In case you havent noticed yet, my name is made of two surnames. Like I had a choice! The good thing about it is I can easily connect to anyone from Orissa, Maharashtra, UP or Karnataka; that is only till I open my mouth. Once they realize that I cannot communicate in any of the local languages: Oriya, Marathi, Hindustani or Kannada, the fraud is exposed! However, the blabbermouth that I am, I’ve so far been able to crack ‘em up with my Hindi/English. Funny, nobody has been able to guess that I might be from Gujarat. And even after I state so, I see their heads dancing in disapproval. ‘You don’t look like a typical Gujju’ (Although, nobody has been able to give me a rundown on how a ‘typical gujju’ is supposed to look like!). Maybe it’s the non-chubby face, unlike a typical Gujju bhai. Or the fact that I cannot stomach oily/spicy foods, a well accepted Gujju staple. Or that I have successfully completed 2 Marathons in Mumbai’s swindling humid heat, yet to meet a Gujju who has done so! Or maybe because vacationing twice every year isn’t my first hobby! But my one statement that brings expressions of credibility on their faces is “I went to America” (I am yet to figure out if this is something to be proud of or to be ashamed of for the Gujju community!).
So, yeah, just like the majority of engineers from my generation, I haven’t done anything “engineering” in my 7 years of work experience. MS (Industrial Engg) from Houston, US was easier than BE (Production Engg) from NIT Surat. Both, however, were equally hazy and boring. I am not complaining though because I am sure that played a vital role in my selection to PGPX program. I’ve worked as a Quality Engineer and later as Quality Manager for 3 different companies in the US for about 6 years. I used to play a lot of tennis and racquetball while in the US. In fact, I won the 2006 Texas State Open Tennis Tournament and was ranked #4 in Texas. But those were the good old days when I was young! Now, in India, it’s down to running Marathons. And here, at IIMA, I forget about my midlife crisis (at 30!) on the few days that I can manage to sneak out for a half-hour jog after defeating (ignoring!) the “pressure cooker approach”, “academic rigor”, “pencil pushing” and “number crunching” (phrases coined by the IIMA professors, not me!)
Needless to mention, my first hobby ‘reading’ (the real one, not the IIMA course material reading) has fallen out of favor with me. The last couple of books that I had read ‘The Blank Slate – The Modern Denial of Human Nature’ (1) and ‘Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ (2) had spurred me on to read ‘Critique of Pure Reason’ (3). Not sure when shall I be able to do that. Pray for me!
(1) by Steven Pinker
(2) by Robert Pirsig
(3) by Immanuel Kant … (citations, the IIMA way!)