Monday, July 31, 2006

why XL is different !!

In the Villages of Jharkhand: A tryst with reality

7 Xlers... left for Patamda (a village block 30 KM away from Jamshedpur) on 30th June at 9 AM in a Sumo.Father Augustine and our Dean came to see us when We left. We did not know each other well but conversation started soon and we started planning about what we can buy on our way...After all village was going to be a totally new experience for us and we were expecting nothing for survival there...

After half an hour we crossed the famous Dimna Lake and stopped by to take a look at its beauty.And soon we had reached into a zone which should be called a jungle...more or less to people who have spent their lives in megacities...

At the Patamda headquarter of the NGO called Tagore Society (a Kolkata based orgn.) we met a committed social worker Mr. Nandlal Bakshi who left his home 15 years ago to serve the needs of poor villagers in Jharkhand...and to our surprise there were many like him. Meeting social workers and seeing how they work was a humbling experience for me.

There were lot of eye-openers on this trip awaiting for us to come and explore them. After having our lunch (a luxurious one i must say) we left with a Field Worker(a localite villager who was in touch with the NGO) to visit the first 2 villages which were 17 KM away from the place....The first one was Bantoria....a village which 5 years back was devoid of water and was the victim of migration....We met villagers there and soon I discovered that knowing Bengali there was a boon for me... I was able to communicate well... Most of the villages were on the border with Bengal and boundaries are not the restrictions for language and culture, was the message that I got there.Villagers there were happy to meet us...They said that the canals built by Tagore Society there helped them in agriculture and now they were able to get rid of the migration problem.

Another eye opener was this conversation with a villager there:

Me: Do u watch movies?

Villager: I have never seen cinema.

Me: Ever been to Kolkata? any city?

Villager: No.

Me: Any desire to go to the city? Are u happy here?

Villager: I am very happy here...never feel like going anywhere else..

Me: At what time in the morning do u go to the fields?

Villager: We don't know abt the time....we don't have a clock out here.

This conversation broke many of the perceptions . Reality was showing its face.

Then we visited a villager marriage....The girl tried to take our blessings by touching our hands...Satheesh was almost dumbstruck at this...An old villager who was talking to me for sometime called me in a corner and offered the wine made from Mahua...I smiled and said no to him.Their hospitability struck me.

The next village was Jorsa, where we met a tribe called Santhals and they were getting new homes built by the government there....but they were shy people who liked living away from those...their language was out of my understanding, their only means of livelihood was making hats of bamboo sticks and their condition was really pathetic...They are surviving on snakes and rats at times. The village road was in bad shape. I was thinking about what these people would do with the homes if they don't have proper food to eat.the sights there were horrifying...

We returned back to the headquarter and had a reflection session on what we saw.Soon I started thinking about the movie Swades and the things depicted there...It was indeed true.

After 10:30 there was no generator power and we were forced to stay awake on the terrace waiting for the power resumption till 1 o'clock....It was scary to be on the terrace with darkness to be felt as far as eyes could see...On the top of that we were being told horror stories by the experienced peopleJ

There were arguments.....there were card games and then we felt that it was really difficult to live without a mobile network for 12 hrs and we had to spend the next 2 days like that only... We knew each other well by now..... one of us was confused, other one was a scary storyteller and one is a future IAS officer...

Next day we went to the villages called Bankunchia, Dimudih and Aamjhora. We met the tribe called Paharia who lived in hilly areas and who used to earn their livelihood by selling honey. I saw govt. contractors working there to construct homes for them but the villagers were not interested in earning more by working for them...even though these homes were being made for them....The govt. was forced to bring labour from outside...but these people did not want to change their style of living... I met the village headman and came to know from the field worker that the village headman had sold a goat for 350 bucks 2 days ago and he has spent half the money on drinking....

Another interesting conversation followed with the village headman:

Me: Do u know how to count, add and subtract? Ever been to school.

Villager: U don't need to go to school to learn how to count money.

Me: U have spent ur money on drinking....why don't u stop drinking its bad...

Villager: Don't u ppl drink too? Whats wrong in that...

I was outwitted by his answers....We left that place and this was the place where Naxalities are active nowadays.

We met a women Self Help Group then who used to collect money and deposit in the bank among themselves and used to give that as a loan in times of need to the needy members of the group....This SHG concept was a very good concept which I saw in most villages. It is making the villagers self dependent and is leading to women-empowerment. In most of the villages, schools were 5-10 kms. away with no vehicle and means of transport available..the only motivation for study to them was the Meals offered by the govt. in the schools to the students...We met children and women asked them about various issues and quizzed the children on current affairs... We distributed sweets, chocolates, stationery items everywhere... Shilpa made sure to ask about the schools and their conditions in every village we visited...

Our driver Raju was an interesting person and he used to play the Himesh Reshamiyya songs most of the time... he also used to pass comments on our nature,style...He was a typical bihari driver...but was highly observant... He was oblivious to all the experiences which we were having.....He was not there to feel anything it seemed.....

We met the 70 year old retired doctor who used to teach the villagers on various issues like Animal Husbandry etc. I was amazed to see his commitment...Then there was a brush off with the corruption...Two ponds constructed side by side - one by the Govt, another by NGO - the size of latter was thrice the former the money spent was equal..Horticulture was being practised in Dimudih..

In the evening ,We discussed with the NGO on the business plans and prospects of those areas with full assurance of suppport from XLRI. Tagore Society's work was commendable in the area.The NGO is active in Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa and is making the real difference...

Last morning of the trip, we visited a village Ashram at Rakhdih village, an old Kali temple was there and then in the village we were taking the photos with a Digicam when suddenly a villager brought a handycam to take our photos....this was the most developed village of all...but we soon realized the divide between rich and poor which the progress brings....This village was aiming to have internet was available there..

We returned at 11 o'clock in the morning from Patamda with a variety of mindblowing experiences... stopped at Dimna on our way back... We had our share of good times. We felt the misery and poverty that exists in this world. We saw things from a close proximity. We felt the ground reality.....

I was forced to think::how about leading a life in one such village......Can I survive there? 70% of India lives like that....Can we make a difference? Can we make a better world? yes WE CAN and WE Will..!!!!!

Post by an XLer of the current Batch. Courtesy Prof. Madhukar Shukla

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pune Alumni Meet

Hi Everyone

Things seem to be moving along fine as far as organizing the Alumni Meet is concerned. The evening of 5th of August (Saturday) seems to be a convenient date for all and also it gives us a bit of a time to organize things so we are freezing this date.

The venue is still not finalized. Some of the possible suggestion include spending the Evening at the Pune Club or the Boat Club. More suggestions please!!!

As of now we have recived confirmation from 19 Xlers. Those who have not yet responded request you to please do so.

Each of you are most welcome to bring your spouse/ children / friends to the meet. You can also invite other Xlers (from Mumbai and other places) who could come down to Pune and attend the meet.
Just a request, in case addition people are coming along please let us know in advance (by 1st of August) so that we can plan accordingly.

Any other ideas / suggestions / criticisms on anything please come forth.

Abhinav Anand
Oracle - PeopleSoft Practice
CTS, ICC, Pune

The 3rd Annual XL Alumni Homecoming


Block your date!.. and plan your travel!

The 3rd Annual XL Alumni Homecoming

is scheduled on

November 18-19, 2006

@ XLRI Jamshedpur
To know what to expect, please visit the photoblog of Homecoming '05 at:

Will keep updating (and pestering ;0) as the plans get firmed up

look foward to having you all here
Dr Madhukar Shukla
Chairperson, Alumni Affairs
& Professor (OB & Strategic Management)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Grax fresh off campus

anyway updates from campus..

bishuda is back but now operates from a room in the new gym building..

theres an all day section of the mess which gives milk, juice, omelettes , cool drinks etc

jlt is still green and cordoned off

there's construction happenning on one side of the admin block - rumoured to be a chapel

the other side of admin block has a well (??)

the library has been modified and is now spacious and inviting (quite) - the reading room doesnt exist anymore

the common room has newly uphosltered sofas and a carpet

there are tvs in each mess

there r 2 mess contactors and we get to choose where to eat

pitching of the committees happenned yesterday

Think ive covered them all


" the other side of admin block has a well (??)"
not a well exactly, but more like a fountain i would say! yes, it definitely is one. with lights that too....

Thanks Sandhya & Dhruv

gmd and maxim

GMD BY BODHITREE finds its own small space in MAXIM india edition, june issue 2006 alond with BC suttah

how ever XLRI is not mentioned :(

Thanks Raunak for this info. Anyone have any links to the article in question ?

XL Canada - KNV (BMD 90) remembers the early days

It has been a tremendously satisfying and joyous experience for me as the owner/moderator of the XLCANADA egroup since the day I formed it way back in June 2001. I have seen alumni circle in Toronto grow from just three of us meeting
for the first time in 1998: Fred Devas, Munawar Kassim and myself (KNV)) - we met with our families to greet and meet over lunch Prof Venkat Krishnan who was visiting Canada/Toronto.

When I landed in Toronto from Hong Kong way back in 1996, it was sheer eagerness to meet Xllers in far away lands, that I had scribbled the contact tel nos of a few alumni from the printed XLRI alumni directory of the pre-internet days.

Then one day in 1998 I received a call from one Prof Venkat Krishnan saying he would like to meet some alumni in Toronto! So I called these few numbers on hand and Fred and Munawar came to join in a very memorable lunch. Srini (now in US west coast) was also a part of the first meeting we had at Mississauga in June 1998 with the visiting Prof Venkat Krishnan. Since then we have grown in size to over 30 alumni in the GTA and about 40 in Canada as a whole.

May the XLCanada egroup and the XLCanada Alumni Chapter grow further and scale greater heights with some inspired spport from Alok, Arvinder, Suresh,Tanweer, Niraj Dawar and others.

K N Venkataraman (BMD 1990)
Deustche Bank AG
New York

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Blogspot blocked by ISP's in India ????

I was trying to check on my blogs since Friday morning, but somehow I wasn't getting through. Initially thought it was a temporary glitch, but by Saturday morning there was no improvement. Was travelling that day & the next and today whole day, I still couldn't connect. I had written to the powers that be at the blogspot help on saturday itself, but have still not got a response from them.

Spoke to a couple of friends who said that they weren't facing any problems, so I thought it was a wierd bug in MY system. Turns out the bug is a bee in some ministry's bonnet, who has ordered that blogspot, geocities & typepad be blocked by ISP's.
Some of the ISP's that have blocked blogger are at this location

A group of Indian Bloggers who have all been hit by this blockade are grouping together & looking for solutions here

Bypassing the ban

For sites blocked by domain names

  • Using google translate, e.g., if the blog is "", then use|en&

For Blogspot

Using proxy server for any blocked site

One way to visit a blocked site is through another site, generally called a proxy site. Some such sites and the info on how to use them are given below.

In this specfic case go to site:

On that page below the link for favourites you will find an edit box. Put the shortcut of the site you want to access in this edit box eg.

Press Enter and voila! you have access:)

Use and then type in the site you wish to access.

Use It allows you to not just surf, but also make posts.

Got all this neat info on the Bloggers group &

First time I have had to use a proxy server to access what I write. Makes me feel like I'm some kind of dirty criminal or terrorist disloyal to my country.

Much as I love my country, the politicians are slowly making it difficult for us to keep doing so.

First they take 1/3 of our salary in taxes & then they don't give us basic infrastructure (case in points floods 2 weeks back) non-adequate security (bomb blasts last week) and now they take away my stress release mechanism & window to the world (blogspot being banned this week) what are they gonna do to me next week ? Throw me in Jail ?

Neha has sone a much better job of blogging about this

I'm just tired, sleepy & cranky, so I shall sign off here.

XLCanada meet

We had our Picnic yesterday and Subbu as Secretary will send out a brief memo to all -

It was agreed at the Picnic yday that moderators for the XLCANADA Yahoo Group will be Bala and Siddharth. In addition to Bala and Siddharth - Alok, Arvinder, Suresh and Tanweer have also keenly volunteered to assist the Moderators and the Secretary as a group to bring in more enthusiasm into the XL Canada chapter.

Feed-back from the ladies was they would like to see a water sport event so that the kids get more involved in the outing. There was also a suggestion to have a ski outing. But in whatever shape, manner or form this evolves, this is now upto Subbu, Bala, Siddharth; and with the assistance of Alok, Arvinder, Suresh and Tanweer to take it to the next level.

your now officially retired friend,

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bombs in Bombay : Check on XLers in the city

As most of you would know by now. 7 bomb blasts have hapenned on the Local trains on the Western line between 6:00 & 6:30 pm.

Quite a few dead and injured being reported.

To add to the confusion, phone lines have been jammed and its quite difficult to get through to people by calling them or sms. Some internet lines are working. I hope mine holds on for awhile.

As of now,
Central & Harbour Lines running
Long Distance Trains Halted
Western Line stalled. Might not start again till tomorrow.
Special BEST buses are supposed to have been deployed to ferry commuters from Churchgate to Andheri.

38 casualties at Hinduja Hospital.
Some at Cooper Hospital, KEM Hospital & Sion Hospital.

Thought of letting XLers who are connected leave a message here to tell friends & relatives that they are ok. If you have heard from any XLer in Mumbai who is safe, please post a comment here.

Important Contact Numbers

Western Railway Enquiry 131, (022) 2306 1763

Mumbai Helpline (022) 2200 5388

Cooper Hospital (022) 2620 7254
Bhabha Hospital - Bandra (022) 2642 2775
Hinduja Hospital (022) 2445 1515
Leelavati Hospital (022) 2643 8281
Nanavati Hospital (022)
Raheja Hospital (022) 2446 7569
Sion Hospital (022) 2407 6380 / 2444 9161

To send messages on TV News Channels :

SMS "Mumbai" to 2622 followed by your message
Or call (0120)4341 895

Headlines Today
HT Message your name to 2424

SMS message to 6388

Times Now
SMS YOU Message at 8888

For Blood donation, logon to

Piyush Mehta (90PMIR) on MBAs


Business Standard (July 11, 2006) carries an article on MBAs & the Art of Job-Hopping by Piyush Mehta (90PMIR), Sr Vice President, Genpact.

"A B-school label certainly increases your marketability, so the temptation to switch jobs frequently for a better designation, a more prominent brand-name or a larger pay-cheque is high.... But it's not a good idea from the point of view of professional growth... to develop as a well-rounded professional, it is important to prove yourself over a period of time within a company.

...Another aspect that you can't really learn

Credit : Madhukar Shukla

Saturday, July 08, 2006

BT B-School Rankings - a big farce ?

Well, I'm no expert, but Prof. Madhukar Shukla surely is.

Many have commented on how warped the BT rankings are, how biased etc, etc. Prof has assembled all those grumblings and actually evaluated the merits (oops, none of those) & demerits of the survey.

B-School Ranking Survey gets "F" Grade

I just love his parting salvo "I guess there is a time one should maintain a stoic calm, give up one's attempts to make sense out of glossy charts and bar-diagram, and feel grateful that in any decent B-School, such a survey will get an 'F' grade."

He wrote on this topic last year too, when the surveys came out
"B-School Surveys" Misguide....Period!!!


Whither B-School Rankings!

He says : Their 2-stage methodology is interesting:

Stage 1: How do you shortlist the 30 B-schools to be ranked?
Just ask
  • 101 MBA aspirants (out of more than 100,000 who sat for CAT, and more than 50,000 who appeared for XAT), and
  • 75 recruiters (sample: "a mix of managers from companies with revenue less than Rs 500 crore and more than 500 crore" - so precise!!!)

    Stage 2: And how do you arrive at the magical rankings?
    Interview another 108 current MBAs, 88 young executives and 77 functional heads

    Total Sample for survey: 449

    (they ranked almost 1000 B-schools in the country!!!)
  • Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Singapore Alumni meet & New XLRI centre reviewed

    The Alumni meet at Singapore was successfully held with Fr. Casmir Raj gracing the occasion along with 17 XLers, some as 'antique' as the Batch of 1980 to a few of us 'freshers' from the batch of 2005. It was indeed great to see that people could take time out to be there and share their version of XL and relive memories when they saw a few videos of XL in its current avatar.

    Fr. Raj told us more about the Singapore center which we have launched in a tie-up with Image International (ably managed by Dr. Rajshree and Mr. Rajan). We now have about 40 executives who are part of the 2-year course which has classes only over the weekends. Fr. Raj also gave us an update about our plans to launch a new center which could be in Hyderabad. However, this is at a very primitive stage, good thing being the A.P. state government's interest in XLRI opening up a new campus there, and their initiating this.

    Sam (aka Ramaswami, from the batch of 1980) who has been staying in Singapore for more than 25 years, shared his rich experience in 'coping up with the laws of the land'. The brief session was specially useful for a fresher (in Singapore) like me - 'experiential learning' you see!! Robin (87 batch) a die-hard Brazil supporter was spotted with a Brazilian yellow t-shirt inside and headed straight for Clarke Quay to catch the action on the big screen. I missed out on a treat from him which he promised had Brazil won that day :((

    A big thanks to Vinod Martin (Batch of 90) for taking the lead and getting the venue and food organized. It was very generous of him to sponsor for the wine that evening. The meet got over at about 10:30pm with a group photograph (truly XL ishtyle). For those who could not make it (especially the KL gang), we do hope to see you next year round. Click on the link below to catch glimpses of the meet:

    Singapore Alumni Meet 2006 Photos

    Do drop in comments...

    Xlers who attended :

    Udit Saraff
    Standard Chartered Bank
    #09-00, Plaza By The Park
    51, Bras Basah Road
    Singapore - 189554
    M: 8128 5640

    Sat July 15th - 5th AnnualXLPicnic -Canada

    A Warm Hello to All,


    Sat July 15th - 5th Annual XL Picnic

    Just a reminder on our Annual XL Picnic - its on Sat July 15th, 2006

    Traditionally, we have had each family bringing in some food item, and we have shared this with each other, which has been quite a economic and hassle free way of enjoying ourselves.

    The rest of the details would remain as per the earlier Annual Pcnics held i.e.

    Location : "Sunnybrook Park".
    Time : From Noon onwards
    Location : Sunnybrook Park is at Leslie and Eglington Avenue.

    Directions :
    Take 401 and exist Leslie South
    You will see the sign for Sunnybrook Park on your right just before Eglington. Turn into Sunnybrook Park, and then turn left at the fork (Sign for Earnest Thompson Seton Park) After you turn left, park on the right at the 2nd picnic area.

    Format: Xlers and families.
    Please bring few soft drinks for all to share (and a little extra styrofoam plates/cups/napkins/spoons/forks). Please bring lawn chairs, Duree/sheets. If you have a Stove, pls bring that along too. If someone has a digital camera, please bring that along so that we can e-mail the pictures to XLRI at Jamshedpur for their hosting in their web.

    Do check the weather forecast and dress accordingly.

    Those whose parents/in-laws are in Toronto, please bring them too and am sure they will have a good time. They are all invited as part of our families.

    We could also have games for the kids and play some cricket - and Fred has a cricket set so we can play some tennis ball cricket. Those who have Frisbees/Balls, or any other sport items, please bring them along too.

    Fred will be bringing a small stove and will make 'Chai' for all of us.

    See you ALL!

    PS: If you are aware of any new XLers that have moved to Toronto, please circulate the Invite to them and also let me have their contact details so I can update the Contact List.

    Best Rgds

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006

    XL Celeb Watch: Amar Babu (89BMD)

    Intel's India chief moves to US...

    Amar Babu (89BMD) is moving to Santa Clara...

    Business Today (July 16, 2006) reports:

    "Amar Babu, Intel India's managing director for sales and marketing, must have mixed feelings about his relocation to the US. He must surely be happy that he is exchanging country-specific responsibilities for a larger corporate role at Santa Clara, but at the same time sad that he will miss all the action back home. In the seven years that Babu, 40, has been with Intel India, the local marketing business has grown from a four-city set up to an estimated Rs 2,733 crore in annual revenues for 2004-05 (Intel doesn't disclose figures)... His India lessons may just come handy in the US.

    Information Courtesy : Madhukar Shukla

    Monday, July 03, 2006

    Everest Base Camp Trek XLRI Leadership Expedition 2006

    Remember the Everest Base Camp Trek XLRI Leadership Expedition 2006 ?

    Maybe this will jog your memory......

    Did u wish u could have been there ?

    Well, u may not have been able to join the team, but u can do the next best thing. . .

    "Enjoy the photographs"

    Check out the rest of the pictures taken by Prithvi of the 06 batch, Sid (RBI :) ), Shivram and Ganaps...and rest of the group as and when they had the cameras in their hands.


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