Web Exclusive | Whipping up a heady cocktail

Web Exclusive | Whipping up a heady cocktail

The Funda of Mix-ology, what bartending teaches that IIM doesn’t; by Mainak Dhar; Rs100; 148 pages; Srishti publishers

New Delhi: We are all too familiar with the peaking levels of competition, finding that much coveted seat in top academic institutions in the country and landing a package that can be the envy of all our neighbours. With CAT just over and CBSE Board exams in another two months, most students and their families are under tremendous and you wonder just how much of the insecurity, sleepless nights and anxiety is worth it.

Ask Mainak Dhar, author of the recently released book, ‘The funda of mix-ology: what bartending teaches that IIM doesn’t’ and you can appreciate his point of vieww, even if it is at variance with most of his contemporaries.

At the age of 33, he has successfully gone through the MBA drill but is now recommending a different philosophy for student life. A gold medalist from Delhi University and an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, he would rather live a full life that has varied experiences and learnings rather than be confined to just a single goal and a single exam, that seemingly holds the doors to a ‘promising future’.

Mainak, like most of us, spent his entire childhood living up to expectations which were imposed on him by his parents, teachers and classmates. From getting into one of the best colleges, scoring A grades and finding a dream job, he also thought his life was on perfect track, until destiny’s plans altered that with one single accident where he nearly lost his life. It made him review the ingredients of his ‘perfect’ life making him ask himself if indeed this was the concoction he was slaving for.

Bringing chunks of his personal life into the theme and characters in the novel, he clarifies that the story is not like the archetypal IIM/IIT novels written previously. It’s about looking at life beyond just fat pay packages and huge career growth promises made by multinationals.

To quote him, “The whole world seems transformed, across the oceans that I fly. For the only constant I can see, are the stars in the night sky. All else has shifted so much, like a line in the desert sand, reminding me that all I really am, is a wanderer in a strange land."

Q: What do you have to say to the youth who after doing their IIM/IIT enter the work arena loaded with oodles of confidence and well attitude too?

The IIM/IITs are great training grounds but they don’t always teach you some of the most important bits of life. Like managing time in terms of handling oneself, family, work, friends and health. This usually becomes quite an unmanageable task where no amount of management fundas really apply.

While tantaliziing salaries are one part of the success story, the more important part, even if it seems less exciting is managing one’s different roles and striking that right balance as one prioritizes all the things that one has to/ should do.

Q: How did you come up with the bartending theme and how did you weave it with prevailing management culture?

Every cocktail is a mix of a number of elements, and you can never get the real taste till its mixed right. Life too has numerous elements, like family, health, work, friends and personal time. All these have to be mixed in the right proportion, the right way and in the right order if one has to get maximum taste and joy out of that experience. Innovation and change are equally important. Fixating on just one aspect would make the drink flat and unexciting after a while.

A few years ago, I was sipping a long island ice tea. The first sip didn’t seem too great. When I made the effort to get up and add another ingredient and shook it mildly, it tasted quite different. Pronto, I thought of it as a metaphor: Life is like a long island ice tea. To enjoy it, you have to mix it up and add some fun ingredients to go with it’ and that precisely became the idea on which I hinged my sixth novel.

Q: Did writing the book change you in any way?

It reaffirmed my faith in a lot of things. Significant being that, your whole life is spent planning things not yet done and having dreams that are far from being fulfilled and with time running out, you do feel a sense of panic gripping you, especially as you see others get ahead in the ‘rat race’.

All it takes is a moment to pause and see how you can start fulfilling one dream at a time. Find innovative ways of doing the same things you have been doing and even if there is a teeny weeny difference, it will eventually begin to add upLook at is if you have only solitary day, in which to live your dreams? Would you still like to go down quietly, like the slowly setting sun or would you shine and sparkle as if the day’s just begun? You might just find some answers there.