Sunk cost

Sunk Cost is the money that you have already spent on a venture which in no way can affect the future decisions you make. For example, let’s say you went to a movie and 20 minutes into the movie, you realize the movie sucks. You have two options – continue to suffer through the rest of the movie or understand that the ticket price was a sunk cost and walk out of the theatre to do something better. This applies in business context as well, for example, just because you spent so much money training an employee doesn’t mean you can’t fire him if he doesn’t perform well.


Anyway, what I am going to talk about is how this sunk cost can be applicable to non-monetary cases as well. I wrote about how I messed up one of my open-book exams by not registering for a laptop and ended up writing it as a closed book exam. (FYI, I passed the test and didn’t do so horrible). When the examiner told me I couldn’t use my tablet because I hadn’t registered for it, I panicked for a second but the next instant, I realized what happened was sunk cost and I shouldn’t continue to spend time worrying about it. Before I came to the exam, my goal was to be able to score 80% something in the test but under the new circumstances, I re-adjusted my goal to just pass the test. Now thinking back, I am very proud of myself for being able to do that. (Yes I wanted to write about this back then itself and I waited till I get the actual grades before typing this out)

With the above example, I am trying to drive home the point about how powerful this concept is. In other words, you could extrapolate the sunk cost to things like emotions, luck, injury and many other things. You got dumped? Yes it would hurt, but what happened is sunk cost, no point worrying about it. You lost your wallet (and didn’t find it after a reasonable amount of time), it’s a sunk cost, get a new wallet. You injured your leg two before a marathon? Again sunk cost, stop feeling sad and see what else you can do instead.

Now before I conclude, let me give you my current situation which can be related to sunk cost. I bought a second hand bike for 75 euros. Now it’s broken and the repair guy is asking for 35 euros to fix it. Now even if do that, I am not sure what is going to happen in another couple of days. I asked him, how much he would give for the bike, he said 20 euros. Tomorrow, I am going to try and fix the bike myself and if I can’t, I am going to call it sunk cost and sell the bike for 20 euros instead of throwing good money after bad.

The day the train stood still

It takes a superman to stop a moving train but yet an ordinary human being managed to do the same and she didn’t even use both her hands. I am filled with pride to be friends with her. But before we know more about these, I need to tell you guys about a day where sooo many things went wrong and yet we had the most fun ever…


Me, Dye, Sonya, Chime, Nora, Jr. Monster and Hima had planned to go to Maastricht on Monday. The train ticket would cost 48 euros (to and fro) which was way expensive. Luckily they were selling discounted day passes (one day travel anywhere in Netherlands) at 17 euros. I bought one and told other to buy the same. The ticket you get is actually just a bar-code that you need to activate online, generate a ticket and print it out. Now, Monster and I printed out those tickets on Sunday itself. Chime, Nora and Sonya had planned to buy, activate and print out in the morning. Wow, that’s optimistic I thought. Anyway, Chime and Nora managed to buy those barcodes from Albert Heijn (shops that sell these discounted tickets) but it’s not easy to print a ticket (unlike India) unless you have a printer. So Chime and Nora walshed into a library and demanded that they print out the ticket for them. Either Chime managed to threaten them or Nora managed to charm them, I don’t know, but they managed to get a print out.

Now Sonya, well.. Sonya was altogether a different story. She had been running into a streak of super unluckiness lately, losing her passport, getting mugged and so on but she still hadn’t lost her optimism. She hoped to buy the discounted ticket in the train station itself. This will run into a number of pages, if I go on describing more about it. So, let me just shorten it. We went to the shop near blaak – closed, the shop in Central Station – they don’t sell the tickets there, a shop near Central Station – they ran out of tickets. And to add to all this, we took the wrong tram and ended up at about 2 km away from the station and had to walk back. She finally had to get the full priced ticket. The main point of discussion at this point was, whether or not, her bad luck had touched the rock bottom.

Well, everyone’s got their tickets and it was 10 am. We missed the train but the next train was at 10:20, so no worries. If you thought that, then you are wrong. Turns out during all the charming and threatening, Chime printed out the wrong tickets. We now had to find another place that can print these tickets. Luckily we found one finally and printed them out. Sonya and I at this point were wondering why Rotterdam loved us so much that it didn’t want us to leave the city. By the time we were out of the shop, it was 10:15. We ran back to the station but missed the train again. The next train was at 10:50 and we surprisingly managed to get into it.

The train journey was all fun where everyone was saying whose country had the worst traffic rules. Point to note, India, Russia and Nigeria seem to be the worst. We switched trains at Eindhoven and got to Maastricht. All of us were super excited that we somehow managed to reach the place. The next task was to Find Dye and Hima who had reached the day before and we were supposed to meet them. I called Dye, he didn’t pick up. I called again, he didn’t pick up. Nora called him – he picked up on the first ring. I didn’t know what I did that made him not like me :-P . Anyway, he wanted to go to a book store and get a haircut and so couldn’t meet us then. He told us, he would meet us at the caves (famous in Maastricht) themselves. No idea, what book he wanted to buy that wasn’t sold anywhere else in the world and what hairstyle he wanted to get that no one in Rotterdam could do.

We reached the caves and Dye and Hima were no where to be found. We waited as long as we could and took the trip. It’s a train trip inside the caves with the driver slowing down and explaining everything. Monster and I wanted to sneak out of the moving train and wander ourselves. But the others forced us not too. Monster was super disappointed at not finding any ghosts or monsters in the cave. After the train trip there was a light show in the caves which was super amazing. There were dozens of projectors that were synchronized to light up every part of the cave and turned it into a colorful real life 3 dimensional art. More amazing than that was seeing Monster’s imagination at this point. Some of the things that she said – that looks a person who was a goat in his previous life, she is a ghost who is missing her lover…

In the meantime, there was whatsapp discussion going on about where we actually were. Dye was pinging asking where we are and we wanted to find out where he was. The best reply was by Sun, “this is beginning to sound like a rescue mission”. Now we came out and Dye was still not there. Then, both Sonya and I called him, he didn’t pick up the calls. We asked Nora to call him up and again he picks up on the first ring. So what happened they couldn’t find the caves and headed back to the Statdhuis. Now, we know that Stadhuis is a place in Rotterdam and were wondering how he managed to teleport to Rotterdam. Well turns out there is a place called Stadhuis in Maastricht as well. It took a huge amount of location sharing on whatsapp (including one which google pinned us at the middle of a river) before we managed to find him. We had dinner where I broke a glass and the Dutch lady said it was actually good luck to do so.

Now for the part you were all waiting for. We were all playing Mafia in the train. Some trends that emerged was – Monster was always the mafia, Nora was always the first casuality and Chime was the most suspicious one. Well anyway, we are all playing, Chime excused herself to visit the washroom and we continued playing. Suddenly, the train jams to a halt. I almost fell down. There was no station around us, so we were wondering what happened when Chime walks down and squeakily says “I did that”. Yea right, great joke. But she wasn’t smiling. The ticket guy comes over and she held out her arms so that she could be cuffed and said, “I am sorry, I did that. I wanted to open the washroom door”. Now as serious as she sounded, I couldn’t hold myself and burst out laughing and everyone else joined. That guy was cool about it and just said that it was no problem and the door to washroom was upstairs. Chime, you are a rockstar, the girl who stopped a train, someone should write a book about this. And next time you want to open a door, push it, don’t pull a lever…

We finally reached back at 11 pm and man what a day it was. I hadn’t laughed so much in a long long time. In fact in the tram station, I was standing alone waiting for the tram and was laughing like an uncontrollable idiot thinking about the train incident. Everyone around was pretty sure I was mad or high.

Note: Names changed to protect privacy :-). And this part fiction (more like exaggeration but that’s fun eh?)

Closed book in an open book exam.

So, I spend all Sunday typing out all the necessary stuff that I would need for my QPB test. I looked several at examples and typed the formulae used in them in my laptop. While I was still not 100% sure of the test, I was sure I could decent get marks especially because I had everything that I needed with me (in my laptop).

Day of the exam, I go to the hall, remember that my pen might be running of ink, so bought a new one and stepped into the exam hall 5 minutes before the test. Settled down, opened my laptop and powered it when I glance through the instructions on the exam sheet. No electronic media allowed. This must be a mistake, I talk to the invigilator who tells me that I should have registered by last Monday if I wanted to use the laptop and now it was too late. Okay, I still have 5 minutes, I can go and printout whatever I needed.

I go to the computer room, there was some examination happening over there and I wasn’t allowed to go in. Time – 2 mins left. I ask the IT guy for help and he allowed me to use his printer. I printed out the bare minimum I needed and rushed back to the exam hall in time. But as you might have guessed, those printout weren’t of much use. The worst part of this was, the exam was so easy, if I had my laptop, I would have aced it.

Right now, I am so angry with myself. I did well in my mid-term test, so hopefully I will pass (I need a minimum of 27/100 in this test to get an overall pass and trust me, without the textbook/laptop this is kind of iffy)

Song of your heart

It aint something you know

It’s not completely a feeling

It definitely isn’t  science

Probably closer to conscience

Happiness, is a just a song that your heart sings.

When you see a bird fly in the sky

Or a child, to stand, try

Maybe a sweetheart’s kiss

Or a cheese cake from Swiss

Your heart grows wings in bliss

Happiness, is just a song that your heart sings.

Practical Lesson number 1

The “Me” happened finally yesterday.

The professor in the class had asked us to come 5 minutes early for his lecture as there was going to be some prep work. So, when I woke up at 6:15 in the morning, I was feeling pretty confident that I can be there on time.

Now, I was ready by 8:45 but because I knew it was only a 5 minute ride to the school, I was in no hurry at all and by the time I got out of the flat it was 8:50. Okay, so I needed to ride a little faster than usual to reach by 8:55. No problem.

Now, I got down and unlocked the bike, sat on it and put my leg on the pedal, it was a free fall, the pedal moved but the wheel didn’t. Crap, not right now.. I tried to see if I could fix the chain but the chain is covered fully in my bike and I couldn’t manage to remove the cover. I looked at the time and it was 8:55.

Well, I was not going to be 5 minutes early but I can at least be on time (or a minute or two late) if I walked really fast. By the time I reached it was 9:03. Now, funnily enough, two of my team mates(in a group of 6) were late too. And I decided I would just run along with them and all three of us entered the class room at the same time.

I noticed something was wrong as soon as I entered, unlike my other team mate who actually took a seat. What was wrong was, we were in the wrong class. I blurted out a sorry to the professor and ran out quickly and my team mates who realized the same a second later and we ran out of the class.

When I finally got to the right class, it was 9:05.

I have decided to add lessons learnt in such scenarios. So here goes:

1. It’s always good to be a few minutes early especially in cases you are actually able to be.

2. Don’t try to fix an unknown problem when you don’t have time. The number one priority at that time was to make it to class on time but I spent a few minutes trying to fix my bike.

3. Don’t follow blindly. All I needed was to look at the TV screen while entering the gate and I would have gone to the correct class.

Ciao for now…

Half a month in Rotterdam

I arrived on the evening of 6th Jan in Rotterdam and it has been 15 days now. I thought I would write about my experiences till now.

Before coming to Rotterdam, I had a flight transfer in Istanbul and that was where I saw snow for the first time in my life. In the just roughly 30 seconds walk it took me to board the transfer bus and then onto the flight, I shivered like a jelly fish. I braced myself for Rotterdam, but it wasn’t half bad (probably cos I was expecting the worst temperature).

I had decided that I would take a taxi (29 euros) if it was too cold or the public transport (3 euros) if it was manageable. Since I didn’t seem to find much trouble with the cold, I went out dragging my luggage and boarded a bus. It took me a minute before I understood the transport system there and how to pay for it. Then got down at the Rotterdam Centraal and took a tram that dropped about 30 meters from my building.

I was supposed to meet a guy (a classmate who had already arrived), leave the luggage at his place and go to school to get the apartment keys. I connected to a free wifi network from a nearby restaurant and pinged him but it seems he had forgotten about meeting me and left somewhere. Whatsapp didn’t even show the message as delivered. I then pinged the entire Whatsapp group asking if anyone was there in the building. But just then, a MBA 15 entered the building. I explained my situation to him and he agreed to look after my luggage till I came back with the keys to my apartment.

I had already downloaded the Netherlands map on my phone and was able to find the school with ease. The only problem was it had started raining by then and was already night. I walked to the school, got the keys and came back all the while shivering in the rain. Some folks had already replied to my message on whatsapp by then. I met one of them who took me out for dinner. After that, I took a shower and dozed off.

Some interesting episodes since then:

  1. Most of my old friends won’t believe this but I am the main cook in my apartment. Surprisingly, I haven’t burned anything (yet).
  2. I went to a 2nd hand bicycle shop and said “Can you show me the cheapest bicycle that has handbrakes?” in the same tone and accent that I use in India while saying “Sabse sastha waala dena bhayya” I got an old rusty bike but as some of my schoolmates would know, I am used to such bikes (remember my good old pushpak viman?)
  3. The first morning here, I felt like I had a good night sleep, opened my eyes and slept off again because it was still dark. Then my mom called up which is when I noticed that it was 8:15 am already. Sun rises at 8:45 here in winter.
  4. One day, I went out without wearing a jacket just to see if I can survive in the cold (about 3-4 degrees). Not just my friends, even the Dutch people were looking at me strangely. And yes, I managed to survive with only minor discomfort.
  5. It’s kind of the topic of the day here if the sun ever came out. You could go weeks without every seeing the sun or the blue sky.
  6. On the day I was supposed to register at the city hall, I didn’t take my passport along and had to come back to my apartment and go back again. Typical me, Huh?
  7. We bought a kilo of apples from the Saturday flea market and didn’t realize till the next morning that they were actually plums.
  8. I wanted to see ‘I’ movie but seems it isn’t released here. Also rotterdam doesn’t have anything like the BookMyShow of India.
  9. I got a phone call from my mom one day and she asked me not to go walking late in the night. The very same day, after a pub-crawl, we had to walk about 4-5 kilometres because the trams weren’t running that late.
  10. I have already re-arranged the furniture in my room thrice, the last time being today but haven’t yet used the washing once. My laundry bag is more than full.

I think that is enough info for now. I have intentionally not written anything about the school. I will probably start a new blog for that.