Saturday, February 19, 2005

CAT and its effects on my life

I have been frequenting many sites in the desi MBA and MBA aspirant’s blogsphere. One such Blog that I visited today was that of Harry’s (Prashant). I had visited his blog once,long long ago when he stoked contoversy due to a post on PG about his visit to Bombay to attend SPJain interview last year, just to find out more about him. As has been my habit I went through some of his old posts. I was quite started to read some of his posts in the build up to CAT. Almost all his post’s seemed to reflect my state of mind both before CAT, after CAT and more importantly after the GD/PI results were declared. Only for the few glorious days between declaration of scores and those of GD/PI short list I was euphoric. Reading his blog has certainly made me think of what was, what is and what should be.

I have given CAT 3 times now (including the leaked CAT) and each time I have failed to give a winning performance. When I look back I realize how much I have given up for, this so far fruitless endeavor. When I started out to prepare for CAT in the year 2003 there were 3 of us, close friends who seriously started out on a journey which all of us knew would be very arduous. Then there were these not so serious guy’s who also took CAT (Gaurav my classmate deserves special mention here, as many times he helped me with study materials and moral support). Eventually as we devoted our body, mind and soul to CAT preparation, we started to lose sight of other aspects of life. Engineering became a low priority, all that mattered then was to clear the papers, eventually nothing else mattered but CAT. We became fanatical in our worship of CAT, it was CAT this and CAT that and nothing else mattered. After spending almost one year completely immersed in CAT, when at least I sacrificed not a insignificant part of social life and potential close friendship with peers engaged in other pursuits than CAT, one of us made it to XLRI, while it was a disaster for the other. I was stranded in the middle or so I thought with around 95%.

What followed was mad and depressing scramble to find a JOB us. Fortunately this phase did not stretch too long for me and soon enough I landed up with 5 software jobs offers (I-GATE, IQL (IQ-Ludorum), CTS, HCL-T and TCS) and one marketing job ( Eventually I joined HCL-T for reasons I am not very sure or convinced even now. Probably the fact that it paid the most and was reputed not to layoff employees was the most important factor. My other friend was not so fortunate and after some trying times he made it to TCS and is now a satisfied employee there. But it was absolutely clear to him that CAT was a closed chapter and he never gave a third CAT. Sadly that was not the case with me and I continued with my journey towards that elusive goal which is also my ambition. My third encounter with CAT was better than the first two and I managed to score 98.48. Only to discover, much to my horror that it was not enough to get a IIM or MDI or NITIE call. I also did not apply to SP-JAIN.

CAT has left me devastated. Now when I look back how much I have given up in this journey to get into a B-School and am continuing to give up, I can’t help wondering was it all worth it. I have wrecked my close relationships with college mates with too much emphasis on CAT. Even now whenever I talk to them inevitably the conversation steers towards CAT. My office colleagues are going on a trip to Ooty on 18th while I must stay back to prepare for the XIM-B interview. Much of my time I spend working and finding out about the work done by my company, reading magazines like Business world, Business India, Time etc in the hope that it helps me in my XLRI and CET(JBMIS) interview’s while others are busy flirting with girls or pursits which are more fun. Shouldn’t I to be with them, enjoying the lighter moments of life. Should I not be watching the latest Ajit movie Ji or some other Vijaikant movie, which they seem to enjoy so much rather than reading a management book Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt that I am now. Why is it that their lives and goals seem so distant with my life and goals. I feel increasing like a weirdo and loner and more importantly a loser. Neither did I crack CAT nor have I made moves towards a significant breakthrough in my career.

When I think about all this anxiety sets into my mind. What is it that I want? In fact at a deeper and higher level who am I? Currently these are the questions that are gnawing my mind. If I don’t make it this year these need to be urgently answered. For now I will be cautiously optimistic, but if the worst comes to past then I need to take control and do not a small amount of introspection on what I want. Will one more year of serious CAT preparation be worth it? Lets hope it never comes to pass.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A Fool’s what a Fool does!

The past couple of days have been a complete disaster for me where much to my dismay I have been performing one foolish act followed by another. By publicly admonishing myself I hope to drill down some sense into what seems to be an impenetrably thick skull I have.
Lets start with scene one, last Monday I had yet another inconspicuous shave; so what could go so wrong in this seemingly regular activity one may ask? Well here I have to confess that in the past I had senselessly been thrifty with the use of shaving lotion and after shave (Foolish act No 1) leading to a lot of what I choose to describe a minutest puss boils (due my ignorance). It took three such occurrences (don’t ask me why so long I only have my own a** to kick) to make the connection and take corrective steps, in addition I also stated using a bit of dettol on my face and like magic it started to work. Not only that it seemed to me then that it also had some positive effect on the acme I had (How wrong I was). Encouraged by this deduction (which would later unfold as a disaster) I allowed myself to be flattered as a one above the so-called dermatologist’s (Foolish act No 2) and subsequently applied quite lavish quantities of Dettol on my face after shaving (Foolish act no 3). Not stopping with this I went on to add not little after-shave over and above the dettol already applied.

By now I guess you should have some got inkling on what followed (on Tuesday)? Well my skin started to react quite badly with the dettol and after-shave and what more, here I hazard to postulate that it (my poor skin) died and formed patches of black layers all over my face. Now this was frightening, with what face would I attend the upcoming B school interviews? Completely psyched I could not sleep properly. Add to all this the fact that my brother (Devil would be more apt) Sriram very uncharitably (and imprecisely) taunted that I looked like an Orc from the Lord of the Rings movie. All I could do was to curse myself for having bought the CD so that he could watch the movie (Foolish act no 4).

Thankfully by the next morning the worst was behind me (or so I thought) and the dead patches were peeling off. Beneath them the skin was fresh and even better than what it was earlier. In a state of exuberance and almost inebriated state I started to peel off the remaining black patches eager to get back at the little devil (Foolish act no 5). Here I learnt a lesson on the virtue of patience, it transpired that I had been hasty and acted prematurely on some patches and pulled them out even before they were fully healed. One such spot was slightly to the right of my lip. It was what to say burning a bit reddish and over all not a big deal would have healed in a day or two. But alas that was not to be, in my ridiculously incompetent, deluded, insane mind some how a preposterous idea took root. Don’t even bother to think how I could think of such things, it beats me. What did I do I applied dettol again on the spot, yes you read it right dettol (the root cause that stated it all) again (Foolish act no 6). No prizes for guessing the end result, the moment I made contact a burning sensation took over and a black mark took its place. Reddish black would be more accurate.

With this nasty feeling of irrevocable damage do I went to office today morning. Now this reddish black mark was so conspicuous that every body who knew me or had even a slightest of acquaintance with me (Now I had quite a few of those) almost automatically spit out that question which started to haunt me the whole day where ever I went. What happened to my face? Now I felt here that the true story was too complicated and sounded too foolish, (which is true). So what did I do? Invented a equally moronic story (Told them that the after-shave I use caused a reaction (Foolish act no 7). Now what I dint anticipate here was the barrage of question’s that followed. What after-shave? Where did you buy it? Why did it happen? When? How? Jeez give me a break. But no to cover up one lie I had to invent many more. Now I could not answer the what question with out my conscience accusing me of slander against a brand. So I told them that the after-shave was a counterfeit (I could not tell them a cheap local brand, as it may lead to a conclusion that I was cheap). Then followed the where question, here I managed to wrrigle myself out by answering "vituku pakatla local kada machi! " ="A local shop near my house brother". One would expect that they would leave things as such there and proceed with their work but no (leading me to conclude that work is scanty if at all any). At this point many would educate me about the existence of a consumer court. How to file a case, where to file. Lecture to me about the need for consumer awareness. Narrate anecdotes of how people spent just Rs 10,000 and earned compensation of 1,00,000. Some even went on to offer help in finding a suitable lawyer. And when I finally convinced them that I was not planning to file a case in consumer court (much to their dismay) they finally were kind enough to enlighten me about the various after-shaves in the market and gave testimonials about the effectiveness of many of these. Only then was I let to part, all too often to be intercepted by another person and I had to endure another round of well intentioned but annoying questioning and advice. Note here I cannot change my original story to the truth as that would lead to inconsistencies which I thought was even more dangerous than lying as it may lead to a further bout of explanations for which I had no appetite.

Finally with my tail between my legs I left office early today (had the misfortune of being spotted by a manager, darn! Why don’t I have any luck), went to the skin doctor got a cream and some reassurance that things would be sorted out in a week on its own, if not he would prescribe a steroid or some other cream.

Now completely gassed as bhavan’s school buddies would describe my state and no one to share my feelings (thanks to the bright idea of lying in office) I write this post. Hope I recover and recuperate from the horrific time (I call this the Fool syndrome) I’ve had in the past 3 days. Already I feel sleepy so am off to bed hopefully tomorrow brings better news.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Gmail Invites

Well I when logged onto my Gmail account today I was pleasantly surprised to find 50 Invites left. So if any of you souls want a gmail Invite please leave your Name and email as a comment and I shall send you an Invite cheers :)

Sunday, February 13, 2005

India, Pakistan and the vexed Issue of Kashmir

Today I was planning to analyze the results of some of the leading IT companies and try to get the wind of the future direction of the IT offshoring sector in general. Instead accidentally I came across a website with opinions on the vexed issue of the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan. When I initially read the admittedly well written article I just could not digest some of the thoughts penned in the article. Later however doubts about my own opinions crept into my mind. So I have decided to write what went through my mind during and after reading the article, deciding to defer my earlier plans by a couple of days. So coming back to the actual contents of the article I assume that most people living across the Line Of Control would have been educated to think along the same lines, just as we the Indians are educated on the issue in one way. Any was as I was reading the article it was becoming clear to me that the author was trying to give the impression that India was the aggressor and bully which was using overwhelming military force to cling on to its annexed territory of Kashmir. That the Kashmiries were yearning to join Pakistan. That Pakistan was the just party- trying to empower the Kashmiries and give voice too their aspirations by way of its support to a plesbicite. Naturally as an Indian, a person whose knowledge of the issue is entirely derived from CBSE history textbooks and the routine one sided reporting by the Indian media, initially my attitude towards the article was belligerent. Some of which is reflected in the comment I made on it spontaneously with out thinking about the issue objectively. Even so immediately after making the comment I regretted making it. On second thought’s the article was very objective and was not trying to paint a picture about one side or other infact I guess it was a sincere attempt to bring out the facts about the issue. Ok probably the comments regarding Nehru and Lady Mountbatten, That about the Indian sides perceived delaying tactics on kashmir talks was not entirely accurate, atleast from an non pakistani perspective. It is also understandable that a normal common pakistani man can never come to terms, or accept the fact I stress the fact that his government did Indeed at some point of time aid and abet terrorists. However for most part it trotted along the path, which both the governments would rather not hear about, their vested interests in keeping the issue simmering. Probably I was too harsh in my judgement.

The thing that is really plaguing my mind after reading it, (I don’t know why the thought did not occur to me before) is it possible that we are holding kashmiries against their wills within India? Why is it that we are reluctant to have a plesbicite? If the answer to the former question is yes then I am ashamed of the leaders who have done such grave injustice to the people of Kashmir, the same logic applies to the pakistani leaders if they are at fault. Any way I guess as the Indians get more educated through the web and more assertive as they prosper I guess they will have the guts to try and find answers to these were important questions, till such time I hope the talks and the cease-fire holds and proceeds in a positive manner.

The Iran, Pakistan and India gas pipeline is a step in the right direction I hope that we have the courage to take many such steps.