Days of My Life

Name:
Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

What I say today is what mohammad ali said once , "It is very hard to be humble when you are as great as me". Lest people may be mistaken I am not into boxing. and therefore I resist from praising myself :)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

And so it begins ...

The preparatory program ended on Friday the 23rd. It was informative for the most part of it. The highlight for me though was the case study. Having done case studies as part of the SE course (my favorite core course at college) I had some idea of what should be done, only the background knowledge was missing in terms of Finance, Marketing etc which contrary to what I though cannot be covered up by common sense. Our team came the closest to the (so called) ideal solution. One needs to remember though that in case studies there are only plausible solutions and not ideal ones. A revelation was that how self motivated girls could be. Most of the times they were the ones leading the discussions. Coming from a system where mixed teams (of girls and boys) was an opportunity for some people to freeload, I felt like a freeloader here. I did put in my bit though. And the diversity of B-Schools also came out - the natural talent of fresh graduates, the statistical backing given by experienced industry hands and the fresh perspective of non-engineers. There were also people who were wizards at Powerpoint. One aspect was the deficiency in Finance and Accounts of almost all of us. We would be having a course soon though. Overall a nice experience and the learning that there is a lot lot more to look forward to.

And the registration followed by a briefing were yesterday. One aspect which I liked was the way faculty treats the students as adults ... Of course we are adults but seldom treated so by educational institutions and the government. That does not mean there are no rules, we were given fairly thick rule books for the library, hostel and general student life. Fairly lenient instructions, and a different experience in that girls and boys are allowed into each other's hostels. Of course only till 11 pm and beyond that some of the AC lecture halls would remain open during the night for discussions etc.

Of course the apprehensions are still there. Statements like , "You will be hit by the unexpected", "You think you have done everything right and still get screwed" and the most deadly one for me, "Skip lunch for sleep, stay lean and fresh" put the fear of God into one's mind. But the excitement is not to be missed. The adrenalin has got pumping and I am looking forward to my life as a B-School student which commences tomorrow. As all the profs say here May God bless you (me).

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Week one @ XLRI Jamshedpur

Well, not exactly a week, but it was four days. One enters a business school with all these pre-conceived notions that the time is spent mostly in comparing your imagination with the reality of it all. Also having studied at a pretty prestigious place for my undergrad, the comparisons with IIIT were of course inevitable. In spite of my belief that we have to move on in life, it is very difficult not to reminisce and think in terms like, "Ohh but in IIIT it was not like that". It is only at such times that reality strikes and the lump revisits the throat.

So it happened that I was offered an admission to the PMIR programme of XLRI. This was confirmed in late March and the joy knew no bounds. I wanted to do an MBA (HR) and XLRI is considered the best place for the same in Asia. A few days here and some interaction with the faculty have indicated that it might not be empty rhetoric. Rest about acads a bit later in the post.

I left Hyderabad (more precisely Secunderabad) on the evening of 12th June by Falaknuma express to Kharagpur. Nothing significant there except that I travelled in second AC for the second time in my life. And it sucked big time for me. It was comfortable of course with no pesky vendors and peskier hijdas disturbing you, but the excitement of a train journey to a far away land is lost. Added to that the train was ahead of time. Orissa was visibly very backward but it is when you enter Bengal that you realize that it is really Shonar (golden) Bangla. The lush green fields remind one of the fields in West Godavari and (once upon a time)Krishna districts of Andhra Pradesh.Some credit to the commies there.Our train stopped on the legendary platform 3/4 of Kharagpur (longest in the world) at 6 pm. It had two trains and the one to Jamshedpur was on the same platform. We missed it though as my Dad was talking to someone on fone. But there was another train (Kharagpur and Jamshedpur are just two hours apart) called the Steel Express at 7:30 pm. It was the fastest train I ever travelled in. Something like a Shatabdi I guess. 9:30 pm Jamshedpur and the place was boiling like hell. Hyderabad is also hot but Jamshedpur is sultry and you never stop sweating.We had an AC guest house but it was of no avail and the Jharkhand mosquitoes had a field day.

Next morning it was XLRI. Everyone in the city (it would probably be one twentieth of Hyd) seem to know the place. Only problem being that there was no public transport and all we had were auto rickshaws who fleece passengers everywhere in India I guess. XLRI is situated in an area called Circuit House which is some sort of a Jubilee Hills for Jamshedpur. The town, though not mirror-clean, gives one the impression of being well-maintained. But the Circuit House area was much better than Jubilee Hills. Some interesting issues that struck me :


  • There are beautiful girls in India, Jamshedpur is filled with them

  • There is only one cinema hall, and people seem to be fine with it. "Koi cinema nahi dekhthey bhayya" was the reaction of an auto driver.

  • SBI officers also work, at least here they worked like dogs to pass our loans. I got mine in half hour. Three days of running around in Hyd could not get it done

  • The city is extremely healthy. Everybody seems to be playing some sport or the other. I am forced to take up volleyball. Good for me though.


I took my hostel room. It was on a twin sharing basis. The hostel's name is a serious sounding - The Father Enright Men's Residence. An interesting difference from Old Boys Hostel where one had to explain to visitors that the Old was for the hostel and not the Boys.My roomie is a pretty nice chap from Bombay. His name though is Avik. No further comments on the issue :) Yash of my batch is also here and we spent a whole dinner commenting (to ourselves) on the girls. I think he would be writing it better in his blog.

The girls are really really good looking. And dispelling totally the myth that beauty and brains do not go together. Just as we've come from the best engg colleges, they have come from the best humanities colleges and it is a nice mix of students. My section (of strength 65) has 36 girls. Only 15 of us are freshers though, and the workex guys are heavy spenders. Hafta take care there.

After four years of bad food at IIIT mess, XL's comes as a welcome relief. Though the number of items is less, the food is very tasty and nutritious.A bit costly at 1800 a month but given unlimited food and snacks in the evening, I guess it is a good deal. The milk is much better than that of Hyderabad, though one week without an Avakaya worth its name and no Sambar/Rasam is a bit tough. Of course it is early days for the mess guy here, so we have to see how he would turn out in the long run. We have a canteen where you get the veg puff kind of food and there is this tea shop called Daddu's where the tea is bad but the samosas and jalebis at 2.50 each are divine.

The library is a giant sized one. With books from the 40s too. Reminded me of the library in OU. A reasonably good replacement for the one at IIIT. As with IIIT, no one visits here anytime, but unlike in IIIT the AC is not switched off. I've already lost myself in the books twice and had to be called out. So another bond in the making.

The academics have not really started in full swing yet. We have something called a preparatory program which is like introducing the students to what they would be learning in the next coupla years at XLRI. The inaugural session was addressed by the Director and the Dean, much the same as all inaugural sessions. One thing that I could recall is a quote by the dean, "XL life is like a Bombay Railway station. If you stand in the right direction it is very hard to not get pushed into the train ... If you try to mess with the system, it is very hard not to mess up your lives". The people here a very strict regarding certain aspects ... I've noticed only a few in these days - No drinking in the campus, no entering the libary in shorts, no entering the labs in shorts, no sleeping in the lectures and no late arrivals. Guess I have no problem with any of them so not really affected. Even if I had, I am not about to take a risk. The lectures are precise and to the point ... so no need of even trying to sleep. We were also shown a pretty inspirational movie about the Tatas. The maths lectures were very straightforward and I was asked to come to the board in one of them, but the Case study lectures and the Industrial Relations ones call in for some effort. Communication is another subject and we were shown The Bean series in the class. I am a huge fan of the Bean and never realized that a show like that could also teach us something.

Today we went on a know your city assignment, the results have to be submitted on Tuesday. There is not much to know though ... only two significant markets - Bistupur (some sort of an Abids) and Sakchi (which is a very good low cost market). I've shopped at both the places and prices are reasonably lower than Hyderabad. And my cousin stays at a residential area called Kadma, where all the engineers at Tata Steel stay ... a very clean residential colony.

All in all it has been a fairly good start here for me. The city is small but I guess it is a welcome relief from the gigantism of Hyderabad. Anyway after the course we are likely to end up in some big city, so I plan to make the best out of my stay here. I wanted to give a farewell post for my life at IIIT but somehow could not bring myself to write it. I'd be writing one post a week from now, and I plan to reduce the references to Hyderabad to a minimum. I guess that is the best way to enjoy a place in itself.