Thursday, January 28, 2010

Guest Post - The Purchase Manager

This is a Guest Post by my BESTEST prof ever! I'm not saying this to gain brownie points, but he is truly one of those people whom I admire and respect. The other day, I'd just finished writing a guest post for a friend, and I asked sir if he would right one for me. And 48hrs later, there is a beautiful article from his side. Sir, Thank you so much for taking time off your schedule and considering my request. I'm really out of words to post a good introduction.
Here is the post:

The Purchase Manager
If there is a weekly routine that I look forward to in the humdrum monotony of life, it is the Sunday evening visit to the Malleswaram vegetable market with Kamali – my wife. In that one hour and a bit I get to learn the essence of good buying, and the lessons never stale.

The one-minute manager that she already is, she checks the preparations with a quick eye to begin with: correct timing, five separate bags, enough cash and more particularly enough change, key schedules for the following week etc. And sweeps off in the direction of 8th cross, with me bringing up the rear.

Through the five minutes it takes to reach the first vendor, there are incessant instructions: ‘remember to buy amma’s medicines and collect my blouses from the tailor on the way back’, ‘did you say your colleague’s son’s birthday was some time next week? We should get some gift from Devi’s’ and ‘do you have shaving cream? Don’t expect Ganesh Stores to be open at some unearthly hour in the morning’ etc.

And then the purchase starts, and with it the management training. First there is the appraisal, with the help of a quick walk, of what’s on show. The ‘regulars’ are acknowledged with a smile or a nod, with sotto voce asides to me, “see the aubergine there? Looks good” or “the old lady is not there today, it’s her daughter. She’s a proper militant, you know.”

The sequencing of different items of purchase is a masterly lesson in scheduling. You can’t buy the tomatoes first, and if you have to (“there’s heavy demand today – let’s buy it now or we’ll get only leftovers”) it should be stored in a separate small bag that she will carry. The dudhi and mota alu will be starters so that the bags get solid base. The different varieties of beans can’t go into the same bag. The karuveppilai and kotthamalli as well as the greens will be on top. And she follows this order meticulously, with very little backtracking at the same time. In between there are also the ‘specials’ – for the amavasya, the Friday nonbu, or the paratha lunch pack for our son.

The selection – now that’s where you get taught quality management. Vendors give her a pan the moment she crouches down, and she starts picking expertly. The seller tries to pitch in with her own, which invariably get thrown out by Kamali. Wherever the stall proclaims ‘no picking’ she doesn’t buy as a policy, with few exceptions. Similarly there has to be scope for bargaining: ‘fixed rate’ shops take away the whole fun of buying, by her standards.

The bargaining is a treat. Even as my wife speaks her first words the vendor realizes that she’s not a Kannadiga, and switches to her tongue – Tamil. The amazing thing, though, is that while her Kannada grammar is atrocious and accent even worse, Kamali knows the Kannada names for every single vegetable. While I watch this bilingual tussle at each stall the bags start filling up and I become useful at last – as the porter.

The denouement is equally impressive – the accounting. Even as I put down the loads and attempt to ease my bulk into a sofa comes her voice, a mixture of gentle entreaty and imperious command, “list the items and tally the cash, please?” I marvel at her prodigious memory as she rattles off the amounts she paid at each point of purchase and reconciles the spending with the cash taken and the balance in hand.

And to cap it all comes the ‘financial analysis’: “My God! Prices have gone up again, did you see? For about the same buying last week we paid some 10% less!” There, but for stick-in-the-mud Tamil Brahmin male chauvinism, goes a business leader.

V S Kumar

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shootout by Placement-wala

Search Engine, HR Company, FMCG, Chintu Candy, and then a Bank—All of them have one thing in common. I clear every round, and then gingerly walk into the final selection round, and they screw me. Shoot arbit questions, and except equally arbit answers. Sounds like a decent deal? Yeah! No matter how well I answer or retort back the verdict remains the same. Thanks but no thanks! Did I forget something? – There was an IT company which happily eliminated me in Round-1, Thank you folks.

The final count is 6 shootouts in a row; if you include Cola then its 7. I got placed in the Cola Company, and it fizzled out.

Job hunting is – depressing? Not wait, let’s not demonize it, we’ll call it disappointing and disheartening. Positive thinking, pep talks to self, bitching, clearing the head, the best friends pat on your back, and fellow junta who say – this too shall pass, works to an extent; but somewhere deep down inside it gets to you. What If — is a scary term. :-/

All is not dead. Legend says – those who persevere will be rewarded. I still have another 5 months to go. But being un-placed for 45 days makes you a little jittery. There is still a little trump card; it’s a little too early to talk about.

So near yet so far…

I need Hobbes! A life size stuffed tiger, Height 5.3 inches, preferably cuddly. I know it sounds like I’m on my way to Nuts-ville; courtesy a friend. But it would be great to have an imaginary friend- crap, yap, crib, do whatever I want :D

You can courier the toy tiger. And remember the birthday is coming up in another 3 months (yeah, I counted the days).

**You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help.**
So innocent, yet so poignant. I know what it feels like!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A lot of Blah.

Disclaimer: All characters mentioned in post are not fictional. Any resemblance to people living or dead is purely intentional. The blogger claims no responsibility for the range of reactions. This is my point of view. For all you people who feel strongly against the motion; I have two very special words reserved for you, and that is: beep off.

Before you start reading this post- there are a few things that you must bear in mind. These are the questions to be avoided this season:

a) What is the placement scene in your college like?
b) List of companies that came for recruitment or wish to recruit from the institute?
c) What profiles are they offering you?
d) What is your pay package?

All the above mentioned questions shall evoke responses like;

a) Silence- it doesn’t translate to: indifference. It means- wtf. (Courtesy: A friend who wishes to remain anonymous)
b) Smiling and brushing it off- quickly changing the topic to something really less controversial.
c) A little bit of cribbing (Only with close friends)
d) Complete defiance of all rules- we rebel.

The basics are in place, and now we can move to the story.
The characters or caricatures are: Jack Daniels, Little Lamb, The Bal Bacche.

Let me give you a brief of the caricatures:
1) Jack Daniels: All powerful, very influential. Thinks any jackass on planet earth can be molded into the whims and fancies of the liquid. Some enjoy JD, most of them don’t fancy it, while others are indifferent. In my case, JD leaves a very bad taste in the mouth. I don’t like whole idea of being addicted to the alcoholic beverage. One thing you must know about JD is, if you are ‘Nod’dy, you will be blessed. If you have a mind of your own- God save you.

2) Little Lamb: Innocence is thy name. A typical lamb- wandered into the jungle by chance. Wants to improve the conditions of the bal bacche, and feed them some real nice lamb stew. Like all animals- the lamb has its own set of followers-some like the lamb (like me), some firmly believe the lamb is no good.
Some people don’t like the little lamb because: the lamb speaks very highly of the past. And the followers of the lamb feel nothing but envy towards the chosen lot.

There is a catch here: JD expects the lamb to get high on the liquid. Sadly, the lamb turns out to be a teetotaler. The lamb feels de-motivated and wants to go back to its barn.

Embroiled in this clash of the egos are: the bal bacche. Poor kids who have absolutely no idea what’s happening. There is a fear of staying unemployed, and in the same breath getting into companies where we will be no better than the peon uncle.

JD is extremely worried about the ‘reputation’. And little lamb wants JD to do some serious brand building. The situation is very funny,

The bal bacche would vehemently tell you that: there is no brand or reputation as such. I’ll give you two examples to cement my facts:

Bal Baccha 1: very smart, intelligent and very creative. This one has studied in a reputed city college before landing into this space. BB1, goes to a real estate agency for an internship interview. (Courtesy: Little Lamb's contacts)

HR: Where is SSN? (draws a blank about the existence of such an institute)
BB1: (?????), Ma’m it is beyond the OMR. (extremely disgusted)
HR: Oh… (obviously unimpressed)
BB1: what about the stipend.
HR: Arre, I don’t know where your college is, now I’ll have to explain this to my boss. Chodo yaar. We’re giving you a project, isn't that good enough?
BB1: Yea Ma’m Thank you. (Yeah, right. Whatever!)

Incident 2:

I was lazing around at my friend’s place on a warm Monday afternoon. I had just then downed a glass of 7-up and was waiting for pakode. The phone rings.
Me: Hello… (What does JD want now? Bloody hell)
JD: Sandhya, did you attend an interview with Chintu candy?
Me: yes.
JD: why aren’t you joining them?
Me: I have a better project in a really good company, and I’ve been asked to work on something substantial.
JD: that is not fair. This tarnishes the “brand and reputation” of the institute. If the HR in the chintu candy company goes to another company after this, he will carry the same impression of SSN.
Me: I will talk to chintu candy people and get back to you.

What Reputation? What Brand? I rest my case!
If things progress this way- all of us might get placed, but on our own accord, by leveraging our personal contacts. And if you are lucky and have been glugging JD regularly, you might end up being the golden chicken.
End of story.

PS: if you managed to identify the characters; keep your trap shut. That is the least you can do.
PS1: If you don’t know who the characters are, good for you. This post has served its purpose.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Vinnaithandi Varuvaya- Trailer!

Vinnaithandi Varuvaya!

There's something about this movie, that it has created ripples. You can attribute the hype to the following reasons;

a) A R Rehman's Music! After the Oscars, people have been waiting for that magical music, that will literally sweep them off their feet. This time around, the benchmarks were higher, and I think- the album has achieved that.

b) It's a Gautam Menon movie; A lot of people 'loved' varanam aiyiram, but sadly the movie did not appeal to me, maybe because me and my Dad don't share that; daddy-daddy relationship.

c) The strange but fresh pairing on Simbu and Trisha; I'm not a great fan of either, but I really want to catch this flick on the big screen! Lets face it, I've fallen in love with those simple chiffon and synthetic sarees, with contrasting coloured blouses!

d) The captivating visuals and stills- they're bloody good! The marketing guys have already done a damn good job. People are hooked. That's half the job done.

This is a trailer of the Movie,

It isn't anything different. Love story yes! This is a personal point of view, the trailer reminds me a lot of Varanam Aiyram.. Don't ask me why.. But it looks a lot like that. There was a Youtube Video with a yellow still which looks like a still right out of Alaipayuthe.
Well, let's wait and watch..

The movie releases on Feb 14th, and I'm watching it :D If nobody wants to come along, I've decided to catch the flick, even if it means watching the movie all alone, (sans the cola and popcorn).

Here is an after thought- Simbu in the trailer looks refreshingly different. He looks very smart. This is coming from a person who isn't a fan. This brings us to a point; I think everybody can look good, if they change the way they dress. Being a little presentable does make a difference to your personality! Now you know, why all those geeky senior guys in school, look damn smart in their suits ;-)


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New beginnings and the works.

The whole idea of New Year; new beginnings and the likes sounds very clich├ęd. This concept like most new age events is a culmination of shrewd marketing techniques. Yeah, so the New Year was here, everybody enjoyed, chapter closed.

This is my point of view: every day is a new day, there are no re-runs or re-telecasts, you cannot simply go back in time and avert what has already happened, if all of us had that power, we would be ‘perfect’ individuals today. But this would make life boring and awfully predictable. Picture perfect lives are best left to movies and fiction.

My new year’s was the same as last year, and last year was the same as the previous year. I don’t have a set pattern, I prefer to remain quiet. This time it was a little different- I had nothing to do. All these years, there was some random unit test or exam coming, and I had to study, or let’s put it this way- I had something to keep me occupied. This time around, I was left to making phone calls, answering them and gossiping. (Gossiping is one way to let off the steam.)

So, like all respectable jobless people, I sat down with a nice sheet of paper and wrote down resolutions, which I promise I will keep up, kept staring at the blank sheet. Ultimately slept right over it.

I don’t have a set of resolutions, but I intend to better myself, I’m not talking about becoming perfect though. Pardon the drama queen effect- but the year 2010 is very important to me in many ways.

Before I get all serious, I’ll remind myself of the fun factors. I have 6 months at my disposal; this will be my longest jobless period and I really wish and pray that it doesn’t extend itself beyond the tenure.

After a lot of serious thinking, I decided to divide my time judiciously between masti and serious work.

I can learn a lot of new stuff. The new microwave oven has arrived and it’s very inviting. Once we buy the ammunitions needed for baking, I will start Mission Baking! I should take my gymming sessions seriously- do some solid weight training. There is a project that carries no marks, and has to be completed in 6 months. I want to learn dancing!! If I manage to find a part time job, I will join dance classes. Apart from all this, I really want to learn something really really different.. Say playing the guitar? Maybe! :P

Now, let’s get to the serious stuff:

The MBA course officially ends in may, and the provisional certificates shall be issued in July. Before we get that far- there is a project that demands my full attention. The job market which is slowly looking up (very similar to the inching up we do in Yoga) the placement scene in college is not so happening.

One thing that scares everything out of me is the spine chilling thought that I will be stuck at home after June with absolutely nothing to do. The word ‘unemployed’ is something I dread. I'm not pinning all my hopes on the campus.

There are other responsibilities that I have to shoulder. I have to become the responsible, young adult who contributes to the family.

I’m vying for financial, social and economic independence which I hope gives me, my individualism and makes me a better human being in all respects.

That’s all folks!

Hope you had an amazing new year! :)


PS: there is a catch between baking and gymming. The effects of baking will be nullified by gymming. You get the drift.

PS1: Reading books, meeting people, and the regular activities are a part of the fun schedule.

PS3: You can pass on your suggestions too.