Friday, December 25, 2009

Two States

If you think, this is gonna be a serious discussion about Telangana, then this is the wrong place. This is about two IIMA grads Ananya and Krish in CHetan Bhagat's latest book titled "Two States".

Well, I liked the book for reasons more than one and reasons beyond the purview of this blog. :) It is a satirical account of a love story making a mockery of the various castes and states and religions by putting on line the Punjabis and the Tamilians. Tamil is pronounced as "Thamilla". Your tongue needs to twist to the correct degree to get that right. Of course, it is not easy to be a Tamilian. Sorry Jiggs.

So coming to the book. Ananya and Krish met in IIMA in the mess line. Everyone on campus had hots for this girl and Krish bold her over by his naive nature. They soon became best friends and when Krish 'confessed' there love story began. Soon, she started parking at his place and they had a great time. Then came the placements, where he proposed to her in the middle of an interview. Amidst all the confusion in his life, he barged into the HUL interview and proposed the girl. This is something none of us can dare to attempt. Both got what they wanted and coincidentally placed in Chennai.

Ananya's family is a traditional one, where they value education and caste more than any other virtue. On the other hand, Krish's mom is only concerned about the dowry that she is going to get on her rather over qualified son's marriage.

Now began the whole story of them convincing their parents which forms the crux of the story. They go through lot of compromises, adaptions and shit to get approal from everyone. I shall leave that to the readers to find out how the story unfolds. But here are some of the wittiest lines that one can get out of the book.

Ananya to a potential bridegroom," Let me put it this way. If I were to give a virginity test, I am sure I will not top it." This sent me rolling and laughing my ass of.

"when you are part of a couple, you dont realise how cheesy your affections are to the outside world"

"In an Indian love mariage, by the time everyone gets on board, one wonders if there is any love left."

And how can I forget Krish's fantasy - "Operation Beach Passion"

Its a light read as all Chetan Bhagat books are. One which I can relate to. Watch out for Krish's dad. You want to believe that he is the most important character in the book.

"P.S. : I miss the sex"

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

From Unmaad 09 v1 to v2.

One for the year

Unmaad 2009 v1: The Spirit if India was alive and kicking at IIM Bangalore as we celebrated Unmaad keeping aside all the shit that was happening in the world. The sponsorship had dried up, and people realised the worth of each penny. But K K was too hard to resist and no wonder why. He enthralled us all with a breath taking performance. I missed the Unmaad L square as I was in a dry run.

Final Placements 2009: Speaking of dry run, I come to my next big thing at hand. The final placements for the batch of 2009. It was a horror show as we saw the effects of the crisis take its full toll on the batch. The job became tougher and longer owing to the market conditions. Nevertheless, it was an experience worth living and hopefully cherishing in a few years..

Morgan Stanley, Hong Kong: Yaay!! my first trip abroad!!And the person who was always there was Rahul Bajaj!! (Chuck the rahul out.. :) We had loads of fun in Hong Kong, roaming around, shopping, cooking food, the Macau trip, gambling all night and getting a DB employee to join IIMB.. :P What say Bajaj!!The two months away from home made me so so fall in love with India.All the thoughts of Reema telling me about exchange and how intern changes your opinion came right back..

Back to B: Yes indeed! I opted out of exchange. It was a culmination of various reasons. Term 4 was fun to begin with. A new batch of students coming in, the whole dunking and hoax week, the recruitments for the clubs, the treats the parties et al.. But none gave more pleasure than receiving that certificate from the Director. :) The academics were now a mundane job but the time I had spent with my friends new and old was just memorable.

Term 5: I write term 5 because, if I had to choose one term where I "came of age", it would be that. It was shitty, it had pressure, it had responsibility. And I am glad, all of them were delivered. Unmaad happened, not without pain, but this time the Unmaad L square drove all of it away. The biggest compliment was when a professor called me and said that he was glad his student organised all of it. The rain gods were on our side and India didnt qualify for the champions trophy semi finals. Everything fell in place.

Phase 2 of term 5 is the insomnia period. The summer placements were much different from the finals experience, it was a lot tougher, a lot more people to be managed and now I know what Vibhu must have felt like in term 3. It was an experience that i will carry along in everything I do.

Phase 3 was academic phase which is better left unsaid.

Amar Bhaiya's wedding: Finally, my dear bhaiya is married and I am so glad he is. It was tonned of fun being a part of the celebration. I wish him all the best ahead.. :) I will put up the pics as soon as i lay my hands on them..

And after so much.. there is still a month to go.. Picture abhi baki hai mere dost..

Aim: Look Below :)

What a year 2009 has been. A quick count on the fingers shows that I was part of 2 Unmaads, 2 placement processes (one of senior and other of junior batch), one quick dirty live project, one summer intern of my own, one new country, three academic terms, 2 academic awards, two first cousins biting the dust and amidst all this, lots of fun. Hoping for a great finish to the year..

Special mentions: Sukrut, PDM, Mayur, Kapoor, CEO, Vikas Bansal, DD, Chusli, Sahay, Vibhu, Purvi, Aishwarya, Kshitij, Aditi, Ganesh, Jyothsni, Tushar, Deepthi, Hari, Lintu, Sid, Pappu, Mak, Rishov, Pulkit, Rajat, Prakhya, Saikat, Ladha, Mario, Vicky, Abdul, Oleti, Mande, Banka, Rawale ......

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The long wait and the ecstasy...

361 days of staying away..
270 long minutes of searching eyes..
48 very short hours of ecstasy..
10 days of chit chat..

And now time for a long wait again..

Thursday, June 11, 2009

About Akshay, Macau....

For 21 years now, I have inevitably spent my summers at Hyderabad, my hometown. Be it the internship or the summer classes, everything brought me home. But, second term into IIM Bangalore gave me the first chance to spend a summer outside home. In fact, I was destined to spend my summer at Hong Kong interning at Morgan Stanley (read the post below for further details). I was excited as hell, not just because I pulled off a decent summer intern, but also because I was the last of the six (read as KAPAAG for who know it) to step outside the country. And after a yearlong grind at the dungeons of Bangalore, I finally arrived at Hong Kong.

From the very first look of it, the infrastructure was impressive. The airport express, that took me to Kowloon, and the cabs that took me home, were all too luxurious for a first timer. The service apartment itself provided quite a few amenities. I was glad that I didn’t have to clean it, change bed sheets, or in short live like I do in hostels. I intuitively knew, being as lazy as I am that I will not have to clean clothes for most of my summer. So, with all the mundane and boring routines out of the way, I had two things to figure out. The first being how to survive, and the second, how I could make my stay adventurous. The survival part was sorted out soon, as we decided to go with a mix of ready to eat, cooked and of course dining out.

In terms of adventure, the first good thing that happened to us was Mr. Akshay Jain. People do wonder who the guy in my pics is. Sometimes, a sadist and sometimes vulgar, but he was always cheerful and humorous.

• He had absolutely no love for his parents till the point in the plane where he said, I don’t hate my parents so much.
• He must have tried everything Hong Kong had to offer, from raw fish to seahorses to salmons
• He loved spending money (he wanted to spend every cent of the 14000 dollars that he was earning more than us)
• He had a huge fetish for this IIMB girl, after lots of up and downs
• His current market value stands at INR 5 million (a very cheap buy)

The only event that was close to thrilling was our visit to Macau. I have often read about volatility and all the fin stuff, but the Macau experience gave me a taste of it. I was up 250 bucks, down a grand and a half and then up 3 grand and finally ended up with 1.5. The game was fascinating, the dealers noteworthy and the entire experience addictive. In a way it gave me a world full of lessons of stop losses, entry and exit levels that I could not have learnt back in school. The Venetian was beautiful and the singer on the boat awe inspiring.

Overall, I think Hong Kong was worth a visit but not something I would want to do again and again (except the night at Macau). I had a good time interning and now keeping fingers crossed for the outcome.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Summer of 2009...

Coincidentally, as I think of how to pen my thoughts, I remember that for some reason I had posted The Summer of 2008 last year around the same time. That time I was filled with mixed emotions of leaving a place so dear to me for four years but at the same time embarking on something I have always wanted to do.. which in a certain way was a step up in the ladder to success...

Fast Forward one year.. History repeats itself.. The Pico from IITM is still alive and kicking.. Somehow people here have caught the name, the name I am so dearly in love with. But it just does not end with the name. I had one glorious year at IIMB. Sometimes I was cynical about the place. Very much I should say in the first term.. but then I got in line with the people, with how it is outside your comfort zone.. And then I felt so much better handling it and using it to my advantage. If I look back, I have always been the player catching up.. Catching up in skills, talent and whatever many consider an art.. But for the first time, I feel the pinch.. To stay ahead.. And when today, I heard about some of my colleagues cracking it at BCG (hearty congratulations to them), I felt.. its time to stop running and take stock of whats in the plate. So, here I go with one of the longest I would have ever written.. So, pardon me for the boredom.

I arrived in Hong Kong with loads of expectations, the first time in a corporate environment, the first time in a bank and the first time outside my country. It was not difficult to settle in. I must say that for a first timer, I got out of the currency syndrome, of trying to convert everything into INR, rather quickly. Being with the favourite of all Bajaj did help.. :) Ask him about others, and you might get some strong words.. Yeah.. So back to me.. The trading floor overwhelmed me.. But the pressures of the declining industry and a bad economic slump were weighing on my shoulders. I did not know how to think. Whether this was an experience to learn or to just crack PPO. I can say the two paths might be different and the black box never reveals what is the path treading both. But at first I chose the road oft travelled. To crack it and lead a life of luxury. But somewhere down the line, I felt this is not what I would do. I have some luxuries not to be so desperate.. I can do as I want. With the time, with the floor, with the money. I am 22 yrs and barely broken out of the cocoon of the IITs and the IIMs.

The flow of random thoughts continued within my head for about 7 weeks in which I worked as I was told to, but more importantly spoke to people who matter and decide where I want to head after this. I enjoyed quite a bit of Hong Kong and only glitch was the black lining in the sky.. I lived on the 15th floor, worked on the 38th floor and travelled below the earth's surface. I seemed to have forgotten the where the ground was for a moment. The skylines beautiful and the city dazzling. Enjoyed my first salary to the core. And the icing on the cake was Macau, an artificial Venetian and the Vegas of the east.. A night of one of my other firsts gambling.. So there was much awaited experience of being abroad.. under the pressure to deliver..

But then came Anusmaran, which I think was the most eventful evening I have had here.. I played football in the rain, had good Indian food and met people whose experience was more than my age. But the best thing that could happen to me was the 2005 batch people. They were in a similar situation that I think my batch would be on the back of the bad 2004 season. But now, everyone is well settled in. And it would seem as if everything was rosy then. But the fact remains, one can reach any place he wants.. he just needs the desire to reach there. And when I heard today morning and seen my friends delighted, I was thinking, it is sure good to get a PPO and make your life simpler. But this is life and the only way to win it is to keep running.. However fast you are the tortoise will find its way slowly and steadily..

I am reminded of a dialogue from Om Shanti Om :
"itni shiddat se maine tumhe paane ki koshish ki hai
ki har zarre ne mujhe tumse milane ki saazish ki hai"

I am starting to believe in it..

Will come back with a much more jolly post sometime soon. :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Moët et Chandon

Straight from wiki and straight out of pleasure of the past night!!

Moët et Chandon (pronounced [moɛt‿e ʃɑ̃ˈdɔ̃]), or Moët, is a French winery and co-owner of the luxury goods company Moët-Hennessy • Louis Vuitton. Moët et Chandon is one of the world's largest champagne producers and a prominent champagne house. The company holds a Royal Warrant to supply champagne to Queen Elizabeth II. Moët et Chandon was established in 1743 by Claude Moët, and today owns more than 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of vineyards, and annually produces approximately 26,000,000 bottles of champagne.



Moët et Chandon began as Moët et Cie (Moët & Co.), established by Épernay wine trader Claude Moët in 1743, and began shipping his wine from Champagne to Paris. The reign of King Louis XV coincided with increased demand for sparkling wine. Soon after its foundation, and after son Claude-Louis joined Moët et Cie, the winery's clientele included nobles and aristocrats.

Moët began business with Madame de Pompadour in 1750. She continually supplied the Royal Court at Compiègne with Moët's champagne. Also in 1750, Moët began establishing business in Germany, Spain, Eastern Europe, and colonial British America. In 1792, on Claude Moët's death, grandson Jean-Rémy Moët assumed control of Moët et Cie, and expanded the business buying the vineyards of the Abbey of Hautvillers, where Benedictine monk Dom Perignon perfected double-fermentation for creating champagne.

Moreover, the Moët surname was prestigious before the winery's establishment; King Charles VII ennobled brothers Jean and Nicolas Moët (Claude's ancestors) in 1446.

Into the 19th century

The company truly attracted a loyal international following after it initiated an account with Napoleon. Jean-Rémy, who had become mayor of Epernay in 1802, met Napoleon in 1804. Within the new guest houses at Moët's headquarters on 20 rue de Champagne, Napoleon I and his entourage were lavishly dined and wined. Historian of champagne Patrick Forbes wrote: "everybody who was anybody in Europe was passing through the Champagne district en route from Paris to the Congress of Vienna and they all wanted to visit the celebrated champagne maker. ... His 10 years in the Napoleonic limelight had made him the most famous wine-maker in the world and orders for his champagne began pouring in with such profusion that he hardly knew how to fill them." In appreciation for Jean-Rémy's generosity, the Emperor of the French gave Jean-Rémy his, Napoleon's, Officer's cross of the Legion of Honor. In honor of Napoleon, Moët later in its history dedicated its Brut Imperial to him.

After his connections with Napoleon, the company of Moët contained a portfolio of prominent figures which encompassed Tsar Alexander II of Russia, Emperor Francis II of Austria (Napoleon's father-in-law), the Duke of Wellington, Madame de Staël, Queen Victoria, and the Prince Royal of Russia (later to become emperor of Germany) among many more. Sales durign the 1820s are believed to have been on average 20,000 bottle annually. Leadership of the company changed in 1832 when Jean-Rémy retired and left the company in the hands of his son Victor Moët and son-in-law Pierre-Gabriel Chandon de Briailles. As M.Chandon became incorporated into the company as co-owner, the name was officially changed that same year to "Moët et Chandon." Following the introduction of the concept of a vintage champagne in 1840, Moët marketed its first vintage in 1842. Their best-selling brand, Brut Imperial was introduced in the 1860s.

The Marne Valley fell under the ownership of Moët et Chandon in 1879, expanding the company's operations. The introduction of more flavorsome grapes from Cramant, Le Mesnil, Bouzy, Ay, and Verzenay also followed. As expansion grew, so did the employee count. At the time, about 2,000 people were under the employment of Moët et Chandon and a type of "social security" was formed which gave free medical attention, housing assistance, pensions, maternity benefits, sick pay, and free legal aid. Job holders included cellarmen, cork cutters, clerks, vineyard farmers, tinsmiths, needlewomen, basketmakers, firemen, packers, wheelwrights, and stableboys. Sales in 1872 are reported to have been at 2,000,000 bottles and at 2.5 million by 1880, while consumers continued to consist of the upper social hierarchy.

Milestones in the 20th century

During World War I, France suffered much destruction. Moët et Chandon lost the offices and guest houses, where Napoleon I had stayed, to bombing raids. After the war, the company re-established its position in the market by introducing the Dom Pérignon brand of vintage champagne in the late 1920s. The introduction of the Dom Pérignon label set a trend in which many other champagne houses came to introduce their own premium label of champagne intended to surpass their regular vintage champagne. Nevertheless, it was Dom Pérignon which came out to be the most successful brand. Dom Pérignon was recognized by connoisseurs as the most perfect champagne available, and was also the most expensive on the market. During World War II in which France fell under occupation of Nazi Germany, business was negatively affected. However, due to the modernization of operations within the firm, it managed to recover well. The goals of fairness and efficiency were emphasized in all aspects of production, from the installation of new wine presses to a comprehensive system of work incentives.
Headquarters in Épernay.

Count Robert-Jean de Vogüé, a prominent figure in wine purchasing, became the leader of Moët et Chandon in the 1950s. Transformed from a family-owned business into a Société Anonyme (or corporation), Moët et Chandon under de Vogüé gained great success and an expansion rate never before experienced. In 1962 it became the first champagne house to be listed on the French stock market. That same year, the company acquired full rights to France's oldest wine maison and main competitor of Moët et Chandon, Ruinart Père et Fils. Another rival wine house, Mercier, was taken over by 1970. Soon afterwards Moët et Chandon purchased an interest in Parfums Christian Dior, the first out-of-winery investment by the company, which was soon taken over by Moët. The company took a milestone step in 1971 when it merged with the cognac producer Jas Hennessy & Co. to create Moët-Hennessy. The decision was made as a result of a 1927 statute which limited the champagne growing region to 34,000 hectares. De Vogüé believed that the supply of land under cultivation (less than 25,000 hectares) would be exhausted by the demand for champagne by 2000. Thus it seemed logical to merge with Hennessy who could supply diversification and a stable future for Moët. Together, both houses grew greatly financially and were able to, as a group, "stimulate the growth of their interests abroad."

In 1973, the company launched Domaine Chandon, a winery subsidiary in California. The company undertook its final merger; with Louis Vuitton, a prominent luxury goods purveyor whose goods remain renown as status symbols. This final merger gave birth to the largest luxury group in the world, Moët-Hennessy • Louis Vuitton (LVMH), netting over 16 billion euros in fiscal 2004. In 2006, Moët et Chandon Brut Impérial issued an extremely limited bottling of its champagne named "Be Fabulous", a special release of its original bottle with decorative Swarovski crystals, marking the elegance of Moët et Chandon. Also in 2006, Moët et Chandon illuminated the Statue of Liberty on its 120th anniversary.

In 2007, the company opened its Grand Vintage 2000 European Launch at the Musée de l'homme in Paris

In 1973, the then Moët-Hennessy company founded Domaine Chandon, an outpost winery in the Napa Valley. It was the first French-owned sparkling wine venture in the United States. The fine dining restaurant etoile is situated at the winery.

Domaine Chandon in Australia was established in 1986 at Green Point, Victoria.


Moët is frequently mispronounced. Common mispronunciations include "mow-ee" and "mo-way". The correct pronunciation is "mo-wett".

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Did you say defensive??

Hibernation!!! Yes, for the first time, I can say I went into one... The only difference being that sleep was the most elusive thing for those 6 days that were spent inside the "Yoga Hall". The work was fun, but what was more fun was the precursor to it. A new team to work with, a new rapport shared and better than most teams I have been in.

Nights and nights spent in dry runs and planning out what has to be done. But all this while, no one realised the amount of time you have spent with people you never knew before. The epitome of this came when three of us had a bash at "Purple Haze". That night had almost everything. Music, beer, India (Pathan Brothers) kicking some ass, stationary, fart and crowd. That is one of the most awesome times I have spent here at IIMB.

Back to work, the jargon that was created by all of them was just hilarious. I will just leave with a glimpse of what all was made.

1) Maardaar......
2) Defensive (Dunno for how long)
3) The PoC between place and control (everyone knows it has to be ceeti.. )
4) And the Venn diagrams created by Sid Sen.. Dude post it in the comments..
5) Love Bites!!! (I cannot know and say how and when that happened)

There we go.. A perfect time.. and a cheerful ending yet to savour..


Saturday, January 10, 2009

The importance of being earnest...

Staged in one of the best theaters in the country, was one of the most famous plays of Oscar Wilde, "The Importance of being Earnest". Set in the late Victorian era in England, the play is filled will silly humour and the pretentious outlook of the people of London. The play has a couple of fictitious characters, used more as a mechanism to escape out of your town to meet your girl friend. It is a satire, as most of them are, on the Victorian era and the whims and fancies and hypocrisy of the people back then.

The artist group performing, Evam, is one of the best in the country with its home in Chennai. The performance I think was not upto the mark yesterday, with lots of dialogues fumbled and props misplaced. But overall, it was a delightful play and a continuation of the fun spree that I have been having this week.

Friday, January 2, 2009


One of my firsts is this.. A blog post in a train.. Upgraded from sleeper to AC 3 tier was a surprise for someone who didn’t have his ticket confirmed. And these kids next to me are so amazed at what I am doing with the laptop. Innocent lads…
So here we go.. Term 2 at the dungeon was one of the most demanding yet most rewarding term. The highlights of the term go something like these. First came the results of term 1. I secured 3.77/4.00, and stood third in the institute. For my summer interns, I got recruited by Morgan Stanley, Hong Kong. Way to go baby.. But there was something in this term which was missing last term. To start with the negatives, I was careless (to be read as carefree), lazy, and most of all a sleepy head. But that’s where the negatives end.

So positives.. People associate MBA with “networking”. I had some experience of what it means and how people develop. The best comment I thought I received was from Vibhu saying, “Strangely, Pico is very good at maintaining PR.” That took my feet off the ground to be honest. I deliberated over it for quite a while. I knew there were people who would agree with what Vibhu said. But I sure know a couple who would strongly disagree with him. And that’s where my dilemma started. I knew that personally I am a very good listener, a quality emphasized by me and as I got to know by everyone as one of the most important. But when it comes to speaking, barely will anyone know me. Even the closest pals do not know what is going through my mind. May be I am that kind.

As I was thinking about it, it struck my mind that there is something I was doing wrong. A good communication, though requires a good listener, cannot be a one way traffic. When someone feels the confidence to confide in you, he also expects you to say something back. And that’s where I was going wrong again and again. I always wait for someone to come and speak. Seldom happens that I approach someone. Moreover, time is an issue people at IIMB often battle with.

So, after Vibhu told me that, I started my way to actually develop PR. I speak to people wherever I find them; have a little informal conversation, which may be helpful to both. And boy it felt good. I knew a lot more people, it developed perspective and I was more comfortable and happy with my position and presence at IIMB. I was never a superstar anywhere, but to have my own identity, rather for anyone to have his own unique identity, is very important. The number of seniors and colleagues, I know are at least two fold to what was last term.

But then, everything has its costs. Interacting with people here meant I had a lot less time to interact with people whom I have known for years, and even lesser time for academics, which is so valuable at a place like IIMB. At this juncture, I realize that the topic for one of my presentations was to remove grades from the IIMB system. Now, that was tough. But yeah, to round off networking, it was a good term for doing that. I did that.

Last topic for this post is the placements at IITM. The markets out there are very bad. It is so scary that people doubt why they had put so much effort go get into such a prestigious institute. But, seldom do people realize that it is the best chance to take a risk out of campus. They have an opportunity to go back to college for post graduation and any risk will not have a negative NPV. I am glad that Purvi and Kshitij are placed for the time being. I so wanted to be in Chennai, but sometimes, what you want need not happen. I got the diary for the next year. I hope to revert back to writing next year, an art which I seemed to have lost here. It just takes a gesture to remind me of that. And now the art shall be honed for the good. Well a diverse post I must say. A rant more than anything else. But enough to start off a week at home and the base for many more posts around new year. .

Now since I am late posting this.. Wish you a happy new year. Have a great year ahead everyone...