Cerebral Shangrila

Thursday, July 29, 2004

MBA - Best way to Learn ?
                                     Perhaps the first thing that strikes you at B-school is the way it questions your traditional methods of learning.Most of us have been used to a system of Teacher-Student Instruction method where the teacher lectures and the student learns.
                                      But at my B-school there is a heavy emphasis on Case Study Method and Group Presentations.This brings us to the age old debate of which is better : Case Study Vs Lecture Method. There is no prefect answer for this. Some Schools like Harvard,Darden (U of Virginia) follow predominantly the Case Study Method , while others like Yale,Carnegie-Mellon follow the Lecture Method.
                                      Of course I have no clue which is the best method.But found this URL about the teaching styles in Top 25 US B-Schools.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

IIM - A Bit Too Late
                       It just happened a bit too late. I had called my Mom yesterday.She told me " Hey , There is an interview letter which has come for you from IIM- Indore" . It caught me by surprise. After not getting any Interview Calls from IIM early this year , I had decided to pursue an MBA Abroad and had joined Nanyang Business School at Singapore ( One of the Top 3 in ASEAN and among the Top 10 in Asia).
                        I had happily settled into my B-school life when I received this news yesterday.Since I haven't seen the Interview letter yet, I suspect this is an interview call for the Part-time MBA at Indore . But What matters is CSC (Computer Sciences Corp) India , the company I used to work for earlier is Headquartered at Indore (Which would have given me a better leverage in pursuing a FT/PT MBA).Perhaps , its too late now .Having left my job and having come abroad , there is no looking back.There are no If's & but's in life but on retrospection I wish this call had come a couple of months earlier.
                      But at least now I will have the satisfaction of saying " u know I got an Admit in IIM's , but didn't take it :-) "

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Peer Group
                   A diverse & rich peer group of students can do wonders in a B-school.One of the earliest lessons I have learnt here is that everyone is bright .Everyone is special and that is why they are here.
                   We had a Cross-cultural presentation done by all the countries (a Humurous 10 minute skit which talks about your home country).We did a skit on Traffic in India (partly inspired by the famous Baan forwarded mail) and at the end all the Indians gathered on the stage to sing the Indian national Anthem .

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Induction Classes
                           The fun has begun.We started our MBA Induction program this week and its been great.Lots of Team-building,Outdoor exercises and inputs on Presentation & Case Study Analysis.
                            Our Batch (2004-06 MBA Class) is a lesson in "Unity in Diversity". 16 different nationalities,various age groups,different mother tongues,varied food & cultural habits.oh boy , there is so much I am learning from others. 

Monday, July 19, 2004

Filmi Connections
                          Filmi connections always fascinate.We have always had this once in a while filmi neighbours (Rambha , Bindu Gosh used to be next door neighbours at T.Nagar) . However at our new apartment in Chennai my next door neighbour is Susi Ganesan (former assistant of Maniratnam & Tamil Film Director who directed Five Star & Virumbugiren) and on my Upper floor is Kunal (The Hero of Kaadhalar Dhinam). Though I do not know Kunal very well , Susi Ganesan is a very good friend.Being a film junkie myself , I discuss a lot about films with him .
                         He had invited me out for Dinner just before I left for Singapore . We discussed the screenplay of his upcoming movies and he was quite forthcoming in sharing the ideas with me. He also shares the insider titbits on the working of the film industry and its always interesting to listen.I have this secret dream of making at least a documentary film in my life  and those thoughts always get stirred when I talk to him.Who knows I might do it one day ....

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Weather in Singapore
                                      Singapore weather is amazing. Its the same throughout the year.The temperature varies from 25c to 35c all through the year.There is no winter , no hot summer . Its warm, humid with inter-mittent rains all round the year.Rains are unpredictable and of short spells (reminds me of Seattle,US).
                                       So no sweaters or overcoats in S'pore.Just normal clothes would do.That is a nice welcome from the damn Delhi weather (Dai Venky , I know you will disagree with me ).  

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Time to Kill - Hitchcock,Pyaasa,John Grisham

My medical test results are coming only on Friday (I can proceed with my immigration only after this) and hence had a lot of time to kill yesterday & today.Most of which was spent on reading the latest John Grisham novels - The Summons & King of Torts.Also read the Autobiography of David Ogilvy and few Travel books on Singapore & South east Asia.

My uncle has a great collection of movies.Saw Alfred Hitchcock's "Rope" day before yesterday.Saw Guru Dutt's " Pyaasa" yesterday.

PYAASA : What a movie ! Dark,poignant and mesmerising like his personal life "Pyaasa" is an immortal classic and one of my favourite movies.The heart-wreching story of a young,poor poet "Pyaasa" is Guru dutt's whip to the Social Hypocrisy that exists in Indian society.Waheeda Rehman is ravishing and Johnny walker plays a commendable cameo role.The pulse of the movie is its immortal lyrics by Sahir and music by S.D.Burman.Be it the Chirpy " Jaane Kya Tune" or the funny " Sar Jo Tera" or the haunting " Jaane Woh Kaise" , " Yeh Duniya agar" Dada Burman reigns Supreme.The Vocals of Mohd.Rafi,Geeta Dutt and Hemantda ( Jaane Woh kaise - What wonderful singing) add great value to the music.

But the film belongs to Guru Dutt , the director and Sahir , the Lyricist.The narrative style is excellent and perhaps way ahead of its times.Sahir has poured his heart with lyrics like " Jinhe Naaz hai hind par woh Kahaan" , " Humne tho jab kaliyan maangi thi kaaton ka haar mila" , " yeh duniya agar mil bhi tho kya hai" . The movie is a Classic and easily rates as one of the top ten Hindi movies of all times.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Library,College etc..

The biggest humbling experience for me is visiting a library.It reinforces my commitment to the tamil proverb " Katradhu Kaimannalavu , kallaadadhu ulagaalavu (Whatever you know is like the sand in your palm, whatever you do not know is the sand around the globe).As a bibliophile,the Singapore National library looks to become my best friend.The National Library at Singapore was Huge with books on every conceivable topic on the planet.Took a few books (Including one on David Ogilvy - A person I admire a lot) and learnt the tips & tricks of commuting by Singapore MRT(Train) & buses . Its a plastic world out there.You swipe a card to get in,swipe a card to get out.no tickets.no cash.

Registered at the university today and got my medical tests done (Hope the HIV test turns out to be negative!).Met a lot of fellow students.Seems to be a great batch.Very diverse .(Culturally & academically).

Monday, July 12, 2004

Singapore - first impressions

Well , the title is wrong to start with.Its my fourth visit to Singapore but its going to be the longest one.Currently staying at my uncle's place.One thing that never ceases to amaze about Singapore is its cleanliness .The weather seems as unpredictable as Indian stock markets.It was sunny in the morning,rained in the noon.humid in the evening and rained again.

We drove through the university yesterday (Its huge and beautiful green campus) and also went to the famous Singapore Zoo. Tomorrow I would be registering as an MBA Student and entering a new phase in my life.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Student Life & Singapore

I am leaving for Singapore tomorrow to commence my life as a B-school student pursuing an MBA .I am pretty excited about becoming a student again . After 7 long years of completing my Engineering , I am off to the school again (something unthinkable until a few years ago but more common these days in tune with the way its done in the West).I am trying to start with an open mind and I guess my future blogs will have lots of vignettes from my student life,Asia-Pac & Business.God bless me.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


Its nature at its natural.This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake.One of the most beautiful artifical lakes in the world lies here encompassed by the Periyar wildlife Sanctuary .

Nearest Airports : Madurai(140 km),Kochi (190 km)
Nearest Railheads : Teni(60 km),Kottayam(114 km),Madurai(140 km)
Road : The drive to Thekkady is enchanting as the road winds through tranquil countryside, rich plantations & thick jungles. The sanctuary, 60 km from Idukki, 190 km from Cochin and 114 kms away from Kottayam is open throughout the year .

Budget : Hotel Revathy,Mukkumkal Regent Tower,Periyar House(KTDC)
High End : Hotel Treetop,Aranya Nivas(KTDC),Lake Palace(KTDC)


Thekkady Lake : A splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar river adds to the charm of the place.This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake.The Wildlife and the waterbirds make the boat ride an unforgettable experience.The Boat Rides are at 7am,9.30am,11.30am,2pm,4pm respectively.Hence plan your trip accordingly.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary : A dense forest which has varied wildlife like Tigers,Elephant,Deer,Wild pigs,Malabar Squirrel and a variety of water birds like Hornbill,mynah,Grey Heron,king fisher,Jungle fowl,Cormorants,woodpeckers.There is a three hour trek into the forest in the mornings and in the afternoons where one could catch sight of plenty of wildlife. The Elephants at Periyar are very famous and a sight to watch (Particulary when they come to drink in the lake). There are also rides on top of an elephant but these are of shorter duration (30 minutes).

PERSONAL EXPERIENCES : I was on a casual one day visit from Munnar (90 kms) and hence didn't get much time to trek.But the boat ride was awesome and perhaps one of the best I have ever had.I spotted a big Indian Hornbill & numerous grey herons,cormorants,kingfishers,mynahs .I also saw lot of Deers,a group of otters,turtles,Bisons.I was also lucky to get a very close photograph of a giant Malabar Squirrel.Thekkady is a great place if you love wildlife .

TRAVEL TIPS : Plan for at least 2-3 days at Thekkady.Summer months are better if you want to sight wildlife since they come to the lake to drink.However, if you want to enjoy boating or want to spot water birds come after the monsoons.Always carry a Binocular and camera.There are numerous tourist spots like Munnar,Kochi,Madurai,Kodaikanal close from Thekkady.For once Man's attempt at something artificial (The Lake) has turned out to be sheer beauty.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Marlon Brando - Obituary

It was just two days before Marlon Brando died.I was talking to my sister and told her I wanted to see the movie
"Streetcar named desire" (The film based on The famous Tennesse Williams play) and asked her where I could get that DVD/VCD in Chennai.She responded with her usual acerbic remarks about my eccentric movie choices." Why do you have such strange movies as choices ? Anyway I don't think you will get that movie in Chennai" was what she said."Anyways , What is special about that movie ?" she asked , and I just had one word as a response " Marlon Brando " .

Marlon Brando redefined acting when he burst into the scene.In an age of Charismatic,charming stars like Cary Grant,Gregory Peck,Clark Gable , here was a serious actor who effortlessly morphed into the characters he portrayed.I first saw his performance in the immortal mafia saga " Godfather" . Its tough to imagine anyone else than Brando as Don.Another memorable performance of Brando was in the movie " In the Waterfront" (The first angry young man) .I had also read about his eccentricities &
whims (he was notorious for it) in a book by Desmond Morris. The spell cast by Brando in the arena of acting was immense.Not just in Hollywood but everywhere .Be it Dilip Kumar or Sivaji Ganesan or Kamlahaasan (Velu Nayakan perhaps was a tribute to Brando)many Indian film stars have been influenced by Brando's " Method" style of acting.

Its rare to see great actors like him.perhaps, they come once in a century.


Munnar is a beautiful hill Station with Sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, forests, lakes & waterfalls.The tea gardens fill most of the area and add a special beauty to the place.Its an ideal retreat to be " far away from the madding crowd" .

LOCATION : Munnar is located in the eastern part of the state of Kerala (South India),in the hills of the Western Ghats at an altitude of 1600 m above sea level. It is 130 km east of Kochi & 175 Kms from Coimbatore & around 150 kms from Madurai.The nearest airports are either Kochi or Coimbatore.The nearest railway stations are Kochi / Kodai Road / Coimbatore.Its six hours by road from Madurai/ Coimbatore.

CLIMATE : The weather in Munnar is pleasant. Summers (April-June) are mild, while winters (November-February) are cool. It experiences heavy southwestern monsoon rains in June-August.


Budget Hotels : Krishna Lodge, Zena Cottages, Sree Narayana Tourist Home

High End : Sterling Days Inn Resorts , Club Mahindra (If you are a time share holiday member or know someone who is willing to gift it to you ! ), Cloud 9 .


Hotel Saravana Bhavan (No relation to the famous chain) : It is located in the main market right next to the church.If you love south Indian veg food , look no beyond this restaurant.It has excellent ,inexpensive south indian Idlis,Dosas and Thali (The Thali costs just Rs.20 & Idlis Rs.2.50 per piece).

Patel : This is a veg restaurant serving Marathi,Gujarathi,Jain food.Its also located in the market.


-------------------------Madupatty Route----------------------- :

Madupatty Dam : Situated 11kms from Munnar. The Dam and the lake are beautiful and speed boating is also available.

Echo point : Situated 7kms further from Madupatty lake(18 kms from Munnar), this place has a small brook running.The voice echoes from across the brook.

Kundale Lake : Further 7 kms from Echo point is the Kundale lake.Kundale lake looks awesome and is surrounded by tall euclayptes trees and offers Pedal boats,row boats and the Kashmiri shikara house boats.

Topstation View point : Offers Spectacular views of the TN-Kerala Border and the surrounding forests.It is located 7 kms further from Kundale Lake (33kms from Munnar).

-----------------------------Cochin Route -----------------------:

Blossom Park : Great place to relax in the evenings.The park has lots varities of flowers and a small pond.It also has swings for the Children and seating chairs to relax.Park is open from 10am - 7pm.It is located 3 kms from Munnar on the Cochin route.

Rose Garden : A small nursery with a variety of roses.It is located 16 kms from Munnar.

Kallar Waterfalls : Water gushes at an incredible speed.It is located 18 kms from Munnar on the Cochin route.

-----------------------Coimbatore Route----------------------- :

Tata Tea Museum : Located at 1 km from the Market place.Entry fee is Rs.50 (Rs 30 during offseason).Contains photographs & memorabilia of the Kanan Devan Hills and tea estate.There is also a guided tour on the preparation of Tea.

Anaimudi View : Anaimudi is the highest peak in south India.The drive to coimbatore offers splendid views of the peak.

Eravikulam National Park (Rajamallai) : Is located 13 kms from Munnar.Take a detour from the main road and drive down for 4 kms to enter the sanctuary.The Eravikulam sanctuary contains the rare Nilgiri Tahr (Ibex).A nice 2 km walk will take you inside the sanctuary where you can catch a glimpse of the rare mountain goat (tahr).

Chinaar Wildlife Sanctuary : Is located at 63 kms from Munnar.
The drive to Coimbatore will take you through the Chinaar Wildlife
Sanctuary where if you are lucky you can encounter Deers/Elephants/Bisons on the road.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCES : The first thing that struck me was the peacefulness of the place and the vast tea gardens. If you are a tea lover you will love the place since you can try all kinds of Tea(Like the Orthodox Tea,CTC Tea,Green Tea etc..). It was an ironical situation for me since I am a tea-hater who has hardly drunk more than five cups of tea in my lifetime ! The weather is unpredictable changing from rain to mist to sun in a matter of few minutes.Its a great place to unwind far from the chaos of city life.

: The best time to travel is from October - May.Please bring in Cameras & Binoculars and a woolen shawl/sweater.Enjoy the morning walks and treks.Soak in the pure air and in the beauty of mother nature.Kerala is definitely " God's own Country" .