Just in Time baby

I was exposed to stringent rules regarding timeliness in the wake of joining a management course. The kind of guy I have been all my life, for me simply it was a difficult ground rule to abide to. Many times, I have been neck to neck running against the ever running, time. I remember, in the undergraduate course often  I would run to catch the college bus. That -'just in time baby!' - with friends on bus. Back then as time passed I built a reputation for it, colleagues used to acknowledge it. But on the other side they used to appreciate of me hardly ever missing college bus but almost catching it in the nick of time. 

            There also have been times in my 4 years of engineering when I reached significantly before time. On those rare days I was again taunted. Oh! well people typecast you and when you don't follow their expectations they kind of start hoping for it. If still you prove their belief wrong they would sarcastically appreciate the change. 

A few epic cases of in time delivery I recall at IMT -
 I woke up at 9:21 AM in clock, just got ready and ran to reach in time for the microeconomics class of 9:30 AM.  
I wake up at  11:05 AM there's a guest lecture at 11:15 AM if I miss my roll call I miss the attendance. I run navigating my way, jumping, traversing through shortcuts, I push open the door and hear my name and say yes sir!. The instructor gives a wry smile, everybody looks at me in awe. Someone exclaims wow! in the meantime regaining breathe I take a seat and relax. 
There is this guy Kandy, I come from shower wrapped in towel, he sees me in the gallery and says boy you better hurry up or you will miss attendance. I manage to get in time. This incident happens time and again. He acknowledges me with 'the towel guy'
 There also have been incidents when I ate breakfast partially on my way to the class while running and in class. In class I am well known for doing such stuff. 

I hope to bring about change in managing time. But still I manage it anyhow, I think that's what management is all about.

P.S.: I haven't missed an attendance till date.

Word of Mouth Epidemic

Word of mouth is the flowing of information from one person to another through oral communication, particularly one to one communication. In the digital age this can also take place through phones, blogs, chats, email, text/IM etc.  It basically is an epidemic which flows contagiously. Take for example a sexually transmitted disease (STD), which engulfs the next person which comes in contact with an already infected one.  The person contacted is influenced by the information it is exposed to, this instigates him to forward it to someone else.

In today’s era a consumer is thrown information about hundreds of products in a day. It is very vital to capture the space in the minds of the customer. Word of mouth helps in creating that image because it comes from a trusted source, one to one communication. Particularly for brands to become from mediocre to great word of mouth becomes a very important tool. There have been several success stories coined with word of mouth in branding; for instance ‘Snapple’ the brand of tea and fruit juices derived its success through word of mouth in the late 1970’s, 'Hush Puppies' the famous shoe brand showed a dramatic turnaround in the mid 1990's through word of mouth. Contagious as it is it can also have a negative impact on the brand image for example Cadbury insect infestation issue, coca cola having pesticides these news spread like wildfire majorly through WOM. This significantly deteriorated the brand image of existing market leaders and costs millions to the firms.

The system is also based on referrals made by existing users of a product. It minimizes the risk and acts like a perceived incentive to the prospective buyer. Slowly the trust is built and word of mouth marketing sails through. Not every individual has the potential to trigger a word of mouth epidemic. There are some major sources which play a handy role in spreading the message across. That source is often referred to as ‘connector’. A connector is a person which connects many individuals, a central node through which information can be transmitted. The important trait of the connector is its reliability. People tend to trust these types of individuals. These are amicable people who make friends very easily, they do not judge people, do not get prejudiced and follows them a huge network of people.
fig.connector at the centre

Malcolm Gladwell, the renowned management thinker in his book ‘The Tipping Point’ talks of that magical moment when ideas, trends, social behaviors cross a threshold, tip and spread like a wildfire. That tipping point is reached, thus making the ‘word of mouth’ a phenomenon. Before this tipping point it is basically in the process of becoming an epidemic or a viral phenomenon.

There is no doubt that word of mouth is an efficient marketing tool in current era of cut throat competition. But there are some reservations expressed about it when it comes to buying an expensive product or any technical product where expert opinion is preferred over popular sentiment. 

P.S.- Required a lot research but was worth it. My first related to the field of marketing.

When some close aid, a friend, a colleague, a teacher, an uncle or a relative dies, we make up from the shock after sometime. Its a compromise we make for we can not afford to be on the same page for a long time. The prospect of future is brighter than lamenting present, you consolidate it with the idealistic "move on" and eventually move with it.

That's what happens generally, my curiosity in the matter arose when I pondered over one such event of my life. A few months back my uncle died of an heart arrest, he had a sudden demise and I was shocked as death is an unanticipated, dreadful event though it is certain. Well a few days passed and he was no more a part of our conversations, he may rest in peace was said and gradually done. To this day I must have thought about him for he was a close companion of my Dad and I usually got updates about his family etc. But today was a different reason; I was messaging my friends.
Messages-->>Inbox-->>forward-->>add recipients, a list of contacts appear. I scrolled the list, marked some and there it flashed, his(uncle's) name. I moved down in the list but again came back to it, just something clicked and it doesn't wish to go back. All his memories flashed back in the back of my head.

A little later a series of questions started flowing in my mind. What happens to our contact number when we die?
Do people delete it when they know we are no more? What happens to our facebook profile? Does the timeline has an end to it? Have we ever thought of having a will for all this? And is there a proper time to have a will because you never know when you'll die? What is with these lifetime SIM's? What happens with the email address? So on  and so forth.

I surely could not come up with any solid reason/answer to these questions. But I learnt one thing when I mistakenly stumbled into the contact detail of my dead uncle, it made me realize that no matter how difficult time I am having right now, I am still alive. And one day my time will come, when I will be no more, before that comes I shall make this count this is my present this is all I have got. And I remind myself this whenever I see any token of those who rest in peace.

Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.
-George Eliot

So don't forget and get reminded...

I thought time will make me forget you;
now i realize that time will
but its gonna take a lifetime...

"kabhi chaha tha ki hum do se char honge
par pata na tha ki waqt ko jaldi thi
woh kisi aur ki ho gayi
aur mein kisi aur ka... "

"Image is everything"

The Hangoverology (Part-I)

Prologue: I woke up at 11:30 in the morning with constant knocking on the door. I rolled out of the bed, opened the door to find D.J., semi naked.
D.J.- "what happened last night? Why are you here? Why I was in your room "?
I gathered my thoughts, sat on bed; looked him deep in eyes and mumbled "asshole".
D.J-. What ?


Its Ramadan going on, I follow my routine course starting in the morning at 4 am. I have developed a habit of not sleeping all night and sleeping after having morning snacks. I don't believe in alarms waking me up, I am so lethargic in getting up at once. I came back to room from 'mess' but could not sleep, I laid down on bed looking at the ceiling fans shadow arising from the light coming through the window. To add to my inability to sleep there was problem coming, like always I didn't anticipate it until it was right there in front of me mocking my plans for the day. All I wanted was a few hours of sleep before I yawn in class.

It was 5, the unlocked door of my room was pushed open. I thought it must be the room partner. He was but with 3 other chaps. I initially pretended that I am asleep, gradually I sensed that something is wrong. Out of curiosity I turned and witnessed. DJ a good friend  of mine, lay down on bed on the other side of the room, completely drunk, unconscious & making weird noises. I knew about the party but I could not understand what was wrong him. Then came the disclosure, the drunk began vomiting. With an angry face I left the room to sleep in DJ's room. Leave alone sleep I couldn't help thinking about how it turned ugly(well this is due to my inept knowledge of alcohol and aftereffects of its consumption).

 I came outside walked towards my room to know more of the happenings before. One of them narrated the story to me. In short all he meant was " initially we drank, then we drank again and finally we were drunk". DJ pulled some stunts thereafter picking guys up his shoulders and stuff. That made the alcohol churn up in his stomach and hence the vomiting. The chaos he created also includes abusing a senior, trying to break a glass door etc. I thought let him become conscious he'll have to answer some serious questions.

I went back to his room and slept.

Epilogue: I tersely described to him a part of what I knew, it was astonishing that he expressed no guilt but pride, as if he had done a great thing; I left him in his room. The cleaners cleaned my room, and within a few hours the aura returned to normal. Finally, the hangover was over!


The IMT way

2nd June 2012, I left the hotel room, got into an auto, paid the fare to reach the city office @ khullar apartment, the summer morning was slowly turning hot, got into the bus and in 55 minutes I saw the red brick walls, the gates opened and I was finally in the college, "its on" I thought, for the next two years.
I knew I might not like it while I live these two years in this place (just a possibility) but later in life I will cherish every moment of it (engineering college experience).

After a lengthy process of registration a hostel room was allotted, on the ground floor, I was delighted that there will be no stairs to climb daily. By the evening my father left and then I was all alone on myself. Oh! hell there is nothing to do in here plus temperature is so hot that you can not even lay in bed in the same position for long. Increasing on fluid intake, choosing proper food helped me counter the scorching challenge the place offered.
The weekend was over and then began a weak beginning which had no end, let alone any "weak-end"(weekend). We were loaded with assignments, life became tough and time scarce.

A few days into the course and giving introductions had turned into a tedious job, be it giving to the faculty or to fellow students. Who said practice(repetition in this case) makes a man perfect, actually it makes u hate the thing more (a far fetched comparison). Classes(induction) were designed to make us acquainted with the course but what it did was different. It was in a way mocking our  knowledge and awareness. "come on! anyone in class who can tell blah blah?" "as an aspiring manager one should at least know this" "Don't you read newspaper?"  were the constant derision thrown @ us. And we took it silently without any resistance. To resist there has to be unity and we merely knew each other. Even to absorb the humiliation coherently a bond is required, slowly we caught up with that. Kudos!

Then came the seniors, there was this "healthy interaction" thing which started well but few juniors had problems so they told there mom-pops and hence notified the management which resulted in calling off of HI. I was in a way happy but irony was that I did not even give a single introduction to any senior, I felt bad that we couldn't interact much. A paradox (I m not hypocrite).

Followed were some incidents which lead to spats between senior and junior. And then began what the father of nation taught us the best, "when you don't get your way, unite and do not cooperate".
But we did not see the disclaimer in it which suggested not to be used against our own countrymen (it was against British) otherwise it will hinder the smooth functioning of our own country. But we do what we have imbibed from history, it worked there so it shall here(it works but disturbs the momentum of regular things leading to inefficiency). All it took was an interaction to resolve the conflict. Finally an amicable environment was restored. Bloody non cooperation! a waste of time.

In the first month itself I experienced many events ranging from learning golf to interacting with people belonging to different parts of the country, from conflict to friendliness, from staying awake all night to hitting gym regularly. The place has more to offer and more lessons to teach. In loving memory of the beginning of this course I end this here to begin a streak of posts about happenings during the coming two years @imt nagpur.

When In Haste, For Once Reflect

The other night I was walking after dinner, a wont nowadays. It rained in the evening for almost two hours. Generally after a shower, by the side of the border of plants snails come out and spread out on the pathway. After crushing some to death in the beginning I realised that I need to be cautious about that particular area.

 That night I was in a jiffy for I had to send an e-mail. I forgot about the prone area and crushed one to death. Alas! I killed one I thought, the sound made me feel guilty, I tried to shift my weight to the other foot but in vain, it was gone. I turned and watched it with regret exclaiming loudly 'Oh crap!'.

After responding to what was urgent work, it occurred to me that in a way what had happened is related to the pace at which we live life, and of course the damage we do meanwhile.
At times we are so obsessed with our goals that we do not care about many things we crush, treading on and on in a haste; hurting people around us unknowingly. We do not even reflect on what we did, how it happened and leave alone to palliate the hurt.

Its well known that people who reach at the top are alone, and after achieving so much the misery of loneliness haunts them. What one needs to do is to keep a constant check on where one is heading towards. Ambition is the source which drives the inner self of the person but that ambition must be synchronized with all that matters the most and all that which deceives to be trivial but is also important.

"It's the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary, only wise men are able to understand them"
Paulo Coelho

May the misguided of us get the wisdom to understand the importance of the ordinary.

Life Away From Home (@college)

A first timers experience :

When you leave your home for the first time, the bond with it gets stronger. You feel a new propensity towards your home and hometown. Suddenly, the boring mundane things you did there become special and you do not know when will you be back to do the same.
You pack your stuff, travel the distance & finally you find yourself into another sphere which belongs to different kind of people, speaking there own language, living in there own style. And you feel out of place. You are at the horizon, exploring anew.
You come to a hostel, put your trust in a room partner & find yourself sleeping in the same room with a stranger. Will you be able to sleep? Initially it does freaks you out but your body has limitations to avoid rest. You succumb to it!

 You don't find the weather friendly, its harder to overcome the fear of failing to cope with it. Thanks to the human tendency you adjust, compromising to it. If weather can't change you can. It takes time though, praises to "time" the universal healer, the settler.

 You are not habitual to eat four times a day (breakfast-lunch-evening snacks-dinner), that too with a crowd making incessant noise and rush. Others seem awkward to you and supposedly its vice versa.
You search for solitude but in vain. Eating is like fuelling your car, you go out there have food for energy, pump yourself up as fast as you can, do not talk much, do not pay heed to others (even beautiful ones), saving time is priority. Come out of the 'mess" ASAP (metaphorical mess). Having meal is reduced to an exercise.

In the beginning you try too hard to be good to others in order to win them and convert them to be your friends. After sometime you realize you belong to the bunch of guys with whom you can connect, and not just for the sake of it. New ones seem cool, better than the ones you met a few days back. As time passes you realize more or less they are all the same.

When you go to the library, there are immense number of books, you gaze @ them and they stare back saying we have knowledge and we will be your companion, friend, inspiration, freedom, entertainer. You can not contemplate which one to choose and run away seeking pleasure in something else.

And when in evening you talk to your mother, after the routine stuff, suddenly she says "these many no. of days have passed since you left home". You get a lump in throat, you hold back and reply "aur kya mummy". You never shed a tear, the conversation goes nice. Followed are some inexplicable feelings visiting you and departing. Lucky ones can hug their mothers after reading this. I'll have to satiate myself imagining it, for the time being.

A Geeks Love Letter To A Bimbo

Hey miss, listen to this;
Before you dismiss;
Please listen to this.

I walked streets crowded
Came across many bombshell's
but when i saw you
my heart started pounding like a tap dancers feet.

Hey miss listen to this before you dismiss;

Lemme tell ya about maself
i m so simple that i go unnoticed
but i have a brain which people do compliment

As there's no combination of beauty and brain
ours will be one in that
the latter is me and former is your other name.
Before you dismiss
please consider this

oh miss do not dismiss

i am clumsy and you are elegant
i have intel inside and you have RAM inside
we'll be an unmatched combination .

hey miss reckon this
some geek is missing you miss, so please don't dismiss.

ps : written way back in november 2010.

I was in delhi on the fine morning of 7th of may 2012 with my cousin who is the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee Secretary. We stayed @ the member of parliament quarters (north avenue) . From 6am itself there were a few mp's I got to meet, one after the other.

Then we went to the All India Congress Committee office @ 24, Akbar Road, New Delhi. We stayed there all day, many congress politicians were there. I met Mr.Digvijay singh and just got a glimpse of others while they did in and out of there respective offices. I was startled to see the crowd which came to meet Mr.Digvijay singh. They were in huge numbers, some wanted funds for college fees, some came with diseases looking for free treatment. To my amazement every request was looked after and one patient was sent to doctor at the very moment he met Raja sahab .The whole experience was one of a kind. Now this was the congress party head quarters and all I saw was the happening of the day.

The very next morning when I was bathing, we were asked to accompany the MP to parliament.
Well I got excited in an impulse and got ready in a haste.
Within 5 minutes from there we reached parliament, by car.
It was 10:15 am when I got inside for security check up they kept mobiles, I thought, ugh! no souvenirs in form of photos then. After that we were guided to the big waiting room dome shaped and with the circular seating. There were school childrens in school dress, a bunch of sikhs with different colored turbans were delight to watch and then there was our group with our mp getting special treatment. Others perhaps were waiting for the mp's they came with.

They took photographs individually and issued a pass. After another check up there was open parking, all vip tagged cars stood there. After walking a few meters ahead I saw for the first time what I used to see watch on news channels, the very place where mp's drop out of there cars. Followed were the red-stone steps and I was finally inside parliament.

Many mp's passed by me, I couldn't recognize all but a few. Then we were asked to wait for a few minutes. We rested on chairs at the one side of the gallery, other side had offices of mp's.
After a while the mp's returned and asked us to follow them in a hurry, lok sabha was adjourned by there protest. We went outside and suddenly slogans against Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan started. The media followed us and took pictures, videoed.
We repeated the last part of slogans, things began to be fun as we went to the statue of the father of nation and mp's took out A4 size papers on which were written statements condemning the killing of farmers in the state. The fun got over when a guard came running ordering that only mp's are allowed to protest. We were pushed aside only to play the role of supportive audience. Then we moved to the very place where press statements are made. There were umpteen number of cameras already recording BJP mp shahnawaz hussain's statement over the same matter. As he left the podium after boasting CM Shivraj Singh and his governance, the congress mp's mocked him. He responded with giggles and shook hands with one of the congress mp and left.
Then followed our press statement presentation I stood near to the mp. But I didn't make up to the tv as only mp's were focused.
The parliament had been adjourned for the time being so I could not see the proceedings.
No regrets whatsoever I had a great time being there. Also enjoyed behind the scenes happenings, the bonhomie they all share, to whichever party they belonged was delightful to watch.

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