Yes I'm back and will hopefully linger around here for a bit. While the whole world seems to be migrating towards twitter (i fail to understand why?!), I still prefer good old blog format. Where have I been all this while? Here are month by month highlights from the last 9 months (in the hope that someday I may look back at this blog post and get overwhelmed by a sense of nostalgia :P)
July 2009: Having spent the past 7 months at CMS, my stint there was almost coming to a close in July. I was pretty much swamped with work for the whole month, running circles trying to solve union issues at CMS, interviewing over a 100 EA candidates for Rajiv, and going back and forth with our Investment committee on two deals. I made my first trip to Kerala as part of the CMS offsite. Amidst all this, where is the time for a social life!
August 2009: We had our annual Blackstone India offsite. The Wildflower resort at Simla was spectacular - an open air jacuzzi at the edge of the valley, all night poker games, tennis, fresh air and getting away from the madness of Mumbai (which honestly held little attraction for me in those days). I also enjoyed the convoluted term sheet negotiations and structuring that took place on one of my deals - my first hand experience in the intricacies of private equity buyouts. Besides tons of further interviews for Rajiv's EA, I pretty much pulled out of CMS in August. August also saw me getting serious about the whole essays and application business. Some personal life disappointments aside, this turned out to be another high octane month.
September 2009: September was all about essays. And recommendation letters, CVs and all that jazz. I spent countless hours at every possible coffee shop in south mumbai trying to figure out "what matter most to me" blah blah. I think I would have been the biggest customer for Tea Leaf and Coffee Bean in September. Not that Cafe Coffee Day, Barista and the rest had any reason to complain given they were seeing plenty of me too :P Then there was frantic diligence activity on my deal. This deal had every possible complication we could think of: legal, structure, tax, business issues, fraud, environment, management, ego conflicts etc! Managing over 10 consultants on a ridiculously tight deadline was bloody intense. September was also when that crazy phase took place which Ravi and I can laugh about in retrospect. But what haunts me most about September is receiving that most vicious, fatal personal blow in my life. A single phone call is all it took to shatter my conviction (I still get occasional nightmares...). So much action for one month! Professionally stretched, emotionally quite distraught and with the application deadlines looming ahead, this was indeed the most testing phase of 2009.
October 2009: So my first deadline was comfortably met (HBS). And then I put in a mad dash to get my Stanford application ready in the less than a week. Day and night I grappled with that cruel "what matters most" question, writing up notes in the morning only to scrap them by the evening. Not having someone to brainstorm with and review my Stan essays in that critical week only made it much harder... No sooner was Stan submitted than there was another rush to put together the materials for the investment committee meeting on my deal. 8 days in office where I seldom left before 2 am. Only after Diwali did things start looking up again. The HBS interview call came in and with it, a much needed quiet phase at work. Some breathing space at last!
November 2009: More diligence, more calls, more meetings. Final investment committee meeting on my deal was due in another 20 days. In parallel, the first half of November was about preparing for the HBS interview (no word from Stan). Many more hours at Coffee Bean. Or just strolling aimlessly at Marine Drive, punching in bullet points on my blackberry in preparation for over a 100 potential questions. The interview was smooth. I remember being asked over 25 questions in the space of merely 30 mins. Almost a rapid fire round! But what I remember most fondly about the interview day was the comment that Mr. Arun Nanda (director at Mahindra & Mahindra) made when he walked past me while I was waiting at the lobby. The one month long wait for the results then began. There was also that memorable dinner with Helmet and gang at the Tasting Room which set the tone for a crazy December.
December 2009: Still no word from Stanford. Check mailbox, check spam and check forums.. and then repeat all over. That was my daily routine for the first two weeks but the interview invite never came. December was the most peaceful month at work in all of 2009. In parallel began that crazy little phase which took off after Teng's bachelor party (and that incredible cake). 700+ lines a day! Dec 15 came and my world changed. HBS admit :) Next day was the Stan reject but it didn't really matter! Work took a backseat. Tote's happened. Goa happened. After a rough 2009, the year ended in style.
January 2010: New year came and with it came new resolutions. Economist subscription, tennis lessons, regular visits to the gym. I also made my second Kerala work trip as part of diligence on a new deal. My weekends ended up again sitting at Coffee bean - this time supporting PJ with her essays. Here was a phase in life when everything seemed to be going just great. Work was in cruise mode, personal life was at peace and fitness levels saw dramatic improvements. Only regret was losing an old friend with whom I had spent so much time in 2009. I don't know what got into him!
February 2010: I guess the preceding two and a half months had been too good to be true and peace could not sustain forever. There had to be some surprises in store. Attended Chetan's wedding in Hyderabad. Well not exactly the wedding but the youngster's party that preceded it. Hyderabad trip however ended up in a disaster with some painful discoveries. Again the mental toll! Grrrrr. My long standing weakness playing up again. Work also picked up after the lull in recent months with an investment committee meeting at the end of the month.
March 2010: Mad weekend in powai with a dozen old timers converging at panch leela on a Saturday night. I am surprised Ravi hasn't received a notice from his flatmates for all the ruckus we created. And then there was an incredible trip to Sri Lanka. On some wild impulse, mota, me and ravi packed our bags and took off for a 3 day holiday to the pristine sparkling Lankan beaches. The trip left us with some amazing memories and amazing photographs. March also saw some wonderful nights at bandra, marine drive and panch leela that were so reminiscent of the old times (late 2008, early 2009). The pendulum had now swung the other way. A new deal moved forward at work and this one should probably be my last real piece of action at Blackstone.
So that's a long post. Being a bit more regular from now on won't really hurt :P