Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I just spent the last two hours going over the whole IIPM - JAM mag saga that erupted five years ago. Although I had read quite a bit about it earlier, there was much that I had missed. And this where it all started - the original article in JAM.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Has England's time come?

This is my first article for Cricket Diaries. Hopefully, there shall be more to come.

As the title suggests, this one is regarding the Ashes.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Presenting the Indian GP

The FIA recently announced that the Indian GP will be a part of the 2011 Formula-1 season. This is great news not just for all motorsport fans in India, but also for all Formula-1 fans in the world.

That is because a new feature that will be unique to the Indian GP will be launched at the race by the FIA: the race will have 'mamas' (traffic cops) standing at various locations on the track. They will randomly stop cars and then ask the drivers for their licenses, PUCs, insurance papers and NOCs for the cars (as the cars are not registered at the local RTO). The driver who can pay them off quickest and reach the finishing line first will win the race.

The FIA believes that this new feature will help attract more viewers to the sport, which is already suffering from various problems like reduced viewership numbers and the presence of drivers like Lewis Hamilton. Also, the FIA is hoping that "One day F1 too will have IPL following" and has hence decided to appoint Lalit Modi as the 'Traffic Commissioner' for the Indian GP.

Monday, August 16, 2010

When should a match truly 'end'?

Keeping aside the discussion about whether Randiv delberately overstepped or not (which I think he did), another technical problem raised by the rules is the incongruency in the number of balls faced by Sehwag and the number of runs he scored. He was on 99 from 99 balls before the infamous no-ball, and the final scorecard shows him at 99 off a 100 balls. So if the ball counted (as all no-balls do), then the runs scored off it should also count. However, because of the rule saying that the match ends when the target is reached, the ball was counted but the runs weren't. There is obviously a problem with the rule here.

I think the main reason why this problem is coming up is because of an artificial end point brought about by the no-ball. So the match ended while the ball was yet to reach the batsman. I really wonder why the MCC would create such an artificial cut-off point for a match. It's not as if it causes great pain to the statisticians to record the runs scored off a no-ball. Separating the ball bowled from the runs scored off it is like making an entry to one side of a balance sheet without changing the other - it is definitely wrong!

This 'end of match' rule has led to some funny scenes in cricket. I distinctly remember watching a batsman hitting the winning boundary and then shouting at the non-striker asking him not to cross over so that he would get all 4 runs instead of just the one needed to win. Again, in this case, the match ends if the batsmen cross and while the ball is still on its way to the boundary creating an artificial end point.

I agree with the general purpose of the rule which is aimed at preventing batsmen from running for more runs even if the match is over. But in the case of no-balls there is a clear contradiction. Maybe the MCC should consider adding an exception to the rule in case of wides and no-balls. That would bring an end to the cases of poor sportsmanship such as the one we saw today.

P.S: A similar discussion was also going on at the Cricinfo commentary page.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quizzer of Fortune

I guess all quizzers have a bit of the mercenary streak in them: no one can claim to have attended quizzes only due to the quality of questions without ever considering the monetary benefits involved. I am no different, I have spent the four years of my college life in Pune as a quizzing mercenary. I have attended quizzes in god-forsaken places like Rajarshi Shahu College of Engineering, just for the money. And I have attended some terribly organised, lower than school level quizzes for the same reason.

But that was back in college. Once I started earning, the money was no longer such a great motivator and I realised that there were better things to do in life than attending silly quizzes. So I abandoned the mercenary approach to quizzing and instead decided to attend quizzes solely based on their quality. Unfortunately, this came to an end last month.

WIMWI has some very good quizzers, but the number is still quite low for such an institute of national repute, the reasons for which I will discuss sometime later. As a result of this dearth of quizzing talent, there was not much competition when I decided to turn up for all the quizzes (and other fun activities) being conducted in college. And this led to the strangest of results, as listed below.

My performance at quizzes (not the study related ones)and other such activities in WIMWI:
1. Marketing Quiz - 3rd.
2. General Quiz - 2nd.
3. Word Games - 2nd.
4. Pot Pourri - 1st.
5. Finance Quiz - 2nd.

Those of you who know me well know about my comical ineptitude at (and great dislike for) anything that comes close to being a business quiz. So my performance in the Marketing and Finance quizzes must come as a great surprise, although in my defence, my success in the Finance Quiz was mostly because I had happened to read about Nick Leeson when I was framing questions for Chakravyuh. Also I had never previously participated in any kind of word games, yet I came 2nd. As for Pot Pourri, I seem to be pretty good at this, as I maintained my 100% win record (the only previous victory was at Tata Motors with Abhishek and Yash Marathe). Before coming here, I would never have dreamt of attending a Marketing or a Finance quiz, and yet I was attending (and winning) these quizzes. The mercenary quizzer within me is surely staging a comeback. I guess its just a side effect of being in college.

Its been more than a month that I have been here, and there have been many memorable, blogpost-worthy moments in that one month. I hope to keep posting regularly, but for now I have to leave, for a have a Sports Quiz to attend. (insert evil laugh here)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm shipping up to Ahmedabad

This is an update on a lot of events that have happened of late.

Actually there was just one major event - I secured admission to the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad for the Post Graduate Program 2010-2012 batch. All other events were just celebratory reactions to this one. This means that I will be spending the next two years of my life in Ahmedabad and it also means that my blog's title is no longer incorrect. Just remember that from now on, when I write 'college' I mean WIMWI and not COEP.

I do hope to write new posts on my blog regularly, since there will be a lot of interesting blog-worthy things happening in college. For starters, our Time Table for the first two 'slots' is already out - and it includes a screening of the movie 'Ek ruka hua faisla'. I'm beginning to like it already.

1. WIMWI is a nickname for IIM A and stands for Well Known Institute of Management in Western India.
2. An academic year at WIMWI is divided in to 6 'slots'. Each slot has its own subjects and an examination as well.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Towel Day Quest

As you all know, today (May 25th) happens to be Towel Day. Those of you who do not know this can stop reading now.

I was home all day and hence was spared the questioning looks that people give to those of us who are roaming around with a towel. Later in the evening, I was explaining to my Dad the significance of Towel Day. My Mom overheard this and said something to the effect of "Oh, that explains why there were Towels put up on display at the Reliance Fresh store". Needless to say, I was stunned. Remember, this is Nashik, and not some large metro. I didn't even expect that the people here would have heard of DNA, let alone celebrate Towel Day. This was just too good to be true. So I decided to go and check it out for myself.

The problem was that time was running out. Although the Earth wasn't about to explode, it was almost time the store shut down. Thankfully, I reached just in time and was able to take this pic right at the moment the shutters were coming down.

It was true. In the front display of the shop, facing the main road, I could see four towels that were put on display. This was highly intriguing, so I went inside the shop and asked a few people why they had put towels for display. Unfortunately, since it was closing time, I couldn't get a definite answer, although one member of the staff told me that they were up for sale. However, one of the supervisors did mention that the display was put up only today morning.

So it might well have been just a great coincidence. But I would like to believe that somewhere in some parallel universe, a Reliance Fresh store manager wanted to celebrate Towel Day and the WSOGMM led to a similar idea popping up in the brain of the Reliance Fresh Nashik Manager. Whatever may be the reason, it was the froodiest Towel Day ever!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Faster PussyCAT, Kill Kill

I guess it's about time I put in my 2 pence worth of CAT wisdom.

Prologue - Once upon a time in Nashik... and Pune

Most of my schooling was done in Nashik. It was there that I gave my 10th and 12th Standard exams. After my 12th, I desperately wanted to get out of Nashik. Thankfully I got into College of Engineering, Pune and took admission in the Electronics and Telecommunication department.

I was decent at academics, with a CGPA of 8.13. However I was never really that interested in electronics, so an electronics or software related job wasn't something that I really wanted. An M.S. was out of question, so I decided to go for an MBA. Quite honestly, the amazing packages that IIM grads were getting was the major reason for this. Also, after visiting IIT B during Mood Indigo, I always felt bad that I did not make it to an IIT. It was then that I decided that I would do my MBA from an IIM and nowhere else.

Chapter 1 - Fear Proof

I joined IMS Pune for CAT 2008. This was because they had a special Apex batch where they would club together the best of students who would be taught by the best of faculties. I really learned a lot here. The faculty was pretty good and the classes were very useful as the level of questions was pretty high as compared to the ordinary classes. I was also performing well in my Mocks and was pretty confident of cracking CAT. Maybe I was over confident. Hence after getting a job in a software company, I did not give the entrance test of any other high paying 'core electronics' company, as I was very sure that I would be joining an IIM the next year. I wasn't even planning on writing any other MBA entrance test. Heh.

Chapter 2 - From Dreams till Dust

I took the CAT on November 16, 2008 - what turned out to be the last paper based CAT. I thought I had done pretty well and went to my class looking for answers to the questions. It was there that I realised that I had screwed up DI. Not a major screw-up, but bad enough to ensure that I wouldn't get a call from IIM A or IIM C. Realising this, I took the XAT just to have more choice. And sure enough my predictions came true. I had just 1 call - IIM K. And yeah, I also had an IIM L-ABM call. XAT went well and I had an XLRI BM call as well. Things were starting to look up.

My CAT 2008 score:
VA: 99.8 %ile QA: 96.5 %ile DI: 93.67%ile Overall : 99.59%ile
XAT: 99.97%ile

Chapter 3 - Interviewer Basterds

My IIM K interview was bad. I barely answered anything and was out in no time. However my IIM L ABM interview went well. It was a bit of a joke really, I convinced the interviewers that I had an uncle who owned a winery in Nashik because of which I wanted to study ABM. My XLRI interview was good, and I was hoping to get through. Then came the results: XLRI reject followed by IIM K reject. I was stunned. I felt like a complete failure. I still remember that day- my dad had called to console me and I was about to cry in the middle of the street. For the first time in my life I had failed at something that I had worked so hard for. I didn't check my IIM L ABM result till a few days later. And I had made it, I had converted my call! However, by then I had decided that I would take the CAT again. A lot of people advised me to join IIM L - arguing that the placements were similar to the main course. But an MBA is like a marriage - you do it only once. And I didn't want my MBA to be in Agri Business Management. My Sir tried to talk me out of it - saying that there's no guarantee that I could crack the CAT again. However, deep inside I knew for sure that I would crack it the next time. After all, the CAT & I had some unfinished business.

Chapter 4 - Grindhouse

I started studying for CAT 2010 with all earnestness. I joined Byju Sir's classes. I really had fun in the classes and they helped boost my confidence. I also started working. Thankfully, the rigours of the job were never such that I didn't get enough time for my studies. However, I skipped everything else - the endless parties, movies etc etc that my office gang would go for. I had just one goal - cracking the CAT. The best part about studying for CAT was that I loved doing it. Therefore I rarely felt bored by studying, this helped me study more and helped increase my confidence. I was confident about myself this time and nothing could shake my confidence - not the shift to an online pattern, not my moderate Mock CAT scores and not even the fact that a lot might depend on the type of questions that I would get. I knew I would get through irrespective of that. So I wrote my CAT on 7th December 2009. It went well and I was hoping for the best.

Chapter 5 - True Brilliance

28th February, 2010: I was home. The result was declared! But I couldn't access the site. Finally my friend got through, and he mailed me my result. I saw it - 99.99 %ile. I had done it! I was rolling on the floor, laughing in disbelief and joy. I had nailed the CAT!

My CAT 2009 score:
VA: 99.80 %ile QA: 96.95%ile DI: 100 %ile Overall: 99.99 %ile

Chapter 6 - Natural Born (IIM)Student

I had 5 IIM calls - BLACK. Also had 2 FMS calls. Hence I was roaming all over for my GDs and PIs. Some went well (C,K) some were ok (L) while some were bad (A,B,FMS). But all this while, I felt good. I knew I was going to make it. Also, I had learnt a lot more about an MBA. It was not just a means to obtain a fat package - it was much, much more than that. I came to know more about what students actually do at the IIMs, how their life is and how an MBA makes an impact on their lives. And I really wanted to be a part of it. And I knew that I deserved to be a part of it. Almost as if it was meant to be.

Epilogue - Joka Crown:

April 25, 2010: I have converted both my IIM C calls. No other results have been declared, but I am more than happy with what I have. I will be starting my MBA journey soon at one of India's best colleges - the dream has finally come true. The year long wait, the efforts put in, the countless Mocks, my rejecting IIM L ABM - it was all worth it. I have finally done it. All it needed was a strong self-belief, sharp focus, great will power and a lot of fun while studying.

Update: I have also converted my IIM Ahmedabad call and I have decided to study there and not at IIM Calcutta.

P.S: I would like to thank a few people who played an essential part in my CAT success - my parents, my brother Rushikesh, Sneha Das, Byju Raveendran, Sandeep Kaushik, Kiran Joshi and Joel Xavier.

Also I got by with more than a little help from my friends - Abhishek Nagaraj, Harsh Ketkar, Aditya Gadre, Yashovardhan Tamaskar, Chaitanya Salunke, Ganesh Pawar, Rishikesh Baviskar, Smit Gade, Ashish Metkar, Apoorv Vaidya, Avinash Kunder, Mahesh Hase and the Boat Club Quiz Club.

P.P.S: Never mind the names of the chapters. Or the name of this post.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

He finally did it

A lot of people may not feel that Sachin Tendulkar is the best batsman that Test cricket has ever seen. However, he is, by a long margin, the greatest batsman that ODI cricket has ever seen. He has scored more runs and notched up more centuries and fifties than anybody else. He has made the format his own - this is a format where he can single-handedly win matches for India and not have to worry about minor issues like his team-mates' performances et al

However, for many years what was lacking was a really big innings from him. For a long while his highest score was the 143 he had scored against the Aussies at Sharjah. He then scored a 186 against the Kiwis, which till today was his highest score. However, he never seemed to score the really big hundreds. The tide started changing in 2009, when he made two 150+ scores, including that tragic 175 against the Aussies at Hyderabad. However, something was missing - and that got added today.

It is only fitting that it is Sachin who becomes the first batsman to attain the holy grail of ODI cricket - scoring 200 in a single inning. ODI cricket owes a lot to India in general, and Sachin in particular. He made the format immensely popular. His mere presence would fill out the stands. And through ODIs, he took the game to the smaller cities in India which could never host Test matches - the Cuttacks, Indores and Jodhpurs. So it is all the more appropriate that he would score his double century not on the hallowed turf of the Eden Gardens, but at the Captain Roop Singh stadium in Gwalior instead.

Although I did not see his entire innings, I managed to see large portions of it. My favourite part was during a Dale Steyn over when Sachin had scored around 120 runs. Now this was a bowler who is widely accepted as the best fast bowler in the world. He has run through many strong batting line-ups, including the Indian one. But today all that Steyn could think of was containment. And that too with more than 15 overs left. So no good length deliveries which he would try to swing away from the bat. Every ball he bowled was full length. However this didn't stop Sachin from scoring. He literally danced on his tiptoes before hitting a full length ball from outside the off-stump to the square leg boundary. And then, just for fun, did it again two balls later, this time hitting it to the mid wicket fence. He was literally toying around with the bowling and the look on Steyn's face gave it all way - there was nothing he could do to stop Sachin.

Possibly the best image of the match was a poster held up in the audience. It initially read 'Sachin, we have come to see you score a 100'. After Sachin's century, the guy added a '+ 100' to the text. Never, in his wildest dreams, would he have imagined how prophetic that amendment would turn out to be.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010