Sunday, November 11, 2007

A new journey...

As I stepped out of car and in the airport, my heart sunk. It was going to be my first stay outside my country. As I turned back for last time to wave everyone a goodbye my steps got heavier. Checking in, getting the boarding pass, the security check all went off as if I was hypnotized. Vision blurred as past few years flashed on mind like a never ending reel of film. As I saw Mumbai sparkle in lights from the plane above, I knew that there was no turning back now.

Past few days has buzzed off so fast. One fine day, I was called by my DM to ask me about my willingness to go to Mexico. For a moment I thought that it was yet another managerial way to pacify the poor lot of us who had lost out on the ever increasing H1 battle. I agreed without hesitation knowing little what my “si” had in store for me. Come September and the lucky few with visa got busy with their preparations for chilling cold in Charlotte. Taken completely aback, I was asked to apply for Mexico visa.

I panicked. What about my CAT. What about my applications. What about my ISB interview. Many questions but no answer. Right from applying my visa, convincing myself to be prepared, convincing the client of my oracle capabilities (which I didn’t have any) and most importantly convincing my parents. Somehow they always seem to have better argument points than me…especially when it comes to the decisions that I take all by myself and seem to be pretty sure that it would be the best for me.

Next few days would have been the most irresolute days of my life so far. I was taking up something I wasn’t even sure it was right. Grown up in a joint family, surrounded by dozens of cousins immersed in friends, how was I to even think of staying alone? But that was not the only thing that was worrying me. Different well wishers giving different advice. Some built up my courage while others mocked at my decisions. Stranded at a crossroad where the road ahead was not visible and road behind was not traceable. There were nights where I felt lost …not knowing what was in store the next day.

Things seemed even worse when no one was ready to cooperate. The visa, the travel, the forex, the laptop guys... all of them seemed to behave as thought they were ruling the world…all the things were messed up. I kept telling myself to hold on….my parents pressuring me to postpone my trip at least till Diwali, my friends persuading me to rethink, my managers forcing me to move soon….middle of it I cried for someone to hear my voice...someone to stand beside me to tell that I was right...someone to get me out of this maze...

Things happen when they have to…and so here I was …flying over the Indian Ocean…all the way to Pacific….It is said that life happens when you are busy making some other plans. I believe this is just the beginning of lot of things that Monterrey has in store for me….

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Truly, Madly, Deeply - Independent

Today, as India celebrates its 60th year of independence, undoubtedly, nations across the globe who, few years ago, disregarded India to be a country of snake charmers now struggle to call India a 'third world country'. Today the prime minister of India in his speech not only celebrated India's economical progress but also showcased his concern on the upliftment of the rural India - essentially the farmers, who are, without any doubt, the support system of todays growing India. All over India people have debated on whether India is truly independent or is still a slave of its own burden of problems and what is the meaning of true independence.

As a child, the idea of independence was very concise. The Independence Day and the Republic Day were seen as just another days of celebration in the school. Days of practice put into perfecting the marchpast, rehearsing patriotic songs so that they were sung in total sync and finally rejoicing the hoisting of the tricolour- this was what Independence Day broadly symbolised. Stories narrated by our teachers of the freedom fighters used to generate a tremendous sense of patriotism in our young minds though the meaning of patriotism for us at that time was restricted to giving one's life for one's country. In that sense, only the freedom fighters of glorious past and the army men at our borders were truly patriotic.

In a more day-to-day world , as a school kid, being independent was to read the timetable and to pack one's bag without parents gudance, being independent was to go on school camps and to live independently, being independent was also to decide which stream to take based on what one's interests were, being independent was to venture out independently with freinds to fill out college admission forms. As school life ended, I thought that this essentially spelt freedom.

Junior college dreams were much bigger, challenges were more, hopes were high, though the meaning of freedom was essentially that of what a teenager would have. On a lighter note, freedom was shopping on my own, freedom was watching movies with friends , freedom was to follow the latest fashion trends, and freedom was to dream a dream of a great career.

As I grew, my world widened to encompass the society that surrounded me.
Reservations were abundant, encroaching on the oppurtunities of those who really deserved.
Even today, I have utmost respect and admiration for people who work hard to earn money for survival, for those who work hard so that their education is not hampered. But the ones enjoying the fruits of reservation were not necessarily the ones who deserved it. This hurted me a lot beacuse it hit me directly and painfully.
Measures for betterment were abundant but did not reach the ones for whom they were intended. I was shaken up to reality and pitched across to the real world. This was the time I realised what the voice of India essentially meant to say when they cried for true Independence. True independence now demanded a social equality and a prosperity of every citizen of this country.

Today, as the part of nations work force, my world has enlarged from four corners of my house to this cornerless world. Indians have spread across the globe making India proud in every sense. According to a recent poll conducted by a leading news channel, 92% youngsters wanted to be reborn as Indians. And why not. India with all its faults is still someone to be proud of, which is essentially why we call her our 'Mother India'. How much ever though we may agree that India has achieved a lot in these years, there is still a long long way to go.

60 years after independence, India finally has a women president. However this news was followed by the news of acid attacks against women, by the death due to less dowry, by the news of child marriages. It is this that is holding back India from becoming what it can truly can become. Today, India may not be the greatest nation in this world, but it has potential to be one. It is in this India that every one should be capable to dream a dream for himself and realise it to the fullest. It is in this India that every man and woman, girl and boy should be able to live a life free from injustice, free from discrimination , free from poverty. Only such a India will prosper in years to come and only then can we celebrate our 'Independence' - truly, madly, deeply.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Chata hai jindagi ke liye

As monsoons are fast approaching, shops are already flooded with colourful umbreallas for all age groups. Every year lakhs of umbrellas are brought and thousands are lost at shops, in trains, rickshaws and every possible place.
Last week I watched a movie "Cheeni Kum" whose central character of the movie was essential the traditional black grandpa umbrella. Although the movie did not take into account a very important aspect of what finally happened to the umbrella, it once again stressed on the fact of how inseparable our bollywood is from the umbrella. Be it the evergreen song "Pyar hua ikraar hua hai" or "Main koi aisa geet gau" or numerous other songs....Its not just about the rain..its about being under one umbrella which romanticizes the entire the heroine runs frantically in the rains only to find shelter under our very own heroes umbrella.

And its not just the bollywood. Its something which I have always admired.
From childhood i had a secret admiration for umbreallas. As a child, i was always made to wear a raincoat that covered me head to heels. Few years later this too had a makeover and changed into windsheeter- a modfied version of raincoat essentially made for the little senior lot of the school who had started becoming fashion concious. However I was always jealous of the few elite classmates who would carry an umbrella.

After lot of crying and acting I got my first umbrella. It was big bright red one with small white balls placed at the ends of the umbrella strings which would prevent anyone from getting hurt. The top had a bright red mickey mouse cartoon on it which i am extremely fond of even today. I was now a part of the elite few in my school and did not waste any chance of showing it off even when it was sunny. I took extra care of that umbrella and used to neatly pack it in its plastic cover without fail. It had a special corner reserved for it in my house and even in school it used to be cautiously hung over the bench in front of me.

However my connection with the umbrella was short lived. Once, after the school bell rang we were all lined up to leave for the day when one of my PE teachers snatched my umbrella and went off to scare someone. I tried following him but he soon dissappeared and so did my umbrella. I went over to ask him for it the following day but all I got was "Sorry....i must have misplaced it somewhere".And it was gone...I never got it back.....I cried that day after the school. I find it very funny now when I look back at it because there are so many more important things that i have lost after ths incident and not shed a tear for it....But probably it just showed that how important small thing in life are.

In life we gain and loose a so many things. Some things do not affect our life in any way but some seem to leave an impression for ever.Things that seem so unimportant to others may play a very important role in your life. I have always believed in forgetting things that i have lost in life. However this loss though may seem so insignificant, is still not forgotten.

I have bought several umbrellas after that- red, blue, green- big and small, cheap and costly.. but this one has always been in my memories.
As every monsoon brings so much life with it...fresh green trees and fresh smell of the earth, as much as it brings to life the memories of my long lost umbrella.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Battle lost or won?

This being my first attempt to write a blog made me apprehensive..nervous..No sooner had i finished writing a few lines...i erased them and fratically started reading my friends blogs searching on tips on how to go about penning my expeirence...But this was my answers.... and it had to be truly "me".So here it goes....

It started a few months back...when i had given up all my hopes on CAT,SNAP,NMAT,XAT and thousand other exams..CET was the saviour for me...But much to my percentile could not keep in pace with the ever increasing race to MBA gud thing about this percentile is that even though ur score isnt gud enough u still end up getting 93 "percentile" sounding very good to people unknown to this cut throat competition...

Ok .so coming back to this MBA struggle..i had lost the battle on the results day and lost all the motivation to mug answers to questions like "Why do want to do MBA".."Why do you want to chose this institute"....and other answers which are so meticulously crafted that once me and my freind joked about it saying that the candidate could actually vomit out the answer on just hearing a "Why".

But all my friends urged to me attend the interview process though i was more than just confident that even my best performance would not help me get a seat. But i decided to try it as an experience..a try where i would go to the interview...completely fearless..with a attitude where i had nothing to loose...and this was the golden opputunity.....

Me and my friend Deepali made up big plans on how to "improve" our Gk by reading up few magazines..Few days after this decision...we had started reading newspapers in and out...surfing through sites IBN Live...Collecting small articles to read through the bus journey which otherwise used to be utilised to complete our sleep...And we actually used to meet on Yahoo chats and discuss India Globalisation...

Phew...this was a drastic change in me...There was me who used to be addicted to MTV and Channel V..who only knew which singer was performing in which part of India...
and here was I...hooked on to CNN-IBN....And gradually i developed interest in all that was happening..from UP Polls to Gujrat Encounters... I investigated the 2007 Budget and India's agriculture sector...From India's commercial sattelite launcher to mergers ad acquisitions.

I cannot say how much it helped me in my interiew or how much more marks it added in my GD score..but it has definitely helped me in developing a keen interest in the world that surrounds me...
My world has expanded from four corners of my home to this cornerless universe!!

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