About Maverick Blogger

Indian. Marathi. Male. B.Tech Engineering Graduate. Applications Developer at Oracle, India. Loves Cricket and Gaming. Technology Buff. Reading is more than a hobby. Spending time with family and friends is always a priority. Ever ready to have a laugh. That's me... Suyash Joshi

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Monday, June 28, 2010

The Motorcycle Diaries (Part 2) - The Two Blunders

Long long time ago, about 20 days ago (okay not so long ago), in the city of Nizams when weekends were boring and there were no new movies to be jeered at and nothing new to do except time to pass, 3 like minded fellows decided to take their horses err... bikes out for a ride rather than sleeping through the day. Anyway, the point of telling all this background is, just like that, me, Lord and SRK had decided to go to a far away place - the beautiful Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, about 175 km from Hyderabad on that fateful Saturday morning. Everything was so ominously set up for us, including the atmosphere as well. And then, with no real plan, no real map or exact directional route, no real inventory (first aid, mechanical kit) and not much currency in paper form, the fellowship of the bikers set on for the ride of their life (till date, that is). By the way, if you are reading this without reading the previous part of this series, please don't proceed ahead. You will only end up messing up your neurological circuits, trying to understand what this gibberish is all about. If you've already gone through that ordeal, then well, you're all set for the next part of the Motorcycle Diaries and the ensuing blunders.

1) Time Stamp - 12 June, 2010 (8:30 AM)
Place - Hyderabad outskirts, NH 9 begins.

Distance covered - 30 km

Having topped up the fuel tanks of the vehicles to the full capacity from an outside city petrol pump ("city ke baahar petrol sasta milta hai") and thankfully we paid it with SRK's credit card, it finally began. The weather was absolutely fantastic, with the sun shying and hiding behind the dark gray skies, but it never rained and with cool breeze hitting our faces while we pushed the bike to the highest gear - thus achieving the max throttle, that was a feeling to beat. Thankfully, the Hyderabad - Bangalore highway - NH 9 was surprisingly empty that day, at least early on in the morning. The kind of adrenalin rush you get, when you are driving at 100+ km/hr and that too for a period of more than 5 minutes at a stretch - its really unique and somewhat consciousness shattering. Some good news for those who have played Need For Speed Most Wanted- yes... the motion blur exists in the real world too... but please don't experience it for longer durations. And definitely not on corners. Extremely dangerous stuff, its like that one puff you take and forget it later, forever.

At around 10 AM after having covered around 120 kms, we stopped at a random place in between where we had a temple like structure on a hillock, which also offered us a dirt racing track with quite a steep incline. After testing our biking skills and some pretty narcissistic photos of us all, we then began the final stretch to Nagarjuna Sagar. It all turned out pretty awesome, just what we expected from this rage for speedy bike trips. The whole time some of the following bits and pieces of conversations popped out randomly and frequently -

Me: This is simply awesome man...
Kya jabardast view hai...
abe ulti feel aa gayi...

abe ek bhi ATM kyu nahi aa raha??
load mat le, aage aa jayega...

2) Time Stamp - 12 June, 2010 (11:30 AM)
Place - Nagarjuna Sagar Dam/ Nagarjuna Sagar Lake

Distance covered - 180 km

And then it finally came in sight. And what a sight it was. Majestic, really. There is a reason why they call all the lakes in and around Hyderabad as Sagars. They are all unbelievably gigantic. (ok, not all of them, but most of them). Nagarjuna Sagar, true to its name was freaking huge and a pleasant surprise for us. My, the blues stretched towards the horizon as if it were a sea. And towards one far end lied a wall which obstructed this chunk of water body like the wall of Troy. Overall, pretty fantastic and worth 180 km and we felt great. The pain in the behinds suddenly went away and after having a decent enough lunch, visiting some panoramic view points and some more chai(tea) + limbu(lemon) /mosambi(sweet lime) sharbats(drink) later, we finally came down to the waters, down to those slippery rocks. And it was on these rocks, while SRK got full drenched, me half drenched and Lord still fooling around with his Nikon DSLR, that somehow we had the following conversation - which was basically was the foundation for "the Two Blunders". And it went on something like this:-

Timestamp (12 June, 2010 (3:30 PM))

(much time had passed while we loitered around in the clean waters of the Nagarjuna Sagar after having a refreshing lunch)

abe ek baat bolu?
ek kya, tu do baat bol... I'm very happy today !!
yaha se Srisailam kitna door hai?
abe Srisailam is 240 km away from Hyderabad, and we've already covered 180, so its only 60 km away from here...
yes, that's correct, why what happened?
nahi, main soch raha may be we can visit that place as well since we have already come so far... what say?
(after thinking really hard) lets go, it will be fun... we can still make it back by late night if we press hard...
yes, and the road to Srisailam is godly as well... it goes through this awesome forest reserve and its too good (google maps expert, we don't argue on this front with him)
okay, great !!

And thus, the fellowship decided to extend their trip further to Srisailam. Its a nice place where there is a very famous temple atop a gigantic mountain situated amidst a beautiful tiger sanctuary forest. The prospects of driving to and back from there was irresistible, in spite of the exhaustion. But before all this, one more blunder, a bit minor one was in store for us.

About 10 km from Nagarjuna Sagar, we had come to know that there existed a very famous waterfall by the name of Ethipothala. We decided to officially take a bath under it. But due to the lack of spare clothing, we were in a fix. No problem, we go to local village and buy everything (yes everything, right from towels to the undies) and get ready to be bombarded with vertical jets of water!!

3) Time Stamp - 12 June, 2010 (4:30 PM)
Place - Ethipothala Waterfalls

Distance covered - 190 km

After much huffing and puffing and admiring the scenery speeding past us, we arrived at the waterfalls. However, we were in for a blinder of a shock. This waterfall, yes, this very waterfall had made a super big fool of us all, mocked us and left us in total shambles. Why, you ask? Well, because it was just a waterfall you get to watch from about 200 meters away and there's no chance of getting underneath it - at least legally and without any danger to your life!! Goddamn!! And we spent half an hour in the market arguing and bargaining the price of those... Grrr... Disappointment and shocked that we were, we managed to hide it pretty well from the pretty faces present there and soon got out of there real quick to forget it. These waterfalls, even if they are not much pain for the eyes, they can mock you big time!!

4) Time Stamp - 12 June, 2010 (6:00 PM)
Place - Random T Point, some village

Distance covered - 210 km

Well, we were already 210 km, as far as our odometers were suggesting, but to add to our earlier feeling of shock and awe (Ethipothala waterfalls), we were wondering why we didn't pass through that super forest drive yet and why wasn't Srisailam any nearer still? We stopped for another Tea/ Bisleri Break and casually asked a person at the "tapri" (slang for tea stalls in India which can sell stuff you wont expect it to sell even in your dreams) about how far Srisailam was from here. Answer was - 160 km!! We were like "what the !@#$". We confirmed and we re-confirmed, the place was damn 160 km away... It took about 2 minutes for the fact to completely sink in and before any of us spoke again, as we were still in the process of recovering from the first blunder.

Now we had the following choices :-

--> head back to Hyderabad, a straight 210 km drive back, in all that growing darkness and torturing everything from top to bottom on that now very busy highway!! This also meant enduring a severe pain in the behinds since driving at night time meant reduced speeds.

--> Continue to Srisailam, try to reach there before dinner time, make a night stop over, explore the place next morning in peace and then return back to Hyderabad next afternoon. Seems like our earlier assumption of Hyderabad, Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam being 3 collinear points on a line stretching 240 km was not really factually correct. Hyderabad - Srisailam was 250 km, yes, but it was a totally different route altogether (see the map, that's the road we took during return journey)

Since the second option ensured more adventure than any sort of social life we could have had on the following day in Hyderabad, we just spontaneously decided to carry on. But seems like there were still more surprises in store for us. The thing is, Srisailam being situated in a dense forest, they stop entry and exit to/ from it at 9 pm at night. So this meant, we had to stop over even before Srisailam in a village called Dornala 50 kms earlier. According to the people in the village where we made this decision to go on, the road was not really driver's paradise and it goes through some Ghat sections (curvy, zig-zag, treacherous roads carved on the sides of mountains) as well. And being in complete darkness, the region was prone to Naxal attacks (dense AP forests + deserted roads + darkness = probable naxal attacks?) as well. Wow, this was scary indeed... What followed next that scary evening and the following day's unbelievably awesome morning, is actually the bestest and most amazing part of this whole journey. Please don't forget to read the concluding part, the finale of this series - The Motorcycle Diaries (Part 3) - The Return of the Awesomeness !!

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Motorcycle Diaries (Part 1) - The Fellowship of the Bikers

Well, first of all, this blog post is not at all related to the iconic Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. But yes, this one is about a legendary, ultra awesome and super godly bike trip. Continuing my bad habit of finding time to blog only on special occasions, the reason for you reading this is - that I've survived successfully for 2 years in Hyderabad and it has been quite an enlightening experience both personally and professionally. While I will be happy to en-cash my 24th pay check at the end of this month, this has been a unique phase of life and has seen its fair share of crests and troughs. Hyderabad, Oracle, 205-Silpa Emerald - there are so many things from these 2 years which have turned me over, flipped me inside out and changed me to some extent but this blog is not about all those things. Its about 2 grand days when me, Lord and SRK (names modified for the sake of protecting... usual stuff) "planned" a bike trip to Nagarjuna Sagar Dam and what followed next on the weekend was indeed, a tragic comedy of errors - but being engineers and being used to last minute management (read chaos), we ended up enjoying it never the less !!

To make this sound sweet and short (very difficult for me) I will just split this up chronologically with respect to time, assumption and the resultant blunders interspersed with moments of awesomeness. Read ahead at your own risk.

1) Time stamp - 11 June, 2010 (8 PM)
Place - Random cubicle, 3rd Floor, Campus Phase 2, Oracle IDC - Hyderabad

Lord - "abe kal nagarjun sagar chal raha kya? SRK and me are going. Its about 175 kms from Hyderabad."
Me - "Oh yesss... I've been dying to go to that place, or rather any place which is far away and would let me drive for a long time !! lekin ek locha hai, I've something important to do tomorrow, can we go on sunday please?"

Lord - "abe we need to get MOCKed at on sunday, we need to go tomorrow only"

Me -
(cursing) "hmm... wait... (calls A - gives the number of B, calls B - gives the number of A, apologies etc) chal locha resolved. I'm in !!"
Lord - "chalo abhi ghar jaate, kal subah 5 baje uthna (what a joke !!), me and SRK will rap you at 6 AM "sharp", okay ?"

Me - "wokay !!

2) Time Stamp - 11 June, 2010 (time unknown, probably late at night)

Place - Google Talk

this is a fictional but somewhat true reproduction of the possible conversation in author's own words, as he was not a part of this conspiracy...

- "abe, Nagarjuna Sagar is effing 175 kms far away man, it will take super long to go and come back!!"

- "we knew this already right ?"

- "but now I'm having doubts whether we can actually survive on bikes for that long. It will be dee-fi-cult, you know..."

- "ok, let's go to some place which is a bit closer, what about cool_place_abc ? Its about 50 kms only."

- "great, that would be easy. What about Suyash?"

- "we can't tell him right now. We will drop the bomb in the morning at 5 am regarding the change of plans. He wont even know what swept him over !!"

- "awesome !!"

3) Time stamp - 12 June, 2010 (6:15 AM)

Place - 205, Silpa Emerald (via Vodafone cellular network)

- (after snoozing off the alarm for 15th time) "abe kya hua, tum log abhi tak aaye nahi? (as if I was all dressed up and ready), kitna late karoge ?"

- "Yes, both me and SRK were unable to get up at 5 am (surprise !!). Abe Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is very far, apne ko poora din bhar lag jayega and it would be too tiring, lets go to cool_place_abc instead, what say?"

---> got busy in putting convincing skills into play and after a few more phone calls to SRK...

- "okay, we are going to Nagarjuna Sagar then... Lets start at 7 am."

- "wokay !!"

4) Time stamp - 12 June, 2010 (7:45 AM)

Place - Samrat Darshini, Kondapur
Distance Covered - 0.5 kms

while munching on plates of idli and wada sambhar with backpacks containing nothing but cameras and a water bottle, we chalked out the following "pee-lan" for the day...

Assumption #0 -

The place is about 175 kms away. Considering multiple stoppage points for chai and nature calls if any, we should be able to reach Nagarjuna Sagar at around 11:30 am something. We have dinner, we roam around the dam, then dish dash to the lake, get wet to get rid of the sweat and after some more rest, we head back ( I always knew there was a poet in me !!). If all goes well according to plan, we should be back to Hyderabad by lets say, 6:30 pm - 7 pm. Sounds great !! (alas, things happened so differently though :)

Blunder Sequence #0 -

We plan to get wet, but we don't take any spare clothes. We have a super long drive ahead, but we don't know how much fuel we have. We would be traveling to a remote place in AP and yet we decide to depend on ATM and Credit cards more than hard cash. (atm to har jagah hota hai, load kya hai ??) And of course, none of us is completely sure of the exact route as well, just a rough idea, we go with the google maps expert and depend on sun and helping people of AP as guides. I hope this should provide a somewhat translucent picture of the disasters which were waiting for us in the near future!! It took us about 45 minutes to get outside Hyderabad city and we topped up our fuel tanks to the max limit (by credit card, thank God) before hitting the highway to hell... err Nagarjuna Sagar i.e. on the expressway called NH 9.

And thus the fellowship of us 3 bikers with our trusted motorcycles - pulsar 150 cc (new one), an xcd 135 cc (unique piece) and another pulsar 150 cc (old one) began a very very eventful bike trip - which lay in store for us some really unforgettable memories. Since the entire trip ultimately stretched further beyond our present imagination, I need to continue this further in the sequel. Please do wait with bated breath for - The Motorcycle Diaries (Part 2) - The Two Blunders.

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Life is an Agneepath

Disclaimer: What follows next is a truly random, crappy and perhaps illogical post, written in an absolutely frustrated state of mind. Please don't bother to read or comment. There, you were warned.

24. The number is indeed special. It represents so many things. Its the number of hours we spend everyday on this planet. Its the number of hours the planet takes to rotate around itself. You may ask whats the difference, aren't they both one and same? Think again. One definitely needs a wake up call if he/she thinks that something extra ordinarily unique like a day from his/her life can be equated with a super repetitive natural phenomenon like the rotation of a 6 trillion trillion KGs of mass around a hypothetical rod of length 12000 km. 24, for me represents Life - and now that I'm have completed my 24th revolution around the sun today, I am being made aware of the quintessential fact, that Life does not remain a bed of roses forever. Its a path of fire or an Agneepath and everyone feels the heat sometime or later. I guess the heat was always there for me but the coals are getting just too hot now to ignore it anymore.

I never thought everything would suddenly change like the way it has from the last 18 months or so. Some changes were welcome and anticipated, some unexpected and ready-to-be-faced but to see the smooth machinery of my comfortable existence to be brought down to such a grinding halt like this is scaring. I thought I would get used to it soon, but seems like I don't really like the fact that someone has moved my cheese. It hurts and it pains big time, and there simply is no looking away from the fact. So what should one do next? Introspect and think of a solution to replace what you're missing while retaining what you like from the new life?

Why is it so difficult for some of us to forget the fading past and race ahead for that bright future? I guess the answer lies in what a person's Ikigai is. Ikigai - translated from Japanese literally means - "something important one lives for". I absolutely hate it when I see people deciding on almost every important course of their life based on the "economic prospects" instead of doing something they are passionate about. How can someone be truly happy from within and live a satisfying life if he is not doing something he enjoys? The very fact that almost everything that happens today is being controlled by the greedy capitalist economies that we live in, nauseates me. Look at us, how we have forgotten to enjoy God's best gift of "growing up" and instead slog for that Engineering / MBA degree. Instead of following the pursuit of happiness during the flagrant youth life that we had been looking forward to, most of the times we dedicate more than what we are expected to, to the "productive" part of our life craving for that promotion/ raise/ appraisal. If one should eat to live and not live to eat, then why do we live to work instead of working to live?

But Alas, its something for which we don't have a solution yet. After all, the very survival and satisfaction of our material needs depends on the world we live in. So accept it, we must, anyway it is. But in the end, its imperative to take out time for oneself every single day. Because if you don't do that today, thats 24 hours gone from your life like Keyser Soze disappears... poof... just like that. And its important to mention here that, unless proved otherwise, we have only one life. Damn it. Only One. And the length of this solitary life is beeping uncertain. As Mark Twain once said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn`t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore... Dream.. Discover". But the point here is that, does the world we live in allow us to do all these things at our will? Certainly not. We need to slog and work and learn and earn to do everything. Why does that sound like a vicious circle looping us into captivity forever? If ever there exists a "day of redemption", I hope I get an opportunity to clarify some of these issues with "Him".

The only thing we mortals can do is to just pick ourselves up from the fallen depths and try to rise from the ashes like that mystical phoenix. As to the challenges we face, perhaps they too are required in the long run or else how would we cope with the unexpected events? All said and done, I guess its only easy to speak and write about such stuff but terribly difficult to act upon. Or is it? If life is indeed meant to be an Agneepath then maybe that heat does act as a catalyst to surge us ahead or else we might just limp towards nothing. Its the fire that enables us but at the same time we need to carry that compressed CO2 Can with us to cool off things as frequently as we can. When things get bad, you should stop being sad and be awesome instead (True Story, Barney Stinson). When it seems that things are becoming impossible you need to shout back to the world, "It ain't over till I say its over. I'll be Back". And to top all the cliches that I've used so far, I would like to end it with what Hariwansh Rai Bacchhan once famously penned down and I now agree with:

Vriksh ho bhale khade, ho ghane, ho bade...
Ek patra chhav bhi mang mat, mang mat, mang mat...
Agneepath, Agneepath, Agneepath.

Tu na thakega kabhi, tu na thamega kabhi, tu na mudega kabhi...
Kar shapath, kar shapath, kar shapath...
Agneepath, Agneepath, Agneepath.

Ye mahaan drishya hai, chal raha manushya hai...
Ashru shwet raqt se lathpath, lathpath, lathpath...
Agneepath, Agneepath, Agneepath.

P.S.: I love the concept of Head Fakes (Randy Pausch - really achieving your Childhood dreams) and the head fake here is that the above blog post was actually meant only for me. The rest of the world reading this is just a bonus.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

CBT CAT 09 - Evaluation and Ranking

Update: I got a re-assuring reply from Professor Pankaj Chandra, Director IIM B, saying - "Sorry for the inconvenience caused to you. We will address the issues that you have raised in your email." Thank you Sir, it means the world to me for you taking out time to reply to my email. Hope everything is sorted out and resolved pretty soon so that everyone gets a fair chance to start their MBA from the IIMs !!

Also check out this TOI article.
End of Update

Following is the email which I've written to the directors of the prestigious IIMs regarding information for evaluation and ranking of scores obtained by students in the CBT CAT 09. Decided to post it in the blog sphere as well so as to know if there are others who share a similar concern.

Disclaimer : I'm not whining against CBT CAT 09 nor asking for a re-test / paper based test to be conducted again. Also those who have scored awesomely in this years CAT might be against the views expressed in this post and will definitely tell me to "adapt" to the changes and that this is the system and that we have to live with it. Okay, thanks in advance. And congrats to all of you for cracking CAT. Please spare me the lecture.

Respected Sir(s)

I, the undersigned, aspire to start my management studies in one of the prestigious IIMs from next year. I have appeared for CAT 09 on 5th Dec from Hyderabad and I have no complaints with respect to the actual test conduction process on a personal level since everything went smooth for me. There were no technical glitches or inconvenience of any type. I guess the situation has been improved drastically from what it was at the onset and I thank the quick measures taken for the same.

However, keeping asides all the other issues we have seen bogging CBT CAT 09 so far, I always thought that the greatest challenge of this year's exam was to arrive at 20 papers with questions having more or less similar difficulty level. This is based on the presumption that, the evaluation of candidates is going to remain constant as earlier years - i.e. - the "percentile" marking / grading system - where you rank students based on the "score" they obtain.

However, me and a very large number of students who have appeared for CAT 09 feel otherwise (that the difficulty level was different and waving in different slots) due to the following reasons:

1) Students who gave CAT in the earlier two days, though had to under go the trauma of delayed server responses and virus attacks, have reported that the level of questions was very easy and most of them managed to score 50+ out of 60 which was so unlike a CAT exam. Unless, it was intended that the CAT exam be brought down to a lower level, I feel this has really dented the image of CAT as an exam where scoring 50% of the total marks was considered as a daunting task earlier.

2) Students who gave CAT in the middle days reported that the questions were getting repeated from the earlier slots and also were being taken "as_it_is" from previous years CAT papers. This, I feel, was a big blow to those who took the tests earlier because they would never even have got wind of some of the difficult questions since they were actually attempting it for the first time. It might be unnecessary to point it out Sir, but even 3-4 questions solved in a minute just because of "prior knowledge" ensure that you make a quantum leap by saving time and dedicating it to other ques. Is this fair to all others who instead got unique questions ?

3) After the break out of all the above issues along with numerous others, it seems that the CAT has been brought back to being CAT on the last few days. Suddenly, the level of difficulty of questions in some sections has been steeped up making it really difficult to cross even the 45 mark !! I will admit, I might not be the brightest of the CAT aspirants, but then I am definitely not among the dumbest. Now we are seeing almost a no-show of repeat questions and no previous CAT questions. This is good from an exam point of view, but how do you justify the same happening for some students earlier, which clearly gives them advantage over others. As you know, a difference of a couple of questions make it a big deal of difference due to the current "percentile" based marking / grading.

The issue which I want to address through this letter is that how are we going to grade students appearing for CAT 09 based on questions with varying difficulty level ? Is it really fair to compare someone who got 50 correct in a easy paper (By easy I mean and include any / all of the following : easier questions lifted from database, questions repeated from earlier slots, questions taken from earlier slots, questions passed on by friends / teachers / forums etc) to someone who got 40 correct in a paper which did not have the above mentioned features ? Unless of course, there is going to be some sort of normalization based on the difficulty level, some sort of relative grading, I believe many are going to suffer from gross injustice and would only be left to regret at not being offered a fair shot at the IIMs.

From IIMs stand point I have heard that the argument being offered is that such things happen with other exams like GMAT as well and no body complains there. However, I would like to point out some key differences between the two, which I know you are definitely aware of :

- GMAT can definitely be taken more than once in a year in a testing window which is very large as compared to that of CAT 09. The point being, one can improve upon his / her score if he / she feels she got a bad deal. CAT 09, on the other hand can be given only once, and you just have to live with it and give it next year only.

- While GMAT also sometime may show up with repeat questions and different difficulty level questions, we can't forget its a "Computer Adaptive Test" - where the difficulty level depends on how many questions you answer correctly. The database is repeatedly updated to avoid repetitions. Even the scoring algorithm makes sure you can't skip to the next question until you answer the current one. Most importantly, the "result" is generated at the end of the test itself.

In the case of CAT which is a "Computer Based Test" - and most importantly - where the results are based on "%tile" and not "%tage", it really boils down to how many students you outscore / outperform. In such an evaluation scenario, how is it justified to have some students face a difficult paper and some an easy one (the demarcation of the above being done in Point 3) and on top of it, its just unbelievable to imagine that our futures will now be controlled via a random algorithm which is modified "midway" between the exam after glitches being pointed out by earlier CAT takers !!

I believe that there are many things which have gone the undesired way in CBT CAT 09. But the most serious issue according to me which needs to be addressed is how the "ranking" of students is now going to be done? Do we just have to live with the earlier ranking scheme based on %tiles and cut offs which will be same for everyone or are the IIMs going to take pain to make a definitive analysis of the different slots and come out with something which is just for all ?

By the way let me just repeat, I am not asking for a re-test / paper based test as some might perceive but I'm only asking for the right to know how will the grading and ranking be done and would it be fair to everyone given the above things which have hampered this year's CAT.

I don't know if this letter will even be "opened / read / thought upon" by the busy IIM directors since you must be receiving thousands of such emails / letters by now and one more student crying out aloud will just be like a drop in an ocean. They might even consider me treating CAT as sour grapes. But at least I will be in peace thinking that I did raise my voice / concern when I had the time and means and would avoid the regret in case I don't complete my MBA from an IIM.

I sincerely hope that I would get a fitting reply from some of the authorities responsible for CAT 09.

Suyash Joshi

Please feel free to comment and provide your feedback about the above "rant" by clicking here. Also read the disclaimer at the top of the post before posting your opinion on me / any views in the post.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Theft, Copyright Infringement, File Sharing and Piracy

Please Click the picture to enlarge and view the "fine text" in between with greater detail.

Well, they say, pictures talk louder than words. I have nothing more to say on this super controversial topic. And of course, this does not mean that I endorse absolutely everything depicted in the above picture. But then, you must not misunderstand this as just another image since I might as well be echoing a very popular sentiment amongst one of the ever growing community in the world.

Avast matey, Shiver me timbers !! All hands on decks... Leave nothing behind. That by the way, in plain English means, please pour your heart with the comments about what you feel regarding this glaring issue by clicking here. Savvy, eh?

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Quarter Life Crisis

Well, I officially turned 23 this year on 3rd Feb, 2009. No Big Deal, since I'm not traveling at speeds more than that of light, I'm going to age forward only. (For more info on this, do read "How to build a Time Machine" by Paul Davies, awesome book there...) Anyways, the point is, this birthday was unique since it was the first time probably that I "celebrated" this day away from my home and family. It kind of brought home some sort of awareness, since the last 9 months of my life have not been the same as they were for the last 22 years. Some things, or rather many things have changed after I left the cozy comfort of family, friends and college. This new life, where I go to "work" is not something I could take less seriously since with freedom and power comes greater responsibility and bigger challenges. And I'm not really sculpted for them yet. Though the iron hammer of life and the experiences I'm undergoing act as the required heat/catalyst to mold me as an individual (Don't think much about metallurgy references there), I realized that day, that indeed, I'm also undergoing some of the symptoms of the well known Quarter Life Crisis.

According to the Wiki, The quarterlife crisis (QLC) is a term applied to the period of life immediately following the major changes of adolescence, usually ranging from the early twenties to the early thirties. The term is named by analogy with mid-life crisis. This is what being in twenties something makes me think about.

It was only after I came to Oracle, Hyderabad and after I stopped going along with the crowd, I started realizing that there are many things about me that I didn't know and some of them were something that I myself don't like. Due to the things I feel I'm good at and due to the things I hate myself I did get me that mixed feeling of being confident and insecure at the same time about where I will be in a year or two. And then I get scared because I barely know what I'm capable of doing and what not.

I started realizing that some people are really selfish and would go to the extreme to achieve their ends and maybe some of the friends that I hanged out with earlier aren't really the greatest people living on Earth as I get to meet new people. Also, its a really sad thing to acknowledge that some of the friends with whom I lost touch with are those I am missing the most. Maybe everyone isn't really so cold, mean or insincere because even they might be undergoing this same state of confusion.

One thing that I like though is at least I got to choose the right job that I wanted. It would have been a personal disaster had I been working with something that was not even close to what I had planned. Although, it does make me aware of how vast the canvas of professional life can extend if everyone tries their level best to succeed, whether it's about PG programs, scaling up the ladder or becoming an entrepreneur!!

My opinions about some things have really gotten stronger. Whether it's about communism or equality, about balancing personal and professional life, about India as a country - (is it really united due to the religion diversity ?? ) or about my beliefs, I now really am looking out to find a purpose to my existence. And at the same time I'm questioning more and more about why the universe has formed the way it is and about meta physical things like God and Death. Someone needs to provide me these answers real fast or I'm soon going to suffer with insomnia!!

I can understand and judge other people why they are doing things in a certain way and I constantly update my list of things of what is acceptable and what is not. What is good and what is bad are really relative. And this scares me to no end.

Sometimes I laugh and sometimes I cry with the greatest force in my life over what's going on around me. Talk of being alone, confused and scared. Suddenly, change is the enemy and I try to refuse to come out of the shell that I hibernated in the last 22 years. But I can't really cling on to whats dear to me since the past is drifting further and further away, and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward.

Some people affected by QLC get their heart broken and wonder how someone they loved could do such damage to them. Or they lie in bed and wonder why they can't meet anyone decent enough that they want to get to know better. Getting wasted and acting like an idiot starts to look pathetic. They go through the same emotions and questions over and over, and talk with their friends about the same topics because they cannot seem to make a decision. They worry about loans, money, the future and making a life for yourself... and while winning the race would be great, right now everyone would just like to be a contender!

I believe many people in their twenties something might relate to the QLC factor. We are in our best of times and our worst of times, trying as hard as we can to figure out what really this whole thing called LIFE is all about.

Please let me know if anyone has some cure for this "Quarter Life Crisis". Please feel free to post your comments by clicking here.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

World of GOO !!

Ameya Khandekar writes:

I am glad to guest-blog here again, - Here is my earlier attempt.
I confess, I am not an avid gamer i.e. I don't go on downloading FIFA - 200X each year or install the latest version of NFS i.e. Carbon (you can see how outdated I am with my knowledge of EA's latest in racing). I don't detest gaming, in fact I would love to play all these games, but my PC isn't boosted with steroids such as NVIDIA-GEforce 8800. So when one of my friends suggested me a game compatible with my PC, I installed it. My experience with it ensues:

World of GOO is a game based on construction and physics, it is a game developed by a team of two people (amazing isn't it?). The game is 150 MB in size and should run on all of your PCs because it ran on mine. The game is basically a 2-d game but that doesn't take the fun aspect out of it. Each stage requires the player to build a structure made of GOO-balls (yep, GOO balls) and reach an exit point. The structures commonly would consist of bridges,towers etc (see the figure below).

And the amazing thing is the game keeps on surprising you with innovative stages. As can be seen from the figure the building blocks are goo-balls. Now, in this game there are various species of goo-balls such as flying ones (see the figure below), inflammable ones, explosive ones, sticky ones etc. So you can imagine how different structures can be constructed.

So if you want to indulge in some creativity and brainwork do play this game in it's entirety. I myself, am in the last stage currently. Most of the gaming websites such as IGN and Nintendo gaming world have given the game a rating of 9+. Also, the game has got a very humorous plot, animation that makes you laugh, and there are subtle witticisms throughout the game. You will know what I mean, when you play a stage named EUREKA, which requires you to make use of the Archimedes principle ;).

Reviews by some gaming sites :-

IGN (<---courtesy for images, hehe)
And a very Hilarious Trailer on Youtube


P.S.2: - dont take the meaning of GOO in a derogatory way... It means Grease balls, I was just joking above.

Click here to write your comments to provide an ode to this fantastic game which is sure to rattle the grey matter in your brains and might make you revise engineering mechanics once again !!

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Try to Beat this Resume !!

The content of this post comes from one of the "FWD" type of mails. Generally, I don't support the popular trend of forwarding meaningless crappy mails unless they are really of some value. Some of my friends forward good interesting stuff and some forward stuff that they find funny, amusing or are "propelled" to mass mail it due to some kind of desire or threat(?) or for the betterment of their life!! I find it really hilarious as to how many people continue to fall trap to this kind of hypocrisy. Anyways, coming back to the post, this is something that really made my heart flutter and I hope will make yours too. If you've read this earlier, then do let others know about it. This Curriculum Vitae, is really top of the tops and something every Indian should be proud of. Someone really said it correctly, the cream is there only at the top of the milk !!



  • 1950: Stood first in BA (Hons), Economics, Punjab University, Chandigarh
  • 1952: Stood first in MA (Economics), Punjab University , Chandigarh
  • 1954: Wright's Prize for distinguished performance at St John's College, Cambridge
  • 1955, 1957: Wrenbury scholar, University of Cambridge
  • 1957: DPhil ( Oxford ), DLitt (Honoris Causa), PhD thesis on India 's export competitiveness

OCCUPATION /Teaching Experience

  • 1957-59: Senior lecturer, Economics, Punjab University, Chandigarh
  • 1959-63: Reader, Economics
  • 1963-65: Professor, Economics, Punjab University , Chandigarh
  • 1969-71: Professor, International Trade, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi
  • 1976: Honorary Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  • 1996: Honorary Professor, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi

POSITIONS /Working Experience

1) 1971-72: Economic Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Trade

2) 1972-76: Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance

3) 1976-80:
  • Director, Reserve Bank of India ;
  • Director, Industrial Development Bank of India;
  • Alternate governor for India, Board of governors, Asian Development Bank;
  • Alternate governor for India, Board of governors, IBRD

4) November 1976 - April 1980:
  • Secretary, Ministry of Finance (Department of economic affairs);
  • Member, finance, Atomic Energy Commission;
  • Member,finance, Space Commission

5) April 1980 - September 1982: Member-secretary, Planning Commission

6) 1980-83: Chairman(India), Indo-Japan Joint Study Committee

7) September 1982 - January 1985: Governor, Reserve Bank of India

8) 1982-85: Alternate Governor for India, Board of Governors, International Monetary Fund

9) 1983-84: Member, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister

10) 1985: President, Indian Economic Association

11) January 1985 - July 1987: Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission

12) August 1987 - November 1990: Secretary-General and Commissioner, Geneva

13) December 1990 - March 1991: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Economic Affairs

14) March 1991 - June 1991: Chairman, UGC

15) June 1991 - May 1996: Union Finance Minister

16) October 1991: Elected to Rajya Sabha from Assam on Congress Ticket

17) June 1995: Re-elected to Rajya Sabha

18) 1996: Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Finance

19) August 1996 - December 1997: Chairman, Parliamentary standing committee on commerce

20) March 1998 onwards: Leader of the Opposition, Rajya Sabha

21) June 1998 onwards: Member, Committee on Finance

22) August 1998 onwards: Member, Committee on Rules

23) 1998-2001: Member, Committee of Privileges

24) 2000 onwards: Member, Executive Committee, Indian Parliamentary Group

25) June 2001: Re-elected to Rajya Sabha

26) August 2001 onwards: Member, General Purposes Committee

27) May 2004 onwards:
Prime Minister of India !!


  • 1964: India 's Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth - Clarendon Press, Oxford University
  • Also published a large number of articles in various economic journals.

  • Adam Smith Prize, University of Cambridge - 1956
  • Padma Vibhushan - 1987
  • Euro money Award, Finance Minister of the Year - 1993
  • Asia money Award, Finance Minister of the Year for Asia - 1993, 1994


  • 1966: Economic Affairs Officer
  • 1966-69: Chief, Financing for Trade Section, UNCTAD
  • 1972-74: Deputy for India in IMF Committee International Monetary Reform
  • 1977-79: Indian Delegation to Aid-India Consortium Meetings
  • 1980-82: Indo-Soviet Joint Planning Group eeting
  • 1982: Indo-Soviet Monitoring Group Meeting
  • 1993: Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Cyprus
  • 1993: Human Rights World Conference, Vienna


Gymkhana Club, New Delhi; Life Member, India International Centre, New Delhi


Name: Dr Manmohan Singh

DOB: September 26, 1932

Place of Birth: Gah ( West Punjab )

Our Prime Minister seems to be the most qualified PM all over the world !! We are all proud of him !!

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Batman : The Dark Knight

As I had said in my last post (which was ages ago), Batman: The Dark Knight is simply the most awesome and God level movie (It's a master piece) ever made till date. (Note the date: It's 13th Sept '08, unless Chris Nolan and Christian Bale have again teamed up together for Batman 3 at the time of reading). The list of adjectives that I can use is simply endless to praise it. In fact, the one word which is apt might be Ubercool!! The proof of this obvious statement can be judged by the fact that it stayed on #1 on IMDB for a couple of months (yeah, the internet movie database, I am really surprised so many people haven't heard about it yet !!) and while some people (who don't have a taste in anything other than classy non fictions or those who don't appreciate the super hero mythology) cried foul and said it would slid down are still amazed as to why its still #3 on IMDB... Of course, its based on perception, but you can't deny the fact that the movie is really class apart - which can be attributed to the unbelievably good direction and vision of Chris Nolan and the way his cast have been supporting him. The basic difference between Nolan's Batman and the earlier one can be credited to the one of the most fundamental attributes of Batman - the darkness within, the complicated chaos and the mindsets of characters involved in the storyline. My message to super hero film makers: "It's all about portraying the mythos and storyline as properly as it's done in comics". And that's where Batman: The Dark Knight and it's prequel (Batman Begins) score.

The movie obviously had an advantage of being a blockbuster even before it's scheduled release. It was riding high on the earlier prequel, Batman Begins' success and so the expectations were high. It had a really great ensemble of a cast. Plus the tragic death of Heath Ledger (who was really, really exceptionally brilliant in portraying the menacing Joker) put the movie in a lime light. Of course, as a super hero, Superman has always overshadowed Batman in terms of popularity and fan following, but I think this movie might as well reverse the trend (After all, I've always been a Batman fan, from the last 8 years when I had read the first DC Comics of my life ever).

To sum up the movie in brief, it begins with the sheer maniac and genius plan of the legendary Joker, who in Alfred's words is someone "who just wants to see the world burn" !! I mean, he is someone who believes that Gotham needs an altogether different class of criminals and this, coming from someone who believes in sending a message... "Everything Burns !!" and he really does torch a 15 feet high mound of cash... Insanity at its level best, must say that. He wants the end of Batman, by unmasking him and spins such a finely meshed web involving the mafia and the dark knight himself. In between the skirmish, Harvey Dent, the local super hero who makes a terrific effort to squash the crime in Gotham using his tremendous law skills, is entangled and life becomes messy for him. Another distinguishing highlight of this movie is that every charecter plays a hero - whether it is Alfred who continues to remove doubts from the fragile but impervious mind of Bruce Wayne or whether it is Det. Gordon who is simply superb yet again and you can't forget Morgan Freeman - who believes in certain sets of ethics and signs off in the end with style. Between all the punches, explosions and stunt-work is some great dialog work. All the actors have their moments and this list is endless.

Bale's Batman is THE definitive Batman because we see everything in this character finally on film. Martial arts skills, cunning, great tactical thinking, forensic application, technological genius to advance or improve Luscious Fox's inventions/technological breakthroughs, intimidating personality, and even a little swashbuckling.

As for Heath, yes he gets credit for his performance as the Joker. But you have to also recognize Jonathan and Chris Nolan for the writing and treatment of the character. It's not just the fact that Ledger makes the Joker so menacing, but the Nolans have given the character this great manifesto that drives its actions. The Joker's stance on chaos, order, anarchy, the morality of the average modern human being make the character so interesting psychologically. The Nolans have drafted a complex character and only a perfect performance could've pulled something like this off. That's how difficult of a role this was, and that's why Ledger's performance is so great.

An imperishable, spectacular and chaotically-brilliant movie. The Dark Knight possesses the essence that should always exist in the handover from comics to the big screen. Sequence after sequence, this is the absolute glory. A great movie that does not give even a single frame to breathe. An ode to chaos and anarchy, while shares are confronted inevitably lead to a path dirty, black and hostile. A real Gotham City, dominated by fear.

This is the best film of the all time. Simply put, The Dark Knight belongs to a category where no comic adaptation could enter before. Thanks Christopher Nolan. Thank you very much for a film that's a lot more than the typical film based on comic books. Please do post your views about what you felt about this legendary movie by clicking here.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Why so busy?

As you must have figured out by now, I have not been much active on the blogging front from the last few weeks. I will be trying to give the reason for the same through this hurriedly typed post, so please excuse if there are any grammatical mistakes or typos. It seems that life is really a blur now, and quite routine which really contrasts what I had been living earlier. Its a new day, says Brian Adams, and how truly... Because the things around you are new, the people are new and the activities that define your life are new. Some of these aspects are pleasantly good, and at the same time, some of them are too bad to remind you of the luxuries you enjoyed earlier at home. If you are still with me, kindly proceed forward to read about the recent transition of ways, which I'm braving like a brave warrior caught unawares amidst an infinite sea on a black stormy night !! I know, I know, I am extremely good at Hyperboles :-)

Que.1) Exactly When and Where did I first become busy?

Day : 21st June 2008
Time: 11 PM
Venue: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad
Occasion: Suyash Joshi arrives in the Tech Capital of India.
Status: Feeling sleepy...

Que.2) Why did I become busy?

Because after completing graduation and spending a glorious summer at home, I decided to join Oracle which is a multinational software company at Hyderabad, and about which you can read more on Wikipedia. I could have ranted more about Oracle, but if you remember, this post is about me being busy. So Later... :)
Status: Getting pumped up...

Que.3) What (was/am/will be) I busy in?

Pre-Induction and Joining Process - I've never done so much paper work in a span of 6 hours in my life. Joining formalities, Company policies, Finance, Accommodation, Bank Account, Mobile Connection... and many others - I gave a lot of autographs for sure that day !!

Setting up Desktop - Arranging for your own system and phone, stationaries and other facilities. Also includes opening and configuring many (yeah, many) accounts / login id's for various services, even the machine login

Interaction and getting to know more about the work and people around you - My team is a very good one, and I am fortunate enough to have got such cool friends right away. And then there are the experienced guys, the Manager and HR Representatives etc. Everybody sure makes it a point in Oracle to make freshers feel at home, and boy do they succeed. But then they say, everything is nice and a storm is just waiting for you in the next corner (work, after training)

Training - Ahh... Now that I am finished with this part, I'm really relieved. Some of our technical skills were "enhanced", some were entirely new and we also got to know more about what "eggjactly" we are supposed to do and how to it. Platform, Framework, Standards etc. Pretty boring stuff. Hopefully, when atmy workstation, I will be allowed lotsa extra curriculars (:D ...hehe... The only part that I hated was the duration. I mean, 8 hours a day - that equals a week's quota of classes what I attended while engineering. Seems like we are better off at self study (last night study, tu put it up in a better way). Thank God - It's August. Training over. Work Starts. And 31st of last month was my life's first Pay-Day. Feels good !!

Que.4) Proof that I was busy...?

- My last blog post was 41 days ago.
- I wasn't able to catch up with my regular quota of Gtalk"ing" and Orkut"ing".
- I missed the complete Asia Cricket Cup and also the India Sri-Lanka test match !!
- I was not able to communicate (in detail) with friends and relatives via mails / phone calls.
- I saw only 2 movies since I came to Hyderabad... :(
- Forget computer games... I don't yet own a laptop yet...
- I have not yet taken any pics of my workplace, Oracle or Hyderabad. Will be doing it today.
- I hardly got time to read news paper in the morning.It was rush rush for training everyday and in the night we slept late. These people who stay with me are night hawks !!
- I could finish up reading only one book in the entire month...
- We didn't spend much time shopping (now my new economical state played a role in that too...)
- and lots more for sure.

But come August '09 and things will change. A new era will begin. I might post a few more blogs to this infinitely expanding blogosphere and bore my readers even more. and amen to that [:D] !!

And before we depart, let me tell you. Batman - The Dark Knight is the most awesome superhero movie, in fact the most awesome movie ever made !! More on that in the next post...

If you wanna squabble or complain like me about how not to be busy, then please Click here and offer your feedback.

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