Sunday, June 26, 2011

The ingenuity that is IIPM

Let’s cut to the chase. We have all heard all sorts of stuff about IIPM, haven’t we?

I was reading through the various posts that I have subscribed to and came across a piece on IIPM written by my batch mate. The post can be read here.
 
That post got me to search a bit more on the topic, and by topic I mean IIPM, and by IIPM I mean Planman, and by Planman I mean Arindam Chaudhary because it’s not like they are different entities.

See that’s the beauty of it. On the face of it, it may seem like so many different entities. But it all boils down to the one and only stakeholder of that system: Arindam Chaudhary.

So, courtesy Google baba, I started surfing for the various forums and blogs with active discussions going on about IIPM. What I read astonished me, really! I was aware of some of the things but have never kept track of it all and it seems like so many things have been happening in IIPM’s context.

Some of my observations:
  1. I am not sure about the actual education imparted to students, but looking at how vehemently they oppose anything showing IIPM in even the slightly negative light; I am bound to feel that either they are paid to be so or IIPM is a bigger cult that KKK or Masons etc ever were. Fanatic zealotry was the word which came to my mind, and which I do realize maybe redundant exaggeration but that’s what my first impression was.
  2. Why is it that despite there being so much people are accusing an institution of and so much activity going on; the government or the education ministry has not taken a strict enough action against the concerned person.
  3. While we are talking about Lokpal Bill in general, I feel that IIPM deserves a dedicated ombudsman of its own!

And despite all that is visible, or rather not visible but claimed in the advertisements, the institute has the audacity to sue Caravan Magazine, Penguin Publishers and Google for Rs. 50 crore for damaging its “repute”.

Do read the following post at Jam Mag which started all the brouhaha on IIPM. Though the post has been long removed from its original, rightful place; there still are soft copies available (Courtesy Google dev)

A useless observation, search IIPM on Google. Apart from the innumerous IIPM and branches and subsidiary and sister concern’s sites, not a good word anywhere!

Some of the very good articles that I read on IIPM and are a must read for everyone are:
Wikipedia articles IIPM (Look at the controversy segment) and IIPM Controversy 

Images Courtesy: jobsearchingblog.com, iipm-india.info

Disclaimer:
Some people are trigger friendly. IIPM, on the other hand, is sue friendly. Hence, whatever I have written is of my own volition and my own viewpoint. Nobody else is responsible for it.

PS: I am not writing anything about the special "connection" that IIPM shares with IIM because an IIM being my alma mater, I feel that it might seem a bit biased. Rest assured, there are several standing jokes, not only at IIMs but at all other institutes with regards to IIPM; none of which I dare mention here because of the facts mentioned in the above paragraph :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

A colorless life!

Sunder is your average 7 year old kid. He lives with his parents. His parent migrated from Munger district of Bihar to Delhi more than 10 years back. They wanted to live the great Delhi dream of earning more than just their bread and butter. He has two siblings, a 12 year old elder brother and a 2 year old sister. Like all the kids of his age, he doesn’t want to study. All he wants to do is to roam around in Delhi, from this street to that street, sampling different kind of foods, playing different sports etc.

Except that in his case, he doesn’t have an option to study since his parents do not have enough money.

Sunder lives with his parents on the pavement around the roundabout in front of Jaypee hotel. They get all their postal and other communication delivered at pillar number 237, opposite Jaypee hotel; on the Dwarka – Noida metro line.

He roams from this red light to the next red light, at times even chasing a sympathetic looking lady in the car; hoping that this excursion might end up with him being a rupee or two richer.

He gets a different takeaway order every day, as they have to beg a different food stall owners for previous day’s leftovers.

In the name of clothing, all Sunder has a two shirts, which are by now so ragged that it is difficult to decide what color they originally had been. He has three pajamas which he wears in rotations, just so that he gets a feel of wearing something different than the usual stuff; though for all it matter, they are as different from other as a grain of rice in a pile. Though, he has a special set of clothes for some special occasions. A shirt, without holes, which might have been navy blue once upon a time but now is a faded blue with the face in beard in cap just barely visible. His trouser hangs only an inch above the ankles and can still be recognized a denim style.

What color do they have in their life, I wonder? If it were in my power, I would like to bring more color and joy to their lives; and not just the crimson color of their blood when they are hit by a runaway vehicle which crushes them in their sleep.

Image courtesy: wakasmir.com, cribb.in




PS: Do visit HP Laserjet site

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The other day

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 21; the twenty-first edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
For this narrative, I am trying a little trick that I picked from one of Jeffrey archer’s short stories.

I will try and narrate a day in two different ways, how the things would have been different were one thing or the other turned out differently.

Janu didn’t want to wake up from his sleep. It wasn’t that he was feeling sleepy or anything. How could one with four others lying on a single cot in the hot and humid climate of Delhi, with nothing but the sky as a cover over their heads.

No. he did not want to wake up because of the tedious day which he knew was lying ahead of him. All he wanted to do was to keep on lying on the cot and not having to beg on the streets for once. But if that is going to fill his belly, then begging he would have to do. It’s not like he had any other option. At 7 years of age, there aren’t many employment opportunities for him. Well come to that, post recession not many opportunities for anyone. And having been separated from his family since that unfortunate incident 2 years ago hasn’t exactly turned the things in his favor either. How he longed for the day when he would be back with his family, or at least free of all the troubles and be able to have a normal life.

The other children in Janu’s group had similar background as him. All separated from their families at different ages, and for different durations. With parents who half of the time couldn’t care if one of their litter was lost or at the other times didn’t have necessary resources to search for their child. One thing was common in all of them. None of them, in their wildest dreams, could ever imagine getting back together with their family. Such was the plight of their being, having lost all hopes of ever reconciling with their brethren.

Today, the bhaiyya managing his group of 10 children came early to the shelter, if you can call two cots under the New Delhi station bridge a shelter. Not that he used to come daily, anyways. Bhaiyya ji generally did not come that early to the shelter. He used to come to the shelter on a weekly or a fortnightly basis to collect his share of the “collections”. Even when he used to come, it would be in the evening and in time for his “Get Togethers”.

So when Bhaiyya ji came to the shelter that morning, everybody was a bit surprised but so much used to him that they didn’t expect a lot different than the usual. But little did Janu know that things were about to change for him.

Bhaiyya ji announced that there was to be a rally at India Gate and that he needed a couple of children to take with him for begging and some low level pick pocketing if need be. This would also be a treat for the selected kids as it would mean a higher collection, equaling higher personal share as well as chance to scrounge on a whole lot of leftovers of the various kinds.

Janu was the first to think of volunteering and for the first time, felt that being young of age helped him somewhere as people were still bound to give him alms as compared to other grown up kids.

Now the two ways to proceed forward in this story are Gates of Hell and Heavenly Bliss, in that order.

Gates of Hell
Janu was so sure that Bhaiyya ji would pick him from the crowd. Bhaiyya ji, on the other hand, had different thoughts. He picked up two teenage kids who, due to malnourishment, looked younger than their age.

I too would like to go” piped up Janu before he could stop himself, not that he really wanted to stop anyways. He was sick of being in this shelter or the New Delhi Station. Sick of all the sweat and abuses from people hurrying to their destination. He wanted a respite for a day. This, however, did not go down well with either Bhaiyya ji or his fellow mates, who looked as if they could kill him.

“So we have an outspoken one amongst us” chided Bhaiyya ji. “Perhaps some other time, but not today. Meanwhile I hope that you all can teach him a manner or two about addressing elders or you all would have had it.”

Moments after he left, all the rest of the kids gathered around Janu and began to beat him blue and black for bringing them so close to facing the wrath of Bhaiyya ji. Once done, everybody left him to nurse to his injuries and went off for breakfast. Every movement was a pain for him and he was not able to see from an eye. Not willing to take a chance of standing up and then falling down, Janu decided to keep on lying down till his body got partially used to the aches.

When, finally, he felt like being able to move, he went to to the eating area only to find that no breakfast was left for him by the others. Cursing his luck, he set towards his begging spot lest someone should take that too away from him.

Fortunately, or not so much, such was not the case and his spot near the red light was available for him. And so he began his day of begging the young and old, women and men, people in big cars and in small cars for whatever amount of alms. This being Monday was a normal day, unlike Saturday when he would be expected to wear black costume and carry a small pail with some oil in it. Or on Tuesday with Saffron attire and a plate with Lord Hanuman photo and incense stick.

So he sat on the corner when a white van with dark mirrors stopped on the red light. He made nothing of the van or anything. Suddenly, as the light turned green, two hands shot out of the van and pulled him inside. Before anyone around had any chance to react to the sudden development, the van was gone taking Janu with him; never to be seen in that area ever again.

A week later, an unidentified dead body of a boy was found dumped near old Yamuna Bridge. The boy was approximated to be around 7 – 8 years of age and had multiple bruises on his body with his rectum torn open, suggesting gross sexual acts committed to the boy.

And to think, it was the thought that some other day might be luckier for him; which used to keep him going.

Heavenly Bliss
Just as he had hoped, Bhaiyya ji picked the two youngest kids in the group, which of course included Janu. He felt the happiest that he has been in days.

Hopping in the back of a van with Bhaiyya ji, Janu and Kartik began to count their blessings and wonder what they would do with whatever extra money they are left with in the evening and what all would they see at India Gate. They had never had the chance to be away from their shelter or Station.

As it happened, the rally at India gate turned out to be a baba teaching his followers the best techniques to exercise in the ancient Hindu manner and how to cleanse the body of all that acts as a contaminant. While baba was not even the main event for Janu, it was the horde of people milling around to get a good look at baba, so that they can tell their friends that they met The Baba, without actually having to exercise. Even the weather was helping them out with the usual scorching sun replaced with slightly cloudy skies and fair wind blowing across the place. That alone made being out in the open more bearable than he could have hoped for.

With so many people around baba and his entourage, not to mention all the families out there, Janu soon realized more returns than he had ever been able to. To add to the bonus, there were several vendors around offering a wide variety of snacking options to families. It was more than a feast for Janu and Kartik as a lot of families were buying a lot of stuff but not being able to consume all of it, would pass them on to the loiterers. Once, he was even able to convince a memsahib to get him a packet of those fancy chips that are shown on the TV. An aunty also gave him a small car that her toddler was refusing to play with. The highlight of the day, however, for Janu was when he stumbled across a 5 rupees coin lying on the lawn. He decided to keep that a secret for himself and not having to share it with Bhaiyya ji. What a wonderful day this has turned out to be! He got to have loads of collections, food different from the regular daal roti and a return gift of a 5 rupee coin.

All those thoughts about a lucky day, this, he thought, must be it!

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

An open letter to a suicidal friend

I read the following article in HT Brunch today and found it worth sharing...
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To me, my problems are the worst in the world. Here's why I'll still not call it quits

Dear M, Relax, I'm not going to write about who you are and what you wrote in your e-mail to me. In fact, I'm not even going to talk about your life or about the problems that are making you feel like ending it. I'll talk about my life, if that's fine with you. When I got your mail, I wrote back that you're seeking advice from the wrong person.

This column deals with day-today stresses, by looking at the lighter side of life. And in this hay time for Babas, much as I would love to grab this opportunity to turn into a spiritual guru, I am neither qualified nor capable of advising someone on serious matters involving life and death.

But while I hope you benefit from my suggestion to seek immediate help from a professional counsellor, I still thought of letting you know that you aren't alone.

I, and surely many of those reading this right now, would have, at some point in life, got so fed up of problems that we'd thrown up our hands in the air and said things like `what's the use of such a life?' Some of us have had troubled childhood or super-stressed student life with unrealistic expectations. Some have witnessed domestic abuse to the extent that Karan Johar's `happy family' movies seem like mean, teaser, fairy tales. Some want to die because they are not getting married... some because they have got married. And some are in real bad physical pain...

and so on. But still we are all here, crowding out the earth and adding to the population explosion. Here's the thing. I don't know about your problems... to me, my problems seem like the worst. And still I won't end my life. Here's why you shouldn't, either.

  1. No matter how bad my problems are, I could still look around and always find someone who envies me. I know the mission suicide gang doesn't agree with this. But it's true, nonetheless. Compare bad marks with having no opportunity to study, or parents who fight, with having no parents at all... or not being able to marry the girl of your choice with someone who is banging his head on the wall because he did... (all girlfriends turn into monster wives! Now, I'm dead). If you are further deep in pits, just think of someone in an impoverished, faraway village who'll happily agree to be in your shoes, just to be able to have food. Suddenly, your mother-inlaw saying bitchy things about you doesn't seem like a good enough to reason to die, isn't it? 
  2. No matter how unwanted I may feel at times, someone somewhere will surely be at a loss if I die. Even if it is the 10-year-old on the traffic signal, whose name I don't know, but he knows that everyday he's able to sell me packs of pencils I don't even need by just smiling and saying `please'. Unknowingly, each one of us is a part of someone else's life. It's an interconnected chain... and therefore it can't be our arbitrary decision to willy-nilly snap a link. We are not allowed to be that selfish. 
  3. And finally, no matter how strong my resolve may be to end-it-all, what's the rush? I don't want to go without knowing what God may have in store for my future. And these astrologers are bad, they just don't tell me. So, I won't go. Maybe by some stroke of magic, my misery is anyway destined to end a month from now. Maybe I'm destined to be the next superstar (okay, fine. It was just an example, you don't have to shake your head that vigorously). How can we be in such hurry to opt for the unknown without waiting a little bit more to see what unfolds here? And who knows, maybe life's even harder up there, and you may find yourself in some remote corner of hell with no food... or facebook. It's irreversible, silly, put those sleeping pills aside. They anyway cause indigestion.

M my friend, don't think I'm making light of your situation. I can only try to imagine what you are going through. And I'm sure it's very, very tough. But, my only point is that we're all living through our respective hells in life, and we've kinda got used to it. I'm not sure if it'll be a good idea to try and trade it for yet another unknown hell. It may just be worse. Just wait it out, things have to get better. Suicide is not the last resort....it's just not an option... at all.

Sonal Kalra is firm that after the deeply spiritual write-up above, she's set to give serious competition to Baba Ramdev. If only she could go hungry. Mail your calmness tricks to sonal.kalra@hindustantimes.com. Follow Sonal Kalra on twitter at twitter.com/sonalkalra