Al-Avalathi's Life (Al-Avalathi is the last Mallu to go to the Gelf)
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Posts from — May 2006

Kerala-now selling the monsoons!

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Brand God’s own country commands a great image and has a huge brand equity (in its own league), thanks to the efforts of visionary bureaucrats like Amitabh Kant,Jayakumar,Balakrishnan and now Bharat Bhushan.

These are the men who made brand Kerala, from a cheap destination for the cobblers and small time tourists of the Europe and US to an expensive destination where chartered flights landing became no surprise. The tour operators, the travel agents like Mr.Najeeb(Kerala Travels) has played hand in glove role in even smallest move of these far sighted IAS officers. These people realized how Kerala was different and offered in as a package where beaches,mountains,back waters,hill stations are all located close to each other.The topography was apt to be covered in 14-15 hours flat ,if you are in traveling by the slowest of the trains.

People of the state have always been open to outsiders, be in the St.Thomas (AD 52,who brought in Christianity of India), the Muslim Saints(who converted Cheraman Perumal and sowed the seeds of Islam in India), the Jew traders,the Arabs, the Europeans,the Buddhist and Jain monks who brought in their respective religions and so on….the state and its people were open to newer ideas , newer things as far as they felt it wouldn’t harm them….(In case you are thinking that the politicians and the people do not support industries, the root cause lies in a high density of population which will be affected by setting up of a production unit,lets debate that later!).The quality of life and the social/health indices left many with awe;this would not have been possible without the years of communism,the church,the temples,mosques and other cast based groups(NSS,SNDP etc).

The above motioned factors gave an impetus to the genesis of brand Kerala and shrugged off the skepticism from quarters that said, “Kerala, that’s the land of labor unrest and coconuts!” Innovations like, houseboats which were unheard off in the state earlier(inspiration J&K), was a shot in the arm for back water tourism.

The Kumarakom Musings by the then PM, Mr.Atal Behari Vajpayee was yet another leap to the state, with national media making the obscure Kumarakom, a must visit in the itinerary of the tourists. Every tourism official who headed the department was better than his predecessor and has made sure that they gave their best shot to the department. The gulf returned Malayalee(post the Gulf War-1) was keen on investing in this sector and thus sprung up numerous ayurvedic centers,restaurants,resorts et al.

But,monsoon has always been bad for the industry.It was a nightmare for all those who depended on this industry, the travel agents, operators,hotel owners, restaurant owners ,the street peddlers, hawkers and many others who where either connected directly or indirectly to the sector. No longer, Kerala is now going to sell Monsoons, they are turning an adversity into an opportunity. Welcome Monsoon Tourism.

This creative by Stark says it all.The ad is bang on target.Monsoon Tourism can never be targeted at families, ‘coz kids will soon playing in rain will soon fall ill! So the Target Group is Honeymooners and Adults who love rain.Another 2 ads are also expected in this series… Way to go Kerala!

PS:Another point worth noting is that the creatives for the state are done by an agency called Stark, have been seeing them on all Kerala tourism creatives for a long time now, don’t even think they have any other major client. They are doing a great job. Kudos to you guys!!!

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May 29, 2006   11 Comments

11 reasons why I hate my HR

Disclaimer :This is purely fictional and has no connection with anyone living or dead, if at all there is , just a coincidence…..and the summer intern is not me :P
Just couldn’t resist this

1) He toppled down all my travel plans

2) He gave me an 8 week schedule with last week for presentations and now says presentations are usually sheduled beyond the 8th week, so that’s the 9 week. Damn! But being paid for 2 months, that’s more than 9 weeks by simple mathematics.

3) He is a guy who is neither a good human being nor a resourceful, but does think I am a human resource, that’s why he wants me for one more week :P

4) He made sure that I may not even meet my dad during this short trip home(‘coz dad will be traveling that week)

5) He doesn’t understand that giving me an air ticket to home is not what I long for, but to stay at home for a couple of days more.

6)He is insane to think that the bunch of jokers that he bring down for the “official” presentation will be interested in my work.

7)He is dumb enough not to believe that my work is over!

8)He does not understand the mentality of a guy who has not been home for about 8 months now.

9) He thinks he is supreme and can uplift HR as a function by being a part of the lot to asses my presentation.

10)He is biased ‘coz guys who joined one week after me and a couple of others did, are also presenting on the same day as me…thats unfair naa….

11)He thinks, he is supreme and so needs to be contacted on issues pertaining interns where ever he is.Heard a word delegation in management?

A Summer Intern

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May 26, 2006   4 Comments

2 years is a long journey

Blogging is the most irregularly irregular thing that I do. Since my project has moved to an “almost complete” stage, I thought of penning my thoughts.

Its been 2 years since I started blogging(started on 21 May 2004).That was about a year before I got into a B School.
My tryst with blogging and blog hopping started sometime in mid 2003 when I stumbled upon Anirudha Marathe and Venkat both from IIML and Sathish I used to be in love with their blogs, and they used to be updated regularly.Even in my wildest dreams, I did not believe that blogging would become this big or WEB 2.0 would come or that Google would be GOD in this e-world. The world was still getting back on track after the celebrated bubbled burst.

This was the time when probably none of the biggies of the blogosphere even thought of blogging. I blog hopped because,I was an unemployable engineer from a premier T School , a thoroughly confused engineer, who had no clue on what to do even the next day.

Confusions and indecisiveness galore and they multiplied.
Confused whether to keep continuing the job search or try getting into a B School. Confused whether to move out of Trivandrum and try to get any damn job or not. Confused whether I had a future. I had to keep myself occupied to avoid me from getting into the self introspection mode and ‘coz that would make me feel like a loser , lost in the battle of life.

Online Job search was just another time pass(ya, really), because I had no knowledge of electrical engineering except the names of the subjects, had no programming knowledge(except some basic C, I hated to code, still hate). Only plus point was, I was ready to do anything that kept me occupied or help me save from the messy big bad ugly world of joblessness.Was ready to pursue any damn course that would interest me, be it MBA or History or writing for any magazines.Life began and ended in front of a Pentium II machine with which took enough time for a mouse click to make me feel that the “click” actually went all the way through the wire to the CPU…..

Apart from mailing friends,chatting and surfing like a freak, I used to apply for atleast 2-3 jobs daily. I edited my CV, to suit job requirements. Subscribed to all online job sites.
I could not apply to any PSU jobs thanks to my acads and also not being from the reserved category.

Half the ads in employment news asked for attested copies of mark sheets.
How the heck would I get them attested, when I felt so pity even looking at them. (Never shown them to my dad till now!!!)
Going to any of my neighbours and showing them those umpteen sheets of paper(ya, there were many) and asking them to attest, would be like taking them to a cliff and asking them to jump at gun point!!!Never could anybody around imagine that , an above average guy who joined an REC, after doing really well in school for 12 years and a good CEE rank, would end up with too many marksheets with a sprinkling of single digits and zeroes.

With all the possible part time teaching jobs and efforts to strike a deal to do research for ACV(Asianet Cable Vision) for their quizzes, life was difficult.Shuttling between rival coaching institutes taking sessions without each other knowing it. (unethical,….but I had to rake in some moolah)

On some days , time was in plenty. Either it was off season for coaching instis or off season for me(misaligned stars).

Life was going through a rough patch.
The dream of getting a plum job after REC had ended up as a mere pipe dream.Priorities during college days had changed from good job,any job, to getting good acads, to managing 60% , to somehow finish the ordeal (raw deal?) in 4 years. Achieved just the last one.
The only hope that I had ,was that I knew I was good, or not bad. I had a good score in CAT 2002.It is just because of this score that I continued taking B School tests.

Life was really really bad.As bad as it could be. I used to think that one day even I would start a blog. And then say naah…Let me get into a B School and then I will start.That was not happening and was getting so boring and tiring to wait for “that day” to start blogging.

Later I joined CCS. That was in April 2004. and its shout box was the only relief during night shifts, apart from responding to dumb but rich American customers.

And it was 2 years ago in May 2004 , after a tiring graveyard shift , I started this blog.

Life has really changed.I used to long for the day, I post as a B Schooler.And now,I am halfway through the so called B School grind.

I will be having my summer internship presentations next week. Little did I know that I would continue blogging for this long.

And I am doing this, as always I am game to do anything that gives me a high…and blogging indeed does that to me…….

Signing off
A Happy 2 year old blogger

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May 19, 2006   14 Comments

Amazing Election blog and the images

Feeling guilty of 1)Being out of Kerala and missing the elections 2)Of not been able to exercise my Universal Adult Franchise 3)And missing this blog Good work guys Republishing the images here…thanks

Nice collection of images…hilarious…

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May 12, 2006   8 Comments

Digg Down LDF up

Image1 print screen from Manorama
Image2 -when digg was down(rarely , I guess)
Blogging thru images, I know this is crappy,still:)

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May 11, 2006   No Comments

Useless diary of a summer intern

After 3 weeks of roaming around Mumbai meeting customers,dealers,retailers and the people at the godown and more importantly TOI and BMC life has been good enjoying the food and AC in the company.Breakfast,Lunch, tea at 2:30 and again with snack at 5:30..the first tea is that siesta killer for sure.

2 more weeks have passed.And I am half way through the 6th week of my 8 week internship.Post all the MR, life has been with excel sheets,as big as bed spreads, the endless, borderless world of excel.Had the Hide option not been there, my life would have been even worse. Since this excel life started, a small mistake in one corner on the a day would be discovered days later when I meet my boss and proudly in the MBA tone say,”Sir, here are the values”. and then he shouts,”Even all India market wouldn’t be this big!!!!”…..and it pains,it takes hours,tense moments figuring out how big the goof up is and where exactly it is….

The streets of Mumbai has taught me so many things-some MR Tips/Learnings:

1)Sales execs on the street will signup for surveys, ‘coz they have this apna pan feeling when they see you.(May even call u to join for a jhaas)
2)People may tell you “eh sab room pe baitke khud fill up karne ka, kaun dekhegaa”
3)When you are surveying a person, others look at you with “Mera number kab aayegaa” looks..and alas..when I accosted a guy who gave me this look, he said,”Sorry I’m busy”…damn it!!
4)When you go to interview shopkeepers, the usual response “Seth nahin hai”
5)Shops may not even let you in…you may thing that bugger must be rich to buy your product(or falls under my TG)…but they say Fuck off!!!
6)Men in khaaki are good in case you want to increase your sample size, done that…but they keep asking “humko kya milega??”
Try a “chowkee”/”thaana”.
7)Get used to the most common reply-“Sorry, mere pas time nahin hai”, “sorry”, “no”
8)Using your insti name or city or even MBA would not be of any use, because the person on the other end is neither interested in you or your survey. The onus is on you to sign him up. So me settled for “Good afternoon,aapke paas ek survey ke liye 2 minute hoga kyaa??”..when they ask I say MBA etc etc
9)People tend not to get what you say for the initial 5-10 seconds…so need to use a salutation,customary wishing etc….
10)Never go to ppl who have crossed say 50…they are never gonna signup…
11)Try MRing while on travel…in trains buses, people just can’t escape:p

As Vinay says it,every single jargon that I get to listen here is being stored, memorised and used at the most inappropriate occasions so that I do not forget those for life.

These days, I have started bringing my laptop to office b’coz I’m sure I would not be going on to the field. So life has been more or less like college during his week. With Blog Hopping, Googling,Orkuting and ya….building a distribution plan..bla bla bla(Thats my project).

Summers has given me more Googling time,if I were to believe Business Line and Strategist quiz results.

Thanks to Farhan,my pal for Live Excel Help

PS:Watched a SH1TTY movie ,36 China town….don’t waste your money ….Upen ,go take a hike

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May 10, 2006   5 Comments

Alibaug -Murud Jangeera trip

Too lazy to write..jus the on the image and view more

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May 5, 2006   4 Comments