Tuesday, December 23, 2014

An Ode to Chai-Shai...!

At a B-School, the monotony of classes, books, hostel life and assignments can turn even the happiest of people into a bunch of gloomy souls. Its 9:40pm, between eating the half-inedible hostel food and running through the piles of assignments and projects, your WhatsApp buzzes: “New Message: Chai Shai Group”! And then we gloomy souls take a break and meet up over some tea, coffee and more importantly, some Gup-Shup with friends!

What started as a group of tea-drinkers, soon turned into a bunch of close-knit friends! And on this eve before the Christmas Eve, I am turning into your Santa and spreading the spirit of Christmas – through these messages for each one of you, Chai-Shai waalo!! So scroll down to find your message…

·         The girl who eats, drinks, sleeps, breathes fashion. From Dior to Apple, her collection of brands is as envious as her knowledge in Finance. From chanting “Jai Mata Di” when she sees a dog even in her dreams, to bringing the house down with her child-like anger, this girl is one firebrand (Neonbrand actually!! :P)! Dikhne main hai yeh tiny tot par deti hai Dilli ke support mein unlimited gyaan, kyuki yeh hai…. AARUSHI MADAN!

·        From industry analysis to being a fellow Gemini, we have a lot in common. But she beats hands down me to win the award for “The Most Dreamy and Lost Person”! From picking up others bags to almost checking into the wrong flight, madam has done it all. While she is capable of betting on eating more Ambur Biriyanis than a dinosaur or not charging her phone till eternity, her sweetest nature make her the best! Khoyi khoyi rehti hai jaise dhoond rahi ho apna guy, kyuki yeh hai ARUSHI RAI!

·     The girl with a million dollar smile and a billion dollar puzzled look. Class samajh na aaye- Panic. Exam se pehle- Panic! Exam ke baad- Panic! Aur agar sab achha hua, toh aise kaise ho gayaaa – BIG TIME PANIC! But still, loves being the darling of Aishwarya 005. From baby doll to pink lips, dancing comes naturally to her. Diet pe rehti hai but khana chahti hai the size of an iceberg, kyuki yeh hai…. AKSHITA GARG!

·        The cool dude of SAAAAP, when it comes to finance he is our Baap! Be it a normal class or a deadly exam, walks in like a stud with earphones on and with a bag that’s never on! Girls go crazy after this Ranveer Singh of NMIMS. He is his madamji’s “Kiddo” and our very own “Bittoo”. Bande mein hai woh dum jo khadi karde khatiya, kyu ki yeh hai… ARUN TEWATIA!

     The one whose walk is funnier than mine, this girl has attitude of a true PCOMer! From sharing her notes that she writes in every single subject to teaching “bachho” before every exam, this girl is helpfulness personified. Hai yeh woh who spreads happiness and love, kyuki yeh hai… NEELIMA YADAV!

·      From a studious, introvert in the first year to a guitar playing “Bro” now, he is the one who has changed the most! He is the champ of operations in PGDM as well as the king of slumber. Dum hai iski baato mein, nache yeh bus mein, brown rice miss karne wala Mangalore ka Rao, hai yeh…. RAYAN FERRAO!

·    This girl is the queen of Economics and my teacher of finance. Bollywood addict and a die-hard Ranbeer Kapoor fan, yet could never beat me on any of the Bollywood quizzes on QuizUp. Loves chocolate to death, hates pretentious people to the core and does not write a word in the class, yet manages to understand concepts better than pro! Udyam ka kaam ho ya Bollywood songs that’s she sings, she s perfect coz ye hai…. PRERNA SINGH!
         It was sometime towards the end of May last year when I got a call one evening and before I utter a word, I hear,”Kasam se yaar roz tension mein thha ki NM Blore mein kyu nahi hua, Hyd mein kyu hua. Aaj convert hua hai kasam se bohot khush hu’! And, till date, his infectious energy remains the same! He is the Jodi-maker of our gang, manager of our plans and hater of all the vegetables eaten by a man! Jisne phone pe kiye kharche more than the budget of the film Vaastav, wohi hai…. RAHUL SRIVASATAV!
          Social Butterfly and the best girl at bargaining! From her ability to convince even a deaf man to buy an iPod to her answering questions after getting up from a nap in class, she is the Teddy of Aishwarya 005! Caring, loving, convincing and gyming seem to be the only four words in her dictionary. Ladki jo de sakti takkar to everyone including Tewatia, hai yeh…. RASHI CHANDGOTHIA!
         The calmest Punjabi Munda on the planet, he is the wizkid of the batch who knows C++ to Java but hai itna bhola ki pata nahi kitchen mein hai namak kaha! Makemytrip.com is his homepage and Bangalore airport his second home, this teddy of my flat is a star PCOMer. FB ki jaan, PJs ki mini dukaan, Dilli jise kehti hai aaja aaja, yeh hai…. ROHIT BHATEJA!
        She is the 'straight hair girl' of Aishwarya 005, with a quirky voice :P ! She loves to get clicked so much that am sure she must be posing in her sleep too! She is the heart & soul of Greenadiers, who gorges on fish and chicken! Iske gusse se bachke rehna degi yeh laats, kyuki yeh hai…. RUNA DAS!

·       Fellow teluguite, he is the mama of the gang! Kanyadaan-ing is his profession and arguing with Mallu his passion. With his new bike and heroic style, expect a queue of girls going all wild! Even after handling all his maamis and regular kanyadaans, iska hai damdaar josh, kyu ki yeh hai…. KANCHARLA SANTHOSH!
     This guy is lost and always in his own world, but jab bhi group mile, toh photo “Uthane” ke liye always hai aa jata! Ops ka stud jo mera flatmate hone wala thha, jise sirf koi ek hi bulati “Siddhartha”. Kyuki hum baaki sab toh bulate hai…. PANDA!
           Next is our funny man whose sizzling chemistry with Sahu can put Hrithik-Katrina to shame and his talkative bakwaas can give a nausea and headache! “Praraanaa” and “Madddan” is how he calls, but his innocent laugh and *Censored* chats make outings with him a ball! Iske plans for equinox are bigger than RBI’s plans by Raghuram Rajan, kyuki yeh hai…. SREERAJ RAJAN!
      Padhai addict and dedication ka bhandaar, this last message from Santa is saved for the PJ ka bazaar! My senti, pakau roomie who spends most of his time on his phone saying “kauna” and dancing to Sunny Leone’s songs, is also my inspiration for studying so much without dozing off! Mumbai ka saathi, ghar ka yaar, kabhi pyaar- kabhi yaar :P !! Iska sense of humour hai itna complex ab kya kahu, kyuki naam hai iska…. SWAGAT SAHU!

With just a few days to go for the college to end, time for me to Thank You guys for making my two years at NM so Jhakkaasss!! Let’s rock the last 90-odd days at NM-B! Milte hai agle saal, till then…. 


New Year Wishes for my Pasanga...!

Pasanga!! A word that didn’t exist in my vocabulary a year back is now almost a part of my blood! Others might call us the “southie gang”, but to me, you are the family away from family! With just 90-odd days to go for LIFE@NM to come to an end, this is the first of a few blogs that I am going to pen down… And, hey, it’s Christmas and New Year time! So, here are my wishes for each one of you…

Anu - the Mandamma: The rakshasi of our Pasanga whose hands speaker louder than her words! Wish you a very happy and prosperous Korangu New Year. May you fight more with Muhil and Karthi and hit me less! _/\_ May you achieve success as high as your screechy voice and May all eruma madus untie their donkeys to put fire on your enemies’ mouths! :D

Karthi – THALAIVAAAA: The rockstar of the batch and heartthrob of all the girls, he is THE Karthi! It’s my privilege and an honour for having got this opportunity to write about you, Thalai! May you please shower us with your blessings and keep us poor souls under your fold! May you get more fan following than Rajini and Ghajini put together! May Infy stop calling Shreya Ghoshal for their Annual Night and they be blessed with your Ambarsariya every night!!

     Muhil – the Mentalist: He is the reason behind girls going crazy and boys getting envious. He is the reason behind PGDM05 girls not being able to score beyond 3.4! He is the reason we pasanga laugh our hearts out! :D Muhil, may you get some sanity in 2015 and become normal before IGate becomes abnormal. May you get to eat chicken thrice a day in 2015. And and and, May we FINALLY get to go on a tour!

  Neeraaaajjjjjj – BJP ka Sachin: The calendar app of our pasanga whose Amul baby looks can be extremely deceptive! Sits in Modi’s godi :P and wants to be Sachin ka jinn! Poor guy, gets stuck in our Telugu-Tamil war, but being the only Rajasthani, he is our Pasanga’s Star! Neeerrrraaaajjjj, may you reach greater heights than Modi’s Swachh Bharat and may we go to Tirupati ASAP next year!  

    Pras – the Phone Dayyam: May you finally stop replying to messages after 6 months. May your life have a six sigma level of happiness and may all evil eyes get stuck at the bottleneck in your life! May you get a CTC more than your USA phone bills! And most importantly, May you get ‘crrraaazzzyyyyyy like anyttthiiinggg’ after college :P

     Srav – the Lost one: The Nelluri Nerajan of our Pasanga, may you text more in the group in the New Year! May you FINALLY tell us the top-secret password of your phone! May you take a New Year resolution to keep your eyes wide open in every pic! May you cook yummilicous food and invite us over all throughout the year! And, May you have a dhinchak year ahead with no Dasara Bullodu but America Alludu!

Don’t worry, no senti end to this! See you all in 2015! Till then, let’s go craaazzzyyyyy on WhatsApp!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Take: "Asura - Tale of the Vanquished"

There are books that move you, books that question the widely accepted facts. But, Asura by Anand Neelakantan is one of those books which questions the beliefs of its reader and pushes them into a blissful turmoil.

While we have read, heard or watched umpteen versions of Ramayana, this one fascinated me as for the first time the antagonist gets to voice his version. Though the preface clearly states its a work of fiction, the book qualifies to be a mythological semi-fiction version of the Valmiki-rachit Ramayana, with references from other versions as well.

Based on Sinhalese folklores which claim Sita of being Ravana and Mandodari's daughter, 'Asura' is a poignant tale of a helpless father waging a war against his own son-in-law as he feels him unworthy of his daughter. While this forms the most intriguing part of the novel, 'Asura' traces the journey of Ravana, narrated by himself on his deathbed and his staunch servant, Bhadra. Ravana, developed by the author is someone you can relate to and the circumstances actually explain his actions and ruthlessness. Now, since the author claims the work to be fiction, it remains a puzzle as to how much of it has been sourced from our scriptures. 

Apart from the father-daughter angle given to the Ramayana we know, 'Asura' also effectively questions ones faith in Devtas. The book contrasts how the Devtas established 'dharma' by dividing the masses into castes and how, on the contrary, the Asuras lived in a free world. The versions we hear normally label Rama as Maryada Purushottam and brand the Asura way of life as unruly and one of anarchy. They brand Rama as the ideal, dharma-abiding king while Ravana is seen as a cunning tyrant who lusts for another man's wife. But, 'Asura' breaks the notion. We are forced to question if we really want an unfair, caste-based society abiding dharma or a free and equal society, as enjoyed by the asuras. Living in Kalyug, the lines between the two seem to have blurred, fortunately! (Fortunate or unfortunate? Another thing to debate upon!)

Asura also tells us about how Rama suffers because he pays heed to his people and sends his wife away, in spite of her being 'pure and chaste'. This is compared to how Ravana accepts his wife, who is violated at the hands of Angada and his monkey-men. Instances such as this and many more in the novel, make you support Ravana and his abduction of his daughter, trying to save her from her indifferent husband. (I again wonder: How much of it is fiction? :/)

Apart from the character of Ravana, the author brilliantly shows us the life of a normal Asura, Bhadra, who turns narrator along with Ravana. Through him, the author tries to show how unjust the world is for the lower classes, something which continues to this day. Another character that I have begun to admire is that of Mandodari, from a 'wooden smile' to 'inconsolable sobs for her daughter during Agnipariksha', she is fierce and fearless. 

Being a staunch believer in Vishnu and a big Bhakt of Rama, I am really happy to have read this book and ignited my inner-turmoil. Like 'The Palace of Illusions' by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni which was Mahabharata from Draupadi's eyes, 'Asura- Tale of the Vanquished' shows us Ravana's version of Ramayana, and questions our age old-beliefs and faiths.

Jai Shri Rama! Har Har Mahadev!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mumbai Memoirs!

Mumbai has always been the hip-and-happening city that I longed to come to. Whenever I visited Mumbai in the past, it has always been as a tourist- for a couple of days, staying at dad's place and hopping to the various tourist attractions and seeing this city in extreme awe! But, this time its completely different as I got to experience walking in the shoes of a Mumbaikar, well, for 2 long months!

The best way to sum it up would be in two statements. First- I had no idea about the inconsequential, mechanical and monotonous work that waited for me during my internship. And Second- I got the shock of my life seeing my home for the next two months, 'An Air-conditioned Accommodation with complementary Breakfast'!

After initial cribbing and cursing, I finally accepted the fact that I HAD to live in this city, work in a profile I didn't like and... EXPLORE THE CITY WITH MY FELLOW NMITES! As HR studies say, 'Misery loves Miserable Company', all of us victims of a harrowing life in India's maximum city decided to explore the city rather than sit and sulk. And boy-oh-boy, there began our fun!


From Nariman Point and Colaba in the SoBo to the suburbs-of-the-suburbs, Borivali, we've seen it all. Through these 8 weeks of 'Rigorous Imprisonment' in India's Financial Capital, I've learnt a lot. Some of the key learnings being:
  • Mumbai, the city of Crowd, Crows and Chaos: To get a glimpse of how beautifully populated this city is, visit any market, road or even better- any Railway Station! Walk into Andheri Station at 7pm any day and be sure to be mobbed as if you are SRK or BigB. I bet you cant stand at place in the station for more than 30 seconds without being taken into the flow of the crowd and the chaos that it brings along! The only other species that can give homo-sapiens competition in terms of number is - CROWS! A dozen of them hover over you even in your office lobby! :(
  • Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (Meaning: The whole world is one family): I understood the real meaning of this Sanskrit phrase only after coming to this city. And am not talking about the helpful lot of people on the streets, but, am referring to the mini-world in my PG! Never did i imagine that I could survive 2 months in a 3BHK (Mumbai sized apartments: CRAMPED!!) with 20 people! An unforgettable experience!! (P.S: Nightmare, most of the times)
  • Telecallers- RESPECT!!: After calling random numbers and hearing them use choicest of abuses, I have immense respect for all the telecallers who pester you to buy their products. Seriously, hats off for your patience and I vow to be sweeter on all such calls from now!
  • '90 ki Pav Bhaji and 130 ka Mango Shake': No, these are not prices at Marriot, but at Amar Juice Junction, Juhu! Food can really pinch your pocket, unless of course, you learn to explore cheaper alternatives- BHURJI PAV! :P :D
  • Rumours spread wilder than Fire: The Chicken Pox Scare refused to die down! From stealthily taking preventive homoeopathic medicines as if it were ganja and cocaine to keeping a tab on every pimple and boil on ones skin, this wildfire created a major havoc in our Mumbai days!
  • '_ _ Days to go': The sole motivator was the countdown I had set on my laptop showing the number of days left before I get home! :P
  • Karm Hi Dharm Hai: While most of us were dejected by the kind of work we were doing, a certain alien (not from Earth am sure) slogged at such a non-rewarding job. Thanks to him for making me understand that work is worship. (And more such learnings from his whatsapp statuses as well :P)
  • Being Happy: In spite of an arrogant boss, bad work with zillions of things 'not being a part of the scope of this internship', constant pressure to set up meetings and craving for home, I've learnt to be happy. But still, not as optimistic and positive as my future roommate.
These 56 days in Mumbai will undoubtedly be the most memorable ones for all the fun, frolic and 'learnings' that I have had. And of course, these 2 months would have been worse had I not had such wonderful friends around! Back to Bangalore in a couple of days, but Mumbai, tumko aur iss experience ko bhool naa paenge!