Monday, August 29, 2005

My First Play: "A Heap of Broken Images"

No, I haven't started acting (though it is one of my top 10 wishes). It is just that I saw a professional play for the first time. Invitation to watch a play was exciting and dangerous for me. Dangerous because 100 bucks were at stake, and exciting because I have never seen one. ATM card in my wallet prompted me to take the risk. And, it paid off greatly!

Play: "A Heap of Broken Images" (English)
Director: Girish Karnad
Cast: Arundhati Raja

It was the first play in Kannada, with strong technical input. Use of technology in the form of live recording, and use of Television synchronization added a unique dimension to the play.

Scene 1: A Kannada writer, Manali Raja, is being interviewed on Television on the recent success of her maiden English novel. She makes a emotionally charged speech, and devotes her novel to her husband and disabled sister (on whom the novel is based).

Scene 2: Manali is challenged by her inner self (showed on a TV screen on the stage). Manali admits of having a distressed relationship with her husband (who is now settled in US), and her hatred for her late sister. She can't run away from her inner self, nor she can hurt her ego by accepting her defeat at the hands of her sister, who was more beautiful, talented and smart of the two. Manali suspected of an affair between her husband and her sister. But, there was nothing she could do, except watch silently and accept her defeat.
Her sister's death gave her an opportunity for revenge., and she got an intrinsic feeling of victory. But, it was shortlived. Her inner sense of guilt and defeat broke the shell of victory she tried hard to build.

Performance was par excellence. But, as stated earlier too, great use of technology was the unique point of the play. Live and recorded parts of the play were absolutely well synchronized. So much so that we noticed only 1 glitch in a 45 minute play. Amazing!
Good thing about metro cities, like Bangalore, is vibrancy of culture and the kind of varied experience you can have. And you get the infrastructure support too. The theatre was as good as any movie theatre in India, and more importantly, it was full.

Waiting for much more during my stay here....

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Power of Orkut

Saw the power of orkut for the first time, when I came across one of my classmates of class VI. Now that is after 10 years! I had completely lost touch with all my classmates. It was simply great to get across my friend. Thanks to orkut for that.
Certainly, world is no longer big enough. Distances are shrinking, and becoming insignificant in this digital world. Community theorists believe that internet is leading to decreasing associations between people in society. As a result, social capital is eroding. Cites are threatened by lack of mutual trust, cooperation and associational linkages.

On the other hand, you come across such instances where internet is helping people network in a much better way. Although, it may lead to a situation when you may be in touch with your friend 2000 kms away, but not know your neighbor!

But still we have a long way to go in India. The fact that most of my friends even don’t have a mail id indicates a huge gap. I can’t label this gap as a digital divide; rather it’s more about acceptability of new technology and embracing it in normal life. So, “e” is going to stay. Expect more e-friendships, e-marriages, e-dating, even e-sex (not able to visualize it though()

Other side of coin

I have been here at IIM Bangalore for the last 2 months, and the experience, to be fair enough, hasn’t been great. And the reason is not academic rigor. Surely, there are enough quizzes (surprise and scheduled), lectures, exams, and assignments to keep you engaged for days, weeks and months. But, it is not new for me, especially with my 4 year stint at IITK! So, why is a sense of disillusionment creeping in?

Coming from a middle class family, I have always followed the crowd. Be it choosing engineering in Class X, or preparing for JEE, or taking up Comp Science at IIT Kanpur. Now, I was coming to this prestigious management school of India, with an aroma of innovation, creativity and what not. I expected a different dynamic culture based on out of the box thinking, breaking the shackles, so to say. I come here; I find the same rat race!! Right from day one, there has been only one thing haunting all of us here, our summer placements. All people (including me) think about is job, job and job. So, what are the typical issues to talk on here: “Hey which investment bank is the best? How many “bullet points” have you got? Teri to life chill hai, i-bank pakka hai!”. Where is thinking, innovation, creativity? Peer pressure is too high. No wonder, one of the basic problems with B-schools worldwide is that they produce managers and not entrepreneurs.

Course material doesn’t help either. Freedom of arguing with professors, and being a rebel, that I enjoyed most of the times in IITK, is absent here. You have to accept the system; otherwise it’s going to destory you.

Few minutes back, I met a senior of mine (IITK and IIMB alumni). He is currently working at a leading consulting firm in India. He told us an interesting distinguishing feature between analysts recruited from IITs and those from B-schools. Those from IITs tend to get frustrated soon as their work is not to their expectations (no revolutionary thinking, etc.). But, B-school graduates understand this “global stuff” in a much better manner, so are much more satisfied with their jobs. Is it good or bad? Do B-schools “widen” the scope of thinking or “erode” thinking itself?

Trust and binding in the student community is lacking. I come as a fresher here and from an environment where I could blindly trust most of the people around me. Not true any more. Here, people take competition and relative grading too seriously. Who will tell them, lower score of one guy in class won’t affect your grade? Cooperation and trust is very low. Perhaps, people who work in industry learn these traits!

All said, I don’t want to be a rebel here. So, I also think about how to be a part of the system, I also think about getting grades, and a job. I do not want to separate myself from the system, as I am a part of the system and I take full responsibility for it. At this point, I remember a dialogue of a Hindi movie (I am pretty bad at remembering names), “System ko sudhaarne ke liye system kaa hissat hona padta hai”.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Blogger for Word

Google has launched Blogger for Word, a plug-in to publish directly from Microsoft Word. Check out the new feature at !! A great plug-in giving you much better control over your blog.