Saturday, December 27, 2008

Commercial break !!!

Chicken curry is getting cooked.. and will return with more spice and twists... pls keep waiting as I return from the holiday mood....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Say’s law…

Anand and me had very few things in common and yet we complimented each other so very perfectly. Things but had changed after the discourse by Ram in the canteen. The friend that I found in Anand had suddenly died and the trust that I had slowly developed in him evaporated. Not that Srilaxmi was the issue (!) but the way he handled it was. I some how had got into an impression that as a friend he will and should share everything with me as did I , a fool whose heart lay open and anyone could access it like a free software. I but this time was sure about my insistence and determination… I need to repackage and reposition myself….

When Dr Joseph the ED called for a weekly meeting, this time with subject allocation for the upcoming semester as the agenda I decided not to take my notepad and not to be seated near Anand for sure. It was easy for me as the meeting room was just next to my cabin, the pigeon hole where I sat, under a camera. Anand was in his usual best walking from cabin to cabin, with jokes and camaraderie which came naturally to him. For once I despised it, as I sat there seeing it, the loudness of it, the emptiness of it. He didn’t go to one cabin and that was Sri Laxmi… thanks to Ram ,or else I would never had had noted it…

Bastard… I muttered even as I waited for him to come to me with his charm and wit…I wanted to tear him into pieces ….

The meeting began and this time I sat in the front row, even as Dr Joseph rubbed his eyes in disbelief. Ram sat next to me, but that was suitable in the changed circumstances.

It is decided based on our last meeting... said the ED… to introduce a couple of new subjects in the current semester and the respective faculty members are already working on them…

A murmur ,albeit a small one erupted from the 25 or so faculty members of GIM who sat with mixed set of reactions in their faces. The more experienced ones were more composed and apathetic but the relatively newer ones showed fear, hope and joy when names and subjects were announced.....

This made GIM a funny place -the demand supply game and GIM believed in Say’s law which famously said that the supply will take care of its demand…In simple terms the economics guy will get to teach Consumer Behavior and the operations guy will be asked to handle Marketing I …. I kept switched off from all the courses and people until he said my name… Mr Sukesh Menon this time will handle International Marketing and Mr Anand Mohan will handle Advertising and Promotion Management.

My paper.. given to Anand….? Said my mind as my heart beat went up…fuck the ED….

He hadn’t said that fully before I raised my hand, and shouted .Ram was aghast by my voice so much so that he almost fell off as I spoke.

With due respects sir… I said to the ED…. Can I know the reason for such a change… I mean the logic?

The ED scouted for a reason and for the right words to sell the reason to me… I got confident seeing his plight.. he ostensibly wasn’t prepared for this and I could read it from the old man’s face …and I had a kind of courage that sprang up as a surprise even to me, a shiver that spread to every cell... all the habiliments of a moderate psuedo loyal that I wore was torn off suddenly.

What reason do you want? He finally countered me with a question…

I smiled… a question for a question cannot be the answer!!!

The logic for this sudden shift… the course which I have handled for three years and perfected it, I need to know why it is taken off from me.. I asked

I knew that the crowd was getting restless at this abrupt defiance from an otherwise obedient me… and I knew that the ED knew that IF he had to give me logic, he would end up doing that to everyone who got a new and even worse, unrelated subjects to handle.

Who said you have perfected it? .....asked the ED in what I thought was a poor attempt to skirt away from the question…

I saw a smile in Anand and a couple of others, but by and large I saw support and sympathy in other faces which emboldened me.

What more you want than the student feed back? ….I asked even as I stood up… and I want you to discuss that in this meeting… and in any case that was not an answer to my question which you are trying to drift away from.

The ED looked insipid and anemic … I even thought that he will faint, if I could trust his looks at that point of time.

There is a point in what he is saying… said Prof Ram, and it was a support that I needed much in that battle.

Why not we allow people to pursue with their favorite areas, particularly when they have proven it? ....said some one else..

Mixing up will not help.. let us keep going with the status quo.. said another voice…

A big smile bloomed in me,a very confident one, a one which only a winner can afford, a rare one armed with which I looked back and fixed a glance at Anand.. he but, still had that same smile in his face as if he was unperturbed and all this was trivial for his larger than life persona…

I hated him….

The ED had to heed under pressure but not before putting in place a stare on my eyes before he did and allocate the new papers to the newer people..

I got my subject back and my victory which I snatched from the jaws of defeat . But one thing kept unsettling me…

That smile… The more I tried to decode it the more confusing it became…

Anand and his smile….

How can people smile even in the face of defeat?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The burden of reason!!!

The ordeal of exams was over in a week, but for us the real exam began just then. No…. not the truck loads of answer sheets that was bundled and unloaded with impunity at our pigeon holes, but the dirty job that the King had put on our heads- me and Anand….

I had walked out of the room seeming in anger and rage over the choice… (Why me?) but more than the various factors that the top analysed and finally zeroed in me and my best friend (Did some one say when you have friends like this you don’t need enemies?) what annoyed me was Anand’s irritating glee at the admiration that we won at the Kings chamber… the practical wisdom that he was full of, suddenly became history and it kept fading every time he repeated “ it is a privilege” ...... I felt he was taking it to heart, as kids will learn multiplication tables, without meaning it, or knowing what was the implication.

For me it meant disaster… the more I tried to avoid being on the stage, the more I was dragged into it….

The huge portrait of Dr Joy at the reception was being removed when I walked out, this time alone to the canteen. I didn’t dispute Anand and his delight, didn’t venture to tutor him on how precarious would it be to preside over an enquiry commission at GIM where some students will have to be indicted at the end of the show… it would invite wrath if they were indicted, it would provoke fire if they were not… catch 22 as they call it…

Prof Ram was there in the canteen, with a big book (on strategy) and half a cup of tea which was vying for attention. He didn’t see me as I walked in and it was quiet like an ICU of a hospital. It was post exam break and the kids had gone home- away and free from the world of business studies and books,,, I went far from Ram and sat in a corner and regretted for not having a habit of carrying some book whenever I walked around. It was an easy curtain to hide…... It gave a shield of intellect while saving from glares and stares of a lesser than kind world.

Sri Laxmi walked in as well unsettling my plans of a lone afternoon where I could be myself and seen less and not on stage…

I saw you coming this side.. she said with an infectious smile which she carried as a weapon whenever she needed help…

Ohhh so you came in search of me… I asked sheepishly…

Yeah… she said with a grin and a sparkle in her eyes… I need to … who else but Prof Sukesh Menon , my first friend at GIM can be my saviour…

This time whose toilet ? … I asked her with lavish smile ,the reply for which erupted as a rage in her face. She was about to sit , but hearing me she didn’t and stood there staring at me…

How could you say that…. She yelled after a long gap even as tears rolled out from her cheeks as if they were just there, waiting for a nod…I hated this… God did a mistake by making women, and topped the mistake by bestowing them with the most lethal weapon .. tears which they used like an ATM card ..any where , anytime…

Ram turned around hearing the scream and saw her standing and in tears… I sat there stunned, like a criminal (I was an offender but …) I couldn’t react … in fact I couldn’t even move in spite of seeing Ram getting up and walking towards us…

Sri Laxmi… please… I some how managed to say…. I am sorry…. Please….

She was not that pleased but some how she left before Ram could start his enquiry….

He came and sat just opposite to me with his face full of question marks… Strategy and tea could wait as they were left alone where he sat … It was just a question of whether I would want him to ask me and then would reply or I will start the confession right away…

It’s about the seminar… I said and he didn’t believe it for sure….

Oh yeah… Ram smiled suggestively…. Is she sad that her speakers are not yet confirmed…?

I got the sarcasm but preferred to play the fool…

She is missing you in action…. Said Ram and as he leaned over the table hushing his voice to continue…there is a strong rumour in the faculty room…

I got a fright of my life… this bomb was not new to me and had heard it a couple of times ever since the toilet thing happened… ever since ED- the old bastard praised our chemistry… But I some how hoped that it had all died down…

I stared at his face even as I prepared my possible answers…I could defend it but I wanted to look genuine, convincing and not panicky for sure… I could say that we were just colleagues and nothing more that is if he was willing to listen….

He again leaned, this time too perilously close to me and with three legs of his plastic chair on air and one leg ready to take off…

Have you ever seen Sri Laxmi and Anand Mohan together..? he asked me even as he looked both sides to ensure absolute secrecy…He looked like a spy who was in a clandestine meeting selling nuclear secrets to the enemy…

WHAT? ......I asked… I was shocked at this O Henry twist… I rubbed off all the answers and arguments I had prepared in mind and sat fresh… sat straight and erect…

I didn’t hear you

I said have you ever seen Anand and Sri Laxmi together?.... He repeated… or ever knew that they have some connection?

No was my answer, a firm big blatant NO….but I paused… I did rewind my mind button… it ran fast… backwards… and got stuck at a point… pause…..

Didn’t Anand call me/ SMS me once.. twice from nowhere… many times when ever she came to my cabin from her's to meet me…

Didn’t he echo the things that I had blurted out to her…

And hey Sukesh…. My mind suddenly raised an alarm… Remember she had a smell of denim when she came in to your car once asking for lift…

Anand and Srilaxmi…? Together…?

Yet I was not sure… I mean I was not sure whether Ram meant the same… I but knew that my eyes had popped out and I looked pale and bloodless…

They are lovers… said Ram…. from long time and I am told that he came here on her reference…they don’t talk to each other just to keep stories at bay.. Evenings they are but always together,,, many have seen them….

I was guffawed and Ram could read it easily from my jaws that dropped, and my eyes that suddenly and for no reason got wet..

You did not know this? Ram put his final nail as he took back his chair to a safe landing but making me afloat and more insecure….

Ram left me alone possibly with a contention of having ignited me or even probably wanting to share more but knew that I couldn’t take any more that day….

But I haven’t ever seen them together… I will not believe it until I see it… the rational self told the emotional self in me…the burden of reason, but was painful…

My mobile rang…

Anand calling………it said

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Change the world !!

It was like Mumbai after terror… GIM after the rains looked shattered like and it had to bounce back to life….Anand was more than devastated and kept a low profile. To confess it, at first I felt good, my foul ego was finally satisfied, the one which always felt small when he was around, the one which always felt inferior when he walked, the one which always felt worthless when he talked, the one which always felt no where when he reached his targets in gun shot precision…

Later but, as a couple of days passed and when he stayed back in his cabin and I did in mine, as mobiles never rang and SMS never vibrated out, as intercoms stayed silent and as chat boxes maintained a strange silence, I got disturbed…it was for sure heeding to the fact that he has the spell, a sort of magic in him that changed the world around him.

To hell with my ego…. I mumbled as I walked to his cabin where he sat reading Change the world….and the moment I saw his book I started laughing…

Anand smiled in sadness as if he was sitting on a bed of thorns…

What is happening dear fellow… I asked him as I dragged a chair and sat opposite to him…

He didn’t reply…

Anand… what is your problem? ....I put it directly, as I saw no point in being polite and wandering around…

You really think that I created the havoc…?.... He asked me… I mean by catching the ones who copied???

I had a big chuckle…..

They would have done it the way they did it in any case my dear friend… I said taking his hands in mine and reassuring him….

But here, they have done nothing like that before…. Have they?

But here there was never such a situation before… I said with a smile… did you think about it that way?

He looked as if I was a puzzle and he was a kid trying to unravel it…

I mean… the rains, the power off, it all came together…. and hey in any case you are not the first faculty to catch kids copying… I said with confidence…

But I guess I am the first one to get them to the HQ and preside over their debarring… Anand said and there .... there I got stuck…

He was.. he was the first one to do so… he was right as well… students who copy in exams had to be send out… but to where…?

At GIM that was a big riddle….

I don’t know Suk…. He said with sheer condescension…. I don’t know what next

I know … I said, half convinced as I had to tell something to cheer up the guy… the savior… the chosen one… the commander in chief of Operation Apple cart…

Right then Jhansi Williams came in with hesitating steps…

Dr Joy wants to meet you… she said with agony dripping from her face as if it was a bad news.. Well it was, but how would she or we know that then unless we had Nostradamus like abilities to predict…

Hmmm Anand… I told him as I got up and prepared to leave… you meet the king and come back… I shall wait …

I was wondering what it could be and why Dr Joy was the caller directly and that was when Jhansi said to me with more anguish in her face and voice…. You too sir.. Both of you in fact…

Did Anand have a flash of smile …? I don’t remember but yes, he felt comfortable at that news… he apparently felt that he was in company ..good or bad better left to time ,to decide….a calm look appeared in his face..

Manohar sat first in the King’s cabin, then the VC who was followed by Dr Joseph the ED .Dr Joy sat in the central chair and they all looked grim and gloomy. I got tense seeing them all together and the actuality that it was for us that the TOP of GIM was waiting for… Dr Jesus was notably absent and that made me uptight even more… Anand sat next to the VC and now the only two chairs that were left were one near Manohar and another one near Dr Joy. I didn’t had much of a choice as Dr Joy signaled me to the one near Manohar….

When is the EMEP programme starting? Dr Joy asked me even before I was settled in my chair…

Well … I formed an answer quickly and tried to present it but words simply refused to move out like a line of cars wedged in a traffic jam….

Whenever you are…. Said the VC…. Please present to us a plan… a detailed item to item proposal… we have planned it meticulously now the execution has to match it….

Sure sir… I said with a smile, reading between the lines of the chanakya… I knew this old man and could conjecture the countless meanings that he would imply for each word he uttered and a smile was my response….

Professor Anand and Professor Sukesh… said Dr Joy when I was about to assume that they had called us for a discussion on EMEP and its implementation…. You are two brilliant teachers at GIM and we need your help at this juncture…

I smiled at the eulogy even as I doubted its authenticity that it came from a man who did it quite often to get his work done… Anand sat with a stoic silence, and no smiles as if he didn’t want the brilliance that was just bestowed upon him….

You know the incidences that happened the other day… said the VC… it is highly condemnable that in a B school like ours, such unruly mob behaviour did happen….

He sounded plain and insincere…. He should have been India’s home minister.. I wrote in my mind as the note pad wasn’t a good idea in such a meeting…

The management but do not want to look hasty.. said Manohar…. We want to go to the roots…. and find out what is the problem….

Now this was getting interesting… this pattern that unfolded… this sequence that looked well rehearsed… this carefully worded mumbo jumbo….

What is the ED going to say? .....that was my worry ..... in any case his is the turn next….

The management has decided to form a faculty panel which will investigate into the happenings and recommend corrective action .. said the ED putting an almost end to the suspense that I had…

Now Anand and me looked left and right as the baton was passed from player one to player two. We looked like viewers in a tennis match….

So my dear friends….said the King with some drama added… We have decided based on various factors that it will be you two under the able guidance of Dr Joseph who will do the job… I wanted you to know this before we announce it.

I didn’t smile, but this time Anand, to my horror was doing it.. he looked as if he had been conferred with the Bharat Ratna and was waiting at the Ashoka hall to get it pinned to his coat…

Stupid fellow… I muttered…..

Wouldn’t you be glad to help GIM in this endeavor?… asked the VC with his eyebrows up, arched in suspicion….

Oh yeah… shouted Anand… it is a privilege

I didn’t shout but felt the quagmire that we were walking into… Anand with a smile dancing on his blushing face and me with fear flowing out, no matter how hard I tried to control it…

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

When it Rained....

Some times grave and serious, rarely hilarious, timid for most of the time when I am not certain, a little jealous when I am not philosophical, cheerless when a little worried, and in high spirits when inspired… that was me according to me ……. In the class room I became a different person and did theatrics and histrionics which elevated me to a different level… It was fun… the markets, the market cake, the market share pie of the cake, competition…. But when it came to exams it was always sad to see the guys sitting blank counting stars and drawing pictures on air …
All the teaching wouldn’t be of much help and it was miserable when they wrote the paper you taught and you are in the exam hall as the supervisor…The exam season at GIM was generally not turbulent but this year it was…The rains, the copying, the suspension, the debarring, and above all the enquiry constituted by Dr Jesus for the mess that the kids made of GIM when the power went off…the enquiry is a different story but this is what happened which lead to the enquiry…

Anand Mohan was at Jesus’ cabin when the power went off and the kids rained mayhem and reigned the GIM building like the cave men of some bye gone era….papers ,plastic, coke bottles, glass and whatever they could get hold of came flying from here and there.. I had ran out choosing the more dependable rain than the chaos inside but some who were running in from the heavy rain outside got hurt from the UFO’s that came from the floors above and hit their unintended targets without clemency…

The ruckus that the guys and gals formed and the confusion that some small group in some class began for fun when the power went off, flew to the neighbouring classes with ferocity, and when power refused to come back added with rain and thunder which formed the back ground score, the chorus and fun spelt over to the corridors, the staircases and it ran shock through the system… Fun had vanished.. it was revenge, plain frustration which splurged like hot lava from a fresh volcano… the darkness gave them the excuse….

Power supply was reestablished by the GIM technicians after a war like struggle for about 20 minutes but then that was a hell lot of time needed for 250 odd men and women trapped in 5 floors of the GIM building to redefine havoc… they had no strategy, it was not planned, organized, staffed, controlled and coordinated, no one marketed the darkness and din and yet it was so perfectly choreographed bedlam……

When again the lights were on and the pandemonium died down, I went inside the building to see litter and trash everywhere, faces with blood from the flying objects and with expressions that at best could be termed as disbelief … People slowly started coming out from their rooms and shelters…

Thank God I ran out… I said to myself as I sat near the lift at the reception unable to decide what to do. I knew that the top will emerge, enquire and execute orders…

But this would be appalling even for them and may be they will axe some scapegoats but the real ones…?
Were there any real ones for that matter?

Anand came out with Jesus and a host of others who emerged from the lift which opened. The reception area which was the centre point of the attack as it opened to all the 5 floors above looked like a garbage yard and the soil and stink appeared in the lines that appeared in the top management’s face. Jesus didn’t utter a word and so did Dr Joseph the ED…The VC picked up one or two coke bottles and inspected them as if he was a finger print expert… Anand stood with them silently and with his eyes pasted at mine, clearly questioning my presence there .there was logic, some one like me, at the reception there at that point of time….?

The team walked around, inspected the receptionist whose head was bleeding, ordering for a doctor, and inspecting the damage… Physical damage that is… emotional damage was in tones and gallons and it showed in all the faces… discipline in the most rigid for was practiced in GIM and it was one of the pillars which the HQ touted as the secret of GIM’s popularity among the corporate and the parents and here it lay badly raped and bruised….

When the team went up stairs to inspect floor after floor, Anand came to me and caught my hands….

He looked dazed but still had a very peculiar smile…

Now what was that Suk??? He asked me …

Rain … I said

What are you doing here? He inquired again….

What were you doing in Jesus’ room ?… I posed a counter question…

I had gone to hand over a couple of guys whom I caught copying… he said…

Great work man… I said with sarcasm…. You would be delighted that they are debarred… for a year.. that means they will have a 3 year MBA…

Anand had a so what look in his face but didn’t respond…He was possibly surprised that I knew the news, already …

This guys were writing from a piece of paper when I was there.. I mean I can pretend to be ignorant of small tricks but …. He defended…

He had a point there but still…..

You are new but you know the system rightyou could have settled it inside the class room… you should have… I said with anger…

He didn’t speak…

Can we sit some where? He asked after a long minute…

Canteen…? I gestured…

The rain had subsided but the dusk continued. It was but refreshing to walk out of the building only until we reached the garden… the garden was strewn with dirt and filth… the roses had all fallen, trees uprooted, the lawns had more clay than green and climbers lay astray and helpless like wounded soldiers….

You have created this havoc… I said while Anand still looked embittered … I was sure he regretted the decision….

He believed that piece even though that was just my postulation…the guys would in any case have done what they did even if Anand hadn’t caught some of them for copying… all the charm of the hunk had disappeared…the change agent that he was, looked a changed man himself.. the chosen one choose to remain silent, and sit there looking to the horizon like a pathetic looking hero of an art film….

I smiled …..Operation apple cart has begun…..I said to myself….

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Experiential learning ...Part II

It was an angry morning.

Dark and dim sky stared down at lesser mortals who panicked at the sudden change on what would have been a sunny and sultry summer morning. It wasn’t pouring when I drove down from home to office but it was about to begin. It was only a matter of time. The heavens kept grumbling and shouting and it was pitch dark at 8 45 in the morning when vehicles queued up and scrambled at the huge gates of GIM.

It was exam day… the seniors writing their first exam of the third semester and the juniors writing their first exam of the first semester. GIM wore a look of gloom, to a degree due to the fuming sky but mainly due to exams which was always a tough affair.

Jansi Williams and her team of faculty assistants were busy in pasting role numbers room after room after which the peons will lock them and keep the students at bay till the first bell goes on air at 9 30 am. The kids sat, stood and walked with books, some teamed up discussing possible questions, some sat alone, some stared at the dark heaven hoping for divine intervention. Some assumed the role of teachers where they taught (more because in the process their concepts got clearer and less because the listener’s welfare was a concern) a few who cared to listen …Still others kept searching their laptops for power points and reading stuff the faculty would have provided long back when he or she taught but which got lost among other important things like hottest songs and spicy videos… No one sat idle or without reading or writing, as in GIM all said and done exams was not an easy phenomenon…

The list of invigilators was published a day in advance and I knew that I had to do the boring job of going around in the exam hall, around and around peeping into papers, gawk and gape at violators, be suspicious and above all pretend to be alert and stern as the cameras watched unkindly. I have always felt that exam time at GIM was testing time for the students of course but more so for the teacher who invigilated.

Faculty members please listen… came out Dr Joseph the ED, from his cabin to the common area of the faculty room…..

All heads turned and all eyes posted at the old man who stood in a stylish posture which he would have thought as similar to the James bond 007 but de facto looking like Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura….

It is assumed that the seniors know all the rules, but it cannot be the same with the juniors… he declared.. the faculty members are asked to announce it before the commencement of the exam….

He listed out the rules,( which if all of them were to be broadcasted, would be taking half the time of the exam) and then said…… All the best to all of you…

Satirical he tried to be occasionally and most of the times it sounded like a gibe……To survive an exam season at GIM was tough for the taught and the teacher …..

Anand called me in intercom…

Hey Suk…. He said …. We are in adjacent halls… hall 5 and 6 in second floor…today we should finalise our plan for operation apple cart….

Well I needed to … after all GIM had chosen me as the anchor for its EMEP programme which will turn around the future of the MBA guys…and may be turn around GIM as well…

Exams when it began were as usual a mixture of hilarity and horror …. hilarity for the observer and horror for the partaker … I was in class 6 which was the last hall in the second floor and from where, the two rows of windows if opened we one could see the endless limits of the sea… The A/C was in full swing and windows couldn’t be left open as per the rules… GIM hated knowledge and noble thoughts that came from outside, understandably so, but fresh air too?

Walking up and down in a large class room for an entire stretch of 3 hours was not an easy task, particularly for the lazy academics that did no work physically as most of our work was intellectual, and using the brain (again that is a supposition, assuming that....
1. every teacher had brains or intellect as they call it,
2. it worked always and ....
3. the outcome was fruitful for the students at large…)

I did a lot of thinking during such sessions, walking up and down noting down stuff, ideas ,philosophy, verdicts, names, instances ,judgments and any such crap in my note pad.

My mobile vibrated …

1 message… it said

Anand Mohan ….

Breaking news …..Prof Latha is sent out from the exam hall by Jesus, for sitting and reading India Today … …. the SMS said…

I don’t remember who this Prof was… well I mean knew her who joined recently but wasn’t close to her, for want of time and interest … It was pointless in GIM… people came and went as in a railway platform… relations became a burden when they left…

Jesus walking in seeing the lady in her chair, relaxed with India Today, the kids in sharing info verbally via gestures and physically… some in a shock with his answer papers in the neighbors table, some with two question papers in his possession while the hapless neighbor has none…….

Annoyance, angst, alarm …. I tried to visualize the exam hall from where the faculty invigilator would have had to go out with head down, reluctant and disgraced ….

I walked even more briskly after the SMS… kept my note pad in table and feigned to be more vigilant, as the cameras beamed their eyes on the hall and also as I knew that Jesus will come out from nowhere with salvation and surprise to the suffering…

Anand never came from hall number 5 to 6 to discuss operation apple cart as he called it. I was relieved that he didn’t, as apple cart was not a darling project of mine (I know I was the chosen one though) and as I didn’t want to walk like an accused…

Hi sir… said Suhail khan who emerged from a hall after the exam, as I walked down with the answer sheets to be deposited at the exam coordinators office.

Hey how did you do your paper …. I asked him just for courtesy

Fine sir… he said but a smile was missing…

Any problems in your class sir..?

No why? …I felt it anomalous… oh yes…. may be he was referring to the prof who was caught updating her information on India today……Jesus was an idiot to reprimand a faculty in public…

Prof Anand caught three guys copying….. and they are debarred from writing further exams….. said Suhail Khan….

Anand will not do that …..was my first response but I kept it to myself…I wanted to see him….

He didn’t come to the faculty room for some time. Most of the prof’s had returned with their answer sheets… students were seen here and there; especially the studious ones who dared to do some post mortem of the QP with their teachers but Anand didn’t and his mobile phone was not reachable….

I went and stood at the main door of the faculty room to get hold of Anand the moment he comes in……

The dark skies still loomed … and all of a sudden power went off…GIM was engulfed in darkness… for a long minute it lingered and no one made any sound……then came down a thunder with ground breaking ferocity… the doors clang and I ran outside fearing an earthquake……then came a huge uproar from all the floors, in unbelievable unison, the students shouted /cried/sang and it reverberated across the corridors and walls…

Rains lashed down after hours of waiting and so did the guys in all the 6 floors of GIM… scattered they were and yet it all came together…..

The darkness was welcome, and even a deluge would be greeted with cheers…

GIM stood trembling in the thunder… it stood shivering in the rain, and as if ashamed, it kept its head low, slowly bowing unable to swallow the infamy….

Even in the thick of dimness I could feel the smell of denim and yet, I missed him….

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Outsider !

The hot tea and banana fries went in to make some change in me.. The hunk who never indulged in oily stuff ordered a vegetable sandwich (cheese free) and waited….I kept gulping the hot banana fry as he sat there watching me.. Advice was to follow… hit the gym… eat healthy.... bla bla bla…

But nothing happened…

He was unusually silent….

I guess Sukesh.. he said ,possibly unable to endure the dirty sounds that I was blatantly producing… the time has come

I looked at him questioningly… time to hit the gym and compete with him in looks? Aura? Majesty?... huh!! no way…

Time to change things here…. Time to upset the apple cart…. Said Anand looking somewhere far through the window, and talking to the world…

I laughed… Banana fry could wait but these communist style utterances from a US educated, branded, neo colonialist, capitalist symbol of a man was quite bizarre and once in a life time chance to encounter with….

You mean in the GIM? change things here?… I laughed again as if he was kidding….

Yes in GIM… we can do it… this EMEP programme is a God send opportunity to do it….he uttered with an unyielding expression…

I didn’t smile… I didn’t even react… I couldn’t unravel this puzzle named Anand mohan…

I know .. he said quickly…. You are a statusquoist ….. and you remain so… but imagine what is the fun in passing off like a ship in the night…? Sukesh Menon….. just another academic? You want to be the role model of the hundreds of kids here… the aspiring young managers…

My banana fry got over and his sandwiches had arrived…. He kept talking while I tried to make both ends meet… connect the apparently unmatchable threads… this story had a hero for sure, but who is it..? Anand or me? This story had villains for sure? And is this guy one?

Suhail khan for instance… he was helpless and you stood there even more helpless… you should have helped him… you should have gone to Jesus and told him …
Said Anand,,,,

I woke up… he was referring to the episode outside the HQ some days back… Suhail khan had shared with me his plight and predicament in this same canteen and later outside the HQ…

You pretended to be apathetic… and then he came to me… said Anand… and you know what he said… ?

I didn’t know… I just knew that Anand went to Jesus and saved Suhail from his troubles… and also knew that Suhail would be eternally obliged and would be worshiping Prof Anand Mohan as his hero…

Even Sukesh sir is not able to help me… Said Anand… I repeat.. Even Sukesh sir

You know why that EVEN came there… asked Anand?

I didn’t know… and I kept quiet… today it was my day to listen and I decided to do it….

He admires you a lot… simple… The sandwiches were getting over and a fresh glass of carrot juice came….

Huh… I said in desperation… I don’t believe it… why should he? And ok… I accept it for argument sake… he does… even if he does, what do you expect me to do?

Help them… said Anand… in management teaching dude, the teacher is a model not only inside the class, even otherwise, particularly young ones like us.. most of them see them in us.. see a possible them in us…

Was it new to me?

I myself had been a student in a B school some years back and have admired some teachers, revered some like a fanatic fan, and have detested some with vengeance… But in a place like GIM was it all possible?

It is dude… EMEP will start after the exams scheduled for day after tomorrow… we will make a plan and that plan will change the GIM system… trust me man it will… he said with a smile, even as I paid the bill and walked out…

He quickly followed me… you didn’t say anything

You know everything… I said with a smile… you even know what is in my mind… and what more you expect me to say… ?

Anand plucked a flower from the garden… Dr Joy was an avid admirer of flowers and plants and that made the GIM gardens a wonderful place…… remember Gray??… he asked me…..Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,….And waste its sweetness on the desert air….. remember?

I nodded…

I knew what he was hinting at but couldn’t commit…May be I would have if it was not for Prof Ram who came across the garden and stopped to talk to me…

Anand kept walking as I expected… walked some distance and turned back throwing the flower to me and to say…. I will wait… operation apple cart cannot launch without you….

I couldn’t reply, since Prof Ram was already there just opposite to me….

I am sorry…. Prof Ram said… for the EMEP thing… I didn’t know that it was thrust on you….

I smiled… here was the most senior of GIM professors, in the midst of this garden apologizing to a much junior professor, young enough to be his son….

No issues sir… I said touching his hands which he locked with mine ….

This is a good opportunity Sukesh… Said Prof Ram to me as my face opened wide and my eyes fluttered… it’s the first time that such a big responsibility has passed on to an outsider

That was again a GIM parlance… Outsiders are those in GIM who didn’t subscribe entirely to the management philosophy there as compared to insiders who were hardcore loyals to the HQ. Prof Ram was an outcaste... far away even from outsiders...

I just smiled… Prof Ram walked to the canteen as I did into the GIM building…

The huge mansion stood there, staring at me, the outsider, the first one who made it……

Anand had almost convinced me… now Ram too…

Sukesh Menon was still frightened to seize the chance!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Experiential learning... part I

I went back, to the happy news that Anand Mohan was supposed to break to me the other day. I was appointed as the coordinator of the Experiential Management Education Process (EMEP) which was conceived and envisaged by the top with inputs from wizards like the ED and thrust upon me and the students of MBA. It was just the latest one in a series of programmes that was launched and withdrawn but the ones like me who was caught unawares were usually the victims. It was acceptable that when it was conceived the executor was never told but it was not tolerable that even when it was to be executed, the executor was kept in darkness, totally.

EMEP programme is designed for the wholesome management learning experience to be transferred to the pupil through various means that are non classroom type and to supplement the class room learning that will make perfect managers…

said the document which announced my coronation and when I stood there at the notice board reading it, I saw eyes, many pairs of them staring at me and my name in midst of the semantic jugglery which seemed to have been made to make the whole announcement look mystifying.

Happy eh…? Asked Prof Ram while I sat in the common area of the faculty room…

EMEP Menon… some one said… has arrived….

I didn’t respond.. I didn’t know what the whole thing was about… In fact I didn’t even remember what EMEP was… Jesus would have known it and so was ED but no one else… I for sure no…

The management recognizes talent… said some one smiling in sarcasm …. The right person for the right job…

Many others laughed in mirth… John Holland would be proud… the personality job fit theory is being proven right….

I hated the academic community for its propensity with which it prejudged people and the penchant with which it found delight in it … but I was one among them and may be in more than one occasion I have done the same as well.

I sat there with a smile just because I knew that boys don’t cry …

How I hoped that the cameras had recorded it all and Jesus had just walked in with a stick punishing the bad.

How I hoped that the notice just disappeared or gave some other name instead of mine as the coordinator of the EMEP show…

How I hoped that no one could read it till I make it clear from Dr Joseph the ED or even Jesus as to what this new thing was…

How I hoped that I could ask some one…..WHY ME?

The ED didn’t help much and talked without clear answers.. he specialized in vague and formless talk when he desired so and it was clear that my answer will not come from the old war horse…

EMEP will help them achieve what class rooms cannot… he told me… its is a pioneering method which so far no B school has adopted and we are going to create history of sorts…

It was not my answer… I mean… not for the worry I had and which I had put across to him as a question…. and in any case I didn’t want to create history…

The question mark in my face became more prominent and yet he said again…

It is about innovating new pedagogical tools which will complement the management learning and enhance the wide thinking and the open behaviour that management students should be having…

From his verbal diarrhea I could guess who would have written that notice which I read in the notice board and who would have suggested my name to Jesus… He hated me for no reason or for some reason which I couldn’t make out….the toilet episode with Sri Laxmi was a long forgotten one for me, even for Sri laxmi but I guess he still lived there.. inside his stinking toilet….

I had understood what he meant even though the long sentences didn’t make any sense.. I was there and was to take care of a show which will keep the students engaged in an extra curricular stuff during after noons.. I hadn’t had time for the curriculum and now this one…

I didn’t venture to see Jesus as I knew it wouldn’t make any difference… he will not present long winding sentences for sure, nor will he jargonize but he will keep you affianced in his mesmerizing speak which will make you stop thinking about what you are there for and leave the room with him hand in hand feeling so proud that the director of GIM saw you as so dear a friend…

This time I am not going to take it lying downI swear… I told myself as I wrote it down in my note pad….

Then you will have to try doggy position… said a husky voice from behind…

What …? I turned around to see Anand in a blue shirt and cream trousers, with that classic smile flowing, and the smell of denim announcing his arrival. Any day he was the best dressed person inside the campus and if a voting was done he would for sure win, hands on…

I didn’t get you.. I said apathetically ….

Every time if you are taking it lying down, you cannot enjoy it… said Anand …try alternative positions…

I didn’t reply… I think I didn’t smile even… he didn’t expect any reply either… he went on…

What is your problem? He asked me… quickly adding… other than me???

I smiled this time.. all said and done, his being there gave a respite…

I told you ‘happy news’ is coming… fuck the world… now you are the chosen one… said Anand… Imagine what all we can do … every afternoon, the whole crowd is at our disposal

I looked into his eyes… he had large striking eyes resolutely set in his handsome face- every inch of which was made to perfection, he stood in a pose which resembled Michelangelo’s David with with one leg holding his full weight and the other leg relaxed. A slight s-curve to the entire torso was his way of standing which made him different…

Stop admiring me… he said accompanied by a loud laugh… and reply

Admiring my foot… I said in embarrassment … I did admire the guy and his vitality… but was troubled of the possible repercussions of his behaviour…

Can we take a stroll? ....He asked…

I wanted it, wanted badly to escape the gloomy comforts of the faculty room..
Escape its stillness that could kill…Its sound that was torturous …the cameras that make one smirk even in suffering…the populace who could peep over cabins fulsome in jealousy... abundant distrust that flew freely along with the conditioned air from the centralized AC plants…

I just wanted to go where there were no notice boards with words and words in print that meant nothing and no bosses who hurled shocks like stones that rained down along with dying comets!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Taste of indifference!

Sri Laxmi came and sat opposite to me the next afternoon disturbing my nap…
I was in deep slumber, first with head oscillating left and right and then later half of my huge body on the table and my head on the extended left arm..

I woke up hearing the big laugh… the gal sat there with more chuckles than I could afford at that point of time…

But I am what I am and she was what she was…. elegant as ever or even more, more pompous, more beautiful and more smiling…. like a dream which came descending down with all the heavenly charm..

Yes Madam … I said half awake… how can I help you?

If you remember … she said with her eyes firmly pasted on mine…we are co coordinators of the upcoming seminar… and you seem to be keeping away..

She had become bold… she was no longer the shy damsel who once was lost in the huge interiors of GIM.. she was no longer the same old scared little lass who cried and ran away from the class room unable to bear the kids of GIM…

Her curls of long hairs on both sides of her smooth face moved in tune with the soft breeze and with eyes of such an unsure bluish brown that seemed to have mixed with their whites by mistake, she sat there expecting an answer…

I had nothing much to say… It was a problem of getting the right words and the right content.. being politically right was important… I wanted to keep away from the seminar..My ego didn’t want to play second fiddle to an inexperienced junior girl but my chivalry wouldn’t allow me to be blunt to her with that fact….

May be I should have been an evangelist..…!!!

The phone rang…

Sukesh Menon here
… I said

Hey dude… what’s that babe saying… asked Anand on the other side with a dirty laugh…

Huh… I just gasped…

Lucky guy dude…. Got the best babe in town…. he said suggestively...

I didn’t dare to tell him to behave like a professor… Mind your own business.. I whispered instead and kept the phone…

I am into so many other things Sri Laxmi
… I murmered without allowing her eyes to lock in mine …. They seemed to be hiding more than what they revealed… or was it just because I saw it that way?

I took it up because they said you will be with me… she said … now I am lost… I don’t know what to do and what next......

Her paradigm shift seminar was none of my worry for sure but she was, her presence was… I wanted to send her off diplomatically…

THEY? Who is that THEY? ......I shot a query to take the discussion to my channel

The management… who else? And you thought I played a game with you to be a coordinator of a stupid seminar…her face blushed with rage….

It is not yet a stupid seminar my dear… I said to myself… if you are going to do it you will for sure make it one…

A smile did bloom in my face which (may be) for her stare appeared like a scorn…

I never knew that you can be so indifferent… she said as she stood up to go but added… Big people have big ego’s I know but I always felt that you are different…

Oh yeah… different and indifferent….
I mumbled as she walked away…

Indifferent? ….

Did she say that?

INDIFFERENT?


That is what Jesus too had told me in the lift the other day…

That was the management’s view point but how did she knew that??

I saw Suhail Khan outside the HQ that evening.. he had a sad look, and agony was looming over it…he looked stressed out and almost about to crumble… If I ask something I was sure he will succumb… wanting to avoid that I tried to walk away without recognising his presence…

He wasn’t ready for that but….

Sir…… Prof Anand is talking to Dr Jesus ….
He announced… I guess I will be relieved ....

I tried to smile…

Anand?

The omnipresent James Bond was there every where... he was like snowy dog in tintin series... in every frame... HUH !!!!!…

Why is it that he had no sense of what to do where and what not to do where…? Next time when I get him free I should teach him the serenity prayer.. I kept planning ans that was when Anand Mohan came out of the HQ, cheery and beaming, tapped the guys shoulder and said…. Now you can go and meet him…and let it be the last time ok…

Suhail Khan admiringly looked into the Hunk’s big eyes… He caught the prof’s hands and started crying…

Come on man… Anand said holding him in a tight embrace… be bold… just go in….

I stood there as a silent spectator… This was one rare scene in GIM…. As Suhail went inside, Anand walked away not even acknowledging my being there…

Wasn’t that indifference?

He left a trace of the denim smell and it disturbed me a lot, but the unanswered questions that he left behind was more worrying......

No words in literature can express it fully… you should meet this guy once to know what I mean..

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Oxymoronica !

Jesus had a double life.. one as the Director of GIM where he ruled over as the crown prince with occasional intercession from Manohar- his brother in law who was also a pretender to the throne, and the other one as an evangelist which was a passion and part time business …

The first role kept him dipped in opulence as he drove around flashy and costly cars, got connected through the latest devices and gizmos, flew in and out of town for no particular reason, spend evenings at hi society clubs to network, was seen in all the big parties with a flashy smile in his face and sizzling wine in his hand…

The second one was just opposite..... where he saw and dealt with poverty- face to face and preached God and his ways to the deprived…drew pictures of God’s mercy and miracle to the destitute and how easy was it to cross the suffering by adopting God by way of the cross…

From day one I was amazed by this balancing act… was he a lavish contradiction in himself or one great marvel that God had created?

An oxymoron that was incomparable, at least to my eyes…

At GIM no one well-liked Jesus as an administrator because he wasn’t one… in fact in his absence things went hassle free but no one did dare tell him the actuality and he got to hear only praise and his court was full of eulogists who composed songs on a daily basis and got rewarded for the same.

I was going through your personal files and CR… Jesus told me that evening when we met accidentally in the elevator …. It is cool … in fact amazing… but I guess you need to start taking writing seriously…

I kept mum… I knew that he likes listeners than talkers ….

Write articles like Professor Ram… or many others… He went on… as an academic if you want long standing it is a must….

I knew that it was true, in spite of the fact that the fact came from the wrong mouth… He knew everything or at least that is what one get to feel when he talks, but if he knew so much then how come he was such a poor administrator ?.. I doubted…

Sukesh …are you listening…?

Yes ….yes sir… In fact even I was thinking the same… this year with classes taking most of my time.. I couldn’t write much…

Oh classes… will be there always… that cannot be a reason for not writing… he cut me mercilessly as he walked out of the lift which had reached the ground floor and quickly turned back to add… I also hear that you have become a bit indifferent these days… I for sure will not believe that…. but be careful… I am not the only one on management

Jesus had the knack choosing the right words …. He had done his bit…now the worrying job was mine…and damn me the worry box opened even as the lift doors closed with a tense me still trapped inside….

Prof Ram was no longer my consultant during worrying times.. not that I stopped trusting him but that I started receding into my cocoon… it seemed safe but you never know.. Any time a container of boiling water can welcome you… still it was safe as long as no one spotted the cocoon …

I took refuge in the canteen which wore an empty look with the kids away with study holidays and the staff all busy doing nothing in their respective offices….the intelligentsia or the Intellectual Capital which made one of the pillars of a B school would be all busy gossiping , sleeping or doing cut copy and paste research…. After all targets had to be met….

Remember me sir,,,? Came asking a familiar face…..

Oh yeah…. I said… half in delight to have seen a student’s face in a dry lonely canteen and half in embarrassment over my inability to remember student names…

Suhail Khan … he said with a smile… I am specializing in Operations and HR… I had told you once…

Well he had… I remembered.. in the lift again.. some time back….

Yeah yeah… I said with a stupid grin… I promise I will remember you next time

You bet sir… he retorted …

Can I sit here sir? He asked….

Oh yes please… I invited him…. Have some tea …

I will have your favorite banana fry… he said still happy…

Hey … I asked with open eyes… how do you know that???

Who doesn’t know that sir…? What you are, is not what you think you are… sir… he said as if he was enacting the main role in some philosophical play on stage…. It is what others think you are…

Well I know you are doing HR but that doesn’t mean that you can make a simple banana fry look that complicated… I laughed at my humour …

Suhail khan but refused to laugh…. He sat there with a gaze fixed in my face….

Tell me Suhail… how I can help you?….I asked, in an attempt to take the conversation further…

You cannot help me sir… I don’t know who can but I need some one to help me… I badly need
…..he said….

Now I have to admit that I really got tense… students and their affairs at GIM was entirely the HQ’s prerogative and no one meddled in it… no one even listened to it….and even if they did it didn’t make any difference… here I was in the middle of the canteen that hot evening, with a cup of tea and banana fry sitting with this young man who was nothing more than a stranger not knowing what to do next…

I am caught by Dr Jesus every time …. He said with his eyes getting wet….

Caught for what? I asked perplexed…

For all the wrong things… he bewailed

Like for eg…?

Some one was drinking in the hostel.. in some room upstairs…. Last night…. And by about 1. 30 in the night Dr Jesus came for a raid…. Caught many … I didn’t even know the happenings but this morning the story is like I am the leader…. He said in one breath…

1.30 in the night? I wondered….and why such an anti climax… if you were not there

He started crying like a small kid, at GIM even though that was common....

How I hoped that I didn’t come to the canteen that evening….I knew what he wanted .. I also knew that I couldn’t help it….

My mobile rang… Anand Mohan calling ..it said…..

Hey dude…where are you? came the husky voice as loud as he could yell ,as if I am deaf…

Why? ......I asked in a fit of fury…

Come over ..there is a happy news for you…. He said in mirth and went off air…

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Behave like a Professor!

Life is a game… the better player you are the better is your chances of survival….

For me that was not a motto dictum….. I had inadvertently blurted out that to Sri Laxmi in a fit of anger but when it boomeranged on me from Anand Mohan it really caught me wild.. It did upset me and my thoughts…It slowly and surely swayed me like a coconut tree caught in the wind

Win or loose but play… ? should I or just stay away?

The semester was coming to an end and Dr Joseph- the ED called for a subject review meeting. Exams were just a week ahead and the kids had all gone for their study holidays. Teachers were free with the shutters down the teaching shops and to keep them busy was a big challenge for the top…

Why keep them busy?

Because the HQ thought that the academic community was the worst when it came to poli-tricking and left alone and idle the devils will all meander in rage … Even I thought the same, not because of my status as a pseudo loyal but I lived in that community and experienced the pains of a victim and the triumphs of the winner often.

We need to introduce new subjects.. said the ED… industry friendly things like Strategic HRM .. That seems to be kicking these days…

I will rename my subject as Strategic Brand Management .. said one Prof…

What do you call it now? Asked Anand Mohan who sat next to me in the meeting

Brand Management…..replied the prof….

Huh ….said Anand… and you call it industry friendly… ?

And probably keep the contents the same.. the same power points and teaching notes and even the same age old cases… said Prof Ram with sarcasm..

Strategic Sales Management… ? I wrote in my note pad… Huh… how funny ,,,, I said to myself as I scratched over it..….

This strategy term is misused… Said Prof Ram as if in pain that his patented chemical formula is misused by an unscrupulous horde of amateur scientists… any one and everyone seems to be dragging it ....

Strategy is no Draupadi.. said Anand Mohan with a laugh… Hey Dushasan….

In any case that is not the option that we have been looking for .. said the ED prevailing over the confusion..We need something new… concrete…some thing which when put across the industry will make heads turn…

Anand leaned over to my shoulders and said… they must say… hey that’s sexy…. How about a date?

I couldn’t help but laugh…

The contemporary issues in management has to be bought in…….said Prof Ram

Oh yes ….Oh yes,,,, cried the ED with a blush…you said it… we will have that ..we will freeze on that…

Freeze on what? .. asked many….

Contemporary issues… like say Contemporary issues in Banking…Contemporary issues in HR… wonderful !! … with the reddened face in full bloom the ED kept saying...

Holy shit .. said Anand… the other one was far better… the Strategic prefix….

I didn’t mean it… mumbled Ram… I just said it for example

I kept laughing … and writing in my note pad… I didn’t want Dr Joseph to see my giggle but there was no escape…

He saw it and kept staring at it as if that was the issue there and not the contemporary issues in whatever bullshit…

I am serious ..said Dr Joseph..

And who is not?… questioned Anand…

Some people seem not to be.. said Dr Joseph with his gawk still fixed into my face… I knew that and kept drawing and writing in my note pad as if the target was not me.. it could be anyone else but me…

But if we are thinking of a revision we should think of something fruitful… really industry friendly…said Prof Ram….

I agree..said Anand even as he shared a wicked smile with me…and for that we need to talk to the industry.. it would be foolish to assume that we do some cosmetic changes and they will accept it graciously….

Precisely… joined Prof Ram

Now this was getting interesting for me… not the content.. I knew that this was a wasteful discussion leading to nothing.. things will remain the same.. but what amused me was the synergy… Ram and Anand was taking it forward like a preplanned strategy.. ooof… not the ‘S’ word again.. like a foot ball match ..pass the ball… ya got it.. I run… and again pass it to you.. got it.. you run… again pass it to me…

Ahem ahem.. I scribbled in my note pad again… the game is getting interesting!!!

Anand winked at me even as he peeped into my note pad and possibly read its contents…

You can write a book on this entire scrawl … he suggested.. and name it frustration !!

Get lost …I said… but I knew it made some sense, I also knew that his tantrums were becoming less irritating for me…

Behave like a professor..I said with a put on contempt …

He took his note pad and started writing…then drew lines over it and then again jotted over and over again…

Will you at least listen to the discussion Sukesh Menon? Asked Dr Joseph in a loud and acerbic tone which gave me a shock… the whole crowd turned to me as if they were seeing me for the first time…

Anand sat there serious, and looked like a professor with the rapt attention that he displayed and the contribution that he so very graciously bestowed during the discussion…

Will you at least listen? Did the old creep say that…?

I was set on fire even as the throng returned to the discussion mode.

Behave like a professor Dude… Anand wrote in his note pad and gave it to me…

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mission Impossible !

Prof Ram taught strategy or I can safely say he even lived in it.

Day in and day out he talked only strategy and more of strategy as if life was fully about that one term. He knew Jack Welch than perhaps the man himself and wrote about issues, alliances, mergers & acquisitions and the like which made him think of himself as an expert par excellence in his domain.

Lunch time was when he kept us updated about the latest book he was reading and the most recent piece of writing of his which was accepted by some academic journal or magazine and which would be arousing a spirit in us and inspiring us to write as well. Well by US I mean the rest of the teaching community at GIM, but Ram had disenchantment most of the time and it became worse after the advent of Anand mohan into the scene.

It was jokes, hilarity and more laughter for anything and everything at the faculty lounge where the whole group assembled for lunch. Anand was a humorist sans frontiers and made flutter and flap with his mere presence. Ram’s lessons on strategy and his directives and dreams for GIM almost got sunk in the noise.. for the first time in my existence in GIM , I heard and saw people laughing to glory with gibe and jeer top in the agenda…

Kudos Anand .. I said to myself even while refusing to be part of the laughter club. I was invidious at times at the man who like a magician, made us awe, who like a comedian spilled beans of laughter and merry and who like an acrobat did the rare games of audacity and yet walked free…

I kept wondering and almost hoping that he will be summoned by the top after his daredevilry that he displayed during the Delhi teams visit.

Nothing happened!

Dude ! you are a moron… he told me suddenly even as I was busy eating. I loved to laugh but this sudden camaraderie was somehow indigestible for me.

I flashed a smile but kept quiet and went on with my chapattis and my favorite potato fry.

If you eat potatoes like this one day you will burst…. Said Anand even as he sat opposite to me with his lighter sandwich stuffed with leafs and vegetables and a glass of fresh orange juice.

Eat healthy….. he said.. hit the gym…laugh a lot and that keeps you robust ….

Oh yeah …I said annoyed by his aggression … that shows

You hate me... don’t you? He asked me direct.. instantly to my eyes…

He had large and well defined eyes on which floated piercing brown pupil which locked with mine making me feel discomfited ….

NO ....I said loud even as I meant YES and he knew it… Eyes couldn’t lie in any case…

You know Sukesh… he said in a soft tone…

Yeah I know…. I said ,gobbling the potato pieces with delight… you are a born winner and the game is just begun… I know

Ha ha ha ha .....he laughed …

I don’t have the habit of repeating the same stuff… he said… but haven’t you thought what am I up to?

Yeah I have… I said..but whatever you are up to Anand….At GIM you cannot change things.. you have to accept that…

Says whom? Anand asked me

Says my God damn experience..I almost thundered… you are new and take it from me … you are on one bloody mission impossible….

What if I am the chosen one? He asked me imperturbably

This guy was impossible..

Prof Ram was better that after some insistence he left his hapless victim alone and travelled unaccompanied to utopia.. this guy but stood on your head and had a sadistic bliss in irritating others …

HUH… I screeched in exasperation…

Impossible is nothing dude… he announced even as I stood up and walked outside….

Back in my cabin and after the days war with the
MBA kids and the power points, the cases and the teaching notes, I sat tired… teaching is what I enjoyed but too much of it was making me just a teaching machine… just an LCD projector…

Switch on and you are on… bang!!!

LCD projectors never complained but!!!

Anand Mohan came online in the internal mailing system…

Anand says hello…...a pop up window appeared on my screen…

I care my foot and no hello vello…… just fuck off….

Life is a game… the better player you are the better is your chances of survival….

Again said the pop up….

This time I sat and watched.. read it again and again…

I have heard this before..

some where…. some one …

Shit............ God ....this is the same thing I told Sri Laxmi after the game she played with me….

A splash of denim flooded me….

It grabbed my senses … my brain stopped thinking but my hands reached the intercom….

143.. I dialed and the ring went on…

Impossible is nothing dude… said another pop up which had a smiley :) laughing at me….

Fuck you … I shouted.. and banged the receiver on to the cradle…

Friday, October 17, 2008

Daggers and sheaths...part II

GIM was near to the sea, not the red one but the one which some one somewhere named as Arabian sea and the sight from the GIM building was simply stupendous. The central courtyard gave a panoramic view and as one went up in the lift, one side of which was open to the outdoors with a fibre wall, would get mesmerized by the sheer beauty..

It looked boundless, the vast expanse of green earth with ease merging with the blue sea….

Endless and eternal… as time…

Good Morning sir… some one said and I came back to life, I was in the lift going to the 5 th floor where an MDP meeting was scheduled and I was one of the invitees….

Hi… Good morning…. I said with a hangdog expression of having seen by a student in my dream world.

Suhail Khan … he said with an arm extended…second year MBA

Ohhh yes… I said with a smile… I knew only the guys who took Marketing .. this one was not one among them…

I am into Operations and HR sir… he said as if he too was a mind reader…

Too many of this tribe in GIM....
I thought…

I guess I miss some good lectures in Marketing… he said with a smile… that is what I hear from my folks…

I flashed my uneven row of teeth at the free appreciation that was coming on my way and that too from some one who never had attended my classes.

It was debatable whether he would have had the same opinion if had attended !!

Ha! ….I said…. you made my day Khan… I said with a beam and I meant it… Praise was something I liked, and that too about my teaching skills which I was not that convinced about.

Anand Mohan sat next to me at the MDP room where some corporate clients had come and where presenting their case, some sales issue which the think tank of GIM was trying to make look as a strategy issue with an intention of selling more of their expertise than to solve the client’s issue.

I now had to keep away from this new dare devil as well… Ram was a head ache always but it was easy to avoid him and take distant seats and in meetings like this one he would always prefer the front row and will be there discussing and debating quoting from the GE story and the like…Anand seemed adamant and stuck on to me, wanting to look like thick friends who had met some 15 years after graduation. I liked his presence but not his gallantry which he seemed to be putting on display even at the most inapt spaces….

The Delhi team has recommended for a seat raise …he told me in a hush tone

I stared at him for the outdated news that he was sharing… I mean it was an inevitable finale which all knew particularly after the meeting which ended up as a sham.

The Delhi team (who had come and gone) had been in a fix after the infringement from Anand and the high hopes that he raised in the process. I assumed that Prof ram would jump in the fray, outperform Anand and explain why the FACES were not telling it all…and why as a professional committee who had taken the PAINS to come all the way from Delhi ,how unprofessional it was to depend face reading as a tool to assess employee satisfaction of an institution.

Anand Mohan sat after the intrusion, pleased as his job was done, and possibly expecting veteran mouths to carry on .Ram was the alternative( at least as I saw it) but strangely he did not and bingo the VC stood up. Subramanian Iyer the shrewd tactician was on his legs when I wrote in my note pad…

THE GAME IS OVER!!!!

Let the faculty also speak… he said in a careful tone with an American accent that came naturally to him …. But since everyone cannot speak,due to the time factor, let us have one to represent us….

The chosen one was one of the loyals, who feigned surprise but it showed like the pre practiced expressions of wonder and marvel that the Miss world’s display when the crown is announced….

After the astute move, the master stroke by the VC it all went haywire… I found Ram dumb, Anand still smiling, some others fuming and most of the others falling back to reality after the brief and short lived hope… I always knew why Dr Joy and his team like mad depended on this old man…

I did not know the game here…Anand told me as if in a confession box and I came back to the MDP room.. Some one was still in argument with some one over something that was petty……. I did not know that the one who was asked to speak would sing praises and make it easy for the Delhi team

I smiled, with a ridicule at his ingenuousness.. I saw that the charisma and aura which was the other name of this man was failing but was the dirty mind in me sunny and gleeful at it ?

But you know what Sukesh…. Anand Mohan is a winner….. he said, in what if others would have said would have sounded like an empty audacity but for him suited well…. And the game has just begun…

He didn’t scratch thighs but left deeper lines in my mind…

Ram was better, he never carried himself into my thought and most of the time with him, I heard him, but rarely listened to him. Anand was different… he looked fearless, sounded bravo and up to the point…

That evening when I was about to leave and had just kept my bag and a fat copy of some business book( to give the serious intellectual look most prof’s carry one or two books home and back everyday) in the back seat of my car, a voice interrupted …

Can I get a lift sir…? Said Sri Laxmi as she stood just back to me, with her long flock of hair waving in the soft sea breeze and her large dreamy eyes in full flicker … she looked like she was carved out fresh from the setting sun…

A splash of denim fragrance out of the blue spread in the air… I hadn’t put any denim for a long time and it was for sure not from her either…

The game has just begun… some one whispered into my ears…

Monday, October 13, 2008

Daggers and sheaths...part I

It was the D day for GIM…

Never before, had I seen so much of activity and bustle in the campus in my 4 years subsistence there. The team from Delhi would arrive and all was set to receive the guests who for GIM, for that day at least, was important than GOD. People were called back at war footing… It was like Pakistan had suddenly attacked and the border had to be refilled … The jawans were all geared up with guns and barrels,,, the Nags and Arjuns were deployed.. the formations were finalized.. the battle fronts were drawn and the weak links were identified…

When we walk, when we talk and when we smile… we had to be careful that day… It could be wrongly interpreted… It was not the life and death game for GIM but yes more seats for its MBA programme and more money… Even thoughts were monitored, I felt…. The cameras were always a cause of worry but that day it made everyone nervous and an uneasy calm prevailed….

The team had three people…

A fat middle aged man who looked like Eddie Murphy in the nutty professor, emerged from the Merc which was send for them specifically but the GIM management. He laughed with a roar seeing Dr Joy at the portico with his team… Jesus, the ED, the VC, Manohar and all their pen pullers and palanquin bearers. This man was not new to GIM; he was a regular and formed part of every team that came to GIM for Delhi, for INSPECTION…

The king knew how to play his card… I told myself as we all stood behind to greet the Gods who had just arrived in a Mercedes, with salvation in their bags…

Two other men also jumped out, but Eddie Murphy made them insignificant by his sheer size, the laugh and his familiarity with the place and its owners…Greets , smiles, bouquets, it looked like communist China and the Olympics they hosted… plastic smiles galore and all the down trodden were swept away to oblivion….

I would say it was a long wait for me and Prof Ram...

For me because I wanted the ritual to be over ..the customary meeting where we were counted for numbers like cattle’s are before they are taken to the butcher, asked questions- half of which they themselves answered and the other half no one could and did… it was all assumed..

For Prof Ram because he wanted to speak out (as usual)…

I don’t expect any support..he told me during the tea session, when the team was with the top brass of GIM locked in the comfort zones of the HQ…

I didn’t give and exact reply, I knew he didn’t expect one either.....I guess they have made up for the numbers… with this new guy Anand Mohan its now a perfect score board…. I said instead…

He is a close friend of Jesus… Ram whispered, leaning precariously close to me…one more spy …

I got a sudden smell of denim, from no where… Inspired from the new fellow and his charm, I had bought a bottle of denim the last evening, and had splashed it all over, but this one was different..

Oh …come on.... sir… I disagreed.. I mean, I couldn’t accept that version fully… a charming spy.. ? a secret agent… ? why not..? he had all the ingredients to be a James bond .. the allure, the physique , the style and…but sir… he is like .. he did his
MBA from UK… and a lot of international exposure…how can??

Hey Sukesh.. Prof Ram had a disbelief in his face… You are not that idiotic I know.. today, I guess you are making special efforts…

I laughed at that, but still couldn’t get the full meaning of that expression in his face…

What is your doubt? A well learned sophisticated man cannot be a friend of Jesus? Or is it that such a person cannot be a spy? Ram posed it to my startled eyes…

I just nodded my head… both were possible… in fact in GIM everything was possible…

Thank you ladies and gentle men… Eddie Murphy announced after the introduction of his own greatness as well as his team mates … he almost drew a halo on the white board and stood in front of it.. I mean.... he didn’t do it literally but could have and that would have been better…

From your faces, it is clear that all of you are happy… he took it on… but this is a formality and has to be recorded… so let us…

Another face reader... HUH...

It is an amazing campus, excellent infra structure, canteen, labs libraries and a management who has clear vision and a road map to reach that vision.. Strategically aligned to the needs of the day and………I switched of there … the jargons was unbearable for sure but more than that the one sided tirade was more horrendous ..

No complaints… I wrote in my note pad with disdain … it is going as expected…Perfect Precision...

But that is an assumption… a voice broke the silence that reigned in the other side of the room where the audience sat…

Prof Ram?.... I woke up in search of the voice ..

The whole crowd looked back, Jesus and ED including, Yes…they were also there in their capacity as faculty members…a murmur broke the silence and it took the team by awe…

Eddie Murphy looked upset and disconcerted, for being cut into during his intended lecture and also for the game plan being thwarted..

Anand Mohan stood up with a glow in his face and a smile, a fresh one in semi bloom in his lips … he looked like Moses leading the hapless people of Israel and the other side suddenly looked like the Egyptians, chasing to death an ill-fated crowd that was cornered and badly bruised …

The room was charged up suddenly … I saw a lot of electrified faces… shock ran across…

Sacrilege … I scribbled hastily in my note pad, even as I looked into Prof Ram’s face..

The first thing after this meeting, I thought was to ask for an apology… Ram had to do it…

The Red sea was roaring… Moses but, stood there- valiant and strong…….

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The paradigm shi (f) t !

It is funny and even amusing that in life sometimes when we look back we find how outlandish we had behaved to certain situations which if had repeated, we would have done better. Alas! Life is not a DVD player, and there is no rewind or repeat buttons… it has to go on…

Looking back is the utmost one can do.. Or is it not?

In my case it was not.. The Sri Laxmi experience some how made me chary. Careful I always was, cautious I had been but there after I looked like a secret agent apprehensive about everyone, as if all were contriving and conspiring against me.. I looked nervous, all the time and spend my time at class and when I had no class, at some corner of the huge library delving deep into a better world, or in the scorching canteen gulping as many hot banana fries as I could .

Sri Laxmi of course remained as my teaching assistant but stopped coming to the class with me, as she got busy with the PARADIGM SHIFT seminar. Forming student teams, identifying prospective speakers and the like kept her running, most of the time from her pigeon hole to the HQ, where Jesus sat with resplendence. Jesus would have been a happy man… the Paradigm shift seminar had given him a reason, I mean an official reason to be with the most beautiful woman at GIM whenever he wished to.

Are you angry with me? Sri Laxmi had asked me after the drama in Jesus’ room.

I gawked at her with derision …

Life is a game… the better player you are the better is your chances of survival … I told her before admonishing her.

I cared the damn if she too was a spy!!!!

You would be seen as rebelling for the wrong reason ….said Prof Ram later during the lunch break where we usually had fun and frolic at the faculty lounge.

I mean..he added seeing my face which for him resembled a question mark … you will be looking like some one who is jealous that she is the convener of the seminar and you had been asked to help her with no official designation per se…

I protested… That was a new angle that this old man was adding into it…

Think about it … he told me before he left me alone but in an even worse condition…

I was in my cabin during one of those torturous days, when the news broke….

The inspection team from Delhi is coming tomorrow… the ED came out of his cabin to the larger faculty hall where we all sat in a row, in cabins that will even put an internet cafĂ© to shame.

No grand mothers shall die, no one will fall sick…..he announced as if it was some joke, and he was the main joker of the show. Then as usual he started laughing at his own joke in his style with the giggle and gag going up and down with air escapes in between, making him blush and his thick bush of hair at both his earlobes in full erection out of excitement.

Another drama… Prof Ram told me over the cabin walls…

Ohh … lamented some women in chorus... the month end would have been bothering them.. What will the Delhi team feel when they see the GIM faculty in old and used sari and under make up?

Huh… I said to myself…. Life is about priorities…each one has their own !!!

The VC was out of town and that seemed to be the biggest worry for Dr Joseph the ED.

He expressed it overtly in a hastily convened faculty assembly at his chamber to discuss the do’s and don’ts during the one day performance that we all were expected to put up when the three member team from Delhi will walk around the GIM campus, talking to the
MBA guys and faculty, analyzing, eating and drinking, wearing a mask of absolute seriousness, with grave faces looking like dead men walking around , writing on small note pads, leaning on to the next guy and whispering whenever some on talks something in the meeting sending shivers down the spine of the speaker and ending it up, with a foregone conclusion…

GIM is next to heaven, if not the real one…

Farce!!!

I wrote in my note pad, as I sat in the third row corner very far from Prof Ram in what I thought was a conscious decision to avoid the scratch and scorn.

Sri Laxmi was in the front row, suggesting to me her new status.. a loyal she had become..

Incapability had to be compensated after all!.... my jealous mind found a logic and a dirty bliss in it…

It was that afternoon that this new fellow came in to the GIM faculty room.....

He was tall, unfairly handsome, impeccably well dressed, looking almost like a bollywood hunk who just decided to take a break from his shooting schedule and visit GIM....

I turned around at the smell of splashed denim and there he was, standing just behind me, with a beaming smile…

Hi Sukesh …he said with his left arm extended

I stood up with an ensemble of feelings, panicky I was but pleased I wanted to look as I extended my right arm to give the weakest handshake I had ever given.

I am Anand Mohan
…he said in style and in a clear husky voice… your new colleague and friend…..joining the Marketing Department at the great GIM today.

Now that was new to me, I bet. The whole thing looked like another episode in the great GIM drama…

Ohhhh….the first reaction burped out quite suddenly from my open mouth even as bewilderment was in full bloom in my dull eyes

I know I know… he blissfully smiled ,as if in me he had met his long lost childhood friend… we are gonna be great company … I know…

I didn’t know the meaning then…
I didn’t know that he was the man who would change my life for ever, change the course of GIM and its inhabitants ….

We are gonna rock dude… he shook me fully with both his arms firmly on my shoulders and then left me after an affable tap on my cheeks…

The fragrance of denim lingered, the smile stayed behind, the charm simply refused to go even as he went to the ED’s cabin and started his formalities of joining.

Anand Mohan!!! I said to my self….Haven’t I seen this guy before?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Games people play !

Prof Ram and his letter (If you remember, I had said it…) made no impact at all. At least there was no visible after effect. He was not called for a discussion, as he expected .Nor was he even given a courtesy call from the King’ side saying that he acknowledged the receipt of the 16 page document.

Ram predictably was upset and most of the fire and fury at the ‘nauseating apathy’ of the top fell on me from the neighboring cabin. I couldn’t help but keep praying that I was shifted from my cabin to some corner where no cameras could prey on me, no spies could track me and no neighbour could spur their wrath and rage on a helpless me…

Ram walked up and down the faculty room, wanted to talk to the ED who was but busy dealing with some students who did some grave crime like riding the bike in side the campus ,Schumacher style or making some noise in the hostel room last night, and hence deserving capital punishment and had no time for Ram and his petty issues.

Jansi William the secretary at the faculty office came in to my cabin with slow and cautious steps..

Sir…. Dr Jesus wants to meet you… NOW… she said whisperingly

I had an intercom and yet… I kept wondering…. Well you never know… Jesus and his games…

At the prince’s cabin, where AC was in full blast I felt like I was in the North Pole. Jesus tried to look intellectual with a cool library in his cabin with all the latest management books in display (rarely read though) and with journals from HBR (My kinda stuff) to the International Journal of Management carefully scattered on his central table. Soft music was on the air and Jesus sat in his chair, too large for his short frame but again it gave him a feel, a confidence, a halo that I could almost see as I sat across him, every time.

Guess what!! he seemed to say as he kept on smiling when I sat in a much smaller chair kept for guests.

I had a smile, a faint one which reflected my anxiety at the sudden call

Sri Laxmi is supposed to join us … said Jesus as I sat there in his chilled room where he lived like a polar bear.

Sweat came out, for me at the hint.. I knew what the discussion was going to be…

He is going to ask me about the chemistry thing…

Fuck man ..I said to myself…All said and done ..Reputation was something ( may be the only thing) I had so far in GIM….

We are planning an international Marketing conference…. Said Jesus in a strange baritone cutting across my wandering thoughts…..You and Sri Laxmi will be coordinating it….

He expected me to grin and be grateful at his munificence … if he had, then I am sure he would have got disappointed.. Not that I felt good, I felt delighted that he had chosen me but why me and Sri Laxmi?

Why the bloody hell?

Again had he also seen the chemistry?

Does he also LOVE to see us together?


When Sri Laxmi came in, Jesus beamed like a toddler who got his rare chocolate. That was one thing with Jesus; he loved the company of women.

It’s now official …he declared to her with a wicked smile… I have told Sukesh about OUR plan …

She displayed a sumptuous smirk in return even as I stared at her face for the apparent duplicity that she had shown to me.

Sukesh is experienced and the best organizer we have.. said Jesus as I felt distracted and dejected at a ploy that was unraveling before my eyes….and with your charm this should be a bench mark event…

What is your suggestion? He asked me and I heard it…

Yes sir… true.. very true… words just stooped out without my consent…

I thought I taught at a B school... It looked like I had to change my belief now..

Yes.. you said it … said Jesus even as I kept staring the female…

Who said beauty and brains do not go together?I kept wondering...

A circular later on announced it to the world ..

It said …

Prof Sri Laxmi will be the coordinator for the up coming International conference in “The paradigm shift in Marketing and the altering consumer mind space”.

All are requested to give suggestions to make the program a grand success.

Signed..

Dr Jesus Joy
Director


I was thankful that my name was missing in the piece of paper that floated around from cabin to cabin, causing flutter and I could see many heads fuming, some curious, some taking it in a stride and some too exited to sit back and relax…

I banged my head on to my table, and waited for Sri Laxmi to come.. I knew she will... She had to...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Intellectual Orgasm >> Part II

The toilet episode as told by Sri Laxmi affected me badly. Not that I had any reverence for Dr Joseph the ED which got a stun or any fondness for her which left some sting...

But it some how disturbed me…

That hard feeling inflated when the ED called me to tell me his pronouncement that I will take over the Sales Management classes for MBA and Sri Laxmi will assist me.

Assist me? I expressed wonder

Yes.. the ED said… You can use her for assignments, paper correction etc…

But she is here to teach… I protested … how can I?

But she should learn the tricks of the trade and it is the management’s decision that she will be assisting one of the existing professors till she does…... a grin was shown in the ED’s face

Oh yeah… I said to myself.. it is the management's decision… how dare can I even think it as something which has to be opposed? Blasphemy!!!

WHY ME? Was my question again but it refused to come out.. ( as usual ) and it stayed there in my eyes, my lips and may be even in my nerve endings… As if he had read it, seen it and felt it Dr Joseph continued…

And between you…. I know… he smiled yet again… there is a chemistry.. it is good ..Together I assume that you can produce good synergy… the students will love your pairing up…

I started sweating…

Chemistry and Physics?

ASSUME?

or

ASS U ME?

Synergy…? What the fuck?

What was he? Executive director of a B school or a bloody pimp?

What was he trying to say??

What the hell? Why the students will love our pair? Was it a film discussion that was happening between Dr Joseph, the Director and Sukesh Menon the Hero..…?

Think about it.. Dr Joseph said in a tone that signaled an intended wrapping up of the meeting….

He knows that I have told you that… bloody womanizer … Srilaxmi told me in the canteen later when the decision was made known to her…

Its funny .. she laughed and said… its like…. She kept on laughing…

Stop it… I said… and what’s there to laugh… we are not bloody students here.. and listen I don’t want to be part of a gossip and rumour here…

She sat flabbergasted and staggering for words…

Let us take it up.. the challenge ..she said finally.. than trying to wriggle out… what u say? ….I will also feel comfortable that way….

But I cannot have a third person sitting in my class… I mean I never had that… it’s like… I will become conscious… I will loose myself… I argued…

At GIM but, things were all predictated …

It will happen if it was desired by the TOP… As did the toilet incident when the ED saw her in the faculty room alone by 8 in the morning, called her for a discussion to his cabin, left to the toilet in between where he slipped and fell and when she rushed in to see, hearing the clamor, he clasped hold of her hands with lust oozing out like he had an orgasm by the mere touch and when she ran out, he pleaded SORRY with a sheepish face and apology written large over his wrinkled face…

These old men…. she had lamented… he is like my father for me… huh

Walking back to the faculty room, I made sure that I walked alone, now determined not to be seen together with the girl who from then was going to be my teaching assistant.

Why do you see me as a third person? she had asked me as I stood up, with a stare...

Chemistry !!!

The old horse had called it…
He has seen it… Many would have seen it…the colleagues, the students, the canteen staff, the garden keepers, the spies, the cameras, the walls...

OOF !!!

Why I did not see it…?

I kept asking, as the hot sun over the GIM sky burned my skin and I almost ran to reach the main building….

And who the bloody hell named it Chemistry?