Tuesday, February 23, 2010

People who have commented :)

Hi friends

Thanks to my regular commentors (mentioned below in alphabetical order)

Abhishek Chaturvedi (Thanks for reading!)
Abhishek Vedula (Thanks for all your support man!)
Andy (Anand) (I have to still read that book - Sorry about that!)
Avinash (Tifossi) (Have a great life ahead!)
Bharat Jhurani (BRAT, Keep Blogging)
Chandu Venu (Your comments always made my day)
Chintan Vinod Shinde (Thanks for all the encouragement!)
Deepak Karamungikar (Keep up your stories man - they rock!)
Francis Vijay (Dude, keep in touch! McCain rocks!)
Gabriela Govea (Hope you are not playing Mafia Wars still!)
Garima Dixit (Aap ka comments mujhe hamesha sochne pe majboor kar dete the)
GZ Ramharish (Always the questioner!)
Joseph Kiran (KJo) (Thansk for all the support dude, keep rocking!)
Karthik Mohan (MK) (Vocal opposition accepted from JAM fans!)
Karthik Nayaran (Graced by your presence!)
Madhu Rao (Thanks for the support!)
Murali (Thanks man! Keep moo-ing!)
Narsi Reddy (Tell me when you are done with all posts - try to do it by September!)
Neha (GinGer) (You encouraged me to get more open with my life - thank you)
Nikhil Reddy (Dude, needed just that one comment to show that you still care!)
Pankaj Shrivastava (Man, your analysis still lingers in my head!)
Raghavendra (Boss. Your comments are always honest!)
Raghu V N Venmarathoor (Keep blogging - nothing more to say!)
Rajesh Aithal Sir (!!!!)
Rajesh Kumar (Man, we could have had a joint blog! How did I miss that chance!)
Rajesh Reddy (You comments always appreciated)
Raji Ma’m (Commented on what were my most natural posts - thanks!)
Samatha Your comments are rarely disputed and are spot-on!)
Samuel (You started it all man - Thank you!)
Sarada Nagachandra (Hopefully you keep blogging when you have the time Ma'm)
Shashikumar (What do you say to Shashi/Palin '12?)
Sivarchana (Your blogging gave me so many new ideas - Thanks!)
Sugandha Srivastava (Reading a IIML blogger made you reach IIML and I never even got a thanks for that! Keep blogging!)
Tavish Chadha (Bhai, tussi great ho! Yeh statement kabool karo)
Vaishnavi Subramanian (Thanks for your support!)

And these were my one-time commentors, most of whom I do not know personally. Thanks for vising my blog!
Annyesha, Balaji, Bikram, Chava Kiran, Deepa, Dil On The Rocks, Harsha Chittar, Janet, Jyoti Swaroop, Karthik, Krishna, Mahesh Kalaal, Meenakshi, Megha, Miraj Vora, Pankaj Kr. Gupta, Pradeep, Praneeth Reddy, Psych Babbler, Ritesh Anand, RvK, Saptarshi Adhikari, Savitha Akka, Shilpa Garg, Shruti, Siddesh Ravan Kabe, Sumit Garg, Sureindran and Tex.

Hope you all have a great next 6 months (at the least!)

Varun Reddy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shared Birthdays (Link to more)

Going deeper into history of really under-rated, but famous people born on my birthday, whose list you can find below:

1. Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358), the 3rd shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate in Japan

2. William Le Baron Jenney (1832), known as the Father of the American skyscraper

3. Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot (1725), a French inventor and is believed to have built the first self-propelled mechanical vehicle!

4. Agostino Bassi, (1773), who preceded and influenced Louis Pasteur in the origin of the germ theory of disease

5. Thomas Hunt Morgan (1866), in 1933, he was the first person awarded the Prize in genetics, for his discoveries concerning the role played by the chromosome in heredity

6. Lope K. Santos (1879), Filipino writer and labor leader, "Father of the Philippine National Language and Grammar"

7. May Sutton Bundy (1887), is the first American Woman to win Wimbledon

8. Dr. Nahman Avigad (1905), born was an Israeli archaeologist. Among his most exciting finds were the remnants of the “broad wall”, twice mentioned in the Book of Nehemiah

9. Eric Williams (1911), first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago

10. Ethel Rosenberg (1915), American Communist and wife of Julius Rosenberg, both of whom were executed in 1953 after having been found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage. The charges were in relation to the passing of information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. Theirs was the first execution of civilians for espionage in United States history

11. Hammer DeRoburt (1922), first President of Nauru

12. Feroz Khan (1939), Indian Bollywood actor

13. Bishan Bedi (1946), Indian Cricketer

14. Mark Hamill (1951), Actor who played Luke Skywalker in the earlier Star Wars series

15. Rajiv Kulkarni (1962), Indian Cricketer

16. Bridgette Leann Wilson-Sampras (1973), Played the role of Sonya in the movie “Mortal Kombat”. Since 2000, she has been married to tennis player Pete Sampras.

17. Chauncey Billups (1976), NBA guard (Boston Celtics)

18. Mao Asada (1990), Japanese world-Champion figure skater. She is also the first and only woman to have landed two triple Axel jumps in the same program at an ISU competition.


Varun Reddy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The 5-Phase Fever (Part 2) Glossary


The Glossary for Part-2 of this series!

Andhera Pradesh:       Andhra Pradesh

Badi Maa:                     Sonia Gandhi

Ever Reddy:                YS Rajashekara Reddy 

Cycle Babuji:               Chandrababu Naidu (TDP)

Chandu Gaadu:          KC Rao (TRS)

Educated Naxalites:  Left Parties

Megastar:                   Chiranjeevi (PGP)

A-Lone:                       Sajid Lone's Brother

Croak-land/Croaks:  Ghorkhaland/Gorkhas

Santa Singha:             Yashwant Sinha

Land of Kings:            Rajasthan

Crappy Baal:               Ashok Gehlot

Sundry Rahe:              Vasundhara Raje

Ciao till Part-3!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The 5-Phase Fever (Part 1) Glossary

They are arranged in alphabetical-order for ease of viewing

Nickname                                    Reference to
Ambani Bhakt                               Amar Singh
Baniya State                                 Gujarat
Barrel Tiger                                Prabhakaran
Buddhe Ki-Vaani                           L K Advani
Diaper Baba                        Rahul Gandhi
Educated Individuals                People like Cap. Gopinath who just jump into the fray and hope for people to vote for them without spending a paisa on campaigning 

Fraud Akbaari                       M J Akbar
GOP                                 Grand Old Party a.k.a. Congress(I)
Harishchandra-ka-beta           Nitish Kumar
Hatta-Katta Yadav                Mulayam Singh Yadav
Headache Everyday               Headlines Today
Holly Polly                          Veerappa Moily
Jai Jai Shankar                    Ravi Shankar Prasad
Joy-Ho Swami                     Arnab Goswami
Kallu Mama                        Kalyan Singh
Khan Saheb                       Azam Khan
Lallu-thi                            Jayalalitha
Lawyer Baba                      Arun Jaitley
Maa Ki Beti                       Priyanka Gandhi
Maya Memsaab                  Mayawati
Mommy Singh                     Manmohan Singh
No-Kaccha Anna                  Karunanidhi
Out of Times                      Times Now
Pseudo-GYP                       Pseudo Grand Young Party a.k.a. BJP
Raja Beta                            Rajnath Singh
Seedha-Sadhu Party                 Samajwadi Party (SP)
Showroom                         Arun Showrie
Teda-Muh                           Sharad Pawar
Toymaker                          Narendra Modi
Very small insignificant          Godhra Riots

Ciao till Part 2 (to be out in a few days)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Q and A (contd)

Here are the rest of the questions. The original link for the first 3 questions and their answers is as follows:


4. Describe yourself? (In not more than 3 sentences)

I am passionate about anything that I believe is right and just. I am bold enough to take on any challenge that comes to me. I am confident of making a quick decision, and try my best to make it a successful one.

My take: Short and sweet.

5. Describe a situation when you had to accomplish an objective in an ambiguous situation.

When I was in school, my Mathematics/Catechism teacher Mr. James encouraged me to start a quiz club, because we had a few quizzing enthusiasts among my classmates and a few more among my seniors. I was not very sure of this, because I had just started quizzing a year ago and there were more capable seniors who could pursue this idea much more effectively. I was also very apprehensive of the proposal being accepted, because my school principal was a tough person to deal with, and a new club would mean more spending by the school.

What did you do to handle the situation? What was the outcome?

I talked to some of my schoolmates and tried to ascertain the interest that they had in a new quiz club. After seeing the initial levels of enthusiasm, I talked to my school principal about it. I had to convince him that many students were interested in it, and that there was little or no financing that would be required. After a lot of persuasion, he agreed. However, because of the timings of the meetings (after-school hours), the attendance was dismal and we had to shut down the club after 9 months.                            

What were your learnings? Please specify 1 - 2 key learnings from the situation.

Through this experience, I learnt that the perfect execution of any project is as important as the initial enthusiasm levels. After the club was approved, I was sure that it would succeed, but I failed to look at the timings aspect of it beforehand and the club bombed. Hence, I learnt that one needs to look at a situation from all angles and imagine the outcome in one's mind before trying to tackle the problem.

My take: Detailed, yet to the point. Situation was ambiguous and the handling was good. All points were driving towards the key learnings that one could have got from the situation.


6. Describe a task/situation that you faced during your summer internship / past work experience which you consider as a complex problem. Please elaborate on the relevance of the problem to your role and the organisation. 

My role/task was to prepare my organization's budget. This exercise was being carried out in my organization for the first time; hence none of the department heads had any idea of how to approach the budget. Some of them were not interested in the budget and had the "I will think when I need" approach towards it. It would have been impossible for me to prepare the budget without their full support.

How did you approach the problem? What options did you generate to solve the problem?

I talked to all the department heads and tried to understand their exact roles and limitations. I had to find out what they did so far and what their needs were in the last financial year. Based on this information, I created easy-to-use charts that they could use to think about the future budgetary needs and the possible rise/fall in their needs. These forms could be filled in their free time, and helped then stimulate their minds towards the budget. It worked, and the budget was prepared successfully.

What were your key learnings from the situation? What would you do in case you were to handle a similar problem in future?

I learnt how to get people to co-operate with me on something that was not just beneficial to me, but for the whole organization. I learnt to adjust to their needs and schedules and change my schedule accordingly. It helped me to think in their shoes, to understand their perspective of the work being done. If a similar problem occurs in the future, I would address it by first talking to people about it and trying to understand them.

My take: It was based on my real experience in my firm. Although I exaggerated a bit, the approach and the learnings showed my commitment to resolution of a problem by talking my way through and my sense of understanding.


7. Mention "one" personal improvement area that you have worked upon in the last one year. Why do you feel the above area was an improvement area for you?

In the last one year, I have worked on my humour levels. People always told me that I am very serious when I talk about something I am very passionate about and that I needed to lighten up. I also felt that humour in any conversation would be well received by people and improve my people-engagement skills. Humour lightens up the atmosphere in any situation and is appreciated by most of the people. It helps make quick friends too. I also felt it would make me a better speaker. So I felt it was essential to work on my humour.

How did you identify the improvement area? What did you do to improve yourself in this area?

I identified it through the feedback of my close friends and a few relatives whom I usually engage in serious conversation. I started watching sitcoms and listened to the speakers carefully and learn how they saw humour in every situation, both. Then I tried to use a similar logic in my daily situations. I had to be careful not to offend anyone through this.

Do you think you have achieved your objective? What makes you think so?

I can definitely say that I am more humourous than what I was before. It helped me become more cheerful and changed my outlook towards life. It was tough at first, but by working on it continuously I was able to bring humour into any situation. My objective was to make myself a better people-person than what I was and I am confident that I have succeeded in that.

My take: The problem identification shows that I am open to feedback. Although my story is grossly fabricated, it shows that I am a serious person, who knew his weakness and worked on it. It shows the desire to change for the good.


8. At times, many of us are caught in a situation of moral conflict, where we have to choose between two seemingly right alternatives. Give us one situation when you faced this conflict. How did you resolve it? (Maximum 500 characters)

In engineering, one of my best friends confronted me on issues of faith. Since I was a Christian, I was supposed to spread the word of God to people of all religions. I was in a dilemma whether to preach to him about Christ (as my religion demands from me) or brush aside the topic (as he was a close friend). I finally decided to tell him about Christ. It worked, as he did not feel threatened in any way and our friendship still remains.

My take: This story, although highly fabricated, exploits the fact that I am a Christian. Being from a minority religion helped me fabricate this answer more authentically. But the story is weak and may not always work.


9. Sometimes, we may find a group of people disagreeing with our beliefs/point of view. Give us an instance where you had to convince a group of people on your point of view. (Maximum 500 characters)

In the recent US Presidential Election, most of my friends were supporters of Obama, while I was a strong McCain supporter. When asked why, I had convince them of my reasons i.e. McCain is not another Bush as claimed by Obama; He is more experienced; He has a solid professional background and shares many of my beliefs about the limited role of Government etc. I managed to convince a few of my friends, who turned towards McCain later on.

My take: This was a true story. I was asked the same question in one of my interviews and the interviewer seemed to like it. Views can be mostly political or religious, so it’s good that I could have a political viewpoint addressed in this.


10. Outline briefly in not more than 50 words your reason for applying to our firm (SBI Caps) and choice of career.

The mission of SBI Caps, to provide a credible and customer-focused world-class Investment Banking Services, resonates deeply with my idea of an ideal firm to start my career with. A career in I-Banking is both exciting and full of opportunities, and hence is one of my career choices.

My take: Make your vision and mission the same as that of the firm and you shall reap a lot of benefits! This is one sure-shot way of answering this question.


11. What is your Career Objective? How do you plan to achieve it?

I want to become a successful professional in my field, no matter what field it is. I am flexible, because I don’t have any prior preferences. I plan to achieve that by working hard in my job, with full dedication and sincerity. I would contribute to my workplace with my new ideas and cheerful disposition. I want to specialize in a particular field and become an expert in it. I want to establish myself as a credible source in my field of expertise.

My take: Very common answer. But it highlights a lot of strengths.


12. What is your idea of a “Dream Job”?

My dream job is one which will help me achieve a perfect work-life balance. I want to work in an environment which requires me to dedicate a fixed number of hours per day solely for the purpose of work and does not require me to work from home. My work and my personal life must not interfere at any phase in my dream job.

My take: This answer shows that personal space is very important to me as an individual. I could have phrased the answer much better than this though.


13. Who is your role model and Why?

My father has always been a role model for me. He put his heart and soul in what he believed in and strived for it. As a union leader, he worked for the betterment of his colleagues and juniors. His zeal and leadership made me believe that each one of us can become a leader, provided we have the passion to lead and inspire. He earned the respect of his colleagues, and my admiration.

My take: It is always better to make the person you know best as your role model, especially when you are emphasizing more on what the person has done and less on the status of the individual. Since my answers were mostly related to “family” and “values”, it was a good fit.


14. What do you think is your greatest achievement? And why?

My greatest achievement in life was winning the “Prodigy (Solo Quiz)” during my engineering days. I had put in a lot of effort and worked for it earnestly, each quiz was a stepping stone for me. Although I did not win any Group quizzes before that, I knew that I was on the right path and was continuously improving. This win helped me get the much-needed recognition and acknowledgement from my batch mates, seniors and juniors. They knew that I got what I deserved and I relished their appreciation.

My take: This answer shows my dedication to the task at hand & my craving for recognition and accomplishment (thereby making me ambitious).


15. How would you describe yourself as a person?

In a nutshell I would describe myself through five words – Logical, Sincere, Hard-Working, Ethical and Caring. I am very passionate about my beliefs and have a “never-say-die” attitude towards life. I believe in living life to the fullest by doing what I believe is right. I try hard to live upto the values that my parents taught me. I believe in God and have faith in the people around me. I am flexible in my daily habits and can adjust to situations appropriately.

My take: More emphasis on personal values.


What do you think about my answers? Do tell me in the comments in the original post if possible…

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tata coffee in Karolbagh...

In the words of Mr. Bijoor himself:

We wanted to launch Tata Coffee in Delhi. We had printed tons of banners to be put out in Karolbagh and to my shock found that Karolbagh was a clutter of banners from many brands and companies. It was too late then and we could not do anything else. An idea struck us. We then got the team to hang all our banners upside down at that location and that stood out pretty well! People looked at our banner specifically for teasing it. They used to point at it saying “Hey, look at that. Those idiots put the banner upside down! Anyways, what is it about? Oh, Tata coffee it seems”. Any recall is good recall. Our banner attracted attention simply because it was upside down!

The Tata Coorg Story...

In the words of Mr. Bijoor himself:

We didn’t want to market Tata Coorg Coffee in the traditional ways as it was expensive. So we decided on a novel approach. We saw that eggs were used by almost every household – infact the reach of eggs in Tamil Nadu, our chosen location, was more than the distribution of newspapers! Taking advantage of this “new medium”, we printed Tata Coorg Pure Coffee on three million eggs and put it back in the normal egg retail channel. The eggs became extremely popular and created a lot of excitement in families which bought these eggs.

In the beginning, they all felt that it was something different with the eggs itself – People started buying the eggs just for the sake of buying them, thereby increasing the revenues of the shopkeepers! They started talking to their neighbours and friends about the “new type of eggs in the market”, thereby getting us the “word-of-mouth” publicity. People got so curious that on one visit to a house I saw two children and their mother watching the egg boil patiently, as if something different would happen to it. The retailers were happy as it created consumer excitement. We also got covered and thus with minimal budgets we were able to reach a large audience and make them aware of the new coffee brand.