Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of a decade!

So we all are one day away from celebrating a decade of existence in the 21st century. I still vividly remember 2000. (When you start remembering what you had done 10 years ago, like you did it yesterday it just means one thing – you are old with a Capital ‘O’). The Y2K bug was the talk of the town. Apocalypse was predicted. The world as we knew it, was gonna end. Huh! Nothing happened.

2000 was the year I got my first computer (Ok, technically it was bought for my sister, but I guess I messed around with it more than she did!). And I still remember the specs – A Pentium II 350 MHz (I wasn’t an AMD fan boy then), 32MB SD RAM, a SiS Graphics card with 2 MB on board memory, Creative Sound Blaster 16 bit ISA Soundcard, Creative Infra 32x CD-ROM Drive, a 4.3 GB Seagate HDD, 15” CRT monitor and Windows 98. Thumb drives did not exist then. We had to use floppy discs to transfer data :) !! I had not seen the internet and I did not own a mobile phone! I can’t believe its been a decade already. 10 years of playing with computers. TV was my only source of entertainment other than playing (real games that involved physical activity :) !! outside!)

Anyway before I give you all further dose of my nostalgia, on this day, I hope you reflect on what you have achieved (or not) in the last 10 years. I hope you all have a great 2010! Thank you for being with me all this while :) !!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ants for breakfast

So I have been having ants dipped in warm milk as breakfast for a while. Before you jump to conclusions, let me explain. I kinda forgot to close my packet of cornflakes properly one day, and in no time I had an ant colony infestation.

Being from the land of the great Gandhi, I tried to be nice and left the packet open for a while to let the ants get out non-violently. I also displayed a small protest-signboard which read “Please leave my breakfast! Thank you for your cooperation.” But to my utter dismay, that just got more of their relatives in. Now I had more ants to deal with.

My mom has this habit of seeing the National Geographic channel while eating lunch or dinner. So while we are busy eating scrambled egg, a big ugly snake is happily munching away on frog eggs on the television (I had the wicked idea of putting the image right here in my blog, but then I figured it might be disturbing for some people. So here is the link for people who are interested :) !! Have you noticed that frog eggs look like pearl tapioca ;) ).

Pearl Tapioca

I have gotten so used to seeing other species feasting on something gross while I am eating, that I guess I wouldn’t mind sitting across the table while a bunch of hyenas feast on a dead deer. I have also grown immune to seeing dead insects (yeah that includes cockroaches) in my food (thanks to have regularly eaten canteen food in India and abroad) that they have stopped bothering me as well.

All in all, this is my daily routine now -

  1. Warm the milk for 2.5 minutes in the microwave
  2. Open the box of cornflakes and pour the cornflakes along with the ants into the warm milk
  3. Merrily watch the ants die of burns the instant they land in the milk
  4. Have breakfast
  5. Burp!

Ok. I am not that carnivorous. I have discovered that ant corpses float on milk. So you can use the spoon and sieve them out without having to actually eat them. But I hope you get the idea :) !!

Update: I can’t believe this post of mine would have generated so much controversy. Its supposed to be a joke! I do not eat ants, neither do I watch them die. The blog post was a fragment of my imagination when I saw ants entering my cornflakes box!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

How to hurt your brand?!!

So an international ice-cream brand decided to open its stores in India. It also decided that it will segment itself as “premium” ice-cream brand from a foreign country. Hmm, well that sells, so far so good. Seeing the success of my neighborhood Mc Donald’s over the amazing Udupi Restaurant, I must say it would work. And in their teaser campaign they say “Exclusive preview for International Travelers” and “Access restricted only to holders of international passports”.

The advertisement

That my dear is a sure public relations disaster in India. Its like putting your own foot along with the rest of your body into your own mouth! I can only pity the marketing genius who came up with that idea. I think in any Marketing 101 course in India the first thing that should be taught is – never discriminate in India based on location, language, religion, nationality, sex, age, color, pets, cars, clothes, spectacles, mobile phones or anything that can be remotely thought to hurt our sentiments :) !!

I can’t imagine how they are gonna recover from this. It will be interesting to see how the company tries to apologize and cover this thing up. Will make a good marketing disaster case study in B-schools all around the world.

This also reminds me of a famous designer’s rumored comment “If I knew that blacks and Asians were going to wear my clothes, I would have never designed them”. To verify whether it was correct, I looked this thing upon Snopes, and apparently it is false.

And then today, in the world of YouTube, you can verify whatever you want .. so here is the video which lays to rest all speculations about it..

I don’t know what took him 10 years to come on her show and confess that. His publicist should have tried to cover this up like a decade ago. Cause when I had heard it way back in 2000, my young impressionable mind resolved to never use the brand ever in my life (Unlike some other very expensive designer brands, this particular brand potentially has people like me in their target market). Now, that I bet was the resolve of many other impressionable minds like me. Well, frankly speaking, I don’t think we really make a big market to actually affect the sales of such big brands. But still its a disaster I must say.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Have been feasting on a lot of sushi in my life lately and I thought I dedicate a blog post to the wonder herb “Wasabi”. Being an Indian used to eating Medu Vada (Vadai for the Singaporeans) dipped in a bowl full of coriander chutney, I had to specially adapt to eating a tiny morsel of wasabi elegantly stirred in soy sauce considering that wasabi can be easily mistook for the yummy chutney. However, that is where the similarity ends.

Wasabi Coriander Chutney

Three of my friends I bet can still recall the horror of gulping down a mouthful of wasabi in the friendly neighborhood Benihana only to be snickered at by the helpful waiters while they were crying and grasping for breath. Wasabi is something that can easily give you the feeling of seeing stars in front of your eyes, and I have experienced it many times when I eagerly dip sushi in the soy sauce only to later realize that I hadn’t stirred the wasabi that well.

For me, sushi has been an acquired taste. I couldn’t stand the taste of seaweed for a long while but now somehow I have started liking the odd taste that it got. I still however haven’t graduated to eating raw fish and sashimi. So I guess some of you veteran sushi eaters still look down upon me :)

Update (01/19/2010): I came across this website that has made a nice info graphic for people to eat sushi the “right” way. May be this might help you in your quest to eat sushi the next time around….

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Songs

Singapore has already started celebrating the arrival of Christmas for close to a month now. The streets have been decorated, the malls are having fake snow-falls, Christmas trees and East-Asian Santas every where (I bet most sport a six-pack below that pillow they stuff over their stomach) and the atmosphere generally is festive and happy. So I have been trying to get into the “happy” mood lately by listening to Christmas songs :) !!

Ferrero Rocher Christmas Tree Another Christmas Tree And another! Reindeer's back

Christmas songs always give me that “holiday” feeling even though I don’t really have a vacation in sight. Anyways, I have been digging through my Christmas songs collection and came across the song “Santa Baby” as covered by various artists. I think this is one song that I have heard covered by most number of people (of course after Unchained Melody, which I have lost count of number of cover versions it has!). My favorite rendition is the one done by Kylie Minogue. She makes it more naughty than the others (yeah and that was my opinion even before I saw the video!). So here are the lyrics and here is the song for your listening pleasure…

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Alternative Medicine

It all started with a sore throat. All my sore throats result in a full blown flu which then refuses to go away for a while. So I press the panic button the day I get a sore throat. Over the period of several years, I have figured that the easiest way to get over your sore throat is to have hot & hot – hot (as in warm) drinks and hot (as in chilly spice hot) food. Top it up with a gargle of a mouth-wash before you go off to sleep, and more often than not you are good to go the next day.

So off I went on my quest to cure myself of the sore throat. A friend of mine suggested that having the hottest noodles in the local Thai Express should do the trick. The noodles were as close to eating raw chilies as we could get. I cried through the ordeal and drank like a gallon of water. Not only did my entire throat burn, but so did my stomach (for hours later).

And then next day morning, my body setup a super efficient supply chain, the one in which there was no wait-time between input and output. The digestive system started giving output even without any input. And in all this mess, I also cut my foot while running around.

So now I am in bed with my foot resting over my body with a grumbling stomach which is not happy about the chilies I put in it yesterday. And the sore throat remains….

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cardinal Sin

I confess, I have sinned. I have given myself in to gluttony. Not once or twice, but for 3 continuous weeks. That is 15 days and at least 30 cookies down the throat, through my stomach and into the love handles to last me for eternity. I can't resist eating these biscuits and have been eating minimum 2 everyday, each time consoling myself that this is the last one I am ever eating again. I finally decided I confess my sin and tell you guys something about it. I am also putting up a picture of the addiction for all of you to drool over. Amazingly addictive and I bet laden with enough fat and sugar to fuel a gasoline car from New York to San Francisco.

The Forbidden Cookie

I am waiting for the day when scientists discover ways to convert the fat stored in our body to oil. I will be a billionaire overnight…


A friend of mine forwarded me this link about things going wrong with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). For the ignorant (that includes me too) the LHC is the world’s largest and highest energy particle accelerator that will be used to conduct some life changing but dangerous physics experiments. One of the highly publicized experiments is for the determination of the existence of something named as Higgs boson. That particle will help us explain the origin of the universe and rest of it is way too difficult for me to understand. If you read that particle as “Higg’s bosom” don’t fret, it just means that you are a guy. Go read the statement again, it should be clearer this time.

Now coming back to the article. It talks about the theory that the LHC was not functioning properly (until about last week) because people in the future already know the disastrous circumstances of constructing the LHC and accordingly, are sending back time travelers to thwart our attempt of building it. If the plot sounds familiar, you have seen Terminator (the movie) many times before!

Now I have always believed that time travel is not possible. That’s cause like I have quoted Stephen Hawking before "Time travel might be possible, but if that is the case, why haven't we been overrun by tourists from the future?" However the article kinda made me sit up and realize that we are indeed overrun by tourists from the future! Its just that they don’t reveal themselves as being from the future.

How else do you explain the wealth made by a very few individuals. Don’t tell me that Warren Buffett understands the stock market better than the guy next door. Also don’t  tell me that Steve Jobs can predict what people are gonna like next. All the great men and women in this world are nothing but time travelers. If you wanna be like them, don’t work hard, just find a guy with a time machine, and go back in time to make money and be the next genius! Didn’t I tell you, given enough free time, I can figure out all mysteries in our lives…

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gloomy Days

Every once in a while a day comes when I do - nothing. Nothing as in – nothing. I don't get outta bed in the morning and get on with my life. I just ponder around the whole day thinking about the bigger things in life. What am gonna do next and all the general nonsense that we are expected to plan. Today happened to be one of those days when I really wished we came with expiry dates (I read that blog post of mine again today, and I can’t believe that I was as good at bull$hitting pre-MBA, as I am now :) !!).

Its always been very difficult for me to lead my life without a purpose. After all, when we look at life through the perspective of greater scheme of things, we are here for nothing (yeah I know I have made a few of you sit and listen to my whining about our worthlessness ;) !!). So unless we set goals for ourselves, we are heading towards nowhere, which eventually we all anyway are.

Well, I don’t know why I wrote this blog post. Probably I will delete it later. As I wait for this day to get over, I felt like writing this out to you. Tomorrow will be a better day, it always is. Its always better to think short-term rather than plan for the future. Long-term plans have so much uncertainty that they never work out.

Finally, seeing 2012 yesterday seems to have had a deep impact on my rather impressionable mind. 21st December 2012 is not far away ;) !! You have 3 years to go to the ark :) !! That reminds me, the sad part of the movie was – no Indian was thought worthy enough to be saved and put on the ark to be part of the new world. So much for being 1 in 6 of the world population today!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


The place where I am interning now used to be an artificial polar bear habitat before. So its not just cold, its freezing. Freezing as in brr…. freezing. And I guess polar bears like it when there is wind chill, so the air conditioner is strategically positioned to give a blast of cold air on my head.

Brrr Is The Word! -- powered by

I carry my winter jacket to office everyday and if that is not enough, now I have to cover my ears and nose as well. So much for sustainability!! Not only are they wasting precious energy cooling a human being as if he is a polar bear but also they are increasing their water and paper consumption.

How you ask? Well, so much cold makes me pee every hour. And peeing is accompanied by flushing, washing and drying hands. So there goes a paper towel, and at least 30 liters of water every hour for minimum of 8 hours. Now you calculate!

That also reminds me that the water taps in the basin are “automatic”. In simple terms they are made extremely difficult to use so that at times you wanna just break the damn tap. The sensors are strategically placed so that no amount of waving your hands in all the weird ways in front of the tap satisfies them. You actually have to do a ceremonial dance in which you put your left hand in (the basin), then the right hand and then wiggle your butt till the tap is happy. Then it sputters an ounce of water on your fingers and shuts itself off till you repeat the sequence again. As you have rightly guessed, I spend more time dancing in the loo than sitting at my place!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Peak hour travelling

Whole of my student life I have had the luxury to go to the city at non-peak hour timings and consciously avoiding the crowd. My air travel also has always been intentionally on weekdays (Wednesday/ Thursday mornings), so much so that I had gotten used to the fact that I would get personal attention in the economy class, sleep on three seats while paying for one and I would not have to stand in lines for security clearance.

Today however seemed to be one of those very noisy days. I had these bunch of Indian tourists on their way back from what looked like a very tiring vacation. All kids between the age of 0 to 10 were very irritated and had been crying at the drop of a hat. The few who were not were running around the waiting area including one kid who tripped on my carelessly left cabin bag. Before he could start crying however, I gave him the scary look (the “mean-uncle-who-hates-kids” look) and I guess that made him run for cover to his mom where he must have complained about me.

Have been travelling by Air India on the Mumbai-Singapore sector for quite a while now and have been generally pleased with their service. Today too our aircraft boarded and left on time! However unlike my other peaceful journeys, this time around I had a 4-8 year old looking geek kid as a neighbor. This guy had accumulated all the questions he ever had in his life to be asked to his patient dad only in the 5 hour journey that he had to sit next to me. Even before the aircraft took off, he already had asked a barrage of very intelligent (but completely useless) questions to his dad (reminded me of Calvin’s dad). Once in the air he was monitoring the aircraft speed, outside temperature and the world map. I could overhear intelligent statements like “Dad, the outside temperature is –5 degree centigrade, then why is there no ice on our aircraft?”, “Dad, if we are flying at 800 km/hr how much distance does the plane travel before it can turn?”. The dad was ofcourse conscious of the fact that I was intently listening to his answers so he was often found mumbling answers that were unintelligible to me. Now I can really understand how my parents felt when I went around asking them all those useless questions as a 3 year old. No wonder, my dad had a receding hairline immediately after I started speaking ;) !!

If this guy was not enough, there was a 1 something kid on the sit ahead of me, who thought that aircrafts are meant for crying. The moment his mom fastened his seat belt he started crying, and didn’t stop till she unfastened it again on landing in India. So much for a 5 hour peaceful sleep for me :( !! All in all, I decided I will carry my Media player on my next flight so that I can listen to Yanni or someone as I struggle to catch up on my sleep.

Weapons of Self Defense

So I am gonna reveal a very closely guarded secret of my Singaporean friends. Every one of them is expected to carry a Weapon of Self Defense (WSD). Before you get all scared the WSD is nothing but innocuous looking packets of tissue papers. For naive foreigners like me they just look like what they are – tissue papers, but before you dismiss them off as just another personal accessory, hold on!

Weapon of Self Defense

All around the island there are numerous kopitiams (Food courts) which cater to thousands of people daily. During peak hours there are close to 50 people fighting for a single table in these food courts. This is where the tissue papers come in handy.

In the hypothetical situation that you happen to confront another person standing next to one of the tables to occupy it as the guy already using it is gulping down his kimchi, both of you stand in a confrontation pose (a-la Old American West gun standoff) with one hand in your pocket, ready to withdraw your WSD. The guy who can first successfully land his tissue packet on the table moments after the earlier guy lifts his bum off the seat, gets the table. The rule of this game is simple. Once someone’s packet lands on the table you lose it and you can’t do anything to get the table. The WSD rule is so religiously followed that if you forget your tissue packet on the table, people won’t occupy it for eternity. This action of reserving tables is called “chop”.

When in Singapore do what the Singaporeans do. So now I got my own arsenal of WSDs and have been practicing the art of withdrawing my WSD from the left pocket with my right hand and flawlessly landing it on a table 10 metres away :) !!

My Arsenal

Finally, I have reliable insider information that Singaporean women dig guys with “Tissues”. Which in layman’s terms means, Singaporean gals like Singaporean men (duh?!). So men pretend to be chivalrous to women just by offering a tissue that they are already carrying as a WSD!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Moving on

Been a while since I wrote a blog about my life. Today marks to be one of those big days as well. The journey that I had embarked on more than 2.5 years ago after having “decided” to take my GMAT has finally ended. I have to now get out of the secure and fun student life that I was in. Took the last examination of my MBA yesterday and have to vacate the hostel room that I have been occupying for the past 16 months or so.

Thank you all of you for being so patient with me despite my irregular updates on the blog lately. I will keep you all updated with what am gonna do next shortly!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why I read my spam?

Hahaha, I bet my blog post title kinda made you wonder that this guy has all the time in his life to even read junk email!! Well well, trust me, if you need instant gratification and wanna feel extremely good about yourself, forget the psychiatrist, just go to the mail that your email provider marks as “spam”.

My junk email makes me feel to be the luckiest person on planet earth. In the last one month I earned close to $100 Million dollars (I am not kidding!). And the best part was, it all came from my long lost relatives in Nigeria, Australia, and Italy who all decided to die at the same time leaving all their fortune entrusted to the local government which apparently uses dubious email addresses like The government with the dubious email address however decided it rightfully belonged to me, and kindly asked for my contact details and my bank account number. Noble souls I must say!

My junk email also makes me feel important. Here is a sample of an email I got last week: “hello ... I'm gina a high school student living in your neighborhood can we talk on msn?  gina… is my email address. add me on your msn messenger I finally got my cam workin ;) “ (I wonder why the wink in the end? I presume we could share notes on the webcam) Well well, some of the mails that I get can’t really be pasted out here. But I hope you get what I mean :) !!

I also realized that I have access to hundreds of “trusted", “safe” and “secure” online pharmacies that can deliver me any pill I need on this planet at 1/100th the cost of it in the pharmacy. And then I realized I can buy original Rolex watches for $100. Sometimes I wonder, why do I even check my regular email when junk is all I need :) !!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Wow!! Its been a month since I said anything here! Saying that I was all busy with my MBA would be an outright lie. But yeah, a major part of it was spent studying a company named AMD for a course named Corporate and Business Strategy. At close to three decades into your life, getting humiliated in a class of 40 is really depressing. But all in all, I enjoyed the course cause it sort of gave me an idea of the depth to which you should study a company to really understand its strategy.

And besides that some time was spent seeing some movies, seeing the night race, watching videos for a couple of hundred hours on YouTube and of course generally being a pain.

So what were the highlights of the month you ask? Well, let me think…

  1. I had the chance to visit the clean-room of a semiconductor foundry out here, and I actually wore the bunny suit. Haha, the clean-room is definitely a wanna-be geek paradise and I sure had fun.
  2. Saw the Singapore F1 GP. Nice experience. Force India F1 team however performed miserably. And it was amazingly humid during the race weekend. No rains :( !! I got to see the Backstreet Boys (ahem .. now we should call them Backstreet Uncles …) for free on my F1 Pass.
  3. My Microsoft Office died on me. I can no longer open any office documents in my computer. So major part of my month I was stuck in the lab in the school and fell in love with the 19” Monitor of a computer out there. I was about to confess my love for it till I found that it was two timing with a PhD student who would only visit it at nights (after I left the computer lab!).

So this is it. My funny bone has been resting for a while now. I should update my blog soon again. I have less than 2 weeks to finish my MBA now. It was better than what I thought it was. And I hope people who are still contemplating higher education, stop thinking and start doing!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The refrigerator

Oh yeah, I live in this student hostel that is affectionately called Graduate Hell err .. Hall. And we have this one common pantry in the basement where all the hall residents (1/2 the population of Singapore) get to keep their food in a small refrigerator. As you can guess, the fridge is perennially filled to the brim. I remember the good old days of owning a refrigerator, all for myself!!

Our lovely fridge Do I see a new species in there?

Today an angry-distraught student posted this note. Some poor soul mistakenly took her eggs (how do I conclude the gender? – Well men don’t use pink markers and men are too lazy to buy eggs and keep them in the common refrigerator).

Dont take other's food! Please return my eggs!

This is my advice. Use these bags to pack all your food in. I bet most people won’t dare to touch it.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy for Force India

Finally after 29 races, Force India scored championship points in style after Giancarlo Fisichella stood second in the Belgian Grand Prix yesterday. Formula 1 for the last 2 years for me has been fun with this dual role of supporting 2 teams:

  1. Hope that McLaren makes it to the podium
  2. Hope that Force India scores a point

So yesterday’s race was exciting for me. Not only did Force India score points but also it made it to the podium.

Last time Force India was close to making it in the points tally was in the Monaco Grand Prix last year till Kimi ended Sutil’s race by knocking him off from the behind. The Belgian race for a brief time ended up being a fight between Giancarlo and Kimi as well.

This whole event has me super excited for the Singapore Night race scheduled for the 25th-27th September. Now I know which team jersey I am gonna buy this time :) !! Huh .. I can’t hold my excitement anymore…

Friday, August 28, 2009


I had soap allover my face and I heard this guy dangerously close to me in the shower singing…

“Every night in my dreams, I see you, I feel you ….”


Eeeks, I poured like a gallon of water on my face and turned around to see who the hell is singing that in a shower full of naked men. Luckily it was a Chinese (East Asian to be politically correct) guy singing the Titanic number with his eyes closed and his shampoo bottle in his hand held as a microphone.

He must be really in love to sing a love song (and probably think about his love) when all he can see is …err… so unsightly. Anyway, now Celine Dion is stuck in my head, and any amount of Rockstar is not helping me get her outta my head. That’s called the start of a really romantic day :) !!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Conspiracy theory

I spent greater part of today morning doing amongst one of the most boring tasks known to mankind – ironing my clothes. We can put a man on the moon 40 years back; we can make a man go faster in water but we still can’t make a shirt that does not crease? You are kidding me right?

This my dear is a big conspiracy. We can make wrinkle-free clothes. But there is a higher power that does NOT want us to have wrinkle free clothes. Guess why? Well because we (the human species) are ruled by a little known race which has manifested itself amongst us as Irons. Yeah, those innocuous looking irons in our homes are nothing but an alien species acting big brother and keeping an eye on all of us. And each time that you iron your clothes, they spray microscopic organisms onto your clothes which keep an eye on you for the rest of the day.

Speaking of conspiracy theories there is one more that I would like to highlight. I bet the per capita sweater ownership in Singapore must be amongst the highest in the world. Errr, considering that Singapore is a tropical country its kinda weird isn’t it? That’s where the conspiracy comes in. Every public place, may it be a mall, a movie theater, the bus or even the train is cooled at sub-zero temperatures to support the sweater manufacturers. So either you freeze to death or wear a sweater.

And do you know that even sweaters need to be ironed?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I was in a hurry to send an email from my newly assigned laptop to my boss today and mistakenly pressed “Change all” in the automatic spell check routine that gets activated the moment I click on “Send”. Rest of the mail went fine (sorta) except that the mail was addressed:

Dear fluke,

blah blah blah blah ….

Thanks and regards,

Girlish Mudguard.


Well I always knew I had a feminine side, but messing with my last name was totally uncalled for!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


So here is another excellent example of a theoretical framework applied to our day-to-day life. I hereby present the Lewin-Schien’s change theory and their unfreezing-change-refreeze model.


According to this model, for any organization to go through a change, it first has to unfreeze (stop doing what it is accustomed to doing), then change (that is actually go through the change implementation process) and finally refreeze (get accustomed to the new way of doing things). To understand better, you may read the theory here.

My school has taken this model to heart. Presumably, when we all decided to go through this process of doing an MBA, everyone of us got unfrozen. (How else do you explain this sudden urge of quitting my happy life and coming to this place?). The change in us is being brought about by all the courses we are taking, and also by the amazing professors and their insights into the business world.

According to the theory, the only thing we are left to do is – refreeze. The administrative department of our school is desperately trying to help us there. So every lecture room of ours is like being on the south-pole. The moment you enter the classrooms you start shivering and by the time the class gets over, we all waddle out like penguins.


Despite several complains to the admin, the temperatures are hardly ever changed. Now I know the noble cause behind why they keep the temperature so low. This is your first lesson for today – don’t get angry with people unless you understand the motive behind them doing something insane.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Economics of love

Disclaimer: Its not recommended to take advice on love and economics from a moron who's only idea of a romantic conversation is following a celebrity and her dog's tweets.

So we were given this almost 2 month break in our MBA to get *practical* experience of whatever we learnt in the past year or so in our MBA. Being the very serious student that I am ;) I decided to use that to understand my barren and lonely life.

Economics talks about a monopolistic competitive market. In such a market there are many sellers each with a slightly differentiated product. The market permits free entry and exit of sellers until an equilibrium is reached (that is all the products that the sellers have to offer, have a buyer). Any more information you need, I recommend reading Mankiw’s book on economics.

The market for love in this capitalist world of ours, follows a similar trend. Guys in living beings are the sellers and women are buyers (I don’t want any arguments on this considering that in every species the guys have to go and woo the gals while they sit pretty and enjoy the show!).

Now I classify this market as a monopolistic competition because not every guy is exactly the same. Everyone of us is unique in someway or the other (not necessarily good!). So when you go after your target buyer (in this case a girl) you as a product have to appeal to the gal that you are selling yourself to.

The first lesson that any guy in this market has to understand is that there is no first mover advantage. The fact that you noticed the gal who you are going after means that she has already been approached by a million other sellers like you. So for her to show interest in you, you need something called your “competitive advantage”. Something that you can or have different than your nearest competition. That leads us to SWOT analysis of yourself. So before you even think of going after a gal, you have to identify your competitors and do a competitor analysis  and then find your strengths!

If you walk, talk and look like a melodramatic gorilla on steroids and try to be Mr. Nice Guy; you don’t have much of a competitive edge over the nearest Tom, Dick or Harry. This brings us to the other concept of a marginal seller. A marginal seller is the first guy to quit the market because he is already operating at the margin (in this case he has nothing to impress the gal!). So my advice to such people is – if you have nothing to market about yourself – stop praying for divine intervention and exit the market. You might as well channel your energy and your time to chase gorillas.

Finally – my take on monopoly in the market. These are guys who look like Greek Gods and are just too good to be true. You can act pricy and choose the buyers, cause in your case the buyers don’t really have a choice.

So I hope you took my advice seriously. This also brings me to the point that I tried to combine my learning in Strategy, Finance, Economics and Marketing in one single post. My next blog post is going to be on how to *sound* like an MBA while you are bull$hitting :) !!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Run from the cloud

The world is hyped-up about cloud computing. Everything seems to be magically transformed from sitting happily on your desktop, to be hosted somewhere in the "cloud". I know its kinda cool.

Everything, mind you, everything is going into the cloud. Just for simplicity sake look at "my things" (yeah, egomaniac I am) hosted in the cloud:

  1. My address book
  2. My calendar
  3. My resume
  4. My friends
  5. My chats
  6. My photos
  7. My hobbies
  8. My bank accounts
  9. My SMSes (yeah equivalent to that)
  10. My thoughts
  11. Things that I read everyday
  12. Things that I search
  13. Places that I visit
  14. Things that I buy
  15. Absolutely every bit of music that I listen to

Well most of these things were already lurking out there. However two of my most personal things were securely stored in my computer till this month. My address data (in my Palm) and my bank account details (in Microsoft Money). But my Palm died last month and Microsoft decided it does not need to produce Money any more. That means the last two bits of privacy I had, are now hosted in the cloud too.

What does this all mean? Well, my dear friends, I have no privacy left. Everything about me is in the cloud now. That means, some sweet little intern sitting on a computer in a cubicle somewhere in this big bad world, can actually write a simple SQL query and dig a LOT of information about me.

The worst part is, along with my information, I am also posting your information in the cloud (My address book - with YOUR phone number, date of birth, address and place of work).

Its time my dear friend, to be scared, VERY scared :) !! Your personal data is no longer controlled or owned by you! And how easy is it, you say, for anyone to get this information? Well, dear, its just a stupid 6 character password away, which could very well be my dog's name that I use for every account that I mentioned above.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Priority Seating

The local train service (MRT) has something called as the "Priority Seat". Its meant to be voluntarily offered to old/disabled/pregnant women at your discretion if you are sitting on that seat.

Priority seat

All frequent travelers on the MRT know that priority seats are the last ones left empty on a train. The station that I get on to the train generally has only priority seats left empty, if in the first place there are any empty seats left at all. Now comes the funny part. Not giving up the priority seat to the people in need is not a crime. So you are expected to "judge" if a person is in need and give it up accordingly.

There is where the problem starts. So the moment you get up and offer your seat to a person standing in front of you, it automatically means that you consider that person to be either old or pregnant. (Chivalrous behavior is not expected! You are not expected to give your seat to the pretty lady or the fat aunty standing next to you.)

Now lets take the hypothetical case of a 70 year old man. He can beat the hell out of you in running, can do 20 push-ups and 30 pull-ups in the time you can do one. He looks old  though, and imagine offering the seat to such a person. Not only will he be feel insulted but he would prove to you that he isn't as old as he looks.

The second case - pregnant women. In my entire life, I have never been able to figure out if a woman is pregnant till like she is about to give birth to a baby. I know most of you will frown at this statement of  mine. But how do you actually figure out if a woman is really pregnant or she just had a lot of kaya toast for breakfast? And imagine a 20 something standing in front of you who is just fat, and you get up and offer your seat to her. The rest, they say, is history!

So after a lot of deliberation and conscience pricking, I decided that even if I occupy the priority seat, I would get up the moment *I think* that the person standing next to me is either old or pregnant. But then since I think so, I don't *offer* them the seat, but I just casually get up pretending that I don't need the seat anymore; presuming that if the person is really old or pregnant, he/she will get the signal and sit down. If not, they will ignore my gracious offer and then I can stroll back to my seat as if it was the wrong station and I wasn’t supposed to get down there!

I tried that a couple of times this month and I figured the moment I do that, a guy or gal much younger to me actually occupies the seat and there goes my chivalry and courtesy down the drain. Now I get to stand beside the old/pregnant person who gives me a smirk which screams - "Idiot".

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Contact Problem

Today my PDA, my beloved Palm Z22, left for its heavenly abode. Along with it left more than 8 years of Contact and Address book information that I had painfully collected. Doesn’t it sound really stupid that a wanna-be techie like me had no backup?

Well well, there is where I feel really bad. I “HAD” a  backup! But the backup was lost in my greed to get onto Windows 7. So the main pain for all this is … my stupidity! How you ask? Here is the story …

A month back I downloaded the Windows 7 Release Candidate to give it a test drive, and generally be lonely with my computer. But Windows 7 (though graphically fantastic on my MSI Wind Netbook) didn’t support most of my applications, right from my Anti-virus, and I had to uninstall it in less than 2 weeks. Coming back to my old setup required me to repartition, reformat and reinstall all my applications again. In this process, I somehow lost my backed up Palm data. I didn’t bother to backup my Palm to my desktop for the last 3 weeks. And today when I finally tried to, my Palm refused to come alive. So there goes all the birthday information and phone numbers I so painfully collected for so long. On last count I remember I had around 300+ contacts (yeah, I am no Mr. Popular, try collecting data of every person you meet in the last 8 years, and every normal person will cross a 1000)

Anyway thanks to Social Networking websites, I have already stopped wishing most of my friends on their birthdays. Cause these sites anyway remind everyone of everyone’s birthdays, and wishing someone on their birthdays doesn’t have the charm of the good old days, when we really had to make an effort to “remember” to wish people!

Since morning today I have been trying to collate all the left over information that I can get from my email contact lists and also my three social networking profiles – Orkut, Facebook and LinkedIn. And now I am facing a new nightmare! I haven’t come across any tool that can intelligently identify “John Doe Project Manager” from LinkedIn to be the same “John Doe” from Facebook and the “John Doe (Happy to be home!)” from Orkut. Now I have 537 contacts floating around in a spreadsheet on my desktop and I have no determination or inclination to collate the data!

So if most of you don’t hear from me, its time to call me up or email me :) !! Now I have a genuine excuse for not keeping in touch .. as for you .. you have none!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Asian Pose

For the uninitiated – Singapore is in South East Asia and naturally I get to *notice* more East Asian and South East Asian girls than of the other variety. For the fear of sounding regionally biased, I never really mentioned to anyone that quite often when girls in this region pose for photographs they love to show the “victory” symbol.

Yeah the kind that you make with your two fingers to denote that you are victorious, and I was perplexed figuring out what the reason for them being victorious could be? (Probably the the fact that the photographer could successfully take your picture after fumbling with your camera controls for a while!)

Anyways, just like all the little things we observe in life but never talk about it for the fear of sounding anti-social I decided to ignore my observation and went about happily living my life till one fine day I came across this site. Its like the encyclopedia of Asian poses and I figured that many people on the internet have already researched and documented what I have observed (yeah yeah, don’t even get into probing how I reached that website – and NO – I was NOT searching for pictures of cute Asian girls on Google!).

Not only is the website a catalogue of all the peculiarities of the “Asian Pose” I also came across a video that shows the 10 different types of Asian poses :) !! So, here I am posting a link to the Asian poses …

I hope after reading this blog all my readers can act cute and pose for photographs! I hope I get to see many more of you doing something stupid in the near future, with your photographs!


I spent most of my last two days moving my stuff from one room to another in my hostel. We (hostel residents) have been ceremonially kicked out of our old abode and forcibly moved into another.

This time however, I have been moved far away from the rest of the civilization as I have been given a corner room on a desolate floor which is in a way “sound proofed” with limited access to the noise I generate. I bet one of my old neighbors didn’t like the fact that I woke up at 6:00 AM in the morning at times, listening to “Bad blood” by Ministry.

The best part of moving is, each time I move I figure out that 30% of the things that I have accumulated are useless and I dump them or give them away. I think the government should impose a rule to make everyone vacate their houses every 6 months and then get back in again. This will generate enough “good” stuff donated to charities all around the world.

However, the thing that I hate about moving is, you are already accustomed to a certain way of keeping things around in your room (that’s a sweeter way of saying “throw” piles of junk everywhere around) and then you have to figure out new ways of adapting to the new environment.

So now I have a room full of boxes lying around and I am writing an algorithm to figure out the most optimum way of keeping things in place (for the less technically inclined amongst us – I am thinking of ways to dump things from the boxes on the floor and the cupboards that have been given to us!).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Life’s Simple Pleasures

I finished the third trimester of my MBA end of May and have taken up a small internship out here. For those of you who don’t know, my university is on a deserted island surrounded by piranha infested waters and everyday getting outside the campus is a matter of life and death (yeah, I am kidding obviously!). Well, jokes apart, the truth is – getting to the business district is a 1.5 hours commute that includes catching a feeder bus to the nearest railway station (yeah I mean MRT) 20 minutes away and thereafter dangling by the handle bar for another 40 minutes inside the MRT, only to get down at the destination station and walk another half an hour to get to the office.

And over the last week I have suddenly realized how relevant Maslow’s theory of “Hierarchy of Needs” is! My quest to go for “Esteem or Love/Belonging needs” has suddenly gone down. Now I am more of the  “trying to satisfy my physiological needs” variety. I derive “pleasure” out of the following things:

  • Reaching the bus stop and seeing the bus arriving, without waiting or running for it
  • Making a dash for the only empty seat in the entire MRT cabin and getting it before anyone else occupies
  • Seeing the signal turn green for pedestrians the moment I reach the intersection
  • Getting a seat to sit with my food in the food court the moment I look for it
  • Walking into a cold blast of air conditioning from a hot and humid walk outside

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pain ball

So I went for the latest craze in town – Paintball. Here is what happened in 8 easy sentences:

  1. Got up at 07:00 AM.
  2. Spent an hour travelling to the arena by road.
  3. Spent 1 more hour waiting for our chance of the action.
  4. Spent 1/2 an hour listening to the briefing – do’s and don'ts of paintball.
  5. Entered the arena.
  6. Got shot 5 times in 53 seconds.
  7. Sat 2 more hours for everyone else to finish.
  8. Travelled an hour back.

Now I got 5 bruises on Mr. T which proclaim my stupidity. I bet for my opponents I was just a sitting duck waiting to be shot at (target practice!). Or worst still, I looked like a grazing cow! But I consider myself to be a brave soldier. It takes more than guts (read sheer stupidity) to go head on into the line of fire of 5 Singaporean active military personnel poised to shoot anyone coming in there (It takes suicidal instincts :) !!).

All and all I figured I am not the paintball kind of a guy (I know that's what losers say ;) !). I am more of the bowling kind.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Live’s dilemma

Too much “Marketing” is going to my head :) !! Two posts on the same topic in a day does show that I am taking my courses seriously …

Read this article about how the most searched term on “” (formerly Microsoft MSN search) is actually the term “Google”. I can think of one reason why. Internet Explorer uses Live as its default search engine. And most people do not bother to change it (even though its quite easy to do so!). And then they go around searching for Google every day morning even to check their emails!!

This kinda reminded me of a very old Pepsi commercial in which a kid bought Coke cans so that he could buy Pepsi .. ultimate test of Brand loyalty?

Brand Loyalty

My Brand Management course has somehow made me more aware of the brands around me. In one statistic, it says that on an average every person sees close to 3000 advertisements everyday! And every advertiser yearns for is a loyal customer who would not only buy their products but would also recommend it to her friends!

That makes me an advertiser’s worst nightmare! I cant think of absolutely any brand that I am loyal to! I have changed brands in everything from shoes, clothes, microprocessors, speakers, MP3 players to Mobile phones. So much for brand loyalty!

Well the only brand that I might honestly recommend to anyone is CASIO. The kind of abuse that I met out to my G-shock, makes me wonder, am I evil? That watch has survived with me every where and anywhere I have ever been. White water rafting, kayaking, swimming (everyday!), shower (occasionally), holi, washing utensils and ahem … mud wrestling (haha, never, but I would wear it if I have to do that too :) !!).

Harley Davidson is the brand that most people are ready to tattoo on their body. This is an interesting statistic. If you think of a Harley owner (sorry for the stereotypes!), you always think of a guy in his late 50s, with flowing beard with a beer belly and ridding along his Harley wearing leather jackets and a huge tattoo on his arm. Well, you guessed it right, people who already have had tattoos are more likely to have one more. People like me, who never dreamt of having a tattoo wont ever wanna tattoo a CASIO on their arms even if we are loyal to them :) !! So this “most tattooed brand” metric kind of anyways skews the results in favour of a Harley.

And before I end, some more CASIO brand “goodness”. CASIO is apparently launching a new line of cell phones (G’zOne) which are resistant to even the kind of abuse that you would meet out to your enemy than your mobile. See the video to know what I mean :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Matrix

I just learnt that it has been a decade since “The Matrix” was released to us fellow minions, which means, it has been 10 years since my perception of reality changed. I am not much of a movie buff and my choice of movies generally is B-A-D. Especially in the recent past most of the movies that I saw left a very bad taste in my mouth. (I saw “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Knowing” the first day they were released and was absolutely disappointed with them!).

Anyway, unlike what you think, The Matrix is not the movie that I have seen the most number of times in my life. That distinction is definitely held by “T2: Judgement Day”, which, if I mistake not, I have seen a quarter of a century times at the least! However, Matrix definitely takes full credits for having the most impact on my life :) !!

For those of you reading this blog if you have not seen Matrix yet

  1. Get off your seat right now!
  2. Go to your nearest video library and ask for “The Matrix”
  3. Do not go to your office/college/school and cancel all appointments
  4. Darken your room, keep your phone off its cradle, switch of the mobile, take a deep breath
  5. Watch The Matrix
  6. Amen

And then, those of you who saw “The Matrix Reloaded” and did not understand what the Architect was saying, here is the transcript and here is the speech:

Friday, April 3, 2009

Funny men

Read an interesting article about how funny men can literally laugh women to bed! Which probably translated in layman’s terms means – females like funny males. Ah ha, now that's interesting!

I bet there are levels of “funny” that attract different types of females (to bed). The funny level that I belong to kinda attracts only the females from a species called Anopheles.

If this was not  disheartening enough for me, I also chanced upon an article that bouts of sneezing are actually triggered by “sexy thoughts” (wonder what that means!). And I always blamed the mites in my room for all the sneezing and coughing I did. Huh, next time you see me sneezing, I hope you interpret it the way it is meant to be :) !!

And before you start questioning my intentions and “how” did I land up on these articles? Well, these are the top stories in the feed that I subscribe to for news from India.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sesame Street

Have had a heavy dose of Sesame street and Elmo this last week thanks to a friend of mine introducing me to one of their videos lately! Haha, though I didn’t actually grow up seeing Elmo, I did spend a lot of my time in my summer vacations in school watching Sesame street. I thought I hated all those irritating characters from the series (now that I am grown up and all!), but still the sight of Oscar singing  “I love trash” is so endearing that I couldn’t help sharing it with all of you here! Give it a look …

“Oh, I love trash!
Anything dirty or dingy or dusty
Anything ragged or rotten or rusty
Yes, I love trash”

And then came across this video of Norah Jones singing “Don’t know why” on Elmo’s World because the letter of the day “Y” didn’t come :) !!

For those of you who do not remember the original song here it is ..

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Friend with a ‘O’

Well, today I was backing up my phone book (once a year ritual, I know I should do it more often!) and I figured I have friends with names starting with every alphabet in the English language other than ‘O’. Haha, perks of having an international friend’s list is that you have friends with names starting even with X, Y and Z. Cool, so this means, I just need a friend with a name starting with an O in my phone book :) !!

(PS – I checked my calendar and figured that I indeed know a guy whose name starts with an ‘O’ – “Om” but the problem is, he is like 24 years younger to me, and is still too small to own a mobile phone!).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Encounter with a roach

So I went for my regular bathing ritual after a dip in the pool today and as I reached for my only saving grace in a public bath (my towel), I saw an angry looking cockroach with his two antennae staring at me intently. I am not generally afraid of cockroaches, and have been brave enough to kill a couple of dozen as a kid (Missed having a digital cam then .. else would have taken brave pictures of me with the dead cockroach hanging by his antenna in my hand!).

Anyway, when you are wet and have nothing to hold on to, and your only saving grace is under his control, things get a bit messy. I decided to fight it out and tried the oldest trick in the book .. “shooo” the cockroach with your hand. The only problem was, my hand was wet, and the cockroach decided to take flight at the same time, and lo behold his wings got stuck to my hand. Haha, now I had a fluttering cockroach on my hand and my towel in my other. Anyway, I had the presence of mind, and turned on the shower to get rid of the cockroach. Got my towel completely drenched in the process.

Since I had this amazing start of an eventful day, I thought I dedicate this post to the cockroach that I met in the morning. And for those of you who thought I killed a cockroach, don’t worry “No animals were harmed during the making of this blog (they were just splashed with water!)”. Wikipedia says that cockroaches can survive for 30 minutes under water. So I bet this one survived to scare someone else today!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


So I spent more than an hour waiting for my turn to get my small hair cut further at the salon on campus. 1 hour wait time for what you ask? Well, I actually saw a south-east Asian girl turn blonde!!

This particular incident has kind of made me a sexist. I am now totally against having uni-sex salons. Men's salons should be different from those for women. Men should not be made to wait for women. The kind of stuff a gal can do to her hair, is mind boggling. Combined with gossiping about the latest reality show with the hair stylist, some girls can sit their for perpetuity.

Here is what actually happened: I had to get my routine hair-cut. I popped into the salon and saw an innocuous looking teenager sitting on the chair getting something done to her hair. Since it was only one person, I thought I wait it out. And there is where the ordeal started.

She first got a "hair wash". I thought that is something you do at home under the shower when you are taking a bath. But then, the hair stylist was combing her hair under water for what seemed like eternity. Then the kid wanted a "blow dry". Which consisted of using a scary looking contraption called a hair dryer which actually just blew air onto her hair!

Then all of a sudden the hair stylist wore surgical gloves and took out a paint brush! And then started applying some funny looking liquid on each and every strand of that teenager. I still cant believe what I saw! She actually applied that paint on *every* strand. After what seemed like ages (yeah I dozed off in the middle!) the hair stylist got a futuristic looking contraption from the wall and put it on her head. Finally, her attention turned towards this motionless body sitting on the other end of the room, yours truly, and motioned me to sit on the other chair while the gal sat inside that futuristic contraption. And within the time that they discussed the latest episode of “Desperate Housewives” my monthly ritual was done. Just out off curiosity I hung around for a while to see what the contraption actually did, and lo-behold, the gal actually turned from black haired to blonde inside that thingy (well after her hair was washed again!). Cool isn’t it?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Why I am not an iPod fan?

Wow. I know I am gonna ruffle quite a few Apple fans by writing this particular blog post. So before I get started, let me post a disclaimer which says - "I am not a Microsoft fan boy, nor do I specifically hate Apple or any of its products (iPod/Mac/iPhone included)". "I also believe that Steve Jobs is truly an inspiring person, and though I don't sit late into the night to party, I have always followed his keynotes live in WWDC and Mac World live whatever time of the night it is!".

However ever other subject that I study (Strategy/Technology/Marketing/Branding) in MBA somehow touches on the fact that Apple is a great company and they are good at everything that they do. How iPod/iPhone was a revolution and how everything about Apple is so cool. And then the class discussion is generally led by the Apple fans who go gaga over the amazing Mac OSX and how everything "just works" right out of the box. And we always conclude that iPod was the most amazing thing that happened to mankind after the discovery of the wheel.

My opinion is that, most of the iPod users out there are just ignorant of the fact that there are other digital media players available in the market, and also we generally tend to buy things that our friends have already bought (and do not experiment with new stuff). This behaviour which I think is rightly described by Scott Adams as "Moist robots".

As for things working right out of the box, I never had issues with my laptops and desktops (PCs) and they all to worked out of the box. (Yeah, the desktops I assembled, but the processors and Mobo and RAM just worked out of the box you see :) !!).

The worst part out of all this is, if Apple does commit a blunder tomorrow, the analysts and people will start bashing it and then suddenly what Apple does would suddenly become "so wrong". I always feel that Yahoo! and Palm do not deserve all the bashing that is meted out to them today. Same is the case with Michael Jackson and Britney Spears. We like to make ordinary people and companies Demigods and then all of a sudden one fine day we start hating them to the bone! And then we blame the media for all the pain and gore in this world when in reality it is we the consumers who really like things that are sensationalized :) !! So in the end my opinion is Apple is just another good company trying to maximise shareholder value and personifying it into this massive benevolent organization out to change all that is bad in this world is simply wrong!

Before I end this blog post, I thought I show you all this clever advertisement made for the Blackberry Storm which somehow never saw the light of the day. Nice one...

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Anti-sleep arsenal

Continuing on my fight against dozing, I hereby display my arsenal of tools that I use to get up in the morning.

The Arsenal

So, I initially started by just keeping an alarm in my mobile and then snoozing it away to glory. Over time, I got so accustomed to it, that I started turning it off than snoozing. Realizing that this is kinda scary, I decided I needed "more" :)

Then came the alarm clock. The intelligent me would stagger the times that the mobile and the alarm clock go off so that I didn't over sleep, but yet I successfully snoozed both of them to glory for atleast half an hour everyday. And then the inevitable happened. I could successfully turn both of them off and go off to sleep again.

Finally, I got the most killer alarm that I have ever used. A clock radio. Yeah, I  know most people do not believe in the power of a clock radio, but having successfully used it for more than 6 years of my life, I decided its the only thing that can get me out of bed everyday.

So why do I like a clock radio so much? Well, first things first, even if a radio starts playing in the morning, I rarely turn it off. I can happily sleep with the songs playing in the background, and at the same time, some where in the back of mind I am always aware that the songs are playing for me to get up. And then, if there is news going on, I get to subconsciously hear the news for the day too :) !!

The only movie that gave celebrity status to a clock radio is definitely Groundhog day. So here is the scene from that movie for your viewing pleasure. And if you have not seen the movie yet, its definitely a must see ...

And those of you who have not yet figured out the song that plays when the clock strikes 6:00 AM in the movie, it is "I got you babe" by Sonny and Cher. Here is the live version: