I’m working on it . . .

for a guy who was no ‘thope‘ in academics, and whiled away time in undergrad, a Masters in industrial engineering held many promises of a cake-walk degree. I opted for a masters in industrial engineering (shifting over from my core branch of mechatronics) as I assumed it would be easy. After all, were there any industries left in America? If you don’t count those making beer and burger manufacturers; all the ‘Made in USA‘ products were  now made in China/Taiwan/Vietnam by poor workers earning under $2 per day [fortune at the bottom of the pyramid anyone?]
On a recent visit to Walmart (that giant store which gobbles up other smaller stores in the area) I was surprised to see that all the clothes in the lingerie men’s section proudly had a ‘Made in India- export quality’ tag on them.
Walk on any street across NY and you’ll find that all the sewer covers have a ‘Made in India‘ cast into it … (casting or forging ? err…Srujan help me out bro… I slept in Viplav’s class then). But I remember RK once telling us that a plant in Calcutta shipped cast iron drainage covers to the US…my GK is still working). America needs an Indian product to cover its holes. What’s made in America these days ? I seriously don’t know. Maybe I’ll have an answer for that question when I graduate.
nyc made in india manhole cover
Pondering on the aforesaid question I feel the ground slip beneath my feet… what if there are no industries left in America?… where will I work an earn those dollars to buy my BMW, wear original Armani Exchange clothes rather than the AX stamped ones we get in Koti, pay of my debts….plenty of question like that.
The only hypothetical situation that can twist the scales in my favor is if some one like John Kerry becomes the president and passes a bill that makes it mandatory of all ‘Made in USA’ to be made only in USA…I’m fantasizing too much… Kerry doesn’t have deep pockets like the Bush election war machine…It will take more than ‘an inconvenient truth’ to change the power equations of the white house.
So coming back to my masters in Industrial Engineering….we have this subject called ‘Facility Planning and Design’. I know some of you are going ROFL out there…dude ! how can you plan and design a facility…it just happens u know…yes ! it’s hard to believe than those amazing six packs Shahrukh had in OSO (shhh…someone said it was his body double…shut up! even the creative shocker doesn’t make fun of the badshah)
Ok Ok… well this subject has a nutty professor. This guy owns a company/factory (but he ain’t making Sholay or aag or paani) and gives us amazing insights into how things operate in the actual world.  He says, “If you don’t implement this change in your organization today, your successor surely will.”
So when a man of such worldly insights gives us a term end project it sure has to be a mind blowing one. So it was.
He gave us an assignment to Plan and Design a facility for manufacturing microprocessors. He gave us an excel sheet filled with mumbo jumbo as to what numericals to use and stuff, and gave us a three week deadline to submit a preliminary report.
Let me talk about the composition of my class. It has Three Saudis. Six Indians. One Pakistani. (No! we don’t talk about cricket or Kashmir in class..that’s for the Commons). Two Turks. Four Asians (China/Japan/S.Korea/Taiwan) and One American.
Of all the people mentioned above, Me and two of my roommates (who are also my classmates..hence i picked them as my roommates) are the only folks freshly out of college; the rest of the class has considerable work experience. So anything the prof. says or does is just ‘been there, seen that’ for them. So come project time we were flipping out nervously.
And you know how bad the JNTU system is and how addictive it is. You always end up having an one night stand. So it happened. We proud products of the JNTU system, torch bearers of this legendary method of academic preparation – wherein you save the largest part for the last.
Yesterday a harried Turk asked me what my progress was. I said I was studying the business case and was yet to decide what kind of layout I should opt for and If i should alter my production figures and decide upon the hire-fire policy {since I couldn’t impress him with intelligence I was dazzling him with bullshit!} He was amazed and said that he had confusion with the figures for the sixth and seventh year and didn’t know what to do. I told him to work hard and left for the A train.



Time : 6 pm.
Location : College Library.

Team memeber: Dude! what’s the update on the project ? We have the presentation at 8.30 pm.
TM: I have one slide ready.
TM: I too have one slide ready.
Sid: I have one slide ready.

A huddle of voices: let us club it all and present it. Before that lets grab a cappuccino from starbucks…my head feels so heavy with all this brainstorming discussion.

TM: my slide is the ‘welcome’ slide
huddle of voices: hmmm….align the font properly..cut out the pink background…it’s so bright… and whats with the balloons…do we need them? ok ok… keep it simple stupid.

TM: I have the closing slide.
huddle of voices: use a complex font for the thank you. underline the text. put balloons, graffiti, fire works man. The closing slide should convey the essence of the project. If possible include a victoria’s angel in  background image. Dude! you completely forgot about the special effects.

Sid: I have the content slide
huddle of voices: only one ? can we fit in so much data in one slide ? did he consider all the factors ?
Sid: I took all the factors into consideration and so my slide states,”As this presentation is about the project update we proudly state that the work is under progress.”
huddle of voices: clap clap…cheers…awesome teamwork man..I’ll buy all of us beer after the presentation.

Location : class room.
No. of teams: four

Team 1: twenty slides. 90% of project complete.
Professor review : very good. duration of presentation : 15 mins QnA session : 10 mins.

Team 2 : twenty five slides. 99% of project complete.
professor review: excellent. duration of presentation: 20 mins. QnA session:15 mins.

Team3: fifteen slides. 80% complete.
professor review: good. duration of presentation: 12 mins. QnA : 8 mins.

we were waiting for our turn…biting our nails…scratching our heads…throwing idiotic glances…orkutting….pissing in our pants….seeing the detailed presentations being flashed on the screen before us….we nearly had a panic attacks when our turn came…what followed next was pure torture at the hands of the inquisitor.

Team 4 (us) : three slides. 5% complete. duration of presentation : 5 minutes (2 minutes for setting up LCD projector)

QnA session

1. what’s the no. of machines used ?
a: we are working on it.

2. what are the number of shifts ?
a: since we are working on the number of machines we can’t really tell you the number of shifts.

3. How many production lines do you have ?
a:that’s a tricky question. [I have no clue]

4. what is output/expected product lines ?
a: we are still undecided about the number.

5:what are the names of your team members ?
a: hmm..wait..let me check the first slide.

6. some question
A: we are working on it.

7. some question
A: I will present it in the final report.

8. some question
A: I can’t reveal it in the preliminary report.

9. some question
A: I am waiting for the report from the inquiry commission.

10. some question
A: google said so!

Professor review : you guys actually presented something ? That was the fastest (crappiest)presentation I’ve ever seen. I gave you ten minutes for the presentation you did it in five ? you are real industrial engineers. You should be working for those Japanese companies which believe in Lean Manufacturing. You could save so much resources and time.

The Team (collectively) : Thank you for your valuable comments sir. We appreciate it.

We walked out feeling like kings, with a sense of achievement.

We’d survived.

Huddle of voices: Dude! what about the project presentation in Manufacturing Systems Engineering due tomorrow ? …chill macha… I’m working on it.

update : Final grade for final project (100% completion): got a B+.

A Win? Not.

18 thoughts on “I’m working on it . . .”

  1. so finally… the blogger in sid is back to where he belongs, the post long, the humour intact and the narration witty… that was one helluva good post… keep it going and keep working on it !

  2. wow!! kudos on doin a good job..i d say dump industrial engg and take up writing as a profession …am sure u would give quite a few acclaimed authors a run for their money!!P.S u r one of the best bloggers i know of..so keep it comin..would like to read more about ur stay in the states…am sure that would be insightful as well!! 🙂

  3. so…back 2 urself…once again a awesomely funny post..u deserve 2 beers 4 keepin’ up da JNTU reputation ;)…keep it goin’ n expectin’ a lot 4rm u in ur further posts 🙂

  4. awsome yaar …u can gv a tough competetion to chetan bhagat …u hav gt a good sense of humour dude ..keep goin !! fan following badh jayega …. 😉

  5. Hi SidDid you have a slide with your names and nicknames on it? If yes, then the prof would now have understood what “Creative Shocker” means!!!Good one.

  6. I am reading this post for the 3rd time… I must say, after your “College is fun” posted on Sep 12, 2006, this is another post that i’ve read so many times and i burst into laughter everytime.. Awesome man! I love the way u present the daily life cases with so much of life, humor and fun with all so ease.. Keep writing man… It was a great relaxing session to my ruffled up mind after working in my lab.P.S.: NY ke potholes must have been casted.;) And i loved the idea of using a Victoria Secret’s model on the “thank you” slide. That should make the profs forget the questions they would have otherwise asked! 😛

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