The best week in Darden so far. And all because it had less of Darden in it. Don't get me wrong. I like the intensity. It makes me stretch myself. But once in a while, you do need that break. To explore and experience some other things. To sit back and relax and just enjoy doing nothing. Black November as it is turning out, already happened in October.
It can get a little intimidating at times. Case studies, class participation. exam grades, cover letters, networking calls. It's a lot to handle when you have never done it before. And that's why this week was so special. So needed.
Monday and Tuesday went as usual with inventory management trying to match up to Capital Asset Pricing Model and the IS/LM curve. From Wednesday, however, things started getting really good. First, we had this Operations filed trip to MicroAire. Seeing the push-pull strategies of marketing and the lean manufacturing principles of operations actually being used in real life was quite a kick. And since MicroAire was into manufacturing surgical instruments like those used in Carpal Tunnel and Knee Replacement surgeries, there was the ethics angle to it too when it came to how much should the market be driven by the manufacturers and not by the doctors.
The rest of the week was easy and didn't involve case preparation. This meant that the entire evening was free. I spent the afternoons playing Racquetball; had Thai food one evening and just enjoyed being relaxed. Wednesday night, in particular was great not only because of the dinner but also because of the fact that it was one of those rare nights, when unwinding did not mean getting high on alcohol and being with hundred other first years in a bar. We walked down to Tara Thai at Barracks, had dinner and then came back chatting about first year and our expectations from this whole MBA experience.
The Virginia Film Festival was in progress and so some of us decided to catch a few films. Meet John Doe, Departures & Wonderful World. Three very different movies. But three very satisfying experiences.
Meet John Doe is a classic about the power of press and how it can create and destroy public figures. My friend had told me that there was a Hindi movie - Main Azaad Hoon which was inspired by this one.
Departures (last year's Foreign Language Film winner at the Oscar) is as unique a movie as I have ever seen. An unemployed cellist takes on the job of 'preparing' dead bodies for the funeral. It's a beautiful commentary on life and death and the emotions the death of near and dear ones can evoke in us. There's a lot of dry humor and drama in the script but I particularly loved the closure that the ending brought which seemed to reconcile all the different threads - the main character's tension with his wife regarding his not so glamorous job and his memories of his father who had left when he was a six year old.
I could talk about Wonderful World but it's better if you watch the trailer. Matthew Broderick puts in a controlled and powerful understated performance as the pessimist who would start believing in the general goodness in the world once he sees "fish falling from the sky". The dialogues are crisp and even though I would have liked the script to be less abstract and more explicit; this works.
And in both these movies, the soundtrack is really melodious. Loved both the classical (even haunting) cello pieces in Departures and the acoustic guitar pieces in Wonderful World.
And yes, we went bowling last night and played a First Year Vs Second Year cricket match today which we narrowly lost.
Quite a week.
By the way, the title of this post is from the movie Wonderful World.