October 6, 2006

The Alchemist: From chalk to iron in 5 minutes

We have great people in India. Some of them are potential Nobel laureates. One such character is a guy whom we shall call His Hose (name not disclosed for obvious reasons). He has shaken the walls of academia with revolutionary ideas. Let me tell you a story.

As it transpired, HH was wandering around the lush green MDI Campus on 8th August 2006 thinking of the next big thing in technology. The thought that he had to submit an assignment on Strategic Management in the next one hour meant nothing to him. Not that he could not appreciate the finer points of value chain analysis that had been the subject matter of the last few strategy classes. He was thinking strategically on a much larger scale. He was planning a coup which if executed well, would earn him handsome returns.

HH had been concerned about India's iron ore reserves. Not that we (India) are lacking in any way. But he was looking at making India 'The' place for steel manufacturing. We had the coal, we had the ore - but did we have enough that could make the world sit up and listen? Did we have the bargaining power that could translate into political power.

As he was mulling over these thoughts, he came to the Computer Centre (CC) and saw a fellow classmate take a print on his Analysis of the Cement Industry. And then it hit him! Yes, we were abundant in limestone! If only we could make iron from limestone what a great nation we would be. What a Nobel Prize winning effort! Surely those idiots in Sweden would grant him this honour. It was the time to take over the world! (Psst ... the idiot who worked on the cement industry would be mysteriously crushed in an alley as HH was giving his speech in Stockholm ... at least that was the plan)

The unsuspecting victim took a print of what was 5 hours of effort. Smiled that he had put in his best. This was fresh industry data, the fruit of an internship at one of India's leading cement company. There was also a table at the end of it all that was the icing on the cake. It was the cost structure that detailed the value chain. It was this table that would make all the difference and it actually did.

HH sneaked up to the computer used by the victim. In his exuberance and joy, the victim had forgotten to delete his work from the public domain. This was HH's moment of glory. A few keys and 5 minutes later he had a process to make iron from limestone. The method used was a 'replace all' function, thanks to Microsoft Word. Everywhere 'cement' appeared, it was now 'iron'. The deed done, HH submitted his research.

The dissertation had things that HH considered were the result of out-of-the-box thinking. There were things like blasting chalk and passing it through kilns to get iron clinker, and subsequent processes involved grinding the iron clinker to get Portland Iron. There was a flowchart to prove it all. His point proven, HH took off to the Alps to celebrate.

People may be stupid, but the last thing that they want is that someone tells them about it. For all his ingenous thinking, HH forgot this axiom. His ideas didn't go down well with academia (as I said he shook them with his 5 minute cameo). There was a committee instituted. They looked at his tall claims and rubbished them. A search was called for. The victim unaware that his work was under controversy was called for. He was questioned, grilled and almost rusticated for being the input that caused the mess. The poor guy was bewildered. He argued, laid the facts straight, provided supporting evidence and after four hours of convincing he was finally in the clear.

HH's fate hangs in the balance. He stands to get an F for 'F'uturistic thinking (Which could be revoked under a 'forgive and forget policy'). After verification and cross checking his claims have been thrown out of the window. It has been attributed to delusions of grandeur, hallucinations and wot not. But all will be forgotten when HH returns from the Alps. After all we are Indians and we are a toleratant lot.


Venkat said...

this is amazing! lovely satire!...max at his very best:-)

Top_Dollar said...

ha ha ha, i wld only add this after the rather long sermon - kyonki fighter hamesha jetta hai...

happy birtday and all the best, keep blogging...

Top_Dollar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Prateek said...

ha ha! thats what always happens in MDI - the wrong one always is proved right or else is left for "first crime"!

waise needless to say - I know whom r u talking about - and was aware of this also!

seems u always had a roller coaster life - thats y so many bumps together :P

Gurudatt said...

hahaha ... i didn't know that u were about to be rusticated ... i just put in my honeyewell work too :D