Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I guess I've done enough of that over the past two months, during my internship, while organizing the Bangalore XLRI Alumni Meet, getting my car repaired, and on many other occasions. Not any more though.
So, here it is. My blog-post on FRAX-ing, or Free Riding At XL is a phenomenon that is observed throughout the known universe. Birds have been known to lay their eggs in other birds' nests, leaving the upbringing of their offspring to the hapless victim. People have been known to litter streets leaving the cleanup to the Municipal Corporations.("It's their job, you know!") Rich parents' children have been known to screw up their lives and leave a mess behind for their parents to clean up. ("It's all their fault! They weren't there when we needed them!")
ENOUGH, already. Stop being such whining little bitches. Stop blaming everyone else but yourselves. The world is in such bad shape and all America and Europe can think of are 'austerity measures' ?! I mean, gimme a break here! The goras have FRAXed on their duty to the planet and each other for a long long time now, they have pandered to the wills of corporations, ignoring the rest of the world, the bloody planet even. And now they talk about austerity measures? On the people who have NO hand in their misery? Had the buggers not FRAXed earlier, had they had the balls to stand up and say a stern NO to being corrupted by power and money, things would have been slightly better today.
Now, I know what you will say, and my answer to that is yes, I too have FRAXed. On innumerable occasions I have not been fair to the work that I had to do. I have bad grades to show for it. I have paid for it. But that is the good part. I think it is best that we pay for our mistakes as early as possible. Unfortunately, a lot of our mistakes are paid for in the long run. In the form of our careers, our friends, our spouses, even our lives. What do we do then? Repent?
Are there many options left open to us at that point? Well, there are, and the sad part is that we must choose between two bad ones. I hope it never comes down to that for any of you. So make your choices wisely. Nah, I'm not preaching, just trying to get those gray cells working... Cheers!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mile Sur Mera Tumhara…

“Can you please…” “This place is…”, we spoke out together. Gitanjali Express, boarded at Nagpur, at 8:16pm on the 14th of July 2008, barely a minute after getting into the train. I was on my way back to Jamshedpur, had quit my job after getting bored with it, and she was visiting her relatives in Calcutta. I had already taken my place on the berth and she rushed in with three pieces of luggage on the head of a coolie trailing behind her.
                “I’m sorry, ma’am, but this is my seat”, I said.
                “Please let me sit here for a bit until the TTE comes, I’ll just get my ticket confirmed from him”, she replied and asked the coolie to put her luggage under the seat. The TTE never came to my coupe that night, and with great difficulty, I convinced her to sleep on my berth as I pretended to not be sleepy and went to the doorway of the coach, intending to spend the night by the small seat near the door with my iPod.
                She came to where I was sitting at about 5:00am, and asked me my name. “Abhishek Joshi”, I said, “What’s yours?”, She told me her name. And we spoke with each other into the dawn, asking each other about our respective families, our education, our interests, and then moved on to some heavier stuff, philosophy, love. I was deeply enamored by her eyes. They weren’t exactly brown, they were a shade darker, but they were beautifully shaped. Mrignayani, I’d have said.
                She said that she was perturbed by what was going on in the world, war, environmental destruction, greed. I said that that would always be there, that we humans were hardwired to behave the way we do, and she looked into my eyes and said that it shouldn’t have to be that way.
                And that was it, that earnest look on her face, that innocence in her eyes, maybe she hadn’t seen that much of the world. She wasn’t the cynic that I had become, she was still untouched by the pain that life brings upon the less fortunate. But I knew that she had every reason to be the cynic that I had become so easily. She had lost her parents to the infamous Purushottam-Kalindi train accident a decade ago. Her education had been set back a year as she couldn’t take up her classes at school since she was in shock for 6 months. And yet she had recovered. She had not become a cynic. She still believed that the world was a fair place. That people are intrinsically good. I had read about something of the sort somewhere, hadn’t quite believed it. And here was this beautiful creature of God who was telling me that there is still hope, that there is no reason good enough for us all to give up on ourselves.
                And I knew at that moment that she was the one. Our elders often wonder at how our generation chooses and discards partners so easily, and I agree with them completely. But I connected with her on a completely different level. It wasn’t visceral. It was very much something else. I couldn’t put my finger on it, and she later told me that she couldn’t exactly say what it was either. But that there was something that just connected.
                We stood at that doorway all day that day, never feeling tired. Holding hands. And then holding each other after a while. It was as if the whole world had disappeared all of a sudden. There was only her for me. And only me for her. I don’t know how it happened. My mother would surely have disapproved of my choosing someone for myself that I had only met a few hours earlier. If she had a mother, I’m sure she would have disagreed too.
                The train reached Tatanagar railway station, and I had to get off the train. We exchanged numbers and promised we’d meet again. As she waved goodbye, my Mom asked me, “Who’s that?”. “Somebody”, I replied. And then for a week I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. Did I want to carry on my father’s business, or did I want to do an MBA? I chose the latter, came to XLRI a few months later. I never forgot about her, but I never met her, too. Life just got too busy. We did keep in touch with each other on the phone though.
                The first two semesters passed by in a blur, and we barely spoke. Come the third term, I decided to call her up one evening. “Hello…””I missed you so…” we again spoke together. It was unmistakable. Each time we had spoken, we had done so together. When her voice and mine came out together, it was like music. “Mile sur mera tumhara, toh sur bane hamara…” the song goes. And I know this for a fact, that when some things are meant to be, there is no stopping them from happening. And it’s also true that when you meet the woman of your dreams, you can actually hear the music playing in the background, everything else just goes blank, and there’s only her.
                So, there are no two ways about it, I will meet her again after my summer internship. I will find out if we’re truly meant to be. I don’t really know right now. I have only met her once, but when I do meet her again, I will know for sure. I will know whether the chemistry is really there or whether I was just first time lucky. I know that I’d be right about her if we speak again together. Because when “Mile sur mera tumhara…”, things will really be alright again.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Leaving XLRI, Lovin' XLRI

So it's that time of the year again. As February ends, so does the XLRI stay of the batch of 2008-10. I have seen the batch of 2007-09 pass out of college too, I was here in 2008-09, you see, having quit my job, chilling at home. And I had a few good friends in the batch of '09. They were ALL teary eyed on their last days on campus. Clusters of students standing around campus would randomly merge into group hugs. Honestly, I never really understood any of that back then.
But I did know that there is something called the XL culture. Something that would not be seen in most other colleges. The last weekend was a whirlwind of activity on campus, as the famed XL-IIMC sports meet took place. I swear to God, never has 200 people cursing their hearts out sounded so melodious to my ears. And I think that in the midst of that din, of drums being beaten, players being sledged, IIM-C students being insulted to our hearts' content, ladies screaming their lungs out in expletives, I realized the true meaning of XL culture.
It's not about the pay packages that we get, nor about the awesome campus we have, or the brilliant professors and peers, or the beautiful city of Jamshedpur that we live in. It's not about the night-outs, or the sleeping in classes, or DCP, or ACP. It's about love. Yes, that's right. Love. I thought that all that talk about people being in love with a place and a people was nonsense, until I came to XLRI. We were too busy with the *ahem* introductions during the first term, the Summers in the second term, but come the third term, we saw our seniors being placed. All at one go, in record time. And there in we saw the tenacity that undergoing the rigours of studying at XL brings to people. They were all relaxed and confident throughout the process, seeing their friends get placed before them, companies handing out shortlists randomly, job losses and what not. That strength, I now believe, comes from love. The love that we have for our friends and for our alma mater. See? That's where XL culture comes from: Love.
In 2011, as we leave the college, I cannot say what our state will be. But I can say this: We will leave, happy, sad, and in tears. I love you, XLRI.

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Good Night, Sweet Dreams"

I call her up late at night today,
later than usual.
She is sleeping,
I imagine how beautiful she must look,
as she sleeps.
She picks up the phone,
says "What took you so long?"
"I had no money in my cell", I say,
"We can't talk for long".
"It's okay, I had a long day, we'll talk tomorrow"
She says that she'll call me up tomorrow at night.
I wait with bated breath as she whispers
those magical words.
"Good night, sweet dreams."
And I know she really means it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Name is Joshi

Well, the reason that most of my batch will know me by my surname is that a) it is faster to pronounce, and b) there are more Abhisheks around than one would like. But this blog post is not about me, nor is it about my name/surname/nickname. This blog post is about the torture I underwent at the hands of the idiot named Karan Johar.
Not that I deliberately want to step on any toes here, but I honestly feel that some people should not do certain things; like I should not sing, certain professors should not teach, certain people should not be heads of state, and Karan Johar should simply stop making movies. Or at least stop resorting to cheap tactics in order to gain cheap publicity for his stupid movies that contain no substance whatsoever. The Thakre family tried to gain political mileage over what SRK said about Pakistani players being allowed in the IPL and what not, in return giving free footage to the biggest turdfest that was My Name is Khan.
And SRK implored his fans to buy tickets in an act of defiance! I implore my friends to stop going to the movie theaters to watch such stupid movies, at all! Kajol's acting was decent in the beginning, at least during the first half, I kinda liked her performance. SRK overdid everything from the beginning itself, as expected. The kid who played Kajol's kid was pretty good throughout, as was his firang "best friend" turned enemy.
The story, however lost all linkage with reality as soon as the second half started, and like a bad bad nightmare, just would not get over. It stretched and stretched and stretched until one begged for mercy... After two hours of being subjected to mindnumbingly stupid cinema fare, I was begging for the damn thing to get over, even as I could hear a bit of sniffling from some of my friends. The airconditioning in the cinema theater had given up too, and we had started perspiring by then. By the time SRK meets the US President, for some weird reason, one heaves a sigh of relief and tries to walk out of the movie hall, only to see everyone already on their feet aiming for exactly that same exit.
Now, I won't say that ALL of Indian cinema is bad, an Indian made 3 Idiots after all. I will just say that as mature cinema going audience, we really need to stop this bullshit called Karan Johar fare, if we value our intellect at all.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Girlfriend = Grade hike?

Well, to be honest, I've been reading SuperFreakonomics of late, and that has got me thinking about quite a bit of interesting stuff... As the title of this blog post indicates, I plan on tackling the issue of whether having a girlfriend/boyfriend results in a grade hike for students in different colleges, and across different cross sections of society.
The assumptions that I will be making over here are that the people in question here is matured enough to take their careers seriously and also that they are looking at a long(-ish?) term commitment towards their respective amours.
My theory regarding this comes from my experience the last time that I had a girlfriend, back in engineering college during the second year. Before I had a girlfriend, my grades were pretty decent, but that was because college had just begun and I was pretty serious about my studies. In the second term, I found someone special, and my grades just zoomed up like anything! It was a long distance relationship, and predictably enough, we broke up by the end of the 2nd year of college. I went into mourning, and my grades went through the floor, and probably emerged somewhere in Colorado. I didn't really check where they went for about a year, and then by my 4th year of college, I had gained some control of my life and managed to put up a decent show by the end of engineering college.
This said, my theory says that having a girlfriend gave me that focus in life, knowing that I was loved by a beautiful beautiful person and that I also loved her back. I guess this would be generalizing too much, but I think that as long as I did not have a girlfriend, I focussed on trying to find one, trying my luck out with different girls, spending time networking online, offline, through friends and so on. Post the breakup, I spent time moping around, getting philosophical, trying to figure out what went wrong, where I could have behaved differently, and doing everything except studying. Sure enough, my grades plummeted.
So my advice to budding lovebirds would be to get a girlfriend/boyfriend and stick with them for a long term, keep a bigger goal in your life so that if you just have your amours as your sole goal in your lives, your world will crumble around you, like mine did 5 years ago, but if you really want to do something with your lives, then a small hiccup in your love life shouldn't affect you as much. It should just inspire you to work harder towards your ultimate BIG goal, and then maybe find another somebody special along the way.