Manchester United: Soccer Punched ?

Manchester United have been dominating both, English & European Football of late, much to the chargin of supporters of other teams in the English Premier League. The proverbial sweet nectar of success always has people running after it, and that is true for Manchester United more than any other club.

The Manchester United fan club ( The Red Army) is the largest footballing fan club & mainly comprises of three kinds of fans.

Firstly, the ones who form the bulk of the Manchester United Fan Parade, the proverbial insects that leech onto the silverware that Manchester United has been able to garner quite frequently.These are just Fair weather fans, who would jump off the wagon the moment Man Utd stop having podium finishes.

The second contingent of the army consists of the unfortunate souls who have never watched much football, and Manchester united is pretty much the only team they have heard about. These “fans” probably don’t watch a single premiership match & coudn’t tell recognise Ryan Giggs even if he was standing amongst Lalu Prasad Yadav’s buffaloes. The female bastion which claims to follow football mostly falls under this category.

The third and the smallest group of the “Red Army” are those who actually know what they are talking about. Those who know that David Beckham doesn’t play for manchester united anymore & are perfectly aware of the points differential in the Barclay’s Premier League points table between Manchester United and Chelsea at any given time.

It can be said without a speck of doubt that  cups and medal’s have an affinity towards Manchester United  unmatched by any other team and I would be lying  if I say that this doesnt ake me jealous.If only I could implement a few of the following conspiracies and sabotages which tickle my thoughts, in the Man United Camp ,… ah well, atleast thinking about them gives me some joy while Liverpool struggles through on of their worst seasons ever.

1. Set the “Tiger” loose amongst the Devils

Get the Red Devils involved in a multi faceted internal “Tiger Woods-esque” scandal with a steamy mix of Manchester United WAGS & players in a sexual jumble fit for Sherlock Holmes, as a result of which we might see Vidic chasing Berbatov across the pitch and Rooney trying to headbutt Scholes. It would really bring out Manchester United’s proficiency in “counter attacking” quite literally.

2. Hit out of the “Orbit”

Sir Alex Ferguson is a tactical machine, which runs on chewing gum. Steal his Chewing gum stock, maybe his running out of fuel would make his brain functioning fuzzy.

But who is going to sneak out the Orbit cartons from his storeroom?

3. Hello JI, Some PORK?

Conspire to overfeed Ji Sung Park, change his lifestyle to ensure that he gets a little roley poley around the waist and can’t run around the park as if his backside is on fire.

4. Valencia …… Balance gaya ?

Run Valencia over with a Truck ( or make Gattuso give him a gentle push). The resulting impact may loosen this prodigious footballer’s internal wiring short curcuiting his balance and finesse with the ball.

5. Hair he is…. Wayne Rooney !!

Get Rooney some complimentary hair weaving sessions, because that shiney cue ball of a head that he has on his shoulders, is slotting a lot of balls into the back of the net. Maybe if we can get him to grow hair à la Ronaldinho, it might cushion the power he is able  to put behind his headers.


As I end this Post, Manchester United are, after a hat-trick of wins, tipped to finish second at the end of the season. It is with a sigh of relief that I greet the thought that the team isn’t invincible after all, atleast as far as winning silver is concerned.

Plumbing a Blogger’s Block

Blogging is a hobby as much as it is an art, and while one has to respect the sporadic nature of artistic brilliance, one cannot completely ignore the power of the routine that is quintessential to a strong hobby.
It is more out of the need to comply with the latter than the former that I write this piece. As always, I keep it observational and hypothetical wherever applicable
The Pee Stall Principle

Pee Stalls are supposed to be state of the art now, gone are the days when they were  water hungry porcelain tanks with that errant jet of water from the flush spraying all over you
Now they come with anti bacterial cubes, these cubes supposedly save 15,000 litres of water a yr,or was it 150,000 litres?? The noble cause is praiseworthy, the medium is questionable,Anti Bacterial Cubes ? Alternative medicine suggests that Urine is Anti-Bacterial and anti fungal and anti septic, what exactly are these cubes trying to achieve here. Are we trying to beat the tree with the stick, Isn’t it better if we just hung a few deodorizers in the restroom.
Locus Maxima
“n” no of pee stalls, two people, both will, in most cases,  occupy the extreme ends leaving maximum space in between.

5 pee stalls: 3 men: Alternate Occupancy again to create the maximum gap possible between each other

One can do infinite permutations and combinations, man’s need  to feel a sense of solitude. and the need for space does come through starkly here.

‘Basin’ Instincts
Mankind has progressed well, but in the process it has also created some frivolity in the name of technological development, the camera clad wash basin is one such example,the twist on twist off faucet was way to complicated, so we had to go ahead and create something which requires us to practically pantomime near the faucet for the water to start flowing.
As per recent advice, switching over to shorter and hopefully more frequent posts.

Bloat Us Notes

  About 9 months into the corporate realm and emails have become a way of life. The unread mail symbol on  blackberry is notorious by its presence at all points of time in the day. With routine comes pattern and  some of the more noticeable patterns to the act of reading and writing emails that come to mind include:-
The “As Discussed” Reference
An oft used phrase in emails, this is an attempt to create a background (or the illusion of one) to the email. This “discussion” may also be the figment of the senders imagination, and even if the “discussion” has happened the materiality of the discussion can vary from being a long tiring detailed one to a fleeting glance of understanding (or misunderstanding) between colleagues.
To CC, or  Not to CC ?
Who is relevant to an email conversation and who is nor can often be a tricky question to answer, thus people just take the easy way out, mark everyone they know, and their neighbors.
Most of the people in any email with a large mailing list have no idea of how to make head or tail of the content of the email and why they are a part of the mailing list in the first place.
The CCs unscrupulous cousin,the BCC can add new variables to this electronic tango.
The Mail Signature Saga
The excruciatingly long email signatures which get into the minutiae of the senders personal details, some of these signatures probably have more information than their passports.
The “Thanks & Regards” Irony
One faux pas with the use of the auto mail signature addition option in the mail client is that some of the nastiest mails can have these follow up polite signatures.
So, in essence a mail could typically mean ‘Screw you. and by the way, Thanks & Regards’
 The Description Derivative
Any email and how descriptive it is, is a function of the time of the day and the day of the week when the mail is sent out. The
mails start becoming curt, most of the times to comical extents as we deviate from business hours and as we move into weekends, there is a trend shift in the average number of characters in a mail body.
Lets Look at some examples,
Monday, 10 30 AM:
Dear XYZ,
Please find attached the report on the company’s performance
in the last quarter. I would be grateful if you could revert back
to confirm if this information will suffice in your analysis.
Thanks,
ABC
Wednesday 7 00 PM:
 “Dear XYZ,
Please find attached the report.
Thanks,
ABC
Friday 9 00 PM:
Dear XYZ,
PFA
Saturday 8 PM
PFA (and the sender forgets to attach the report to boot)
characters

Towering Costs to Felix’s freefall

Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from 24 miles up brought a lot of joy to mankind, allowing thinker and scientists to question the “limits” on what man can do while brand pundits and Ad agencies scrambled over each other to get this new Australian eyeball catcher into their kitty (“And he is good looking too, it’s almost as if he fell from heaven” as a representative of a top British Ad Agency put it)

Amidst all the hullabaloo, for 22 yr old Viroo’s family living in a village in the Sambalpur district of Orissa the snowballing media frenzy over the jump turned out to be a recipe for disaster when Viroo decided to take gravity into his own hands by jumping from the top of a telecom tower near his house, this gimmick to emulate the record breaking freefall was reportedly a bid to please his girlfriend.

On being approached for reactions, a financial analyst from the tower company lamented, “Ironically, this suicidal jump is the only utilization this tower has seen since our decision to put it up in the middle of a paddy field. The freefall in our profitability margins is similar to what Felix achieved and I am not sure whether we have a parachute”

TRAI has come forward to recognize this tragedy as a failure of the telecom companies to make the towers suicide proof, the regulatory body has given till the end of the week for all the towers to be removed across the country. As expected telcos have gone up in arms against this announcement but it has been seen as a jackpot for a Chinese firm which had come up with the revolutionary idea of a “roaming tower”. This tower is reportedly capable of moving around and would, in addition to preventing suicides, also finds a way around 3G roaming pact annulment by TRAI.

One of the telco has come forward with a special plan in remembrance of Viroo, they will apparently pay Viroo’s family and friends 30 paise per min for making a call. “This is the least we can do in Viroo’s memory”. Sales representatives from most telcos have been increasingly creative in acquiring new customers despite every phone owner on an average already having 2 sims. Another telco is rumoured to have been trying to cash in on the incident by releasing a VAS product wherein all usage from that tower would be free on a monthly recharge.

Market analysts are explaining the downward spiral of telecom stocks on Monday as a rational adjustment of market expectations post the incident.

In the meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s has rated the food at Saif-Kareena’s wedding as Junk. The stock markets are expected to see a tumble post this announcement.

A “Spot” of Bother !

The day dawned with a hint of mist in the surroundings, both in the sky and in the minds of the people, the mist of anticipation. The air was so tense that one could cut through the tension with a knife…… Blah Blah Blah……. sometimes the romantic in me starts forgetting that the mysticles of nature must kowtow to the msteries of human ambition, we are talking of Day Zero Placements after all!

 The placement system in a B School is often considered to be constipated by design, archaic and irrational, but it does leave an impact and some of the eccenricities do linger with the humourist, such as:

The “Short” List

True to the name, these company GD and interview shortlists are just too short.  And I am sure any of the Statistics Aficionados would confirm, almost completely random. Though of course, there are certain gifted individuals who cracked these lists without much trouble.

The Magicians

Those who were getting shortlisted at will, and spent most of their time running around from one process to another. They gave the Placecommers Maximum Headache per Capita (Apart from the companies, of course).

The MDI  “Mara”thon

Placecom seems to have a highly skewed exercising regime, it is fuelled by Oily Food from Arcus throughout the year and finally sheds it all off in this week when it can be seen running around all over the campus searching for certain people who cracked the code of being in those elusive “shortlists”. The only other exercise they get is for their vocal cords from having to scream at us in order to whip us into shape.

“Psycho” Metric?

What does this devil of a test essentially want to find out? I shall never be able to fathom this complex maze of seemingly innocuous set of questions (which, for the record, I have never been able to crack).

“Tied” to the Suit

Having worn our suits to death for each and every process, PPT and Pre Process, our suits were filthier than the Commonwealth Games Balance Sheet. All our suits, put together in a heap would have enough toxic power to be classified as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

The Aqua “Fine” Na??

“Attention to Detail”, an often faffed about quality in most of our forms and interviews does actually apply to the process; it is important to massage the ego of companies on campus, they must get the right brands of food and water or else they get offended. I just thank god that we don’t get too many consumer electronics companies or else we would probably have to start changing the ACs in rooms for different companies to conduct their processes.


From the TATA HR quip of placements being a bit of a Pushkar to the reality of the effectiveness of ” ek aur job ke liye push kar” . It is the dielectics of the mental and the physical that make them the event that they are.

“Bench”Marking Creativity

“Get up” he bellowed!

I looked up, pleadingly, at the stoic determination on my room mates face in the background of bright unforgiving sunlight streaming into the hostel room, my heart sank as the hopes of foraging a few more minutes of sleep went out of the window. The groggy sighs of frustration at having been bellowed out of my slumber gave way to the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel….maybe, just maybe, I would be able to reach class early enough to get a seat in the coveted last row today.

If a typical classroom is a city, the last benches form its top end real estate, the price of which is the mighty sacrifice of 10 extra minutes of sleep in a business school (basically the last benches rent for a bomb in terms of opportunity cost: and this isn’t one of those much feared real estate price bubbles because the dearness of sleep is not expected to fall, ever).

So why do last benches “sell” at a premium?

Well, these islands of original thought remain immune to the mundane proceedings of the classroom. But whether it is the backbenches sire creativity and spawn original thought or is it the creative people stick to the back-benches is a classic chicken & egg problem.

Back Benches also seem to have their own way with words (or at least, thoughts),  myriad sentences stitch themselves together into meaningful compositions with frightening composure.

It is in the backbenches that our hungover minds moderate the fight between blood and alcohol which leaves our heads in a tizzy the morning after we let alcohol gain  a huge head-start in the tug war between sobriety and inebriety.

Given, that the last benches are prime property, but they do stand the risk of being razed to the ground by profs who believe in class room participation and choose to flutter around the class on the punctured wings of belief that the whole class has come because of more than the proverbial stick of attendance requirements.

Alas, my finance prof taught me that no assets come without risk, this principle doesn’t fall flat here too since even the back benches do fall prey to the professor’s whims sometimes when the backbenchers are “invited” to fill up the empty shacks that are the front rows.

And as this piece comes to an end with me starting to relax the frenzied pace of typing with fingers now trained to move  thoughtlessly on the Qwerty keypad of my overused (or in fact, abused) phone while I do the blank look and nod routine with the professor, I would have added one more brick to this wall of thoughts for which the back benches have laid the foundation.

 

 

P.S.  Partly Fictional, My room-mate would NEVER be in a position to wake me up for class. 😛

Walking the tightrope between hope and despair…

India, the land that  promises “business opportunities” for the future…. and yet the land which generates a lot of despair,

The land with fast emerging mega-cities……. and fast deteriorating sex ratios,

The country where development is but on election posters and democracy is restricted to lighting candles near India gate.

In this India…in our India…. the state of education has been reduced to that disparate islands of hope, meek in front of the mighty sea of the unfortunate who never see the inside of a classroom

One might argue that all the numbers point in the right directions, but aren’t numbers mere ink on paper, who takes the responsibility to say that every one of those “fortunate” enough to be counted as a literate will actually get an opportunity to empower his or her life.

On a recent visit to one of the islands of happiness and hope (a CSR trip to a government school adopted by the Bharti Foundation), I could not help but sit near the shore and stare at the vastness of gloom that encompasses the sea of the unempowered. The happy children learning and interacting at the school made me see the India that could have been… or rather, should have been.

The day has left this heart askew,

The mind is filled with a questions few,

Is life for all such jump and play,

Or are these needles in a stack of hay.

What of children who make those bricks,

Or earn a living turning tricks,

Can we imagine their plight,

or is the truth just what’s in sight.

As the scenes seem to rumble by,

and clouds begin to dot the sky,

we begin to seal the day,

the wayside sand turning to clay.


The pitter patter of this acid rain,

Eroding my happiness….throbbing pain,

what comes tomorrow I wonder,

A sunny day or livid thunder.

The Sparkle in the children’s eyes,

the giggles and the happy ties,

All comeback as a colourful memory,

Ahh…if only these roses could crowd out the thorny tree.

This post shall serve as a reminder for me, whenever I am tempted to meander from the path of serving society, and I dedicate it to the 8 year old school boy whose smiling eyes I can never forget.

“Surveyval” of the Fittest

As projects swoop down on us, clutching us in their cruel claws of deadlines, we find ourselves trying to come up with various forms of “Just in time” compilations. The stress behind each project holds true especially for projects which involve surveys. Surveys, those pesky creatures soliciting responses which seemingly require only “2 minutes” but end up being one of the biggest activities of the day (at least for people like me who believe only in divine intervention when it comes to scoring well in examinations) . Only those who can get reasonable responses shall live to see the light of day… the rest are left to indulge in fudging data and filling in counterfeit options so as to meet the requirements. Some of the common methods that exist to make others fill up surveys include:

i) Quid Pro Quo-The most common method , “Tu mera bhar, mein tera bharta Hoon”

ii) “Cross Sectional” Analysis– the smart ones do realise the fact that they might be doing a survey for the same product and thus club their surveys together. Thus leveraging economies of scale on relatives, friends etc. iii) The “Lottery Method”- Some dare to put their wallet at stake by offering a treat to a “Lucky respondent”. We need to actually audit whether anybody has ever been showered by lady luck in such claims.

Some Suggested Innovations to the survey collection mechanism:-

a) The Reverse Psychology Method

You open your mandevian mail account to see a mail marked “PLEASE DONT FILL THIS QUESTIONNAIRE” -chances are you will find yourself opening up the form to figure out the big deal about it. Reverse psychology might just work in your favour.

b) The “Provoking the Rebels”/ “The Contrarian”– “Filling this Questionnaire is not allowed and filling it will result in strict disciplinary action taken by the XYZ office”. Going by the number of defaulters, this method should generate decent numbers as well. Might also be referred to as “The 3 Idiots Method”.

c) The “Inception” method- Hiring skilled dream inceptors, to plant the seed of a thought in every mandevian’s mind that filling up ABC’s survey is his or her life’s only meaningful purpose. Requires substantial moolah, so unless you have access to the Student Council’s coffers, not advisable.

d) The Pre Session Assignment Method– The” Pre Session Assignments” that act as the proverbial pack of wolves amongst the unsuspecting herd of MDI fresh admits could be (and should be) moulded so as to make them collect surveys for different products. The data bearing rich dividends in the future (for the seniors of course).

 

P.S. If you like this article, please fill my survey too.   😛

Jargon Grahak Jargon !

A lot of what we hear in class is Greek to us within 3-4 minutes especially if you like me have the honour of having a last row seat in class. However practical experiences reinforce our learning something which happens (though inadvertently) quite a lot at MDI.

The Theory-Practical partnership method of learning at MDI Gurgaon

FMCG- Fast Moving Curiosity Goods

The notices adorning the CM notice board change so fast that it makes the head spin. A new Committee called the Notice Board committee should be proposed just to manage the information dissipated through the notice boards.

Financial Services– The Fines paid out for absenteeism and late coming would probably have been enough to bail out Greece and restore sanity to it’s Debt-GDP ratio.

Negative Demand— IDPL Hostel. People would probably pay not to have to stay their, IBS girls notwithstanding of course. 😉

Overfull Demand– Mealtimes at CM mess with it’s serpentine queues.

Cost minimization– a group of seven eating out of a single, overburdened plate.

OCPS

“Q. What is effective communication?”

Ans- Any verbal transaction, however reviling, is effective only if carried out near the IDPL volleyball Court or IDPL Arcus.

Marketing Mix

The mix of sleepiness, boredom and marketing jargon that forms a deadly melange poisoning each and every one of us.

Unwholesome demand – Vices like studying, completing assignments on time and knowing all the answers in a quiz. Should be highly discouraged and countermarketed

“Auto” Sector – This sector is mostly relevant to those unlucky IDPL souls who miss critical buses back to IDPL and then have to plant their tushies on autos back to IDPL.

“Bahut Hui” Rajneeti

One of the most awaited movies of 2010, Rajneeti got a mixed bag in terms of audience response, though the movie boasts of a very strong star cast and a rather big budget, it doesn’t deliver neat punches and is a trifle clumsy at tackling the complex fabrics of Indian politics.The over emphasis on internal party politics and the ignorance of the politics of the masses is also a sore point in the movie.

Katrina Kaif-  A definite improvement in her hindi diction. Maybe someday soon, directors woudn’t have to rely on building NRI backstories to be able to explain her brit accent. Her acting still needs chiselling and she could have been given some more screen time at the end but overall an above expectations performance. though that might be because Kaif has hardly served as more than eye candy in her earlier movies.

Ranbir Kapoor- Sartorial layout is extremely good, the clothes add strength to Kapoor’s character. Ranbir has pulled off a strong performance as the sombre brooding youngster, conniving and contemplating his next moves in the political chess.

Manoj Bajpai- Acting as always, is excellent. Clothes however are disappointingly loud. One can ill afford to wear silk in the unforgiving Indian Summer months. As far as the kerchief hanging from the breastpocket of his jacket is concerned, as Jerry Seinfeld says, why proudly display a snot rag?

Arjun Rampal- Weak performance, not because he lacks the acting skills, but because his voice doesnt have the rugged feeling of having grown up in the rural belt, the rugged timbre is found lacking and leaves his character a tad incomplete.

Ajay Devgn-  His portrayal of a rural Dalit Leader is slightly disappointing, but only because he has given extraordinary performances in  Gangajal and Apaharan and a comparison though unfair, comes naturally to mind..

The strong points:

1. Crowd Control- Forget about making them act, just being able to manage such huge rally crowds in a movie is a big deal, add to that the dangerous cocktail of starry tantrums, irregular shootings & having to manage more than a handful of acting heavyweights.

2. Thankfully, no attempts at Desi Item Numbers, a refreshing change and a definite area of improvement even when compared to stellar movies like Gangajal.

The Goof Ups

1.The average voter is shown to have no brains at all, portrayed as the the proverbial cattle, who herd around political leaders, who in turn are being assasinated with mechanical regularity. Also, the assasination sequences are too predictable, one can almost countdown to the second when the bomb is going to blow off.

2.The Hindi subtitles are mundane and even irrelevant at times, It would have made more sense for Mr. Jha to have avoided English altogether, or to atleast have tried to avoid angrezi in the scenes where Ranbir’s firangi girfriend wasn’t involved.

Case in point

F@#k     is  subtitled as   “Bahut Hua”. Either this is a comical attempt at censorship or it is a sad day for the Hindi language.

3. The movie smashes statistical probability reports of impregnation during the act of sexual intercourse to bits, all female actors are pregnant at one time or the other in the movie. If conceiving was this fool proof, the National Population Register would have run out of stationery long ago.

4. Two words, “Too long”

Buying Love, Credit Cards Accepted

To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia.”

– H.L. Mencken

The global Gift Card industry is valued at more than $90 billion today and is set to hit $100 billion by 2012. For  pieces of folded cardboards which serve as nothing more than lubricants to the dysfunctional emotional chains of today’s society, that is quite a substantial amount.

The Wholesale flower industry in India gained about 15 Crore Rupees on February 13 and 14 last years with the love struck lads of the capital pushing up Rose prices to Rs 50 per stem.

Love, they say, is an alchemical extraveganza which causes one to see everything “decorated” in a MAGICAL reddish hue, a colour so overwhelmingly blissful that money becomes mere paper and the smile of your partner is of utmost significance. I beg to disagree, I think this reddish hue originates from the slaughter of the love struck Romeo’s monthly budget plans. The meagre pocket money that they are entitled to goes into buying confetti covered flowers and scandalously overpriced stuffed toys. (Aren’t they basically just cloth stuffed with cotton )

Valentine’s Day can be renamed as  “Wallet’s Dying” Day. This yearly financial drain causes a hole in our pockets that would make the financial crisis in Greece seem like a walk in the park. Mr. Obama, How about a Bail Out Package for those struck by arrows de l’Amour?

To bring this piece to fitting closure, I would like to quote the American Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, “Greeting Cards are like paper hookers, You don’t know what you feel and what you want to say to the other person, so you pay someone a buck for them to convey your feelings for you.”

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