To B, or not to B

During a recent alumni meet, an old school friend vented out his frustrations while we were casually strolling through the corridor of memories in my school.  "I don't understand this whole MBA hype in our country. I am so tired of it.". I smiled at him nonchalantly without retorting back with my volley of responses to prove the supremacy of this three-lettered tribe in our country over other lesser mortals, caught up in the vicious karma of their humble degrees. Had he asked me this question few years earlier, I would have probably given a befitting reply, which would have condescendingly jangled his poor nerves. 
However, things are different now, or to tell the truth, I can no longer relate to the hyper-excited bloke who enthusiastically grabbed a seat to join the league of three-letter tribe, in an okayish B-School,despite the grumpy realization that he would be the only black sheep in his family who bothered to study at an institute other than the IIMs.

I still remember holding the fat velvety cover of the February month of the Business Today magazine with the mega 72 font sized B letter, announcing its grand arrival over the proscenium of a  dark pink curtain-covers in the theater of India Inc.  The middle letter of the tribe printed in the magazine was loud enough to show the middle finger at every other career which promised to make a decent living. The letter B often evokes extreme reactions. Call it Bastard, as no scholar is clear about its origins, or Bull-shit, where every damn thing on Earth can be called as a management theory or in simple terms, Bakwaas. Call it anything! It doesn't matter what you call if  you manage to crack the world's toughest examination, leaving behind billion mediocre souls, and enter the hallowed cathedral of IIMs.  Your life would be settled in a career that promises you a big fat seven digit salary figure which would wince at shrimps slogging their assess in their lifetime. While a handful of the country's prized analytical minds enter the institute, the remaining ones settle down, hoping to catch the largesse left trickling down the hierarchy of the B-Schools in the country. The best thing about hierarchy is you always have somebody below you to salve your ego and make you feel at ease. 

Although I felt remorseful for being an outcast in a proud family which boasts of its IIM genes, I was determined nevertheless to cruise my way successfully to the tribe.  When I joined my B-School,an old college friend in his good hearted intentions to cheer me up, put it interestingly: In IIMs, they provide you a cosy Audi or a Merc with more than necessary accessories to cruise through your career. That's so boring! Imagine if you were given an old, rickety Ambassador car with all necessary tools to get the car running on wheels. So what if there are bumps in the road. All that matters is where you reach at the end! 

Inspired by this Robin sharma style motivation bytes to get my spirits on nitrogen, I began my journey with a strong resolve, as Steve Jobs put it, "to put a dent in the universe!". I decided to do all I could humanly to escape the wrath of the karma of my institution and gain the critical escape velocity which would promise me the moon.


As I look back today at the two years that passed by, I feel contented like a young lover who has just passed through the exciting phase of courtship upon discovering his lady love. The excitement is still in the air. Yet, there is a growing sense of peace as my reference coordinates of reality have changed. It's very hard to describe intellectually what this really means. As my favorite song, from the movie Cars, Find yourself goes,
You start to sense
That slowly you’re becoming someone else
   The things which fascinated me no longer do. I thank the divine providence for not letting me study in IIMs:). I am beginning to laugh at the things I desperately wanted to do once upon a time(Main FMCG Marketer banna chaahtaa hoon:)) . I never expected this to happen. This was not supposed to happen atleast here. B-School is the last place on Earth which wants you to be who you really are. The sheer madness of the pace of life there makes you feel as if you are the latest victim of amnesia. You are running for cover, with no clue what's happening around. You are only supposed to run! How dare you ask why should you run in the first place?

Despite the grand conspiracy to convince me that this running around would make me a better manager, I defiantly stood out like a rambunctious child, questioning every  religious authority in management. It didn't matter to me if I was considered loud and arrogant. I was enjoying every moment of being present at once-in-a-century  moment in my life where the entire grammar of business had to be hastily rewritten by the winds of change which desecrated every canonical law of management. Although it seems pretty naive today to talk about change in superlative terms, it gave me the kick of a revolutionary to explore and find the answers for myself in its apparent profanity and hidden profundity. While the spark might have been triggered by someone else [so extraordinary, yet so ordinary, you know who I am referring to!], the luminous flame which burned demanded that I figure out what's true for myself! If it were mine, it was my job to discover it! Whatever it takes to go down the rabbit hole!


Few months back, a dear friend of mine was sharing vividly his experience of meeting a passionate cycle enthusiast who, at his 50s, managed to cycle all the way from Pune to Delhi. All of a sudden, I blurted out impulsively, "What was his objective?". My friend looked at me for a while and smiled with pursed lips. I realized the stupidty of my question and laughed at how my two years of MBA has conditioned my psyche to ask this question idiotically to almost every situation. While my MBA professors taught me the importance of asking myself this question to evaluate the cost-benefit analysis of every action I take in the business of my life,  I realized my life was so vast to fit within the cubbyholes of my idea of business.  I want to live my life to the fullest. No more Bakwaas!


1 comment:

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