Saturday, August 2, 2008

Trying Yoga, Touring dharavi, Trinity results!

hiya from amchi mumbai!! things are good. short update..

INternship in india is going fine. No real opportunity is opening up in India or elsewhere and at the same time confusion just keeps on increasing with regards where should i focus my efforts on - india, dubai, singapore, london or anywhere in us? I hoped to get some clarity via trip in india -- and i have gotten clear as MUD!

Neeways this blog isnt about that. Just a quick note on some good stuff in mumbai:-

First a good step ahead -- always wanted to take up yoga! I have started learning the same. And I have been stupendously lucky. Bhuvneshwari Makharia, a World yoga Training centre teacher (http://www.worldyogatraining.com/teachers/) and founder of Yoga Ashram Hrishikesh (http://www.yogashramrishikesh.com/) -- was kind enough and agreed to give me 4 times a week one-one sessions for the 5 weeks I was here to be able to impart as much as is possible in that time! I have been extremely fortunate to be learning from one of the leading proponents of Yoga who has been practising and teaching the same for more than 30 years and believes in teaching the science and rationale behind 'Yog'! So far stupendous. Watch this space for more. I might well go do one of here Hrishekesh tours before I start full time work (when I get 'a' job i.e) post mba.

Second, today I did a guided tour of Dharavi -- what is more infamously known as Asia's biggest slum. The tour was another fantastic experience courtesy Krishna Poojari our guide and co-founder/director of Reality Tours - a company founded by him and his british friend. It was fantastic because Dharavi was nothing that I expected. I mean sure there was a lot of what one would expect -- 1.75 square kilometers of poverty with sub par living conditions and less than ideal facilities. But Dharavi is a 3000 crore turnover industry. Leather (one of the biggest leather producers in this part of the world), plastics recycling, carboard, aluminium, footwear, pottery - you name it! It was complete with schools, english training classes, cinema hall, computer learning center. The one thing that all 5 of us in the group (me, nat n gagan from ox gang and a couple of travelling spaniards) thought hit us about the place was the thriving industry. It never felt as much a slum as it did a huge campus with many sub factories and sweat shops. It was clear that people here believed in making it happen. No excuses, no self pity (infact very
high and proud of their work; photgraphy is not allowed on this tour), no slack -- work and make it happen! There were a couple of poignant moments on this trip I shall carry with me - I was tying my shoe laces and a little behing the gang when a 5-6 year sweet girl passed by and in almost impeccable english with proper pronunciation and no accent said: hello, how are you!, smiled and keept walking. Or a small kid outside of school keen to see what we were upto with his t-shirt proudly saying "if you wish, you can!". I was just glad I went.

Lastly a small note on few good places in mumbai i ve visted -- thanks a ton to the locals (dhruv, nat,sajith, varun, stuti, twinkle) who suggested or took me to these places. Some of the ones i loved and would suggest to u are (no not all are swank; infact some very rundown. but they are places i Loved and locals swear by):
Leopold - Shantaram was here. Need I say more? Must visit.

Cafe Churchill - Best contintental food. Dont go by looks of the place.
Zenzi - ultra cool chic food/bar in bandra; bit pretentious.
Moches - best food i ve had in mumbai so far.
Ivy - nice, non-pretentious laid back place. Known for their wine collection.
SukhSagar - ever reliable indian 'naasta' place on marine drive. Must have: 'idli-chilly'
BadeMiya - best sign off place maybe in all of mumbai...after a late party nite, pig out at Bade and go home!
Jazz By the Bay - good lunch buffet. Decent salads and nice sandwiches.
Pizzeria - Awesome pizza with the sea in view. Right next to the Jazz by the Bay.

Watch this space too. Coz hope to add a few more places that I have been told I must visit before i leave..

And to end on oxford news (i miss oxford :-() -- Trinity term results are out. And I passed!! Wo-hoooooooooooooooooooooo!

peace out!
Jitin

Monday, July 21, 2008

mesmerized by majhkhali, mumbai magic and many other updates!






Hiya!!! Yep i know, long time again! But as usual many fun updates, loads of snaps and many new places visited. Oxford summer, Arriving in India, Dad's 60th Birthday -- good times (missed ma and sis) with pretty much rest of the extended family (buas, uncles, aunts, cousins) in attendance!

Though I am gonna start with the very latest...because not only is it fresh in my mind, but as the title says it was truly mesmerizing. As you would know (ya rite!), I am in mumbai,India for summer. For my third weekend here (july 17-20th), I went for a weekend getaway to Ranikhet -- a mesmerizing scenic beauty set in the charming background of the western peaks of the snow clad Himalayas -- in the Almora district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand (previously uttaranchal)!
Check out the wiki for info on the place: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranikhet
It was one of the best weekend getaways ever (topped the mendocino trip in california or dorset in uk i recently updated u guys on!). There were 3 others : Dhruv (rockstar - thanks for making this trip happen, Nat, AP) -- mah buddies from ox!


How we got there: mumbai - delhi flite, overnight train from delhi to Kathgodam (nearest railhead - 80 km from ranikhet) and then a private taxi through the beautiful hills to Majhkhali -- peaceful spot 13 km from ranikhet with views of majestic Sonya peaks in the Himalayan ranges. This is where our cottage was -- one of the most tastefully done getaway cottages ever! More on the cottage later in the blog.

First up on our way to Majhkhali in the taxi, we made a stop over at 'himalayan fishermen lodge' - a spectacular and luxurious lodge overlooking a beautiful lake -- in bhimtaal (22 Kms. from Nainital and en route from Kathgodam to Majhkhali). You have to see it to believe it! And whenever you do visit (coz by the time i m done with this blog, u will be lookin up deals to this place) - you MUST put up at this lodge. See the pictures above if you dont believe it -- and the real deal is 10 times better! An eco-friendly lodge with rich facilities, delightful staff and panaramic views -- the lodge is serenity personified and the experience I can vouch be truly world class!

Then we got to our ultimate destination -- the cottage in Majhkhali. A huge huge shout out to Mr. Bakshi (Dhruv's uncle) for letting us camp at his cottage. It is undoubtedly one of the most tastefully done interior's I have seen for a holiday home. (He is also the owner of the lodge mentioned above - so you can imagine how much greatercare would taken for a guest lodge!). Rustic pastel colours and immaculately chosen decorative adornments with a equally inviting homely traditional indian furniture immediately lulled us into vacation mode the moment we entered the cottage. We were pampered to bits by Narainji, an old timer and caretaker of the cottage. What did we do for 3 days: Start the days to 2-3 cups of tea and hot parathas in the covered patio (right most section of house looking out to the himalayas-- see pics) with the clouds literally amidst us, a pseudo yoga session by the girls (more of a photo shoot opp really), hot scrumptious indian meal for lunch, afternoon snooze, walk out in the mountains or down the the village, back with evening tea and 'nasta'pretty much immediately followed by the start of rum and wine session at around 7 pm. That would go on till 9 or 10 with eric clapton/buddha bar/nusral fateh ali khan (yup the cottage was complete with the most eclective classic music collection) playing in the background. This session was in the center living room which had french panes looking out to the himalayas ('the view') - and they were the best part of the trips for me! Yup the rum was a factor but so was some delightful conversations with the kids (read dhruv, nat n ap), music and what i shall always refer to as 'the view'! Dinner was in the left most section of the house, again looking out the the himalays the difference being this room not only had french panes but a glass ceiling. So hot dinner (think chicken curry, 'madhve ki roti'- a local bread, dal, paneer etc) with rain drops on a glass ceiling! Needless to say the nights post dinner went long -- usually back in the open patio or the living room.

IF the above sounds too good to be true -- it WAS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE! I had never visited the northern part of india as much..and now I am sold on it! I am most definetely doing a trip tp Jammu (his native place) and Dharmsala (buddhist monastries) in this year for sure! Thanks a ton kids for making this trip happen, more so Dhruv (my main man!) and most of all his uncle. Truly appreciate your generous gesture.

Phew!! :-). So how and what m i doin in mumbai in the first place. Well its getting a monkey off my back. Most of u know how much I have been talking about wanting to come back to india after the 8 years away. Well if Oxford was step one leaving the US, this internship is step 2 in giving Indian and honest open shot. I shall work here for 8 weeks and see for myself which side of my well wishers opinion am I on -- i.e. I will love it or be frustrated and not want to work here). Mumbai though so far has not dissappointed me. Yeah the weather could have been better and I could have done with some space -- but besides that no complaint. I am put up on Marine drive, working at VT (working with the PE arm of Times of INdia group) -- so really cant complaint. My main purpose being networking I have already had a chance to attend a super exclusive event (corporate Dossiers Super Achievers Forum at Rooftop, Hillton) -- wherein I got to have dinner with the likes of CEO Deloitte Internations, CEO Deloitte India, MD Pfizer, CEO Tata Power, CEO Mahindra Life Space, MD Merill Lynch etc! At the same time also trying to meet peers who have madeit back to learn from their experiences.

Shall update you soon with my learnings on that profesisonal front. I think its not rocket science and is about managing expectations. But watch this space for my views on that in a couple of weeks.

What else had happened since the last update(dubai) and before Ranikhet? Here is a dump (sorry, but see snaps.loads of them):
Trip to the USA (new-york, san francisco, austin), MootCorp business plan competion, SBS Fund finalist and the pitch at the finals, Trip to Paris, MBATS, Trinity term final exams, india forum at oxford (got to hear the likes of sunil bharti mittal, indian minister kamal nathi, ficci chair mishra, advisor to pm dr. sanjay baru, india express editor shekhar gupta. I was lucky being part of oxford entrepreneurs I got to do lunch with these dignitories too), cancelled flight to India leading to all nite end of term partyyyyyyyyy and finally arriving to India!

YEah I know the year at oxford has just whizzed by. I complete the internship end of august, head back to oxford and am done within a month. where will I be come end of September -- :-) -- Its that time in life again. I dunno! Your guess as good as mine -- mumbai? Dubai? London? back to the US? or somewhere else? Time ll tell...

peace out
jitin

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dizzy from Dirhams, Dunes n Dazzle -- Dubai Trip (April 5 - 12, 2008)





Dubai trip


Click above is an album


Watz crackin kids....well trinity term is about to get rolling...here is a looooooooong update...it talks about what i consider one of the highlites of my oxford year...trip to dubai! It was my very first time to the middle east region and it just blew me away. Below is a day by day break up....
What else...sick as a dog since i came back..35degress Celsius to 8 with some hail will do that to u. I write this fighting the flu. Also have a longish trip coming up in bout a weeks time...NY-Austin-California. Time to take the biz idea on the road and also meet up with some family and friends.
So without further ado, i present to u – the Dubai show!

Day 0:
7 of us on a flite from Gatwick, London to Dubai. I nearly missed the flight as the damn cab refused to come in the am (530 to be precise) and I just about caught the bus to Gatwick by jumping the Q. I had to – the next bus was a couple of hours later which means I miss the flight.
There is an unforgettable story to share even on this flight trip (yup...tat is how interesting this trip was). So we are on the 45 minute flight from doha to dubai. 4 of us are sitting on adjacent seats in the mid row of the flight. Suddenly one of the people on the left side of the seats along our row calls the air hostess and complains that one of us is harassing him. We were all busy watching some stupid gig on the tv then and we look at him as if ‘what the ..’. The air hostess asks him as to how is it that he is being bothered to which he replies : “ He (pointing to one of us) is removing bones from his neck!!!”. I swear we thought we heard him incorrectly and the air hostess obviously chose to ignore the complaint. Wait it only gets interesting.
We get down at the airport and are moving towards customs and much to our surprise, the person has lodged a complaint with the airport cops and hence that one of us is thus held back for q & a. Cut to and hour and half later we are upstairs in the Dubai police joint at the airport, and speaking some hindi I find out the the complaint made is still the same: “that one of us removed his kidney and bones from his neck using some black magic!”. The cops though obviously in disbelief have to entertain the complaint and they confiscate the passport of one of us and ask the person making the complaint to go get an xray to prove otherwise and ask us to ocme and collect our passport the other day!! I kid u not! Its difficult to believe because even as we were going through this, I was messaging back and forth with a couple of local friends in dubai and they obviously thot I was making this up sitting in some bar.
Though it was very very late, we all needed a drink when we got to the hotel at like 2 am. We hit the bar right before the last call, caught a pint and went up to crash at 3. Obvious as my luck would be my dear friend with whom i was sharing the hotel accommodation was flying in later that night and he lost his bags. So in all honestly I really slept at 5 am with a morning alarm se t for 700 am. Dubai hadn’t really kicked off well at all!



Day 1:
Up to the automated morning alarm service, the day started in the fast lane. Quick breakfast and we were on our way to the Shell office. They were located at the Convention Tower. This was my first serious view of Dubai as we were on our way there in the bus. My first impression was Los Angeles on steroids (to borrow a commonly used way to describe Dubai in Dubai by expats). Wide roads, traffic and legoland like contructions. Overall for Sheik zayad road and most of new dubai think Los Angeles weds Las Vegas. Also below is a map of the area to give you an idea. The creek divides dubai into ‘bar dubai’ (originall call ‘paar dubai’ in hindi meaning across dubai).
At Shell we had a great morning. We had the head of the Middle east regions and two people heading Oman and India taking us through 3 separate case study sessions – which was a welcome change from mundane presentations. The first one that we attended was headed by the ‘mini governer’/guy looking after Oman who also is an SBS alum. It was a strategic decision making case about Shell facing a situation where in their decision would have global repercussions. It was a fascinating 25 minutes of how what the head of a certain region for the 4th largest company in the world does effects the average joe in every part of the world. The job requires daily engagement with diverse bodies as the governments of Oman, Japan, India, Media, alternate energy research bodies, distribution plants as Hajira in India, competitors, world events as launch of Tata’s new car amongst various others.
The second case was more about operations and logistics involving a huge (think upwards of 50000 people) LTG/GTL plan in Qatar. The sheer volume of such a project, sourcing of labour, their safety, training, one vs multiple contractors, infrastructure resources, government involvement, pre-selling and marketing to end customers, wholly or partnership ownership etc. The mere scale of overlooking and being part in decision making for such a project is an exposure that would be worth a few MBA’s !
The lunch was decent buffet with informal Q and A with Shell reps. A huge thank u to them as they were official sponsors for our stay at the Towers Rotana in Dubai.
The second half of the day was a presentation at Bain and Co. – one of the big 4 consulting groups in the world. We would be visiting the other 3 before the trip would be done. It was at the majlis. A crisp professional presentation giving us in insight into the Dubai region and its phenomenal growth following by a networking event.
After heading back to our hotels, in the evening, headed down to the longs bar (at some time this was literally the longest bar in dubai) in the hotel with ab and lr. Thats where me kid sister met us up. It was great to meet up with channi after a bit. The 4 of us and a local friend farhaan then headed out for dinner to Spice Club – simply put amongst the best desi grub I have eaten in a bit. Then to QD’s – a on the beach hukka bar and after a couple of hours there to the Hyatt – a vegas-que type of hotel in the heart of dubai. Around 2 am at night, called it a day for an early morning the next day.



Day 2 (the day that changed my life..for now):
Day 2 was to be in Abu Dhabi all day. After a looooong bus ride (1.5 hours) we got to the ADIA Tower – our first meet for the day. This is the morning meet which would really start to turn me around somewhat in awe of the magnitude of stuff going on in the middle east region. Though a highly covert sovereign fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority might well be the worlds biggest investor fund (though they do not officially publish their numbers) and the second biggest international institutional investor in the world. They recently struck a deal on November 26, 2007, with Citigroup, the largest US bank, by agreeing to invest 7.5 Billion dollars in Citigroup. This deal gives ADIA 4.9% of the New York-based bank, making it the largest shareholder, with Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud of Kingdom Holding of Saudi Arabia the second-largest shareholder, with 4.3%. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Dhabi_Investment_Authority
But what was ‘surreal’ was the obvious richness seeped into the 33rd floor of that building. A fantastic reception, without doubt the most breath taking view I have ever seen (see snaps and I shall also upload videos) overlooking the corniche and a snappy presentation. We obviously could not get much details as previously mentioned it is an organization that as a policy does not divulge much details. Personally I felt it would be a great organization to work for.
If morning session left me dazed, I had to recover fast as the afternoon lunch was hosted for us by the Undersecretary of the Department of Civil Services, Ali Rashed Al Ketbi – a very friendly young personality with a sharp acumen, The lunch was a lavish 4 course middle eastern meal at the Emirates Palace – a 7 star wonder and the biggest land mass hotel in the world. (http://www.emiratespalace.com/en/home/index.htm).
I also had the good fortune of having a wonderful lunch time conversation with a British academician who had for the past 18 years been in the middle east region helping out with strategy with regards nation building activities. The meeting was insightful as it was obvious that one cannot ignore the middle east region of the world. Infact this might well be the region that pulls the world through the ongoing recession (i personally believe the states is in recession currently as i write). The biggest problem that the MENA (main players Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Dubai, Sharjah, Oman, Bahrain) might have is too much liquidity which is causing inflation. Except for Dubai the other regions have enough oil reserves to last another 5 decades. Most importantly they are really focused on investing in infrastructure (universities, art, research, telecomm) a lot more carefully not the repeat the 90ies mistake and they can do it without fully opening the floodgates to the world like Dubai. Dubai today has 95% expats and just 5% local emiraties. But then again, Dubai has no choice – they are adopting a Singapore weds Las Vegas model and have successfully made it into a top trading and tourist spot. As you shall read in the following days, some of their tourist destinations are simply jaw dropping and make anything i have seen in any top spot in the states ny, la, vegas, miami or london, beijing, mumbai pale in comparison.
The bus ride back was dreamy ! Lots of sleepy snaps should be testimony to that. The evening was a wonderfully chilled out event serving the perfect antidote. Chandni, Farhaan and myself went down to the Jumeira beach. Falafel wraps by the seaside, be giving them a brain dump of my day so far, followed up by a nice meal at Saladacious (yup the duck pasta rocked most ;-)!) and then onto Baristi. Another big ass resturant cum bar cum sheesha place on the sea. A few drinks, walk down the beach cum bar (yup it was that long) and then on our way back we got a ride on of the electric vehicles and the guy himself a newly transported expat actually took us down to the pier – a drive usually forbidden for the ‘commoners’ ! Check out the video.
Phew...all in all. This is a crazy part of the world with things changing every day and every night, lot of action, people and youth from world over and way too much cash. That can be a heady mix!



Day 3 (anything’s possible!):
Ok i m running out of time. Been 20 days since i started writing bout this trip. So I ll rush thru it now..:-). But day 3 we went to Nakheel..look them up online. These guys literally are magician real estate people. They can do anything. Sheikh Mo woke up one day and wanted to increase the coastline of dubai from 60 odd km to much more as real estate on beach is valuable. The crack team of HBS alum come up i guess with the ingenuous idea of reclaiming land in the sea and voila more beach. Nakheel is the company that made it possible!!
They really took great care of us. The piece de coupe of the trip was a boat ride to the middle of the sea and then suddenly in there u see trucks spitting sand and islands and huge villas...in the middle of freakin nowhere in the sea!!!!!
The next presentation was HSBC. Not much here for me..:-).
The nite went to madinat with farhaan and channi, also channi’s place for the first time. Madinath is the absolutely magical mini city almost full of fancy restaurants and bars. Great drinks at bar raza and must see hukka bar called sheikh pier...back at nite close to 2-3 am with jobs and Vicki!






Day 4 (fun continues):
Next morning we went to the office of Dubai holding in the emirates tower. Would love to fill in on the details but maybe later. . Was unbelievably lucky to actually see Sheikh Mo in person walking out of a restaurant in the towers. Afternoon at another consultancy firm !
Evening went to the networking event hosted by us for the alum and other guest at the wonderful palace hotel in old town (which actually is anewly build town which resembles old town..go figure). Great setting and met a few interesting ppl. Great chat with an alum who now works with ICC, the cricket body based in dubai. Followed that up with a trip to ‘bar dubai’ with chandni, aashima and luvraj to get some desi grab..chat to pav bhaji to kulfi...awefun!!!!!!!!!!



Day 5 (Thursday): mah fav day!
Okie. Went to the 3 big ones – mckinsey, bcg and booze allen. Great talk at all 3. Had the most international lunch hosted by BCG at place called Galliard. N i mean international... argentenian fish, Chinese tempura, lebaneese mezaas, Persian khus khus, Indian dal, Italian pasta, greek salad, lamb cooked in a style could not recognize!
Back in the hotel...quick drink with farhaan and Vicky at the hotel bar called longs bar (which is named so as it was the longest bar in dubai at some time)..
Then went to what was my favourite place in dubai...old dubai. Crossed the channel via a ferry where i hit up an interesting conversation with a local who had been in dubai for 40 odd years. Was sad though as he lamented on how all the progress and internationalism in the last 10 odd years has hurt the trader – at one time the main vocation in dubai the most!!
Then had dinner, sheesha and drinks and just lazed at kan-zaman – beautiful old open air and terrace big ass restaurant right on the river. Just talking with family, enjoying good weather and food...loved it loved it loved it!! Slept over at chand’s that nite!



Day 6
Was woken up to some hummin..:-). Less said the better here. Then me and chand left for the hotel as we were to go for the world famous Dubai desert safari. Was great fun going in huge big ass land rovers doing dune bashing!! Then a couple of hours in a setup in the desert in the middle of nowhere with some belly dancing, middle eastern kebabs, camel rides et....and back on our way ot the hotel! Got to packing and grab a couple of hours sleep before is say good bye to dubai!!!


That was my trip..sorry for rushing thru day 3- 7..but better have it there than never ;-). N no..dont believe a word of what i said about dubai. Do yourself a favor. Go visit Dubai! And you will be blown away...

Since then have been on amazing trips to the US (NY, Austin, Bay area) and Paris (I LOVE THIS CITY)...Shall put up updates soon...wait for them...
Peace out!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Birthday, Break & Business plan!






Week 17-27


Above is an album -- click!



yo guys....!! yup this semester was a bummer...for no rhyme or reason i just slacked and wasnt up to scratch with me updates...

But so here is a bonanza update...ll go thru some of the highlights this semster :-)!! n loads of pictures...


Okie...some good news!! My entrepreneurship idea and project was chosen the best and selected to represent Said business school @ MootCorp, Austin USA!! F**king A...i know :-)! Its funny...I still remember when I was researching and looking at schools to apply, I read a blog of one of the ex Said students and his team had won the trip to Austin too. At that time somewhere I thought this is the kind of program and activity I need to have some wind beneath my entrepreneurial aspirations! From that read to getting to Said, exploring an idea, seeking out and getting a like minded team, pitching n now Austin. Many thanks to a wonderful group of friends I had on my team - the picture attached above. More so to Pranav and Raj -- two buddies and brothers in arms for all the support! Its gonna be a kick-ass trip : will be visiting my sis in NY, then austin (will be trying to visit another sis in Houston), then up to sweet ol california to visit more family n friends !

What else...hmmm exams came and went. They were a non-issue this time :-). I hardly studied. I just hope i get thru marketing -- i think i have botched up that one big time! will need some 'divine' intervention to get out of that hole..:-).

The after party as usual was a blast...absolute blast! Started with wonderful peer support dinner at Capt. Will's where aashima n me cooked for 8 of us. Then off to Kings Arms and Escape (after my first sem blogs these names should ring a bell now :-))! The night ended at 5 am with a near street fight and loads of alcohol -- i know the two go hand in hand!

While on parties, there was the Templeton Mardi gras party this semester. From last semester as I had told templetons was one of the best parties. This time too they did not dissapoint. Though the DJ was a touch sensitive fella...someone knocked over his speakers while dancing and he threw a tantrum and held up the party for an hour. Tsk tsk!! Though some great snaps. See attached.

Well OCD -- the improv group I was a charter member of had their very first public performance!! Unfortunately I wasnt part of it as I had not been able to attend practice all of the semester -- ya i know shame on me! But the gang put up an absolute stellar show. I am back in the fold and will be practicing and performing next semester before I bow out of Oxford.

Hmmm..oh yeah! Mah Birthday :-)! Had a great one! Blessed to have met some of the people I have met on this oxford journey. And top of the list is Miss Batra!! I had like 3 cakes cut in a day with as many surprises....Aly, Larry, Katy, Harsh, Pranav, Raj, Lovraj, Vicky, Divya, Stuti, KD, Abhi, Deepti, Aparna, Dhruv, Margueritte, Gagan, Luis, Will, Hanneka, Hanbal, Hermeet, Jakob, Raj, Priya, Harini, Suchi, Sabina n everyone who made the day special...thank u all! I think the biggest takeaway from a year at oxford is these special lifelong friends. And oxford is worth 10 times over just coz I met them.

you should find all of them in the snaps...

Oh...then there was this trip to Dorset...16 of us...4 cars...and had this wonderful almost castle like structure in the middle of a jungle nowhere that we had reserved for an overnight stay. Just beautiful! great fun....were up most of the night drinking, playing stupid games....I have never had so much fun playing something like dumbcharades that I had in an hour that nite....:-)! Was 'His-Story' ..everyone on that trip will vouch for it..Do not miss the pictures of that trip. On the album.

Had a fantastic trip to a place nearby (the name escapes me) with my core study group -- francois, sabina, romell, anil and myself. Great great outing and lot of fun. We were all day at the oldest pub in UK (900 years old). Fantastic place. Again some pics attached.

There was tons more this semester - some the usual...took a bunch of friends to the harry potter chch hall for dinner, memorable trip to the famous Southhall and jodha-akbar there, the Idea Idol competition, Skoll Forum with the likes of Al Gore, Jimmy Carter in the SBS building, Sunday cricket, peer support meetings, interview with shell, REJECT from shell :-) etc! Pictures attached.

I have a crazy month coming up. Am flying out to Dubai April 5-12 (meeting channa---wohoo!), then have 10 days in between when I need to get my US Business Visas and Schengan visas done, then flying out the the US on 25th (NY,Austin,San Fran) and flying back to londong on 6th May, 7th May 140 of us are off to Paris, France for the intercollegiate MBAT which is gonna be a 4 day highlight of the MBA if reviews by the seniors is anything to go by.

Time is flying .... one more semester of 8 weeks which already seems action packed. The nice summer sun and job search will make it more exciting. July - August is internship or summer consultancy project -- am looking at a VC option in India or will try to push my business idea further. Somehow I feel I am going to face the moment of truth wherein I might have to pull the trigger and taking the entrepreneurial jump into the unknown -- or make peace with normalcy and lock up the dreams for now! But more than anything else I wish to cherish the last semester with friends and this wonderful Oxford University -- and blog every week I promise!!!

So long...next update will be at the start of next sem i.e April 14th with all the Dubai snaps.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Week 17: Slacker, Slacker, Slacker!





Sorrrryyy. Slacked again....! But here I am...3 weeks later.

A lot has happened as is usual. I will just let the pics the the blabber below do the talking as short on time.


A few dinners: Karans place, Pranav (microwave-frozen-food-cook ;-)), Green college, mansfield college, Mktg team dinner
Parties: SBS Bop, Brazilian Carnival
Speakers/Special dinners: Sir Tom Hunter , John Bird, Oxford Business Alumni trip to london
Great nights: Rocking nite at luvraj's, at abhi's Jesus GCR,
Assignments: lets not go here!
Special mention: I shot for a video (see link n rate my oscar worthy performance), moved apartments (newer pad n closer to school)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu1DHCyG8xE

Other: Finalizing trip to Dubai in April (should i drop in to india for a bit??), Trip to Paris for MBATs in May, got most electives for the next term except for Private Equity


Allrite. So how are we doing :-)?

Its wierd, there is like a lot lot more to do this semester. But for some strange reason I seem to be in a super chill zone. Avg sleep hours up to 10 (ppl at Said read this they ll faint!), havent been as regular with lectures, EP -- something I really am interested in given I was nurturing the idea since Los Angeles days -- is really blow hot blow cold and am way behind on it!

what else...NBA all star is here. Too bad cant catch the games live. But just saw highlights of Dwight Howard winning the DUnk fest. Specta-freakin-cular!

Its 4 am at night and just got done with an assignment so will sign off....! More later...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Week 14: London, Long Break, L'OReal CEO dinner!






Week 9 - Week 14

Above is album: click for pictures.


First of all apologies for taking a 6 week break from the blog!!! I missed writing and hope some of you did reading (shout out to all family and friends who kept reminding me to update it). But I am coming back from a great event which inspired me to share with all. Will get to it in a bit.

First of all, what was I upto these past few weeks. Lets make it fast. Exams in december, big time parttttttttttty from 1130 am to 4 am the next day, trip to london, lord of the rings musical, back to India, met up loads of old friends, trip to mumbai, 31st bang with school friends and couple of MBA friends in abad, great family time as me sis made a special trip to abad too, back to oxford, unbelievably dreadful weather (which just refuses to get better), un-freaking-believably busy semester (2 core, 3 electives, entrepreneurshp project, internship and scp search, fulltime job search, electives for upcoming semesters, on average 3 projects a week with 4 different groups), couple of great fun night outs....phew! pics for some of these events are up. Will put up others too...

Now I shall share with you a great evening. The day started as usual early (hate getting up in darkness, even at 730, all cold and having to choose between extremely hot water or extremely cold water for a face wash as two seperate taps) as had to go for a operations management short field trip to the biggest TESCO in the neighbourhood with my study group. Have a great group for the core courses (all groups i have this sem are great :P!!). Spent about an hour there and back. Got home, changed as had a meeting with my Entrepreneurial project team. Then after another meet with MBA director with regards our EP, back home to get into a tux for a presentation by LOreal CEO Sir Lindsay Jones which was to be followed by dinner with him and his team and a few select MBA students. The talk in my mind was one of better ones I have heard. Sir Jones's speech personified what he said was the one thing his journey meant to him: FUN. He delivered expert subtle nuances on 'Enduring Success' from his experiences at LOreal in a very engaging way. AFter a drinks reception for networking with all the LOReal guests and all the audience, few of us proceeded for dinner in the boardroom. It was a great couple of hours being in the same room as some of these people with a wealth of experience having led truly global giants (I am sure the few other MBA students who were fortunate to be in there must have felt the same). A really engaging post dinner conversation gave insight into their minds and views from where they are at. A senior board of directors for a lot of big companies made a point with regards corporation's role in sustainable business. He talked about an example of how while in an african country, when he was helping out with a hospital which was trying to arrange for drugs which would help treat small kids with AIDS, it was a battle to arrange for the infrastructure and distrubution to get the drugs sent from the big nations to this small interior place in africa. As a solution helicopters were flown in for the same. Then he walked out of the hospital that evening and was surprised to see major cola drinks easily available. The obvious question was if there could be a network of distribution for the colas, how is it that something as critical as life saving drugs does not find its way? Should corporates not play a role? An extremely logical couter argument provided was that there is a difference between philanthropy and tax!!! Corporates are there to do what they do best. To create value, make wealth, re-invest, increase employment, improve economies and then help in ways they can. But to expect them to do what is actually the very basics that a goverment is responsible for or UN is responsible for is just leading to a scenario which will only take them away from doing their job and doing something which is not their expertise! Hows is it that we almost start believing that the corporataion is obligated (a la tax) to do what is the core responsibility of the goverment?
Somehow that thought process of the distinction between philanthrophy and tax just struck a chord ...

Also had a wonderful wonderful dinner at pushpaks and Alka's (yup if u following me blog, I had a great one last sem too at their place). WE were celebrating republic day of India. That explains the patriotism in the snaps..:-). As is usual at their place -- great food n good times! And the weekend weather has just been SPECTACULAR. I know it wont last tho....


I shall leave you guys with that. But from now on, shall be extremely regular as before...every sunday!! Next weeks menu: More bad weather, 3 projects, talk by founders of Netfinder and the Big Issue, dinner with CEO of the Big Issue, black tie dinner at Oxford Cambridge club with Oxford Business Alumni and much more!!!

Shout out to dear friend nbf..happy bday dude!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Week 9 -- Tension, Templeton and Team for EP!






Templeton -- Week 9

Click Above is an album

Yo gang! This is going to be super short at its 3 am and I still need to work for an economics assignment which is 50% of our grade and due tomorrow. But I will say this-- this Monday is easily the most look forward to Monday of the term! IT is whan all assignments are done, all group studies for this semester over and just one week of classes and one week of preperation before exam!!

This past week has been really really intense! 3 Big time group assignments were due. Each with a very high weightage and time was as usual squeezed. Tensions were high and the group dynamics were changing as people were getting edgy as exams near, no time to study, group study taking longer, more at stake and in general too much too do. Every one felt sleep deprived, overworked and under appreciated!!


So I am just going to go through a laundry list of what I did this week. Though check out the snaps. The are from Dinner, Opera and after party (one of the wildest parties this semester) at Templeton College. Templeton is Oxfords most mordern and specialist MBA college. It has 60 MBA students, by far the largest MBA community any college accepts.

So night at Templeton was fun. Also after 3 weeks I went for Improv workshop. Its exciting times there as we are planning for a performance in MArch sometime.

This week finalized the team for Entrepreneurship Project -- by far the biggest reason I am at oxford. Am happy as have got a decent team. Also had a meeting with the Chair of Said who is also co-ordinator for the EP. I think we have a brilliant idea which if followed through might actually be feasible to take live. It was something that had occured to me back in San francisco and its exciting to see it turn into the EP.

Got officially inducted into the Oxford Entrepreneurs this week. Should be a great year at this pretty impressive organization which is one of the largest if not the largest student run body in Europe!

Do check out the snaps. And promise a lot more fun next week and there is going to be a lot of 'blowing steam' this week!!!