Oh me!

We are so small between the stars & so large against the sky. and lost in subway croud, I try to catch your eye …..

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A quote

May12

” Our faith in the present dies out long before our faith in the future.”

– Ruth Benedict (1887 – 1948 ) , Anthropologist

Of Ambition

May19

Most emotions are not unique to human beings. Even a plant like touch-me-not gets afraid. A dog is affectionate and loyal. Dolphins have excellent memory. Elephants are intelligent. Tigers are aggressive.  Almost all carnivores have courage.

The animal kingdom can claim all emotions except one … Ambition.No other animal, to the best of my knowledge, strives for fame and excellence. None wants to be remembered after death.

Without ambition, there is no difference between a human and an animal.

Lord, make me human.. Lord, make me ambitious!!

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of mediocrity

May23

“I could not become anything; neither good nor bad; neither a scoundrel nor an honest man; neither a hero nor an insect. And now I am eking out my days in my corner, taunting myself with the bitter and entirely useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot seriously become anything, that only a fool can become something.”

— Fyodor Dostoyevsky ; notes from underground

 

सफलता

March12

मैंने अभी अभी पॉल सिंगर का annual  letter पढ़ा। सिंगर ने Forbes 400 की सूची का अन्वेक्षण करने पर पाया की 2012 में 64% Billionaires  self-made थे। अर्थात जो कल सबसे अमीर थे वे आज नहीं हैं। बेशक जो आज हैं वो कल नहीं रहेंगे।

हम successful  क्यूँ नहीं हैं? इसके अनेक कारण हो सकते हैं। लेकिन जो कारण मुझे सबसे ज्यादा important  लगता है वो है की हम मेहनत नहीं करते। ये, और दूसरा की हम risk नहीं लेते। हमे जो मिला उसमे हम खुश हैं। हमे लगता है की ये कितनी बड़ी बात है की सर पर छत, खाने को रोटी और पैर में जूता है। हमें रहने को ताज, खाने को मिठाई और पैर में Ferrari नहीं चाहिए। भगवन ने जो दिया, सो अच्छा।
मुझे नहीं लगता की भगवन ने संतुष्ट होने को कहा है। गीता में प्रभु बार बार कहते हैं – कर्म करो। कर्म करो का अर्थ हुआ पूरी पूरी इमानदारी से कर्म करो। इमानदारी से कर्म करने का ये भी अर्थ है की अगर 5 काम मिले तो पांचो को सर्वोत्कृष्ट तरीके से करो। दूसरों का तो पता नहीं, लेकिन मैं ऐसा नहीं कर रहा हूँ। बस उतना करता हूँ की काम चल जाये। अपनी ओर  से कुछ ज्यादा  नहीं कर रहा। सुबह office पहुंचा तो पहले देखा की boss  आया है की नहीं। boss  से पहले पहुँचने में ही आधी सुबह निकल रही है। दुपहर घर पहुँचने की इच्छा में व्यतीत हो रही है। लड़कियों से बात करने में रात बीते जाती है। जीवन बस निपटाया जा रहा है, जिया नहीं जा रहा। कर्म नहीं किया जा रहा है। धर्म नहीं किया जा रहा है।
भगवन ने अकल दी है, ये बात मुझे पता है। सोचने समझने की शक्ति दी है। वो परिस्थितियां भी दी हैं की सफलता मिले। मसलन   ऐसे परिवार में पैदा किया की पढने लिखने पे जोर था, और स्वतंत्रता थी की जो चाहे करो। चाहो तो खेलो, चाहो तो पढो, चाहो तो लिखो। बाद में भी किस्मत ठीक ठाक ही रही की अच्छी जगह पढने को मिला और अच्छी जगह नौकरी मिली।
तो अब क्या हुआ? अब क्यूँ रुक गया हूँ मैं?
आलस्य ने डस लिया है। आराम की बुरी आदत पड़  गयी है। कर्म छोड़ दिया है, माया में खो गया हूँ।
धिक्कार!!

Tao te Ching – Success and Failure

August17

Success is as dangerous as failure.

Hope is as hollow as fear.

What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?

Hope and fear are both phantoms

that arise from thinking of the self

when we don’t see the self as self,

what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self

Have faith in the way things are.

Love the world as your self

then you can care for all things

– Lao Tsu, C. 500 BC

( Translated from Old Chinese  by Stephen Mitchell, page 13 of his translation)

More thoughts on Columbia MSOR

July25

Good things:

  • Brand name of Columbia University
  • Opportunity to take good courses and learn useful skills
  • New York location advantage
  • Flexibility of choosing courses and study plan

Bad things:

  • IEOR Department is at best apathetic and at worse discriminatory towards MSOR students
  • MSOR course structure does not follow a nice pattern like MSFE courses ( staggered  in Summer, Fall, Spring)
  • Some courses are restricted to MSFE students

Job prospects

  • In general job prospects for MSOR grads are inferior to MSFE grads
  • This inferiority results from :
  1. MSOR grads being less qualified, OR
  2. MSOR grads being less aware of things in general, OR
  3. MSOR grads simply not being given the opportunity to apply to certain jobs.
  • Qualified, perseverant  and hard working people from any program at Columbia University (MAFN, MSOR, MSE, MSFE, MS Stats etc) will find countless doors being opened for them.

Should I join Columbia MSOR?

  • YES, if:
  1. You are self motivated and hard working, AND
  2. You have a good idea of what you want to do, AND
  3. You possess the skills to learn advanced math, stat and computing concepts in school ( read you’re not afraid of Math/computing) , AND
  4. You have a back up plan if you don’t get a job out of school
  • NO, if:
  1. You ‘think’ you like finance/consulting but are not sure of it, OR
  2. You do not possess good mathematical skills, OR
  3. Not getting a job will severely impact your next 7+ years, OR
  4. Your financial position makes you taking a USD 50,000+ loan prohibitive, OR
  5. You get easily discouraged…for the job market is Nasty

I took a risk and it paid off. For some others it didn’t.  Should the wheels of time turn back and I be given the choice of accepting MSOR or rejecting it,  I would still accept it. I am much indebted to Columbia (and to God)  for how my career turned out to be.

How to find a job

December7

After spending countless hours preparing Cover Letters, Resumes and networking, I finally found a job last week. It took me 4 months, 174 applications and countless hours before I found a job that I was really excited about. Over the past 14 months, I constantly asked seniors, alumni and mentors the question – How can I find a job in these choppy markets? When every institution is in firing mode, how do I as an international student differentiate myself?

I’m writing this post to summarize what I learnt. I hope the reader ( perhaps a Columbia University IEOR Grad student like me) benefits and adds his/her observations along. I did not do all these things, at some of them I failed miserably. But a wise person is one who learns from others mistake.

Before Starting College

1) Your job hunt does not starts 1 semester before graduation. It starts from the day that you get your college admit letter. You should have only 3 focus areas in college. a) Learn (study) as much as possible b) Enjoy your college life in a responsible way and c) never forget the end result of education – a dream job.

2) When you arrive in college, You should already have the first draft of your resume ready. You should have ideally spent atleast 20 hours on making your resume. The only thing that should change is the top line of education heading, where you decide your courses and put relevant courses,

3) You should read every page of your university’s career website. For Columbia University, it would mean that you have read everything at http://www.careereducation.columbia.edu/resources/

4) Make a Linkedin Profile. Your goal should be to have 500+ connections before your last semester.

The First Semester

5) Arrive in US one month before course starts. Give yourself sufficient time to find an apartment and to acclimatize with the new culture. Contact seniors. Get all stupid things like phone, housing, food etc sorted out so that you waste minimal time thinking about them once school starts.

6) Talk to seniors and alumni before selecting courses. Although you should select courses that you like, keep in mind that certain classes are very important for jobs. For example, Security Pricing is a must if you want to be in finance.

7) Dont bite more than what you can chew. Select at least one ‘easy’ class each semester to maintain a decent GPA.

8) in light of points 6 and 7 above, Talk to your advisor ( or better still Jenny Mak in IEOR department ) before settling on a course,

9) Once college starts, You’ll be always short of time. For the first month, try to participate in everything possible. After first month, concentrate on a few things that suit your interest. Don’t compromise on studies for extra-curricular work. The only thing that may take a upper hand is interviewing where even if you have to miss classes, its ok.

10) GPA is not absolute. There are “bands” of GPA. below 3.0 you are pretty much screwed. 3.0 – 3.3 is just ok. 3.3 – 3.5 is average. 3.5 – 3.8 is good. 3.8 to 4.0 is very good. 4.0 + is excellent. The positive impact of a 4.0+ GPA is very high, just like the negative impact of a 3.0 and lesser GPA. That said, a higher GPA is always better

11) Sometime after the mid-sems, start applying for Spring and Summer Internships. I suggest you concentrate on CCE and IEOR job postings for the start. I ask you to wait till mid sems so that you can make some sense of job postings’ work description. This way, u’ll come across as a smart applicant who knows what he/she is talking about in cover letter.

12) A spring internship will mean that a) Your free time will disappear completely b) You’ll have to compromise on your social life c) You’ll have to work extra hard for grades d) you’ll miss out on some required extra-curricular activities. The good thing is that you’ll add a US work experience on your resume which will help you find a summer internship as well as a full time job.

Winter Break

13) Take 3-4 days off after the hectic first semester. Then, get down to work. The two odd weeks should be used to remedy your coding and math skills. I suggest you pick up 1 language – VBA or C++ preferably, otherwise MATLAB and try to code as much as possible. Make a schedule so you don’t waste time in spring semester to learn these things. ( I regret that I did not do this – big mistake)

14) Go to various companies website and note the deadline for summer internships. Make an excel sheet where you note the designation, deadline, and required documents. Mark your calendar so you don’t miss any stuff.

15) Good time to go to Linkedin ans see where your school alumni are working. On the excel sheet in point 14, make another column for people you should contact about jobs details in the specific company. EG. “UBS – ER Intern – 12 Jan 2012 – resume/CoverLetter – Contact Mr XYZ of MSOR 2004 to know more”

Second Semester.

This section assumes you have a GPA of 3.4+

16) This is when you’ll learn the most. There are amazing courses available in this semester. Asset Allocation, Term Structure, Volatility smile, Security Pricing, Application Programming etc are all good courses. You should try to audit as many courses in the first two weeks as possible. Remember, what you choose to learn in this semester will modify your job hunt in a major way.

17) If you are not interning this semester, study very very hard. Don’t limit yourself to 3 hard, 1 easy course rule. Take all those subjects where you think u’ll learn the most. In addition, audit another subject if you so wish. Crux – this semester forms the bulk of your knowledge base for any job you will do. Think of this semester as on-job training.

18) The only other objective in Spring semester is to find a Summer Internship. Be ready to apply to 50, 100 or even 150 places. Your objectives in the internship should be – firstly Brand Name, Secondly job content and thirdly Money. . Don’t feel bad if you are not earning as much as some others in summer internship. Brand Name and job content are far more important in long run.

19) Again, CCE and IEOR postings are my preferred way of searching for jobs. Others say that websites like internship dot com, monster dot com and efinancial careers are also good. But as you will observe, you’ll get around 200 – 500 job postings for relevant internships. For me, that was more than enough.

20) Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get an internship by April. People got internships as late as June. In the end, about 70% of my (known) classmates of MSOR ‘2011 had internships. Some unpaid, some paid. Mostly paid between $9 and $43 per hour.

21) The best way to find internship/jobs , apart from CCE, is networking.

Summer Internship

I’ll post another article here mentioning what you can do to maximize your benefits from Summer Internship.

The Last Semester

22) Try to have a light courseload in your last semester because you want to focus all your energy on job hunting.

23) Right after summer internship, make at-least 4-5 types of cover letters. Rework your resume. Have 3-4 types of resumes ready as well.

24) These cover Letters and resumes should not be longer than 1 page each. They should be easy to read and be specific to major types of job roles that you are planing to apply to. For example, in finance they can be one each for Equity Research, Portfolio Management, Credit Risk, Market Risk, Aset Allocation, Quant Research, Quant Trading, Technical (coding), Structured Finance etc. Bring out your different qualities as needed in each job. For Example, Equity Research should focus on your ” seeing the big picture” trait while Quant Trading should focus on ” Quick mathematical mind”.

25) Get your Cover letters and Resumes reviewed by someone in CCE.

26) For heaven’s sake, make sure you are addressing the correct company/person/job in your cover letter. Dont be stupid to send one cover letter to another company. ( I did this and I truly regretted it)

27) Not all jobs in CCE will be for Grad students. Some of them will only be for undergrads or postdocs. For these posting, go to the website directly and apply.

28) Not all jobs will be open to International Students. Don’t waste your time for jobs that require US Citizenship !!

29) My personal experience with job fairs is that they are useless if you haven’t researched the company and roles before visiting the fair. If you go there, the only way u can separate yourself from 100’s of people is when you ask quesntions like, “So I saw your profile at website and you mention that you need so-and-so. I have this-and-this and am good at such-and-such. Do you think I’ll fit in/ can you enlighten me abt this/ can i speak to someone in your this department/ I met XYZ and really liked the role, can you tell me what differentiates a good candiate from others?” etc. Moot point is – don’t sound dumb and ask stupid qns which amazingly enough, 90% of people do.

30) Don’t loose heart if you are rejected! Everyone who got a job amongst my friends received at least 40-50 rejects. Some people like me received 174 rejects. You’re not the first one who’ll receive a reject nor the last one. There will be times when you’ll just not know why u didnt get a interview call, when you clearly were the best. Instead of pondering too much over it, move on.

31) In light of point 30 above, if you are tired of job hunt, take a break, for as long as a week. Leave some applications. Its ok to miss a few deadlines. Don’t take it too hard on yourself. I suggest after every 30 applications, you take two days off and do no job hunting.

32) If everything fails, mobilize your networks and LinkedIn to full force. If you have been diligent, you would have already spoken to a number of people over the past 15 months, and now is the time ( on your 3-4th interaction) to very tactically ask, “is there any job that you know of? “. Please note that you’ll need to raise this topic very sensitively with your networks, I’ll write another post on this topic sometime.

33) If you have done all the above things, the only thing that can stop you from getting a job is your poor luck. And if that happens, remember what happens, happens for the best. Have faith in the Lord for He who creates is He who feeds.

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The Finest Hour

October20

मई जून 1940 की बात है. हिटलर ने पूरे महाद्वीप पर कब्ज़ा कर लिया. Blitzkreig कामयाब हुआ प्रतीत होता था. france ने घुटने टेक दिए थे. अब britain की बारी थी. हिटलर ने कहा, आत्मसमर्पण कर दो. churchill ने parliament को कहा –

“… we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the new world, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old…”
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_shall_fight_on_the_beaches#Peroration)

और फिर उन्होंने कहा,

“…. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour....”
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_was_their_finest_hour)

===

साला देश के देश नहीं रुकते परेशानी में,पर उनकी बात छोडो.. siberian crane नहीं रूकती हिन्दुकुश पार करने से, चींटी नहीं रूकती दाना उठाने में, spider नहीं रुकता बार बार गिर कर उठने की कोशिश करने में, गड्ढे में गिरी गाय नहीं रूकती निकलने की कोशिश करने में … इंसान होकर मैं रुक जाऊं तो धिक्कार है मुझ पे!! जब चीज़ें आसान हो तो कोई भी नाम कर सकता है. मुश्किल से जूझना ही तो मर्दानगी है. और अगर इतना पढ़ के, इतना कर के, इतने अच्छे रिश्तेदारों और मित्रों का साथ पाने के बावजूद मैं घबरा जाऊं, तो मुझमे है की क्या गर्व के लिए??

Of Job Hunting – part 2

October16

I am feeling much better now. And the reason is that I spoke to my mom and she made me see some basic things, which i had forgotten in my panic.

I have started getting some interview calls. Some more are in the pipeline. 3 interviews for their final round are scheduled this month…something should come out of it I hope! And then, there are still 6 months to go before my Visa requirements force me to go back to India. Assuming the worst case of 3 calls per month – that means 20 interview calls. Lets think I get an offer only in 1 of 5 companies. That means I should have 4 final decisions to choose. In the rarest case of cracking only 10% interview – I still should have 2 offers to choose from. If even that doesn’t work, I’ll do some research or something, try to be here for 3-4 more month and get a job. And frankly, If I don’t get a job even after 12 months, then I am better off going to India.

So what’s the worst which may happen? I’ll go back to India. India is a booming market. There is Finance, there is IT, there is education. I did very good work at ICICI Bank and I think people still remember it. I may get a job at ICICI, if not in some other bank. If not in Finance, I will join an IT company. If even that fails I will join an MBA college/coaching. Heck, I may just open up a institute myself.

Strange that my mom should put some sense in me, of all the people whom I know of.

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दूर होना

July6

इधर कुछ दिनों से महसूस हो रहा है की धीरे धीरे भारत से दूर होता जा रहा हूँ और अमरीका के करीब. ये चीज़ पहले पाश्चात्य शहरों की खूबसूरती से शुरू हुई, लेकिन मालूम पड़ता है की अब ये tangible की जगह intangible बातों पर टिक रही है, और मुझे लगता है की ये तो खतरनाक है!

अगर मैं सड़कों पर फ़िदा हूँ, या अगर मैं नदियों और समुद्रतट पर वारा जाऊं, तो ठीक है. पेड़ और फूल कहीं भी खिल सकते हैं. इमारतें मुंबई और दिल्ली में खडी हो सकती हैं.

लेकिन अगर मैं अमरीकी जीवनशैली का कद्रदान बनता जाऊं, तो बड़ी भारी मुश्किल होगी. मुझे स्वतंत्रता अच्छी लगने लगी है, मुझे आदत होने लगी है की लोग मुझसे अच्छी तरह से बात करेंगे. मैं भूलने लगा हूँ की किसी समय मैं ऐसी जगह था जहाँ corruption , भीड़ भाड़ और इंसानी जीवन की क्षणभंगुरता सदैव उपस्थित – सदा स्वीकृत सत्य थे.

मुझे लगता है की मैं “धोबी का कुत्ता – न घर का, न घाट का” वाले पथ पर अग्रसर हूँ….

Of Money

May2

What is money worth? How important is it to others and how important is it to me?

Interestingly enough, the answers to the above questions have started to become more clear to me. Money is worth only what you think it worth, and thus its importance differs from person to person. While this may seem a banal truth to the reader, I think the appreciation of this fact is invaluable to me.

About two years back, on a chilly December night in Delhi, I took an Auto from Katwaria Sarai to AIIMS. After the standard negotiation I observed that the auto driver was a bit different. He looked different from others and he behaved differently from others, even while negotiating for fare. So I asked this 50 year old, “who are you? You were not always an auto driverit seems!”. And then this guy said, ” I was an industrialist and I had three houses and 5 cars. I had bad luck and I lost everything. Now since an year I’m driving an auto.” This was very weird! I then asked him, ” Are you not sad and discouraged with life?” and he replied, “No, God had given me good days and god has given me bad days as well”.

—-

2 weeks back, McKinsey sponsored a symposium in Boston. of the 5000 odd resumes that they received, they selected 50 people to come. I was one of those 50. I boarded Acela Express, and McKinsey paid the $230 round ticket from NYC -Boston. I attended a party in the evening where I could have one the most expensive wines of the world. At night I was in one of the best rooms of Ritz-Carlton that overlooked Boston Common. Next Morning, after the expensive wines, king-type bath and a 5 star stay, I looked outside and thought – where has life taken me today! Where was I 25 years back in my village where we used to get electricity only 10 hours a day? How was my first school where i took classes under open sky because the roof wasn’t ready! How I used to travel in sleeper class trains for 18 hours before reaching home, sometimes sitting on the ground because I had no reservation! And how I am here today! How I went to London! How I came to Columbia University….. and most importantly where I may be tomorrow?

What is wealth? It comes and goes. What is money? it is here today, and not there tomorrow. Life & luck are so fickle minded that it is pointless to associate our happiness with money. I am thankful to Lord that he giveth me this newfound wealth, but I remain cautious of growing too attached to it.Of course I need money to feed myself and my family, to live a decent lifestyle and to take care of my family’s health. But beyond that, its plain useless to me.

साईं इतना दीजिये, जा मे कुटुम समाय ।
मैं भी भूखा न रहूँ, साधु ना भूखा जाय ॥

वेणुगोपाल की 2 रचनायें

January30

ये दोनों कवितायेँ ‘अनुभूति‘ से ली गयी हैं. 

उड़ते हुए

कभी
अपने नवजात पंखों को देखता हूँ
कभी आकाश को
उड़ते हुए
लेकिन ऋणी मैं फिर भी
ज़मीन का हूँ।


जहाँ तब भी था – जब पंख ही न थे
तब भी रहूँगा जब पंख झर जाएँगे।

===

ख़तरे

ख़तरे पारदर्शी होते हैं।
खूबसूरत।
अपने पार भविष्य दिखाते हुए।


जैसे छोटे से गुदाज़ बदन वाली बच्ची
किसी जंगली जानवर का मुखौटा लगाए
धम्म से आ कूदे हमारे आगे
और हम डरें नहीं।
बल्कि देख लें
उसके बचपन के पार
एक जवान खुशी
और गोद में उठा लें उसे।


ऐसे ही कुछ होते हैं ख़तरे।
अगर डरे तो ख़तरे और अगर
नहीं तो भविष्य दिखाते
रंगीन पारदर्शी शीशे के टुकड़े।

People who strive

December11

Chango and Golu are examples that hard work and struggle are the key elements of success. It is not that they have climbed the everest or gone to the North Pole, but their achievements of finding a job and getting through Med School are no less inspiring for me, the friend and brother.

Both on their paths encountered numerous problems, sleepless nights , backbreaking work and rejects all around. Both were denied the sweet fruit of their labor for that long a time where Satan becomes an everpresent echo, “you’re not going to make it”. Both of them stuck at their paths longer than any other of my friends, and certainly much longer than my attempts at persistence.

And now, withing a week, both have found something to be proud of, at London and New York – where they really wanted to be.

It is these achievements that restore my faith in hard work, when the world seems unfair and the night seems long and cold.

पुनश्‍च (once again)

October18

This poem by Kunwar Narayan has been taken from Kavitakosh. It talks about the ambitions of a man, who probably being bored of his mediocre life, wants to start anew, afresh. Reminds me of my days at I Bank. The poem uses simple language and alludes to a meager paycheck being the be all and end all of one’s worth.

मैं इस्‍तीफा देता हूं
व्‍यापार से
परिवार से
सरकार से

मैं अस्‍वीकार करता हूं
रिआयती दरों पर
आसान किश्‍तों में
अपना भुगतान

मैं सीखना चाहता हूं
फिर से जीना…
बच्‍चों की तरह बढ़ना
घुटनों के बल चलना
अपने पैरों पर खड़े होना

और अंतिम बार
लड़खड़ा कर गिरने से पहले
मैं कामयाब होना चाहता हूं
फिर एक बार
जीने में

Fourth week in Columbia University

October5

( I am writing this post in a hurry, so the language may contain many flaws)

This week was notable for three things:

1) I took two long walks in the city. The first was from 9th street to 90th street, and across 4 Avenues. That would be roughly 10 KMs, which was quite long by my standards! It was a beautiful day and I walked almost half of this big Island with my brother who was visiting me from Washington. Me and Golu saw all the beautiful buildings, and explored all the nooks and corners in our way. So, e.g, we now know where can you find the cheapest I love NY shirts here! Golu also took me to a very good coffee shop at 9th Street, where the to-go coffee was really nice!
My second escapade was yesterday when I walked the length of Riverside Park.. About 60 streets and then crossed the Central Park to the MET museum. About 7 Kms in total. Riverside Park is, well, on the river. It starts right behind my house and I had the opportunity to see the sun settle across the river. A very nice evening indeed. By the time I reached the museum, it was closed. And for the first time I observed the magnitude of that huge building , being made only more colossal by the lack of thronging crowds .

2) While coming back from my second walk, I was noticing the price of a haircut – from $13 to $ 20 – in different barber shops. I briefly toyed with the idea of giving myself a haircut, but then realised that my life’s worth is more than $20. Anyways, I located a saloon at 96th street for $12. Overcoming the idea of spending Rs 600 on a haircut is a major roadblock away for me now!
BTW barbers everywhere are the same. They are quiet a chatterbox. This one, someone from Uzbekistan, was no different. He spoke at length about the Indian movies he saw in the USSR days, and asked my opinions on them. He did not pay much attention that I was more interested in talking about Samarkand instead. Anyways, I emerged
a more decent looking person &
much more knowledgeable about bollywood ; from this adventure

3) We have to study a subject known as “Stochastic calculus” . It is considered to be difficult and deals with the Probabilities and Mathematical Inferences. While doing some homework on something known as ” Wald’s Equations” , I got curious about this equation and googled the term. As it turns out, Abraham Wald was a research scientist at Columbia University, and my professor didn’t even mention this! The fact that my university has produced such great people makes me humble and ambitious at the same time.

:)

I survive

September17

I try ,I fall.
I retry, I fall again.

And it goes on and on and on.
And then, when I reach the Nadir,
Making a mess of myself
I shall rise, Like a Phoenix
Yet again.

And I shall fly
and fly and fly and fly
to the Zenith,
I shall rule again.

And mark my words
I’ll dazzle you
yet again!

आत्मविश्वास

August3

“Just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean we should not try. It only means that – we should try harder” रमन आर्य का ये status message पढके मुझे सहसा सत्य का ज्ञान हुआ . पिछले कुछ दिनों से मुझे अपने पर विश्वास नहीं था.. US जाने के दिन करीब आ रहे हैं और मुझे डर लग रहा था – कैसे घर जाऊँगा? कोई लेने नहीं आ रहा है, कुछ गड़बड़ हो गयी तो? अपना घर कैसे ढूँढूँगा manhattan में ? Computer programming कैसे करूंगा? Maths कैसे करूंगा ? नौकरी कैसे मिलेगी इत्यादि, इत्यादि….. डर ने आत्मविश्वास को ग्रहण लगा दिया था.

लेकिन मैं मूर्ख तो नहीं हूँ! भगवन के सहारे और अपनी मेहनत और बुद्धि के बल पर मैंने भी सफलताएँ पायीं हैं! CFA किया है, MBA किया है, नौकरी में बेहतरीन प्रदर्शन किया है, Clubs और societies का नेतृत्व किया है , और सबसे अच्छी बात अपना ऐसा व्यक्तित्व बनाया है की बहुत जन मेरी तारीफ करते हैं.

मैं अपनी तारीफों के पुल नहीं बाँध रहा, लेकिन अपने को दूसरों से कम क्यूँ समझूं? अगर maths नहीं आता तो सीख लूँगा! अगर Computer programming से फटती है, तो घंटों मेहनत कर कर के पता कर लूँगा! New york में 19 ,541 ,453 लोग रहते हैं, मैं भी अपना घर ढूंढ लूँगा ! हर साल २ लाख भारतीय अपनी नौकरी ढूंढते हैं, मैं भी ढूंढ लूँगा! साला किसी भी चीज़ से डरूं क्यूँ???

और अगर मुझ जैसा पढ़ा लिखा समझदार व्यक्ति -जो Architecture से linear algebra तक, और nietzche से Graphology तक जान सकता है – यदि मुझ जैसा व्यक्ति नूतन भविष्य से डरेगा, तो साला दुनिया का होगा क्या? हमेशा धरती पर रहना अच्छी बात है, अपने में घमंड न आने देना अच्छी बात है ….लेकिन अपने को दूसरों से कम आंकना तो बेवकूफी की चीज़ ही कहलाएगी.

नवु कहता था, ” अगर कोई चीज़ मुझसे हो जाएगी , तो मैं उसे क्यूँ करूँ?” उसकी बात अब मेरे समझ आती है. ये वैसे ही बात है जो अन्चालिया कहता है, “Run towards your fears.”

मैं क्यूँ रुकूँ धरती पे, जब मेरा ठिकाना तो असीमित अंतरिक्ष है????

——

” …and I search deep in my soul,
Beyond the doubt and the debris,
I’ve found out that all along,
There has been a king in me…
And I’m gonna Fly,
fly fly fly….”

Protected: The origination of my passion – “Power Knowledge”

April12

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A Quote

March17

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

–Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan, 1892, Act III
(Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 – 1900) )

नए गगन में – नागार्जुन

March11

गुलरभोज में बाबा के कमरे में एक चित्र टंगा था. उगते हुए लाल सूर्य का चित्रण था. साथ ही एक कविता की ये पंक्तियाँ भी थी –

” नए गगन में,
नया सूरज जो चमक रहा है,
ये विशाल भूखंड,
आज जो दमक रहा है,

मेरी भी आभा है इसमें ! “

After the result

December12

There isn’t much that now you can do

So have a smoke and melt in the night dew

Listen to the tick tock of your pocket clock

Wondering if naught is all, all things come to.

Or probably you can have a beer

And look at your despicable self with a sneer

Mediocre you, always knew,

My efforts were impotent, there or here.

So sip the whiskey, soda and scotch

Sit alone on the backside porch

Lo and Behold! As the truth be told

“You were always useless”, Says the watch.

चूहा और आदमी

February11

बचपन में एक कहानी पढी थी। किसी ऋषि को एक चुहिया मिली। उसने उस चुहिया को मानव रुप दिया और कहा,”आज से तुम मेरी बेटी हो”। समय बीता और वह रूपवती परिपक्व हो गयी। सवाल आया कि उससे शादी लायक लड़का कहाँ से ढूंढें? ऋषि को लगा सूर्य सबसे बलवान है, अतः वह सूर्य के पास गया और कहा कि हे सूर्य देव, आप मेरी पुत्री से विवाह कर लें!
सूर्य ने कहा, “आपकी आकांक्षा मेरे सर माथे, किन्तु बादल मुझसे शक्तिशाली है क्योंकि वह मेरी किरणों को रोक देता है, आप उसे विवाह योग्य वर माने” । ऋषि बादल के पास गए, किन्तु उसने कहा पर्वत सबसे शक्तिशाली है क्योंकि वह मेरा रास्ता रोक देता है… आप गिरिराज हिमालय के पास जाएँ। हिमालय ने कहा,” हे सिद्ध आत्मा, एक चूहा मेरे में बिल खोद कर मुझे खोखला कर देता है, मेरी सारी शक्ति धरी कि धरी रह जाती है। आप तो मूषक के पास जाएँ।”
चूहे ने कहा -” ऋषिदेव, मनुष्य प्रजाति से मेरे को डर लगता है, आप अगर रूपवती को चुहिया बना दें तो मैं उससे विवाह कर सकता हूँ” । ऋषि ने तधास्तु कह उसे फिर से चुहिया बना दिया और वे दोनो ख़ुशी ख़ुशी विवाहत्तर जीवन जीने लगे
~~~~~~~~~
जाने क्यों सिरसा से आते वक़्त यह कहानी बार बार मेरे मन में आती रही। मैंने अपने जीवन की बारे में सोचा। मेरे CV को अगर कोई देखें, तो प्रभावित हुए बिना नही रह सकता। उसमे आपको मेरे व्यक्तित्व के कई बेजोड़ नमूने देखने को मिलेंगे। लगेगा कि वाह! क्या मेहनत से लड़के ने ये सभी पुरस्कार जीते हैं। जहाँ जहाँ CV डाला, वहाँ वहाँ वह shortlist भी हुआ। लेकिन अगर मैं सच में उन चीजों के बारे में सोचुँ तो मुझे ख़ुशी कम और दुःख ज्यादा होता है।
मेरी सफलता के पीछे लगता है कि कितने त्याग भी हैं। हर उपलब्धि मालुम पड़ता है जैसे जीभ चिढा रही हो । मानो ये कह रही हो कि “मुझे पाकर भी तुमने क्या हासिल कर लिया?”। ये सब CV के मुद्दे केवल कागज़ पे छिपे काली स्याही के बेढब अक्षरों से अधिक कुछ नही लगते …. और हर बार जब मैं उन्हें पढता हूँ तो मुझे अपने से उतनी ही अधिक घिन्न होती है। याद आता है कि कितना समय जो मैंने कैशोनोवा में बर्बाद किया, वो मित्रों और परिवार के पास जा सकता था। कितना समय जो मैंने PEC की बेवकूफियों में व्यर्थ किया वो मेरी माँ के पास जा सकता था। मेरे माता पिता अकेले रहते हैं अजमेर में और अपनी इस इनवेस्टमेंट बैंकिंग की नौकरी कि वजह से मैं उन्हें और अपने परिवार एवं मित्रो को पूरा समय नही दे पाऊँगा।
याद आता है कि मैंने जानबूझ कर कभी मन में किसी के प्रति सच्चे प्रेम की भावना नही आने दी…क्योंकि वह मुझे आगे बढ़ने से रोक देती। अपने को किसी भी सुन्दर चीज़ के लिए रुकने नही दिया क्योंकि मुझे सदैव प्रथम रहना था। वरुण अग्रवाल भला कभी पीछे कैसे रह सकता है?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ये चूहे और मनुष्य की कहानी मैं भूल गया था। लेकिन सरसों के खेत, मिट्टी की खुशबू, बस में सफर , रेल की पटरी और शादी देखकर याद आया की मैं भी अधिकाधिक एक चूहा ही तो हूँ । मैं भी हमेशा अपने को और बेहतर बनने के लिए नए लक्ष्य ढूँढता रहता हूँ और आखर में मालूम पड़ता है कि एक सादा मनुष्य बनना ही अच्छा होता –

फलानुसार कर्म के, अवश्य बाह्य भेद हैं।

परन्तु अंतः एक है, प्रमाण भूत वेद हैं॥

Lehman पर कुछ ख़याल

February2

मैं असंख्य छोटे MBA में से एक हूँ, यह बात मैं अच्छी तरह जानता हूँ। यह भी सत्य है कि मेरे से अच्छे बहुत सारे लोग हैं। और इसमे भी कोई शक नही कि काफी सारे लोग मेरे से बेहतर company deserve करते हैं ।

लेकिन तब भी, मेरी असली कीमत क्या है? मैं I Banker बनूँगा कि नही, ये बात एक HR कैसे निर्धारित कर सकता है? वह मेरे से 6- 7 सवाल पूछ के यह कैसे बता सकता है कि मेरे में ‘वो’ बात है कि नही? मैं यह नही कहता कि मैं सबसे चतुर हूँ, लेकिन मैं किसी से कम भी नही हूँ।

नही lehman , तुम गलत हो। तुम मेरे भविष्य का फैसला नही कर सकते। तुम मेरे आने वाले कल कि भविष्यवाणी करने के काबिल ही नही हो। मैं यह प्रमाणित करके दिखाऊँगा कि मैं भी एक I Banker बन सकता हूँ, ……. न केवल बनने के सक्षम हूँ, बल्कि मैं इतना अच्छा बनूँगा कि तुम्हे ग़म होगा कि तुमने मुझे आज क्यों नही लिया जब मैं पूरे दिल से तुम्हारे पास आने के लिए दो साल से मेहनत कर रहा था ।

मैं साबित करूंगा कि मुझे न लेने का तुम्हारा निर्णय कितना गलत था…..

” कशमकश को छोड़ दे तू,
रुख हवा का मोड़ दे तू
खाली पैमाना है तेरा,
हो सके तो तोड़ दे तू”

बाबा और अम्मू

January20

ESNIPS पे “हम लायें हैं तूफ़ान से किश्ती निकाल के ….” गाना सुनते हुए याद आया कि छब्बीस जनवरी पास आ गयी है। याद आया कि फिर से स्कूली बच्चों को जबरदस्ती राजपथ ले जाया जाएगा और मैं ख़ुशी ख़ुशी सोचूंगा कि चलो एक छुट्टी और मिली।

तभी याद आया कि मेरे दादाजी (बाबा) और दादीजी (अम्मू) भी शामिल थे स्वतंत्रता सेनानियों में और अनगिनित गांधीवादियों कि तरह उनके भी जेल जान पड़ा था। दोनो कि तबियत भी काफी खराब हुई थी उस दौरान। बाबा और अम्मू दोनो ही संपन्न परिवारों से ताल्लुक रखते थे और उन्हें कोई आवश्यकता नही थी अपने स्निग्ध जीवनशैली त्याग के ,जेल के एक बैरक में बासी रोटी और अधपकी दाल खाने की। लेकिन उन्होने ऐसा किया, कुछ अपनी पीढ़ी के लिए, कुछ मेरी पीढ़ी के लिए और कुछ मेरी आने वाले पीढियों के लिए।

बाबा अब नही रहे, अम्मू से अगर पूछों कि आपने क्यों इतना त्याग किया तो वो कहेंगी कि उस समय का उन्माद ऐसा ही था। वे कहेंगी कि कुछ इतनी बड़ी बात भी नही थी। किन्तु जिस चीज़ के लिए आपने इतनी मेहनत की, उस की कीमत हम में से कोई न समझा।

एक PEPSI पीते , McD का burger खाते और GRE देके पहले मौक़े में अमरीका जाते हुए आपके अयोग्य पौत्र की ओर से शत् शत् नमन .

अरविंद मामा

November26

मुझे मामा के साथ बात करना पसंद है क्यूंकि हर बार उनसे बात करने पर कुछ नया सीखने को मिलता है और उनका point of view मुझे एक और दिशा दिखता है।

उनसे बात करने से मुझे प्रेरणा मिलती है कि मैं सतत बेहतरी के पथ पर बढूँ। हम रूक नही सकते। हम थक भी नही सकते। मैं नही सोच सकता था कि मैं कभी Oxford/LSE/Stanford कि बातें करूंगा। शायद मैं उन जगह न भी पहुंच पाऊँ, लेकिन यह बात कि आज कमसकम मैं वहाँ जाने की तमन्ना रखता हूँ, क्या यही कुछ कम है?

यह मत सोचो कि अभी क्या मिल रहा है, यह सोचो कि आज से ५ साल या १० साल बाद क्या मिलेगा ।हम जीते या हारे, ये मेरा bhavishya teh करेगा न कि मेरा vartmaan

आहूति बाक़ी, यज्ञ अधूरा
अपनों के विघ्नों ने घेरा
वर्तमान के मोहपाश में ,
आने वाला कल न भुलाएं,
आओ फिर से दिया जलायें! “
~~ वाजपेयी , आओ फिर से दिया जलायें

Placements 2008 : A make or break thing?

November23

Hari told me today that placements are very important because they will determine where we’ll finally end up in our lives and are thus a make or break thing.

I don’t think so. Looking back at my short 24 yr old life, I think that at each point there were aways some pressing problems which we thought were make or break. Remember the class X board? or class XII ones? or some exams at resonance or even IIT JEE? They all were damn impat that time but now i don’t think so. there are new opportunities today which have taken that mindspace.

The leitmotif of make or break still exists although. And it always will. For remember there is no true happiness ,only ‘In pursuit of happiness’
——–
PS : Congrats Ruhani ! :)

फुददु कौन है?

November22

कौन मूरख़ है? क्या वो जो धीरे सोचता है , या वो जो धीमे काम करता है, या वो जो पढाई अथवा खेल-कूद में पिछड़ा है?क्या वो जो अजीब सवाल पूछता है या वो जो अजीब बातें करता है ,या फिर वो जिसका काटने में सबसे अधिक आनंद आता है?

कहना मुश्किल है ! लेकिन ज़रा सोच के देखिये, हम सब जीवन के किसी न किसी मोड़ पे, कुछ मूर्ख़ता नही करते है? एक सवाल उभरता है…. क्या हम सब, किसी न किसी की नज़रों में मूर्ख नही हैं?

हमे क्या अधिकार है की किसी का मजाक उडायें ? हमे क्या अधिकार है की किसी और की बुराई करें ? ख़ुद में कभी झांक कर तो देखे की आखर हम कौन बड़ी तोप है जो दूसरे को गधा कहे!

फुददु वो है जो अपने को दूध का धुला समझे और सोचे की उससे बेहतर व्यक्ति नज़र नही आता. नज़र उठा के देख आदम!! हर वो चीज़ जो मै करता हूँ, मुझसे १०० गुना बेहतर कोई और कर सकता है, और हर वो चीज़ जिसपे तुम इतराओ , उससे १०० गुना वोही किसी और के पास भी हो

“बना है शाह का मुसाहिब , फिरे है इतराता
वरना शहर में गालिब की आबरू क्या है “

My first Post

November22

Decadence is setting in. My ideas & ethics are dying and am everyday getting more and more materialistic.

A number of thoghts cross my mind everyday. This is an attempt to word my emotions on a gamut of things.

If you’re here to find some fun stuff, you’ll be dissapointed. This is meant to be more of a chronicle rather than an intellectual/entertainment portal!

However, if you’re here to see what have i been up to; you’re more than welcome.

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