“CAT”astrophe

So it’s the very same time of the year once again. CAT is closing in and I can very well see excitement and tension creeping in all the aspirants. Everything and every person I see in MBA forums remind me of my pre CAT days in some way or the other. The excitement regarding the paper, the ecstasy to perform well, the dream to get into a top notch B School, the fear of failing (in the single shot provided to them for putting to test all the efforts they have made) and no one is left untouched by the plethora of emotions that find an easy target in them, year after year.

Having realized it myself, I know that an MBA aspirant goes through all the possible emotions during the course of his/her preparation. It was such a roller coaster ride for me. Excited on getting an awesome score in a mock. Depressed with a bad performance in one of the sections. Frustrated on making the same mistake again and again. I saw it all, and I mean all the stages. And today when I was looking at some of the pages of my diary a sense of nostalgia did crept in. Those were the pure emotions (extreme at times nevertheless). And anyways you need a little push in order to achieve anything and that is when you truly realize the value of your achievement.

But there has been quite a few things different in the way it has been looked at, in the past few years. The word “CAT”, this time around, is marked by all sort of controversies. As if the online fiasco and normalization blues were not enough. Every forum that I look into is filled with a debate between engineers and non engineers. The reason being the criteria most IIMs have come up with i.e. awarding extra marks to girls and non-engineers even before the test is taken. I mean how could you justify this thing? If you are a male engineer who comes from a tough state board (with a percentage which was more than enough to get you featured in the merit list, but not enough to help you crack what you aspire to), IIM-A is a far fetched dream.

Fair enough that IIMs need some diversity. Fair enough that the CAT pattern is designed to give an edge to engineers. Fair enough that you need to give an equal opportunity to non-engineers. If that is the case, then why not design a paper in such a way that it gives an equal opportunity to everyone (or at an extreme, design one which gives an edge to non engineers, just like XAT has come up with it). I am sure no one will be complaining like this then, because at least everyone will be on the same ground and will be having the equal opportunity to show their mettle.

But is it the case that IIMs believe that whatever the pattern might be, engineers will maneuver there way in somehow, and that will be detrimental to their diversity motto. Quoting what the Dean of FMS, Prof Mamkoottam once said,

We do attempt to dilute what is known as the engineering-oriented component in the FMS test but to be very honest with you, in whatever experiment we have tried, engineers have again managed to come up.

This very well might be the reason, and if that is the case I can’t blame IIM for coming up with these criteria to bring in more adversity diversity. So now we implicitly have further reservations within the general category. Female non engineers, followed by female engineers and male non engineers, followed by the most pitiable creatures Male Engineers. There might be many justifications given by many people, but I really find it hard to buy anyone of them.

 

"CAT"astrophe

So it’s the very same time of the year once again. CAT is closing in and I can very well see excitement and tension creeping in all the aspirants. Everything and every person I see in MBA forums remind me of my pre CAT days in some way or the other. The excitement regarding the paper, the ecstasy to perform well, the dream to get into a top notch B School, the fear of failing (in the single shot provided to them for putting to test all the efforts they have made) and no one is left untouched by the plethora of emotions that find an easy target in them, year after year.

Having realized it myself, I know that an MBA aspirant goes through all the possible emotions during the course of his/her preparation. It was such a roller coaster ride for me. Excited on getting an awesome score in a mock. Depressed with a bad performance in one of the sections. Frustrated on making the same mistake again and again. I saw it all, and I mean all the stages. And today when I was looking at some of the pages of my diary a sense of nostalgia did crept in. Those were the pure emotions (extreme at times nevertheless). And anyways you need a little push in order to achieve anything and that is when you truly realize the value of your achievement.

But there has been quite a few things different in the way it has been looked at, in the past few years. The word “CAT”, this time around, is marked by all sort of controversies. As if the online fiasco and normalization blues were not enough. Every forum that I look into is filled with a debate between engineers and non engineers. The reason being the criteria most IIMs have come up with i.e. awarding extra marks to girls and non-engineers even before the test is taken. I mean how could you justify this thing? If you are a male engineer who comes from a tough state board (with a percentage which was more than enough to get you featured in the merit list, but not enough to help you crack what you aspire to), IIM-A is a far fetched dream.

Fair enough that IIMs need some diversity. Fair enough that the CAT pattern is designed to give an edge to engineers. Fair enough that you need to give an equal opportunity to non-engineers. If that is the case, then why not design a paper in such a way that it gives an equal opportunity to everyone (or at an extreme, design one which gives an edge to non engineers, just like XAT has come up with it). I am sure no one will be complaining like this then, because at least everyone will be on the same ground and will be having the equal opportunity to show their mettle.

But is it the case that IIMs believe that whatever the pattern might be, engineers will maneuver there way in somehow, and that will be detrimental to their diversity motto. Quoting what the Dean of FMS, Prof Mamkoottam once said,

We do attempt to dilute what is known as the engineering-oriented component in the FMS test but to be very honest with you, in whatever experiment we have tried, engineers have again managed to come up.

This very well might be the reason, and if that is the case I can’t blame IIM for coming up with these criteria to bring in more adversity diversity. So now we implicitly have further reservations within the general category. Female non engineers, followed by female engineers and male non engineers, followed by the most pitiable creatures Male Engineers. There might be many justifications given by many people, but I really find it hard to buy anyone of them.

 

The horrifying tale of D-321

Going down the memory lane, somehow I was reminded of this particular event which is still so brisk in my memory as if it happened only yesterday. Something about that incident still gives me a goose flesh when I come to think of it. It was one of those mornings in the final semester. And this morning was something I could never forget. I don’t know what happened that day and how did it happen, but surely it could have killed anyone of the 5 people those were present in D-321 at that time. And “myocardial infraction” would have been blamed for the causality.

Taking you back to the final semester of ours. What a semester it was ..!! Really ..!! This was the only period in my life where I, actually, was able to follow a time table. Having got a placement very early in the semester, done with all the entrance exams and awaiting the results, not attended even a single class in the entire semester ( we even bunked the internal exams ), all that we had to do was to kill a lot and a lot and a lot of time by instrumenting one or the other “innovative” ways of ours.

In a nutshell our day used to start very early in the afternoon and used to stretch to early in the morning until 5 or 6 ( yeah “Early to bed and early to rise” has been my motto all throughout my life 😀 ). So this particular incident which I am referring to took place during one of those “early” mornings. Tired by an eventful day ( after spending a lot of time at Nescafe, followed by a tour of the only most happening place in the city and infinite rounds of “29” ) we finally decided to retire for the day. Though we happened to have been allotted single seater rooms in the final year ( the rooms which were really spacious – the only thing I could actually boast of our college ), we still loved to flock together in a particular room numbered D-321, which was our bedroom to say the least.

Now let me introduce you to the characters of the stories and the venue where the incident took place. It was a messy room, clothes spread all around, walls filled with all types of creations and censored writings, cooler struggling to keep up with the outstanding demand (we bought the cooler on a sharing basis – one of the reasons for high occupancy of the room 😛 ) and the most useless part of the room – its 5 occupants who were lying there, snoring in a way as if they were the most carefree persons on this planet.

One of them was “yours truly” who was occupying the bed that day (we got the chance to sleep on the bed on a rotational basis ). The other lucky person whose turn it was to enjoy the royalty of the bed was Abhishek (who, for the records, has a phobia that the day he sleeps alone in his own room would be hijacked by a group of hippy aliens who would do weird experiments on him). I guess due to the same reason he has never considered the possibility of sleeping in his room right through the four years. Now coming to the subjects who were lying on the mat on the ground. Nikhil and Ashutosh, who were the day scholars and were residing illegally in the hostel ( Courtesy to the awesome electricity in Ghaziabad and the fact that their inverter was not strong enough to offer them even few hours of sweat-free sleep). And in one of the corners, lying like a denounced poor kid, who appeared very thankful to His Almighty to have got some space to sleep, was the “official” owner of the room, Emraan.

So the things were going on much like an usual day. Tired from the day, I lost my conscious in a matter of seconds and was pushed to the lap of dreams. I don’t exactly remember what I was dreaming because the event that followed made me forget everything that was in my mind at that point of time. There was a huge scream in the room, one which shook me from head to toe. I knew that something terrible has happened and someone was hurt very badly. I sat up, shivering, and what I saw at that moment heightened the horror even more. Nikhil was shouting relentlessly, the shrillness of his scream increasing progressively. The terror was clearly visible in his eyes. Emraan was standing just a few steps away from Nikhil. He was bending down and had his hands locked with those of Ashutosh. They both were also shouting like anything. Things were very clear to me by then. Something had happened to Nikhil. Something very bad. Something had bitten him or may be he saw something that had scared the hell out of him. And apparently both Emraan and Ashutosh knew what has happened.

It was such a tensed atmosphere. I didn’t know what to do or how to react. The first thought that came to my mind was to run outside the room and search for the cause. Then I thought of searching beneath the bed for any snake or something on those lines. My mind also struck the possibility of a dog biting him ( The same dog who had been coming to the room quite often to find a shelter beneath the bed). All these things happened in a flash of a second. Unsure of what to do, how to react, I also started shouting like anything ( possibly to call out for a help or may be that is what we normally do when we are scared like hell ). In few moments Abhishek, who was sleeping beside me, was also up and he did no different but to follow suite. And there were we 5 of us looking at each other and shouting like someone has thrust a sword up our ass. We continued in the same way for few minutes until we began to realize that it wasn’t helping our cause in any way. And then slowly but surely we started to calm down. It was time to act sensibly and quickly find out the cause and arrange for the remedy. Something had to be done pretty quickly.

Abhishek ( to Nikhil ) : What the hell happened ???

Nikhil : *blank*

Me : For God sake speak what happened ???

Nikhil : *blank*simply staring at everyone

Everyone (in unison) : Say something … Why the hell were you shouting ????

Nikhil (who finally spoke but only to add to our shock) : I don’t know …

Me : You don’t know ??? … Then why were you shouting ??? …

Nikhil : I don’t know … (His face was still blank. He appeared clueless as to what has happened, as were we)

Abhishek ( to Emraan and Ashutosh ) : Why the F were you both shouting then ??

Ashutosh : I woke up to find these two morons shouting and thought something wrong has happened and I too started shouting.

( Everyone’s glare turned to Emraan)

Emraan : I stood up to search for the water bottle and suddenly he sat up and started shouting. I thought he saw some ghost and hence I also started shouting.

(At this point everyone was blank … The silence was broken by Abhishek, who turned to me and asked me the very same question)

Abhishek : Why the hell were you shouting???

Me : For the same reason for which you and everyone else were shouting.

( *Blank* *Blank* *Blank* )

And then we sat there for how much time I don’t exactly remember. Not uttering a word, not even moving a bit, just staring at each other. There was a pin drop silence in the room and I was wondering why has not anyone approached us by then listening to the havoc we just created. It was almost 2 minutes of non stop screaming on our part. 5 idiots sitting there and shouting. And shouting for what??? They didn’t know.

It took quite some time for my heart to stop pounding and come back to normal. The recovery phase begin then. All of us started cursing Nikhil like anything. Sometimes one by one, sometimes in unison. And there he was sitting there, head bowed down, listening like an obedient child who just committed a mistake. I wonder if he was listening to us at all and not still in a shocked state, lost in the thoughts trying to recollect and find an answer to “What exactly did happen to him??” Nikhil has been known in our group to do unconventional things, but this was far far fetched.

Then after we were done with all the curses and abuses, we sat down wondering what could have happened to him?? … May be it was a scary dream … May be Emraan woke him up while he was trying to get the bottle and it triggered him in some way … May be he woke up to see the dog sitting right there in front of him (which must have given him an impression of a demon sitting underneath the bed). Unable to recognize the creature in front of him and not knowing what to do, he must have screamed, while the dog escaped amidst all the confusion … Or may be it was a combination of all three … May be …

We all sat there, trying to find the fun part in all the confusion. Someone was blaming Vinit to have come there in his animagus form (the dog) and scared Nikhil. Someone was reflecting upon the fact what the dog would have gone through seeing all this ( he surely wasn’t coming back to this room of freaks). Many things said and done, we decided to forget the incident by shoving it away in a laughter and go back to sleep. But no one slept that day. Everyone was lying there with their eyes closed. Everyone was lying there scared. Everyone was lying there, still having the goose flesh …….. Everyone was lying there, asking this very question to themselves – “What exactly did happen??” … Especially Nikhil …

Of Corruption, Cricket and Cumulation

And finally the long lasting silence breaks. And finally the thrust gave in. And finally the threshold was crossed.

Anna Hazare is the buzzword everywhere you go. From the streets to TV sets to social networks. From the farmers to the common man to business tycoons. From a Bill to a Cause to a Ray of Hope. More than Anna Hazare, people are supporting the cause that he is fighting for. People are supporting this fight against corruption that has been launched. People are supporting the ray of hope that Lokpal is offering to him.

I am still not completely convinced how effective this Lokpal Bill would be, and why should we not believe that like each and every sector in the society, the Lokpal will also be eaten up by the termite of Corruption. Many arguments and counter arguments can be seen flying like bullets everywhere. The digital space is occupied by the chain messages. Anna Hazare has been termed the reincarnation of Gandhi by few and anyone who is not found re-posting a certain status message on facebook is safely tagged as a traitor. I find this really ridiculous. Extremism is never an ideal way of going about things. Some amount of sense need to be brought in, for sure.

On the other hand I see people who are safely stereotyping the support for the bill as “Bhedchaal”. Look from the point of view of a common man. From the birth when he first encountered the word “donation” to get an admission into a good school to the RTO office where he needs to “buy” his license right to his first job which also doesn’t come without a reference letter or a reference “currency”. And the thing doesn’t stop here. Right from the top of the ladder to the bottom of pyramid, Corruption is the most frequent custom here. So is this wrong on the part of the person who thinks that Lokpal Bill would help him get his son a good future? Is this person wrong who thinks that the Lokpal Bill will prevent some Babu from drawing in the hard earned money from his pocket? … I don’t think so.

I am still not sure about the implication, the outcome and the effectiveness. But at least something is being done and the massive support that Anna Hazare has accumulated will at least make one thing sure. Once this Bill is passed, at least it will be in the back of mind of a person who is involved in an illegal practice. And the corruption level would be brought down for sure (only if it is to a very minimal level .. Well something is better than nothing isn’t it?? ). By the way, UPA is almost done with. But who is next? God only knows.

In the meantime, Lokpal Bill has done a huge favor for Indian Cricket Team. The attention is completely diverted from the Men In Blue whose houses would have otherwise have been attacked and dummies be burnt by the same cricket fans who put them next to God once they brought in the World Cup. India never looked so helpless like they are looking now. They have absolutely no idea what is going on there. I believe MSD and his men must be praying for the series to get over as soon as possible. Indra Dev is the only hope that could save them from a humiliating whitewash at the hand of the British. Something seems to be desperately wrong with Indian Cricket Team and it’s high time the problem be found and solved. Or else …… They know better than me what would be scenario otherwise. The worst thing that could happen to them is that IPL would be blamed for downfall of Test cricket and hence, the biggest money making industry in the country (after corruption) would be doomed. And in the current economic crisis that would be the last thing BCCI would want 😛 😛

Enough of Gyan for the time being. Let me come to this demon which has suddenly struck me with a full throttle. THE CUMULATION OF BACKLOGS. Suddenly everything from CV submission to he exams to the summer placements has closed in. Deadlines are a lot closer than they appear to be, that is for sure. And here I ( or should I say we ) find myself completely unprepared to handle this attack. But wait a minute. I happen to have a degree with me which says “Bachelor Of Technology”. In short, I am an engineer and there are few things that this four years of boozing, dilly-dallying and partying hardwork and dedication has taught me for sure. And one of those thing is to handle such situation ( I am a pro in doing this you see ). Resourceful bunch of guys we are. 11th hour is too early for us 😉 😛

In the end I would like to leave you all with this pie chart which, effectively depicts the subjects which occupy my wall and timeline all the while nowadays ( Did I tell you that I have a subject name “Biz Statistics” in the first module?? ) 😛 😛 … Adios Amigos… Keep cribbing, Keep complaining and Keep revolting … Oh yeah … Keep Commenting too 😉 😉 …

The Flower and the Butterfly

Well everyone of us can relate to this in one way or the other to our life.  Just the way it is. When a butterfly is born, well it is not the same vibrant and multicolored beauty that we all know it as. It is colorless, just like the pure mind of a little child. The mind which is open to any thing which might be carved upon the same, the very thing which turns out to be the deciding factor in the way the child’s inclination takes a turn. A blank paper, equally open to all the ideas that could be penned down on the same. And then that is the thing it knows. In fact that is the only thing it knows.

Just the same way, a butterfly sets on its voyage, unnoticed by everyone, not a subject of awe. In particular, nothing of a substance. But then it meets so many beautiful flowers that add such a beauty to this beautiful planet. The small butterfly takes it time to explore all these flowers, dazzled by the beauty of the same, confused as to which one to approach first, unsure as to how will it be able to pay a visit to all the beautiful creations. But then, ultimately, one of the flowers get lucky. One of the flowers get lucky enough to impart the first set of colors to the butterfly’s soft and tender wings. This is the way the butterfly gets the first set of colors.

And then as the time passes, more and more flowers impart their color to the butterfly, making it more beautiful  than ever. Then a time comes when everyone starts noticing the butterfly. Kids are in awe of it, adults just praise the sheer beauty it possesses, and mother Nature proud to have such a beautiful resident.

But what about the flowers? Do they restrict the butterfly to remain with them? No. Do they behave as if they have done a favor to it? No. Do they feel jealous of other flowers doing the same? I believe No. And neither does the butterfly forgets this and get occupied by the false pride. That is the beauty of the non homo-sapiens. They never get self centered. Butterfly keeps visiting the flowers. Collecting nectar might be one of the reasons, but it knows that its very existence is because of the flowers. And the flowers too are aware of the fact that they might pass away in a day or two, but the memory of their beauty and existence will always be kept alive by this beautiful thing that will continue to visit different places.

This is the way things should be in our life. We might be a flower to many of the people and a butterfly to others. Whatever the case might be,we should understand the beauty of each and every relationship. No one is perfect and in every relationship, both the involved parties are in need of each other, imparting something to the other and extracting something from the other at the same time. This small fact of truce, if understood, can surely help you carve out a beautiful experience out of your life. Everything in nature teaches you something or another. Good Luck Homo Homo Sapiens.

Image Courtesy >> http://www.tara-west.com/