My first tryst with Sales

I have been hearing from my friends for a long time now that I “sell well” and I can “convince” people well. I’m not sure if that is true or they say it out of their generosity and love for me. But I have heard these opinions about me for so long now that I wanted to sit, ponder and recollect how I began my journey of selling stuff and convincing people.

My first major encounter with sales was in 2012 when we started a newspaper called DDU Connect back in our engineering college. As the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper, my role was that of an entrepreneur. We did everything from scratch – forming a team, budgeting, pricing, product development, production, setting up distribution and most importantly marketing and selling it. As we were starting the newspaper on subscription basis and we had no monetary support from the university administration back then, it was vital that we garner good subscription for the newspaper for it to sustain. Cut to the morning of 14th February, 2012. This was the day when we were going to start marketing the newspaper. Until 10.00 AM in the morning I had no idea about how we were going to pitch the newspaper to the university audience. Back then, DDU comprised of at least 50% students who came from vernacular medium schools and reading and specifically reading English content was certainly not their preference. Hence, it was imperative that we created a strong value proposition and a communication that resonated with an average DDUian to receive a decent response.

We had a team meeting in the canteen for about 45 minutes before we made our first pitch to an audience of 90 students in a classroom. I crafted a pitch for the newspaper and made sure it addressed all strata of students at DDU:

  • The simple ones from vernacular medium who lived a non-glamourous life: The newspaper promised them to give “exciting news” about the college and the course fresh out of HoD/Dean/Vice-Chancellor’s office
  • The studious ones: We promised them technical content and a dedicated page for every branch of engineering. The content would be well curated and notches above simple googling and wikipedia-ing
  • The creative ones: Back in 2011/2012 Facebook was relatively new. They had something called NOTES for longer posts. People posted memoirs, poems, blogs etc. in this. We promised them a platform to showcase their creativity
  • The ambitious ones for whom their CV was the reason to live: A place in the DDU Connect team for which they’ll receive a Certificate of Appreciation from authorities which they can add to their CV and better their prospects of job or higher education

Three years later, I learnt the idea above in my B-school in the name of segmentation.

It was now time to create a Value Proposition. I wanted to it be hard, impactful but personal at the same time, the reason being we were selling it to a community (Gujaratis) who had the acumen of making a profit even after purchasing from Sindhis and selling to Marwadis. I introspected and searched for things that a typical DDU student spends his pocket money on. The two major things were mobile recharge and eating Puff (puff is the Gujarati term for a bread patty. Nadiad was famous all over Gujarat for puffs and the most famous outlet Payal Puff sold 40 varieties of Puff. It was the staple diet of people in Nadiad). While making our pitch we told people that they could spend their money (Rs. 120/year) on two things:

  • Mobile recharge: which may last for 15 days without a girlfriend and 7 days with a girlfriend
  • Eating puff: Assuming you have one with cheese spread and garlic sauce, 120 bucks will help you have your meal only thrice

Compare both of these important expenditures vis-a-vis paying 120 for newspaper, you have a chance to earn a name amidst 4000+ university students, have a PoR and a certificate, be updated about the realm you’re living in and of course the refreshment after consuming good technical and non-technical content. This entire idea was later taught to me in the B-School in 2015 in the name of positioning.

And lastly, because it was 14th February, I wanted to make my pitch special. I would end my pitch saying, “Today is 14th Feb. Some may receive proposals while some may not! But today, we assure you everybody is going to get proposed. WE, DDU CONNECT, propose you for your companionship in this journey of creativity and campus awareness, and we hope you say a YES. We’ll wait for your answer at the Subscription Desk on Center Foyer at 1.00 PM”.

The entire pitch above delivered with a conviction, smile and a few jokes on teenage romance and Payal Puff immediately struck a cord with the audience. In most of our initial classroom presentation we had thunderous applause from the class when we ended our pitch. Were these just leads? No! Cut to 1.00 PM on 14th Feb, our subscription desk at Center Foyer was flocked by hundreds of students. I had unknowingly learnt an important lesson in selling and communication that day which I later read in Piyush Pandey’s book (Pandeymonium) released in 2015:

Whatever you say, say it with respect for the audience, say it in a context that the audience can understand, say it spontaneously, say it without fear, say it not to intimidate or frighten, but to delight.

I was so enthralled that evening after receiving the subscription figures that like a little kid I recited my sales pitch in front of my parents that night and they being parents of a little kid, clapped!

Indeed, we had sold well! However, good sales generally goes well beyond a sales pitch. To boost our subscription and be closer to our “customers”, we allied with some popular and influential guys in the hostel, college buses and individual branches. We gave them our subscription forms and asked them to reach as many people as possible in person, outside the classroom and spread the word about Connect. I was taught the same thing in my B-School in 2015 under the title of Influencer Marketing. Indeed, we had marketed well!

Sales, as they say, is a lot about numbers. We were told by the university management that if we manage to get an initial subscription of 600 students, they would take the venture seriously and eventually might even adopt it as the university mouthpiece. A week down, on 21st February, we were sitting on 1200+ subscriptions! 100% growth over base, indeed we had sold well! And such figures at a time when people had NOT SEEN the product they were buying, not even a prototype! We had made sales just based on our pitch. Indeed, we had sold DAMN WELL!

About a month down, on 17th March, 2012 we launched the 1st issue of DDU Connect with a lot of pomp. My university was getting its first newspaper and in a way a first major extra-curricular body.

A few months down, we began our re-subscription drive. We went out all out again with our sales pitch but this time we had partnered with local salons, eateries, xerox centers and book stores of Nadiad to provide discount coupons on subscription. In our pitch, we told people, “The value of discount coupons is more than the money you pay for subscription. Hence, in a way we are paying you to subscribe to the newspaper. You’re getting DDU CONNECT now for FREE! FREE! FREE!” And people smiled and clapped at this again. I was later taught this in my B-School in 2016 under the title of Sales Promotion. My batch mates from Morbi, Keshod, Mehsana, Borsad and other parts of Kheda and Saurashtra were perhaps seeing a student sell so aggressively for the first time. And perhaps that is why, I was called “Chaapawalo” (The newspaper man) and “Salesman” by many in the college. The “Salesman” title conferred upon me by one of my batchmates Chirag Patel stayed with me until today.

Half a decade later, today, DDU Connect stands strong, minting 10000+ copies a month circulating to various colleges in the university, industry and alumni. The venture started by us in 2012 now has its 6th generation handling it. We hadn’t just sold well, we had BUILT BONDS!

Today, I sell adhesives, water, acrylic and glass colours with equal conviction, trying a build a story around every product I sell. And while doing this, I am still BUILDING BONDS!

P.S. The PlaceCom selling experience in my B-School is still a fresh in my heart. Perhaps it will make space on my blog some years down.

 

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Her body, her mind, her choice!

The much lauded recent video of Deepika Padukone directed by Homi Adajania, which I believe intends to promote women empowerment and gender equality, is very good. If it is about gender equality, do the same lines in the video hold true for men? To bring it into perspective, let me write down the corresponding lines for a man, and ladies please tell me if such a man is okay for you to marry?

I am just quoting lines from the video. And will shift the thought to – what if a man said the same lines:

My body, my mind, my choice.

Her body, her mind, her choice.

To wear the clothes I like while my spirit roams naked

I may be unshaved (Those Gillette Razor blades and shaving cream advertisements, where those girls cutely say “Ewww, we don’t like our boyfriend sporting beard. Please be clean shaved when with us atleast”), I may sport long hair, I may have tattoos, I may not wear formals while in a conference or while coming to your home to ask your hand from your parents. – My body, my mind, my choice, RIGHT?

My choice to be a size zero or a size fifty

I won’t hit the gym everyday, I love food, I may have a bulgy belly. Okay right? You wanted a macho man, eh? But you said – My body, my mind, my choice? Oops, I forgot! Video is Indian – Hypocrisy is so much in our genes. When we complain of obese girls not getting guys for marriage, we should know there are obese guys too whom girls reject (and girls rejecting guys is more alright than guys rejecting girls – again according to the video)!

You don’t have a size for my spirit and you’ll never have

But come on, size of my penis does matter? Internet is filled with articles of women leaving men just because he didn’t have a large/long (I didn’t know the correct adjective. Thank god grammar made “/”slash, it came to my rescue 😉 ) enough! And what more? Courts found it to be a valid reason for a divorce!

To use cotton and silk to trap my soul is to believe you can halt the expansion of the universe or capture sunlight in the palm of your hand. Your mind is caged let it free. My body is not, let it be

How profound! Just one question, holds true for men too?

My choice, to marry or not to marry

I remember an idiotic movie called Kya Kehna (The same Anupam Kher, Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan and Chandrachur Singh (Yes, there’s an actor by that name 😉 ) shit). The guy is in love with this girl, but doesn’t want to marry. And it became a big deal! Now some 15 years after the movie, we want girls to have choice of not marrying and that becomes – My body, my mind, my choice – Haaye Shabaashe!

To have sex before marriage, to have sex outside marriage to not have sex.

Before Marriage? Outside Marriage ? Not to have Sex? – No comments – Just imagine men doing the three – They do! More than women – but like the way society labels such men? But now Ms. Padukone calls it – My body, my mind, my choice. The burning question (As Chief Justice Arnab puts it) is, just for women?

My choice to love temporarily or last forever

Remember the Kareena Kapoor scene from Jab We Met where she is cursing the jerk who loved her temporarily , “Kutte, Kameena, Tujhe kya laga, tu chod dega mujhe to main roti rahungi. Keede padenge tujhe. Nark ki aang mein jalegi. Teri maa ki….” So now, can Bollywood make a movie like this where the girl is loving temporarily and the guy is cursing her on the phone? But so far in Bollywood, when a girl leaves a guy, our stand has been, “Tumhari khushi mein hi meri khushi hai” Equality boss! Equality bole to? Her body, Her mind, Her choice.

My choice, to love a man, a women or both

Here in Gujarat (Humare Narendrabhai ka state) people call gays – Bailo (meaning: tender, weak and non-masculine). Remember the song from DostanaMaa da ladla bigad gaya! (Gay ban gaya to bigad gaya?) I’ve seen coffee shops where chicks mock gays openly! But a girl holding other girl’s hand is still hot! Of course, her body, her mind, her choice!

Remember you’re my choice, I am not your privilege

Dictionary defines privilege as “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.” Reservation for women – women empowerment. Alimony/Maintenance after divorce (even if she’s well educated. Remember the Suzzane Khan, Hritik Roshan case? How many crores?) – her right. Talking about choice – We’re no longer in a time where a girl is a man’s choice – (the guy goes down on his knees to be her choice, rightly so! Woman is the most beautiful creation of God bhai – I seriously mean it!). But do not forget, it is her body, her mind, her choice. “Hers”, okay?

The bindi on my forehead, the ring on my finger, they can be replaced. My love for you cannot. So treasure that.

Ditto Deepika, ditto! Tattoos on my biceps of your name, the ring in my finger can be replaced. My love for you, cannot! But remember, it is her body, her mind, her choice. “Hers”, okay?

My choice to come home when I want. Don’t be upset if I come home at 4 AM. Don’t be fooled if I come at 6 PM

Hindi films “Aji aaj office se jaldi aana”. “He comes late at nights. May be he visits bars, pubs, discos or may be he’s sleeping with some other woman in his office”. OR “He comes so early, probably he works in some shitty public sector job. That’s why they don’t have a good car at home, you see?”

My choice to have your baby or not

Ditto Deepika, Ditto! India surely doesn’t have couples like Mr and Mrs. Underwood of House of Cards. Imagine a woman saying “I think it’s the right time to have a family, have a baby” and a man saying “No, I am not ready for it! I want to earn a couple of millions more?” (He doesn’t love me, he’s all about money and career). It is her body, her mind, her choice. “Hers”, okay?

Also, since man is a woman’s choice and it is her choice to have his baby, then, this holds true for every other woman in the universe? If so, then the same man can be some other woman’s choice and she would want to have his baby? So in such circumstances what should a man do? According to the video, since everything in the universe is her choice, and in fact she herself is the universe (she says in the video ahead), the man should just succumb and allow any woman in the universe to fuck him and have his baby – again this is what video says!

My choice to pick you from 7 billion choices or not. So don’t get cocky!

Ms. Padukone, is the offer valid for men too? Or is it again her body, her mind, her choice?

My pleasure may be your pain, my songs your noise, my order your anarchy

Ms. Padukone, do you really mean it when you say this? Which educated man today doesn’t want the well being and happiness of women in the story. (Nothing changes by their wanting or not wanting it. Everyone has the right to be happy, be it a man or a woman). Who considers her songs a noise? (Taylor Swift is so melodious. But yes Honey Singh is definitely sexist, chauvinist, vulgar and all bad adjectives)

My choice are like my finger prints, they make me unique

Ditto Deepika, Ditto! But what about women judging men on their choice? Or is it again her body, her mind, her choice? Hers only?

I am the tree of the forest, snowflake of the snowfall

Lovely personification! I know it is put to create an effect. I know what Marketing is Mr. Homi Adajania. I wish you kept the cause of women at the centre! How I wish you did that in the video. I will spare this line from my scrutiny. (As if it mattered! 😛  Remember it is her body, her mind, her choice! Hers only. Not his!)

I chose to empathize or to be indifferent. I choose to be different.

Perfect! Will it be okay for the man too?

I am the universe. Infinite in every direction. This is my choice.

“Owww! A man saying he’s the universe? What the hell does he think of himself? Fucking chauvinist, narcissist, patriarch, Hitler, Khap-Panchayat-type jerk”. Remember it is her body, her mind, her choice! Hers only.

With the above interpretation of the video and the conjoined rhetoric “her body, her mind, her choice”, I don’t intend to impede the cause of women empowerment. I’m in for the cause, as much as any empowered woman is! I reckon, women are suffering, especially in an insanely patriarchal society like India! They have acids thrown over them, they are raped, they’re oppressed, they are judged on their dressing and all sort of nonsense. What I want to assume and believe is every educated (academically and socially) man in the country is with the women in their fight to equality and even superiority if I may say so. I whole heartedly agree that it is the feminine gender that does a lot and is often not acknowledged for the same, let alone praises.

 Feminism is good, hardcore feminism is good too. But while advocating equality are we making a room for unfairness? Are we being just and right while pursuing the cause? Women empowerment is a cause that is the need of hour and it needs to be pursued in the most correct way possible.

What I am against is: the way in which the video is made. The video majorly (read again: majorly) captures the urban woman. Rather than promoting equality, the video is going absolutely tangent on the cause of women empowerment and in part tends to be unfair to the masculine gender. All what video is doing is just exploiting the cause and emotions related to women empowerment to market vogue – cheap marketing Mr. Adajania! And rightly so, as it is made for Vogue, which means “the prevailing fashion or style at a particular time.” The fashion of the time is : Insanity

P.S. I forgot to caution in the beginning of the post, the content is fatal for people suffering from Offensivitis – the recent plague spread over internet.

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દીક્ષાંત સમારોહ: એક અનંત પાનખરની પહોર

ખિલવા થી ખરવા ની સફર..

એક મેદાનમાં વાંસના લાકડા પર બનેલો વિશાળ પંડાલ, સવારના ૮ વાગ્યે લગભગ સાવ ખાલી. ખાલીપણું એની વિશાળતાને જાણે હજીય વધારી દે. જોતા જ જોતા ૯ વાગ્યા સુધી આ પંડાલમાં અઢી થી ત્રણ હજારનું માનવમેહરામણ એકઠું થઇ જાય. દીક્ષાંત સમારોહના પારંપરીક પહેરવેશમાં નવજાત એન્જીનીયરો તેમના વાલીયો સાથે આવી એક અનોખા કૌતુક સાથે સ્ટેજ તરફ આંખો ટકાવી બેસી જાય. ડીડીયુના વિદ્યાર્થી તરીકે નહિ પણ ચાર વર્ષ ઘણા એવા લોકોને જોનાર પ્રેક્ષકની દ્રષ્ટિએ જો પંડાલમાં બેઠેલા વિદ્યાર્થીમિત્રોના ચેહરા પરની લાગણીયોનું વર્ણન કરું તો ઘણી અસીમ વ્યાખ્યાઓ પણ ભોંઠી પડી જાય. સાહેબ, અતિશયોક્તિ જરાય નથી કરી રહ્યો. ચાર વર્ષમાં એકાએક જર્નલ-શબમિશન, ઇન્ટરનલ-એક્સટરનલ, વાયવા, નખરાળ પ્રોફેસરોનાં નખરાં અને નડિયાદ-ગામની અનેક પ્રતિકૂળતાઓથી વ્યથિત ચેહરાઓ પર આજે આખરે સંતોષ અને આનંદ છલકાતો દેખાય છે. ઉપરની બે લાઈનને જો સંક્ષિપ્તમાં કહું તો – “હાશ! છુટ્યા…”નો ભાવ! મોટા ભાગનાં લોકોના અંત:કરણમાં હજી એ લાગણીનો સાક્ષાત્કાર નથી થયો હોતો કે અત્યારે જેમની સાથે બેઠા છીએ, જેમની સાથે મસ્તી-ઠઠ્ઠા કરી રહ્યા છીએ, એ લોકો હવે ફરી ક્યારે જોવા મળશે એ તો નિયતિ સ્વયં પણ ખુબ ગણિત પછી જ કહી શકશે. પણ થોડાંક મારા જેવા પણ હોય જે આજુબાજુની દરેક બારીકીને પોતાની આંખ અને પોતાના દિલમાં સમાવી લેવા માંગતા હોય છે, કારણ કે કાલથી “લાઈફ” બદલાઈ જવાની છે.

ઘડિયાળ આશરે ૯.૩૦ બતાવે ત્યારે “એકેડેમિક પ્રોશેશન” પંડાલમાં પધારે. મોટાભાગનાં વિદ્યાર્થીઓ સમારોહની આ પરંપરાને પેહલી વખત જોઈ રહ્યા હોય છે અને આ વિધિની ભવ્યતાને જોઈ સ્તબ્ધ રહી જાય છે. (જે વાંચકમિત્રો અત્યારે ડીડીયુમાં અભ્યાસ કરી રહ્યા છે એ આ લાગણીને “ફર્સ્ટ પર્સન”માં અનુભવી શકે તે માટે “એકેડેમિક પ્રોશેશન” શું છે એ નથી લખી રહ્યો). વી.સી સાહેબનાં અભીભાષણથી સમારોહની શરૂઆત થાય છે. એમનાં આશિરવચન અને સલાહ સંભાળતી વખતે બે મિનીટ માટે એવું લાગે કે આ દીક્ષાંત પંડાલ નહિ પણ MMH છે અને અવસર દીક્ષાંત સમારોહ નહિ પણ ઓરીએન્ટેશન છે! ડીડીયુમાં તો જીંદગી પૂરો ગોળાકાર બનાવે છે! છેલ્લે, જ્યારે સાહેબ કહે “તમે સૌ આ યુનિવર્સીટીની બહાર પગ મૂકતા જીંદગીનાં અનેક રંગોને જોશો….” ત્યારે જાણે એક ચુંબક વર્તમાનમાં પાછું ખેંચી લાવે એવી ભ્રાંતિ થાય છે! પછી જેઓ શિદ્દતથી ૪ વર્ષ ભણતર વ્યવસ્થાને મહત્તમ માન આપ્યું (ટોપ્પર) હોય એ લોકોને થોડાંક સોનાથી (તાંબા પર સોનેરી રંગેલું ચક્ર – ગોલ્ડ મેડલ) વધાવામાં આવે છે. દરેક ડીપાર્ટમેન્ટનો ટોપ્પર સ્ટેજ પર મેડલ લેવા આવે ત્યારે સૌથી જોરથી હુરિયો (કાઠીયાવાડી શબ્દ) કયું ડીપાર્ટમેન્ટ પાડે એની હોડ લાગે છે! આ બધા વિધિ-વિધાનમાં મસ્તી-ઠઠ્ઠા તો ચાલ્યા જ રાખે. અને ભલે ને આજે છેલ્લો દિવસ હોય, પ્રોફેસરસાહેબો આજે પણ “માઈન્ડ” કરવાની ડયુટી પર! ખાલી આજે “વાયવામાં જોઈ લઈશ”ની ધમકીનો ડર નથી હોતો! જોતાં જ જોતાં બે-અઢી કલાક ક્યાં પસાર થઇ જાય એનું કઈ ભાન નથી રેહતું. ચાર વર્ષ સાથે રહેલા જોગીયો લાગણીથી સર્જાયલા વેક્યુંમમાં બહાર ફેકાઈ દુનિયાનું ગુરુત્વાકર્ષણ અનુભવે છે!

બધા લાગણીથી ભાવવિભોર થઇ ખુરશીમાં જ બેઠા-બેઠા કે જગ્યા પર જ ઉભા રહી ભેટે છે. એક મિનીટ માટે એમ લાગે જાણે જો હું મારા ભાઈબંધને જોસથી વળગી રહીશ તો કદાચ સમય રોકાઈ જાય! કદાચ અમે ડીડીયુમાં ફરી થી રહી જઈએ! આખરે, વર્તમાનની સામે નમતું જોખતાં, લોકો ભાઈબંધ નહિ તો ભાઈબંધીની યાદોને અમર કરીને પોતાના કાળજાને સાંત્વના આપે છે. ફોટા પાડવાની તો જેમ હોડ લાગે, અને કેમ નહિ. કોલેજથી ડિગ્રી જેટલું જ કંઈક મહત્વનું લઇ જતાં હોઈએ (ઈનફેક્ટ વધારે) તો એ મિત્રો સાથેની અમુલ્ય યાદો. અને માણસની રચના જ એવી કરી છે ઈશ્વરે કે એને દુનિયામાં સૌથી પ્રિય જે હોય એને એ પોતાનામાં બંધ કરી લેવા માંગે છે, ભલે એ પૈસો હોય જે મુઠ્ઠીમાં બંધ કરે કે પછી અંગત સાથે ની યાદો જે એ કેમેરામાં કૈદ કરે. ફોટા પડાવ્યા પછી બધા મળતા રેહેવાના વાયદા કરે! (આ કદાચ “3 Idiots” નો સીન લાગે, પણ જ્યારે સ્વયં અનુભવો ત્યારે એ માહૌલની ઊર્મિનો અંદાજ આવે!) મારા કાઠીયાવાડી મિત્રોથી છાસની લત્ત અને ના ને બદલે “માં” બોલવા સિવાય કંઈક સારું શીખ્યો હોઉં તો એ છે – “ચલ ભાઈ મઈડા ત્યારે” બોલવાનું. આ વાક્યમાં એક અજબની સકારાત્મકતા લાગે છે. બોલનાર અને સાંભળનાર બન્નેને ખબર હોય કે આ ફક્ત મનને એક આશ્વાસન છે (મોટા અંશે ખોટું) તો પણ બોલનારો બોલવાનું ભૂલતો નથી અને સંભાળનારા “હા ભાઈ/ભૂરા/કાકા, ચોક્કસ” કહીને એને આવકારે છે.

ભેગું થયેલું હજારોનું માનવમેહેરામણ બપોરના બે વાગતા સુધીમાં અશ્રુઓ સાથે વહી જાય છે. વિચાર એ આવે છે કે નિયતિનો સંયોગ તો જુવો એક માંને એનો દીકરો ચાર વર્ષ પછી પાછો મળે છે અને ડીડીયુની ભૂમિ-રૂપિ બીજીમાં અપાર સંભારણા અને લાગણીથી પોશેલાં અનેક દીકરા-દીકરીઓને એક સાથે વિદા કરે છે. નડિયાદને ભલે કેટલીય ગાળ દઈએ, પણ આ ભૂમિની સહનશક્તિને તો સલામ આપવી પડે. પાનખર પછી તો વૃક્ષ પણ સુનું દેખાય છે, જાણે વિરહમાં ઓતપ્રોત થઇ ગયું હોય, પણ આપડા કોલેજની જમીન, એની પાનખર તો એક જ દિવસે ઉમટી પડે છે, એના તો હજારો પાંદડા એક જ દિવસે ખરી રહ્યા છે. એને તો આપણને શૂન્ય-દિવસ થી જોયેલા છે – MMHમાં બેસતા, લેબ-ક્લાસરૂમ શોધતા, પેહલી વખત કેન્ટીનમાં જતાં, થાકેલા હારેલા કૉલેજથી મેદાનમાં થઇ હોસ્ટેલ પહોંચતા, પેહલી વાર બંક મારી રાજહંસ જતાં, કરચરલ વીકમાં ગાર્ડનમાં બેસી ટોળામાં અનેક ઘોષ્ટિઓ કરતાં અને બીજી અનેક સંવેદનાઓમાં આ ભૂમિમાં બરાબરની ભાગીદાર રહી છે. એની સંવેદના વિશે આપણે કોઈ દિવસે વિચાર્યું? અને આ પાનખર તો અનંત છે, હજારો વિદા થયેલા પાછા ફરી ક્યારે આવશે કે કેમ? કે પછી અમદાવાદ-બરોડા-સુરતમાં બસ નડિયાદને ગાળ આપતા રહી જશે. પણ સાહેબ, છોરું કછોરું થાય પણ માવતર કમાવતર ક્યારેય નથી થતું.

હમણા જ ઓગસ્ટ મહિનામાં ગ્રેજ્યુએશન પછી પેહલી વાર હું કોલેજમાં ગયો. ચકડોળ જેવો નાનો અમસ્તો ગેટ ફરાવી અંદર ઘૂસતા જ જાણે કોલેજની જમીને એ મને એની બાથમાં લઇ લીધો હોય એમ લાગ્યું. એક ટીપું તો સાહેબ મેં પણ પાડ્યું! એક બાજુંથી સેન્ટર ફોયોર તો બીજી બાજુંથી કેન્ટીન રાડ પાડીને બોલાવતાં હોય એવો ભાસ થયો.

સેન્ટર ફોયોર: “અલ્યા યાદ છે અહિયાં તો ડેસ્ક મૂકી કેટલીય ઇવેન્ટનાં registration કર્યા છે, કેટલાય પોસ્ટર મારે થામ્બ્લે લગાડ્યા ‘તા”.

કેન્ટીન: “અલ્યા, પેહલાં અહિયાં જો. મારી અંદર બેસીને કેટલીય જર્નલ લખી છે, એક્ઝામ પેહલા અહિયાં જ તો બેસી વાંચતો ‘તો! કેટલાય મિત્રોની બર્થડે પર એમને અહિયાં જ તો કેકથી રંગ્યા ‘તા અને મારો ફ્લોર બગડ્યો તો, એ ભૂલી ગયો શું?”

આવી ઘણીય ભ્રાંતિમાં ખોવાયેલો હું ગુલાબી બિલ્ડીંગની વાયે આગળ વધ્યો. ડોકું ઝુકાવીને ચાલતો ‘તો, ક્યાંક રેતીમાં કસેક ચાર વર્ષમાં પડેલું મારું જ એકાદ પગલું દેખાઈ જાય! ના જડ્યું તો આજનાં તો જમીન પર છપાઈ જાય… એટલા માં વરસાદ તૂટી પડ્યો! સાહેબ, કુદરત પણ ખરી ચાર્ટર્ડ એકોઉંનટંટ છે, ખરો હિસાબ રાખે છે. આપડે ભૂલી જઈએ કે આપડો સમય આ ભૂમિ સાથે ચાર વર્ષનો જ છે, એ પછી નહિ આપડે કે આપડા પગલાં અહિયાં રહે છે. વરસાદે મારાં પગ-નિશાન ધોઈ ફરી યાદ અપાવી દીધું – “ચાર વર્ષ પૂરા! હવે તો ભાઈ ALUMNI કેહવાઓ!” ૯ મે, ૨૦૧૪ના રોજ શરૂ થયેલી પાનખર આજીવન રેહશે. હવે દુરથી બસ ડીડીયુમાં જુનિયરોની ઝાકળ જોઈ થોડોક આનંદ અનુભવું છું!

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Attaining Poise

“Bhaiya, what is the difference between 911MS and 911ES? Which one do we buy?” I asked a guy two years senior to me in a compartment presumably oscillating in Simple Harmonic Motion on a rail-track of western line. “Get a 911ES. Though Profs can’t stand it, but it’s programmable. Maths mein 45 karne mein kaam aayega” he said. “45? Sounds like a special number, eh?” I asked, surprised and inquisitive. “Boy, you’re a DDIT guy now. The numbers 24, 36 and 45 now should mean more than just the figure specifications of girls. These are the numbers you’ll always look for, not just pertaining to girls but pertaining to exam.” he scoffed. “I’ve heard, these people detain if your attendance goes below 75%. Really?” “Bacche, first year mein notice board par fatwa nahi lagate yeh log… Jalse maar le…” he scuffed my back in confidence. “Fatwa?” I questioned. “Yes! Soon you’ll realize faculties here are big fans of each and every student. If they see your autograph less often in the attendance sheet, you’re reported at the high. However, they choose to inform you of their dissent publicly on notice board each month.” he said and we descended the train.

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“Bhaiya, what is the difference between 911MS and 911ES? Which one do we buy?” I asked a guy two years senior to me in a compartment presumably oscillating in Simple Harmonic Motion on a rail-track of western line. “Get a 911ES. Though Profs can’t stand it, but it’s programmable. Maths mein 45 karne mein kaam aayega” he said. “45? Sounds like a special number, eh?” I asked, surprised and inquisitive. “Boy, you’re a DDIT guy now. The numbers 24, 36 and 45 now should mean more than just the figure specifications of girls. These are the numbers you’ll always look for, not just pertaining to girls but pertaining to exam.” he scoffed. “I’ve heard, these people detain if your attendance goes below 70%. Really?” I continued interrogating him. “Bacche, first year mein notice board par fatwa nahi lagate yeh log… Jalse maar le…” he scuffed my back in confidence. “Fatwa?” I questioned. “Yes! Soon you’ll realize faculties here are big fans of each and every student. If they see your autograph less often in the attendance sheet, you’re reported at the high. However, they choose to inform you of their dissent publicly on notice board each month.” he said and we descended the train on Nadiad.

The above para was an excerpt from one of the few conversations I’d with a guy two years senior to me when I was an infant in the DDU realm. Coming from a school which was too whimsical about attendance and discipline, I quibbled less about DDU than the other freshly detained prisoners of academics (the term scribbled on one of the desks in MMH- bestowed upon the newly enrolled by the ‘pros’ of DDU CONCENTRATION CAMP – again a term scribbled on MMH DESK.) It just took me the first internal of 1st semester to hop from ‘pro-DDU’ to ‘anti-DDU’ clan amongst the students. Centuries ago, as it feels today – I used to be nervous due an exam every month. Not only girls, but even exams in DDU brought claustrophobia to me. Bunking a lecture, I thought would not suit my image of a ‘Mumma’s boy’ and hence I glued my bums over the perforated MMH seats with restrain. I worked not for a total of 36 on three but a 36 on 36 in one! I then, also cared as to who mugged up the max and managed to get his/her marks printed in bold in the mark-sheet displayed on the notice board. Then I would get pretty amused to see my fellow prisoners in the cellular jail in Nadiad METRO CITY getting magnetized to the notice-board quicker than the coins would magnetize to the player running in Temple Run when the Magnet power-up would activate. However, today I infer that the power-up in Temple Run was probably enthused from DDUians! Writing journals (and record books too – I belonged to the IT CELL in the prison earlier) was as important as drafting a law and getting it signed without a flaw by the Prof was as difficult as getting a bill signed by Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal. Owing to my highly proactive tongue, I would get into rampant verbal brawls with professors when they’d ask us – the 1st semers that- how overwhelmed we were by DDU. I would naively elaborate on how DDU was giving us an awesome time then! Though I would reach from the canteen to MMH and fro without a stumble, I felt my feet were trembling then.

3 years later, I seemed to have improved my vocabulary of life and updated it as well. I walk-off blatantly to bunk lectures regardless of dampening the “Mumma’s Boy” image within me. I’ve shed off the claustrophobic shade of mine in context of exams and today I deal like a stud with them, taking them on a ride each month they come. (Though exams are no joy, but as one of my friends puts it “You experience orgasm only once you’re fucked.”) I’ve now comprehended that ‘happy endings’ matter more than ‘dhamakedar entry’ and hence I’ve learnt finding peace in a 36 in 3 exams rather than a solo 36. Journals to me are a metaphor to ACCOUNT BOOKS which on being found inaccurate and un-updated with the latest plagiarized data would lead to RAID.  I’ve drilled it to my taste-buds that Payal Puff and ChaarBhuja are Dominos and Subway and I’ve told the Amdavadi within me that Nadiad was soon going to have an International Terminal.

I don’t crib about anything in the college or about the town in which my collage is located in now, for two reasons – Either i) the thing I had a problem with has already changed to what I’d wanted it to. OR ii) I realized I’d have to comply with it if I wanted to finish my graduation in four years. Today I walk comfortably all over the campus and there remains no path untraversed. The soil now grips my feet well. Has the soil changed? Or have the paths become hurdle-less?  Probably what has changed over 3 years is – I’ve learnt walking. I feel my feet have finally attained poise.

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Living life the processor way!

In this post, I try to explain some processing concepts (pertaining to Microprocessor and its Architecture) in context to our everyday life. Ones who currently have their feet balanced on the grounds of Computers, IT and Electronics and Communications might find this blog-post might be a little amusing and to the ROW (rest of the world) this is to educate you about the processors.

                With a semester having curriculum dispelled around embedded system concepts and specifically the “Micro‘processor’”, it’s hard to refrain from establishing an analogy between the processor and humans. To be more precise, any person with a philosophical tinge would at some point of time halt while reading Douglas V Hall and think – “This is what happens with life too…” While the philosophical minded believe that nature is again at its best conjure, the logical and non-creative ones think it’s time for yet another crappy stuff which was just induced and not natural. In this post, I try to explain some processing concepts (pertaining to Microprocessor and its Architecture) in context to our everyday life. Ones who currently have their feet balanced on the grounds of Computers, IT and Electronics and Communications might find this blog-post might be a little amusing (Yes, here I begin boasting) and to the ROW (rest of the world) this is to educate you about the processors. Here I begin:

1)      Pipelining:

Our computing experience would have been damn demure and as slow as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s scripts had the concept of pipelining not been floated. Pipelining is simple words means doing two or more tasks in such a way that while the first one is being process you fetch the second one and being processing it. This efficiently keeps your “Fast” processor busy enough and saves your time. I believe the concept is no “Eureka” material for the floater of this concept has just copied the lifestyle of some of the busiest guys around. With life keeping me on my toes with DDU Connect, websites, large circle of friends, family and (word not to be typed here), it’s pipelining that helps me save some bucks which otherwise I would have used to hire a secretary to “manage” my time.

                Nothing goes ON forever (The sentence has deeper implications, but not meant to be elaborated here). Everything halts (not stops) at some instance time. Hence by the time something is taking its time to be processed, why not switch over to other tasks. Talking about my personal life breathing in a college with bromidic atmosphere, 3 sessionals and DDU Connect do take up some hours out of those odd 24. We work month round for DDU Connect as we need to let out an issue every month. An exam every month is certainly not what every person fasting asks god for in his wish. As soon as the monthly torture gets over, it’s time to rub your butts hard enough in order to send DDU Connect’s Nth issue to printing press. Where’s life? Life is where you give it place. We (I’m referring to Editors and Designers in DDU Connect) find our little or more life while the newspaper is being printed at the press. Our family, our girlfriends/boyfriends and our hobbies receive our courtesy while the copies are being minted at the press. After that is again time for DDU and DDU Connect.

                My motive to narrate this is that “I” believe we’re (People in DDU Connect) efficient processors with good pipelining mechanism for neither does DDU Connect suffer and nor do people around us quibble too much for our attention. Hence, while there is one thing being executed take up the other, life is easier. Multi-tasking is never possible, but who says you can‘t illusion it?

2)      Overclocking

Intel Core i5 3.30GHz. Essential to clock the processor at 3.30 GHz? Nah!! To unleash your processor’s real processing mettle, unlock it and clock it at a higher rate to give it a ride in heaven. Overclocking is the process of making a computer or component operate faster than the clock frequency specified by the manufacturer by modifying system parameters. (Most commonly the clock frequency is modified; alternatively changing the operating voltage too is termed as overclocking). The purpose of overclocking is to increase the operating speed of given hardware. Many people overclock or ‘rightclock’ their hardware to improve its performance. This is practiced more by enthusiasts than professional users seeking an increase in the performance of their computers.

If techies can overclock their processors to improve its performance, why can’t we overclock ourselves to mitigate our own performance? By using the term “overclocking” in conjunction with humans I intend to convey the cliché message of “walking the extra mile”. It’s imperative to walk that extra mile if you want to excel at “ALL” fronts in life.

Talking about personal life, the concept of pipelining does pose up a number of challenges for you. You take you multiple instructions simultaneously, but how do you cope up? There are times you’ve got to skip meals; you don’t get sleep for days together, no movies for month, no outing and a lot of no’s. But all this pertains to us, our own mindset, doesn’t it? It’s all about tricking your mind to “overclock yourself”. Make your mind believe you’re not hungry, tell it repeatedly that you don’t need sleep, tell it that movies and entertainment are just a waste of time and overclocking yourself, crossing your own boundaries will be much more easier.

Technically overclocking does have tradeoffs like heating up the processor. But the gain is mightier than the tradeoff. Similarly, overclocking yourself has a higher gain of professional and personal accomplishments (better academics, extra-curriculars etc. OR personal stuff like giving an hour to parents or better half @ night, they will be really happy) compared of tradeoff like giving away your sleep for nights together.

It’s up to you. You can overclock yourself to make the most of your mettle or be an under-achiever on somebody’s TIME magazine.

When things don’t fit in given limits, just change the limits

3)      Out of order execution

Have taken up engineering, studying, slogging, mugging, awaiting the degree, degree not in hands till 4 years. Degree not in hands, hence nobody allows me in job-interviews. Ah, I can’t work! Girlfriend ka kharcha nahi nikalta… Parents se zyada maang nahi sakte… Caught in the order of – FIRST STUDIES and THEN WORK? Then what you need to do is “Go out of the order”.

Out-of-the-order execution is a paradigm in the processing world which states that if the CPU doesn’t have operands for a particular operation available it can go out of the order of a typical instruction cycle (like Inst Fetch, Decode, Fetch Op, Execute Inst and Store Result) and go to another instruction to execute it.

Somehow I find crowd in my college too tamed. People love sticking to pre-established principles one of them being “Studies first”. I’ve so many people around with exceptional talents and skills, but it’s the order, the sequence which has prisoned them and has not allowed them to come out of their cocoons.

For today’s youth, it requires that some pre-established notions need to be broken. If you want to achieve something you’ll have to go out of the order. Do something ‘out-of-the-order’. Learn something before it’s taught in college (doesn’t imply mugging a text-book chapter a day before it’s taught by the prof), earn before you’re placed in 7th semester or teach before you become a professor… These are some things that help you stand out from the crowd. If you don’t want to be jealous seeing somebody in the limelight, then the best way is you yourself become the limelight. To do this, I don’t mean to adopt unfair or manipulative means. I am just asking you to do something unconventional as per your standards. Always remember, extend your own line rather than erasing others’ line.

Nobody till date has ever got name, fame or success by doing conventional things. They’ve defied pre-existing notions, they’ve gone ‘out-of-order’ and achieved.

So, if we can program a processor to go out-of-order then I believe we definitely can adopt the same.

4)      Caching

The last in my list – caching, is I believe the simplest and most fundamental of all. In computing jargon, caching refers to predicting which data is needed often and keeping it ready before hand in a way that it can be accessed faster than usual.

Even humans can cache certain things. For things I coin a “Predict & Prepare” principle. F*** the astrologers, we laymen are better predictors of events in OUR OWN life. Trust yourself and your instinct to know what is in store for you in the immediate future. The best case in this situation is making your future yourself. Computer has a limitation because it has a user and it has to predict the behavior of that user for caching data. But you, you are your own user. Either predict things for yourself or make things for yourself. Once done, prepare yourself well in advance so that when the data request comes, you don’t “miss” it but “hit” it.

 

Above four mentioned techniques are a few paradigms that boost up a processor’s performance. Applied to our life, they can boost ours. This was no sophistry, it was sheer logic worth application in real-time. I am no oracle to preach such things. I thought sharing it would coin a new perspective and your response will judge if it was worth the effort.

Love & Regards,

Anish.

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