Monday, June 10, 2013

Up, Up & Away...

I firmly believe that the best gift that my dad has given me is an excellent and abundant education. He encourages me to study even today, which is a privilege that a very few people have had in their lives.

Also, those few people who know me well, know that how important education is to me. So today is indeed a very important day in my life. I have been waiting for this day with such an eager anticipation & excitement which I have never ever felt before in my life! I have been literally counting the number of days remaining ever since we got Araadhi's admission and I have never counted down so feverishly to anything ever before!

Yes, Araadhi starts school today. It is indeed a very important milestone in almost every parent's life and I cannot even try and explain what is going through my heart and mind today. I feel I'm being born again. Through Araadhi I get a chance to live it all again. The sleepy eyed scramble to the school, the homework blues, the examination butterflies and the relief of Sundays & vacations! Today I start school again!

Araadhi is my princess, and god willing, I will strive to give her everything in her life but all the things that I can get her would be impermanent. But one thing will always stay with her and that is her education. No matter what happens, nobody and nothing can take that from her. And from my own experience it is the only thing that she needs to face anything that life throws at her.

Sonia & I are beaming today and it is so gratifying to see our child wriggling out of her cocoon and growing her wings. She is ready...

Go, fly my baby... Up, Up & Away!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Indian Railways' Dark Knight?!

A minister is being sacked just because he went off the populist track. Just because he had the balls to do what his two predecessors didn't! Just because his conscience didn't allow him to be a puppet to his 'party boss' and did what is his duty towards the country. Mr. Trivedi only wanted to put MY hard earned tax money to good use and make MY railways more efficient but I guess this is what we get over here when you actually do something for your country! I guess patriotism is now actually limited to just the text books & SMS Forwards & movies & cricket matches & just 2 days during the year in this country! A very very very sad day today & I can't do anything but feel helpless for MY India. I AM GONNA VOTE!!!

And you know what is worse than what is happening to Mr. Trivedi? It is the way the media is handling the issue. I cannot understand why Mr. Trivedi is being ridiculed across all news channels?! Why is it being shown that he was some stupid brat who dared to go against the wishes of his masters & is now being rightly punished as expected! It is as if the media is teasing Mr. Trivedi for making his stand! Please please please get this straight, you are not only breaking a patriot's spirit but you are setting a deterrent for anybody who would even think about doing something progressive for this country! Its like you are saying, "Go ahead, stick your neck out and be a good citizen & when you'll take the fall for it all of us would be there to point & laugh at you!" Can't even explain how sad I feel for my nation tonight!

What summarizes the gravity of the situation is what Mr. Dinesh Trivedi told Ms. Barkha Dutt in his interview to her: "If we rollback the fares, we have to rollback safety too"

In the end I would just like to misquote the Batman: "I guess he's the minister that India needs but doesn't deserves right now!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Watch Out! We Are MBA

Seldom you come across a book which you just don't want to end. A book which gives you a sinking feeling as you turn its pages and you realize that the trip will be over pretty soon. But this doesn't happen to me very often. I am usually the type of person who loves to finish a book as soon as possible so that I can move on to the next one because I firmly believe that our lives are too short and there are just too many good books to read out there.

But it happened to me when I started reading Watch Out! We Are MBA by Nishant Kaushik. I finished the first 200 pages of the book within 2 days but then I realized I don't want this book to end, ever! I started going back and re-reading pages convincing myself that I haven't grasped them earlier (I know there is nothing to grasp, its a novel not some school textbook, right?!) Believe me, I took 3 whole days just to finish the last 3 pages and finally let go off the book after almost 2 months! Why didn't I want this book to end? Because this book took me back to what was easily the best 2 years of my life. My Nirma days. It made me feel as if I was again a part of Nirma MBA FB&E 2006-08 batch.

Watch Out! We Are MBA isn't some complex story or an intriguing thriller or something very profound where you'll find answer to all your life's problems (And I mean this in a nice way!) It is what it says it is. Its a simple and straightforward chronicle of what goes on in the life of a B-School student. But it is amazing how nostalgic I felt while reading this book. I can bet that anybody who has done his MBA or for that matter anyone who has done a graduation or post graduation course in India will definitely relate to this book. Some of them (like me) will relate to it entirely and some in parts. For me it was like I was re-living those 2 years in Nirma and I knew each and every character and incident in the book personally!

The language and the narrative of the book is very simple and lucid. Actually while reading the book I felt as if I am sitting with my best friend at the Tapri opposite Nirma and he's narrating the incidents to me over a cutting chai and maskabun just like we did in good ol' days. Nishant connects with the reader in such a manner which I haven't seen in a pretty long time. I don't know how to express this in words but his writing just makes the reader "Comfortable."

Another thing that I loved about this book is the overall structure and presentation of the book itself. The entire book (I have the latest 2011 paperback edition) has a sort of "MBA Textbook" kinda feel to it which I guess is quite intentional. The cover of the book itself has been designed in such a manner that if it was lying among some of the marketing and finance books that we had in MBA nobody would believe that it was a fiction novel. Even the chapters and headings in the book give it a textbook feel and the most innovative thing is that there is an Index at the back of the book exactly like we had in our textbooks! The index was simply a masterstroke to the entire presentation of the book. Really creative!

The story is quite simple. It is about a boy gradually turning into a man while studying in a B-School. How he grows to understand his responsibilities and consequences he will suffer if he doesn't fulfills them. The expectations that his parents and the society at large has from him as he is "A Future MBA In The Making." He learns and understands human relationships better and gets a whole new understanding about what friendship really is. It is about expectations a person has from his friends and Nakul's realization that friendship needn't mean the same to everyone as it does to him. It is basically a story of how everyone of us feels when we are inside the safety of the Utopian world of a B-School campus. The idealism, the dreams, the romance, the naive indifference to the "real" world is all beautifully captured by Nishant Kaushik. I actually read Nishant's second book, A Romance With Chaos which is sort of a sequel to his first book, before I read Watch Out! We Are MBA and it was funny to observe how different Nakul Kapoor's life turned out to be than what he imagined while doing his MBA.

Like I said, the book is quite straightforward and that is what I loved the most about it. Nishant Kaushik proves that you can write good Indian fiction and tell the story of regular Indian youth without turning it into a softcore porn as I have observed some other IIT-IIM type authors do in the recent times. There are no unnecessary sex gimmicks (if you may) or cheap humor or meaningless melodrama anywhere in the book. The narrative even though simple is quite gripping and I love the fact that the author hasn't tried to make everything right in the end and finished the story where he did.

If there is one thing I have to say that I didn't like in this book then that has to be Nishant's use of big fancy words where there is absolutely no need. I don't know, maybe my vocabulary isn't as great as it has to be or maybe as it was the author's first book and he got a little carried away while showcasing his extraordinary knowledge of words (and I say this without the slightest hint of sarcasm). I honestly feel that you can write a good book even without relying on big heavy duty words! My case in point being R.K. Narayan, Mario Puzo, Jeffrey Archer & John Grisham. All great authors, all rely on simple and easy to grasp language!

Nitpicking aside, Watch Out! We Are MBA is a great book by a great author and I recommend it to anyone and everyone who wants to take a walk down the memory lane and re-live their college days. I am now eagerly waiting for Nishant's third book "Conditions Apply" which I can bet will be even better than the previous two (if that is possible!)

A little note to the author in the end: "Nishant, thank you so much for writing this book. It was a great ride and thanks for tagging me along!"

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ravanayan - The Greatest Story Never Told

I was born on a Dusshera and ever since I was a little boy people used to tease me saying that "Ek Raavan maraa aur doosra paida ho gaya." I used to think initially that it is a bad thing to be compared with a "Demon Lord" but when I used to sit in my Grandma's Pooja room and heard her narrate Ramayan to us kids everyday I begun to think otherwise.

Even when I was a kid my mind failed to understand how can such a learned man who is such a true devotee of Lord Shiva can be this horrible villain which people are painting him as to be. This belief was further strengthened when I saw the TV serial on Doordarshan & then the much acclaimed animated movie (Even though they were still biased in their portrayal of Ravana.) Ram was equally flawed as those who have read & understood Ramayan would probably agree but in order to tell a tale of Pure Good vs Pure Evil his flaws were overlooked while Ravana's were magnified. Even Ram knew the genius of Ravana & so at the end of the war he asks Laxman to go & learn from the most learned of all men. So, I gradually embraced the comparison and in my heart I started to believe Ravana was as much of a hero of the tale as Ram himself. But I often wondered if somebody else shares this view & will someone ever tell us the other side of the story?

Then, one day I came across a retweet from one of the people whom I am following on twitter which seemed to me as if my wish has finally come true. RAVANAYAN, Just the name was enough to intrigue me to the core! Finally someone has decided to give Ravana the place he deserves in the literary history! Within seconds I found myself looking at the order confirmation page on flipkart and the long and unrelenting wait begun!

And it was worth every single second of that wait! First of all the cover - even though I had seen its picture - was an absolute stunner to see for real. I am no expert in art or anything and I have no idea about the terminology what inking, illustrations, penciling, lettering etc is but the images are simply WOW! I have been a comic reader all my life and particularly Indian hindi comics like Raj & Diamond comics but I have never seen artwork like this. It is at par or even better than any international comic out there and even the quality of pages is something that I have never seen. The one thing that I particularly liked about the artwork is that they have not made the characters super beefy or extra lumpy to make them look heroic. My case in point is look at the Nagaraja, Super Commando Dhruva or for that matter even Gamraj when they first appeared. They appeared to be normal human beings but lately they are being drawn as steroid injected super freaks! Thank god the characters of Ravanayan are not drawn like that in the first issue & I hope it stays like that throughout the entire series.

I have already gushed on and on about how psyched I am about the concept of the entire series and the first issue doesn't seem to disappoint at all. It merely raises expectations about what to expect from the rest of the series in terms of story & content. The prologue leaves and impact right away and I loved the way how the first meeting between Ravana & Ratnakar is portrayed. The setting itself is so powerful that you are pulled right into the story.

The first chapter deals with Ravana trying to find his inner balance, struggling to find out who he is and why he is the way he is. I loved the part where his mother tells Ravana that he is not bound by destiny like everyone else. On the contrary he has been blessed that he can choose his own path and create his destiny by himself.

There is only one problem with my copy and I think it was a fault at the printers; the text on half the pages of my copy is a little blurry and hard to read. I hope the quality of printing is better in the second issue.

I am glad that one of the greatest epics ever written is being re-told from the point of view of its antagonist as well. It will only help us in getting a better understanding and insight into the Ramayana. It helps in painting even those shades of picture which were previously left untouched. I am going to collect all the 10 issues of Ravanayan and preserve them properly because when my daughter is old enough to understand and read I am going to make sure that she reads Ravanayan along with Ramayana and learn about the epic in its entirety.

Overall, I am really impressed by this comic book and I am very proud that we have people like Vijayendra Mohanty & Vivek Goel who have dared to embark on such a bold project. I am simply bowled over by the fact that they have even thought about this concept and I salute to the amount of creativity these two individuals have.

Hats off to them!

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Monday, May 12, 2008

To Dream The Impossible Dream

Read this somewhere...

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far.
To fight for the right without question or pause.
To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rocky Realtor's First Day At Work

Alright you jabronis and little grasshoppers... Now if you are reading this brilliant piece of art (What? If Shelton & Charlie are World's Greatest Tag Team why can't I proclaim this so?) you are doing so either because I have virtually forced you to read it by shoving my blog's link down your throat or you are "Life Deficient" who has nothing to do all day but scan people's blogs and see what they are up to... Anyways whatever the case may be let me tell you before hand, you ain't gonna find any gyaan in this post or an another poem written by me or whatever. Its about my first day at work. Now hold on my little junkie munkie before you ask me whats so exciting about going to work. I wouldn't be writing this otherwise, right? Here goes...

Unless you have been living under a rock or zonked into some parallel universe you must know by now that yours truly has finished his MBA and today I started working with dad learning his real estate business. He told me last night that today early morning we are to leave for Mahudi and like a baboon in a banana field I was up and jumping at 6.30. We were supposed to leave at 7 with this guy who was gonna show us some property dad is probably interested in buying and I had no intentions of being late on the first day at work. Anyways this ass clown decides to come by at 8.30, me counting all the while how much more I could have slept considering the fact that I slept at around 4 in the morning.

So my first day at work begin with some serious kick ass tyt shyt offroading... Yes!!! Don't scroll up and down and don't think that you are reading some other post because even I was surprised. Now I knew that the property was a little outside Ahmedabad in some nonchalant village but when dad specifically told me yesterday "Take out the Safari" I had no idea what he meant but I am so glad that I did. As soon as we turned in from the main road it was mayhem. Not only were there no roads but there was sand over. Hell I was driving in a freaking river basin with hillocks up and down. Believe me, for a minute I flashed back to my Dubai Desert Safari the way the poor SUV was sliding all over the place. Anyways finally the dude who joined us told me to stop literally in the middle of nowhere and park under a tree who itself didn't have any freaking idea what it was doing there standing all alone.

There was an empty expanse of land and I was like okay that's it but no Mr. "I am too sexy for my goggles" had some other idea. He decided okay Rocky boy let me welcome you to the business world with a little trek of our own and we begin walking up a hill with a winding trail reminding me of a Louis Lamor book I had read long back. Now being in the top physical shape that I am (Yeah yeah go ahead laugh your ass off) the walk uphill made me feel that this is where I am gonna die and be buried. Anyways finally we reached the top and my heart was screaming with ecstasy which even Tenzing and Hillary didn't feel after those 8848 mts but I didn't get no panoramic view like those two lucky mountain goats Instead we were standing in the middle of a piece of land which had nothing but weeds and bushes all over. Now I know this is what real estate business is all about and I wasn't expecting Wonder La but the way dad and that dude was admiring the piece of land it made me wonder if the entire Bachchan clan was having some sort of party over there and it was by some hocus pocus totally invisible to my eyes. After gawking at that magical piece of land for a while we begun our trek down and I swear my bro's Tata Safari has never ever looked so beautiful and inviting to me.

Now Mr. Ass Monkey decided that he had to test drive the new Tata Safari Dicor 2.2 and there was no better place to do it then our very own Gujarati Grand Canyon. I swear I have never seen somebody kill (I wanted to use the "R" word) a car the way this dude was at it. Those few kilometers felt like forever and I was actually talking to the lord almighty promising him that I'll never ever say it again that Ajay is a rash driver. Now from the mountains to the valleys (No no I am not trying to sing Safri Duo's "All the People") he took us to his second property which was situated some 12.5 kilometers away. Evidently even dad was pretty tired and he tried to ask him whether this property would have a similar trek as our lusty land and when the guy said no we can drive right up to it I blessed him and started singing to the glory of the lord but I guess I just wasted a good amount of blessings and hymns because as I was locking the car he said we have to trek down the valley. Now those of you oompah loompahs who have heard me talk know how much I love my mother tongue Punjabi especially when I have to describe people, using adjectives which are banned to be used in public and believe me I exhausted all my stock on this roody poo in my mind and even invented some new ones right there and then.

After trekking for a while we were standing on the edge of a cliff which made me feel like Simba standing on the pride rock with Mufasa (Hell my dad is more majestic than him) showing him his kingdom consisting of everything that the light touches. As soon as we trekked back I virtually jumped into the driver's seat of the car so that I don't have to endure another essel world roller coaster. The funny thing was that as soon as we got out of the car dad whispered in my ear "Vaapas jaate waqt tu gaadi chalana" so it simply confirmed my admiration for dude's driving skills. While driving back the fuel meter was stuck so hard to "Empty" I was like okay now this is what I exactly needed but thankfully we barely made it to the nearest fuel pump (14 freaking kilometers of sheer fear & suspense!!!) After refuelling dad wanted to check out a project nearby which is called Alloa hills (I know I know Hawaiians spell it as Aloha but they can shove it up their candy asses) An interesting snippet on the way; As we were driving to this resort our good friend Mr. I am too sexy for my gogs decided to flaunt his linguistic skills and tells dad "Aloha" means hello in French. Now I had been quiet most of the morning taking in virtually everything but this is where my insides started to tear me apart and I had to say it, its not from France holmes, its from Hawaii. Okay the resort was pretty cool and I also got to see a 9 hole golf course on my first day at work.

Now as we were driving back I thought okay I had enough excitement on my first day at work but hell I was so wrong again. On the last curve near the highway we saw a santro, which had clearly skidded off the road while making the sharp bend and we figured that this has to be happened in last 5 minutes coz we didn't see it earlier. We stopped and tried to make sure that the occupants were safe and thankfully our "She's my fiancee but please don't tell our parents lovebirds" were safe and sound. They both were pretty much shaken and Mr. She's My Fiancee even locked the keys inside the car (Great work junior!!!)

Okay its difficult for me to write this paragraph and I almost didn't but I guess I wouldn't be true to myself if I don't. Now I was feeling pretty good that god had blessed me with the opportunity to save these two people but I was brutally shaken out of it. As we were entering Gandhinagar to meet some gentleman I saw a bunch of monkeys running across the road and before I could pull the brakes the inevitable happened and I could do nothing but just feel like an asshole for doing it. I know I tried to pacify myself that "Rock, there was no way you could have braked and if you would have tried to brake you would have skidded or turned the car over" but I don't buy that self piteous piece of crap for a single minute. The fact of the matter remains that I killed a life and I guess I'll have to live with it forever. I know it doesn't matter but I am sorry... I really am.

After that we drove to a gentleman's place where I got to see two of the most beautiful jeeps I have come across. One was an original wrangler and the other was a ford. Both the jeeps were superbly maintained and were simply amazing. This is where we said goodbye to our Mr. Ass Monkey, Mr. She is my Fiancee & Ms. But please don't tell our families and headed back to Ahmedabad. Finally before I came home I even saw a Stretch Limousine.

So my little grasshoppers, if you have read this far you might have seen that I had quite an eventful first day at work and it indeed deserved a place in my blog. Hope you had fun reading and if not I am sure you would not be reading this line. Looking forward towards your comments... Keep Rocking!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My attempt at one liners...

Q: What do you call it when a snake plays basket ball?


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Exam I Wrote...

During my Personality Development & Business Etiquette exam in my MBA course I was asked to elaborate my views on the importance of positive attitude in life... The following post is the exact reproduction of the answer that I wrote in my paper... Read it and you'll know why I had to post it on my blog (PS: If you find it a bit boring in the begining, I am sorry but I had to write some theoritical crap too to score marks.)

“Life gives you a bad deal, how would you handle it? Relate it to an incident in your life”

A positive attitude is a very important part of a person’s personality. Everyone has some or other problem but you should not be bogged down with these problems. Instead one should stay calm and face these problems to emerge successful. There are eight different ways to develop and maintain a positive attitude like developing a sense of humor, playing your winners, uncluttering your life, insulate yourself etc. Each and every person has his own way of dealing with difficulties faced by him.

I generally tend to use the “Sunny Side Up” approach when I am faced by a difficult situation. I like to see the lighter side of things and I don’t mind laughing at myself when I do something stupid. I can relate this attitude of mine with a situation which is easily THE most embarrassing situation in my life.

When we were in class 11th of our high school our school took us for our first outdoor camping adventure. Now ours was a tiny school situated in an insignificant miniscule town and it was run by a private trust. Usually we were taken on small day picnics to the nearby places and it was our annual extravaganza which everyone was totally psyched about. During my class 11th after spending around 13 years in the shool (yes, I even attended kindergarten in the same school!) We were over the roof when we heard that we were going on a 4 day camping trip and that the place was not like always just half an hour away from our little speck of a town.

We went to the Pirotan Island, which is a marine sanctuary located just off the coast of Jamnagar. We were super thrilled and as soon as we jumped from the boat upon our island we started pitching tents for the first time in our life. The evening meal was superb and our camp instructor was telling us what to do and more importantly what not to do during next 4 days. Ummm, I guess I am going in too much detail and I will fall short on my exam time. So anywayz first two days were great, yada yada yada, the fun begins on the third day.
We were supposed to make a ten kilometer marine trek through the knee deep water of the sea. Now what do you expect, except for the mud and slush? The trek was really messy and slippery with us sinking in the mud every now and then. Now, I had gained considerable diameter on my torso by the time I was this old and even the great ocean beds were too meek to bear the weight of thy mighty Anuj Sharma. I hit one patch of mud and marsh which was so soft that I sunk upto my chest in the ground. Now initially people were petrified as our guide had told that sometimes there are patches of quicksand and people thought I would drown. Four or five people (Yeah!!! That’s how heavy I was!!!) came to my rescue and begun pulling me out of the marsh. As they were doing so my track pants decided that they had enough with me and they decided to stay in the stinky torrid confines of the marsh. So Voila!!! There I am standing surrounded by about 50 people (and you know what makes it better? There were teachers and students from other schools too) covered with stinking mud from chest down in nothing but my negligees. Oh boy!!!
Like I said it was easily THE most embarrassing situation in my life and people were laughing, clapping, whistling and even taking pictures of my next best thing to naked. Now I could have easily lost my temper and screamed on people or feel disgusted or sulk the remainder of the trip but who would be at loss but me only. So I took that all in the stride and decided to be a sport about it. I laughed it off and even that night at the campfire when everyone was going hysterical talking about the incident I joined in and laughed my heart out too. People really appreciated that and they were super cool about it. My teachers said that they admire my attitude and for the remaining days of the camp I was the most popular person (Although I still don’t know whether it was because of my attitude or “ahem” the incident.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Getting A Life... Finally!!!

May 10, 2006

Form No: 001001

Dear Anuj Ashok Sharma:


I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected for admission in our Master of Business Administration in Family Business & Entrepreneurship programme for the batch 2006-2008 at Institute of Management, Nirma University.

Thanks to everyone who supported me, believed in me, stood by me and had me in their prayers all this while... Thank you so much.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Frozen Dream

The crisp winter air
Sends a shiver through the body,
Reminding me more and more
Of the love lost, the love which seemed unreal.
Like a beautiful spring morning
It seemed so magnificent yet unbelievable.

I wished the eyes would never open;
And the dream would never be lost.
But I don’t know, why?
Why, I was waked up so harshly?
Everything seems so meaningless today,
So dry, like this cold morning.
I wonder if I’ll be able to
See again that beautiful day of spring.
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