Sunday, December 20, 2009

Demand and desperation

We have the Macroeconomics End Term along with Human Resource Management on Monday (21st Dec).
So what did we do?
We drive down to Ambience and tried booking tickets for Avatar 3D tonight(19th Dec).
House Full. In fact, desperate souls were already waiting near the ticket counter for cancellations.

Whose idea was it?

Ah yes, I forgot to mention. Rational souls would've come back seeing the House Full. Rational souls.
But of course, that boat had sailed long ago. We bought tickets for the Sunday night(20th) 23:40 show.

Whose idea was it?

And of course, the third idiot who actually got ready to sponsor the Gold(Rs 850) show for tonight.

Another look at the first idiot? Here he is again.

So, here we are... Avatar 3D tickets ready for tomorrow night.

3 Cheers to the 3 idiots.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The End The Doors

"Feels like a million squirrels are biting my foot off"
- NSquare, Badminton Court.

"Am I alive?
Any limbs missing?
Any parts twisted weirdly out of place?
Broken bones?
Don't think so.
Any gashes/bruises?

- KungFu Panda, Briefly @ NDE

Maybe there was no apple
- Kadi, Badminton Court.
Moral of the story is "If you eat paan, it unlocks your brain"
- Darua, HRM Class.

brought to you by:
The Seal Clubbing Society & Send Swamis To Amsterdam Chit Fund

Friday, November 20, 2009

Change Master

Dear Blog,

The day I walked into MDI Gurgaon, I walked out of the time-space continuum. Out of the time component of the continuum, at least. Your usual "What's up?" can no longer be answered by my usual "Nothing much" and a long story elaborating the answer. I now have a minimum 3 things to do at any given instant. Seriously.

Ergo, there are some changes that you and I will both have to live with.
1. You will have to resign to being black and white at best. No more colours.
2. No more of your favourite 500+ word dishes. Only leftovers from the day or the week.
3. You will not sulk when I come back after ignoring you for weeks or even months.
4. Detailed imagery is out of stock. Now now, don't you cry. Accept the crispy new flavour. As and when you get it.
5. When I mention my other literary work or article/news links in front of you, don't be jealous.

Remember my dear blog. Change is inevitable. Don't just wait for it. Plan for it.
We shall stay in touch.

Your faithful author

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The 10 commandments

Have you ever taken a sudden long unexpected leave and gone back to work? It can be a nightmare for most. At the team lunch, your boss says loud enough for the entire team to hear, "Good to see you're back! Where were you all these days? Your team had to do overtime to finish off your work as well." and what follows is a week of poignant glares from your team-mates every time you ask for the slightest bit of help. Of course, MY boss says, "Where were you all these days? You missed the free lunch sponsored by the client!!" And that is why I love my boss. But let me not digress.....

Like the hula-hoops, lava lamps and boot-cut jeans of yore, if this generation has a fad, it has to be the undisguised hatred of one's job. Be it construction or coding. But while most of us merely day-dream about the epilogue of the event called resignation, we forget that there is also the prologue. i.e. the period of time between your decision to quit and your intimation about the same to that insufferable species called HR. Well... I entered the prologue about 2 months ago. And it ends 2 or 3 days from now. Wandering in the purpose-devoid Hebrew wilderness of boredom, I saw the light and trekked up Mount Sinai. And there, I received The 10 Commandments of what to do during the so-called notice period in an IT company.

Commandment One: Thou shalt stop working immediately for thy bread and ratings. The good Lord hath arranged for pro-rata salary payment till thy very last date by means of a settlement cheque.

Commandment Two: Honour thy boss and no other, for it is he who shalt give you thy recommendation letter which you will exaggerate during any and all interviews in the future.

Commandment Three: Thou shalt produce fake medical bills to cover all illnesses known to man and beast in order to take back what rightfully belongs to thee. The health insurance and medical allowance.

Commandment Four: Thou shalt make use of all thine SickLeaves, CasualLeaves and other leaves non-convertable into liquid cash. For The Good Lord, hath provided you with bountiful supply of diseases like jaundice, viral fever, typhoid and AIDS.

Commandment Five: Thou shalt commit adultery of information and gather all high-level documents necessary to take credit for all the things thy entire team has done together.

Commandment Six: Thou shalt covet thy neighbour's computer and make future arrangements for the same. For, the HR shall taketh away thy own when you reveal thy purpose to quit.

Commandment Seven: Thou shalt not steal anything that cannot fit into thy pocket.

Commandment Eight: Thou shalt indulge in KT and teach sin to thy replacements in abundance for it is they who shalt continue to consume company bandwidth for downloads after you leave.

Commandment Nine: Thou shalt treat all the HR girls equally and cc everyone for a date.

Most Importantly, Commandment Ten: Thou shalt not curse thy company until you are at least 5 feet outside the premises on the last day. Beyond that, The Good Lord in His infinite wisdom hath provided you free will. Use it as vociferously as you wish.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Universally Accepted Fraud A.K.A Universal Adult Franchise

They happen quite rarely. Once in 4 years. Like the Football World Cup. With as much speculation and betting. They start with bitter ideological differences between the contestants. And match-fixing and cheating are endorsed and encouraged in this game. Ultimately, united they stand and divided we are. And guess what, irrespective of the winner, the general public is always flogged for the next 4 years. And thence the name of the game, The General Elections.

My name was finally entered in the electoral rolls this year. I am now a proper 'citizen' with the universal adult franchise. It has been a difficult journey to make. And sure enough, on April 16th 2009, Rahul voted. He exercised one of his most powerful fundamental rights!! He indirectly chose the prime minister of India!! Well... not quite... but you get the picture.

Steven Levitt, the Freakonomist says any sane, logical person would never vote. Why? Because of there is no measurable incentive. No tangible return on investment. The chances of a single vote affecting the outcome of an election is so low that no one in their right minds should vote. Obviously the freak-eco isn't quite familiar with our elections. In India, incentive is not only tangible but also edible. Along with the father of our nation and the father of our constitution, we must pay respects to the inventor of the chicken biryani and country liquor. For, they have done more to ensure voter turnout than any 'Jaagore' can ever do.

Sticker WhyBhav did not vote. Instead, he wrote. To the Chief Election Commissioner of India. It goes thus:

Dear CEO,

The undersigned has some suggestions he'd like to see implemented by the next election. Actually, forget the next election, if you can manage them anytime before the undersigned dies, he'd still appreciate it.

1. Candidate list to contain the list of criminal offences and brief description of the same in a column beside the voter's name.
2. Candidate list to also contain the educational qualifications of the candidate.
3. A verified list of the various social contributions to the society made by the candidates to be readily available and distributed in the queues outside the polling booths.

4. Shoot-on-sight orders for booth-capturing, rigging etc. on election day.
5. And MOST IMPORTANTLY, along with the list of candidates, EVMs to also contain a red button with the caption "All of the above are worthless swine".


This clever comic 'mirrors' the Elections 2009 quite nicely. Look at it carefully. ;-)

[Courtesy: Sticker WhyBhav]

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

About Ahmed. The Autowala.

Ahmed is the resultant of an interesting socio-economic equation. Just like the rest of us. But before I tell you his tale. Imagine this scenario:

You open the door in the morning and your milkman goes "What took you so long?". Your plumber says "merci beaucoup" when you pay him. Your maid takes a break from sweeping and asks you to change the TV channel to Zee Cafe so that she can watch 'Friends'. As you walk down the street, a roadside cafe owner greets his regular customer with a 'wassup' and a high-five.

Too far fetched?

Literacy rates are quite high in cities. You don't need a census to tell you that. Go to the nearest slum at 0730 in the morning. The stream of kids in stark white uniforms and jet black shoes is all the proof you need. Evidently, the afore-mentioned essential service providers, although several notches below your income level, don't, for a second wish their children to follow in their footsteps. They see you and your kids everyday. Possibly for years. They know the quality of life an education can provide. And so, except for the rare under-age kid you employ to wash your utensils, almost all her friends go to school. They keep progressing up the grades until one day, their family needs them to go to work. And at that point, their education stops. So what is the resultant of this equation. Where do these kids go?

Ok... I will stop the monologue and proceed with my anecdote.

[Author's Note: All the dialogues below are completely verbatim. I spent that night in the train recalling and typing up the words as they were spoken into my mobile so that I could post them here with accuracy.]

ACT 1.....

I am on the way to a railway station. It is 6:40pm. I reach the main road and flag down an autorickshaw.
Rahul: Nampally aate?

Autowala: Baitho.
I get into the auto.
Autowala: Meter pe Rs 5 extra de do.
I immediately make a movement as to get off and say: Arey yaar! Side kardo bhai. Kaiko extra lete.
Autowala: Arey! Baitho boss. Nhi dena toh nhi dete bolo na bas. Itna rudely kaiko ja rahe ho. Autowale aadmi nhi hote kya.
I am taken aback slightly by his usage of 'rudely'. I takes me a few seconds to retort back.
Rahul: Toh hum aadmi nhi hain kya. Paisa pedh pe nhi ugte bhai. Jaldi mein tha, isliye utar raha tha.

The autowala remains silent.

ACT 2.....

I open my bag and absent-mindedly check for my train ticket. I am still thinking about the fact that an autowala just said the word 'rudely'. In english. Meanwhile, the autowala stops at a paan shop to buy supari. Getting out, he turns towards me and smiles.
Autowala: Late toh nhi ho rahe na?

Interesting. An autowala with a sarcastic sense of humour. I just smile back.
He comes back shortly and the auto starts again.

ACT 3....

[The autowala is giving me some gyaan about mobile ambulances in hyd and how 10th pass guys are nurses in them. Suddenly he becomes pensive.]
Autowala - Mai bhi inter 2nd yr passed hun. I also passed Intermediate 2nd year. [Long pause] Kuch bhi naukri nhi mila toh auto chala raha hun.
Aha!! That explains how he used the word 'rudely' with such obvious ease.
Rahul: wahi laga tha mujhe.
[Long pause]
Rahul: You can work as an accountant at office ya aise kuch na?
Auto turns back toward me and stares.
Autowala: Aise hi ghurte hain log. 12th pass is not sufficient. waise... mai subah lunch karta hun aur raat tak auto chalata hun. 500 per day banata hun apart from oil and rent money. Around 15-16000 per month. Aur city bhi ghoomne ko milta hai.
Rahul: Abhi toh aapko chalega. But family hai toh difficult hoga na.
Autowala smiles mischievously.
Autowala: Do I look like an unmarried man?

It is one of those rare moments when I am at a loss for words.
Autowala: I have 3 children.
He turns, looks at my shocked expression and translates that into hindi. Just in case i didn't get it.
Autowala: Teen bacche hain mere. I'm 34 years old.

Rahul: What is your name?
Autowala: Ahmed Sharif.
Rahul: Ahmed, you look like you're 28 years old.
Ahmed: Still handsome right? My wife also say this.
Ahmed grins widely. He starts to tell me about his eldest son. We've reached our destination but he has forgotten. I am in a hurry. My train leaves in 5 minutes. I ask him to stop. The meter says Rs 66. I give him Rs 70.
Rahul: Ahmed, aaj jaldi mein hun. Nhi toh cafe mein baitke tum aur mai bate karte nai?
I meant it completely. Ahmed was an interesting man worth knowing. Ahmed smiles, graciously takes the money and starts to count it.

It is high-time for me to run for my train. But I hesitate. I want to tell him that he is qualified for a better job. I want to tell him a man like him can strive for a better place in society.

Ahmed finishes his counting and looks at me. He smiles. I think he read my mind. He said something that struck a chord deep inside me.

Ahmed Sharif, the Autowala says to me, "It is never a question of money or status in society. Ego. If a man has his ego, he can do any job."

And with that punchline, one of the many
resultants of our socio-economic equation, starts his auto and heads out into the city of pearls..... Hyderabad.

So... You still think that scenario is far fetched?

Monday, April 13, 2009

SPJain Group Interview

IIM Bangalore again. Light rainfall. Close to 80 candidates. 5 panels. 3 PM. Crowded and humid. I was uneasy (and quite needlessly, a little euphoric, from the previous day's MDI interview). After an expected 1 hour delay(my colleague had already warned me about SPJain's lack of punctuality), 8 of us entered a chamber where a NiceLadyProf(NLP) and a WizenedOldGentleman(WOG) sat, smiling benevolently at us.

NLP: Good afternoon everyone... My name is blah and my colleague is blah... SPJain conducts Group Interviews to get to know you as a person... blah blah... and more blah... we will have a formal discussion... but first introduce yourselves... start from here.
[I was sitting near a window close to the WOG. And the intros began from the other end. As the introductions proceeded, NLP probed the candidates for a bit more info sometimes. WOG kept looking at me
constantly. And the words 'know you as a person' kept echoing in my head. By the time my turn came, his stare had done it's damage. I gave a brief introduction without my usual confident-flippant-tone. While NPC talked to a guy about his project and deadlines, I was having a silent tete-a-tete or eye-a-eye(perhaps?) with WOG. Suddenly NPC addressed the junta...]
NPC: Suppose you are a team and had to deliver something by end of today. Me and WOG are at loggerheads on how to proceed. We have taken strong positions and are not relented to each other in any way. What would you do? How would you handle this and still meet the deadline?
[I was mesmerized by WOG's eyes. The instant her sentence ended... I started rambling...]
Rahul: As far I am concerned, I would talk to you both individually and see what is the exact area of conflict. If I can't make you both compromise ultimately I will take a consensus of the rest of the group and proceed irrespective of your opinions.
[ was indeed rambling...not incoherent mumbling. It appeared that I could still fight the eye. My content was coming out right. But the battle with the eye was distracting me. My tone was coming out wrong.]
WOG: hmm...ok...(points to another guy) what would you do?
[Phew!! The eye turns away...]
Guy: blah...blah...
[In turns, the junta gave their individual opinions...blah blah...]
WOG: Ok...good. Now we will have a small discussion on Valentine's Day. You know what it is?
Junta(Almost in chorus): Yes.
NLP: So what do you think about V-Day and that incident that happened in Mangalore with Ram Sena...blah..blah...
[While NLP explained the issue, WOG returned to me. The Ancient Mariner was putting me in a spell. The second her sentence ended, my mouth automatically opened and....]
Rahul: I think it is something very personal and upto the individuals to decide whether to celebrate or not... and if they do want to celebrate.. in what manner they celebrate. Like religion... It should be a personal decision and not a public issue that the media and other organizations have made of it.
[It was tragic. Why was the Mariner after me??? Forget about hanging it around my neck, I don't even know what a damn
albatross looks like!! The only poultry-related-crime I've committed in my life was to eat chicken. All along NLP was nodding along listening intently to me.]
WOG(interrupted towards the end and pointed to another guy): What do you think?
Junta: blah blah....(In turns, the junta spoke. One of them actually said that V-Day must be banned and we should focus our love on God and take our loved ones to temples if we were serious about them... hmm... Future Ram Sena Secretary?)
[Finally, the discussion petered out...]
WOG: Now let's take the broader issue... moral policing... women going to pubs.... what do you feel about it...?
[Yet again...the second his question ended...I spoke...sigh...Silence silence everywhere but not a fullstop to my ink. I was self-destructing.]
Rahul: It is completely against the fundamental rights we enjoy as citizens. There can be no justification for the violence they indulged in. There are laws to handle things like the Ram Sena and we must take a stand and speak out against their actions.
[The junta continued...]

As you and I can see now and as I could see then... everytime the panel asked the junta something, I'd cut in before anyone else could speak. And yet, the realisation was not strong enough to outweigh the effect of that Ancient Mariner. The rest of the discussion was about being in a hostel and not having water and a friend dying of thirst(yes.. It was as lame back then as it sounds even now) and how we'd procure water etc etc and other stuff. Every time I'd cut in and be the first to speak. I knew I was doing something terribly wrong completely unlike the rest of the junta who stayed subdued and waited for their turn to speak. No specific questions related to our profiles or education or work. Our opinion of current issues was all they wanted to know.

Result: Mr Ram Sena and me were REJECTED after Round 1 itself. I took an AC bus back and that was how it ended.

CATatonia End of the Series Editor's Note:
I got some insights into the interview process after a careful analysis of the 4 interviews. When I gave a self-generated non-cliched answer for 'why mba?' the SIBM panel disapproved. When I said playing the lead satisfies me, the MDI panel liked it. When I actually did play the lead, the SPJain panel didn't like it. When I cracked a joke in the very beginning about 'why mba?', the IMT panel rewarded me with a stress interview.
So... what does this tell you?
Like I said at the very beginning....
"What follows is not a guide on how to clear interviews or how to convert them. It is just an account of how F***ED up life can get if you don't think straight."

And now... we return to our regularly scheduled programming.... with R@hul...!!!(Thunderous clapping and cheering noise.)

Friday, April 10, 2009


Folks, you can't beat the traffic in Bangalore. Period. You have to learn to rise above it. No no.. not spiritually or other crap. I meant literally. By taking the AC Volvo city bus. A boon to Bangaloreans I tell ya! So, I had 2 interviews lined up on 2 consecutive days. Day 1: MDI Gurgaon. By far my best call. I naturally had an aching desire to convert this one. So for the first time in my life, I actually 'prepared' for an interview. Don't ask me how. On the way there, I got really hungry and ate a dosa in a cheap eatery nearby. And my good friend Murphy ensured that a spot of Sambhar adorned the front of my shirt. I luckily managed to cover it up using my tie. Hurray for Ties!

Venue: IIM Bangalore. Time: 2:40 PM. Call: MDI PGPM.

Every single person in my group of 12 has multiple IIM calls. Sigh. The GD was gonna be one hell of a fishmarket. The topic was "Should Narendra Modi be made the PM of India?" GD Verdict: Not bad. A controlled fishmarket with Mr LoudMouth(IIM CLK) doing most of the talking and Mr Silencio(IIM BLACKI) struggling hard to get a chance to speak. Meanwhile, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the panelists laughing hysterically. Oh Boy! Screwed! I watched for about 5 mins and then jumped in and made 2 or 3 relevant points. The group was focussing too much on Modi as an person. I attempted to bring the focus back to the actual topic which was Modi as PM. Done. Later outside, Mr LoudMouth came back from his interview (he was called in first and screwed royally) and informed us that the panelists liked No 7's points and attitude. (Yes. I was the anonymous no 7... yay! Saving grace? Read ahead and find out...)

The panel for the interview was same as the one in the GD. HinglishGuy(HIG) and DistinguishedIntellectualGuy(DIG). Rahul enters.... HIG is standing behind a chair... and leaning forward on it... DIG is sitting in his chair and studying Rahul's profile sheet.

DIG(looking at profile sheet): So Rahul... Yellow Belt... did you continue Karate?
Rahul: No sir... I started a lot of things that I didn't finish. (it was a stupid self-negating statement said in the hope they would ask about the 'other' things.)
DIG: How old were you when you learnt karate?
Rahul: umm... I guess 19 years old.
HIG: achha? Good.. tab tak toh bones and cartilage must have hardened hai na Sir. Can you do the split?
Rahul: Umm... (a damned Roadies audition plays in my head)
HIG: arey... pair ko spread karte hain na... full split?
Rahul: Sir... actually we were taught Katas.... that's a sequence of steps with hand and leg movements and...
HIG(shakes head and cuts me off sharply): What is your name?
Rahul(3 sec pause): Rahul.
HIG: Good. (pause) Got it? (small smile on his face)
Rahul: Got it sir...(they wanted me to be to the point). No I cannot do the split.
(Long pause... with both panelists smiling)
DIG: Tell us something about yourself Rahul apart from what's written in the profile sheet.
Rahul thinks carefully... "hmm... family? work? no.. I'll talk about ME."
Rahul: I am very logical. (pause) I plan before taking any decisions. And once I do... I stick to them. I never regret my decisions.
HIG and DIG assess this statement silently.
DIG: So... what was your plan for the GD?
Rahul talks slowly... measuring each word like a politician...
Rahul: I decided I'll first wait for a bit and understand what the other guys were like. And then I'll give my points corresponding to the nature of the discussion... umm... And I stuck to this plan during the GD.
DIG: What do you think about the GD?
Rahul gives a confused look....
DIG: I mean... how do you rate yourself in the GD?
Rahul: Average.... Sir.
HIG laughs loudly... DIG smiles...
HIG: Sabse pehla bunda hai jisne average bola hai....
DIG: Everyone before you have rated themselves as above average. (looks at me for some kinda explanation)
Rahul: Actually I wasn't aggressive during the GD sir. So... I did not....
HIG: matlab hum GD mein aggressiveness dekh rahe hain kya?
Rahul: No Sir... I mean... I hardly talked sir... probably gave 2 or 3 points... but I'm sure they were very sensible ones. (bold words... implying that I was better than others...) That's why...
HIG: woh pata hai... hum woh nhi kah rahe hain.... ( indications that they agreed with my bold words.... wohoo!!)
DIG(interrupts HIG): Ok.. look... If you were sitting in our chair... how would judge the candidates?
Rahul(thinks): Firstly sir... I would have just 6 people.. It would be easier for me to judge when there less than 12 people...
DIG(interrupts): There were just 8 people. (smiles)
Rahul thinks ya.. 3 were absent... crap!
Rahul(smiles): I mean... You guys are more experienced at this... I can't assess with a large group...
HIG(interrupts): thik hai... woh chodo... continue... what do we look for in a GD.... group dynamics, teamwork mat bolo... apart from all those...
Rahul(thinking): I would look at who is dominating... (damn.. again on the same lines)
DIG: Oh.. so dominating is what matters... blah blah....
HIG and DIG screw Rahul about this statement... After a while he becomes defensive... HIG senses it....
HIG(smiles): Defensive mat ho jao yaar... abhi tak achha baat kar rahe the...
Rahul: ok sir... (continues a little more openly... comparisons of Mr LoudMouth and Mr Silencio)
Finally Rahul clarifies that he meant playing a lead role in the GD would have satisfied him more.
HIG: accha... tell me what are the types of leadership...
Rahul: Actually sir.. I don't know the types..
HIG: nhi bhai.. textbook definition nhi chahiye... in your own...
Rahul(interrupts HIG): According to me... leadership means identifying which people are good at what... and utilizing them as resources to get things done... to get the work done...
While talking, Rahul realizes that HIG was looking for active and passive leadership as the answer to his previous question. Anyway... HIG contemplates on this unique definition and forgets about the types-wala question.
HIG: toh GD mein kya karna chahiye tha...
DIG: You should have...
Rahul(interrupts): I should have identified who was talking sensibly and promoted them...
DIG(cuts me off): You should have made sure that those who didn't get a chance got to speak and those who were loud didn't go out of control. Isn't it?
Rahul: Yes Sir.
DIG smiles a bit... and looks at profile sheet again.
DIG: Did you like it?
Rahul(absent-mindedly): umm.. yes sir...umm.. You mean the interview process?
DIG: No.. your GD performance.
Rahul: Yes sir.. I liked it.
HIG: But tumne toh average kaha na... yahan perform karne aaye ho ki nahi?
Rahul: According to my usual standards it was average sir. Usually I play the lead....
Rahul thinking "A third time emphasis on leading the group... oh what the heck! I am what I am. I can't control my impulse to lead and I couldn't hide it either."
There is a long pause from both panelists.... and I look outside the window at the lawn and the red
brick buildings of IIM-B...
DIG(talking to HIG): Indian School of Mines... hmm... it's a premier college hain na sir?
Rahul: Yes Sir... The admission is through IIT-JEE.
DIG: Oh.. ok... What was your rank?
Rahul: umm(recalling)... it was 3713 sir.
DIG: What is your branch?
Rahul: Mechanical.
DIG(slight smile.. shakes head..): Ok Rahul... standard question... why did you join TCS?
Rahul: During my training in Delphi-TVS... I realised that a junior engineer in the core industry is exposed to a narrow scope of a business... a small set of machines or a small production process...
HIG: Arey yaar.. woh sabko pata hai... What we want to know....
Rahul(interrupts HIG): Yes sir.. umm... (says loudly) Rahul... (indicating that he will speak to the point now... this is greeted by broad smiles by both panelists). Sir... I felt that in the software industry exposure to the business aspect of the organization is more than in core.
DIG(interrupting me): You thought that.. and now you...
Rahul(interrupting DIG): We basically get a broader view of business in IT. And that would help me during my MBA. For that reason I joined _ _ _.
DIG(gives a long pause): That's why you joined _ _ _ ?
Rahul: Yes Sir.
DIG smiles and looks at profile sheet again.
DIG: Your academics do not seem that good. What was your rank?
Rahul(blank lie): I must rank 13 or 14 in my branch of 30 sir.
Rahul curses himself. He should have explained about absolute GPA system and how his branch profs suck! Then again... they probably wouldn't have listened to as deep an explanation as that.
DIG(still hunting for something): What is your topper's GPA?
Rahul(sincere truth): It is around 8.15. (This seemed to satisfy DIG)
HIG: Ok Rahul... you said you are very logical right? I'll ask you a simple question... koi trick or puzzle nhi hai... very simple. Suppose a family travels in a car. Husband, Wife, child, Grandma and Granpa. 5 people... each sit one beside the other... now.. ek person dusre person ke upar chad jaata hai... thik hai?
Rahul: haan... thik hai...
HIG: ok... now tell me... how many people are there on whom no one is sitting?
Rahul(slight pause): 3.... no sir... 4....
(HIG laughs slightly and shakes head dismissively..)
DIG(looks at HIG): Ok Rahul... It was really nice talking to you.
Rahul: Same here Sir.
DIG: You may leave. (I turned to go...)
DIG: One second Rahul... what was your percentile?
Rahul: It is 98.66 sir.
DIG(writes it down): Ok.. thanks.
Rahul: Thank you.
Rahul exits.

Once I was outside, the floodgates of adrenalin that I'd kept locked opened up and I had a psychedelic rush. The minute I became lucid again, I played the whole experience in my mind. I knew this was one incident that had to go up on my blog VERBATIM without my usual exaggeration. And that's all I gotta say about that.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Sticker WhyBhav? Who?

In case you're wondering who this friend of mine is....

Here are his vital-stats ---->

Name: Sticker WhyBhav.
Current Avatar: Striving for Sainthood.
Previous Avatar: Kurt-a-holic in thoughts and deeds.
Education: Majored in class-snoring. Minored in... umm... engineering... was it?
Employment Status: Recently recruited by this blog's author for his masterpieces. Previously used to pretend to 'work' for an analytics company where he did sales 'fake'casting.

[ Picture Courtesy: Sticker WhyBhav ]

Folks, he is a struggling artist. To make sure his genius reaches the millions* of you who read my blog I've decided to adopt him. From today, he work will regularly star on my blog.

* What huh? Come on...!! You know I'm prone to heavy exaggeration all the time.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Are you Onlife or Offlife?

I was just saying to my friend Sticker WhyBhav that the next generation will be conceived, born, raised and married online. Why?

[Picture courtesy: Sticker WhyBhav :-) ]

Afterall we've got websites for marriage, good parenting guidelines as well as visual information about what and what not to do for effective (ahem) fornication. And I'm sure online births aren't too far away now.

Monday, April 06, 2009


Just like SIBM... here too.. A girl went in right before me... but she brought no roses out this time.... just thorns(as you will see ahead....)

Background Info: I dont fully recall what Forrest Gump(FG) was asking. I only registered that he was on his cellphone, running in and outta that room while the interview was going on...

3 panelists. (from left to right)Forrest Gump, Outspoken Man(OM), Royal Pain(RP).

OM: Rahul? (Rahul nods) Good Morning Rahul...
RP: Are you guys coming in randomly or according to serial number?
Rahul: (appropriate answer)
RP: (looking at sheet)... Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad huh?
Rahul: Yes Sir. (hmm.. so he knows about it...)
OM: What's your stream?
Rahul: Mechanical Engineering sir.
RP: So... what do you do in _ _ _ ?
Rahul: (genuine attempt at a joke) I'm waiting to do my MBA sir.... (Rahul smiles)
OM: (smiles but says quite sharply) I know that 40000 guys in Infosys and TCS are waiting to do just that. So... (interrupted by RP...)
RP(quite seriously): No... What do you do in _ _ _ ?
Rahul: Sir, I'm working in software development.... CAD software.
RP: No no no.... what exactly is it that you DO?
Rahul: (thinking... what the hell does he want to know...) Sir, I work in a customer funded project. Basically, my client is blah and blah an aerospace company is their client. There is a software called blah blah that they use for blah blah.... I work on enhancing that existing software.
OM: So... what does that.... (Interrupted by RP....)
RP: What type of enhancements? What does that mean?
Rahul: I get functional requirements.... like....
OM: like... for example....
Rahul: Ya... like adding special parameters into an existing simulation... So... I do that....
OM: Does that involve anything related to mechanical?
Rahul: Not really... but what the end user does require knowledge of mechanical engg....
RP: What does he do with it?
Rahul: They design aircraft bodies and contours.
RP: Why did you join (current company)..?
Rahul: I had my CAT and placements at the same time and I sat for _ _ _ in order to have a secondary plan... my primary objective was not a job.. but I didn't get a good score that year... so had to join.
OM: Why do you want to do an MBA?
Rahul: I intend to join a manufacturing company in the role of a manager.... Management is simply about dealing with men, materials and money... I've done it before in college... realised I was good at it.
OM: Do you know what's Bernoulli's principle?
Rahul: It is basically conservation of energy for a fluid... (gave a partially correct answer and then)... I don't know sir.
OM: (laughs mockingly...) Better you go back to college and study man.
Rahul: I didn't remember sir...
RP: What are the forces that act on an airplane?
Rahul: (thinks... and answers)... Drag...
RP: What is drag? (Rahul explains clearly..) ok... and?
Rahul: Lift, Gravity, Thrust...
RP: What is thrust?
Rahul: It the forward force generated by the turbines in the engine by... sir... (Rahul smiles) It involves the Bernoulli's theorem.
(panel gives some random heat about not being technically sound... and how I'd manage a manufacturing company without this knowlege.)
RP: Anyway... If you're already good at management... so why an MBA?
OM: What I've done in college just made me realise that I was good at it.... I still require to learn the exact techniques involved to do it better sir....
RP: What have you done in college?
Rahul: I was the head of a society.... for about a year.
RP: What was the budget?
Rahul: Rs 30000
OM: You must be earning around like 2 or 3 lacs per annum.... thats a much bigger amount you are managing... why do you need an MBA... go and enjoy man...
Rahul stays blank.... (but smiles)
Rahul: An MBA at IMT has always been my primary goal sir... (interrupted)
OM: What other calls do you have?
Rahul: I applied to SPJain, MDI and have both the calls.
RP (mockingly): Ah...great.. you'll say IMT is primary here... and at MDI you will say MDI is primary and IMT is secondary.
Rahul: I didn't mean primary regarding the institute sir..... Doing a job is secondary and MBA at a good institute is primary for me... That's what I meant. Sir.. It's like.... the things I've done in college gave me a taste of what management is like... and I found it very satisfying... I want that satisfaction from work for the rest of the my life.... I don't know how to explain it further sir.....
OM: So your current job is not satisfying...?
Rahul: No sir... it is.... but I find the kind of work after my MBA to be more satisfying....

RP: What is the name of your blog?
Rahul: (appropriate answer)
RP: What kind of name is that? I don't like it...
(Rahul starts explaining... but they are not listening)
OM: Do you know Amitabh Bachchan's blog name?
Rahul: I don't know....
RP: What other blogs do you read?
Rahul: Blogs of friends.. and one called Blank Noise Project... its a movement by Bangalore women (interrupted)
OM: Do you like girls in bangalore?
Rahul: (thinks and says) I like girls in general sir....
OM: Really? What do you like about them..?
Rahul: (thinks for a second and says) They are good to look at. (and smiles)
RP: Do you like Jayalalitha..? She is from Bangalore.
Rahul: Oh! I didn't know that.
OM says to RP: We used to like her when she was young.
Rahul (interrupts OM): Actually, I still like her sir... but for a different reason. (explains the Karunanidhi and Jaya governance cycle in Tamil Nadu)...
OM comments further and then asks me to go...

Thursday, April 02, 2009


The interview was on Valentine's Day. The girl who went in for the interview before me came out with 2 roses and a smile. Rahul's Inference: The interviewers were fooling around.

Three panelists(from left to right): Young Guy, Old Man, Tape Recorder Guy and yours truly(Rahul)....

OldMan: So, is there someone who will send YOU roses?
Rahul: (Appropriately answers and jokes)
OldMan & YoungGuy & Rahul laugh for a bit.... TapeRecorder stays silent.
YoungGuy: Ok.. Let's get to business....(interrupted by OldMan)
OldMan: The girl who came in before you also works in TCS and has a similar work-ex... Its like the company runs some coaching for MBA aspirants...
YoungGuy: hmm... can you tell us what's happening here?
Rahul: Actually, the scenario not exactly unique to TCS.... its happening all across the IT industry.
YoungGuy & OldMan: Ok... tell us in general then.
Rahul: Ok... umm.. this is not MY specific reason for an MBA but in general, the market is bad right now. So people expect to spend 2 years in an MBA college and enter the market when its picking up again. It makes sense because they'd be in the right place at the right time.
OldMan: Oh!! So, we should setup stalls here with placards that say MBAs supplied here?!! (YoungGuy & OldMan laugh...)
Rahul: Like I said, that's not my personal opinion. I'm not doing an MBA for this. My goal is something else.
OldMan: Hmm... What is your career goal then?
Rahul: Actually, during my 3rd year industrial training, I worked in assembly plant(Delphi-TVS) and interacted with a lot of managers there. I found their work fascinating. I'd want to do an MBA, specialize in operations and join the manufacturing sector again.
YoungGuy: Do you need an MBA for that? Why do you want to do an MBA?
Rahul: Ultimately, management deals with 4 things... (counting on fingers)... Men, Materials, Money and Time.... I've done this in college before and I realised I'm quite good at it. And I intend to do this for the rest of my life.
(Tape Recorder who had been doodling on his pad, suddenly scribbled furiously... It was then that I noted his existence in the panel. Meanwhile, OM asks Rahul to do him a favour and lock the door behind him coz the wind keeps opening it up..... Rahul does the favour and return to the seat)
OM: What is your engineering stream... (looking at sheet)... ok... mechanical... why did you join TCS?
Rahul: In TCS, my client is Siemens sir, so... I'm associated with Mech....(interrupted by YoungGuy...)
YoungGuy: No... that wasn't your choice right...
Rahul: Not really sir.... I....
YoungGuy contd: You joined and then all this happened... So tell me why you joined TCS in the first place if you wanted to go into manufacturing domain?

Rahul:(thinking...) I'll be frank sir, TCS was the first company that came to campus and "1 student 1 job funda" so.. since I didn't get any good MBA calls that year, I had to go ahead and join TCS.
YoungGuy: Ok... Good luck...
OldMan: Ok.... Best of luck to you then... and send the next person in.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Yappy Yappy Budday!

Rahulji and Rahul...

Wish you both a bhery bhery Happy Birthday.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

CATatonia.... (EPISODE 2)

The year of strike 3... CAT 2008 saw me appear successfully (inspite of hyderbad traffic) at 6 major exams. IIFT, CAT, SNAP, NMAT, XAT and FMS. It is fruitless to go into the why-s and what-margin-s that the results made me face. Suffice it to say that ultimately, I got 4 calls. SIBM, IMT-Ghaziabad, MDI-Gurgaon, SPJain-Mumbai. No IIMs. Period. Hey... Don't fret. I thank my stars that there was atleast a 2nd Episode to write about!!

The next posts contain verbatim accounts of each of my interviews.
I request my regular readers(all the 3 or 4 of them) to stop swearing and screaming. Think of the greater good guys! Of the next generation of MBA-aspirants who scan the internet for articles like this. (I confess... a month ago, I was truly dying for a blog about GD/PIs.)
Anyway... As I forge ahead, I leave you the wise words from that one hit wonder wonder Chetan Bhagat...

"What follows is not a guide on how to clear interviews or how to convert them. It is just an account of how F***ED up life can get if you don't think straight."
--- R@hul

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Written Summary

I am no Ekta Kapoor. I know the patience limit is hit when I see no comments on any of my blogs even after 2 months. So, by public demand the thick gray paste of brevity will be applied generously to this post.

NMAT: (Round 4)No matter how hard you sit there and try to deny it, it won't go away. This exam mocks at you. It points its stubby, grimy fingers and says 'ha ha'. And you are transported. 10 years back in time. A small wooden desk. A small piece of graphite HB pencil between your XXL fingers. Yes. You are in fact writing the seventh standard school entrance exam. And yes, you are crying for your mother. For those heavenly after-exam puris in the tiffin box which she nestles in her arm. But the others around you are intently answering questions like....... 1400*555/70+35% of 35000 = ? And you realize the truth. The Wachowski Bros must surely have written NMAT right before they developed the concept of The Matrix. I am not joking. The entire Quant section had questions exactly like that above. Of course, to protect themselves from public mockery, we weren't allowed to take the papers out of that hall.

XAT: (Round 5) The perfect MBA entrance paper. I have never seen such a brilliantly set paper in my life. The sectional balance. The time constraints. Beautiful. Really. If only I didn't hafta hear an MMTS train go by every 20 minutes, my paper would've gone splendidly. Oh well... No excuses. [Edit: On hindsight, XAT was the best paper of the MBA season 2008]

FMS: (Round 6) Suppose you were a freakin' Mechanic asked to dismantle a nuclear weapon and then to reassemble it in 5 minutes. What would you do? That's right... Hit it 4-5 times. And die. That seemed to be the intention of the University of Delhi. Population control. A billion questions and a few minutes to answer them and they want a bloody sectional performance too. What is it with these Delhi-ites huh?? Freakin Martians I tell ya. Freakin Martians.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Caught SNAP-ping

Round 3: SNAP

My spies had informed me that this battle involved lotsa female warriors. So I extra-polished my armour and sword the night before. Ahem… precautionary measures you know. But, as I reached the battlefield, the sight was so surreal and confusing that only 2 possibilities could explain what was happening.

A. I had accidentally stepped into a fashion show in progress.
B. I was one of the 20-odd stags in a couples-only pub whose theme for the day was ‘education’ and all the other caribou were locking horns (read: arms) in nervous (read: amorous) excitement.

Luckily the waitress-in-charge seated me at the top-right corner of the room. The only things in my field of view was a flaky white-washed wall and a broken glass window that gave me a bird’s eye view of dirt on the wall of the adjacent building. I say luckily, because, I fought this battle remarkably well.

Expectedly, I got a call from SIBM. I am not surprised. Behind every man's success is a woman... I mean that quite literally... Because if they're out in front of ya, failure is imminent.

Coming Next: NoMATter Required...

Ay! CATaramba!!

Round 2: CAT

As this 150 minute battle began, my insides and my outsides went as calm as a veteran cardiac surgeon’s fingers. You know why? Look below....

Section A... Quantitative Ability.. 25 Qs... 4 Marks per Q... 100 Marks
Section B... Data Interpretation... 25 Qs... 4 Marks per Q... 100 Marks
Section C... Verbal Ability.......... 40 Qs... 4 Marks per Q... 160 Marks

By Toutatis!! Verbal section had 40 solid questions. IIFT be damned, this was gonna be MY CAT! Sure as hell, I cruised through the verbal and quant like the ladybird in the Honda Car ad. But the little girl did not rescue the ladybird. She squished it. Maybe not… but I did hear some squishing sound inside my stomach as I reached the DI section. A strong psychological fear of this section disoriented me and the skilled surgeon had to hack at quite a few arteries using his scalpel. (The jury is out on this one till Jan 9th 2009. I’ll know then if the patient survived.
Edit: 16th Feb 2009. The patient is barely alive... We managed to salvage 3 calls out of this operation. SPJain, MDI and IMT.... :-) )

Coming up: Caught SNAP-ping.

IIFthar Party

Round 1: IIFT

I was told only bravehearts survive this one. Yet I charged ahead. It was after all the beginning of my crusade. I was young and hot-blooded. I actually smiled when the bell rang and thought, “Let the games begin.” How was I to know?

What followed can be summed up in an oft heard Bush-ism... Shock And Awe.

Section 1(Reasoning) -- 32 Qs - 0.8 Marks per Q - 25.6 Marks
Section 2(Quant) -------- 27 Qs - 0.7 Marks per Q - 18.9 Marks
Section 3(DI) ------------- 26 Qs - 0.8 Marks per Q - 20.8 Marks
Section 4(RC) ------------ 12 Qs - 0.8 Marks per Q - 9.6 Marks
Section 5(VA) ------------ 23 Qs - 0.7 Marks per Q - 16.1 Marks
Section 6(GK) ------------ 30 Qs - 0.3 Marks per Q - 9 Marks

Tick-tock tick-tock. I could not stop staring at this table on the first page. The numbers… the marks… Even Ishaan Awasti would’ve been proud of the highly synchronized dance numbers that these numbers put up for my benefit. In those 120 mins, I probably bested the swear-word frequency record I set while watching KANK.

Expectedly, I wasn’t shortlisted for the GD/PI… And thank goodness for that!

Coming Next: Ay! CAT-aramba!

CATatonia.... (EPISODE I)

As you are all (.i.e. the dozen, patient, long-suffering readers of my blog) fully aware, these days, my posts begin with an apology for my prolonged absence and end with a promise of a comeback. But the coming few posts are definitely gonna make it worth your while. You will all get an exclusive one-on-one with my MBA-aspiring alter-ego who managed to write the 15 million MBA related exams available for public consumption in India.

This year(Strike 3... the year 2008), I wrote IIFT, CAT, XAT, SNAP, NMAT and FMS. But in spite of overwhelming public demand, I skipped JMET. Why? Apparently, the IITs don't appreciate the skill involved in MANAGING 4 years of rave parties, college politics, cultural events and computer games along with a 6 point GPA. They only want 7 pointers. And the consequences? Come on.... everyone knows the potency of an uncontrolled, unchained maggu. Maggus, by definition, love numbers and statistics. So, whether from IIM-A or IIT-B, they ultimately form the number-crunching backbone of Merill Lynch or Lehmnan Bros and successfully engineer(no prizes for guessing).... A GLOBAL RECESSION! Yipee! So... damn the IITs!

Pathetic, I know, and yet so true.
Anyway... I seem to be digressing.... I'll begin with MY CAT-tales...

Coming Next: IIFThar party.

Friday, January 02, 2009


The ever 'vetti' voman(sic) has tagged me on this... So here it goes.

Your oldest memory
The positively(err.. negatively) horrid smell of a dead dog as I walked to my LKG classroom. Yes... 'Tis true. I have been scarred for life. I will either turn into a serial killer stalking dogs and killing them in solitary corners.... or I will soon form a death metal band and sing about dying, suicide and murder... The band would be so much cooler though.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
1998. A foggy night and a massive wall of of excavated earth, piled 30 feet high and almost 200m long. Yours truly and his friend parked their cycles at the bottom and began the adventurous task of climbing this. They simply wanted to see what was on the other side. This Jack-Sparrow-ish streak still runs in me. So, all the ladies who are attracted to men of adventure, I'm your guy. (tch tch.... how desperate can I get... eh?)

Your first thought today morning
Brrrr.... It's cold.
Hmm.... Need more sleep.

If you built a time capsule today what would it contain?
I've got different answers for this one.
A. If we're burying the capsule so that its never found: Every SINGLE living creature related to Aaj Tak. If you happen to be one of 'those' kind who actually wants me to explain this... GET INTO THE CAPSULE!
B. If we're burying the capsule to be dug out sometime in the future: A DVD of the movie 'Ultraviolet'. I figure the IIIrd World War would've happened by then and the radioactive food/water would've caused us enough brain and/or eye damage that FINALLY.... finally we'd begin to appreciate this.... this abomination disguised as a movie. Check out this guy's review and this one too. You'll understand reason for my grief.

This year
Sitting across the table from Prannoy Roy giving him an interview on how I saved millions of lives by burying the producers of Aaj Tak in a fictitious time capsule.

What do you see yourself doing 14 years from now?

Showing this blog post to Geeta... my hot personal assistant... especially my answer to the '.... 10 years ago?' question. Psst... She is one of the attracted-to-men-of-adventure types.... wink....(tch tch... still so pathetically desperate... eh?)