Thursday, April 30, 2009

Blissfully High

I woke up that morning. I opened the door to my room. In stead of the passageway of my house, I stepped on to a beach. I heard the sound of the waves. I saw a beautiful sun rise, but the breeze from the Arabian Sea didn’t allow my body to feel its warmth. It could have been one of my dreams, but this time it wasn’t. It was for real, the surroundings and my state of mind.

Through the Glare-ing Glass

Just before I had gone to sleep the previous night, I was sitting on the beach, alone, staring into the vast expanse of darkness that the ocean had become. Barring the sound of waves breaking on the shore and the hymn of the insects, it was silent. After a while, I could hear my heart beat too, as if it was playing along in harmony with the sounds of nature.

I didn’t notice the blanket of stars that shrouded the ocean until I decide to lie down on my back. The stars were infinite in number, unmatched in their luminosity and set up a great contrast with the emptiness of the night. The sky itself felt like an endless black velvet cloth studded with radiant diamonds.

Actually, any attempt to describe what I saw in words that night is in vain. Words can’t give you the high which you get when you are drunk on nature’s glory. You must experience it to realize how beautiful the creation of god is, both in grandeur and scale.

I could have spent the night spotting shapes by joining the twinkling dots of light. But I wanted to sleep so that I could etch the sight in my memory. Nostalgia would allow me to feel insignificant, bringing with it the realization that I am only a tiny part of His magnum opus.

I dreamt of what I had seen and then saw what I had dreamt of. I guess He knew my plan.

PS: For pictures, please visit my Flickr album.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why is it called an Interview?

I am jubilant. I have stayed away from the newspaper for a week. The feeling of nausea due to overconsumption of information has finally ceased. I have even stayed away from the many news channels that crowd the first 50 channels of my television box. So what if the world is slipping deeper into recession and India is anticipating two events (IPL and the Elections) which will see expenditure of 0.6% of our GDP in just over a month? Not much can change within a week. At least nothing that has any influence on me.

Why the sudden aversion from current affairs one may ask. I was preparing for a b-school interview. The array of questions that they can ask you is insane. And as a result, even if you consider yourself to be generally well-read, you are never as ‘aware’ as your interviewers are of the world around you, at least you don’t interpret things they way they do. Hence to try to raise the bar, I was reading like never before, reading topics which I would conveniently skip otherwise, understanding terms in finance and economy like market capitalization, recession, depression, debt, credit, sub-prime and updating myself with all the happenings in the political and business world. Frankly, it did help during the interview too, to an extent.

I always wondered, why can’t you simply Google information when you need it? Why do you need to know? Of course you need to know, it’s important for a good manager to be aware. You can only Google if you know the keyword to search. But then how can they expect an aspiring manager to understand everything they way they do? If he already did, then why go to a business school in the first place? Quite honestly, they don’t. They just want to see if you can make sense of the information. The whole process is centered on just two factors – presence of mind and analytical reasoning.

But that’s just one part of it. There are things you are certainly expected to know and understand in all ways - objectives, strengths and weaknesses, your education and work, your core values, interests and most of all yourself. And this is the tricky part because we all thing we know and yet we are not fully convinced ourselves. We don’t counter questions ourselves. Why should they have any rights to break our little dreams? We don’t want reality checks so early in life.

With all this I am sounding as if I was tortured during my interview. On the contrary, I was not. It was like a discussion like the ones we have in office over the current ‘hot’ topics. Not one question about anything to do with me. I didn’t come out smiling but I was not shocked either. In fact most interviews did probe some or all of the above issues in a very subtle manner, leaving the interviewee with little or no idea of how they thought he/she fared in those 15 minutes. My case was no different.

At the end, regardless of whether I get through or not, all the introspection helped me understand myself like I never did before. I am a lot clearer about my goals and will go on to achieve them with or without an MBA, but an MBA will make it a lot easier. I dug deep and struck gold. And for now, I have enough on my plate to last the next few weeks, even months.

The conclusion is completely unrelated to the interview but in sync with my mood. I have managed to read Deception Point, a masala novel by Dan Brown and I just love the excess of wild creativity and the lack of thought-provoking ideas. I am drifting again.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Beat the Heat

41 degrees should be no big deal, especially for someone who has stayed in Dubai for half his life. It is easily around 6 degrees cooler than the average temperature in Dubai and only half as humid. But it has been sucking the life out me over the past few days. Mumbai is warm and humid like never before. And what makes life worse is the fact that you don't have the luxury of an air conditioner at most places you go to for everyday work, barring office, which is literally always 'chilled out'.

And the temperatures have peaked at a time when I am celebrating my first weekend with no prior agenda in a long time. I knew I was going to face 'heat' in my interview but beyond that it should have been all cool. How wrong I was. It's possible the worst the weather in the city has ever felt. Being the outdoorsy person I am, I am quite stuck for options. Yes, I can go to a mall or catch up with a movie but it is never as satisfying as going to Marine Drive or sitting on the beach and watching the sun go down. I also wanted to play badminton over the weekend but not at the cost of a heatstroke. And one day is too less to learn and start enjoying swimming. 

So I have been sitting at home, watching movies (Chaos theory and American History X are both recommended, but avoid the latter if you don't like gore), cooking and catching up with friends and family. I hope to get hold of a few books too.

And in my idleness, I have also revamped my blogs look. It was painful because I had lost touch with the little XHTML I knew and had to read up loads to make the changes. Plus, my sense of colours seemed so rusty that I would have made a clown of my blog and wouldn't have known. 

So after four hours of due diligence, I present to you the new look of the blog.  As always, you can let me know if something doesn't feel right. It is a little difficult on a laptop screen to make exact sense of the colours so instead of making faces, point out the colours which appear flashy on your monitors. Besides, do you think keeping each post in a box is a good idea? I did it for the sake of readability but am not very convinced. How do you like the new header? Like always it features one of the photographs I clicked. And I chose blue because it looks 'cool'.

Now that I am done with giving my blog a makeover, I will begin looking for a new activity to spend time on, which will not include reading newspapers, watching news, planning for the future, preparing possible interview questions, understanding economic crisis and checking office mail. I have had enough and more. Have a happy weekend!!