The shy girl in my class...

I still remember the day I first saw her. Its kinda amazing if you ask me. Its amazing coz its been 15 years since the first day that I saw her and I still remeber it like it was yesterday.

She was the perfect shy girl. The kind who hides behind her mother when guests come over... It was the first day of the first grade. I remember kids crying all around me. Some clung to their mothers, some threw tantrums. If I didnt know better, I would say they were going to whip us and make us work. But they didnt, actually compared to what I am doing now, those days were fun. Actually, compared to any days those days were fun.

She walked past me with her eyes fixed to the ground. Her bag was pink and so was her complexion. I love innocence. I guess all men do. I think we value it so much coz of our utter incapability to be innocent ourselves.

She went inside the classroom and took the first bench. I took the second. Right behind her. Then the teacher came and asked me to move to the last bench. I hate being tall. Apparently I was blocking the view of the blackboard for the guys sitting behind me. So I got up and took the last bench. And that was the end of that.

I strictly believe our choices dont change overtime. We like the same kind of people all our lives. If you dont agree, ask yourself who was your best friend in school and whos your best friend now(if both are the same guy, there are fewer people luckier than you), then try to analyse their qualities- you ll find that a lot of those qualities match.

I liked the same girl all my school life. People wonder when I tell them that I couldnt talk to her for almost all of primary school, except for the one time when we had an exam and I forgot a pencil. She was sitting three benches in front of me (the closest we had been till then). I got up from my seat and asked her for a pencil. She looked at me for around 4 seconds. Then quietly took out a pencil and gave it to me-
"This pencil writes very fast,"she said.
Then I didnt know why she said that. But years later she told me that she had seen my mother scold me for not being able to complete the paper on time.

Now dont translate this into love. She didnt love me then. Maybe she liked me. But not more than that. I think till girls dont reach puberty, the only people they can love is their parents. I, I loved her. Men can love at any age. Infact men can love anyone at any age, maybe they are more individualistic or stuff.

As we grew up, her liking for me increased. Or maybe it was just my imagination. But I found her glancing at me. She now tells me that she used to glance at me coz I used to keep staring at her! It would be impolite for her not to even glance. We men are idiots, we give it away.

As she grew, so did her curves. I would be lying if I said while looking at her my eyes or my mind didnt go astray. Puberty is such a gift. It suddenly gives losers like me, enough courage to say something that we have been wanting to say since like 7-8 years or something...

We were in the 8th grade I guess. I asked her to wait after school. Apparently I had some important stuff about Annual day that I had to discuss with her.

After school as I walked down the steps with her, I thought to myself - I can walk these steps all my life with her.

I held her hand, softly at first. She stopped but she didnt pull her hand away. Her eyes were fixed on the stairs. I thought of all the things I could say. You practise saying things in front of the mirror and stuff, but it just doesnt work. I thought of all the cool things I could say and then came up with this -
"I wish these stairs would never end."

Really! I came up with that. I was so proud of myself. She looked at me, then held my hand firmly. I took that as a yes.

Years later she told me that that line was the lamest excuse to hold her hand. I pity all those guys whom I have suggested this line. No wonder all my male friends are single.

After our board exams, we made sure we gave the same entrance exams. Both of us wanted to get into engineering. She got better scores than me(like always) and chose Electronics in a top notch college. I managed to get in Computers in the third best college in the area. She cancelled her admission, much against the wishes of her parents to be with me. She gave up electronics and took up computers for me. Remember I told you a girl loves only after a certain age? I knew that she loved me then.

We gave the CAT last year. She again got a better score and made it in MDI HR in the first round. I was lucky to get in in the last round in the same class. But I got in. Thank God for that.

Today, sometimes, when we go to mess together for lunch, she walks beside me...her eyes fixed to the ground... I whisper something in her ear and she smiles.

Even today when I look at her, I sometimes still see the same innocent girl I had met on the first day of school. Here we are now- we attended the same school for 12 years, then went to the same engineering college in the same class and now are in the same class in MDI. God had a script written for us, didnt he? I love the fact that there is someone who knows me more than I know myself. I hope someday I get to know her, better than she knows me.

I find it amazing... shes the same girl who once offered me a fast pencil so that I could finish my paper on time and not get a scolding from my mother... and here she is walking next to me to the mess of our MBA college. We walk up the stairs to the first floor mess and I say -
"I wish these stairs would never end."
And she bursts out laughing.

P.S. Dedicated to Ek and Sak(names abbreviated to protect identity) of MDI who have been in the same class since the first grade, all through their engineering and now MBA. Someone wrote a script for you guys!

Btw, they are not my classmates. I am in IM(International management). This is more of their story than mine, hence the dedication...

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All I wanted to say about the CAT...

[Note: Long post]
[Note: Serious post]
[Recommended reading for CAT takers]

I was thinking about the events and happenings that lead to me getting an admit from MDI, Gurgaon. Was it tough? How much of hard work did I have to put in?
There are gonna be thousands of guys who will take the CAT(rated as among the most difficult exams on the planet) this year too. A few will score a super percentile. But a super-percentile, as I learnt later, doesnt guarantee you a seat in a college.

I will give a blow-by-blow account of how things worked and didnt work for me. In the process, I hope to inspire some of you (I know, tall order) and console the others.

So this is how it started-
I was disillusioned by the way engineering studies are counducted in our country. I had a quater-life crisis back then. I had secured a job with Siemens but I didnt know if I wanted to work. To be honest, I wanted to stay at home, watch movies, play cricket, do every damn thing that I wasnt able to do coz of my 4 years of engineering. Now engineering in Mumbai is a lot different from other parts of the country. Its real bad if u have to waste 4 hours of your day in travelling only to reach college to find the class being cancelled. It becomes even worse when you have been a straight A's student all your life and have to work your ass off to maintain high grades in engineering.

I played with the thought of joining siemens, then decided on not to only to change it on the night before the induction day. I am glad that I took that decesion. Its among the best decesions that I took.
After working for 9 months, getting up early everyday, spending a lot of time doing electrical shit(I am a mechie), I got bored and quit the job. Again, among the best decesions of my life.

I left the job around May. The next months till January, when the CAT results came, were among the best days of my life. I did almost everything I wanted- played cricket like crazy, slept like crazy, saw every sitcom I could get my hands on, in short, enjoyed life! One of my really close friends felt that it was among the most eventful year of my life. I agree mate!

May-June-July were mostly fun. One fine day it struck me - what do I do next? Maybe a part-time job - the kind that doesnt reqire me to get up early. How about a course in Film direction? I have always wanted to do that... If not now, then when? I am 22, when will I get the time in the future? If I have to, it has to be now, and it has to be from the best institute in the country.

I applied for FTII's direction course (Gods like Ashutosh Gowariker, Sanjay Leela Bhansali are the products of this college). At the same time I got a call for part-time teaching at Career Forum teaching CAT. While I was teaching, I gave the exam for FTII and got selected in the top 40. After the interview, I made it to the top 10 in the country, but that wasnt good enough. They took in the top 6 and that was the end of that.

Around August, I became serious about CAT. FTII was behind me, I didnt have a full-time job, I didnt have a plan B. That is when I pulled up my socks and started giving mock tests of every god damn coaching classes.

I gave the JMET, CAT, SNAP, MICAT(for MICA)... The colleges I had filled up were-
1. MDI, Gurgaon
2. IMT, Ghaziabad
3. SIBM, Pune
4. SCMHRD, Pune
5. MICA, Ahmedabad
6. SIIB, Pune
7. Welingkar, Mumbai

In that order of importance...

The first results that came in were in Jan were JMET. I logged on - You have not Qualified for the next round. Bad start. One out. But I wasnt too sad. Jmet is for the IITS and though I like IITs, I wouldnt wanna spend two years of my life there.

The next results were the biggie - CAT. I was extremely cool about the results. I remember, I checked it around 4 in the afternoon. My friends were making franctic calls to each other, trying to find out each others scores. I was as cool as can be. I wasnt expecting much. And I also figured out that me getting excited isnt going to change the results. I logged on - 98.37%ile with a expected poor performance in DI.

Then came the SNAP results. I had a God-score of 101 in SNAP. I had virtually converted all Symbiosis institutes or so I thought.

As expected, I got calls from all institutes I had applied to.

I was sure to convert SIIB and SIBM, but was sckeptical about SCMHRD because of their vague selection criteria.

First, the SIIB results came out. "You have been waitlisted - WL123"
There hasnt been a time when I have felt worse. A college like SIIB doesnt pick me up? I aint good enough for SIIB? Its 6th on my list yaar! If I cant get into this how can I get into the top ones?

Next result - SCMHRD - "We are sorry to inform you that you havent been selected for the program at SCMHRD". Okay. This one I can understand. HRD looks for work experience or whatever no one know. They rather flip a coin :P

Next- SIBM- now this one I was surely gonna convert. Its by far the best GD and Interview I have had ever! I was so damn confident about this one. I had already started dreaming of this place and how I will buy a bike and travel from Pune to Mumbai on weekends. I logged on - "We are sorry to inform...." I didnt read the next line. They didnt take me in- is all I could tell myself. They rejected me. The feeling of selfworthlessness cant be described in words.

3 of the 7 colleges I had applied to had rejected me. I had a God-score! What happened? How bad am I? What mistake do I make? Havent I prepared well? I am sure I have! I have given 8 hours per day reading shit like who is India's X minister and who heads Y committe.

MICAT- is the additional exam that you give for MICA. MICAT is supposed to check how creative you are. Now this is my turf. I gave the exam. Waited patiently for the results.
The results came in - "You are not selected for..." I kept looking at the screen.
4 out of the 7 colleges had rejected me. Dude? I got selected in God-damn FTII!! Thats the most creative exam on the whole continent! I get selected in FTII but ant creative enough for Mica?!

Now the only colleges left were MDI, IMT and Welingkar. The chances were bleak for mdi and imt since they are among the top instis in the country. If I cant make to normal colleges, how can I make it to the top ones? I will take a Welingkar. I am sure I will get it. But I have a 98.37 for pete's sake! Welingkar at that kinda score?

I used to find guys who cant even write basic English writing posts on Pagalguy saying - I have get admission to XYZ college. Aaj raat parti hogi. Chers!
I made sure that I swore atleast once at the college in question.

Then came the IMT results. I had a so-so GD and an average Interview. I wasnt expecting a convert, but atleast I got into the waitlist. "Game on," I said to myself. Maybe, just maybe, I might get in.

The most important results came in next. MDI- Waitlisted. Expected. Had an horrible interview. Now, when I think about it, I realise that I was depressed by the kinda results I had got. Here I was running out of colleges I can apply to and still havent got a convert.

Slowly and steadily my friends were getting converts. Everyone had orkut taglines changed to -Joining XXX.. 22 days to go.. some stuff like that.. Colleges are starting in 22 days? I still dont have an convert.

I started applying for jobs. But recession had kicked in and no one was willing to give me any jobs. BPOs loved to stay away from you if you were an engineer, which I was.

I was caught up. Tense. But like my friends tell me now, that I masked it pretty well. Infact even if you go back and read my posts dated around that time, they were still funny.

So here I was, 20 days remaining for colleges to start, with no job, no college. I felt like I had taken the worst decesion by leaving Siemens. Life can only be understood in hindsight.

I kept checking the waitlist movement at IMT. Somehow I had a feeling that I might just make it in this B school.

I remember that afternoon- I logged in on to the IMT site. I put in my id and password. The screen went blank for a moment. Then a new page appeared on screen -
"Congratulations...You have been selected for..."

I read the fifteen letter word again and again. Congratulations. When was the last time I read that? I didnt do what they do in the movies. No pumping my fists in the air. No shouting, No yelling. I just sat on the chair... letting it sink in... and then let myself sink in the chair... Then got up from the chair. Made a tight fist, and ever so slowly said - Yes.

The time I had spent studying, giving mock-cats, learning about minister X and committe Y, all of a sudden, I felt, had paid dividends. A feeling of gratitude took me over. I dont remember how many times must I had thanked the computer that day.

In the last week, I got a call from MDI too. And I took that up. But I still love IMT. In the way you love your girlfriend you had when you were 15.

Now when I look back, I feel everything fell in place. But I still wonder, the Intellectual capital that comes to MDI and IMT is way better than the colleges that rejected me. I dont get it, if the country's elite b-schools can accept me, then what are the traits that these other bschools look at? And its obvious that they are doing something wrong, else they would be higher up the rankings.

Also, I dont think CAT is a good way to judge students. Now, for eg, had I made one mistake in the paper, I wouldnt be in IMT or MDI. At the same time, had I made one mistake less, I would have been in the IIMs. The point being - CAT is definitely not the only parameter that a college should look at. But it should be remembered that CAT is the most transparent way of selecting students. The lesser of the evils.

Note: The whole point of this post has been to let you know that as an aspirant, you might lose hope and heart sometime - DONT!
Dust off the Dust..
.. Just Kick Butt!

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End of Term 0!

So I am back. Not that I wasnt here already. Its just that I was living the zombie life. We had our end-terms which ended yesterday.
So, the last few days were really weird, studying till 5 in the morning with friends, drinking loads of tea with bhujiya (thanks JD), downloading ppts, cribbing, cursing our luck and the people who came up with the idea of MBA altogether.

Anyway, we are now done with our exams, and the foreign batch is here. We decided to throw a double party - one to welcome them, the other to celebrate end of our exams. We had a party the next the day too. I have no idea of the reason for the party, but who needs a reason?

The week before the exam was so damn hectic that I was forced to ask myself - Where is the pause button on this damn thing?

After the last exam we were sitting at nescafe in MDI, wondering what to do with our free time. It happens when you are not used to having free time.

This is an excerpt of our convo -
Me: Kal kya activity hai?
Rahul: I think kal kuch nahi hai.
JD: Kuch bhi.. there has to be something.
Rahul: No, I think its like... a holiday.
me: Really? Can anyone confirm that.
Akshay: Yeah. We have the next two days free.
me: two days?
Akshay: 48 hours man. This has to be the defining moment of our lives.

So I got really pumped up and came with a to-do list-

Things to do in the next 48 hours-
1. Clean the desktop. I dont know why there are so many icons on my desktop.
2. Cut your nails. As in my nails.
3. Read the newspapers. I have been stacking the newspapers since the last 20 days. There is a lot to read.
4. Watch a bit of TV
5. Clean the room.(I have started to sound like my mom now!)
6. Yeah, sleep for 10 hours(atleast)
7. Read blogs. Its been ages since you have commented on peoples blogs. People hate you now.
8. Watch the movies and the sitcoms you have been downloading since the last one month.
7. Teach the foreigners hindi.

Okay, I know my hindi isnt anything to write home about(write in hindi ofcourse). But it is anyday better than them.

Btw, the other day, we had this football match against the normal management batch(I make them sound so low-profile.. he he he). Now since we had europeans in our team, we kicked butt.
For all you desh-bhakts, dont worry, the HR batch beat us in the next game. But seriously, how did HR beat us, I mean, isnt that batch supposed to be full of girls?

I did an analysis and realised that it was because of lack of co-ordination(ah! Genius!)
But seriously, its because of the language problem. For eg -

When Vikram says - Abbe le, ball le..
Nicholas thinks - Lays? I will have salted.

It has come as a surprise, but subconciously we use a lot of hindi words while talking to the firangs - like- aacha, hai na, nahi, chalo etc etc. And not that we dont know english, there are people here who have a 99% in Verbal but still make the same mistake while talking!

So thats all about the two days of timepass that we did. Want to write more but am short on time. How much can one do in 48 hours anyway? Anyway, its raining out here. And I gotta rush to enjoy it. Unlike Mumbai, rain here, stays for around 148 seconds and then makes the next appearance in 5 days. Off to get wet. Au revoir!

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