Monday, April 28, 2008


Is my life in danger? I live a normal boring urban life and have a corporate job. I hardly take risks. My life is just a routine, nothing new. Does that mean I’m safe? Does that ensure that I hit my bed alive each night? Am I going to live a long life?

According to palmistry, the length of the lifeline on our palms does not indicate our lifespan, but rather how well we live our lives. Nothing can actually guarantee us a long life. Just looking around, I can think of several ways that I can die today. Why! Within the next ten minutes there just might be a huge bomb crashing over my roof. Bangalore apparently is a recent target for some extremist groups, they are probably jealous of the weather. At any time, on any day there might be an attack on my city. I am certainly in danger right now.

Out on the roads it is even riskier. Making my way through all that traffic, especially amongst the most undisciplined drivers and potholed roads in the world, I can never actually say what is going to happen next? A speeding truck, an invisible hole, break failure, an accident waiting to occur.

Taking another human being’s life also seems much more convenient nowadays. I watch stuff on TV, I read the news, I’ve heard horror stories and I’ve seen incidents in front of me. A contract to kill apparently costs some Rs 5000 in Bangalore nowadays. Inflation, obviously has not affected the cost of such services. At home when I’m sleeping, or on the roads, I just might be killed intentionally. For some money, for being a woman… it seems so easy nowadays.

My unhealthy habits can strike at any time as well. The average age for a heart attack, for diabetes and several other maladies that I can’t even think of, has been coming down over the decades. The articles in the newspapers and the internet scare me everyday. The ice creams and chocolates that I innocently hog can come back and kill me, anytime. And even if I get myself to a safe place and ensure that none of these ever occur to me, nature always has a way, doesn’t it. It might be improbable for a Tsunami to strike my city or even a deadly volcano. But what about earthquakes? Floods? Nature’s fury is the deadliest of all. It spares none, nowhere.

Do I want to die? Of course, not! There is so much to do, so many places to see and so much life to live. But am I going to live as long as I want? That’s the million-dollar question.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

If God was a Banker

Two months before I start my career in a multi-national bank, just out of XLRI with a fin specialization, a long journey to Chennai and back… why wouldn’t I pick up a book called “If God was a Banker”? But several long hours later, when I finally forced myself to finish this book, I was left deeply disappointed.

I chose to read this book because I absolutely love Chetan Bhagat’s writing. Surprisingly, not only is the publisher the same, the author is from a similar background, as well. The books look alike, the font is the same too. What I expected from the book were some insights in to the author’s profession, coupled with a decent plot and some pleasant writing. But that was not to be.

The plot is like any typical hindi movie’s storyline. There is a hero, who is the epitome of good things. Then there is an anti-hero, who is everything a man should not be. There are other characters to fill in the gaps. And then, there is the God of banking. As usual the initial 95% of the book goes on to explain how evil goes unnoticed, but at the very end, everything unravels. The villain suffers, repents and gains forgiveness. Bluh. And in between all this is the theory from the introduction chapter of my Commercial Banking handout – how old banks functioned, liberalization, entry of foreign banks, innovation and sales. There was also a little from the several placement presentations I’ve been through – organizational structure, career growth and job descriptions.

What I expected from an author who is obviously accomplished in his field, was something that only experience could provide. But various painful stereotypes are flung at us throughout the book. A Tam Brahm called Swaminathan, influenced by early family tragedies, extremely poor, swears by filter coffee, reads The Hindu, extremely ethical, soft-spoken, shy with the fairer-sex, a teetotaler , exceptionally faithful. He does not take a single wrong step throughout the story… so ideal, that he becomes tremendously boring. On the other hand, the bad guy is Sundeep, overtly aggressive, steals ideas, gets sloshed at every occasion, flirtatious, disloyal, sleeps with everyone, unethical in all his ways. He does not take a single right step throughout the plot… so wicked, that he becomes extremely predictable. No shades of gray!

And such stereotypes don’t stop here. Relationship managers are always good looking women who are ready to cross any limits for their own benefit. Every woman in the book seems to be super-hot, with a great body and a willing mind to sleep with strange men. The secretaries always entertain their bosses in more ways than one. The good subordinates stick to the good guy, the bad ones unquestioningly try to bring Swami down. Most chapters end with lines that try to revive interest. Too many names right in between kept me confused. And way too much drama in some parts!

The characters have no depth, the story has no twists and even after I finished the book, I failed to understand the title. “If God was a banker…” Other than being a line in the book, I don’t see why it should don the cover. Who is the hero here? Sundeep, Swami or Aditya? Was Aditya that important that the book is named after him? Or is the title just a way to grab some attention?

I liked the simplicity of the narrative, the pace as well. Ravi Subramanian has given some thought into timing of the entire story too. But I still don’t think it’s worth a purchase. MBA aspirants and banking amateurs might find it interesting, but beware of its flaws.

Thanks to this book, I did have an interesting conversation with a guy next to me on my return journey. But he wasn’t that good looking, so… naah! Definitely not worth it!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


The excuse given was a friend’s wedding, the intent was that and much more. One-and-a-half juice, an evening at the beach, a hilarious movie and several hours on the crowded roads under the scorching sun… if nothing else, a welcome change from long lonely days. Visiting Chennai after 15 long years was worth it.

Thanks to my neighbour/friend/sister/pseudo-mom who decided to get married and trouble only one man from now on, I got my chance to revisit my childhood city, my first home and lots more things. Places that I heard of, like Fruitshop and The Roxburry Chiller, Tea at Cup & Saucer, Corn on toast at Eden, Juice on Nugambakkam High road, shady burger at shady burger place… and people I had missed. The only disappointment being, that after some 20 minutes of searching and looking around, when I finally found the place, I absolutely could not recognize it… my childhood house, the place that saw my first 7 years.

Well, that aside this trip definitely made for some great memories. Bangalore seems so boring already…

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Goodbye’s a bitch

I sit on the grass… alone. Four floors of people in front of me, smiling faces eating merrily on my right. A bunch of people sitting on the bench under the tree, laughing. I used to be one of them, not so long ago. But my time is up. This place has tolerated me enough. It’s time to leave.

Leaving XLRI is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. XL has given me more than anything I could ask for. Tonight, I leave XL, hoping that I could return some time, knowing that it wouldn’t be the same. Knowing that I would never be the same. I tried to absorb as much of this place as possible. I stayed here for two weeks in a virtually empty campus and then stayed back after convocation. But it’s never going to be enough. I wish I could write down the things that are running in my head right now, but they’re all stupid. XL has left an indelible mark on me, but I’m just another student from one of the 50 batches here. Yet, I am attempting to leave a record, so here goes.

Roll number : B06115
Youngest in the batch of 2006-08, the only one to enter at 19.
Lived in rooms 206 and 103 at TMTWR, had great neighbours.
My daily schedule included an hour of basketball, gymming and lots of tea.
Played, lost, won and enjoyed to the fullest in XL-IIMC.
One of the few genuine Library lovers at XL.
Scared of the third staircase in the acad block.
A regular at the badminton court, lost so many TT games in GH-3.
Loved Bishu Da’s fried maggi and egg roll, Daadu’s chutney cheese sandwich and nimbu paani.
Didn’t drink at a single wetnite, but danced my heart out every time.
Made some great friends, learnt some great things.
And I’m taking back a big piece of XL with me, intending to hold on to it forever.

I shot my last free throw and took my last lay-up on the baski court, walked my last walk around the football field, visited the library for the final time, ate burgers at HongKong, drank my last glass of nimbu paani at Daadu’s, played my last TT game, took my last shower… everything seems to be moving in slow motion. But these two hours will pass. And soon, I’ll be on my way home, from home.

People are scared of heights and water. I am scared of growing up.

I don’t know if any phase in my life can beat this. The fun I’ve had… the good times. I don’t want to work, I don’t want to go back home. I don’t want to stop writing. I don’t want to look at the time.

But I have to. Goodbye’s a bitch.

Signing out. My last post from XL.

- Mus