Warning: Long post
Sunday, 31st January 2010.
05: 00 - I check the time. Thirty minutes to go. I had kept the alarm for five thirty. But I don't know what it is with my body clock. I always wake up half an hour earlier. I have a long day ahead of me. An important day.
06: 00 - Fried eggs! Oh how I missed them in Chennai.
06: 45 - I catch the Volvo for Pune. A lot of people mention Volvo as if it is the next best thing to a stretch limo. All it has is tinted glasses and cushioned seats. And cushioned seats mean little to obese guys who already have more than enough padding on their rear.
07: 45 - I try to strike a conversation with the guy sitting next to me. He is reading a book on black holes written by Stephen Hawking. I ask him a few basic questions. He answers in Greek.
07: 47 - He goes and sits on the vacant seat on the other side of the aisle. I get the message.
09: 45 - I just begin to doze off when the bus driver wakes me up and asks me if I want to pee. The next stop will be directly at Pune. Thanks, but no thanks.
11: 00 - I finally arrive at my destination. I get off and catch a rickshaw to Symbiosis. Pune is pretty unimpressive. It looks like something stuck in transition. Not yet a city and no more a town.
11: 15 - I arrive at the old campus and start talking with two fellow aspirants, Alok and Abhishek. We discuss a lot of stuff including
Abhishek - I hate these reservations. I mean people with a score of 70 also get through just because their forefathers were ill treated.
Me - Yeah, it should be done away with. If anything, they should have reservations for the economically backward.
Alok nods his head gravely.
11: 30 - We sit in the college bus which will drive us from the old campus to the new one. It is a scenic and bumpy forty minute ride. The new campus is situated atop a hill and is really beautiful with a spectacular view of the entire city or town or whatever. Alok and I sit together. We get talking again.
Shawn - So Alok the general knowledge section was real tough. And by the way, what is your score?
Alok - 72.
That was the last of my interactions with Alok. I felt like jumping out of the bus.
12: 45 - We are all seated in the auditorium. The selection process will begin at 14 00 hours. We are divided into groups of 12 each. There is a girl from Jammu in my group. Gosh! There is something about Kashmiri girls. I go weak in the knees every time I see one. I don't know if fairies exist but if they do, this girl came pretty close to looking like one. That's why the Jammu and Kashmir migrant quota is one reservation I don't oppose :)
My group had one more girl from West Bengal. The rest of us were all from the IT industry.
13: 25 - We are shown a presentation on why Symbiosis is God's answer to all our problems.
14: 00 - We had our group discussion first up. It was a case study in which we had to list down the actions we would take and the things we would save if the factory we owned caught fire. It lasted 15 minutes.
14: 25 - We then had our psychometric test. We had to answer 32 questions in 3 minutes and choose a figure from amongst a circle, square, triangle and the letter Z. I don't know what inference they draw but I chose a square because it's area is the easiest to calculate *geeky smile*
14: 29 - Next up was the group task. 11 of us had to stand on 2 bricks for 15 whole seconds. When you consider the fact that we were nine full grown guys and two girls, one of whom was wearing a sari, this task was as possible as Burkino Faso overtaking India in terms of population.
14: 45 - Now that we are done with our group task, we are served snacks. I'm starving. But all we get is idlis! After eating 30 idlis a week in Chennai, that was the last thing I expected to see there.
14: 55 - I start talking to the other female in our group. Her name is Ankita. The J & K girl looks snooty. I don't blame her. With looks like that she can afford to walk with her 'I'm too good for you' attitude.
Ankita - So Shawn, what do you plan to specialize in?
Me - If the panel asks me this then it would be a 'I will have a look at the subjects and then take a call' but between you and me I think I'd go for finance even though I like what an HR does.
Ankita - That is so bad. Haven't you watched 3 idiots? You should do what you like.
Me - I haven't watch the film (Yes, I haven't *loser*) and finance pays way better, so I'd opt for finance.
Ankita - Naah, I think you should re examine your decision. I would only do what I like.
Me - You are a girl.
Ankita - Excuse me. I take offence. Stop being biased. Tell me who is the leader of the opposition? Isn't she a woman. Who is the speaker? Isn't she a woman. (Frankly, I had no clue who our speaker is, but I presumed she was from the feminine species)
Me - My apologies Ankita!
I don't know why I said that. I still stand by the fact that in the Indian society girls enjoy a lot more freedom than guys when it comes to choosing a career. They can become teachers, journos, artists and no one could care less. And besides if they consider themselves equal then why push for the 50% reservation in Parliament (and in Chennai buses).
Ankita - Apology accepted.
16 : 15 - After a long wait finally I am called for my personal interview. There were three panelists.
P1 - Looked like a guy from the industry. Was young and was busy with his laptop the entire time. I doubt he noticed me in the entire interview.
P2 - Senior finance faculty. Looked grim the entire time.
P3 - Another young guy. Probably from the industry as well.
Me (knocks at the half open door) - May I come in Sir?
P2 (with a 'it would be hard to conduct an interview with you at the door' expression) - Yes.
P2 (in anticipation of my 'May I sit') - Sit down. So Shawn, coming straight to the point. Why MBA?
Me - I explain. Try to sound as different as possible from the scores of other IT engineers.
P2 - Hmm. What are your goals?
Me - I start with my short term goals. Then long term. Then very long term.
P2 - You mentioned indispensible. I don't think anyone in the corporate world is indispensible. Companies always have a Plan B. So you might want to look at that and probably change it.
Me (with rapt attention) - Alright Sir.
P2 - Thanks Shawn. All the very best.
(What? That's it? I mean I flew all the way from Chennai. Then drove from Mumbai. And all I get is 7 minutes of your time!)
16: 22 - I come out and ask the next guy to go in. I decide to wait for him cause he had got his car along. I was too cheap to take a cab to the station.
16: 30 - We walk towards the car. He was asked the same two questions.
17: 45 - I catch a cab back to Mumbai. My flight at ten has been cancelled. I now have to catch the flight at one in the morning. I decide to catch some sleep. But that is impossible with the driver playing some cheesy remixes.
20: 50 - I arrive at the domestic terminal. I go to the cafeteria and eat some great chicken biryani. Since breakfast I didn't eat anything except for the idlis.
22: 00 - I arrive at the domestic terminal only to know that I have to catch the flight from the internation terminal 6 kms away. International terminal for a Mumbai - Chennai flight!
23: 45 - I'm done with all the formalities. Waiting at the gate. Departure is at 01: 00 hrs. I doze off.
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai.
1st, February, 2010.
01: 15 - I wake up. Damn! How could I be so careless. I had almost missed my flight to Canada when I had last dozed off in an airport. I rush to the counter.
Me - Madam, the flight to Chennai.
She - I'm very sorry Sir.
Me (hysterical) - Oh no! How could I do this? I have an evaluation at work tomorrow. I'm dead. I'm fired. I'm jobless. *sob sob*
She - Sir, I meant I am sorry because the flight is delayed by an hour due to a technical snag. The new departure time is 02 00 hrs.
It was a good thing she was sitting behind the counter. Cause if she was in front of me I would have hugged her! Air India to my rescue again. I just love the airline.
02: 3o - The plane takes off.
04: 00 - I land in Chennai. The airport cab charges me 350 bucks for a 10 km ride. Daylight robbery.
04: 20 - I reach home. My doorbell isn't working. I don't have any charge left in my cell. And none of my room mates get up before 6! I sit on the terrace and stare at the stars. And wonder what wrong I ever did to go through all this. I have a thousand odd mosquitoes to keep me company.
06: 00 -I am finally allowed to enter my own house.
06: 45 - I leave for work.
09: 00 - I have my evaluation. I manage to get through.
16: 00 - Reach home and watch Paa. Decent movie with a highly melodramatic climax.
21: 00 - Finally after 40 long hours, I sleep.
Quote for the day: How important it is in life, not to be strong....but to feel strong.
Question of the day: Do Chinese people get English sayings tattooed on their bodies?
10 months ago