One blind man and elephant grading at IIMA

As I have to do this year after year, i.e. indulge in meaningless task of defining numerical range of certain qualities, as briefly observed by me, in few highly intelligent human beings; and then try and explain to them the meaninglessness of the same that they are conditioned not to understand, I have decided to write a blog-piece that I can share year-after-year in vain 🙂
Dear class,

I have just commited The cardinal sin from my perspective… I have “graded” human beings….

It is an act so alien to my mind-set and philosophy of life that I do not expect myself to get used to or accept the idea.

But, as it is needed, I have done it..and result is comparable to the out-put of a random number generator if it is to be looked at as a description of what a person may have allowed him/herself to absorb during those 12 sessions.

But, as I did encounter situations last year that made me realize that all are not keen to accept my random number generator concept, so I am sharing my line-by-line (combine) reply to two mails that reflect feelings that my “grading” generated.
These two mails broadly covers the kind of mindsets that exist in the class, one normally becomes CEO and other happy.
As I did say last year, choice is yours (only if you are disgruntled!)…
Old mail (with identities removed for sake of privacy )


Dear Mr. X,

I guess life is a serious business at IIM-A.

So, I will give categorical reply to your mail and then attach my communication to Mr. Y about his dissatisfaction about his grades explaining how I actually look at grading….
You are welcome to take you pick on the reply you would like to recognize.

“1. Greetings!”


“2. Hope you are doing fine.”

Cant say. It has been one thing that I wanted to find out all through my life but am still awaiting answer.

“3. We received grades today for Bionics course, where one thing is not apparently clear.”

Thank God it is ONE thing only. To me, there are a lot more than one.

“4. You mentioned in class that the only thing which will be graded in the course is the final assignment (Assignment no. 3). But grades are different for students who did assignment 3 together.”

The assignment was presented in class whereby I made some judgments on what is understood and what is thought of by who in the work. (what I meant was in a metaphoric sense whereby in final assignment you could create an overall impression for me to judge, while academic structuring for evaluation is as per the one submitted with the course out-line to IIM-A.)

“5. I am not sure if it is because of some discrepancy?”

As you have added a “?” I assume that you think there is. My little experience with humans tell me that one can never alter what others think. So I leave it as it is.

“6. Please clarify.”

I hope I did.

“7. Thanks.”

So be it.


Hi Y !!!

Do you actually grade yourself with grades? It is the stupidest part of what happens in an academic session. It is akin to a blind man describing an elephant and has no real meaning so by replying to the subject-matter of your mail I would be giving it unnecessary importance which it doesn’t have for me.

Lets have a tea over it sometime but otherwise take it from me that I am not the right guy who can do proper grading and thus please dismiss your grades as my inability to comprehend humans!!

Cheers man!!

Am not sure I should add “cheers” to your communication.

But as a friend I wish you do.

Samir Shukla


I am happy to admit that I have managed surviving till now with minimum effort as all my intellect has be used to avoid doing anything meaningful. As I needed to while all the free time I generated in course of being lazy, science has been my favorite muse that I have enjoyed company of. As an effort to kill time (in a way, to get even with it) one fine day I decided to write a science column, more for my personal amusement than to attract readers. After getting educated about the attention span of modern readers from my editor, it became more like a challenge to tackle esoteric subjects in 600 words that I have managed to remain interested in for more than a year now. I do not want to add my worldly profile here as these are ideas that need to be considered only on the merits they carry and not as an opinion of a certain human being.

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