The Sausage Redemption

Beyond the presentations, assignments, quizzes, case discussions, the competition with my peers and basic survival and growth, the greatest challenge of my MBA lies in something I have taken for granted all these years. This is the story of me fighting back and getting what I rightly deserve.
I study in a campus which is vegetarian. We get great food for all our three meals but they are all vegetarian. 7 days a week, 3 meals a day (except Wednesday night- MESS OFF, NON VEG ON) I put myself through a test of my own self control. It’s not that we don’t get to go into town occasionally and satisfy our carnivore requirements but it never is enough and is far and apart.
In a group with many non vegetarians we often have conversations which begin with chicken, segue to mutton and are washed down with fish and eggs. We miss our families, our friends, our pets but most of all we miss our non veg.
Do I sound extremely desperate?
Do I come across as petty and silly?
Do I care??
When you are kept away from what is your staple, you will change from within to become the monster you need to be to get the meat you need to have to just be able to make sense of life again. For all our meaty expeditions into town, the greatest one lay ahead. Hiding in a corner of our minds, we had not fathomed the power of this all encompassing, all delivering meal. THE BUFFET!!
We were told of this breakfast buffet which would not only satisfy us but also help us find meaning to our lives again. It was unlimited, a great spread and 200 bucks. It was too good to be true. Eggs, sausages, ham, breads, mashed potato, baked beans, fruits and an Indian spread (these two and a whole lot of other stuff I would not even bother approaching, don’t think I needed fruit and paranthas!!). It was just going to be the duchess sausages, lady ham and me. We were going to party all morning. But then like I already said, it was too good to be true. The buffet wasn’t 200 and was actually close to 325 and our cash flows did not allow any lavish non veg outings of such proportions.
So, a night before our dream breakfast after learning about the door being shut on us, we were left with just the thoughts of what might have been. Unfortunately in our anticipation for this momentous meal, we had left ourselves starving that night to prepare for the pillage we were to embark on the next day. Now on hungry stomachs and frustrated minds we began calling every hotel in town at 11 in the night to find a buffet that would match our needs. Some hotels didn’t have sausages and some didn’t have buffets, some thought we were hotel guests and kept us on hold forever while some priced us out yet again. The faces fell, the stomachs stopped protesting, the hope started fading and through that blur of unfulfilled desires and a loss of religion, my mind allowed one final thought to be processed. A certain hotel that I had visited on an earlier trip to Mysore suddenly called out to me. The conversation was simple:

Hungry Som: Do you have a breakfast buffet?
Our savior: Yes sir.
Hungry Som(really hungry by now) : How much?
The economic savior: Rs 225, all inclusive sir.
Excited and ravenous Som : Do you have sausages?
My Man : yes we do.

I couldn’t control myself. I think a few tears trickled down, or maybe they didn’t but all of us just jumped and screamed and went and slept so that the morning came fast.
We were up at 6 as the buffet began at 7. We were there 15 minutes late. On reaching the hotel, realizing that it was a 5 star we cooled ourselves down and behaved as if a buffet was just another thing we did. We casually perused the available options as the waiter showed us the spread. But all our eyes were only searching for one thing, sausages. On finding it we lost all sense of dignity, picked our plates and began.. The rest as they say, is history…

I couldn't and I Had To..

Once I heard this guy whistle the Godfather tune while I sat in silence wondering how pointless life had become. As I heard him rise and fall, I slowly became a part of that effortless motion in which he brought the tune alive. The ease with which he delivered the music to my ears was not poetic, nor philosophical, just very real. In a moment of abandon, I let myself go and began to whistle, only to realize that I couldn’t and I had to.
Sitting in a coffee shop I heard two boys or maybe men discuss their next expedition to the jungles of Assam. As my friends spoke about our everyday lives, I heard of lives and tales I always wanted to live. They spoke of adventure and free will. I heard of a journey and self discovery. Looking around I saw the moment drift and I knew that this was what was in store. They got up and walked away and took my hope away. I let them go and I let it go. In the end I had to accept that I couldn’t do it. But I had to.
Turning to the last page of a book that had changed my life, I began to break down the author and his work like I did every other book. I questioned myself and answered those questions and argued to understand those answers. I closed the book and sat up to realize how I too had a story to tell. But how do I tell a story when I couldn’t figure out the plot of my life. Searching for that true story within me, I had lost a lot of the story of myself. I had over looked a few chapters and maybe never understood some of the characters. I never paused and told myself that the story I was looking for was always in me. I would sit and look at an empty screen with an empty mind, hoping it would all come in one sudden coherent burst. Then I realized that I wasn’t lacking a story, just inspiration. I pushed and searched my soul for it and couldn’t do it. But I had to.
I left many places sharing short but meaningful relations with each of them. I would search for happiness in each place and would define it differently everywhere. I always looked for the middle path. When I was in Jodhpur, I loved the place, when I was in Jabalpur, I loved my friends. I was the perfect adapter, I adapted so well and so fast that for some reason I detached that much faster. In me a strange fear of attachment was sown and even though I finally have begun to reattach to people and places, I still lack the ability to reconnect. While every place brings new meaning, I only look for an escape. In the bargain I treat everything else the same. I want to stop being a person I am not. I have tried but I couldn’t do it. But I had to.
Greetings to my soul that gave up long ago
A reminder coz I need to know
That no one can change me for who I am
So I need to stop caring a damn.

I shall not look behind and wonder
Just where I lost my inspiration, my destination or even her.
A new cause I shall find
Rejuvenate the heart and charge up my mind.

I will cry on my own shoulder
And become bolder
I will fire flares in the sky
And never stop to wonder why.

Tired of my own approach to life I had to change
It’s something that will now sound strange
Whatever maybe the bargain given to you
Don’t say I couldn’t, instead just tell yourself, I had to.

18/10/09... a start

In a day that was meant for introspection and a greater realization I journeyed across various dimensions of myself. I saw and felt things that will maybe allow me to heal. In my room all day long I found more of myself than I would have in a conscious search for myself.

From a classroom with 5 rebels to a classroom of poets and a captain to the paradise which is hell, Bruges. To the final understanding of how companies budget to the privatization of the government and a rebirth of the spirit to discover. A renaissance of the mind is what my day gave me today. Contemplation was the theme and it began with what I thought was a decided path. Old friends and new taught me resistance, from the self and from the world I live in. The movies I watched today brought a great perspective to my life to think beyond what I believe are my great miseries. Old friends taught me new lessons and new ones showed me my old ways.

A paradigm shift in what is my understanding of myself is required so that I can overcome my frailties. There is just so much to explore and discover that it will be a shame if I let the world get the better of me. I will not be brought down by myself and I will not lay down my weapons. I have always limited myself to believe that I work a certain way but none of us do. We all like living in our well designed mirages, we reek of our past and it spreads in us like a parasite.

The MBA, the self discovery, the fight within, the fight with the ones I love, the fears, the compulsions, the strength to overcome, the playlist, the bookmark, the page waiting to be turned, the word waiting to be typed, the tears that never come, the smile that hides the tear, the pretence that all is fine, the music that keeps me alive, the time that bleeds away, the wait for a revival, the angst within, a need to break away…I know I can.
Time for me to begin living.

a debate with myself

I saw ‘the great debaters’ recently, a brilliant film by Denzel Washington. It’s a story of a debate team in 1930s Texas from a black college who beat the odds to script another underdog epic. The movie with Denzel Washington and Forrest Whitaker (can you ask for anything more) is moving and extremely passionate. For all of you who thought oppression came only in one form and that racism had only an ugly face, you need to see what it all really meant. The movie should help dispel and affirm some of those notions.
But beyond the movie and its higher morals lay something simmering at the bottom that struck me. A simple question: Why do we debate? Is there any value in this verbal battle of minds? Debates are pointless and unproductive..
Where has this exercise taken us? How is a farmer suffering from the drought in India concerned about a debate on government policies and plans to help him? NDTV loves a good debate and so do our national dailies so that young and old minds in this country can ponder, wonder, concur, differ and eventually forget. We have created an educated mass of people who enjoy their debate. I hope we understand that as a collective we make a difference when we are ready to be proactive, not deliver empty verdicts to fill empty minds.
Have debates on moral policing lead to any affirmative action in restoring the rights of a young girl or boy to express themselves? The answer is obvious, but if a cup of tea can go down on a debate, then why not. An opinion is of great value in our country, right from the things we buy to the people we marry but no opinion can change the plight of one who has nothing. The government continues debating bills which take ages to get passed while a majority of them prefer sidelining major issues to bring up ones that interest their constituency or even worse, their pockets. Hypocrisy is inherent in us but apathy is a danger to us all.
Stop speaking. Start doing.

What’s wrong with a country of debaters? What’s wrong with people who have an opinion and who can express this and help make a difference? Do we live like in China or Myanmar where we live in constant fear that our voices will be taken away from us someday?
Opinions lead to solutions and it all begins with a debate. Not every man in this country has the power or opportunity to make a difference but he has his opinion which is stronger than a hollow promise to change the world. When a farmer waits for the rains, the least another man can do is tell our leaders that the farmer cannot be left alone. If this sharing of opinions happens through a debate on national TV then it will surely wake somebody up. A revolution is not always a solution. A country with a debate in their bellies is one that is ready to fight for what is right. Consider it a part of a process.
If there was anymore proof of the worth of a debate then it lies in my opponent’s stand because at the end of the day my opponent realizes that a debate is the first step to pro action and acceptance.
Stop cribbing. Start debating.

the world disappearing

"The arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons, or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law."
Rosendo Radilla was 60 when he was forcibly disappeared in August 1974. A social activist and former mayor of Atoyac municipality, Guerrero state, Mexico, he was last seen in a military barracks, days after he was detained at a roadblock. Fellow detainees reported that he had been tortured
More than 3,000 ethnic Albanians were the victims of enforced disappearances during the armed conflict in Kosovo in 1999. These were at the hands of the Serbian police, paramilitary and military forces. More than 800 Serbs, Roma and others were abducted by armed ethnic Albanian groups. Some 1,900 families in Kosovo and Serbia are still waiting to find out what happened to their relatives.
In the Philippines, over 1,600 people have disappeared since the 1970s, mostly during counter-insurgency operations against left-leaning or secessionist groups.
Sunday 30 August marks the 26th International Day of the Disappeared. Every year, Amnesty International, along with other NGOs, families associations and grassroots groups, remembers the disappeared and demands justice for victims of enforced disappearances through activities and events.
To combat enforced disappearance, in 2006 the UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Once entered into force, the Convention will be an effective way to help prevent enforced disappearances, establish the truth about this crime, punish the perpetrators and provide reparations to the victims and their families

… We live in an imperfect world surrounded by our prejudices and twisted beliefs of how to live it. We need to change our perceptions and understanding of the world that surrounds us because it’s not the same we believe we live in.
Stay informed..Stay aware.

a letter to my shareholders

To everyone who has a stake in Somanna Inc.
all of you have invested a lot of faith and patience in me and in true corporate style i can inform you that the growth in your share value has been extremely robust. the evolution of my everyday intelligence to one which i can claim as my core competency is phenomenal. its not just the MBA but also the company i keep which pushes me to pull up my socks. the competition out there is innovating as you read this but we keep our cool and keep ploughing ahead. no investor should expect quick returns or an interim dividend, the process is slow and painful but will lead to eventual growth. the economic recession has had no effect on me. none at all, so that ends there. but the intellectual recession i have suffered from all these years has been disturbing and thankfully i have finally seen through it.

to move ahead we need to follow a strategy of understanding from your side and a sense of belief in me. in my learning is your value and in my progress your profits. with an average of 4 hours of sleep every night, the brand is developing its durability and is slowly becoming impregnable.

i wish i could elaborate on the future but that will just take away from the mystery. this is not the end of me addressing you, the faith if lost,will be restored. the brand is growing and you will be taken along on this journey.

if anybody is interested, they are always free to invest in this incredible growth story. Spread the word.

love undying

A liitle pepper, maybe a teaspoon and a half, a tinge of that atrocious chilli powder and a belief that what you are going to taste is a whiff of heaven. She dipped her hands into the strange concoction and and took a taste of that obnoxious mixture of pure delight. As she savoured her creation I saw heaven in her eyes, there was this sense of religion that spread like warmth in me. I had begun to believe in her wonder and I wanted to be a part of her. I didn’t want to standby and enjoy the view but feel a part of it. She had this strange sense of reality where all she wanted was some more fantasy. Her hands were still trembling as she ate her little meal. When she began to walk away from me the warmth seeped away and then with surgical precision I got my heart broken. Maybe 6 minutes later she had reached home as I sat in a lonely part of my house wondering if I had the courage to step up. I had a bit of her in me, love does that to you. I picked up the bowl she had left and slowly began to eat it. It sickened me but I was going to eat it because she had left it for me.

Her name was Sally and she was trying to kill me.  

Love is a tangible feeling. I have always touched it and its hurt me. Once she tried to burn the house down and I sat inside as my room was burning, my study table had a book with every thought I had ever had about Sally in it and I saw it burn. When I turned my head I saw Sally with her face pressed against the window looking at me. I had never loved her more. She wanted to hurt me and see me die a cruel death but maybe that was what I believed was love. I walked towards the window with all my sense of fear deserting me and in an unnecessary moment of madness I put out my hand to touch her and she just brushed it away threatening to cut my wrist.

I just wish she could see me bleed.

She had taken me up the nearby mountain for a picnic once. She then stood at the edge of the cliff and asked me to jump or she would. I stood and looked at her in disbelief as she threatened me. She edged nearer to the end and I was at a loss. She screamed and banged the ground with her feet and I had no choice. The thought of seeing her fall more than hitting the ground was what would have killed me. Or maybe it wouldn’t have but I ran past her and jumped. I had a moment of nirvana where I was airborne for 7 seconds and when I touched the ground, I knew no pain. I turned and looked up at her face which was so small in the distance and all she did was pick up a stone and throw it at me. That hurt me more than her hate for me. I needed to know I could survive this misery to reach my destination.

 Every once in a while my mind asked me questions I could never answer. It wanted to know why I had become a victim of this cruel fate. I had loved her for many years yet all that Sally saw in  me was an object of pure loath and disgust. I believed that here was a time she had loved, long before my mind could remind me of how it felt. Sally wasn’t an average girl. Her beauty spread around like a disease when she entered a room and it infected me everytime I felt her near me. I couldn’t even keep a photo of hers near me, because it soaked the life out of me. Mine was no conventional love and ours was no straightforward love story. I remember times I have sat up whole nights next to her bed watching her sleep and hoping the day would not come…

On a similar night like that I was enchanted into a slumber looking at her eyes and lips wildly tremble as she dreamt of something horrific. When I woke up she was screaming and she turned and saw me next to her. She became silent and ran her fingers across my face, down to my neck and the next second she was choking me and I caught hold of her hand and my eyes were pleading with her. She cried as she tried to strangle me but she couldn’t. I moved away and fell on the floor, while she just sat in bed wondering what had gone wrong. I slowly stood up to look at her only to see anguish and disgust like never before. I held her for sometime and I thought it was over but she pushed me away and looked around for something with which she could hurt me. She didn’t want to kill me now but just hurt me.

That night a man wept and so did his heart.

Sally never really was going to recover, she had gone way too deep to realize she was sinking and a part of me knew that I could never heal her. I was too selfish and my love too great I believed but I just couldn’t let her go and that was what was ruining her. I had to let go and I finally decided to do it. She was walking alone in the garden and I walked up beside her and let her see me but before she could hurt me, I kissed her on the cheek and signaled for a minute of her time. I saw the rage build up in her as I just looked into her eyes and inhaled her beauty like never before and finally told her that I would never meet her again. I could see her sister coming and I knew I had to go. I walked out of her life never to return still wishing I could have felt the pain of all the times she wanted to hurt me. Wishing she could actually kill me because that would have been a better death than the one I had had many years ago, when Sally loved me…


vision statement

J.D.Bernal very wisely once wrote, that man has two futures, the future of desire and the future of fate but man’s reason has never taught him to separate both.
I believe that my life uptil this point which has been a blessed existence of 21 years has been nothing but my fate as I have been guided all this while. Now is the time I chart out my future of desire, a future which has clarity and a velocity which cannot be disturbed by the notions of everyday innuendo. Making a niche for oneself has become a clich├ęd thought in a time when being out of the ordinary is the call of the hour while doing the same is a quest many perish in. I have seen the tides and the madness of my time and now its my turn to rise above it all and carve a vision for myself which will fulfill me and uplift me in ways more than just human.
I am on the verge of completing my graduation in Commerce. The road ahead seems to be opening up as I prepare myself for my MBA at SDM-IMD, Mysore where I will begin my journey in professionalism. The ultimate destination is to be a part of the fascinating world of advertising. Advertising is a phenomenon which has the ability to move a million people in just a few seconds and this very power and intensity of advertising has always had me in awe. I have done an internship with JWT, Bangalore with its client servicing team to get an all important insight into the working psyche of the advertising world and found a whole plethora of opportunity. I want my MBA to provide me with the necessary skills to slip into this dream role of mine with ease as the ultimate desire is to start an advertising agency of my own. A very important element of fulfilling this dream of mine would be to first get the necessary experience which would help me to understand the business side better. If I can take the liberty of being idealistic then I would like to believe that quality in creativity and more attention towards the client would be top priority. Figuring out a whole 360 degree approach to every requirement of the client would be our endeavor. The agency would have a highly motivated group of creators dedicated to the cause of society wherein we would do pro bono work for NGOs and the government to come up with innovative media and ambient campaigns to make a difference in the little world around us. There will be a committed approach from us to link our clients with these social projects enabling a better connect with society and the corporate world. This approach to advertising I believe is 360 degree as goodwill of any corporate entity is of the topmost importance in a rapidly declining ethical scenario faced by companies today.
This vision of a an agency with a difference is very important to me as it becomes the answer to my question, ‘what can I give back to society?’. This fulfilling mission would provide the foundation for many more similar motivated projects and that would be the pinnacle of my efforts. I also would like to create a working environment where ideas transcend position and protocol and make for a bridge between the client and the agency. The agency must work in tandem with an everchanging world and mindset.
therefore my vision lies in the unity of my thought and action, if only am i able to convert these thoughts into something tangible will i be able to prove my worth to myself and rewrite my future of fate to a future of my desire.