Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Software You will copy with risks to penalties and criminal procedures.

Friday, February 29, 2008

One Art

"The art of losing isn't hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster."

-Elizabeth Bishop

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Suitable Girl- III : Attributes and Decision-making

Last evening, Peter was explaining attributes of a product to the MGT 670(Marketing Management) class and how it can influence the decisions of consumers. He cited the example of himself some twenty years ago when he was "a young, wild chap from Indiana", fresh out of college who had just arrived in Boston to work as a professor. He came across another young professor named HK who was American-Chinese and they decided to share an apartment.

Being the "young, wild chaps" they were, they dated around quite a lot. Sometimes they went by themselves, and sometimes they double-dated. However, every Friday or Saturday evening, they would meet in the apartment after their respective dates and compare notes. Peter would ask "So HK, how was the girl A?" And the answer could be: "Oh man, she was a real stunner!" Now 'stunner' meant someone who walks into a pub and turns the heads of men to obtuse angles.

The following week, HK dated some other girl named B say, Peter would ask the same question to HK when he got back, and he would probably say: "She was not that good looking, but boy was she fun !" Peter might then ask, "What about the girl last week? Wasn't she fun?" HK: "Oh no- she looked good all right, but she was a real dodo!"

The week after that HK might have gone out with girl C who was decently good looking, was fun and highly intelligent. Then somehow HK discovered that the good looking dodo had a father who owned like half of Massachusetts.

Now, HK had to decide which girl to get committed to. Given the weightage he attached to each of the attributes, it is needless to say who the bride was in the wedding a year later where Peter was the best man.

Now, if A was into attributes marketing, she could have articulated the fact that she was gorgeous and her father was a wealthy man who could have helped HK with his career ahead or something like that. A's attributes of "gorgeous looks" and "wealth" would forever hold true ,id est, HK would remember her for that. Nevertheless, you or I or he would focus on the attributes that appeal to the individual taste/requirement the most. It's like Volvo advertising its "safety" when you are out there to buy a car or BMW emphasizing on the style quotient even though its mileage is Subhan-allah.

In a separate incident, a previous student of Peter had issues trying to decide which systems to buy for her firm where there were three RFPs. The accounting department obviously wanted something with good capacity to deal with realms of data, the Finance Department stressed on the price, the Engineers wanted speed and Operations wanted reliability. And when it was time to decide what weightage to give to what attribute- all hell broke loose. Finally, it was resolved by sticking to a well known brand name, even though it was not the optimum decision in every way. But her rationale was: "Hell, no one ever got fired for choosing to buy IBM !"

Now, all the guys and gals out there, still wondering what/whom to choose, get your pen and paper out and good luck !

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tagged V- Know your alphabets

Tagged by Srividya.

A - Available?
Hardly on my gtalk.

B – Best Friend(s):
How do you define it? Depends on the gravity of a situation of whom I seek counsel. In increasing order of graveness: Rai, Saiki, Mom, myself. :D

C – Cake or Pie?
Warm apple pie with whipped cream and sliced strawberry on top.

D – Drink of Choice:
Water/ White Wine.

E – Essential thing used every day:
Can not be listed here.

F – Favorite Color:
Black & Royal Blue have a tie currently.

G – Gummi Bears or Worms:

H – Hometown:

I – Indulgence:
A bubble bath at the end of a tiring day.

J – January or February:
Both. January for bringing a new beginning. February for announcing the advent of Spring and being the shortest, queerest month of the year.

K – Kids and Names.
What is in a name? That which we call a rose.. blah blah.
If I have a son, I might call him Ayush. If I have a daughter- it's for the father to decide. :D

L – Life:
What I am living right now. Everything else is a memory -long dead, or an uncertainty- yet unborn.

M – Marriage
War front? Kidding. Solemnizing a relation that means a lot to me.

N – Number of siblings:
One. Anirban Kar, whom I call "Dada". ( 'elder brother' in Bangla)

O – Oranges or Apples:
Should you ever compare them?

P – Phobia
Could be eremitophobia at times. Wouldn't call it a 'morbid fear' though. More of an intense dislike ( especially on Friday and Saturday evenings :D). However, at the end of the day, I still need my own space.

Q – Quote
Nothing else matters

R - Reason(s) to Smile:

S – Season

T – Tag three people:
Any body who wants it can have it. (Yeah, the usual)

U – Unknown fact about me:
I am learning to be selfish.

V – Vegetable you do not like:
Eggplant- am allergic to it. But I do like "Baigan ka bharta " with plain roti.

W – Worst Habit
Clamming up totally when I am furious.

X-rays you have had:
Can't remember.

Y – Your favorite food:
Steamed dumplings maybe.

Z – Zodiac:

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Lot Like Love

Don't fall for the misleading title, I have more to talk about than just love today. Or should I say- more than just one of its dimensions.

I had a satisfactory class performance this week, with both Prof. Peter McClure and Prof. Pratyush Bharati having to forcibly shift their gazes from my raised hand so that others would get a chance. The case study on Duncan Industries was particularly interesting where we had to investigate the feasibility of a Canadian hoist manufacturer's plan of expanding into the European market over strengthening the muscle of its US distributors. It was rich in content and typical of the Harvard case studies. If you want the case highlights, ask me later :D

Yesterday was V-day and I had my Economics class in the evening. Love was in the air and even Prof Eric Hayden seemed to have apperceived it when he airily concluded the class saying: In Economics or in love, the only thing that is constant is change. I smiled at the truth of the statement. If not the object of your affection, at least your expression has to/will change over time.

~When I was in Kindergarten, love meant the chicken legs that Mom would always give bro and me and I would ask : Why don't you have them yourself? They are the tastiest part ! She'd smile and say : " The chicken had only two legs and I don't fancy them much anyways." I knew she lied because she loved us and she'd rather let us have them. How can someone not like chicken legs? :D

~When I was 13, love meant the popular senior in school I had a crush on. Well, half the school had a crush on him, from pimple adorned teenagers to some young female teachers. I'd wait for his bus to school cross mine at a common stop and I'd always want to sit near the rear window so that I could catch a glimpse of him.

~When I was 16, love meant going out with my best friend, Rai and buying gifts for each other. It also meant the English tuitions I had with a Professor who enkindled my love for the language. I was doing well at school, but I always looked forward to attending his classes on Friday evenings where we would write a composition for 45 minutes and he'd grade them. Getting a B+ in one of the compositions was a lifetime achievement for his students and getting "Not fail" in his Preposition tests meant 10/10. I had a record for that. Unfortunately, I have been out of practice. He has been right. You tend to forget your lessons if you don't revise.

~When I was 19, love meant the beady eyed guy who was hopelessly in love with me and would write poems for me but whose advances I ignored because I thought being single was cool.

~When I was 22, love meant my parents, who were with me through thick and thin. It was also what made Dad buy flowers for Mom even after 27 years of marriage.

I am 24 now, and love to me is Marketing Management class by Peter McClure on Tuesday evening :D

It's his remembering that she loves steamed dumplings.

It's giving a card which simply says:

It is wanting to grow wrinkly and toothless together.

It is someone's desire to see you grow perfect in every way, each day.

But most importantly, it is giving myself a chance to be me. :)

Thought for the day
When you make the finding yourself - even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light - you'll never forget it.
-Carl Sagan

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Girls' Night Out-II


In the past 24 hours, I had the most well deserved break of my life. On Saturday morning, I woke up still trying to figure what would be my best plan of action to deal with my week ahead. Then, I did what works best: nose-dive into what comes to mind first. By the time I was through with my Microeconomics chapters, it was time to go out for a dinner at Bombay Club that we had planned almost a week ahead. There were nine of us. Seated clockwise from my left were: SG1 from BU, SS1 and SS2 from Tufts, IB and GP from MIT, SG2 from Tufts again, and RC & ADB working in PWC. It was quite a mixed crowd with different personality profiles- the kind I find interesting. The occasion was RC and ADB's visit to Boston from NYC.

You tend to talk and listen more to people seated immediately next to you. And I was having an effective range till SG1 to my left and RC to my right. And I can admit that RC has quite a big circle of influence when it comes to communication, while SS2 mostly kept quiet during the evening, except to support me once and at another time to disagree with me, to effect my reaction: Eki? Tui o party badlu? ( What! You too change parties? ) in 'Et tu, Brute?' style.

IB and GP tried to talk to me diagonally from the opposite end of the rectangular table but they were hardly audible. Anyways, it was a pleasant evening except for a li'l hassle when RC asked the spelling of IB's surname and he opined that it is not an illogical question but an indecent one. I couldn't figure out what I had missed but I could sure feel the heat. Then we got distracted when the waiter refused to serve me a glass of Chardonnay (white wine from Napa), because I wasn't carrying an age proof and he thought aloud: 'You look too young !' Damn it! I look quite my age! Why am I the only one who needs to carry an age proof to get liquor served? Come on ! SS1 (who's younger to me !) bailed me out when she ordered two glasses for herself and I knew that SG1 has now yet another reason to boss over me and say: Ae baccha, bacchar moto thaak ! (Kid, be like the kid you are) or Chup! Mukhe angool! ( Quiet! Finger on your lips!), like I were in some Kindergarten school.

We had a cozy table talk during dinner and parted at the Harvard Square red line T-station. GP requested me to sing a song (His reason: 'Bengali girls can sing well'). I promised I will. Maybe on SS1's birthday next week. Hmm. And I still don't know what to give her. Wish she would tell me!

IB and GP had to take an inbound train to Kendall/MIT and SG1 had to take the inbound to Central Square. The rest of us were taking the outbound to Davis Square. I would have taken the inbound too if I didn't happen to decide to stay at SS1's place for the night instead of going back all the way to JFK/UMASS.

SG1 and I never say goodbye without hugging each other and when he bid me a very distant goodnight with others, I felt weird. I asked SS1 and the others to go ahead towards the outbound, 'I'll join you guys in a moment' I said. But the inbound train had already arrived at the platform and SG1 was running towards it. I decided to let go and when I returned, I saw RC trying to peek below to see what was happening. I made sure I slapped him hard on the back and asked: 'Ae ! Ki dekhar chesta korchilis re?' (What were you trying to see, huh?) in a mock chiding voice.

I was unhappy too to disappoint RC but I understood why SG1 hadn't hugged me goodbye. :D

My revenge consummated when RC had to wear a backless shocking pink dress of SS1 while playing 'Truth or dare' that night. And you should have seen ADB dance to the tunes of Kajra Re. He looked like he has been subjected to some kind of medieval form of torture. ( I actually had hot iron rods in mind :D) SS1 had to do a pole dance and act like a newly hatched bird. I had to pretend that I have an upset stomach. While they applauded my natural talent at acting, I refrained from saying that I actually did suffer a lot from untimely calls from nature as a kid :D

Sunday morning rolled on to Sunday afternoon and after checking the time on my cell at 7:00 am and 9:42 am, I finally stretched myself at around 12:26 pm. We played football on the snow in the afternoon with RC and me teamed against ADB and SS1. Any guesses who won and by how much ? :)
Caught in red pajamas by RC's candid camera @ Sejuti's place, Medford, MA, when it had just begun to snow again.


SG2 (SS1's roommate :refer to Girls' Night Out) was watching a movie when I woke up and I decided to give her company. It was a 1971 Basu Bhattacharya movie titled 'Anubhav' where Sanjeev Kumar is an editor named Amar Sen and Tanuja plays his wife Meeta Sen. Dinesh Thakur is the ex-flame of Tanuja , who gets recruited by Sanjeev to work for the same organization. Things get ugly when Sanjeev discovers this truth about her past and finds it difficult to accept it. The beauty of the movie is the absence of redundant dialogs and the subtle change in facial expressions and body language of the actors, including A.K. Hangal, who plays the servant Hari and smiles shyly and contently when finally the husband and wife get intimate after years of a loveless marriage. A must-watch for committed couples or at least for those who intend to get committed. :D

Many a times, some of us in a relation might feel resigned to the person we have decided to spend our life with or we might find ourselves complaining that the passion that was there is ebbing. (Unlike the film, where there was no passion to begin with, they learned they were in love with each other much later.)

Why does the certainty of a relation steal its charm instead of adding grace to it? Is it because in friendship, we build on what we have - trying to make it something better, but in certain other relations, we start taking things for granted and make zero efforts to improve them ? Probably.

I saw a forward mail from the BF of a friend where he wrote : 'I am proud of you' in reply to a comment published by her in indiatimes on an article. And I wondered how long it has been since I had said something like this to my guy? Even for the most trifle of matter? That 'I am proud of you'? Or simply: 'I treasure you'?

We have been so busy with our lives lately that the subtleties have reduced considerably. For instance, I used to call him up once in the afternoon for a minute or so, just to hear his voice. Lately, I have been under too much pressure to perform even that little ceremony. Obviously, there can be innumerable ways to show that you care, as long as you are in love.

Yesterday was one such occasion when we were together, socializing as a couple. And we did well. It would be tragic to see two people who get along with other people so well, not getting along with each other. In fact, I wouldn't let it happen to us. Neither would he.

P.S. My best friend Raikishori Ganguly is getting married around 6 pm IST on 11th February, 2008. You can leave a wish for her here if you please. Thanks in advance.

Monday, February 04, 2008


In my previous post, Saurabh commented :"..emotionally detaching yourself from the relationship going through a rough period helps a lot in analyzing it." I believe it holds true for your professional life as well. Achievements or failures do not make much sense after a while; at least, the magnitude or intensity diminishes with time and you have to reach new frontiers - not just to prove yourself but to earn a more enriching experience of life. It is fulfilling to do a task wholeheartedly and be passionate about your to-do list. Tough times bring out the best in you. Easy times make you complacent and lazy. At least, Robin Sharma agrees in his book 'The Guide to Greatness'. When you fail, you are actually stumbling towards a better life. The sooner you fail, the better. The more likelihood of your succeeding earlier.

This addresses Munmun's query too. You are not a loser if you fail. You are a loser if you give up. You might have come across that 'Dennis the Menace' wallpaper where he's posing as David and Goliath's legs (probably his dad's :D) are shown. Dennis is aiming his catapult at the giant and it says: No defeat is final until you stop trying. My kind of kid. :D

My faith in myself wavered maybe. But I never gave up on myself. I just can't. It probably began when I switched boards from Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) to Tripura Board of Secondary Education (TBSE) in 2000. Quantitative aptitude was never my forte but the mathematics in the state board was a world apart from what I had been taught in my previous school. Ideas and formulas that I had to learn anew, were at the fingertips of my competitors since birth I guess. I was struggling but to no avail. In fact, my extra efforts in Maths cost me the limited hours of study I had for other subjects. Yet, I scored the highest in those without any apparent efforts.

Lesson# Appreciate your strengths. You won't need an 'excuse' to love yourself if you have a 'reason'.

I continued struggling for a while. In the meantime, I bagged a science scholarship where there was only another girl who got it that year. She was a West Bengal topper and was working in PWC, Kolkata when I last knew her. Back home, on my return , my teachers, peers and parents were overjoyed. The rumor was doing the rounds that I was 'the one' for the Lady Hardinge seat for Medical entrance that year (usually the female topper of the state opted for that in those days, if not for Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER),Puducherry - former Pondicherry). I grew complacent. I almost believed that I have already been interviewed and am heading for Delhi. And I blew it. Obviously.

I still remember the day JEE results were declared. We were conducting a quiz at Rabindra Bhavan when someone arrived with the news that the list is on display near the Dainik Sambad ( a local daily) office. It was at walking distance from the quiz venue and I strode towards the 'doors of destiny'. I was positive I would see my student code in the top three at least. It wasn't there. I found it way below my expectations and while I got back to resume with the quiz, I felt slightly giddy. Probably a sudden change of chemistry in my body gave me that sick feeling.

Mom wanted me to go for the academic counseling. I said there was no reason why I would want to. I looked for the next best option. It isn't easy settling for the second best. It hurts for a long time. Anyways, undergrads, my first job, and then GMAT- those are different chapters in my journal of life.

Today, the scholarships or the JEE results- do not matter at all ! I only know: no one serves you your life on a sizzler tray, it is a do-it-yourself concoction all the while.

P.S Btw, this is going to be incorporated in my next book: "Seasons of love". Don't know how long it will take me to finish it. Seven years is a good time, eh?

Thought for the day
Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow.
-Lawrence Clark Powell

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Cost-benefit analysis of love

Once, I used 'business' as a the metaphor for a relation, much to the dismay of the other participant in the conversation. My point of argument was simple: it has to be 'give and take'. You invest time/emotion/money in someone (essentially what you have) and the recipient pays back in kind with what he/she has in excess or can pay back in. The analogy also bears in mind the profit motive. How many of you would you be in an all-consuming relation? How long? Give an honest reply to yourself, if not to me.

True, the coarse parallel I had drawn failed to emphasize that in my case, affection is the best currency to buy my love. Someone who makes me happy will be cherished. On the other hand, imagine a dark, brooding figure full of cynicism - would I want him/her as my constant companion? Depends. If I can treasure some aspect of the individual that others are not able see through the thick nebula of apparent malevolence, maybe I would.

One of the most important tools of Economics used in day-to-day life is cost-benefit analysis. For example, your decision to skip going to a party when you have a paper due the following day. Here, your low grades (cost of not studying) outweighs the entertainment you would receive (benefit).

Most of the decisions of life are made at those points where you can see the ceiling. An unfeeling person would not reciprocate or would be too emotionally handicapped to realize the affection you are bestowing upon him/her. A sensitive soul would point it out to you the convenience of being variably capacious when it comes to affection. Of course, aur bhi gham hai duniya mein mohabbat k siwa :D

Nevertheless, a relationship changes you in more ways than you can imagine. In fact, when you decide to change for someone you love, even you are surprised to discover what you have become. You may learn to control your temper considerably, become more accommodating , or simply begin to appreciate the fact that everyone needs his/her own space sometimes. The cost is loving someone else, the benefit is your becoming a better, more-balanced individual.

All things said, the fact remains - no Economist or Biochemist can take away the magic of love.

P.S. This post is for SG who said "Eto to likhis, agey bhalobasha kaake bole bujhe ne.Seta niye likh." This is what I understand :)