Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Avalanche.. Is it really how it feels?

Heard a song written by Leonard Cohen. Very deep, meaningful, moving...

Well I stepped into an avalanche,
it covered up my soul;
when I am not this hunchback that you see,
I sleep beneath the golden hill.
You who wish to conquer pain,
you must learn, learn to serve me well.

You strike my side by accident
as you go down for your gold.
The cripple here that you clothe and feed
is neither starved nor cold;
he does not ask for your company,
not at the centre, the centre of the world.

When I am on a pedestal,
you did not raise me there.
Your laws do not compel me
to kneel grotesque and bare.
I myself am the pedestal
for this ugly hump at which you stare.

You who wish to conquer pain,
you must learn what makes me kind;
the crumbs of love that you offer me,
they're the crumbs I've left behind.
Your pain is no credential here,
it's just the shadow, shadow of my wound.

I have begun to long for you,
I who have no greed;
I have begun to ask for you,
I who have no need.
You say you've gone away from me,
but I can feel you when you breathe.

Do not dress in those rags for me,
I know you are not poor;
you don't love me quite so fiercely now
when you know that you are not sure,
it is your turn, beloved,
it is your flesh that I wear.

I'd give my right arm to know what he was feeling when he wrote this composition. You can listen to this song here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

30% and counting...

When I came back from my vacation in Dec, I thought I would have to write so many posts to share my experience of England, even though it was a very short stay. It was my first foreign vacation, after all. But as days passed, I got so involved in my work and study that I lost count of time. When you are studying at a place like IIMB, that too along with your work, a week's lag will take you down if you are not careful.

Finished my 3rd term and realised that I hadn't posted anything for 3 whole months! By the time I could relax some, 4th term had already begun...(Yeah, that's why the title, I am a 30% MBA! ;-) ). I am 2 weeks into my 4th term now and am already buried under books.. Operations Management, Corporate Finance and Organisational Behaviour are the 3 subjects this time. All seem very interesting and have big fat books to be studied. As mentioned in the post here, delving into human psychology, studying human behaviour has started giving me a deep insight into personality types, attittudes, perceptions etc and has started making me more tolerant. If I used to be irritated with people earlier, today I have become more analytic. Prof. C M Reddy is a good prof and keeps the entire class engaged and has lively discussion contrary to my expectations that the classes would be boring.

Operations Management under the famous Prof. L S Murty is making me look for all aspects of operations in management, utilisation of resources, efficiency. I have started reading 'The Goal' by Eliyahu M Goldratt& Jeff Cox. Would recommend this book to everyone involved with operations or any aspect of management.

Corporate Finance is another subject I am following very keenly. Looks at time value of money, stock and bond evaluation, risk and returns, financial markets, cost of capital, capital structure and so on and so forth. Prof. Sabarinathan G. is an IIMB alumni and a former director of a private equity firm. It is truly a privilege to be in such great company.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

UK Trip via Dubai

I landed in Dubai airport on an early 1st December morning. I had idiotically declined the air hostess' inquiry for breakfast and had used that time to sleep and by the time I reached Dubai I was starving and cursing myself for my foolishness. Since I had another 3 hours to kill at the Dubai airport before hopping onto my flight to London, I purposefully strode near my check-in gate and filled my belly with a stupid dry sandwich from Cosi and hot sugarless coffee which burnt my tongue.

Slightly deviating from the topic, the early morning view of Dubai from above was simply breathtaking! Vast expanse of desert, divided into grids of roads, orange halogen lights dotting both sides of roads, looked heavenly.. Traffic movement was heavy at most places even at 5am in the morning.

Dubai airport is in 3 levels, each level spanning for miles.. I did not explore much on my way and was happy clicking photos on the level where my next check-in was scheduled.
On the way back, I had 7 hours to myself. Went to each and every duty-free shop on all the levels. Bought Gold (yessss!!!!!!), loaded my already exploding hand luggage with heaps of chocolates, and digged into a veg Mac, hoping that it was actually Vegetarian, unlike the Hindu "veg" meal which turned out to be Hindu non-veg meal served to me on the Emirates flight!

When I was returning from my vacation, I already had had my fill of great European architecture, expensive sports cars, and loads of photos(on all you are going to hear a lot I am afraid) that I did not bother with photographs...
View of level 3 from inside
Dubai airport looks like a narrow tube on a deserted patch of land, looks magnificent from the inside.
Above is the view of the airport from the runway. Gave me an impression that I was moving inside the stomach of a snake all along!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Plate Change or Cognitive Dissonance?

We all have experienced irritation when someone has commented that our way of doing certain things are wrong and that what they do is right; suddenly when the same people have to do things our way they come up lame excuses to justify that they are right (without acknowledging the fact that what we were originally doing was not wrong either?). We call it "plate change" ("usne plate change kar diya!" rings a bell?). Well, my Organisational Behaviour textbook tells me that it is called cognitive dissonance.

Example 1: A friend has consistently argued that the quality of Indian cars isn't up to that of imports and that he'd never own anything but a Japanese or German car. B his dad gives him an Indica and suddenly Indian cars are not that bad anymore.

Example 2: A relative who always argued that flat can not be considered a house, has to buy a flat in Bangalore for investment(houses in Bangalore are a dream now, of course) and now says that house or flat, what is the difference, everything is crowded here anyways!

When people experience conflict between attitude and behaviour, they try to find a middle ground to reduce the discomfort caused by dissonance. Next time you do a plate change, I will tell you that your congnitive dissonance can't fool me! ;-)

Couldn't help writing about it. OB as a subject seems fascinating. It approaches human behaviour in a scientific way to analyse why we do/feel/act the way we do in different situations. It also explains methodically at one point why(we all know why!)/how an employee feels disgruntled when he doesn't get promotion that he feels he deserves, especially when it went to a coworker who deserves it less and starts looking for a change in job. If managers started responding to employees, rewarding those who do good work rather than turning a blind eye, so much attrition wouldn't happen. Mangers often "don't get it" and they assume that all is going well is what the writers of the book say. Is any manager listening?