football shutball hayo rabba…

the other day, the day chelsea played liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League semis, I happened to get into a local train with a huge gang of Liverpool fans who were heading to Stamford Bridge to watch the match. Throughout the fifteen minute journey they started singing ‘liverpool songs’. the group ranged from boys to white-haired men, all with vodka bottles in their hands and liverpool scarves round their necks. funny songs they were. a few samples…

‘ra-ra-ra-ra-raphael benitez… xabi alonso garcia and nunes… raaafel benitez’ (to be sung to the tune of La Bamba)

‘steve gerrard gerrard… kicks the ball forty yards… ‘ (arbit tune)

and stuff like that…

later, as i got off my station (i live on the way from the city center to stamford bridge), i was witness to a huge traffic jam, the first i’d seen in London, as people tried to get to the venue in time for the match… the jam had spread for miles together but finally after half an hour it somehow cleared.

London has Conditional Access System (CAS) for Cable TV (when this was about to be introduced in the Indian metros a couple of years ago, there were riots i remember. finally this was implemented only in London). my poor house doesn’t have it so had to go to a pub to watch the match. half of london seemed to be there as we crowded in the smoky pub to watch the match on a big screen. most people seemed to be chelsea supporters – i seemed to be the only one supporting the reds.

quality of football was bad, with lots of bad passes, etc. so i exited after half time…

more later

11553

after 3 weeks of interning in JP Morgan, earlier this morning I called up my parents and told them I didn’t want to become an investment banker. I was told “not to worry too much, try and learn as much as you can in the next few days and enjoy London and tour extensively in the remaining time”.

from office…

hi people. sorry for the delay. every time i think of something to write about, i don’t have a comp around me. so here’s what i remember of whatever i wanted to write.

it’s my third week in JPM. i won’t comment on the work. the learnings are good. my most important learning has been that the theory of homogeneous expectations (which forms the basis of equity analyis) is the crappiest theory in the world. and i’m not working in equities, i’m in interest rates derivatives. and of all things, i’m part of the marketing desk (after my stellar performance in the marketing course back in IIMB).

yeah, i wanted to write about my visits to the “indian” places in london. had been to southall last last saturday. first thing i noticed there was that the signboard mentioning southall station was in gurmukhi! next thing i saw was a gurudwara. and then a poster of some crappy amitabh movie. all shops were indian. i heard hindi all round me. had to locate my cousin’s place but due to his skewed directions i ended up going in the wrong direction. finally my uncle came down to the station to where i’d gone back and picked me up. cell phones rock. i also remembered one of the ‘sayings’ of my BTech project guide:
“When the path ahead is not nice, know even mice, that backtracking is wise”.

then on friday i went to Eastham. someone told me i could buy MTR ready-to-heat stuff in there. was a rainy evening. found “sakthi south indian departmental stores”. found the MTR packets in there. looked for the price tag and found “karnataka 40 rupees, kerala 42 rupees… “. no pound prices mentioned. they’d obviously been smuggled. but who cares, as long as i get some indian food… after going back hostel food will be heaven i guess. coming back to eastham, the guy made a neat arbitrage by charging a whole pound (> 80 Rs.) for each of the items marked “40 rs.”. :((

then, walked down the eastham street. could hear lots of tamil and a little bit of kannada. no gult though! and absolutely no firangs in sight! intriguing. found a “madras restaurant”. but it looked more srilankan than madrasi. walked on. 10 metres down, there was a “chennai restaurant – high class pure vegetarian”. went in. had masala dosa. tasted like it did at RBG back in IITM. the sambar sucked though. felt good…

then during the weekend we went to canterbury. a group of 8 from IIMB. had a good time pulling each other’s legs and stuff… somehow there’s something special about us which is not there in the IIMA or IIMC people. dunno what it is. but i simbly can’t connect half as well with the A or C junta as i can with our people… probably yesterday was my best day after coming to london…

back in office today. work… well i’ll write about it after i get back. got some decent lunch at the canteen though. and didn’t have TOO much work today… hope to leave immediately after i finish writing this.

also, over the past one week in office, i’ve been thinking a lot. lots of philosophy. will probably compile it all once i get back home. stuff ranging from short term career plans to long term career plans to what interests me to why i am like what i am to why someone else is like someone else is to why the theory of homogeneous expectations is crap to dfaklsdjf ;aljad fa 34k;t3j4;3j4 304u3 4jk

then, i’ve been literally penniless for the last few days. the bureaucracy at JPM ensures that i haven’t yet been paid. have a few dollars in my pocket but they’re useless here. have built up huge debts (to friends). also have stuff in my “accounts receivable” column.. for some people are even more penniless than me…

wanna go home now so i’ll stop here. else i could write on…

jai hind!

ps: if you leave an ‘anonymous’ comment, please identify yourself. the only reason i’ve enabled this feature is for the benefit of those who don’t have LJ accounts but want to read my blog.

for mom’s always right…

following a walk around the thames today with a couple of friends, i came to an important decision… if i get a PPO and decide to accept it, i’ll be getting married next april. just what my mom had said a couple of months ago (and i’d pooh-poohed her then). since i don’t have a girlfriend (and also since i don’t have anyone in mind), i think i’ll leave the choice of bride to my mom… unless i can find someone in the next few months…

(and remember that it all depends upon a big IF. i should get a PPO AND take it… or if i take up some other i-banking job also… ).

from London

The first thing I noticed after I took a taxi out of Heathrow Airport was the distinct lack of people on the streets. There were only cars around. No bikes even. And the odd bus which reminded me of the BEST bus (bombay). Dunno why. When I landed in London, it was drizzling and extremely cold outside (in my 22 year career I’d never been exposed to temperatures below 12 degrees Celsius before this). Thank goodness I had kept my jacket with me in my hand. We waited around the airport for an hour trying to decide how to get to our hotel. Finally four of us (2 ppl from Goldman Sachs, tommy and I) took a taxi which was finally paid for by Goldman!!

As soon as we reached our hotel (Club Quarters is a 3-star hotel just next to St. Paul’s Cathedral in a non-descript building on a 30-ft wide road!!), we were asked to cough up 100 pounds as a security deposit! half my money gone! The rooms are pretty decent though, though i haven’t been able to figure out the A/C – heater system properly and I’m not used to such soft matresses. A really funny thing here is the lack of staircases! You’re forced to use the lift and one of the two lifts isn’t working which causes some real problems. Tommy and I found a way out yesterday by using the fire exit! Have been using it ever since.

Coming to the important stuff now… my office. It’s a huge hall without any walls, around two hundred meters long and two hundred metres wide! The part where I sit is literally OVER a road. I mean, they’ve constructed pillars and built 15 floors over them! across the road. so it so happens that vehicles pass under me as i’m working! you’ve to see it to believe it. amazing. and from my seat, i can see vehicles passing on the road whenever i’m bored. it’s damn good.

Investment banks are really one place where the organizational structure isn’t reflected by where you sit. My managing director has a similar workspace as me! the same 4 feet of desk space. A telephone switchboard (called a dealer board). 2 phones. A computer. Three monitors (maybe the MD has six). A nice swivel chair with wheels.

I am the fifth guy in my team – there are 3 brits and one pakistani. One guy sits next to me and three behind me. The paki is a damn friendly chap and keeps giving me gyan every now and then. The others also keep chipping in. A marked difference from IBM (where I interned 2 years ago) where I had one more guy in my team, who was hajjaaar reserved and lived a floor below and I had to hunt him down to talk to him! My work so far has included reading theory, summarizing articles and, yes, fetching coffee. Today I was reading something when the guy next to me said, “Karthik (surprisingly they pronounce my name correctly, though because of the screwed up first name – surname funda, some people do end up calling me by my dad’s name!), I have some urgent and important work for you. Go to the 11th floor and get one cafe latte, one … , blah blah”. The only upside of this was that he paid for my coffee!!

Then, about food. Since i’m still in a hotel, i haven’t started cooking yet. Breakfast has been paid for but the other meals are a pain. Being a vegetarian creates its own problems. I’m dead tired of sandwitches and McDonalds (where there’s only one vegetarian dish). Finally this afternoon, I managed to get myself a pretty comprehensive salad made in the canteen for ?3.5 (Rs. 290!!). I’m also trying to remember my 9th standard biology as i try to maintain a balanced diet (while i was getting the salad made, i was remembering… groundnuts: proteins… carrot: Vitamin A… Potato: calories… etc.). Didn’t need to bother about it in India where sambar, rice, curry and chapati would take care of all my requirements! Wish i’d paid more attention in Jnani and Robo’s classes!

Well, I guess that will do for the first instalment. More later… Keep the comments flowing…

first year over…

my first year in IIMB ended twenty minutes ago. Unlike the drama that accompanied hariba, mine was a quiet affair. I just decided that I couldn’t stand the Macro Economics paper any longer. Quietly stood up, gave the paper to Gundu Rao and walked out. After I finish writing this post, my comp will be dismantled and sent home. I’ll be leaving for home soon too.

Later in the evening I’ll be leaving for London. For my internship at JP Morgan. Looking forward to it. In fact i’ve been so excited that i couldn’t concentrate on my exams for the last 2 days. Hopefully i’ll get some time off from what is supposed to be a busy schedule in London so that I can continue to maintain this journal. Else, the next post will be on June 13th.

First year in IIMB was good. Much much better than IIT. Reminded me of those glory days of 10th standard. As i walked in to this place, I found many more people like me. Fell in love with the general culture here (not the academic part of it, though). Could feel like I am part of the insti right from the day I joined. I still can’t forget my first few days here. When it was all about meeting new people… exploring the campus… etc.

I still remember the time during my first week here when I forgot which city i was in! IIM is so different from bangalore. All the pseud value we put in here… And then on my second day in IIMB i had to go out. Walked out of the gate and saw a bus passing by. Quickly crossed the road, ran after the bus and jumped in while it was moving. It was crowded. I made small talk with my co-passengers. Had a hand over the pocket where i’d kept my wallet adn phone. Similar experience on the way back. Got down and walked into campus. I was in a different world once again…

That digression apart, the first year was largely good. Acads didn’t go too well. Extra currics were just ok. But life was good. In general. Used to enjoy the classes in the first term. Then the kind of camaraderie that used to exist in our class in our first term was paralleled only by my school. Then there was tsepak. And bracket. And L^2 (before IIMB the last time i’d been to a party of that kind was in 11th). And net access in my room. And how can i forget our first class picnic? And travelling all over the country for myriad reasons (twice to madras, once each to delhi and bombay). And going out for dinners. And putting bhasad in the wing. And those long bitching sessions. Lots more things.

Of course the situation wasn’t all THAT rosy. There was the dreaded ap-ex. And Rambo. And SadUrangani. And the woreshtest HR Courses. And i had to live with the fact that most people didn’t understand my IITM dialect. Cuppax. And then, those long philosophical trips I used to go on. And when i used to sit on my armchair with my head buried in my arms with all sorts of weird what-ifs. And pestering certain people to talk to me, without much effect. And getting drunk on L^2 and doing all sorts of weird things which made me REALLY infamous. and going into hiding because the whole institute wanted to copy my assignment.

As James Hetfield croons out “The Unforgiven 2” for one last time in this room, I can say i had an extremely good first year. It’s now time to begin a new chapter in my life…. Need to begin all the packing up and stuff… baah..

Now I see the sun!!!

arbit… yet again…

When you think you are down and out in life… when you think Captain Murphy is in his best form… when you can’t think of any other point of time in your life when you felt so miserable… your natural tendency is to crib… some great person (i forgot who) has said that cribbing does help you relieve your tension. but before you crib, just think for a minute…

just think about the face of the poorest and weakest man you’ve ever seen. and think if your situation is better or worse than him. in most cases, you’ll realize that you have so many things that he doesn’t have. and does he go around town cribbing that he’s the weakest man you’ve seen? in most cases, not. he just puts on a smile and goes about his duties.

so when this person who’s much much more miserable than you can just get on with his life without cribbing, what right do YOU have to crib? i have seen the phenomenon on LJ/blogger also. lots of comments to ‘crib posts’ are “maan, i’d give anything to be in the situation you are in now. chill… “. given all this, do i have a right to crib when i feel bad? NOT AT ALL.

What is the implication of this? that i should NEVER crib. but what happened to the words of the great philosopher who said that cribing is very good for health? well, it may be good for your health but it’s at the cost of others. you don’t have a moral right to crib so you can’t. people don’t care whether it is good for YOUR health or not. it is somewhat akin to “drinking human blood is good for health. but since it’s wrong to kill someone, you can’t drink human blood even though it’s good for you”.

the next time you feel miserable in life… the next time you feel life couldn’t have been worse… the next time you think you need to talk to someone about one of your problems… just remember this post… and also the face of the poorest and weakest man you’ve seen…

you’ll feel EVEN MORE MISERABLE