Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Getting started on reservations

Whenever there is talk of the proposed OBC reservation, most of the people I know sigh and say ‘This country is going to the dogs. We are moving backwards. Only God can save us’. Well, not exactly the same hyper dramatic lines but you get the picture. Then there is the 2nd category of people get passionate and very angry, quote figures and give impressive socio-economic arguments as to why reservations is a stupid idea. (To an extent, I belong to this category).

My crib has always been that we don’t do anything about these things, even if we feel strongly about it. I’m as guilty of this as everybody else. So it is heartening to see the medicos go out and protest so strongly and so fiercely. And we, the selfish B-School graduates, content ourselves with forwarding mails and SMS’ and signing online petitions, and of course, blog about it. Like most of my peers, I’m afraid that’s all I’m doing too.

I just read Karan Thapar’s interview with Arjun Singh and can’t figure out whether I want to laugh or cry. Karan is good at what he does – he does a good amount of background work, he knows what he’s asking about and generally doesn’t let the interviewee get away with bullshitting. He add strength to his questions with facts and figures. And to all of this, Arjun Singh is at his evasive best. All his answers are just variations of the following statements:

I don’t think the figures you are quoting are correct (without providing the correct figures either)
I’m not in a position to reveal that decision at this point of time. It will be announced at the right time.
I’m only a servant of the Parliament. I do only what the Parliament decides on.

And so on and so forth, it’s the same tape running. I am torn between the desire to laugh at somebody who talks so ridiculously and the desire to cry that somebody so blind and ignorant has the power to affect the lives of future generations. It’s just very very sad. Like someone wisely commented ‘If you voted for him, you probably deserved him’.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Stopping to think...

It was 10.30pm yesterday, a warm night. We stop at a petrol bunk on the way home when an old man comes up to us, asking us to buy socks. We refuse, saying we don’t want socks. He then tries selling us pens. I admire his spirit – I end up buying the pens.

I’ve been driven to office at 9am and have been sitting in an air-conditioned office till 6pm. I then relax at a movie theatre and hog on popcorn and Pepsi. All I want to do now is go home and sleep. It’s 10.30pm in the night – this man might have been on his feet for most of the day in the unbearable Hyderabad heat, trying to sell pens and socks to people sitting in comfortable air-conditioned cars. And still, even at this time, with few vehicles coming in, he still sticks around at the petrol bunk, hoping to sell that one extra pen, those extra pair of socks.

Was it determination or was it desperation? If he had been given the facilities of a stable family life, good education, a steady job, would he have still worked his way through life with the same amount of determination and perseverance? Or was it just desperation, a critical situation, which drove him to working this hard? Well, we’ll never know.

I’m quite a believer in the trickle down theory effect. And I’ve been thinking for the past couple of months that the overall standard of living of the country has improved. Friends, who come from families which have never flown before are now regularly traveling by air. Air-conditioning is no more a luxury. While my observations on this call for a whole post by itself, what I’m trying to say here is that I had a strong feeling that the general living standards have improved, the poverty line is rising, the number of people below it are falling.

I’m no economist – the above statements are more of what I felt was happening than whatever is really happening. And all this gave me a good feeling about the economy and the way the country is going. But then, sometimes, on a night like this, even as I thank God for my comfortable existence, I feel a pinch because I need a little boy staring at me through the glass doors of Pizza Hut to remind me to be grateful for my daily bread and bring home to me, once again, just how fortunate I am.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


I joined work from 8th May 2006, this Monday. Now I'm officially a citizen of the corporate world. And I'm completely kicked!! I'm having a truly good time. Even the tired feeling one sometimes gets at the end of the day is rather nice because even though you're tired, you know it's because you've done some good work today.
The office I work in is small, quite tiny. And since we recently shifted onto this floor, its also rather shabby and looks more like a small house which has been converted into a temporary office. That was the only disappointment for me. Otherwise, everything is going great guns. We will be getting laptops in a week's time, as soon as the new order is through. So we are temporarily working on desktops. There are no more than 5 consultants (excluding us) in this office at any given point of time and then a few support/admin staff. That's because it's not only a small office but also because most of them are travelling.
I think the greatest advantage that has come from having few consultants in office at this point is that I have been given responsibility I would not have been given so soon otherwise. Like yesterday, I was asked to draft part of a project proposal. The guy I report to thought I did a good job and put it in the final proposal and that gave me the kicks. I know it's only a small thing but then,it's one of those things that make you feel good about yourself. And it's good that these little things make me happy because that's what makes me want to go to work every morning, despite feeling dreadfully sleepy in the morning.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tales from training

I'm writing this as I sit in a training class. Yesterday, it was 3.30am by the time I hit the bed, because of the presentation we were working on. The group work was quite an experience on the kind people I might have to deal with in the corporate world. In fact, I disliked the exercise so much that now I’m in dread of working with people like one or two of those who are with me on induction. Put in a bunch of B-school grads who think they are bright, who are very opinionated, together and you’ll never get anything done.

I think the problem with working in a group here was that no was willing to compromise or let go of their point – so agreeing on something is an uphill task. This is more true of my team than the other two teams in induction right now due to some people who I (personally) find either not too bright or far too bull headed.

Thankfully, the level of CP in class has gone down drastically. We made a presentation today and I was particularly bad – I certainly need to improve on my presentation skills. My problem is that I never even think about what I’m going to say when I’m presenting – I just look at the slide and say whatever comes to my mind. I realize it always helps to be prepared because you can avoid the fumbling and repeating yourself that otherwise happens.

I’m forced to admit that my competitive streak seems to be resurfacing after a dormant two years. I feel highly frustrated when I think my group is ineffective, I argue ferociously on a point despite strong opposition and contribute actively – to the point that I might even seem aggressive. Now I’m not sure if being competitive again is such a great thing because I was extremely happy and comfortable being a laidback Ramya and don’t really like the picture of myself as being one of those aggressive, competitive, overambitious and pushy corporate types.

It’s almost 8pm now I’m desperate to go back to the guest house but have to stick around for atleast an hour longer. I’ve had enough of training for today. But then, there’s more work to do. I’ve always thought I’d enjoy being a part of the corporate world but a day like this makes such thoughts open to question.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Lots to write and no time

I'm in Kolkota now for the induction week at PwC. I'm here till the 6th and then i'll be joining in Hyderabad. A lot has been happening and I've been wanting to write about it for so long but it wasn't possible in Hyderabad since there was no net at home. I was busy with the IIMB gang once I came back to Vizag. And now, PwC is keeping us pretty busy with their induction. I'm off now for a group meeting - we are scheduled to make a presentation tomorrow. We've been given a case which we'll work on throughout the wek so I'm sure I'll be thoroughly fed up with CNBP (the disguised name of the case) by the end of the week. I don't have any time to explore Kolkota or shop - because the guest house is so far away and because our schedule is so tight.
More updates later. It's time for CNBP.