Friday, February 15, 2013

Repost: You're out of the rankings, IIPM!

Since IIPM has chosen to go to court and there, get the DOT to ban an old post on this site that hardly seems ban-worthy. Since I have not been given the opportunity to defend myself, here is the post as it was in entirety. Note that some of the links don't work anymore,

More dirt. Seems IIPM ain't not ranked no more.
Kartik Kannan's post on August 8
and even better:
Photo by Kartik Kannan of the actual Outlook page (Edit: Reproduced here from the actual Outlook Web Site)

Abridged version: Outlook says IIPM is guilty of unethical practices and is misleading students. Also says IIPM falsifies data. So they Withdraw all rankings given to IIPM Forthwith.

Meaning, no rank for you, IIPM. Naaa-na-naa-na-naaa-naa.

I love myself when I'm in such a mood. I also love a good blogfight. Bring it on!

Update: CFore Suspended IIPM in 2003! (Full PDF available)

That was the post. Now for more interesting pieces on IIPM.
First, the fact that UGC has warned against IIPM is a PDF that IIPM has gotten banned. Here it is:

Thursday, January 07, 2010

George Carlin: Religion is Bullshit

Funny as hell, even if there isn't one.

Monday, December 01, 2008

R.I.P. Tanta

Doris Dungey, or "Tanta" of Calculated Risk fame, passed away on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio. She died of ovarian cancer, aged 47.

Tanta's posts educated me about the U.S. mortgage market, and her "Ubernerd" posts have been phenomenal. She was a remarkable teacher, and she's inspired people all over the world, me included.

This is indeed a sad day. Rest in Peace, Tanta. You will live on, in our hearts. Truly, today, we are all subprime.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

LeT headquarters found!

I found the headquarters of the Lashkar-e-Toiba! It's here, as per wikimapia:

And that, on a bigger scale, is here:

I'm just kidding. But our army must have better resolution, no? There's a runway close by, a hospital that looks like a camp and all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pakistan meets India much to Mushy's chagrin

Or so this video will reveal:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Al Gore, Cows and the Environment

Stephen Dubner at the Freakonomics Blog wonders about the irony of an email he gets:

An e-mail just turned up in my in-box. It was clearly selling something, and the text ended with the following thoughtful note:

Please consider the environment — do you really need to print this e-mail?

And what, you ask, was the e-mail selling?

Private jet travel.

The funny part are the following comments:

#1. Hilariously hypocritical. Like Al Gore grilling up a juicy steak before his recent interview with Rolling Stone Magazine on global warming. (Methane from cows being one of the leading green house gases)

— Posted by Jason

#8.“(Methane from cows being one of the leading green house gases)”

ok, what IS the leading greenhouse gas of the day? because i’ve heard all sorts of things including concrete plants and cars?

— Posted by erg

#9. Leave the cows alone. What is the largest producer of methane gas in the world today? Sorry for spoiling the day for you vegan Central Park conservationists, but it’s plants and trees.

— Posted by Ralph J
#10. The leading greehouse gas of the day is, believe it or not, water vapor.

— Posted by Ralph J

#14. The leading greenhouse gas of the day is, believe it or not, Barry Manilow.

— Posted by Tom Jones

#16. Tom, that is spurious and you know it!

— Posted by Barry Manilow

#21. I hear Al Gore inhales oxygen, and guess what he exhales: carbon dioxide!

What a hypocrite…

— Posted by JT

Yeah, I'm back. Sort of.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

It's a boy!

Sunila and I are proud and extremely happy to announce the arrival of our son on 14th Feb 2007. He weighed 2.96 kgs and was born at 3:13 PM. He took one look at the world and asked, in a vigorously loud manner , to be put right back in - and for some reason, the doctors were very happy he was screaming. Crying is good, they said. I cannot understand what medicine does to people.

He's adorable. We're going to name him Varun. Varun Shenoy. He was born on Valentine's day, which means he's going to have to spend his birthday GIVING out gifts rather than getting them, unless he becomes a handsome hunk (like me). He's already quite a looker:

(Click on it - you'll see more)

Yes, I'm a dad now. These are exciting times for us; and I'm so happy I cannot describe it in words. One thing I do know: I was with Sunila through labour and during delivery - if anyone says men are the superior sex, I will slap them right across the face.

We're back home now, after three days in the hospital, and I'm already changing nappies like a professional. Everything else in my life can wait; this is the most wonderful thing that has happened to me, and my top 3 priorities are family, family and yes, family. Life is beautiful!


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tagged in the back

Chailey1418 has tagged me. The idea is to write five things about yourself and pass the buck.

This is the bloggers equivalent of Multi-Level Marketing,the Tupperware and Amway of blogging. You pay in the form of having to write a full blog entry about this stuff, and revealing your deep dark inner secrets, actually believing that somebody will give a damn. Either that or its so funny they'll read it anyways.

So if you're expecting a fantastic revelation of how I conquered the Amazon basin and the lower congo in one day, this is not the place for you. Or if you wanted to hear about when I had a lump in my throat watching a young sheep die from overgrazing or whatever it is they die of, this is not the place for you.

1) I had shaved my eyebrows when I was a kid. I wanted to be Mr. Spock. So I was ass-whupped by the senior authorities at home and had to put kaajal where the hair hitherto resided.

2) My dad's surname was Murthy and his father was a Rao. Don't ask, I don't know.

3) I started Agni Software in 1998, with a few friends. I was 23, just a year or so out of college, clueless and penniless.

4) I was "most talented outgoing student" at KREC, Surathkal in '96.

5) My wife and I found each other online, on a freak post at 2 AM on a web portal. Thank goodness for the internet.

Well, I tag:

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Shilpa Shetty Chronicles

So Shilpa Shetty is facing the heat, locked in a house for days with some other people. If you're locked in a frikking house for days with cameras all around you, you're bound to lose a few brain cells here and there, which is why some of the people in question got really aggro with Shetty; if you notice the behaviour of caged animals you might find they throw regular taunts at their neighbours, though you may not be qualified to understand the language.

The lost brain cells, however, are not only a feature of the occupants of the Big Brother mansion or whatever it is they call it. (Zoo would be better, but that's my opinion). TV viewers all over the world went frikking nuts because Shilpa cried on TV saying "Why does everyone hate me", with tons of them screaming "racism", "white supremacist bastards" and all that crap. Germaine Greer seems to have reduced cranial activity too, calling Shilpa a "tamil" which any Shetty worth her name would totally say "ijji" to.

Back in India, there are dharnas, processions and such. India loves protests and activism, for no apparent reason, and to no obvious end. Heck, we have a "traffic alert" today, on some people protesting the hanging of Saddam Hussein too. Wow. These guys must have one heckuva calendar:

10 AM : Protest hanging of Saddam Hussein
11 AM : Throw stones at people catching stray dogs
12 noon : Lunch + Agitation against highly priced vada sambar, goddamit.
1 PM : Join Relay Hunger Strike against company occupying farmers land. Note carefully that next time, at least find out name of company and not wear its T-Shirt.
3 PM : It's too hot, mate. Pass the hunger strike baton to the next person ("relay" hunger strike) and get a quick dosa+chai down
5 PM : Road march campaign against racism, carrying Shilpa Shetty Posters. Negotiate with leader and obtain miniskirt poster for taking home. Rakhi Sawant is now getting stale.
5:30 PM: Ask for the death penalty for racists. Oh, wait. That is "rapists". Not till tomorrow morning, 8 AM.
6 PM : Threaten to self-immolate. Search for reason.

Such is life, I guess, in a very boring sort of way.

Someone also mentioned this Shilpa Shetty episode in the UK Parliament, and all the suited politicians decided that racism was a bad thing. Then the official stenographer said, "what, obviousness struck you on the forehead just now? And what about Iraq, you numbskulls?" and in response, got fired for being racist. Because forehead pointed to "Indians" because they put bindis on them.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Kill all the stray dogs

I'm incensed that stray dogs have killed a child in Bangalore. A pack of 15 dogs attacked and killed an 8 year old girl on Jan 5. An in Chandigarh, a 55 year old man was killed by strays.

Stray dogs are dogs without owners, who hang out on the streets like they frikking own them, and were always very violent towards other occupants of the road. They've attacked cyclists and motorbikes all the time. They are stupid enough to try to attack my car too (In response, I've unsuccessfuly attempted to run them over) But when they attack people and will KILL them, it's far beyond time to take action. It's time to wield arms and kill the bastards.

Oh there are animal lover organisations that don't like it one little bit. How can you kill dogs, they say. They're so lovable! Well, so are rats. Rats don't even bite you so much. I don't see no animal organisation asking people not to kill rats.

They also say that we don't own the frikking streets, we should share them with dogs. How about leopards? Just yesterday Mr. Spots appeared in the streets of Nasik and caught. I don't see animal organisations screaming about why we shouldn't be sharing our roads with leopards.

What do I hear you say? Leopards are WILD animals. Well so are stray dogs. In fact all dogs are wild - what makes them tame is only the fact that they have an owner who has the responsibility of keeping the dog from biting or killing someone. Stray dogs have no owner, so they're as wild as any other animal - in fact, any dog which joins a pack becomes ferocious.

The touted cure is to sterilize. Sterilization does not help. It's the fear that is the problem. Does a dog come with a big sign on it's frikking forehead saying "I have no testicles"? So how do you know a dog is sterile? And who's to say there isn't a chance a sterile animal won't be a grumpy bastard and attack a defenceless child anyways? Are you willing to let your children on the streets with this kind of fear?

Stray dogs cause far more damage to the environment than people think. A Indian express mentions:
Stray dogs are incredibly damaging to wildlife, killing untold numbers of monitor lizards, birds, snakes, and other wild creatures. No discerning environmentalist would want to trade our dwindling wildlife for a world of free-ranging feral domestic animals.

Read this article - it gives some amazing perspective.

Ald kill the goddamn stray dogs. All of them. Round them up and give them poisoned injections.

If anyone objects, put the dogs inside their house. Or, if you have the money, drive the dogs into the forest and throw them in there. If the activists can't take care of them, the dogs should just die. Why should our children suffer?

Okay, we may be able to do this in a slightly different way. By using squirrels.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What religion is your....

Time and time again, the question has really baffled everyone: Are your private parts religious? "Krish" seems to think they might be, that you can have a religious dick. I am sincerely perturbed by this major rant which sounds more like, as they say in a language I know, "the man has a fly jumping around in his butt".

Basically Krish says : An atheist = no religion. Not just no god, but no religion also. Okay? I can see you're with me till now which is pretty good.

But, he says, the "blog kiddies" who he does not name but knows really well, are masquerading as atheists and in their lair, practicing black magic and voodoo, which are essentially religion, and therefore they cannot be atheists. Actually he did not say that, but it seems to sound better. That's how gossip starts, and man if you don't like religion, you don't want me starting about gossip.

Back to the program.

Mr. Krish is irked, peeved or otherwise majorly irritated by bloggers who rise up in arms against Christianity and Islam, and in the process, target the posterior of members of the aforementioned religions. ("kick the butt of Muslims and Christians") Specifically, those that claim Hinduism is the atheist way of life; and therefore hate everyone else of other religions. Indulging in such religion based hatred, he seems to say, is counterproductive to the atheist tag, a statement I cannot find fault with. If you takes the Hindu high road and propogates the anti-Islam or anti-Christian dogma, you are not an atheist no matter how many times you imprint it on your forehead.

But to protest the irrationalities of particular religions is fair game. I can protest against the Hindu Caste System, the Muslim Burqua, the Christian fear-of-embryonic-stem-cells and still retain the atheistic bent of mind. But if you equate my stand against certain religious beliefs as coming from someone who was born to a Hindu family and thus is biased against all other religions, I would ask you what you are smoking, mate.

(and to please give me some of it because this religion business is giving me a headache)

But Krish ends with "The moment religion enters your thought process, you cease to have any rational thinking." This is as stupid-ass as it gets because 1) his post is about religion so if this statement is true, the whole post is irrational, and 2) atheists are not necessarily rational, they are just atheists, gawddammit.

This would have just been another random post in the random world of blogs. But I wanted to write because the image of a "religious dick" was just hilarious.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

You know there is a real estate bubble when... see something like this.

When chai wallas are trying to sell property, it's a bubble. "One by two tea please. And do you have any houses less than 40 lakhs?"

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The dowry turnaround story

Turns out that the dowry problem has reared its ugly head again. This time, Mr. Selvam, the demander of the dowry in question, hanged himself because his wife didn't get the money pronto.

Darwin's theory in action. Can we now have all the terrorists do this too, i.e. hang themselves? I'll pay for the rope.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Gender test

"Indian Athlete fails Gender Test", screams the headlines. Santhi Soundarajan won a silver medal at Doha and them promptly failed a gender test, so they took back her (?) medal.

But there is something I do not quite get.

What the holy F is a gender test? Do they look inside your pant(ie)s for a visual obstruction? Or your chest for a couple of speed breakers? (Maybe that's why fat men are not athletes) Do they do the touchy-feely thing from the outside?

Or do they make you take online tests like this:

Which of the following most accurately describes you?
I'm a real man.
I'm a real woman.
I'm not a real man or a real woman, but I'd like to be.
None of the above. I'm something else entirely.

So if you click "C" or "D" they take back your medal.

The test statements say that Ms. S.S. "does not possess the sexual characteristics of a woman". If they got that from looking at a picture I will honestly say that this may apply to a lot of women in certain engineering colleges. We used to have a sexist joke in my college:

Why did Ethiopia get the drought and KREC get the girl's block? (the ladies hostel that is)
Because Ethiopia had the first choice.

Okay, not quite politically correct, so what. But I digress.

The medical team that did this "gender test" consists of "a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist and internal medicine specialist", it seems.

Gynecologist, okay.
Endocrinologist, a complicated designation, but still okay.
Internal medicine specialist, uhmm. I think they invented that term yesterday.

What is a psychologist doing there? Testing if she had the mental make up of a woman? If anyone knows anything about women they will know that there is no standard mental make up of a woman. From chaos theory, the rule goes that you can never predict what will offend, excite, impress or otherwise affect any given woman at any given point in time, because of the butterfly effect, not necessarily in your stomach. Even if you are a woman. Even if you are THE woman in question, which is why endless phone discussions are about "I don't know why I was feeling that way".

If there is any recognition of this rule, chances are quite high that S.S. was, at that point, acting like a man, because she is a woman and can hormonally act any which way she pleases.

Now if they told me she went through a a simple chromosome test to find out if she's got XX or XY, that would be fine. Yet, they will choose psychologists to determine if a (tired) athlete is a woman, and that too, in an Arab country. Surprisingly stupid, no?

Theory: Maybe one of them tried to touch something they shouldn't have touched, and the penalty for that is that they cut your hands off, so it was probably better to decide she wasn't a woman in the first place. And to argue their case, we present Mr. Ram Jethmalani who says that she challenged their manhood, so they challenged her womanhood.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ooh, it's started.

So I mentioned earlier that IIPM's trying to use Wikipedia for marketing. A "Mrinal" had suddenly appeared on the scene, threatening to remove any elements that don't reflect IIPM's vast superiority over mere mortal business schools. Out of the blue, Mr. Mrinal, who does not log on to Wikipedia but names himself, ostensibly so that anyone can call himself/herself "Mrinal", had set a deadline - the Wikipedia page would be changed without mercy on December 10.

Probably the Delhi sealing held him up, but Mrinal is back now. And changing the IIPM page furiously because, let's face it, this is the #3 link when you search for "IIPM".

The talk page has his war cry:
Hi Makrand, I accept what you and Deepak are saying. I think that if we believe in freedom of expression without benchmarking it with others, then just the three of us can keep having a debate forever. But I appreciate your and Deepak's inputs. So I'll start making changes from this week onwards. If you don't like it, do please revert them. And if I don't like your reverts, I'll revert the same back. Let's go on doing that till we reach a negotiated conclusion (or one of us blinks first :-)). Best wishes, Take care, and let the reverts begin :-)

He's now made massive changes, removing all elements of the controversy. And when I revert, stating this is not acceptable, he goes and does it again. Three times today, already and probably starting a major revert war.

I'm not going to let them get away with this.

Friday, December 15, 2006

IIPM on two months notice

Yes, beating this silly institution to death, but it seems that my earlier report that IIPM's premises was sealed has an addendum. It has been given two month's notice to "vacate its premises". And they've said they'll leave in two weeks, which, if I get the dates right, would have been December 1 or so.

Even if they haven't yet left, they have till January 17, 2007.

To recap, their premises was on land leased out from a welfare society in a non-commercial area and the courts ordered this office sealed on November 15, 2006.


Friday, December 08, 2006

A totally insufficient dowry

This is rip-roaringly funny. Rolling on the floor funny. (And yes, I've been youtubed)


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Torn. Fascinatingly Torn.

Brilliant. I can imagine how much newsreaders on TV would like to do this.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Insane winters

Why is it so frikking cold in Bangalore? I woke up at 6:30 and practically froze my neenies. This from a 90 kg individual who has survived, among other things, Norway. The problem with Bangalore right now is the daily range: my body is totally flummoxed. It's so hot in the day I need the A/C on full blast in the office. In the night, when it's time for our daily midnight walk, i can walk with a milk bottle (not that I do) and end up with ice cream.

And this whole global warming thing? I think it's happening. (Duh) When people are working it's frikking hot. And when they're asleep, hell freezes over. For it's supposed to be frozen over, just that all those working people have made it a furnace.

At this point, I have to stop and think if I want a furnace or a freezer.

Ok, thought.

I want one of the above. Either stay a furnace or a freezer. Don't f*** me up with both, at different times of the day.

And if you (Mr. Weather) behave like this when my baby arrives, I swear I will shut you up with enough heating and cooling equipment to make the devil lust. Equipment which, I've suddenly realised, is not going to be available in this city that has always had a temperature regulator named "Nature".

Who has, I think, left the building.

If you're still with me, watch this completely out-of-context video:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Gift of the Magi

O'Henry wrote one of the most fundoofied texts of all time: The Gift of the Magi. It starts like this:

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And
sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two
at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and
the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent
imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied.

And then it carries on till the end, a story of two innocent people much in love with each other. What I absolutely love about it is the language; phases such as:
Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He
enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with
discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other

What a vivid way to write! It's like a little jigsaw puzzle in which you can clearly see the next piece in your head while reading each sentence. Coax yourself to read it again and every time you read that other thing you missed in your last reading, and suddenly, a new picture emerges. Tresses, watches, gifts and Christmas. It's a simple story, written in brilliant language.

I wish that one day I will write like that. For he conveys, in a few words elaborately juxtaposed, a meaning I would take a tome to describe.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A ryze movie mixer happened. And lots of the above beverage. And I was with my wife, so we had a lot of the above emotion happening as well. Life is good.

Friday, November 17, 2006

IIPM's Delhi premises sealed

It seems like the sealing drive has got IIPM in another spot of trouble. It's Delhi office was sealed on November 15.

However, this might just be a case of IIPM being on the receiving end. They're a tenant of Canara Bank Relief and Welfare Society, which in turn has the land leased from the Delhi Development Authority. The Canara Bank Society seems to have violated the lease agreement by sub-letting out the property, and IIPM's got stuck in the fracas.

Poetic justice.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Know your pachchees.

Yet Another Blogger Get-Together (YABGT) happened at Shiok, Bangalore. MadMan, Amit, Lahar, Prabhu, Gautam and Suman were there, and we had a sort of drink-fest. Let's just say there were cocktails and there were cocktails. And food. And in case you forgot, cocktails. And great conversation. Also, cocktails. Blue cocktails. Orange cocktails. Cocktails that managed to make a girlie drink of a good manly scotch.

With all that alcohol, which I've conveniently overstated for the purpose of exaggerating, and it's my firm belief that if we are not allowed to exaggerate why not just stitch our lips together, some amazing conversation was had. That is perhaps the worst sentence known to mankind.

But I digress.

Heard in the melee was a recount of how someone, during a visit to Indore armed with only a "madhyama" understanding of Hindi, accosted an auto. Not wanting to be stiffed by the well known auto-mafia, he decided to be the negotiator and asked for the price to their destination.

"Pachchees rupya.", quoted the auto driver.

"Pachchees??? No Pachchees!", said our friend, wiggling his finger scoldingly, "Only Pachchas".

(For the Hindi impaired: Pachchees = 25, Pachchas = 50)

And then I heard one of the best ways to get rid of the guys who ask you for a loan. Ask for a loan of One Rupee. Brilliant.

I tried that today, and the GE Money representative quickly told me this isn't for a loan but for a card. Then I switched to my good old, "I charge Rs. 500 to answer marketing calls" pitch, which, unfortunately for me, resulted in a slammed phone. To make money, you have to put money down, no?

I'm waiting for the day when my pitch will get the dream answer.

"Paanch sau! No Paanch Sau. Hazaar".

(P.S. Had forgotten Gautam in my first draft. Sorry, Gautam! Note to self: When you copy links from someone's blog remember to type their name in first!)

(P.P.S. Some photos are here)

Friday, November 10, 2006

IIPM is trying to use Wikipedia for marketing

IIPM's Wikipedia page has been subject to a series of "positive" edits over the last few months, by a person that calls himself "Mrinal". He has been editing the Wikipedia page constantly, trying to change information that is provided there to reflect standard IIPM statements and flowery language. I'm fairly confident he's from IIPM itself, although he does not mention it.

For instance, he recently added language like this:

IIPM is the first institution from India to be selected as a member of CEEMAN (Central and East European Management Development Association). CEEMAN is the key body for registering graduate and post-graduate management institutions in the European Union and associate countries with members from 42 countries like IMD Lausanne, European University, and AACSB, which is the premier accrediting agency for bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs in business administration in the US).

which had to be edited to provide more meaningful information like:

IIPM is a member of CEEMAN (Central and East European Management Development Association). [4], which is a global network of management institutions. CEEMAN organises courses, seminars and conferences for educators.

Note here that while CEEMAN accredits colleges, IIPM is not part of their accredited list. (Of course when I added that, "Mrinal" reverted it) Basically, CEEMAN is a paid membership club - but Mrinal's first notes convey the impression that it as a premier accreditation agency in in Europe (which it is not) and that it is involved with accreditation in the US (which again it is not).

It's been quite trying to keep the page sane. To balance the equation some joker or the other comes in and places text like "Arindam Chaudhuri is a fraud" which gets reverted soon - though that's stopped recently too, thank goodness.

But what's of concern is that Mrinal wants to remove ALL pointers to controversies on the IIPM page.

His latest comment, when I asked him to refrain from making all statements a marketing pitch for IIPM:

I have a problem with your statement where you say that all the text seems to be about marketing IIPM. It is perhaps not about marketing IIPM, but rather putting across points which are positive, as I notice certain others vociferously have used Wikipedia to put only negative statements (which you have correctly deleted in the past, and I have used positive statements to give the correct viewpoint, the USA Today example being one of them).

But I should say that if Wikipedia is only about providing non-marketable (or marketable) information, then we should start putting across all the news of IIPM written by journalists that comes in all the 'neutral' newspapers. You would realise that if a "non-marketable" USA Today article can be put up, then you have to clearly accept we should also put up non-USA Today articles which also give a different viewpoint. I am sure your points would be logical on that.

I'll start putting up IIPM news that comes in various newspapers from now on under different paragraphs. Because if you truly believe that visitors to the web site should know details about USA Today (running into five lines), then I think that the same amount of space should be dedicated to typical newsy articles on IIPM that might not be "non-marketable".

Deepak, I do think that your viewpoint with respect to CEMEN is perfectly ok. But I find it grossly wrong that you can consider it a part of the "marketing" statement. Anyway, at this point I am suggesting that the complete structure of the IIPM site on wikipedia does not confirm to the structure followed while writing details about business schools globally. You could visit the details of any ivy league school on wikipedia, or even other schools. I am going to suggest a complete structural change to the IIPM page today or tomorrow. That would mean a complete revamp adhering to the standard set up with respect to wikipedia details about other b-schools. That'll also ensure that discussions and debates on "marketable" and "non-marketable" information have a benchmark with other b-school information provided, which currently seems to be not there.

Do kindly give me a feedback on this suggestion. I'll put up the completely reworked template on Monday (with references to almost all the other b-school sites on wikipedia).

Well, I have no problems with a number of news articles on the page. Just not that we should put the same flowery spin on them. Also that we shouldn't have pure advertising, and we should have facts regardless of whether they are negative or positive.

Note here that Mrinal does not register himself on Wikipedia like most regular editors do - he only writes his name, and uses different IP addresses each time.

BTW. mentions of other schools are bunk; controversies appear in pages like Harvard and Yale.

I need help! If this person is involved with IIPM he will have considerable time to keep removing all controversies etc. from the IIPM page (which btw is the second highest link when you search for IIPM). If this is allowed to go on, we'll eventually have only a big ad campaign out there, and the entire section on the controversy (which I think is very important to have in there) will go.

I hope more people will join in helping with edits. Last year's issue is passe now, but the facts have not changed. IIPM still does full page ads saying the exact same things it did last year. Some of them still convey a false impression. We're sorta "okay" to live with that.

But just because there are no more articles does not mean we allow them to take over a public information site like Wikipedia.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Helmet Rule

I remembered this when I heard excuses from people complaining about the helmet rule in Bangalore. The arguments against it are:
1) I'm only driving a short distance on unimportant roads. Why should I suffer?
2) First fix the roads, and light them properly. (Yeah right. And if you slip on rain water, you're going to ask them to stop the rains next)
3) They're uncomfortable, hot and cause you to lose hair. (Very important not to have a bald body in the morgue.)
4) Difficult to breathe and hear other traffic. (There are enough helmets that don't have the problem, and drilling holes for hearing and air circulation is bloody simple)
5) Difficult to carry while shopping. (They have helmet locks, folks)
6) It shouldn't be mandatory; It's a violation of personal freedom! (That line ends when more people die of ignorance than regulation will cure)

As you will notice, I think little of these excuses. I think pillion riders should be made to wear them too. And cyclists as well - after all, they're as prone to die on the road. I remember something that happened about 10 years ago.

A family friend is a neurosurgeon. One day I walked into my house with my helmet in my hand. He was talking to my dad, when he quickly turned and asked me sternly, "Do you wear that when you're riding?"

"Obviously", I said, "why on earth would I pay for a helmet to hold in my hand?"

He told me why he asked. He had just operated on a girl who knocked over by a bus while taking her moped across the road to bring some coconuts. My mom knew her; she'd met her in a gathering a few days earlier. A 50 cc moped, just across the road. And you might think, "I don't need a helmet for just that much distance, no?"

Turned out she did. She nearly died of head injuries (She survived after a long series of operations). Not by the bus running her over. But because her head hit the road.

Is any excuse worth more than your life?

News and views on November 7

It seems to be quite long since I posted. I was sitting around doing nothing; don't ever be under the presumption that I was too busy to write, but I was too held up with way too many happenings around town and otherwise.

It is now Bengaluru

Yes, finally! The name of the town I live in is changed to Bengaluru and I live near Cunninghamu Roadu. My office is near Cubbonu Roadu, behind Manipalu Centeru and opposite the Coffee-u day-u. I like-u.

The fascination with parochial names isn't something to be belittled though. By simply changing the name of the city to what it was about 200 years ago, we have now brought the city's name in tune with the available infrastructure, some of which was still slightly better 200 years ago. For instance, there are roads. Or there used to be, for what exists now is a lot of potholes stitched together with tar. 200 years ago, they didn't even know what Tar was. Or at least, they called it tar-u. But I can bet that the roads were better then, simply because nothing can be worse than this.

In any case, I'm going to enjoy the name change and the gazillion people getting unhappy that "benglaur" was so much better and bang-galore kinda sounded like a place to get some nookie, like bangkok, except in bangkok it was legal. The biggest screamers are those that are so unaffected by the name that even if the authorities called the city upsky-dipsky-dang it would make as much effect on their lives as a mosquito does on an elephant. (For those of you unfamiliar with the size difference, you "squish" a mosquito, and an elephant "squish"es you).

India lost and Darrell lost his hair

So what's new, you ask. Good question. We lost again to Australia, which is by far the biggest bully in the cricketing world. But they deserve to be, because they are elephants in a land of mosquitos. That stupid metaphor again. I must be seeing too much of Sidhu.

So I'm rightfully happy when the whole world got back at Australia by sacking its umpire. Darrell Hair can no longer officiate, they've said, and chances are that the three big guys - India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - asked for Hair's removal for being unfair. I agree with that because a) He's made decisions I would struggle to explain without an element of bias against the "brownies", and b) when your sport's biggest sponsors feel that way, you gawd-darn well give in.
Delhi mein traders ko shop bandh karne ka order

Honestly, that's how they report it. Two words of Hindi, one of English. Eventually there will just be Hinglish channels and that's all you get, tum miserable log.

The Supreme Court has finally decided to wear the pants in the Great Indian Family and tell shopkeepers that:
a) You can't buy a house and convert it to a shop
b) If you've done it, you can't hold us to ransom by violently protesting against us sealing these shops

Quite laudable, this stand. I feel for the traders - after all, they are people trying to eke out a living, though I find it difficult to sympathise with those that come to protest in their mercs. Anyhow, the real point is that they should be given time till January, they say, and that in the new "master plan" their shops may be in commercial territory and therefore, legal. Not a bad stand, that, but in the background of the fact that they'd been given a YEAR to fix things, it's fairly shaky ground they're on.

Well, they can't hold the city to ransom, period. And we finally have a set of people who won't give in to such terrorism. I just wish the Supreme Court could handle situations like Kargil and the Kandahar hijack. We'll be in a far better situation, perhaps.

America is voting for Congress

And India has already voted for them.

Saddam's last sigh... that he's not being shot, he's being hanged. Both ways, he's dead as a doornail. The world is perhaps a better place without him. Unfortunately for us, there are ways he will live on; as a martyr, as a saint. For those that will use his death to incite others to fight against what everyone knows is the stupidest country in the world.

First you say we're going to get this guy because he's got weapons of mass destruction. Then you get him. And you don't get these weapons of mass destruction. Then you let hundreds of your soldiers and thousands of Iraqis die; in spite of the fact that your soldiers don't know why you're there, and the Iraqis hate you. And you hold a trial in which he goes berserk and does the equivalent of a broadway play for the Iraqis, after which you pronounce his death sentence. Very nice, but we're full up with stupid tricks in this country already, so don't try to sell us yours.

The Revenge of the Courts

Yes, the courts are at it again. Priya Mattoo's killer has been sentenced to death, for bludgeoning her with a helmet (which incidentally are back in favour in Bangalore) (Not the bludgeoning, the helmets, you oaf). The highly influential Santosh Kumar Singh, who killed Mattoo ten years ago, has been sternly told that such an offence can be very harmful to your life, and exactly how. He's going to the big kaboozah in the sky, and he can have a good time discussing helmet related injuries with Saddam.

In other news, Ram Jethmalani is defending Manu Sharma, another well known killer, who is allegedly not a killer because Ram Jethmalani said so.

And finally...

...I will turn 32 soon. It's not a moment to be happy. I will tell you why on another day, another time. But what is to be happy is that I will be a father in three months.

It's official. And I'm excited and scared. Happy and Tentative. We have left no room for innocence.

Yet, it's got my genes, so hopefully this'll all go behind a big smile and a hearty laugh. And that moment, I swear, I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Diwali Story

Happy Diwali to all of you. It's the festival of lights, and the beginning of a new year for some. The story is fairly old but it's worth a mention.

Ram is our main character. He's actually God, but in disguise. No one knows why. Has three half-brothers, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughna, all of whose mothers were married (legally) to old man Dashrath, who's CEO of Ayodhya. Actually, more like Chief Monarch. So Ram grows up as future CEO and one of the other mothers kinda doesn't like it; her son Bharat just doesn't sound as good with the Vice President tag. And she's got a big time IOU for a special vote at an earlier board meeting, and cashes it in.

Dashrath's totally not with it because of Bharat's lack of the MOS degree - Monarch's Oldest Son. But the IOU's just too strong and he gives in, banishing Ram from the board of directors and telling him to vacate the company premises for a 14 year hiatus. The boardroom drama, then enacted in 14 different episodes with highly influential lawyers and lots of crying, is too much for Dashrath and after the decision, he has a heart attack and goes to the big hole in the sky.

Meanwhile, Bharat finds out about the board decision and is totally against it - he knows he doesn't have an MOS, and he's big on Ram, the de-facto MOS. So he gets out of the campus, talks to Ram and tells him, "Mumsie screwed up, dude. I don't wanna take your seat cos you're like God and all that, so since you'll be back after 14 years, gimme your floaters".

Ram says, and I quote, "Huh?"

"Yeah Bro. I wanna put those up on the CEO's chair and I'll just do a proxy role, but your footwear rules until you're back"

"Ok, whatever tickles you mate".

So Ayodhya was then run by a pair of chappals, officially. (Editor's note: They tried this very thing later, in Enron. Didn't seem to work.)

Ram is now left with Sita, his wife and Lakshman, his loyal half-bro. They hang out for about 10 years next to a river, a fairly boring existence marked by visits by knotted hair rishis and battles with the enemies who for some reason didn't understand that our pal Ram was a GOD and you don't ever try to spar with GOD, at least not in this story. And they were living in a forest sorta place, so Ram and Lakshman were cutting wood and drawing water from wells and rowing oars so they weren't missing the gyms in Ayodhya too much.

One eveing, Ram and Lakshman go to a party, and there's an ugly babe named Shroopnakha. She's absolutely smitten by Ram's carved body and asks him out.

"You're hot, Ram! Let's get married!"
"Er...nope. I'm ekapatni, meaning only one wife, dudette. Look at the ring"
(Note: In those days it was impolite to say "Sorry, but you're ugly")
Shroopnkha's incensed.
"Darn that bitch. I'll take care of her right now"

And she runs out towards the river,with Lakshman running behind her but not as fast because his new dhoti was kinda loose. But he gets it together and just when Shroopnakha attacks Sita (and she was like a Sumo Wrester in comparison, in addition to the ugly bit) Lakshman chops off her nose and ears. That's about par for the course, and tradition continues in the form of Lorena Bobitt.

Shroopnakha's big brother, the schizophrenic 10 headed Ravana is quite miffed at this. Nobody cuts off my sister's nose and ears, he says loudly, while Shroopnakha goes out for reconstructive surgery and comes out as Michael Jackson.

Ravana gets his transvestite friend Marich to wear a deerskin bikini, and jiggle it near Ram's tent - and Sita's thinks it's Chanel and says to Ram, "You haven't bought me a dress in a while, but I'll made do with that if you can get it". Ram, like any normal guy who hates being taken shopping to expensive women's clothing shops, jumps in head first.

Marich screams "Help!" in a voice that sounds a lot like Ram, and Lakshman races to the rescue, though he does draw a circle around the tent in self-combusting chalk to protect Sita.

Meanwhile Ravana drives in with his new BMW and manages to lure Sita out of the combustion zone with his new Z-sound stereo system. Obviously, she's not impressed enough to elope or anything, but Ravana decides that heck, she'll come around, and forces her in. After a long car chase that creates a new record of being on TV channels for 6 days non stop, he's back home in Sri Lanka.

Ram is now smoking out of his ears. He gathers an army of monkeys (Ayodhya's still being ruled by chappals) and they all decide to drive to Lanka. Except they forgot there's a body of water in between.

"Get Online and book us 68,000 tickets to Lanka", orders Ram. Lakshman comes back in about 10 minutes.

"Two problems, Ram"
"One: 'Online' hasn't been invented yet'
"Oh. Hmm. And Two?"
“"Flights" haven't been invented yet….”
"What the hell? (Note to self: Get the Wright brothers in BEFORE you do the movie)
“Okay we'll build a bridge across".
"Are you nuts? We can just build boats man, it's easier!"
"Dude, this is my story, right? If I say we build a bridge, we build a bridge spanning 150 kilometers over water."

And so they did, and the monkeys crossed over. But not before Hanuman, Chief Monkey man, had identified Sita’s location in Lanka using Satellite imaging and in the process, set Lanka on fire. Satellite technology wasn’t too safe at that time. It’s now called “The Long Tail”.

Then the big Ram vs. Ravana fight happened, advertised on RAW as the “Biggest fight ever” and the audience was backed up all the way to Australia for a view. After a lopsided battle between Ravana’s goons and the M-15 powered monkeys, Ravana calls his brother Kumbhakarna, but all he got was voice mail. “I’m asleep right now, but leave me a message and I’ll think of waking up”.

Ravana then shoves a Taser into Kumbhakarna’s side, who jumps up, startled, and attacks Ram, thinking he did it. Ram empties his Uzi into the big K who, not being God, dies.

Ravana’s son Meghnad, in an attempt to avenge this gruesome death, races towards Ram on his Suzuki 600.

“I’ll get you for killing Uncle Kumbhakarna! He hadn’t even heard my voice mail, you ba…..(splutter, choke, die)”

“You talk too much”, mumbles Ram, blowing the smoke off the Uzi. “If you wanna shoot, shoot. Don’t talk”, he mutters, and instantly realizes this dialogue could be a great western movie, which it later was.

Ravana surges forward, and after the explosive exchange of firepower, flies up in his newly obtained helicopter (which thankfully had been invented just in time). Ram, realizing that Ravana’s getting away meant a sequel and there was a love story he had to do next, threw a sword at the copter, which threw the blades off and the helicopter pitched back. The sword, shaped like a boomerang for the Australian watchers, then returned from above to penetrate the windshield and crash into Ravana’s body, severing all his heads in a way that would put Rajnikanth to shame.

So the war was won, and the whole gang returned to Ayodhya, this time using a different route and reaching just at the time when the exile period was over. Their car ran out of petrol just about at the edge of the company wall, so they had to hike the last bit. The campus was kinda dark for lack of proper energy planning and the solar panels having been pointed wrong, what with chappals ruling the roost, so people decided enough was enough and lit up their tiny lamps so Ram and Sita didn’t step into any goo.

There was much joy and celebration all around, with people spontaneously playing cards and making bets on whether Sita’s next step would be before Ram’s.

That’s why we celebrate Diwali with lights, and crackers and lamps. And that’s why the biggest amount of gambling happens on Diwali.

Have a good one, folks.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The hole in the wall

No, this is not about a dutch guy who put a finger in a wall to save his town from flooding. Or about Israel and Palestine. It's about India and India. I mean uptown hyperlinked pseudo-impressive India and the real India.

The Hole-in-the-wall experiment was started by Sugata Mitra, head of research at NIIT. The videos on that site (and also here) are mind-blowing; Sugata decided to put a computer (connected to the Internet) on a wall of his office building in Delhi which adjoins a slum. Only the screen was visible through a layer of some thick glass; and there was a touchpad and some coloured buttons next to it. No keyboard, no instructions.

Kids from the slum were instantly attracted; That was Sugata's aim really, to see if anyone would use it. Note that these kids have little knowledge of computers, and a second hand computer would cost as much as their parents make a year.

The experiment went beyond the obvious. Not only did the kids figure out the mouse tricks instantly, they soon realised how they could go on to the internet, and soon were found googling for search terms like "Aishwarya Rai but not with so many clothes". Just kidding.

(I don't like the idea of kids getting unbridled internet access so I hope they have a porn filter out there)

Seriously, the kids figured it all out! Soon they were visiting and playing games online and all that. Amazing, I say. We need one of these boxes in Bangalore, preferably with only links to sites like:
1) How to drive.
2) How to drive without having to honk incessantly.
3) Running over pedestrians is a bad thing.
4) Stopping at red lights: The glamour of people who do.

And people should have to do this before they get a licence, renewable every year.

But I digress. We need the boxes for the under-privileged in Bangalore. And in all sorts of villages - perhaps as a movable van, with a phone link on a cellphone for providing internet access.

I think the video opens many eyes. And tells you the story of a real India. Lots of talent, little opportunity. Open the opportunity, and you'll suddenly see a much bigger market for both employment and for selling to. The big guys do not get it - other than Reliance. The future is in todays castaways.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Google Earth is the new hero.

Farmers in Pen Taluka, Maharashtra whose land was going to be acquired by the government for a new SEZ, were peeved when they were offered lower compensation because their land was "submerged in salty creek water". Fertile land is worth more.

So they used Google Earth to prove that their land was fertile.

I'm just curious about this. If these officials would not accept the testimony of witnesses, photographs or even their own eyes (if they went there), why the holy hell would they cow down, tail between their legs, to a Google Earth? Does the government machinery work in such mysterious ways?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I love the smell of coffee in the morning.

I'm still hung up on my Chikmagalur trip, amn't I?

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Kannada school controversy

FT has a post on the the Karnataka Government's decision to derecognise schools that don't teach in Kannada till the 5th standard. And then you get posts like this and this that get all senti and like the FT article, warns of the xenophobic, and really "non-kannadiga"-o-phobic sentiments behind the act.

The affected schools (list) are also quite unhappy; as their primary source of income has been "robbed" from them. Not that they care about their students; if they did, they would have gotten with the program and hired Kannada teachers. They're screaming hoarse now that a) students must be allowed to complete the year (ending March) and b) the law was a stupid one anyway, look at how English has helped the IT industry and c) this is xenophobic and anti-student and all that.


There was a Karnataka government order in 1994 that only permitted private investments in primary education if the teaching medium was in Kannada. Let's go into the merits of that order later, but I will say that if schools said "ok, we'll teach in Kannada, give us permission to have a school", and then went ahead and taught in English, they were doing a wrong thing. Just because the law is bad doesn't mean you violate it; you can attempt to get the law reversed or take your business elsewhere. The law against murder means you'll get arrested even if you killed an insane murderer or a bureaucrat that endorsed substandard part purchases for MIG planes that killed your fighter pilot best friend.

Let's now get to the government order. First, I don't believe the government has any right to police education; not when they have miserably failed in their own method, and made the public school system a complete mess. But they must have a framework that schools must work under, and criteria that all schools must cater to; otherwise stupid teachings like Intelligent Design become possible.

Second, what's the real issue? They've ordered that primary schools must teach in Kannada medium till class 5. This does not mean "don't teach in English" - in fact it does allow you to teach the English language, but all other subjects must be taught in Kannada.

And what's the class 5 business? There are no public exams till class 5. In fact, none now till class 10. So schools needn't even conduct exams - and many do not - for students to pass through to class 6. In fact there's no federal requirement of minimum marks to get into the 6th standard.

Note here that after class 5, English medium instruction is not prohibited. That means only till age 10 does one have to learn in Kannada.

But then, what subjects are taught till class 5. Languages, Maths, Science, Geography, History. Students will find it altogether difficult to suddenly switch between Kannada and English in class 5 - but that's not bad at all! Children are fast learners and can easily grasp language differences, the trouble really is that parents will have to do so too. But overall, I think this is the biggest disadvantage, and perhaps the only one.

So why can't schools teach in Kannada?
1) They don't have Kannada teachers, or management. Now that can't be difficult to solve.
2) They don't have a Kannada curriculum. Okay, not too difficult either.
3) They don't WANT to teach in Kannada, because they believe that students must fundamentally learn English only. This argument is ridiculous; English is a very easy language to learn and learning Kannada prepares kids for a potential future with law (legal papers can be in either language), public sector jobs, rural employment and, in general, conversation with people who've only learnt kannada.
4) They face pressure from Parents that want to teach their kids only in English. The problem here is that some parents don't know Kannada and can't help their children with studies; so my take on this is: perfect time for all to learn kannada.

Remember that parents can put kids into private tuition (not a school, but an unaffiliated private institution) till class 5 and then move them into an English school in class 6. This is permitted and will most likely be the outcome for hundreds of those that will stubbornly not learn kannada. Current primary teachers too can moonlight as unaffiliated teachers in such institutions.

Schools, too, can hire only a few kannada teachers and reduce their primary intake (upto class 5). There's a monetary hit, which I believe is the major cause of the school's apparent unhappiness.

Students have been assured of alternate schools anyway, either through a nearby government or "recognised" private schools. The latter have said they'll go to court, which means the primary kids will have beards when it's settled. But I don't think kids are too badly affected - after all, studying in a "non-recognised" school till class 5 isn't very depressing.

Third: Should the law be changed? I think class 5 is too much. Upto class 3 is fine (in my own opinion) and kids should be taught subjects like Maths and Science in both languages.

I also think the compulsory kannada bit should stay; if adults are going to be stupid and not learn the local language, it does not mean they force their kids to be as stupid - they're probably ruined the pie enough by passing on such genes.

And this law should apply to all schools - not just those created after 1994. That bit makes no sense whatsoever.

Finally, the biggest problem is that this protest comes from a Mr. Horatti, who proposes laws like this one that RESERVES seats for the less-intelligent of students. This is so dumb I'm spluttering with my reaction; we'll all now be forcing our kids to be less smart so we can get into a reserved section. Hey, wait. In the age of too much parental pressure and homework overload, that may be a good thing.

Also perhaps studying in shifts will prepare kids for the BPO industry.

The latest is that schools have been allowed to wait out this academic year. But is that just buying time? Horatti may be amenable to a few crores here and there, and an appropriately stuffed pillow may ensure he makes this like the infinitely-postponed helmet rule.

For the record, I'm all for action against these whining schools. And I'm all for a law that promotes teaching kids in local languages during early education.