Sleepless in IIM-A

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I wonder if anyone stumbles across this blog these days.

Its been almost three years since I graduated. Life's so different now. I have been upto so many different things. I wonder when I'd get the time to write about all those.

Anyway, I have just started a new website as a hobby - - aggregates movie reviews. Should be one of the very few sites in India which does this.

Do visit it !

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Back from the dead.

Hey guys !

I've been up to so many million things since I last wrote. You guys have no idea how many things have happened since then. I'll start penning them down here if enough people are interested in following my life. :))

Anyway, for now, register in Its a nice cricket stock exchange. Its my website.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Back with a bang ! [Ouch]

Its been a pretty weird week.

The first day, I got up groggily at around 8-15, took my toothbrush, put on the paste and tottered towards the bathroom. In a trance, I put the toothbrush into my mouth only to discover that it tasted slightly weird. Nevertheless I went on.

Later I discovered that I'd put on the Odomas cream lying next to the tube of toothpaste.

A little later I discovered that I was damn lucky I didnt use the Chlotrimazole tube instead.

The second day, I was hard at work when as usual, Pepsy came over to have his little chat with me. He started telling me about his evening plans. He told me he was planning to meet up with an old friend of his, who was bringing along three hot girls. They were gonna catch a movie and then go to a pub after that.

"Cool" I said. "Have fun, dude."

He then asked me what were my plans. I told him that I had a little bit of work left and would try to complete as much of it as possible.

He shook his head and said "Loser."

Two other guys, a girl and a computer game called me a loser that day.

The third day, I wasnt in too much of a mood to work. I was arbitly visiting a lot of orkut scrapbooks. I visited the book of this particular friend of mine called Chhedi ( He had a profile snap of himself with the beach in the background. I left him the following scrap.

"In your profile snap, can you move the dickhead a little bit so that I can see the shore?"

He replied back with this scrap,

"I can see tht u r indeed jealous of the grace and charm of the person who keeps springing up in your orkut picture list, and understandably with a face similar to constipated redwood tree, you would but naturally want to rid the realization of your inadequacies by going on nudging me to remove the picture... cut it out, it aint working buddy... "

I didnt understand much, but I understood why people call him 'Duckie'.

The fourth day, sometime in the evening, I got an SMS from some weird number which went like this "Hi Karthik. How are you?"

For some inexplicable reason, I assumed that it was some hot girl, and with a smile I typed back the message "I am doing good. How are you baby?"

She replied back, "I am fine too. Did you wish her?"

Her message confused me for a second. A second later I realized that the number belonged to my sister. Two seconds later, I realized that it was my mom's birthday and I hadnt wished her.

The fifth day, Sam called me up and reminded me about the bet we had about a girl. We had agreed that we both will fight for a girl and whoever spends time with her or does something to gain her favor would get some number of points. He told me that in the last couple of days, he had talked to her 4 times, messaged her 14 times, played scrabble with her once and had talked her into a movie the following weekend.

"I think I am about 70 points ahead." he said gleefully.

After I was done talking to him, I thought maybe I should open my account and atleast meet up with her. I picked up my mobile and sent her a message "Hey there ! How about meeting up at Barista today... say around 9?"

Back she replies, "Umm... who is this?"

The sixth day, I was hard at work again. I would have opened orkut or my yahoo mail just about 4 times the whole day. Which means, I spent barely 10 minutes in about 9 hours doing something apart from my work.

Thanks to my luck, exactly on those four occasions my boss had walked over to tell me something.

After the 4th time this happened, I decided that I wouldnt let this happen again and I wouldnt do anything apart from working on the presentation for the rest of the day. In fact, I decided I wouldnt even turn my head. Maybe my boss would get impressed that I am so caught up in my work that I couldnt even hear him coming.

So I fixed a frown on my face and stared non stop at the screen.

A little later, I heard someone coming over. I didnt turn around and stared purposefully at the screen. The footsteps stopped near me and someone tapped on my shoulder. Pretending as if I was completely oblivious to the happenings around me, I put on a dazed expression and turned my head.

Pepsy took one look at me, one look at the screen and shook his head.

"Loser", he said.

The seventh day, I was just about to go to bed when I realized that I hadnt switched on the repellent yet. Feeling a bit lazy about switching on the light, I groped in the darkness for the repellent's switch. I think I didnt quite touch the switch, because something happened and I was slammed onto the wall.

As I lay sprawled on my bed, with my index finger smoking as if I had just zapped someone into a frog, the door opened.

"Enti ra, dude" my gulti neighbour said, "Why did you just bang the wall?"

Its been a pretty weird week, I tell you.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


I felt unusual. All of a sudden, there seemed to be nothing to look forward to. I walked towards my dorm, my head exceptionally light. I looked at people milling about, at people slouching in their chairs in the CT, laughing as they sipped their drinks while their books lay piled unceremoniously in a corner.

A bunch of kids ran about here and there, chasing each other and giggling merrily. Ever since the first batch of PGP-X arrived on campus, there's been a major distortion in the demographic profile of IIM-A - I noted silently and smiled as a little kid bumped into me and tilted his little head all the way up to look at me with his innocent little eyes.

I had just taken the last exam of my first year at IIM-A. Perhaps fittingly, on this same day last year, the final list selected to IIM-A was announced and I had stared at the results almost in disbelief. Now, I cant believe that one eventful year had shrieked past me.

'Eventful' ! What an understatement !

I flipped open my laptop's lid and logged onto Dbabble. I scrolled down the list of electronic notice boards, trying to find the 'PGP1' NB. Funnily, it seemed to have disappeared. 'Oh!' I thought and scrolled down to look for the word 'Tuchcha' and there it was - the Tuchcha NB ! I clicked it open.

"I SURVIVED THE FIRST YEAR AT IIM-A !!!!" screamed a message.

And more.

"Tuchchaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa !"

"Eaayaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh !"

"The last few days, I felt like a prisoner of war, inching towards the border inch by inch. Today is the moment when I've just crossed that line, the line which represents liberation. Freedom !"

I sat back into my chair, put my palms behind my head, closed my eyes and smiled. It felt good to think about nothing.

A little while later, it had sunk well and truly in. Prostee, Moti and I were sitting on the ledge in front of D-16, which overlooked the cricket grounds. We were watching the ongoing cricket match and talking nonsense. Its the kind of a thing which you would normally see in an engineering college, and rarely in a B-school. Definitely not in the first year of IIM-A.

"So when are you starting?" I asked Moti.


"What are you gonna do till then?"

One corner of his mouth went up to represent what we have come to know as Moti's utterly stupid and perverted smile.

"Ok, I get it. Shake the world huh?"

Its a well known joke, which I am not gonna tell you guys. Although, its gonna be there in my book. Moti wont be spared for too long.

"So, who are the girls in Deutche Bank?"

Again that smile.

"Oh, ok. Paro, right ? Who else?"

"No. Only her. Across the three IIMs, there's just Paro."

"My God. I can imagine whats gonna happen."

"Hey, look who's coming." Prostee nudged.

Our SFI-I (Strategy Formulation and Implementation, Part I) professor was a short, balding, good-natured man, extremely dedicated to instilling in us the ability to think strategically. His classes, although requiring a lot of work on our part, were quite comprehensive. He was walking down the path along with another person.

"Oh shit. I didnt notice HIM coming." Prostee said.

I craned my neck and uttered an involuntary "Shit!", for, walking with our good-natured SFI prof was the man who was revered and feared the most in the first term. He was a legend and a terror among the students of Section D for his unnerving ability to tear apart arbitrary class contributions to smithereens and make the students feel like shit. Despite this, he was enormously respected because we still havent forgotten the insights he gave us in Human Resources, and we are unanimous in the opinion that his classes were the best we've had till now.

We instantly and completely involuntarily got down from the ledge.

"Oh, hello. How are you all?" he greeted us, smile-laughing in his typical fashion.

"Fine, Sir. We just finished our final exams."

"Yeah, yeah, I can see that. You wouldnt be sitting like this otherwise." and that laugh again.

"Yes, Sir. We've been watching the cricket match for quite some time."

"Hmm.. So you guys are into the second year. You wont study now, huh?"

We just smiled. He laughed and walked on. "Good good. Enjoy your time, guys."

As he walked along with the SFI professor, we noticed him saying something to him.

We looked at each other.

"You know what he must have said to him?" Moti said.


"I think he said 'Let them come back for SFI-2 and I'll remind them of old times.'"

"Oh shit !" Prostee and I said in unison, as we were brutally reminded of this one important fact.

Sunil Maheshwari was gonna take Strategy Formulation and Implementation II in the fourth term.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Night rider: Part I

"I dont understand this." I complained in the middle of a pretty serious discussion.

"What?" said Kota

"Why would they provide a '60,000 miles or money-back' guarantee on these tyres when experience shows that they last for just about 40,000 miles?"

"Yeah. It doesnt make sense."

"Maybe they can always claim that the tyres are still good, if and when the customer asks for his money. But the customer would never want to take chances with tyres and would change them anyway, which would explain the low numbers." said Prashant.


"Or maybe the shop which sells the tyres figured that the customer would never get back to him." said Kota with a twinkle in his eye.

"Huh? Why not"

"After 40,000 miles, he's gonna be on the other side of the world."

Thats when the seriousness in our marketing discussion went for a six.

This was just one of the n number of meetings we've been holding this term. Otherwise it has been an okay term till now, predominantly because the surprise quizzes surprisingly havent started yet.

As usual, we have some amazing profs. I'll tell you guys about one of them and his antics in the class.

If you remember, long back, I talked about a guy called Ravi (henceforth referred to as Cheddi), who kept sleeping in each and every class. Well, the guy still sleeps through classes.

Over the months, different professors have treated this differently. In the first term, one particular prof lambasted him on a couple of occasions. That did keep Cheddi awake for a few classes after which he returned to his normal sleep cycle. Later, in one of his meetings with the prof, the conversation went something like this.

Prof: Oh, Ravi.... (smiles) you sleep a lot in class, you know.

Ravi: (sheepish smile)

Prof: Today also you were sleeping right?

Ravi: No Sir, I wasnt.

Prof: (turns towards the TA) Amit he was sleeping today right? (Amit nods sincerely)

Prof: See.

Ravi: No Sir, I wasnt sleeping today, (pauses), yeah, yesterday I was sleeping.

Prof: (smiles, with no signs of being taken aback by that reply) Actually, I have given up you know.

Some other profs ignored him right from the beginning. One professor even announced that he didnt mind people sleeping as long as they didnt snore. I can almost imagine a conversation between the professors on the fictitious Facutly electronic Notice Board, at the beginning of the term.

Prof1: Shit, I have Section D.

Prof2: Yoohoo !! You are done for. Its the section with that rat, Ravi.

Prof1: I know. Why do you think I am pissed?

Prof3: Tell you what. Just ignore him. I tried drilling some sense into him during the first term, but the guy managed to doze off even while I was thrashing him in the class.

Prof1: Hmm. I think I will be okay as long as he doesnt snore.

Prof2: In fact, dont be surprised if a lot others sleep as well. For two reasons. You teach economics, and your drawl sounds like a lullaby to them.

Prof1: Shut up, old man. You think you do a great job with Fin?

Prof2: Yep, I manage to keep a lot more people awake than you. Most of them want to major in finance anway. So they are pretty serious. Fin is interesting dude. Unlike economics.

Prof3: Hey, you interesting fin prof, I just read the list, you have section D as well.

Prof2: WHAT?

Prof1: Yoohoo ! Whatya gonna do ! Whatya gonna do !

Prof2: I will teach that road rodent a lesson he'd never forget if he sleeps in my class.

Prof3: Correction. There's no if.

(To be continued)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Unauthorized access detected

'Shit, why did I even decide to do WAC with you? I have to do all the work.' I cribbed.

'What can I do? My mamaji is here', she whined into the phone.

'Oh, thats your excuse today? The day before you had an injured pigeon in your room. Yesterday your excuse was that stupid filthy little dog. Today it is your mamaji. Are you the zoo-keeper of IIM-A?'

'Shut up !'

'And why are you sending me all these links?'

'To read, of course !'

'I am just gonna cut and paste all that crap into a doc file and mail it to the TA.'

'Yeah, do that. And ask her to pick the relevant stuff herself.'

'Okay. I am gonna do that.'

'Yeah, do it.'

Noni and I had started working on the WAC report just a day back and we were already having our third cribbing and complaining session. Both of us were trying our level best to shove the work away from ourselves.

'What are you doing now?' she asked.

'I am mailing her.'

'Yeah do that.'

Playfully, I composed a mail which went like this...

Subject: Our WAC report
Please find attached our WAC report. Please pick the relevant details and grade them accordingly.

I double checked the TA's address and made sure that it had three i's instead of the two in '' and clicked on the send button.

Into the receiver, I said "Check your inbox."

'Oh, you actually sent it !'

'Yeah, I did. You asked me to, didnt you?'

'Yeah. I did.' she paused. I guess she noticed the TA's wrong email address, because she said. 'But where's the attachment? You didnt attach the file.'

'Heh heh. But what if there actually exists and address like and it is redirected to the domain?'

'Yeah. It might exist. Especially given your luck with the TAs!'

'No, I think this time I'll be okay. I have got the returned mail message already.'


After a bit more of aimless nonsensical chatter, I hung up.

A little while later, Prostee and Atul came to my room and we decided to study a bit of finance. My concentration, as usual, wavered after sometime and my focus shifted to my computer. Aimlessley, I started checking all my email accounts.

One particular mail caught my eye while I was going through my institute email account. I clicked on it and went through the text.
I swore.

The mail went like this...

Subject: Re:Our WAC report

I did not receive the attachment along with the mail you have sent. Please resend the same. If you have any queries regarding your report you can contact me at wing 12K.

The last date for the submission of the report is 21st January,2006 4.30 PM. The report has to be submitted as hard copy and a soft copy needs to be pasted in the courses folder same as WAC-I.

Radha Sriram.

'What on earth is this?' I swore aloud.

'What happened?' Atul asked. Prostee looked up from his book as well.

I told them about the little prank I played on Noni, and then showed them the mail. Needless to say, they burst out laughing like crazy.

'Dude. Why does it happen to you all the time?' Prostee said.

Having laughed to his heart's content Atul said, 'Lets check its header. I am sure Noni is playing a prank on you.'

'Yeah, I sort of think so too. You can manipulate the 'From' address in any mail client.'

We clicked on the message's header and as expected the mail originated from Noni's system's IP address.

'See !' Atul exclaimed. 'She has used the client Mozilla Thunderbird to do this.'

'Yeah. I see.' I said thoughtfully. 'Shit. She has the nerve to try to fool me. She'll face the consequences', I paused. 'Microsoft Outlook should also be able to do this sort of a thing, right?'

'Yes, I think it allows you to change the from address. I am not too sure though.'

'Hmm.' I opened Outlook and started composing a mail. After 15 minutes of intense creative activity, I sat back and looked at my extremely technical sounding mail in sadistic satisfaction.

Subject: Unauthorized access: IP-User mismatch detected on Mon, 16 Jan 2006 00:56:03 +0530

Dear Jyoti Agarwal,

The mail server’s cron job detected a mail originating from the IP address with a manipulated header. (Please find the header details of the mail after this message.) This mail amounts to impersonation which is considered a malpractice according to the institute’s rule book and may result in consequences as severe as expulsion from the institute. Please consider this as a warning.

(This is a cron-job generated response. Please don’t reply to it.)

Received: from (iimahd [])
by (8.11.6/8.11.6) with ESMTP id k0FJQ3P09250;
Mon, 16 Jan 2006 00:56:03 +0530
Received: from (stdwww [])
by (8.11.6/8.11.6) with ESMTP id k0FJPxq24422;
Mon, 16 Jan 2006 00:55:59 +0530
Received: from [] ([])
by (8.11.6/8.11.6) with ESMTP id k0FJPx508099;
Mon, 16 Jan 2006 00:55:59 +0530
Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 00:57:33 +0530
From: ""
User-Agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.7 (Windows/20050923)

'Hey guys, listen to this.' I read my masterpiece aloud to Atul and Prostee. 'What do you think?'

'Great stuff!' Atul laughed.

'Play a prank on me, huh? I am the bloody prankmaster! She's gonna throw a fit as soon as she reads this.'

'Yeah. It sure is gonna take her by surprise. Eventually she'll find out though.'

'Yes she will. But for a second, she's gonna get shocked. That will do for me.'

'Yeah, that she will.' We laughed aloud and gave each other hi-fives. I sent the mail.

I tried getting back to my work. I read a page or two of finance, but couldnt wait for some sort of a response for that message. I clicked open the sent folder to admire my masterpiece again. I smiled as I read the message for the nth time.

Then something caught my eye. 'Hey! Wait a minute! What the hell is this? Guys, take a look at this.'

'Atul and Prostee came over and stared at the screen. A split second later they were both clutching their stomachs and going bonkers with laughter.

'She...she...' Prostee said in between gasps of laughter. 'She must be laughing her head off at how big a jackass you made of yourself just now.'

The from address of that message read,
'Karthik Laxman []; on behalf of;'

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A dream.

Disclaimer: I wrote this right after the summer placement process. Originally, I didnt want to put this up, until someone pasted the whole post as a comment on one of my earlier posts. So I thought, what the heck, let me post it myself. Please note that this is just my personal opinion and doesnt represent anything or anyone else.

The most important event in the second term occurs right after the mid terms - the summer placements.

Now, summer placements might not have been such a big deal, if only there hadnt been a thing called as an I-bank. I-banks or investment banks, for the uninitiated, are organizations which facilitate IPO issues, mergers and acquisitions, and trading for institutional clients. And in the process they make insane amounts of money.

They also pay their employees insane amounts of money.

I probably dont have to mention that all those record breaking salaries offered to IIM-A grads that you read about in the papers are all by I-banks.

To begin explaining to you, the effect these banks have on the IIM-A psyche, let me start with the way placements are structured in IIM-A.

There are hundreds of companies which come on campus for the summer placements. To let the students pick the best companies and let the best companies have a shot at the largest pool of students first, the placement committee of IIM-A (placecomm) has, over the years, divided the list of companies into two or three categories and allotted them slots during which they could interact with and interview the students. These slots are called Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3. The categorization is usually done by students on the basis of the quality of job, reputation, pay and career prospects.

For example, red hot companies like HLL and P&G companies would appear on Day 1, and students would die to get placed in companies coming on Day 1. Vindi Banga was placed on Day 1 with HLL.

Well, that was a few decades back.

A few years back, one particular Director working in a big bank in New York, with the idea of contributing back to his alma mater, convinced his superiors and colleagues to travel 15000 kilometers to Ahmedabad, to recruit analysts and associates for his bank.

The salary offered was more than five times greater than those offered by the Day 1 companies. Placements were for locations in Wall Street. It seemed a no-brainer for this bank to be given the first shot at interviewing the students.

And so, Day Zero was born.

"Hey Bharthi, how many people have been placed today ?"

"Many. But there are at least 20 more who are yet to be placed."

"Shit. They are gonna be awfully upset if they spill over to Day 1."

"Dont worry. Day zero's not over yet. We can still hope to place everyone."

"Yes. Lets hope."

Bharthi's cell rang and she moved to answer the call. Immediately after that, she yelled out a few names - her voice barely audible over the din in the room.

He looked around CR-10. 200 people impeccably dressed in suits. Some of them joking around, some smiling with satisfaction, some others in a pensive mood, and some with a worried expression. The tension in the room wafted through the noise into the atmosphere.

Information Asymmetry is a concept encountered in microeconomics. It refers to the situation when one party knows more than the other party about a product being transacted. For instance, a person who purchases life insurance would be better informed about his health than his insurance agent. Needless to say, it is in the insurance company's interest to do as much as possible in order to reduce the information gap.

When the final placements happen, companies have an important number to base their selections on - the CGPA. But when the recruitments for summers happen, the number's not known yet, or the time period is too short for someone to be judged purely by the CGPA. In such a situation, various factors play a role in deciding a candidate's suitability for the job, one of which is the student's past profile.

As far as the students are concerned, a summer internship in an i-bank means bypassing one and half years of hard-core, maddening competition to secure an i-banking career abroad.

Its a short cut.

"People, please be quiet", Bharthi's voice tried to make its presence felt in the noise. "The offer window opens now. I am gonna announce the names."

In a second, silence enveloped the room. This was the moment people were waiting for - the announcement of the final offers.

"Rajshree Dutta..."

One by one names were announced to heavy thumping of desks. The smiling student went to the adjacent room where documents had to be signed.

As time went by, tension grew in all those faces whose names havent been announced yet.

Will I be pushed to Day 1? Do I have to go through this stressful process again tomorrow?
That was the thought uppermost in everyone's minds. And when their names finally came, a huge wave of relief washed away the anxiety.

When the last name was announced, a roar went around the room. The celebrations began...

The number of I-banks coming down to IIM-A has grown in the last few years, and a lot of "bulge-bracket" banks come down these days. Banks like Lehmann Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Citigroup are usually expected to hire IIM-A students for summers.

Its funny how almost everyone on campus is suddenly interested in finance. The amount of preparation that goes into a day zero interview simply cannot be not described here. (It would go into my book though).

There is however a sad angle to this. There are over 200 deserving students here in IIM-A and the number of such offers are less than a half of that. A lot of people are left out.

Its tragic to see people attach so much importance to Day Zero that they are shattered when they dont make it to these jobs. Some of them are hit so hard that they are not able to muster the strength to continue with the stressful placement process and lose out on jobs on offer the next day.

People change their perceptions about others. Seeds of bitterness are sown.

A hundred hands slapped him on his back.

"Good show man !"

"Congrats, dude !"

Smiling, he went to the other room. A bunch of placecommers were sitting around the placecomm head. The placecomm head looked at a sheet of paper and said "Kotak. Do you accept?"

"Yes, I do."

A placecommer came to him with a sheet of paper. She gestured at a spot and asked him to sign there. As he took the sheet from her, he smiled at her.

"I guess, with me, everyone's been placed on day zero."

"Yes. Its been a great year."

"What about all the companies which are coming tomorrow?"

"I am afraid, we'll have to turn them down. There just are no students left for those jobs."

"Just for curiosity sake, what are the companies that are coming down tomorrow?"

"Oh, all those foreign I-banks. Foreign placements are out of fashion these days. I guess, they wouldnt be coming down next year onwards."

"Hmm." he said.

He looked down at the sheet, scribbled his signature and under it, the date.

The date read, "10th November, 2015".

"I dont understand why people get depressed when they dont make it into Day Zero companies. There are some terrific companies coming down for Day 1. The kind of roles they offer are extremely exciting. Did you look at the pay most of these companies are offering? They are awesome. And it can only get better. There would come a day when students of IIM-A would reject foreign i-bank offers for jobs in India. There'd be a day when every IIM-A graduate would decide to stay back and contribute to India. There'd be a day when foreign i-banks would be relegated to Day 1. Ten years down the line, we're gonna see it happen. Damn, its been happening around us as we speak. Indian companies are flexing their muscles abroad by acquiring companies left and right. They are taking over foreign companies which are as much as three times their size. Indians are shaping the corpoate world all by themselves. Take this to its logical conclusion, and you'd see that India is as good a place to be in as any." - Ashwin.