Friday, October 19, 2007

Ali and I ended up as the runners up at the BT Acumen North Zone Debate competition. We were among the 4 teams that made it out of 32 to the finals. We didn’t win the final but both of us are reasonably pleased with the way things turned out. This was my first time at a really high profile event. It’s a pity that Ali and I found out that we were a pretty good debating team so late in the year. If only we had realized this a little earlier, we could have won a lot more competitions. Anyway at the end of the day I cant say I have any complaints. Here are some pictures from the event.( The pics are a little heavy, so be patient with your internet connection)

Harsha Bhogle, the host. The man is a gem. Great stage presence, fantastic sense of humor and best of all, completely down to earth with absolutely no airs about himself.

Thats my head there. It was unnerving to see myself magnified a few dozen times. I did my best to avoid looking at the large screen.I can only hope I did not have a dandruff problem at that time.

Thats Ali, certainly the more refined debater :-)

Team IMT

The prize distribution ceremony, with retail head of the Aditya Birla group and the Chief editor of Business Today.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Random Jottings from Chennai

1)Flying is indeed for everyone one now. At the Delhi airport I caught sight of a large and raucous procession of people obviously from some small village in Tamil Nadu. Leading them was a man with long wild hair and a fierce unkempt beard. His dhoti was old and faded and his shirt was open till the stomach, revealing a rainforest on his chest. My heart melted when his wife timidly asked me in broken hindi if their luggage would be safe. I assured her in Tamil that Indigo Airlines was unlikely to steal her suitcase. She smiled and confessed that it was her first time on her plane. I promised to help her locate her luggage when we landed. I’ll never forget the reaction of the air hostess when we boarded the plane. She good morninged everyone with plastic earnestness but her jaw dropped when she saw my hero. He gave her a rough salute and pushed his way into the plane. I gloated over her reaction for a while. So much for manufactured politeness. Later on I began to feel guilty. I cant think of anything more horrible than being polite and sweet to people who want to go to the loo just when the plane is taking off. Sometimes I just wish that airhostesses would be rude to passengers and scream filthy cuss words at them when they didn’t behave. I want to know how an airhostess really feels. When we landed in Chennai, my hero refused to enter the bus which would take us into the airport, loudly demanding to see his luggage first.

2)The sight of my aunt holding a steaming mug of filter coffee for me when I open my eyes has been a welcome change. Usually the first thing to greet my eyes in the morning is the foul sight of my roomie spread out corpse like on the bed. He somehow always manages to look like he was pushed out of a plane and landed splat face down on my bed. (He even manages to look like he contracted pneumonia on his descent.) My aunt hovered about anxiously as I imbibed the coffee, desperately wanting to know what I’d like for lunch. In the last four days I have feasted on thakkali sambhar, vengaya sambhar and kara kozhambu with roasted senakazhangu ,urulai kazhangu and fried appalam. When I die and enter the gates of heaven, I imagine it will be a South Indian hotel with my aunt installed as the head chef.

3)I love my 3 year old niece Sri Nidhi. She sits on my outstretched legs every afternoon as I catch up on the latest Tamil movies with my feet resting on a stool. I did my best to jiggle my legs in tune with every song and smiled as her head wobbled unsteadily on her slender neck. She is so slender, so delicate, so beautiful that I think I’ll have a daughter when the time comes. If I have a son, I’ll leave him with my sister.

4)I am convinced that I am wearing someone else’s face. Two days ago, I removed my French beard after being unable to bear my family’s stricken expressions. My 7 year old nephew had respectfully addressed me as ‘Chitappa’(uncle) when I entered. However that quickly deteriorated to “Ey meesai vechha dhaadi”(Hey moustache with the beard) by the evening. Now I gawk at the mirror unwilling to believe that the reflection(sans facial foliage) returning my horrified expression is indeed me. My French beard helped me define myself. I was BAD. I had enjoyed the porikki/tapori look. In the two months in IMT that I had it I had received repeated pleas to get rid of the fungus but I had braved it all. I was a rough and uncouth man, someone who would initiate a bloody fight at the slightest provocation. Now I look like I only eat fruits to survive.

5)I tried meeting all my friends in Chennai. The plan fell flat because I fell asleep the moment I landed at my friend Shobha’s place. When I woke up, everyone had left. Thus continues the curse that every MBA must endure when he goes home. Sleep takes precedence over a social life.

6)Its been a welcome break. I was getting moody and irritable at IMT and desperately needed a change. I cant think of anything more relaxing than spending time with family. I’ve had time to eat well, to sleep and most of all think clearly about some issues that were bothering me. Turns out that once you have the love of your family, good food and eight hours of sleep most problems cease to be problems.

7)At the Chennai airport, I decided to try something new and parted with a fifty rupee note to try out a new fangled massage chair for five minutes. It was the most terrifying five minutes of my life. I was the powerful grip of a ruthless machine that stopped just short of crushing my bones. One wrong setting somewhere and I could have been reduced to pulp.

8)While I sat on the chairs waiting for the boarding call, I realized I was sitting opposite to Meena, the tamil actress. During my troubled and hormone driven teenage years, Meena was the ultimate sex symbol of every horny teenager in South India. I would stay up late at night watching “Midnight Masala” hoping that my parents wouldn’t wake up and Meena would star in practically every steamy song. It felt odd sitting so close to her, knowing that once upon a time the sight of her clad in a clinging wet saree had aroused such fervent lust in me. Did she know intimately familiar I had been with her curves? Now she looked perfectly ordinary and aunty like, nothing like the curvaceous babe who had driven millions of teenagers to madness.

9)I’m writing this on the Indigo flight to Delhi. I’m already deeply in love with one of the airhostesses whose name I wont reveal due to some unpleasant experiences with Google.

10)I still want you Meena.