Sleepless in IIM-A

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;'