Sleepless in IIM-A

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Fool's Proof

Dear Mr. Laxman,
This mail is regarding the group assignment which was to be submited by you and your group on 20.08.05. I have not received your group assignment and it will not be accepted now.
Best Wishes,
Pallavi Desai, (Name changed intentionally)
Individual Dynamics.

I snapped out of my torpor. What in Gods name is this ?

20th was a Saturday. We had spent a total of 5 hours on the ID assignment the day before the date of submission. And that too, knowing very well that there would be a QM quiz the next day.

Most of us screwed up the QM quiz big time. But at least we had the satisfaction of having submitted the ID assignment well in time.

Prashant was the one who had mailed the TA on the day of the submission. I quickly sent the group a message copying the TA's mail and asking Prashant for clarification. Immediately I dialed his number as well.

"Hey Prashant, did you check the message I sent?"


"What happened? Did you mail it to her?"

"Yes, I did yaar. I have no idea how it didnt reach her."

"You must be having a sent mail on your mailing client. We can show her that as proof."

"I already checked out that option. Unfortunately I sent the message using the other client which is a bit primitive and doesnt keep copies of sent mails."

"Shit ! What are you talking about ?"


"Okay, lets go talk to the TA. I am calling the others as well."

As I walked towards the faculty cubicles, I kicked myself at not having submitted the assignment myself. Shit, we should have submitted a hard copy to the TA. We must have been fools to mail it to the TA, when every other group wanted to submit a hard copy personally to the TA.

But then that was because of something else. The TA was extremely attractive.

Kota, BV, Atul and Prashant were already waiting for me. We climbed a couple of floors and looked around for 7-K.

"Excuse me ma'am".

"Yeah", Pallavi turned to look at us.

"Ma'am, we got a mail from you saying that our assignment didnt reach you. We've come to get it clarified."

"Oh, yeah." she said. "I havent received the assignment. You can check my account."

She showed us her inbox. Sure enough, there was no mail from Prashant on the day of the submission.

"But ma'am, we mailed it to you."

"Ok, can you show me some sort of proof that you did? The mail must be there in your sent folder right?"

"Ma'am, thats the problem. We sent it through an interface which doesnt have sent folders."

"But I must have some proof, right?"

After a brief pause, Kota volunteered. "Ma'am, the day before the submission, we mailed the assignment to each other. Would that be enough?"

"But that wouldnt have my name on the To list right? The professor would look for that."

She then smiled. "Guys, I am not saying that I dont trust you. But I have talked to the prof, and she wants to have some solid proof. I really cant do much about it. You'd have to repeat the course next year."

I turned to look at BV. He looked as shattered as me. We promised the TA that we'd get some proof and requested her to talk to the prof again. She said she would. We said we'd talk to the prof the next day. We then walked straight to Atul's room.

"We are in deep shit." I said.

"Repeat the course ! Fuck, forget it. I am not gonna stay in this place if I have to repeat this course next year. I am leaving right now !" BV said.

We looked at each other, not saying anything. After a while, Atul swivelled on the computer chair towards the screen and pulled out the keyboard. "Lets see what we can do."

The next one hour, we tried a lot of things. We logged on to the mail server. We checked the accounts for a sent folder. We checked the other email account which was linked to this one. We called up the mail administrator. We tried asking if any mail logs were maintained.

To no avail. We couldnt collect a shred of evidence.

The next day, we gathered in the professor's chamber. The professor seemed to be a very nice person, but we could sense her reluctance to let us go without a serious penalty. Convincing her was gonna be an impossible job.

"I understand that you have sent the mail. But the reason I am so particular about the proof is that I dont want to set a precedent by letting you go free."

"But ma'am, we did send the assignment to each other on the local messenging service. There's no point in sending a completed assignment to each other and not submitting it to you, right?"

"Isnt it possible that the person who is supposed to have mailed might have forgotten?"

"Yes, it is. But then two of us had called him up well within the deadline. He confirmed that he had submitted it. Even if he hadnt till then, he would have mailed it to the TA upon the reminder."

After more convincing and further debate, the professor finally relented. "Okay, you bring the print outs of the messages you sent to each other. I will talk to Pallavi and then see what I can do."

The mood was far lighter when we came out of the professor's room.

"Cool ! We might escape out of this unhurt after all." Kota said.

"Yeah. Thank god, we messaged it to each other. Who sent that message?" BV asked.

"I sent it to the group. But since I sent it to the everyone of you, it must be with all of you." I said.

"Okay, lets get the print outs to show her."

Feeling a lot better, I sauntered towards my dorm. Dildo was as usual loafing around on the first floor. He had a bag around his shoulder.

"Hey, where are you off to?" I asked him.

"Am going to the hospital. Ramon has fallen sick."

Ramon is from Germany. He has come here for a term as part of an exchange program. He stays on the first floor in our dorm.

"What happened to him?" I asked.


"What? Minor stomach trouble and he went and admitted himself to the hospital?"

"This is nothing. He gave his end term paper in half an hour and ran back to the dorm. He was adamant that he'd not walk to the hospital. He took an ambulance to the hospital."

"What the... This is the problem with foreigners. This is what they think of India." I laughed.

"Wait. This is nothing. He even wrote a will."

My mouth dropped open.

"Listen to what his will said. 'If I die, give all my money to Christopher. I think I am in reasonably good condition now. So sell all my organs in the German black market and give Christopher the money. With all that money he can buy himself the speakers that he always wanted to. If any money is left, he can also buy himself the sports car that we always dreamt of.'"

By now, I was in splits. "This is outrageous."

"I have to go to him now, because he keeps telling the nurse that the bubble going up the drip bottle is gonna enter his body and kill him, and the nurse doesnt understand a thing." he said.

Shaking my head and still laughing, I wished Dildo luck and climbed another floor.

I opened my room and opened the lid of my laptop to switch it on. A minute later, the phone rang.

"Yeah Atul, whats up?" I answered the phone. "Yeah... oh good, we have the message... ok.. okay, read it out.... WHAT??!?!... SHIT!!... SHIT!!!. SHIT!!!.... SHIT!!!."

I replaced the receiver and yelled. "SHIT !!! SHIT !!! SHIT !!!" and went to a corner and sat there with both my palms on my forehead. I sat there for one whole minute, after which I went to the laptop and opened the messaging service. I browsed the inbox for the message that I had sent out the day before the submission.

I found it. I clicked it open.

This is what it said.

To: Atul, BV, Kota, Prashant
Attached: ID.doc
For you to put in the exhibit and mail it to Pallu baby.
- Oka.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

T-nite: Background

T-nite stands for the Talent Nite. Basically, a cultural show put up by the fachchas (freshers - by now you should have got used to the term) for the tuchchas (the seniors).

As with everything else in IIM-A, its made extremely competitive by conducting it as an inter section contest.

The contest is spread over four nights and tests sections on a variety of parameters like creativity, skill, talent, noise producing ability and above all, enthusiasm.

It usually begins with something called as the Pub Run, where 'runners' belonging to different sections race from a particular point towards the mess and try and capture as much space on the mess walls as possible. Different sections of the walls hold different number of points ranging from 0 to 100. Space is captured by sticking newspapers with the section name written on them. Later the newspapers are replaced by creative posters.

The Pub Run is followed by the two mess nights. A mess night is a 100 minute show put up by the sections (25 minutes each) admist extreme levels of booing by the tuchchas in the mess. The atmosphere is hot, passionate, electric and more often that not, is an intense shouting match. If a section has an appealing slogan and can outshout everyone else who shouts against them, they score a point. If they dont, then god help their performance.

The semifinals and the finals are held in the RJMCEI auditorium and are longer than the mess nights (40 and 90 minutes respectively). Audience is willing to be a little more patient. Shouting matches take a backseat and talent shines through. Quite appropriately, the RJMCEI nights carry considerably more weightage than the mess nights and the pub run.

A lot of weightage is given to the method of entry of a section into the mess/auditorium and onto the stage. Creativity in dress codes, slogans and the general enthusiasm level is evaluated.

Also embedded into the evaluation system is the section's newsletter and website.

I think a lot of my section mates read my blog and actually find it readable, for, I wrote the section's newsletter. :)

Over the next few posts scattered among other daily happenings, you'd find me describing Section D's journey through the T-nite. You'd also find excerpts from the newsletter embedded in between in italics.

So, read on !

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Know thy readers.

Dbabble is like the blood of IIM-A.

Its actually just a software, playing the role of an online notice board. But to really understand its importance, you'd have to shut it down for a day. People wouldnt know where to go for those essential updates. Sport lovers wouldnt know how to schedule events. Romantics wouldnt be able to proclaim their love, straight or otherwise. The nerdy ones wouldnt be able to get those articles to keep them occupied during those few minutes they are not studying their cases.

Dbab with its numerous notice boards, is really the lifeline of IIM-A.

Before I took it for granted, I found it quite fascinating. Take the jokes notice board for example. Someone would post a joke, and thus start a thread. Soon half a dozen replies would follow.

If the joke's liked and is original, there would be applause. "Good show !". If the joke's a repeat the message is "RCP". And if the joke's by a fresher, regardless of its originality, the response is "Mug le, fachche." (Go study, fresher).

Something happened today which made me wonder if the profs dont have a notice board for themselves.

I mean, think about it. Its a possibility. There would be one prof who would start a thread which might go like this.

"Hey, I conducted a surprise quiz today. The students didnt know what hit them !"

and then there would be a dozen replies.

"Good show !!"

"Great stuff ! Keep it up !"

"Hey, I did it too !"

"Gusshow ! Give it to them !!"

"Keep one more tomorrow ! They will blow the hell out of them !"

"This is good, but not good enough. I conducted back to back quizzes. My students were dumbfounded."

All this might amuse you, but do you guys realize how much of a risk I'm taking by flirting with these kind of topics?

Today afternoon, as I was turning the key in the lock on my door, I called out to Samba. As I do nearly every afternoon, after classes.

"Are O Samba, how was your favorite class today?"

"It was terrific yaar. Today he teased so many students that I just couldnt stop laughing."

"What did he say? Do you remember anything he said?"

"Of course. I've written them down !"


"Okay." he looked at his notebook, "First there was this guy who had a confusion about the cash flow statement. He didnt quite understand what the concept was, and asked why an amount had to be subtracted at one place and added at the other."


"And he replied to him that to gain something you have to lose something. Kuch Paane Ke Liye, Kuch Khona padta hai. After all haar ke jeethne waale ko hi to Baazigar kehten hai." (I am sorry, non-Hindi folks.)

I laughed. Samba went on. "And then he pulled your friend (One of my BITSian friends is in the same section) again into a discussion on Rajnikant and Baba (Baba is Rajnikant's name in a movie). He goes into movies every now and then. Its hilarious !"

"Then, we were looking at the ITC report where one particular entry had something to do with the exchange rates. I dont remember it exactly, but one girl with an economics background suggested that it involved macroeconomics, to which he replied 'You dont need macroeconomics. Economic times would be sufficient. Pick up the initial rate, pick up the final rate, find the difference and multiply by the amount. You'd get it'. The girl just shut up. And after that he'd ask your friend, 'Baba would agree right?'"

"Hey, you guys sure have some serious fun."

"Yeah. He tells us that he has to resort to this sort of antics to keep the students awake, as its the third class of the day."

I laughed. Samba continued, "Then some other guy asked a question. To which he said, 'How can you be wrong, you are the kadavul, or some word like that. I dont know what it means. But it sure did shock that guy."

My wide smile froze. Kadavul is the Tamil word for God. It sounded familiar and recent. Where have I seen this, and why would the guy would be so shocked by the remark?

Oh yes.

Oh no.

Kadavul is the pen-name by which one of the...

"After that he went completely into other topics for about 10 minutes. Now what was that... Yeah, he went off on a tangent. He talked about some guy in Section C or D who wrote something in his blog. Something about accounting being a philosophy. He quoted a few lines, I dont remember what it was. He then said that accounting definitely wasnt philosophy. Hey what happened to you ?"

Kadavul is the pen-name by which one of the guys I know signs off in his blog.

No points for guessing who the guy in Section D is.

My smile was now completely gone. And the color slowly drained from my face.

"Wait a minute. Is that your blog he was talking about?"