Monthly Archives: April 2009


” Depression doesn’t stem from Frustration but out of Confusion. A confusion created because of lack of clarity

Kumar Atreya, friend, philosopher,senior and guide

(dated quote: 28th April 2009)


A quote made in a general sense. But I am pleasantly surprised that it is neither anger nor sadness leading to a person being down. But more so because of information asymmetry

So all you need to do to handle depression (empirically at least) is to either disclose or get more information. 🙂


Of God, Black Swans and Luck

Well ! My ammamma (granma)  would call it the will of Bhavani thalli (the super-duper mother Goddess and associated religious theory .. )

My mom associates it with Sai Baba, the bearded dude in saffron who inspired my outstanding (all pun intended) name too.

I call it the Fox-park theory (originally known as Nakka Thokkudu prabanjanam — in Telugu, the language where it was first conceptualized). For this amusing/crazy/funny/ridiculous/whatever  thought-phenomenon, refer to the author’s previous post

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, one of the world’s craftiest  cynics (with an outer cover of a rationalist)  calls it the Black Swan contingency.  After having rattled my brain to understand his takes on the unexplained by pattern , I  now have a serious headache!! Here is an example to initiate mass-market mental harakiri

Anyway, the last time I came to Hyderabad, the flyover at Begumpet collapsed . This time, there was a thunderstorm. The flame of the aarti always makes it a point to get extinguished when its my turn at the temple to swipe my hands over it.

Yeah ! Fool hardy fears! But would your grandma treat me, with the same courtesy if she were to know these?? Shit ! It is scary  when unrelated co-incidence and black swan situations are correlated.

Now again, it leads to a head-ache 😐 the temple lamp going off when near me is jokingly remarked by dad as being the quality of Ravana, the demon-king.  Curse the rodent’s lost food pipe ! Now I am being called Ravana. I would never run away with an other man’s wife ! Even if he lacks the potential to attack me with a contingent of monkeys and bridge-building contractors 😉

Black swans, living and reading black swans, unwanted-Ravana-effect, random Fox park incidents, …. hmm ! Life is getting at a thinking level, quite  unpredictably adventurous!

– Ghost Runner

“Fox-park Theory” aka **Nakka Thoka Thokkudu Prabanjanam**

Foreword/ Glossary

Nakka= Fox

Thoka= Tail

Thokkudu = Stepping

Prabanjanam = That which breaks thoroughly. Wind  [in this context, a powerful occuring]


In the heart of the Telugu language, exists the concept of “nakka thokkadam“! Derived from a myth that if one steps on a fox’s tail, one shall be bestowed with lots of short term luck.Hence, the person who reached the pinnacle of success would be considered in the symbolic sense as the owner of a fox-park. Amen !


When uncertainty leads to success we hardly notice it. At least to the outer world, we have to delegate the credit to the successful. Because calling the successful “lucky” and not “meritorious” would automatically throw a tag on you called “jealousy” 🙂

And so everything in the long term converges to one thing. The saying that says, luck (uncertainty leading to success) is an Universal open secret! In the world of politeness/manners, as scary to utter as J.K.Rowling’s Voldemort or Asimov’s Mother Planet Earth … In spite of the vast significance, it doesn’t harbor anywhere near political correctness or the laws of gentlemanly appreciation 🙂

But the concept does exist. For those lucky few…

Of performance mgmt. tools & thinking …

Before I fly off to join my job at summer-end, I am working (I think 😛 ) on this amusing performace management tool for a company. And well! I realized that more than the fundamentals one learns at an MBA, it is the street smart instincts that matter.As Einstein said, forget the number crunching, the equations and the formulations. It is in the end about imagination and the will/guts/madness to contemplate something different all the way from the contrival stage to the implementation stage.

Hmm … now I guess I will stop talking in high level surface language. I noticed that there were two guys I met recently, One an 2006 MBA pass out from Osmania University (something an elite B school chap would look down upon, as if they are lesser fortunate souls) and an other chap who didnt even finish his Undergraduation. And they, mind you are the two most brilliant minds I have ever seen. Not all the snobs from the IIMs could match their thinking. (But of course the IIM brand power is not questionable though 😛 )

For instance, the negative slope curve of customization degree v/s production cost is a brilliant diagram in Gordon Walker’s Modern Competitive Strategy. The OU chap started arguing over the logic of the negative slope. His arguments seemed flawless, the kind that would be exuded by an insti-ranker from the IIMs. Just when I was about to yell a whole hearted bravo! at the guy , the Engg-incomplete chap comes up with something even more awesome. He. though didn’ know the meaning of “strategy”, took out the dictionary, found the meaning, then looked at the curve, scratched his head and then came up with an explanation to prove its accuracy that was perhaps an even more convincing proof than the one the author gave. :O

And so they say, diamonds are found not among the white collared elite. But buried beneath piles of our incoherent education system’s rejects

Lighthearted yet the most radical thought of the day:
All the arrested factionists from Rayalaseema should be put on forced military duty at the Border, then see what happens to the terrorists. The factionists will hunt them all down. If not for their nation at least for their super-inflated masculine prestige. For the sake of the honour of their humongous moustaches 😛

-Ghost Runner

**The Metro Kolkatan Epic** Episode 5: Of varieties , quant and good byes

In a cab from Joka to airport , it takes approximately 2 to 3 hours depending on traffic.

Lets see what happens when you take the metro … (From where i started to the airport , i needed to take the whole stretch of the metro line 🙂 )

Details: Starting at 11 am in the morning. The timings between the arrows show travel durations from one station to the next. The times accompanying the stations indicate the duration of the stops :-

Tollygunge —– 2min 18 seconds— -> Rabindra sarobar (12 sec) —1 min 51 seconds — -> JD.Park ( 17 sec) — 1 min 13seconds –> Rabindra Sadan (23 seconds) —-> Maidan(18 seconds) —1 min 20 seconds—-> Park street (15 seconds) — 1 min 20 seconds– ->Esplanade(13 seconds) –1 min 42 seconds–> chandni chowk (10 seconds) —1 min 28 seconds—>central (14 seconds) —-1 min 23 seconds–>m g road (12 seconds)– 1 min 25 seconds–> girish park (22 seconds)–1 min 35 seconds–> shobha bazaar(18 seconds) –1 min 20 seconds—> shyaam bazaar (10 seconds) –1 min 25 seconds —> belgachia (15 seconds) — 1 min 33 seconds–> dum dum

Hmm ..more of a detailed accumulation to roughly get an idea of the travel time in a metro. Considering this is Kolkata, a relatively backward city compared to other big cities , the city’s metro is surprisingly fast and effiecient. A bus from Dum Dum to the airport will take around 4 minutes.

So the whole thing takes a little less than haf an hour 🙂

And thus, having travelled the length of the great kolkatan metro completely for the first time , on the last day in Kolkata ..I bid adieu to this place …

** the end of series**

Anticlimax: the night of solitary nostalgia

They have all left, the 2009 batch (pie batch)  Jokalanders. I look at the watch and its 10:30 Am now … me the last person on campus.

Last night I jogged the proverbial last run on the roads of the campus. The Prof. taking an evening  walk with his wife , the FP students chatting at the Amul shop, probably even the snake trying to catch the fat mouse et al., knew that this is the ghost runner’s last freakishly useless run on the grounds of IIM-C. Haha anyone listening ? 😛

Well ! I have a flight at 4:30 PM so I would be leaving soon.

Call it cognitive gothicism or even subtle masochism that I find a vague pleasure in seeing them all leave one after the other, in being the last man on campus.I don’t do senti,  never been my forte’ …but my loyalties towards Jokaland trigger a small sense of pride that I stayed in Joka a little longer than the rest  (as if that matters !)

On the flip side , Jokaland (IIM-C) has given me back what Gachibowli Insti of tech (IIIT-H) destroyed , at least most of it 😛  Now all bullshit said and done…  I am happy to go back home …  sio nara 🙂

The **Metro Kolkatan epic** Episode 4: Kolkatan smokes

Kolkata is easily among the places where people smoke the most.

Anyway I took the metro all the way to Park Street last night. Co-Incidentally this area is the place where you shall find everything from the 2o–beedi packet for Rs.4/-  to the most expensive cigar for Rs.4000 per piece.

Suddenly I realized I never really smoked before. The devil in me tempted me to do it. I got out of the station (smoking in the subway kills you ..more by the security guard’s lathi than by lung damage)

Hmm I   bought a  single piece of Wills Classic Milds (unarguably the most commonly smoked fag among the folks in Jokaland) I lighted it,  smoked a puff, coughed, got a feeling like someone fired a Diwali rocket into my wind pipe. I threw it away concluding that smoking is not my type !

But the irony … is a clear cut case of herd mentality. As I was lighting that cigarette, many pedestrians joined me in the street corner and lit their own cigarattes.  Thus,  in spite of me being able to get rid of the smoking-curiosity in me , I ended up playing the devil by inducing so many people to smoke that moment 😦

Am I, the soul less chap, actually feeling guilt ? Naah ..more like objectively depicting an irony.


ps:  Episode 5 shall be the last in the series. It is a bit numerical 😛 and depicts the ghost runner’s  last Kolkatan ride to the airport