Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is not new to me. I did my engineering from NIT Surat and every year Hostel-4 in my college used to organize Ganesh pujas during this period of time. Although the scale was much lower than what happens here in Mumbai, I could see that Ganesh Chaturthi is similar to Durga Pujas in Bengal or Dussehras in Delhi.

I have some adventurous memories from my NIT days when this incident happened… In hindsight, those days look funny but being in the thick of things was a chilling experience.

Oh BTW today is the last day of Ganesh Chaturthi and the organizers bid adieu to Lord Ganesha on this day by immersing the idols into water bodies. In Mumbai, they mostly do the visarjan (immersion) in the sea… Now, the issue here is that on a single day, when thousands of such idols are taken through the Mumbai roads to the sea faces, the traffic situation goes for a toss. Trains are stopped, public transport system is shut and other modes are ineffective. So, there was a notification mail in our office today for all of us to leave early, if our homes are away. I got back home early today but I wanted to see some crowd in the streets but unfortunately they were not crowded at all… in fact there were less people on the streets today than a normal day. Maybe everyone is staying put at home fearing huge crowd…

Time is 7:06 P.M. as I am writing this blog…  and I am hoping for the crowd to catch up on the SV Road so that I can get a glimpse of the Ganpatis.

Back home in Assam, we have similar pandals, idols & immersions during Durga Puja. I am going to Assam in September on the occasion of puja… It will be awesome fun being there during the festival season…

Those days, when we used to play with toy pistols, which mom bought from the Puja fair are gone days… I miss them though…  😛

Mumbai Local

For those of you who don’t know how it is like traveling in a Mumbai local, let me tell you it is an experience of a lifetime. 😛

Before coming to Mumbai, I was very worried about traveling in local trains. I had heard a lot about the accidents, huge angry crowd and bomb blasts. So much so that I felt sick even by the thought of being a passenger in one of those ugly, crowded trains.

But, as they say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. I am in Mumbai and I have to do as the Mumbaikaars do. Traveling in local trains is a part & parcel of Mumbai life… You cannnot survive without it. I was made to travel in the local trains…

These trains are the lifelines of this city. They are the fastest means of travel in a city which is mired by traffic problems. Spread over 450 route kilometers and operation in excess of 2000 daily trains, it is probably one of the toughest to manage kinda systems. It carries more than 6.94 million passengers everyday… Can you guess the scale of its operations?

The importance of every single train is such that if one train gets cancelled on one route some day, then the passengers in the next train in that route are doomed… They would not even have proper breathing space.

Now, there is this concept of traveling with/against the flow of traffic. In the morning time, people travel towards South Mumbai, where most of the businesses take place… which of course is the most commercialized place in Mumbai… People come from the western suburbs, Navi Mumbai and Central Mumbai… So what happens is that all trains going to south are very crowded… And they are so crowded that a person who is not used to traveling here would find it very hard to even get into the compartment. My friend also told me that it is actually worse in first class compartments sometimes…

I thankfully travel against the flow… If I catch a train from Bandra to Jogeshwari, where my office is (before 8:15 A.M.), then the I can sit easily and travel. If I am late by 15 minutes, then I have to stand but it is manageable and I don’t have to smell the deo sweat of others. Similarly, in the evening when I come back to Bandra, I am traveling against the flow because then the crowd is moving upwards in the opposite direction… That makes me like the Mumbai locals. 😀 And why not, they act in my favor.

It is actually fun to travel in Mumbai locals… Put your earphones on and listen to nice songs, all the while, feeling the touch of cool air coming from outside…

Overall, it is not exactly a bad experience… In fact, it is a fun experience… I don’t hate to say this that I like traveling by Mumbai locals.

Aamchi Mumbai!

BTW, I have noticed one thing that people here in Mumbai are always in a rush. They want to get into the trains before anyone else… they take seats before anyone else… Even if the trains are empty and the station is at least 3-4 minutes away, they rush to the door and stand in queue to get down… I sometimes find it strange until I realized today in the morning that I was also doing the same thing. Does that mean that I am actually changing and becoming more like a Mumbaikaar? Only time will tell…

Hello world!

Hi All,

I have moved my blog from blogspot.com to wordpress.com. I am a Google loyal but I have noticed that they have not incorporated too many advanced features in blogspot in the last few months. WordPress seems to be better to me because it is very handy and it has a lot of cool features… Also, every one needs changes. 😀 I wanted a new look to my blog.

Happy Reading!

Cheers,

Partha Basumatary

Pursue Joy, not happiness!

What is the difference between joy and happiness? How does one pursue joy and be happy? What exactly is joy and how does it impact happiness? Ever wondered or pondered about these?

Well, I recently read an article by Mr. Guy Kawasaki. He was delivering a speech to some high school students where he spoke about different things which one should do in life. One of his suggestions was to pursue joy, not happiness.

Now, as far as I could understand, happiness is a state of mind. It is a greater term which has a broader scope. Happiness is a never ending pursuit… A healthy body, a good income, nice family life etc. are some of the determinants of happiness. But do they really ensure happiness? I don’t know. Can anyone say with full authority that if he earns X lacs of money every year, his wife is the most beautiful lady on earth, he has every conceivable luxury on earth and he does not have any health ailments, then he will be happy?

A person is never sure what will give him happiness. He is always moving in darkness in his quest for happiness. Some say eternity is bliss… religions say that death will bring happiness to the soul after it coalesces with the universe. Philosophers say happiness is inside… It is deep within… Over the centuries people have tried different ways of finding happiness. Some leave their cozy jobs and move to the mountains in pursuit of happiness… Some meditated & got enlightened and spread words of wisdom. At the same time, some became serial killers in their pursuit of the so called happiness. But the biggest question is whether they were really happy?

Now for common people like us who cannot of course go to the mountains or kill people or get enlightened, what can we do to make ourselves happy? We should pursue joy, not happiness. Joy, according to me, comes from every small thing in life. You go out and it suddenly rains… You get drenched and come back happy. That is joy. You met an old friend of yours out of nowhere and you chatted with him/her for hours… it took you to your old days… That is joy. What I mean to say is that joy can be found in every tiny little & seemingly insignificant thing in life. It is doing things which make you happy. It is like trying to become a kid. Remember those days when falling rain drops mesmerized you. Remember the time when you spent countless hours chatting with your friends in a small room without worrying about the next day’s assignments. Things like that… Joy can be found in every thing that you usually tend to ignore.

If you want to be happy, try doing things which give you a feeling of instant happiness. Make a painting… get drenched in rain… take a random trip in the local train from one end to the other end without getting down anywhere… sleep on the beach one full night… Surprise some one with something special and make his/her day… spread joy and you will be happy.

That’s why, pursue joy, not happiness.

Rozen-e-deewar

Rozen-e-Deewar” is an Urdu word which means “A hole in a wall (of a prison cell) from which a ray of light emerges and gives hope & freshness”. (Courtesy: Wikipedia).

It is also the name of the debut album (and its title song) of Roxen, a Pakistani band. The song has got some great guitar beats and the lyrics have deep meanings. I was randomly playing songs in my Nokia Xpress Music 5130 and this particular song took me back to where I belong. I went back to Lucknow. Rozen-e-deewar was unofficially the anthem of Manfest.

We really love this song. As the meaning suggests, it depicts hope in bleak situations. While working for Manfest, we had to face a lot of such situations which were actually very tricky. At times, we had to follow that frail ray of hope under very dark situations in a persistent manner to make things happen. Rozen-e-deewar was like our war cry.

Not only Manfest, a lot of people from my batch loved this song. Every IIM Lucknow party would have this song played over and over again.

If you like this song & you want to listen to the original version; then visit this link here

BTW, I bought an Apple iPod Classic 120 GB for 13K today. I am sure I am going to fall in love with this beauty in no time. Thanks to a friend of mine in my company, I am slowly but surely getting obsessed with these cool electronic gadgets. Earlier, I used to shut down all my temptations towards such things but ever since I started earning, I have started taking interests. Now I am looking forward to owning some more of such pieces. I would like to buy an iPhone or a Nokia E71 Smart Phone. I know both are differently positioned, but both of them make a lot of sense to me. The prospect of owning an iPhone actually influenced my decision to choose an iPod classic over an iPod Touch.

That’s how it has been till now.

I would sincerely try not to neglect my blog in future… Hopefully you readers would love to quip something on my posts.

Doctor! Please Rx

Hey people, I have joined my job in Mumbai. It has been a great experience till now. Life has changed big time man… Never in my dreams had I thought that after doing graduation in Computer Engineering, I would end up in a Pharmaceuticals company. 😀 Probably the almighty wanted to make my father happy. He is a doctor and he always wanted me to carry his legacy forward. I chose engineering but look; here I am today, working as a Management Trainee in the largest pharmaceuticals company in the world.

One good thing about my job is that, apart from understanding the basics and nitty-gritty of business, I am also supposed to understand the functions of the human body and its different organs. To sell a product, I must know how it acts – its dynamics and kinetics. This part of the journey has been the most interesting part of my job till now. I am amazed at the beauty of the human body. It, no doubt, is the most complex machine in the world. And keeping it problem free is even more complex. And, that is the job of my company. We do researches, create block buster medicines and then sell them.

To understand more about the ground realities and the sales processes, our company sent us (seven Management Trainees) to the field for around a month. All of us went to different cities. I was posted at Indore. Before that, everyone (including the CEO, the Executive Committee, and other Head Office colleagues that we met) told us that the time that we would spend in the field would be the most impactful & enriching in terms of learning. They were very true. In the field, it is a different ball game altogether. Strategies are very often delinked from the ground realities leading to failures during implementation. So, not to let that situation happen, we hit the field.

Well… enough of work stuff now!

Life has been full of ups and downs but overall it’s been great. Maximum City sucks big time. But, then again, Mumbai is an enigma. I hated it before I left for Indore but then I started missing it. Like countless others, I am in the process of becoming a Mumbai-Hater to Mumbai-Lover converts.

It is a very crowded city… you would see people swarming everywhere. There is shortage of almost everything: place to sleep, footpaths to walk, roads to drive, water to drink, oxygen to breathe… The list is endless. Amidst all these discomforts, this city acts like a seductress. She will win your heart no matter what. The only thing she wants from you is to give her some time. It is a lively city… People are energetic. They behave well unlike people in Delhi. Also, there are a lot of options for anything and everything you want.

I stay in Bandra (West), 10 minutes by rick/bike from the sea face & the newly opened Bandra-Worli Sea Link. There are a lot of places for shopping, eating and hanging out at walking distance from my apartment. Coming to the apartment, I (along with three others) am paying 28k/month for an unfurnished apartment. 😛

That’s all for the time-being. Will catch you later. Bbye.

Adieu HelL

Here I am… back in blogosphere after a long pause. I abstained from posting because of my laziness coupled with lack of enthusiasm; but for all the ears accustomed to the clichéd answers, I will say that YES I WAS BUSY.

Many things have happened over the past few months. Most important of all, Manfest 2009 came to a successful end; and to our utter delight, Businessworld rated it to be the largest business school festival in the country. It was an honor to be a part of such an extravaganza. Also, I got an MBA degree: D. I am proud to announce that I am “Partha Pratim Basumatary, PGDM IIM Lucknow” now. Hey, I also got placed. I am going to join a Pharma major soon. 🙂

I have a lot to write about many things but I think this post should entirely be dedicated to IIM Lucknow. I got to spend the two best years of my life (at least till now) at HelL. It was an amazing experience being among a coterie of people who were so enthusiastic and full of energy about absolutely anything & everything in life. Back in 2007, I was worried about leaving IIFT Delhi for IIM Lucknow because I was not sure about the ‘returns’ (in strict MBA parlance). Today, I can say with full confidence that joining IIM Lucknow was one of the best things that I ever did.

In the hindsight, if some one asks me to pick up a few things from my ‘IIM Lucknow memories’ – the ones which are very close to me, then I will choose the following:

·         Manfest: Eat Sleep and Drink Manfest. That had been the motto for all eight of us from Manfest core for the past two years. We did absolutely nothing other than conducting two successful editions of Manfest. Everything in our lives; be it academics, parties, celebrations or sadness – everything had been governed by our aim of making Manfest successful. We played ‘games’ with others, we strained our relationships with friends, we cut short our personal commitments, we bunked classes & took grade drops in some of the most dreaded subjects- all these without any kind of remorse – only for Manfest. We fought with each other at 2 A.M in the morning but went to Taj for breakfast the very same day at 7 A.M. The best part of this team was that you could shout at anyone on top of your voice least expecting a strain in your personal relationship with that person. People will call that professionalism – I will call that understanding. The most important reason why this team had been successful was that we never stopped arguing about a particular point until and unless ALL eight of us were CONVINCED. For example, during the selection of our juniors, we spent more than 24 hours discussing ONE particular candidate – and mind it, that was not a joke. We discussed, had breakfast, came back, had lunch, started discussing again and it went on till the next day.

·         Controls: Very close to my heart again, it was one group which actually redefined the term ‘hard work’ in my dictionary. A controls team runs the final placements process for the seniors and the summer placements process for the juniors.  If some one has to experience pressure, be a part of this team. Before we got to conduct the actual placements process, we had to go through a lot of dry runs. After hours of bashing cum discourses being given by the Senior Controls Team, we used to spend a lot of time inside the ‘Den’ trying to find solutions to the confounding problems. The team had only two months to fully understand the ‘art’ of conducting the process and prepare itself for it. It was a small time for any team to perform to its best considering the fact that the enormity of the task at hand was unquestionable. Also, we had less time to be a ‘team’ rather than being a group of individuals. One major difference between Controls and Manfest was that in the later case, we had enough time for all of us to understand each other. But, in Controls, it was a pressure cooker situation. Anyways, We used to spend our time in the ‘Den’ till 6-7 AM in the morning, then attend our classes, come back and sleep in our rooms before going back to the Den again at 6-7 PM. This cycle continued… We missed all the Instis, we took a beating on our academics but we conducted the process which saw IIM Lucknow receiving the highest number of offers in its entire history. That made us proud… but the best part of being in Controls was that I made a lot of very good friends. These people created a lot of difference in my life.

·         Instis: Ideally, we should have had Instis every fortnight. But, due to some reasons, their frequency decreased. One Insti a month or two was what we had to be contended with. For those of you who do not know what an Insti means: Instis are the institute parties. People come, get drunk, dance to the fullest, head bang to the Bhangra beats, get senti, puke everywhere in the campus, spend nights staring up at the sky… and do much more. I will miss those Insti parties. The best part of an Insti party is that the behaviors of people change once they are drunk. Some become emotional, some start giving sermons thinking they are very wise, some start speaking their heart out, some one who is very recluse also starts gelling with others… I guess alcohol puts off all your inhibitions for some time. Probably a person starts listening to his heart when he is drunk… he does not worry about the society or for that matter anything other than himself. I was at the receiving end of some of the ‘legendary statements’ made by some of my best friends after they were drunk. 😛

·         Football: I became a true fan of Football only after I joined HelL. I met many football lovers there… We watched so many EPL, La Liga or Champions League matches together. Fighting over clubs, trying to create Pool vs. United rivalry intentionally, passing Anti-Chelsea rants: P, discussing team selections as if we were the experts and celebrating goals – some of which were ‘unscored’ as well: P… I enjoyed all these thoroughly. I also found a way of putting all my worries and tensions on the back burner – whenever I felt low I would watch soccer videos of the clubs that I support. I have become a big fan of Manchester United. I also support Real Madrid and like AC Milan’s way of playing. BTW, I tried playing this game… as a defender. Size does matter here [: P]. I was successful in blocking some of the best players’ advances on the IIM Lucknow football ground. I also played in the inter-hostel football tournament for my hostel.

·         Kababs & Pizzas: Lucknawi delicacies… Ummm…  This place is heaven for non-veg food lovers. I will miss those Galawat kababs. 😦 They are so famous & tasty that even the companies coming to IIM Lucknow for recruitment would take a break for two hours to go to the city and have them. Tunday, Naushi Jaan, Dastarkhwaan – I will miss them all. :(. Also, my bulging belly would be a great testimony of my love for Zinger burger from KFC and Cheese burst pizzas from Dominos.

·         Rural Trips: We developed this unique way of doing our bit of CSR. Whenever we found ourselves having some free time in the evenings, we ventured out into rural Lucknow with beers and bikes. Go to any random village, drink beer, watch the sunset, jump on the hay stacks, click some photographs and come back. This was our way of ‘giving back to the society’. 😛

 

IIM Lucknow, for me, was a very fulfilling experience. I actually got everything… did many new things… got to feel every bit of emotion. Of all the points that I mentioned above, I did not mention anything about the people I met there. Off course, no experience mentioned above would have been put to sense without having good people around. I don’t want to name any one on this post but I am glad that I got to meet some of my best friends at HelL. Never did I expect that I would find such good people at the post graduate level. I have made some amazing friends over the past two years… Starting from Group-1 to Manfest to Controls to the rest, it was great to know you all. Every bit of memory that I share with that place will speak countless lines about each one of you.   

P.S: This post reflects my personal opinions. Please contact me before quoting anything in any kind of media.

                                                                                                                                                – Partha Pratim Basumatary