Indian Airlines as “Indian” – which surely was, is and will be one of the biggest disaster decisions taken by anyone) and 7 private airlines – Paramount, Air Deccan, Jet (includes Jet Lite (formerly Sahara), Jet Airways and Jet Konnect), Spice Jet, Go Air, Indigo and Kingfisher (includes Kingfisher and Kingfisher Red (previously Air Deccan). I am not considering MDLR, Jagson Airlines and others because their market share is too low for them to bring about any kind of change in the Indian aviation scene.

The open skies policy introduced by the Government brought such a huge change in the aviation scene that suddenly everyone wanted to start their own airline. That’s the problem with our country. If there’s an opportunity to do something, everyone rushes to get into it without even realising if there are any problems or difficulties associated with it or whether everyone would be really so successful as the others in getting into that particular field. No one thinks about all this. At one time, phones were a luxury and the rates across the nation were really expensive. But then there was a plethora of mobile networks which started their operations and mobile communication rates reached the lowest in the world in India. But everyone started encountering the message “Is route ki sabhi line vyasth hain (All the lines of these route are blocked” because the networks were never built to encounter such a huge base of users. The same thing happens with roads, railways, infrastructure everything in our country. And as we will see, the same happened in the Indian aviation industry.

Jet Airways and Sahara Airlines were the first private airlines to begin their services after the Govt opened the skies to private players. And lo and behold! Change became the order of the day. People were treated to a much better and organized service with well groomed crews, better seats, easy options of ticketing and a good overall feel of being in an aircraft. People started flocking to these airlines like never before. But still the monopoly of the two – Air India and Indian Airlines remained on the international sector. They also had slightly cheaper rates than both the private players. In between, a lot of other lines like ModiLuft, East West Airlines, Vayudoot which had set up shop due to the expected boom in air travel had to close down due to reasons ranging from the death of the head to total bankruptcy.

Around 2003-2004, another revolution took place in the Indian aviation industry. This revolution was bigger than any other seen before and definitely bigger than the one in 1991. Simplify Deccan – an airline started by Captain Gopinath gave birth to the idea of Low Cost Carriers (LCC) or budget airlines as they are called in our country. He was single handedly responsible for making millions who had not even seen a plane let flown on it, dream of flying. With prices as low as 1 Rs (dont be fooled!! It doesn’t include taxes – I’ll get to that a little later”), no food (with the option of buying food at moderate prices – though some like Jet Konnect charge freaking 120 for a veg sandwich..GOODNESS GRACIOUS!!!!) but ya free water and no magazines or anything else and last but not the least air hostesses across all flights in skirts which made people all the more crazy (yeah male stewards are there only on Jet flights mostly). Basically if one doesn’t want to or doesn’t have the money to spend on other things, he / she can just buy the ticket, board the flight and reach his / her destination. He doesn’t need to spend money on all other activities. And as usual as things happen in India, since this model succeeded, even Spice Jet, Indigo and Go Air began their operations on this model. All these were owned by some industrialist or the other like the Modi family, the Wadia family etc. Suddenly the Indian aviation industry which had seen bad times during the 2001 WTC attacks started looking up. People were lining up in hordes to travel on planes like never before.

But then the bubble had to burst someday. With things like SARS, the economic depression, swine flu, terrorist attacks, the industry went into a tailspin. Something had to be done and fast. After years of serving millions of customers, Simplifly Deccan became Kingfisher Red and merged with Kingfisher. Kingfisher is and will always be India’s most luxurious airline. With its amazing service in terms of food, ground services, baggage handling and the overall feel of the aircraft one surely feels that he / she is in an international airline. It’s the only airline in the country to have been given a 5 star rating by Skytrax – The best airline rating agency in the world! The most famous or infamous however you may call it thing about Kingfisher is that it employs mostly models aged 20 – 25 as its airhostesses. On merging, Kingfisher Red though its still called a LCC, became a full cost carrier (that’s what I feel..Because one gets low prices on very few seats and those who get should book 1-2 months earlier!! So its just crazy) just that its prices were lower than Kingfisher. Jet Airways acquired Sahara (Jet Lite) and Air India merged with Indian Airlines. These steps were taken to prevent any airline from going bust and keep the Indian aviation industry in the green. But the worst was the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines. It ended up becoming a clash of people, planes and everything that is Indian. Both are the worst airlines as I have talked about in one of my earlier blog posts and are milked by every babu for his gain, have the worst service but still are bailed out. Why were the taxpayer’s billions spent on bailing them out?? Pathetic! is the word I can say for this. In between all this, Paramount Airways, an airline with a unique model of providing business class seats with economy class fares with use of Embraer Jets and having no middle seats was started in Madurai. It positioned itself as a business airline and after capturing a 27% market share in the South, it moved to the West, then East and is now set to move to the North. Recently it had the highest on time performance among all airlines. Slowly but surely, it has made a name for itself on the aviation map of the country.

In the midst of all this, our airport infrastructure has completely collapsed. Be it Mumbai or Delhi or Bangalore everywhere there are frequent delays running into minutes or hours. As I have always said, when the airports were built no one ever thought that so many people will fly. But interestingly in the case of the new Bangalore airport at Devanahalli which was built recently, after a few months the infrastructure developers realised that it was too small to service the population. God save our country!! One can only hope that GMR Infrastructure and the other private airport developers do a good job!

This sector is greatly expected to grow as the disposable incomes of the people across the country continue rising. But most importantly, until the infrastructure issues like the size of the airports, the number of airports, the ability to handle more no of planes etc are sorted out, we will continue to face the same problems that we have been facing over the years, day in and day out.

63 hours, 3 cities, 4 people, 1 presentation – My South India sojourn!

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.


Divisive politics – A valuable political ideology?

Raj Thackeray, Bal Thackeray, Lal Krishna Advani, Uma Bharati, Varun Gandhi, Narendra Modi, Murali Manohar Joshi etc etc – What is the common thread connecting all these people? I am sure your first answer will be politics..right? Yes you are right. BUT!..Another very important thing which connects them is the fact that all of them have more or less been successful and built up their images or dynasties with what one can call “A game of blatant divisive politics so as to woo particular chunks of our population and increase their respective vote banks”. And mind you for all whatever we say against politicians dividing our country, all these politicians have been elected by us. So can we say that divisive politics is a valuable political ideology?

Let’s take the case of Bal Thackeray. Shiv Sena was formed so as to promote the cause of the Maharashtrians. Somewhere down the line, they fell prey to the Hindutva agenda and started supporting the BJP. From “trying” to improve the cause of Marathis to attacking Muslims, speaking on any topic possible be it about movies being obscene to the public or sending SRK to Pakistan as if they are the moral police of this nation, digging up the cricket pitch in the country when the Pakistanis came here, threatening Karan Johar to change “Bombay” to “Mumbai” for his movie Wake Up Sid, issuing threats to Australians against coming to our nation because of attacks on Indians on their soil, attacking people who celebrate Valentines Day etc their transformation has been complete to a party which believes in politics of division. But have they lost their vote bank? Ok, they may have lost it a bit to another amazing party “Maharashtra Navnirman Sena”. But overall year after year they have been elected by “us” – the masses. The reasons may not be the fact that they are too good but that there are no other options or people are not really interested in voting too much as can be seen from the 41-42% turnout in the previous elections in Mumbai. But whatever it is, time after time they have come up with horrendous statements and rules and regulations against people and personalities and engaged in mindless acts of violence and have easily gotten away with it. Sena’s mouthpiece “Saamna” has become the “mouthpiece of division”.

Lets talk about Raj Thackeray. He started his own party “Maharashtra Navnirman Sena” on the “Sons of the Soil” theory because he wasn’t treated equally alongwith his brother Uddhav Thackeray in Shiv Sena. Although it was a breakaway faction from the Shiv Sena, their basic ideologies were similar. MNS also came into prominence through controversies like attacks on North Indians, asking all shopkeepers to rename their boards in Marathi, denunciation of Abu Azmi and attacking him (Ayesha Takia’s father – in – law) for taking his oath of office in Hindi, attacking North Indian politicians and more. But what was the end result? Any guesses?? They got more no of seats in the 2009 elections when compared to Shiv Sena. I am not supporting their ideology or their way of functioning. But the fact is that they have come into prominence by an extremist form of politics and if we really see from the point of view of the number of seats, they have been successful.

Lal Krishna Advani and Narendra Modi are senior leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party. BJP is the current form of Bharatiya Jana Sangh which was formed as the political wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Over the years with the increasing influence of RSS, a Hindutva ideology started developing in the BJP circles. Thus came the Ram Janambhoomi Movement which led to Advani being at the forefront of the Babri Masjid demolition and then there were the Gujarat riots under the reign of Narendra Modi. Yedurappa, the Karnataka CM who was from the BJP was accused of turning a blind eye to the attacks on women in the pub in Mangalore by Ram Sena and also the attacks on Christians. Christians were even attacked in Orissa under Naveen Patnaik. Though BJP has lost the last two elections, Advani was once seen as PM candidate. Can you believe it? A guy who was at the forefront of desecrating a mosque and being involved in large scale riots was once thought to be a CM candidate!! That’s the beauty of politics in our nation. I salute Modi’s industrial vision of developing Gujarat like no other state in this country. But at the cost of what? Despite the large scale human right violations, he continues to be the CM of the state year – after – year, term – after – term because he believes that people won’t bother to do anything till he gives them the basic necessities of life. And that’s what we are doing – NOT BOTHERING! One official recently called him the Gandhi, Ram, Rahim of our era!! – WHAT THE HELL!!!!!

Varun Gandhi became famous (or one can say rather infamous) for two reasons, no 1 – probably he is the only Gandhi in the BJP and no 2 – he gave the famous speech in Pilbhit talking against the religious minorities especially Muslims. But what happened? The end result was that more and more people started talking and discussing about him. He became famous despite not winning a single election. Amazing! Uma Bharati, once a part of BJP and then moving to create her own party was and has been one of the biggest motor mouths anyone has ever seen. She talks 100 times more than what she really does. But who cares! In the end she did get the votes when she required.

My aim here wasn’t to prove the fact that whosoever engages in a divisive political ideology would be a successful politician. Neither was it my aim to say that having such an ideology is good because I MYSELF DONT SUBSCRIBE TO IT. From the examples I have listed here, I have just tried to prove a point as to how, many of our leaders are following such an ideology and have been more or less successful over the years. So even though it may not be politically correct, their motto is “Follow such an ideology till the sun shines and one keeps getting the votes! What else does one want? When the votes are coming, why change?”

Transcend ’10 – The journey of Team Ecclesia!!



After – Surf Excel Safedi!

Finally my long awaited post on the journey of Team Ecclesia – The literary events of Transcend – SIBM Pune’s cultural and management fest is here. This post is not about Transcend ’10 – that is the events, the fest, the participants or about the different events that were organized over the three days – 5th, 6th and 7th Feb 2010. But it is about one specific set of events called Ecclesia – The literary event “bouquet” (I came up with this word :P) of Transcend ’10. Its about the journey as to how a team of 5 at first was reduced to 4 and then it practically though not literally became a team of just two individuals. But despite all the hardships and difficulties Ecclesia had to face and the fact that it was one of the underdogs, it proved all the critics and naysers wrong with amazing participation from IIMs, XLRI, SP Jain, NITIE and FMS to name a few.

It was almost the end of December I think and I as usual was wondering whether I would get a chance to do something during Transcend ’10. I have always had this interest in working in different things – and working for the college fest is one of them be it Riviera at VIT University or Transcend at SIBM Pune. One fine day, I got a call from the Co- Curricular (Co-C) team saying that they wanted me to report to the Team Room by so and so time in the evening as they wanted me to be a part of a team to organize some event. When I reached there, I found 4 other people along with the Co-C team. People most of whom I knew but some I didn’t but none to whom I really spoke much to. As time went by, the Co-C team explained that they wanted us to organize the Literary events for Transcend ’10. They gave us an idea of the theme and the scale at which it was going to be organized. The number of events, kind of events, judges, rules everything was left to our discretion. Lo! Till then I was wondering whether I would get to do something for Transcend and here they had given us the entire charge of organizing a set of events from scratch. Now this did seem big!!!

As the work slowly started, the number of members dwindled to 4 because one of the team mates decided that he wouldn’t be able to give the event enough time as he also had his duties for the council team. In the meanwhile Priyanka Negi, the only team member who I hadn’t interacted with ever before and me started meeting up to discuss as to how we should go forward with Ecclesia – in terms of the number of events, rules, kinds of events to be had etc. Before meeting up in the Co-C room for the first time, I had known Priyanka as Preeti’s sister and I “guess” (because not sure :P) that she had probably heard of me as some “blogger”. But many more meetings later, where most of the times despite our incessant calling the other two team mates didn’t turn up (though sometimes they did), we came to know each other much much better. She started calling me Frusto (short for Frustogi – now that’s what many of my friends used to call me at VIT because I easily get frustrated) and also told me about how and why people call her Didi – The DIDI of the college :). The sad part was that for many of the meetings with Co-C also, our whole team wasn’t present.

But the greatest thing which I have gained by working for Transcend ’10 is the fact that I have got a really sweet and simple friend like Priyanka. I guess the biggest problem with me is that It is difficult for me to find people who match with my wavelength or with my thought process many times. After living in the conservative and much more orthodox and simple environs of South India for four years, it was a big change for me when I first came to Pune. People trying to be unnecessarily hep, stylish or showing off when not needed are the biggest turn – offs for me. Obviously all are not like that. But then one has got to take the pain of finding the simple ones out of the huge sea of attitudish ones. The way I can be myself and talk about my life with her without being worried as to what she will think is really nice :).

Over different meetings among ourselves and with the Co-C team we finalized the events – Parchment Power paper presentation and Spar Wars – The ultimate public speaking event consisting of JAM, Extempore and Debate. Ecclesia was the only event in Transcend ’10 to be partly cultural and partly management. A paper presentation competition was organized at Transcend for the first time. But the number of entries (35+) it attracted from the top institutes of the country showed the fact as to how much the top colleges value events at SIBM Pune and Transcend in particular. After some initial problems on finalizing the judges, we managed to finalize them a couple of days before the event. In between all this, Priyanka and me had also worked for an HR Case Study in DOMS IIT M for which if we had been selected, we would have had to go on 30th Jan 2010. In hindsight, both of us were happy that we didn’t get selected because if we had gone, then Ecclesia wouldn’t have been half as successful as it was.

As the day dawned nearer, the excitement was palpable in the air. The paper presentation was the first event of Transcend ’10 at 11am on 5th Feb. Contrary to our expectations we did have a lot of work on the final day to in terms of the audio visual system, buzzer, taking care of the judges etc. The standard of presentations was really good (obviously it would be because they were the top 6 selected) and XLRI with the presentation on “Management Insights from Mythology” emerged as the winners. Spar Wars (An event where there was initial apprehension from the Co-C team as to organizing JAM because they were worried about who would judge) turned out to be a cracker. It was 3 hours of ultimate objection, arguments and interesting speeches. In the end Avinash from Symbiosis Law School and Sanjeev from SIBM Pune emerged as the winners. Spar wars was an on the spot event while Parchment Power was a pre – registered event.

All in all Ecclesia turned out to be a tremendous success and the biggest thing other than the certificates and working in a team and all the blah blah which I gained from this event is finding a friend like Priyanka :).


True Love – Is it really as complicated as it is made out to be?

Love can make a person’s world go round, love can drive a person to do things he / she wouldn’t normally do, love can change a person’s perspective about life, love can make / break a person’s life, love can make a person change his / her personality for the person they love, love can do so much and more. So what really is love? Why does it have the kind of effect which any other feeling or thing may not have in this wide world? Is it really as complicated as it sounds? Are love, infatuation and just liking a person, leaves of the same tree? Is there anything called love at first sight? Does the concept called true love exist?  I know all you guys out there have loads and loads of such questions running in your minds. Before you guys start wondering that I would give you some advice or something on love, please relax! I am not an agony aunt or something because I really don’t have the credentials to be one. I would just talk about love by taking myself as an example – You can say a LAB RAT :P.

In today’s world if someone likes, loves or just the fact that two people are always together and think about each other in a way more than friends, people start commenting that they are “going out” or in a “relationship” or “together”. No one says that they are in love even though they really may be in love, the reason being that its “not in fashion”. While I was at school, I used to wonder how can people get into and out of relationships like as if they change their t – shirts. It seemed really odd and weird.

As time went by, I did fall in “love”. Initially though, I thought it was some kind of infatuation, liking or little bit more than that. Slowly but surely, I got sucked into this feeling of love completely and ended up reaching a point of no return. A point where I had thought I would end up marrying the person, a point where I had told the person all my likes, dislikes and good things and bad things, a point where I had probably (I hope I don’t sound cheesy on saying this :P) dedicated my entire life to that person, a point where I really felt I had found “TRUE LOVE”. But all good things do come to an end most of the time.

So what is this “TRUE LOVE”? Is it whatever I wrote earlier or something else? There really isn’t any definition of “TRUE LOVE”. Our parents say that this concept died many years back. But our movies even today show that such a concept does exist. Ten different people would surely have ten different views on this topic. But, I am a die – hard romantic and truly believe that “TRUE LOVE” does exist. It isn’t even a quarter as complicated as it is made out to be. And the most important thing is that it isn’t necessary that “TRUE LOVE” can happen only once. It can surely happen more than once. That doesn’t mean that I am trying to say that after marriage, a person falling in love again is fine. The fact is that, one relationship with a person gone awry doesn’t mean that the person cannot fall in love ever again. “TRUE LOVE” doesn’t come with a tag of lasting for days, months or years. It can even last for 1-2 years or go on for the entire lifetime of a person.

The four years were the most amazing times of my life. The feeling of knowing that there is someone who cares about you just lesser than your family, the feeling that there is someone around to pamper you, hug you, make you smile, make you happy even when you are sad, the feeling of knowing that there is one person in this world who will always be with you irrespective of anyone else in this entire universe made my world go round. And yes this I truly believe was “TRUE LOVE”. Fights, bad times, good times, angry times, funny times, stupid times everything all combine to make the complete picture.

Very few people find “TRUE LOVE” in this world not because its difficult to find but because they don’t believe in this concept called “TRUE LOVE” or don’t know how to recognize it when it comes knocking at their doorstep. “TRUE LOVE” is one of the most precious gifts of God. It should be cherished and nurtured always!

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Feb 09 – Feb 10: Reminiscing the times

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!!!

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