Friday, November 28, 2008

It's raining Pink Slips!!

While surfing the news over the past couple of months, job-cuts have been catching my eyes.. It's like an unstoppable Big Bang! The only thing is, nothing's expanding... It's all falling apart. Doing an MBA, I sometimes wonder, are all the managers in the world just puppets. Are they all so helpless, that one huge storm (read Sub-prime crisis) can leave huge conglomerates to nothing more than beggars??
I was on such a gr8 vacation at home after my first term at IIM Indore, when my dad handed me the newspaper and showed me the headlines..."Lehman Brothers goes bankrupt". Who wasn't reading about the Sub-prime crisis?? Who didn't know that something like this was right around the corner?? But even then, that news left me shocked to say the least. I mean "LEHMAN BROTHERS" ??!!
I guess that's old news now. In the hindsight, people now just call Lehman Brothers a foolish company. Those same people who couldn't stop praising them as if they were god, have become their worst critics. See how the wheel of time can turn you around?
Coming back to why I started writing this post - The economic downturn has left so many people across the globe without jobs. Sudden pink-slips on your office desks are no more a surprise. Just to give you an idea of the gravity of the situation, I'll quote a few of the figures from recent news articles:

1. Volvo - 6,000 jobs
2. General Motors - 3,600 at least
3. DHL US Express - 9,500 (in addition to reduction of 5,400 positions at the beginning of this year) ; part of their plan to cut operating costs to 770 million from the previous 4.2 billion euros
4. Nokia Siemens Networks - 1,820
5. Morgan Stanley - 19% of its 44,000 staff
6. Goldman Sachs - 3,200 (10%) ; in addition to executives losing their year-end bonuses
7. Sun Microsystems - 6,000 (18%)
8. Ford Motor Co. - 2,600
9. GlaxoSmithKline - 1,000 job-cuts (in addition to doing away with 800 vacancies)
10. Citigroup - 52,000
11. Bank of America - 7,500 and counting
12. American Express - 7,000 (10% of global workforce)
13. RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) - 3,000
14. Virgin Media (owned by Richard Branson) - 2,200 (15%) by 2012
15. British Telecom - 10,000 jobs by March 09'

There are too many figures, but I'm sure you get the picture. Though the scene looks gloomy for the global Indians, number of job-cuts in the domestic Indian Market have been comparitively less stark. Let's see what the future holds for us MBAs...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Patal Pani

Life as an MBA student at IIM Indore is like NFS. Why the analogy? Well, I was playing the game a while back and I realized how much it resembles the past few months of my life out here. Time has been running at such high velocity that everything other than Planet I has just crossed the corner of my eyes without 2nd thought. But of course, life here holds an element of excitement. There's nothing comparable to the night outs with friends, running around taking videos for projects, preparing presentations at 3 am as if the day would never end, or just chilling out in the mess. Fun with cricket, TT, Badminton or even Carrom.
The only thing that makes me sad sometimes is the fact that we're like birds confined to our cages. I sometimes feel like I've been pinned to a notice board from where I can just flutter as much as the thumb tack allows me. That's why, when Ashish suggested we go out, the other day, I was ready in a jiffy. Of course, we had to wait till the day's classes got over.
I had gone through some pics a few days back in a senior's orkut profile, and I knew the best place to go on a weekend to hang out - "Patal Pani". "Patal" in hindi refers to the deepest point of earth and "pani" means water. The place is actually a cascading waterfall with a lake formed at its bootom. This lake's depth is said to be unfathomable and believed to reach the mythological "Underground World" ; hence goes the name. The gorge between the two cliffs is approximately 200 feet deep.
Located approximately 20 kms from IIM Indore, this place is not a tourist hot spot and hence it's mostly calm and peaceful. The beauty of the landscape has to be seen to be believed. You kinda discover the place and just say "Oh my gosh". I say "discover", because the waterfall is slightly hidden from the common eye.

Another exciting part of the trip was the journey to Patal Pani, on a Yamaha Bike(Ashish was the lucky one, to get the far better Splendor). I must thank Rakesh T. for that wonderful experience (Dude, how do you manage without mud-guards??). Everything was going fine until we asked one dear old uncle about the route. He gave us a shortcut and assured us it was a nice road. Now I know what to expect when people from MP say "Nice Roads" (Honestly, the roads out here are pathetic!). Anyways, we took dear uncle's advice and ended up in Never-Never Land (I'm tellin u, never again...). The route went through bad roads and no-roads; through villages and unused roads. We had planned to buy some stuff to eat and drink, in addition to batteries for Abhiruchi's camera. Boy, we sure ended up on the wrong side of the railway tracks. We finally reached Patal Pani after the bike stopped me more than a dozen times.
On speaking to a couple of locals, we understood that drinking water meant "Hand-pumps" in the wilderness, and food...Well let's just not speak about it. Thank god, Neha had brought along with her a packet of chips and a bottle of Maaza.
So, the 4 of us (Abhiruchi, Ashish, Neha and Myself) went out to explore the vast lands before us and the waterfall beyond. The ambience was amazing and we went on a photography spree.

One more notable thing was the railway tunnel (Ajmer-Khandwa line) cutting through the huge mountains. It kinda reminded me of Doodh Sagar in Goa, which I could only visit from the seat of my train. We had a strong urge to explore the depths of the gorge, but considering the words of caution from people around, we decided against it. We just stood at the top of the waterfall and felt awed by god's creation.
As sunset approached us fast, we had to shrug the desire to stay back. We were worried about going back via the same road in the darkness. So we decided to set back, but after we saw the sun fall beyond mountains in the backdrop. It was a wonderful view, to say the least. The journey back was far more comfortable, mainly due to 2 reasons:
1. Ashish was the one sporting Yamaha this time :-)
2. We found a new and civilized route back to campus.
With dinner at Riddhi-Siddhi following our escapade into the wild, I would say, that was an evening that shall be cherished forever.

To my fellow nature-lovers who decide to explore Patal-Pani, "A few words of Advice":
a) Buy all supplies (that includes water & eatables) before you go beyond Mhow.
b) Be wise when you ask for directions. Don't hesitate to turn back!
c) Observe extreme care while at the top of the waterfall. The rocks are slippery. Better be Safe than Sorry.
d) Last but not the Least, Don't forget your best Cameras.
Good Luck.
I'll leave you with a few more pictures to tease your eyes. Click on the link below: