Anchors for Self Esteem

It’s been really long since I wrote anything in here, I guess the curriculum at IIM K is to blame for this. One of the thoughts which occurred to me few days back when I was walking back from office (summer intern phase going on) got me thinking. I have always struggled with self esteem ever since my early childhood days. Always considered myself introverted until I joined IIM, ambivalent might be a better word for me now I guess. Anyways coming back to the point, I often relied upon certain key events which helped keep my confidence high during disappointments. I call these events as “anchors” for self esteem. It can be as simple as scoring 99+ percentile in a competitive examination or it can be a particular skill you take pride in. Whatever is the case, I guess most of us rely on some sort of “anchor” to get us through difficult times.

However, a change in perception, by believing that these anchors are somehow inherent and one’s skill-set is not something which needs external validation goes a long way. My time at IIM K till now has made me far more fearless regarding outcomes of events and has given me tremendous confidence in my ability. I guess this might be the most important transformation this place has offered me.

Until next time…

IIM K has truly been a life changing experience 🙂

Our Beloved Canine Angel

It’s been long since I wrote anything here. Past few days have been filled with ups and downs. Today a very dear companion of mine since the past 9 years passed away. It was painful to see him suffer in the last few days and it’s almost destiny that I got to meet him before the end. While he didn’t realize, he taught me so many things about life I can’t even begin to comprehend. It is with such a heavy heart I write this knowing this pain won’t go away so easily. No matter often people say that death is part of life but no words can describe the tearing of the heart one feels when he/she actually witnesses it.

He taught me to love unconditionally no matter how people treated him. It is his selfless endeavor in every breath of his life that often pushes me to work for others. The understanding he had of human emotions surpassed many people I have ever known. I guess knowing they have few years on this earth makes them live life without any regrets. He went about that day without caring he will live to see the next one. His life was a mixture of running, eating and barking at anything that moves. Only three weeks ago I met him and he was perfectly healthy and active. But such things happens with these canine angels, his health deteriorated in the past few days and today he finally collapsed. I feel grateful that I was at-least holding him when he died, screaming and calling the car. He taught me to live life on my own terms without any compromises and to bow to no one, even if that means your human masters. He traveled a lot like me: From a 28 day puppy in Lucknow to Pune then to Jammu and to Delhi. His Journey finally ended at Jalandhar. You will forever stay in our hearts Buzo, my dear old canine friend.

Rest In Peace

Our Beloved Canine Angel

Buzo (2008-2017)

My IIM K Interview Experience

Just adding this here as it was one of the best interview experiences of my life and I am so glad this journey turned out so well. Since this was my lone old IIM call, I went in with “you only live once” attitude.

CAT 2016: 99.46%ile

GD/WAT Topic: Future Wars will be fought over Air and Water instead of Economic Wealth and Patriotism

Fish Market GD. Decent WAT.

P1 and P2 both profs. P1 is Dean of Academics at IIM K.

P2: Come in Abhinav. *I wish Good Afternoon*. Good Afternoon. Please sit down.
*Hands over the documents*
P2: So you are working in Bank of America? What is your job description?
Me: *blah blah blah* Server Management basically
P1: Which architecture are your servers on?
Me: We have around 6 servers. The ones we work on are on IBM iSeries.
P2: Are they new? Haven’t heard of them?
Me: No sir. In fact they are quite old. They were released in 1998. Also we are in process of shifting them to newer technologies like MISP.
P2: So you mean to say BofA faces issues with legacy systems?
Me: Yes sir. In fact most the large MNC banks which are old face this.
*P2 nods*
P2: So tell me which is bigger bank? Citi or BofA?
Me: It depends. In terms of Assets under Management BofA is larger, in fact the second largest after JP Morgan(UBS is first and BofA second actually but he didn’t point out) (about 2 trillion $). In terms of how widespread the bank is, number of employees Citi is larger.
P1: Ohkay. So what are the main focus areas for BofA?
Me:*shit*Uum…Investment Banking, Mortgage, Private Banking.
P2: What was the role of BofA in the 2008 fiasco?
Me: Told about how Credit Cards were issued without history check. Loan defaults. Had to pay 10 Billion$ debt. Bought Merrill Lynch.
*P2 nods*
P2: So Chemical Engineering first then BofA? Doesn’t match up. Would you say you wasted your engineering degree?
Me: *great this again* No I wouldn’t say I wasted my degree. In Engineering you get to learn a lot of skills which are helpful in any field you go. You gain an ability to comprehend complex matter in short span of time, time management among others. Overall the experience helps.
*P1 looks at me somewhat convinced*
P2: So why MBA then?
Me: An MBA seems to me the best logical step to further my career. When I observed the kind of decisions my manager (who is an MBA) makes and the kind of work I do, I realized my work is still one dimensional in nature. I need that leap which would take me to the next level. I have always been good with my technical knowledge. What I require are people skills and a holistic knowledge as to how a business works. An MBA hence seems to me the next logical step.
P2: But don’t you think it is better to continue with your job instead of doing an MBA?
Me: I am not sure whether I want to work in the IT industry in future and MBA at this point would give me ample opportunities to learn about different fields and maybe settle for one.
*P1 is meanwhile dozing off the whole interview and occasionally looking at the docs*
P1: So you have travelled a lot?
Me: Yes sir over 19 cities.
P1: You must be good with Geography then *Hell no!!*
P1: Where does Kaveri river originate?
Me: *what?* Uhh Tamil Nadu and goes to Karnataka.
P1: Are you sure?
Me: Not sure sir sorry.*damn*
P2: Ohkay so you played Squash during your college years?
Me: Yes I represented college twice winning Gold once and Bronze the other time.
P2: Ohkay so tell me what is basic strategy you follow in Squash? What drives the game?
Me: *figured out he is player* Told about the importance of center of court. The “T” zone it’s called. Players try to stay in this zone as much as they can so that they can move around the court effectively.
*P2 agrees*
P2: So suppose I am at the “T” and you are retrieving the ball. What shots can you play which will ensure that I can’t get back to this zone?
Me:*shit!* I try to answer but he says you are not understanding the ques. I tell him to repeat again.
After some thinking:
Generally you can play shots from which you can’t attack. Like the drop shot which is played just above the tin mark. The player has to reach out and he only shot possible is a defensive lob from which you can again attack making it difficult for him to get in a position.
*P2 smiles and agrees*
Although sir this is just one way.
P2: Tell us about any famous Squash players?
Me: Ramy Ashour, El Shorbagy, Jahangir Khan, Janser Khan.
P2: Anyone from India?
Me: *shit what was his name* Sir I don’t remember. Sorry.
P2: Haha he is not doing well anyway. So what is the statistical achievement of Jahangir Khan?
Me: Told. 555 consecutive winning streak.
P2: Ohkay Abhinav that will be all. Thank you.
Me: Thank you Sir.

VERDICT: Direct Konvert!! 🙂

The Journey is the Reward

I recently ended up appearing for an entrance exam for the second time. For the past few months all of my free time and weekends were getting used up caught up in the preparation. Just like everyone else I had planned a lot of stuff which I would do after the exam gets over and whether this happens with most of the people or not I now waste away my time doing nothing. This seems to be the perfect time to mull over the happenings of the past few months and to realise what a roller coaster ride it has been.

A lot of things happened during the past 5 months. I started working for the first time in my life. The new-found freedom especially in terms of spending money was very much welcome. I happen to meet some wonderful people here and it is thanks to them that a lazy guy like has started liking Mondays. I also found a very special friend who has turned my life upside down. A lot of things have turned out positively for me this year and I somehow feel very grateful to my luck.

Coming to the preparation part, this was my second attempt. Having screwed the test last year due to improper (read non-existent) planning and time management, this time I started with a little bit more wisdom than what is expected of me. Surprisingly the prep was very enjoyable this time. I would rush back from work, have a nap and set out to study. I liked it somehow. It all felt very exciting and challenging. I hadn’t felt like this for any exam ever before, not even in high school.

Slowly I realised my thought process itself started getting better and better. I started solving puzzles and somehow changed from being a “submissive” person to a more competitive one. Was it an effect of the prep or not I didn’t know but I was glad that these changes were happening. My decision of taking this exam again has been very positive for me. It has taught me to aim incredibly high in the hope that even if I fail, I might land up at a comfortable spot.

It is almost funny how much importance we give to these exams in India in general. To us they are like a status symbol, a promise of a better life or a chance to redeem yourself from your past. Whatsoever reason you may have for your goal, however childish it may seem, even if it offers a minor possibility for self-improvement you should go for it. After-all investing in yourself is the best kind of investment there is.

PS: I do not know what results have in store for me this year, I can only hope for the best. Just wrote this because I believe a phase of my life got over and a new one is about to begin.


Yours Truly,

The Lost Soul 🙂


The Sanctuary of Life

The “hard disk” of genetic information in our cells, the DNA contains about 220 million “alphabets”(base pairs). These “alphabets” are arranged sequentially and make up the genetic code. This genetic code tells the cell how to live, which basically involves synthesis of proteins. So why am I telling you all this? Well I think a rather startling fact about our DNA requires looking into. You see 98% of these base pairs(the “alphabets”) are meaningless for cell i.e they are non-coding. The 215.6 million base pairs in our DNA are relics of the past, of stories untold, experiences never shared yet somehow recorded into this beautiful molecule and passed down over millions of years.

Some parts of the DNA are actually viruses(yikes!), which infected our ancestors aeons ago and somehow got stored. Other parts however are organisms like bacteria which entered into a contract which might have read something like this: I give up on the hard labors of sustaining myself. Instead being a food for you, I will help you store it and become a part of you. This way I can stay alive even being dead. Still some parts are completely unknown, possibly a rare molecular machine our cells used to synthesize long ago for some need but do not need it any more (digesting plants?). These 215 million base pairs contains a story of the bacteria which first found out a way to make food from sunlight or the tardigrade which survived all 5 mass extinctions to tell its story. These unused base pairs might as well as contain “instructions” for certain skillsets which are not required anymore (an enhanced sense of smell?).

Maybe some of the code our cells are using might pass into these “annals of life”. Maybe somewhere in distant future a scientist might look at this code and smile with the realisation of the history all the living beings which lived before and marvel at the ups and downs the life on earth had to go through to reveal its story to him. Maybe these future humans would be able to tap into these unused DNA and acquire certain abilities (That’s some sci-fi stuff for sure!).

Anyway you look at it, the dusty old book with a few readable pages that DNA is, hints at something far deep. The inter-connectedness of life from the very first microbe in the ocean to us humans. It hints at the game of life, where one often has to lose the right to live just to be able to get its name in the big book. Maybe the same portion of DNA might prove useful years ahead. In a way the species that got extinct lived in us, helping nature realise a far larger dream, one it wasn’t aware that it was helping it accomplish: to keep the wheel of life rotating.


Short Story: The Eve

It had been a long ride, from Hermshire to Plassor. Atticus, raised in a small village wasn’t used to travelling on horses, due to which his back was bothering him. It was mid afternoon, still it was darker than usual and the water falling from the sky added to the gloom. After dozing off for about an hour, he got up and took a step out of his tent. Still raining, the ground around him was a muddy mess, with horse marks and puddles everywhere. As he walked around the camp, he realized the variety of ethnic groups that were present. There were people from North, from the west coast lands, the forests of south west and far far east.

“I have heard they outnumber us 4 to 1!”

“We are doomed! Our king has sent us to die!”

“We are not even soldiers, just farm boys…”

After Atticus had had enough of eavesdropping on conversations, he made his way around the camp. How am I even going to fight tomorrow? I don’t even know how to hold a sword. He thought to himself. Maybe rushing into joining the army was a bad idea. Afterall I am just an ordinary kid, never wanted to be special.

The Battle of Plassor it would later be known to the common folk was supposedly a decoy. Some farm boys were picked by the empire to orchestrate a fake assault on the enemy lines while the infantry would gain time in order to reach the area for the proper attack. Pigs willing to be slaughtered for gold.

By the time Atticus returned to his tent, it was dark. The rain had stopped and a cool breeze was blowing across. Some of it could be felt inside through the holes, making the group of 10 stuffed inside uncomfortable.

“Hey brother, have some of this ale…” said Augustus passing the bottle to him.

“You know, you ought to talk a bit more…, who knows this might be our last day”

“We really are doomed aren’t we?”, Atticus spoke in a dull tone.

“Haven’t seen much fighting myself but I have heard rumors that we might have a chance…”, Augustus replied while checking on the stew which cooking on the fire.


“They say that there is this fellow in our camp who has supposedly trained in the royal capital. He is going to lead our company tomorrow”

“Let’s hope he is good enough, good enough to keep us alive…..”, Atticus was sitting beside the tent wall, looking through the window.

“These high lords I tell you! They play with us like pawns!”

“It is anyways too late for us to do anything…”, Atticus brushed any thoughts about escaping. We would be killed on the spot.

After the tiresome conversation was over and everybody was fast asleep, Atticus grabbed for his luggage and took out a small shabby paperbook.

“This might as well as be might my last entry here after-all….”

My feeble attempt at creative writing

So, well I finally forced myself to write some horrible prose. I have always wanted to write something beautiful. In further posts I have attempted to create a fictional world to base my story around. I have one simple message to the hitchhiker’s who stumbled upon this distant part of the web,”You have been forewarned!!”

Nostalgia & Other Stuff

Ever had a moment when everything seems to get heavy. All the past memories come flooding back like a church bell in the movies. “Your time is up!” it seems to say though in real life you feel an invisible force holding you back. Your mind wonders, “How can you ever go back to a normal life after you did that?”. For some it may be the serenity of nature that triggers these feelings or a certain person. For me it’s usually the silence of the night that gets my mind rolling. Being a final year student, I somehow already feel old (though I don’t behave that way) but as I look back through all the years I have spent here, I get this bittersweet feeling. Though most of my memorable experience have been on the positive side, some are on the other. It’s like the ending of Inside Out, one needs both sadness and happiness to maintain a balance. Each year had something to teach, experience and cherish.

First year, I fondly remember was spent mostly on getting used to the amazing hostel life (attending classes in the meantime). The shy introverted kid I was, it was a scary yet enthralling experience. I somehow developed the notion that being extroverted was a necessary quality I needed to possess to succeed socially. I might have dismissed this with my rational mind but subconsciously it was still there. The freshman year I recall ended too fast, I don’t know why, probably because I don’t remember much. Second year was exciting to say the least, getting to meet people who will stay with me for three years or trying to keep my CS hours limited. It is this time when I think that college students here really start to open up and explore all those teams and societies (and stop studying). The question “What to do after B.Tech?” still doesn’t bother much. I did mess up here and there, but still that trophy I won for squash made it all worth it.

By the time third year started, I had already started sensing a change around me. It’s like a change which is difficult to describe because you are transforming yourself as well as observing others. People start behaving differently and it is actually very difficult to maintain your sanity when you feel everything is against you. I don’t about others but sometimes it feels to me we take ourselves too seriously. I guess it is the transition from the black and white world our parents taught us to the greyish world which exists. Not everybody welcomes change and people tend to react very differently. If you look hard enough, there is some sort of beauty in it, you know, witnessing people change. For a phoenix to be reborn, it has to burn first and this is exactly what happens. All those preconceived notions, ideas, biases all the burnt down. It is like a conflict which happens only on the inside. I believe third year is the reason why “Fourth Years” and “First Years” appear to behave so differently. Fourth year is still going on, and despite my initial belief that I have witnessed all that this institution has to offer, it still manages to surprise me. This isn’t the time to talk about the final year, which will have to happen later. For all the mistakes I committed there were few moments which made them totally worth it. I guess the past is like a burden to bear for a person, but I find solace in the fact that had things turned out to be differently that what happened I would still be just as grateful as I am. In a way, which ever path you choose it is about not looking back and just pushing through. You’ll end up in a nice place anyway…


Godspeed my fellow travelers!!