Saturday, October 28, 2006

A SANDWICH, ORKUT & ME

If you ever happen to visit the cute 'lil canteen at TAPMI, ask for a sandwich; not any sandwich, but a PARVESH SANDWICH!

Legend has it that one hot afternoon in July of 2005, when the rain was playing truant, the gods appeared to Chef Gopi and taught him how to make the sandwich. Of course, the gods used a medium for the instruction - none other than Parvesh Debuka. He was then in PGP 1. And that's why the sandwich is called Parvesh Sandwich. A mouthful, the name I mean. And so, the girls, prominent being Pavan and Rashmi shortened it to 'Purvee Sandwich'. Indeed I have caught Parvesh or Purvee blush furiously in the initial stages. Now, he does not respond to anything but Purrveeeee....

When the matter was narrated to me in the Finance class, I too rushed to the canteen and tasted the new item on the menu. It tasted; well different. Not like your run of the mill sandwich. It was ambrosia. (Come on..... I ain’t exaggerating) Had a talk with the Chef and Purvee. It was then that I threw a challenge to Purvee - Why not start something? A sandwich chain, maybe. In fact I promised Rs. 10,000 as my contribution to the start up. The whole class was a witness to my offer!

Today, Purrvee is in PGP 2. Chef Gopi has since shifted to the night canteen but not before passing on the technique to the next chef in line. I am not yet poorer by Rs. 10,000.

There are many of you who, after a MBA joined or will join a secure job environment. (I am not against it – I want to ignite minds, hence) Not many think of breaking the monotony; think of being an entrepreneur. Think of being your own boss. Think of innovating and applying what your were/are taught in the confines of your classrooms. Rashmi once wrote to me saying ‘we do so many things everyday without realizing that it actually gives some one an idea or a thought that can change our future’!

In August 2006, 14th August to be precise, I was introduced to Orkut by Purvee and Rashmi. To this day, that is 74 days later; I have 254 friends and 7458 visits to my profile of which 101 visited yesterday. What a powerful tool!

Since I began understanding the nuances of Orkut, I have become restless. Can't I and my 254 friends, their friends and friends of their friends.... start something? Anything worthwhile? Come on......! Put on your thinking caps and lets begin.....! Lets all feel restless....!

Write to me.... Lets do something....anything....other than scrapping each other!

Parvesh, are you reading my blog?

We did start the fire
It has started burning
Since our world started turning
We did start the fire
We did light it
And we are not going to fight it...

(With due apologies to Mr. Billy Joel)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

THE CITY DON'T KNOW WHAT THE CITY IS GETTING!

Come to think of it, 'Mangalore is a Glorified Village'!

I was chastised for this statement way back in 2003. I was addressing members at the local Rotary Club. The alacrity with which some of the old (as in age) members moved surprised me, they went for my jugular. They were hurt. I was shouted out. Ridiculed. Mangalore was the most happening city. I had chuckled saying 'THE CITY DON'T KNOW WHAT THE CITY IS GETTING!. My stand was vindicated when riots broke out 15 days ago, taking the city by surprise and leaving Mangaloreans shell shocked. I wasn't surprised, I was expecting it. We had been sitting on 'explosives' for the past few years and smoking our 'beedis'! One wandering ember and 'Ka-boom'!

Media has been giving a fair doze of what did and what did not happen on those 5 fateful days. Now, that hardly matters. What matters is how to prevent it from happening again...and again...

Here is my take on the subject. The main players in this riot were, not necessarily in that order, politicians, leaders, police and the rioters. I have observed the politicians closely. They are opportunists. More about them in another blog! Majority of the Police Force pay respects to the ruling politicians. They have no morals or scruples. I have often referred to them as uniformed 'Veerappans'. Of course, I know of Policemen who are honest; but they are a miniscule minority. Out here, I am more interested in the rioters. These, I believe,are the stars of any riot! Ignore the fact that they have affiliations to various organisations religious or political. Concentrate on the age group. They are in the age group of 15 - 30 years. WASSUP? 15-21 should be in educational institutions; 21 - 30 should be working; raking in the moolah for the family hearth. The vast majority are from the surrounding 'ghettos' of the city - erstwhile villages now brought under the jurisdiction of the City Corporation, not necessarily poverty stricken.

Mangalore 'boasts' of educational institutions. Post 1980, Mangalore has seen a proliferation of educational institutions: the routine Engineering Colleges; Medical Colleges; Hotel Management Colleges, Physio Therapy Colleges, Nursing Institutes; even Fashion Technology and a few B Schools. All run as business establishments - except maybe some Engineering and Medical Colleges. Majority run by people of dubious credibility. Admissions are based on 'donations'. Education is passe. Students are subdued by 100% attendance, threat of rustication and the usual 'fundas' that are employed to stifle even a whimper of protest. Mangalorean students aren't normally encouraged. 'Outsiders' swarm the place paying 'through their nose'. Many are from K-land. There are also the 'Chaak Chaar Bra' from Manipur. The 'Maja ma Che' from G-land.... all in all a potpourri of cultural diversity. WHERE DO THE YOUTH OF MANGALORE GO?

We Mangaloreans are careful with our money. (Bah.... my friend, D. Nair,calls us stingy!) Hence we established banks. Of course we also made tiles (from dies stolen from the German Missionaries), we owned estates (some of us were supervisors under British Owners - when they moved out we took over as owners), we have our cashew nut processing factories (we do undercover processing of the fruit too - in Goa the brew is called fenny; out here 'country'). A few of us run buses that have a very 'good strike rate' of killing and maiming the 'aam janata'; managed by drivers who will make Mr. M. Schumacher have a permanent drop jaw! (He races on a track - these blokes do it on dirt tracks; what with all our roads having developed lunar craters.....) Have I covered all enterprises? There are a handful enterprises set up by corporate bodies - but they do not need these under educated youth.... even as attenders. Can you believe if I told you that there is a severe shortage of barbers in Mangalore. Jobs that are being done by youth from Mysore, Mandya etc. No Mangalorean youth comes forward even to be a coiffeur! Not many employment opportunities for the youth. WHERE DO THESE YOUTH OF MANGALORE GO?

So there you are. Ill-educated youth; proficient in Tulu and profanities. Well fed by doting mothers. (I have not yet come across any youth looking anorexic)Dressed like film heroes. No good, hitched around refugees in their own land. Easily disturbed by sentiments - and if those sentiments are religious, so much better. Putty in the hands of scheming politicians. Some of them well on their way of becoming juvenile scamsters. Each one of them with plenty of time on hand to do nothing productive. WHERE ARE WE HEADING? WILL NOT RIOTS OCCUR AGAIN?
AND THE CITY DON'T KNOW WHAT THE CITY IS GETTING!

Riders on a storm
Riders on a storm
Into this City were born
Into this world were thrown
Like a dog without a bone
An actor out on loan
Riders on a storm

Theres a killer on the road
His brain is squirmin like a toad
Take a long holiday
Leave Mangalore today
If ya give this man a ride
Sweet memory will die
Killer on the road!

(with due apologies to 'the doors'....)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

THE YEARS GONE BY

I hit upon this brilliant idea, that I too should write. I felt that sudden urge to make it big; Booker Prize, New York Best Sellers List, Money, Fame and a Rendevouz with Simi Grewal.
At the breakfast table, one rainy morning, I said to my wife Ann, 'I'm going to write'! I was immediately checked for signs of fever - I had been delirious with a temperature of 104 degrees when I was down with Malaria. Hence the quick check up!


I also hit upon the title - BTW Dude! (By the way dude! - for those of you who have come in late). The audience was definitely identified as the typical 20 something with a 'BTW' attitude. But then I wondered....How could a forty plus 'dude' communicate with 20 something 'dudes'. Easier said than done? Just that - when my target audience was on a breast milk diet, I was graduating from College! Tough!

I was introduced to Orkut. Was sucked in. And have got deeply entrenched there. By popular demand I am continuing - as the Schumacher of Orkut. Then came suggestions that my 'gems'should appear in a web-log or Blog! Took advice from my 'usual suspects'; the friends on Orkut. Unanimously I was goaded to write a blog. That's why I am writing this blog! BTW Dude has been dammed!

I just finished 16 years of teaching on October 2nd 2006. How did I fare in these 16 years? I took stock. Sat back and did some thinking. Concluded that I had done a reasonably good job. You can't please all. But, most importantly, I had pleased myself! I am one happy 'dude', particularly when I see my students doing well in life!

I attended the Annual Homecoming of TAPMI, Manipal. I spent quality time with students of the 2004-06 batch. I had first met them, a motley bunch of curious youngsters, on June 16th 2004. They were putty in my hands. I tried pushing through some 'fundas of life' alongwith the staple diet of Financial Accounting and Financial Management. In the process, I spent nearly 80 hours of my life, with them, inside the confines of the class; and God Alone Knows, many more in the canteen. I attended their convocation, the first one that I had attended, and a few did cry on my shoulder when the time came to part. It was at that time that I wondered - What will become of them? I fretted; like a parent would.

Time went by. And I met them at the homecoming. I was surprised. This time I met, a disciplined bouquet of determined young men and women. In the course of the day, the opium of truth hit me. I had stagnated, they had moved ahead in life. That night I slept, contended. They, a 'motley bunch of curious youngsters' were already on their way. My chest swelled with pride and I slept the sleep of God's.

Do teachers all over have the same feeling? I wonder! Haven't been able to communicate this thought to many amongst my colleagues.

What was the reaction of these young people when they met me? I did not ask. One of them had hauled a shirt for me, all the way from Kolkata. Why me? I was overwhelmed! Could I take it as a reaction?

Every day of these last 16 years, I too have been taught. Lessons by young people. By my colleagues. By friends. Subjects too diverse to mention. I have matured too as wine would if permitted. I have learnt to be a co-student. I have concluded that students are my clients; just as they are clients of the institute to which they have come.

I raise a toast, not to myself, but to all the people who I have come in contact in the last 16 years. They who left an impression on me. May their tribe increase and prosper! Amen!