Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Preposterous Paunch Predicament

It was the Operations Management Lecture, and I had my 'first cold call' of life at IIM-A. (A cold call is a situation where a professor catches you, and asks you to answer a question.) I had kind of prepared for the class properly, and was confident that I should be able to answer most of the stuff he might ask me do to on the board. But little did I know what lay in store for me. He asked me to draw a process flow chart, and I confidently went about drawing it, before the bombshell dropped.

Professor : Shrinivas, your handwriting is the complete opposite of your personality

Before I could comprehend what he was trying to tell me, the entire class was laughing big times, and banging their desks, parliament style. And it was then that it dawned on me, that the professor meant to say I was writing in unacceptably small font size on the board. And obviously - the 'personality', as you might have guessed, was in reference to my paunch. 

Off late, I've gotten used to the ridicule, due to the 'tyres' around my waist. Be it the "Dai, Enna da Barrel maari irukka?" (What man, you look like a barrel?) or the "I can see your face, I can see your body. But where is that part of the body called the neck in your photo?". Things have gotten so bad, that I got a book "Only fat people skip breakfast" from my friends from MANIT. And like all self help books, that was a good motivator actually, that I'm hardly eating 5 meals over 3 days on an average now, in an attempt to reduce the paunch, and it all seemed to be working out. Until a friend popped up on Twitter with an innocent query - "Have you considered the other option of actually 'working out'? ". 

All this, and I decided I'd rehash a piece I wrote for Excelsior, at MANIT. (A reply to Geetanjali Kaur's opposite version). And here you go. 

An existence of sumo-wrestler like looks is extremely disconcerting, in all my earnestness.  Every time I see guys talking about ‘six pack abs’ and ‘gym’ed bodies, and I look down at my own ‘family pack’, all that goes through my mind is ‘Screw Salman and Aamir’ !! I’m here to expose the bitter realities and misfortunes of the over-sized obese lot. Fatso, Hamburger, Bulldozer are some of the nicer nicknames you get to listen to through your life. 
The word ‘obesity’ is considered synonymous with your name and sometimes you are even made an example to kids who don’t eat their dinner. "Mote waale uncle kidnap kar denge" or "If you don’t exercise you’ll become like him". Everyone thinks you have ultra-rich parents, who give you money to waste eating food outside, every other day. Especially if you are in the hostel and despite mess food, manage to maintain a fantabulous paunch.

It is no fun at all when you go shopping, when you spend more time searching for shops that stock your size than choosing clothes. (Of course, in case of the fairer sex, this time might be equal :-P) Things are demeaning, when you come back empty handed as they don’t have jeans fitting your size, and have 100s and 1000s for jeans for the lower sizes stacked all over the place. Even worse when you are suggested to get pant material and get fitting trousers stitched! More the worse when the guy next to you buys 1.3 m of cloth for his, and you are asked to buy 2 m. 

When people ask how much you weigh, they expect your answer to be in ‘tons’. Sometimes you get insulted by friends asking you to stand on the ‘industrial weighing machine, than on the normal ones. It is assumed that you eat anything and everything. Come a treat, and you become the in-house dustbin and are dumped with anything and everything that might otherwise go waste. Everything in the world, from falling sick to failing a fitness test, is attributed to your weight. There is no other disease that plagues your life apart from the few extra kilos/ tires around your waist.

It isn’t the best feeling when you are asked to lift anything that is mildly big and people scream saying ‘Are yaar, uta liya’ when you are done, making it all the more worse and grabbing attention to your weight first than the task you’ve done. Travelling in an over-crowded auto with friends, by default makes you the one on whom everyone sits. An unfortunate consequence being a potential family future damage for guys, thanks to the bumpy Indian roads. It isn’t amusing that if you people ask you when you are going to get married when you are hardly 18, or introduce you to their baby as ‘XXYY uncle’, not because of your age. When earthquakes or tsunamis occur, your friends message you asking if you jumped off the stairs or anything.

And last but not the least, you are mostly ignored by the better looking species of the other sex. If at all you manage to get noticed, come rakhi, you’ll find yourself with plenty around your hand. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

After three months at IIM Ahmedabad ...

Three months in IIM-A are done and dusted. And after the first few days of life here, when I slept without any care, last night was the next occasion when I did that. For those who know me from earlier on, they would probably realise that my waking up at 1-00 PM in the afternoon after sleeping at about 12, the last night is like a non-event in my life ever. So peaceful was last night, that i was wishfully thinking if I could probably pause life and this moment and enjoy it a lot more, rather than get back into the rat race of assignments, quizzes, PPTs and exams once again. All said and done, I wouldn't deny the fact that it's been a roller coaster journey with lots of ups and downs and a tremendous experience altogether. I find myself with a lot more knowledge and ability to look at things from angles which I'd never thought of previously as well. A lot more than I ever thought would even understand. 

For instance, when I arrived here, I was so naive that I dint even know what a balance sheet was. During the first ever study group meet here, to discuss one of our first cases , here was the conversation that went along. The case was about discussing what were the problems with the company, and what should the approach of the owner be, and whether he should sell the some stores of his, etc. 

Friend: The company doesn't seem to be doing quite well. Their Debt-Equity ratio is pretty high and his sales are stagnating. Doesn't look like a good scenario for the company.

Me: Dude, what are you on. Check the balance sheet, the company's assets are equal to its liabilities. Worst case, he will go bust, and he can pay off his debts without any loss. So it is in a good scenario only, right?

Friends: ((shocked expression)) 

When I said this, I didn't even know that assets were equal to liabilities all the time!! My understanding of stocks used to be just a few numbers, the red and green arrows. Now I know a bit about how things work behind those numbers and the arrows. Things weren't looking all that great in the beginning, when I was surrounded by an bunch of people who were a lot more talented bunch than I have ever seen. I applied to a couple of clubs and didn't make it anywhere, which didn't give me any confidence either. Nor did looking at the CVs of some of the guys out here, which were filled with such great stuff which I couldn't even have dreamed of having done. A set of exams, and now another have passed by, and have made me realise my 'positioning' strategy in this institute and I have stuck to that, ever since. Not too high, nor too low, somewhere in the middle is my space, and I hope to hold on to that and climb up with passing time. 

Life has been great, with T-Nite. Not that I had a lot of stuff to do then. The only meaningful contribution I had was probably giving my classmates a nice laugh, with the video of a group performance on stage when I was looking so comical. EPL watching probably is one of the steam releasing points these days. Guess I am on reverse jinx mode these days. Whenever I have watched, Manchester United cant seem to stop scoring, unlike those days in MANIT when United never won whenever I watched a game on TV. Even took part in a couple of quizzes (not the accounting ones, these are the actual quizzes which I love).

There was also the tale of a missed interview, for the Literary Cell of IIM-A, when I completely messed up and didn't attend the interview due to a comedy of errors. A couple of juices written by myself (in part hindi), without the help of the expert juice writers would definitely count among my biggest achievements here, considering one of them was written during the End-slot exams as well. Life's good & bad at the same time.

When I landed in IIM-A, I came in with the sole objective of a career in finance. But off-late, I'm seriously considering even that, whether finance is what I actually want to do in life, and I am getting more inclined towards the other streams (Marketing, has really caught my eye, like nothing else has). 

Life here is hectic, and at times, you just wish you could stop and relax for a while, so that you could run the rat race with renewed energy, than run it in such a fatigued state. Of all things I have done here, something silly is what catches my eye the most. Unlike the much touted late nights and night outs, *touchwood* I've managed to get through life here with no night outs for the purpose of studying and not that I've neglected academics either. Leave alone a night out, the latest I've ever been up for studying would probably be 1-30 AM. (Even that seems an overstatement, now that I've said it)

Life's been pretty satisfying here. Though it has been a little because I have reduced my expectations from both life and myself, to more realistic levels. Free time is such a valuable proposition here, so much that I hardly get time to do the things I love to, like reading and writing. In MANIT, it would have been a travesty had I not read a novel I borrowed or owned within the first two days. But here, I've purchased a couple of books, which I've not got the time to read through, even though I'd love to do it. 

At the end of the day, I've also made sure that my focus on a 'satisfying' job than a 'high paying' job, hasn't wavered either. I'm really looking forward to see how far it holds, especially during placement season. 

PS: Next thing I'm looking forward to, is watching Velayutham First day, first show in a theatre in Ahmedabad. Hoping nothing screws up that plan. Been a while since I saw a Vijay movie on screen.