Special thanks to the person (I prefer to not name) who partly influenced (not inspired) me to write this piece
Disclaimer: All characters, events in this piece are fictional. Any resemblance to those living or dead is purely co-incidental.
The first thought that comes to the mind of many readers after reading the disclaimer is “Could this have been a real-life incident?”
Trust me, it’s fictional. And I know, to some readers, this thought might have not struck. Nevertheless, creation of uncalled for reactions (or hype, if it is sometimes called) seems to be a duty of every creative person in 21stcentury India. And he/she needs it for an initial pep up.
Here we go…
The Journey of a TechMechie
Vishal, a 21 year old Mechanical Engineering graduate from a private university in Tamil Nadu, awaits the results of the interview he’s attended at a top B-school in Pune. It’s a pleasant February morning in Chennai, and he’s minutes away from attending yoga class. Brushing teeth in the backyard of his palatial old-fashioned house, he looks up at the sky (heavens) to seek His blessings. The results mean a lot to him because he’s been aspiring to pursue an MBA (from one of the top 20 B-schools in India) for the last couple of years. And in the second attempt, despite taking as many entrance exams on as many Sundays that came by, he could get short listed for the GD-PI round for this institute alone. Ask him why he didn’t perform better, he asserts, “I did my best. But, the others were better.”
Fair enough! When it comes to competitive exams, it’s all about relative performance. As a backup option, he’s an offer from Tech Mahindra Ltd. And in four days’ time, if he’s destined to, he would join as an ITP-ian at one of their Pune offices. The train tickets for the same have been reserved and he whole-heartedly wishes there arises the situation which would make him cancel the ticket and enable him live his two-year old dream. Just when he’s about to leave for the yoga class, a thought strikes him.
“The results…to be announced…today…but what time” he tells himself. “Let me check it out now. Just in case….”
He looks at the pendulum clock, which is as old as the house, hung in the hall.
“It’s 5:15 now. They might have just put the final shortlist now.”
He now feels more confident about the realization of the thought. He swiftly moves to his room, switches the desktop computer on, and starts shaking his legs left and right in great anticipation. Drenched in mixed emotions, he feels cold. Just as Windows starts to boot up, scenes of life at the institute and at Tech Mahindra flash across him in those few minutes. Although he wishes to visualize only the former, the latter alternates involuntarily. Now, his fingers start to quiver, as he keys in the website of the results page. He looks up to Him and reaffirms God is omnipresent (that includes the ceiling of his room). To add to the already soaring emotions he’s going through, the page displays a rectangular box as the latest addition – Results of the final shortlist MBA 2010-‘12.
As a reflection of his anxiety, the scenes of life at Tech Mahindra start to outnumber the ones at the institute. It seems easier to be pessimistic than be optimistic. And finally, scenes of life at Tech Mahindra surface his imagery mind, stamping those of the other, hard, beneath it. That’s reality – dreams seem to have been not ‘even’ dreams when they go unrealized. They make one think as living in Pluto that's non=existent but that seemed to have existed just a few years ago. His eyes start to get wet. He wonders if his heart is being used as a punch bag by a boxer. It beats faster than ever before. Life appears gory as though a deadly earthquake, measuring more than 6 on the Ritcher scale, has destroyed his property. Yes! That is, to an extent, true. The only property he possessed was his dream to pursue an MBA. And that’s now shattered, at least for the next one year.
He feels like banging his head onto the walls of the room but his soft-natured heart feels sorry for himself, consoles him and asserts that life could be lived happily even without an MBA degree. Various other thoughts suggest him ways to move forward, but fail to stop him from feeling devastated. He’s in two minds if he should inform his parents about the results or not. Fresh after a tumbler of filter coffee, his dad is seen browsing through the pages of The Hindu, while his mom is seen busy adjusting the gasket under the lid of the pressure cooker. It’s 5:25 am and he can sense the hyper activeness in her body language, unlike his’. He decides to delay the passage of information by at least an hour. For reasons known only to him, he approaches his mom first.
“Maa…”he says, as words about the results involuntarily reach the lips.
“Haven’t you left for the yoga class?” she asks, looking beneath the cooker, confirming if the stove is lit.
Her words bring him back to the real world – 22nd Feb, 2010, on planet Earth. Only then is he reminded of the yoga class he’s to attend in a few minutes from now.
“Ya I’m leaving now” he manages.
“You’re to get the results today, right?”
“Y….Y…yes” he stammers and leaves his house instantly, in search of solitude.
Just as he starts walking towards the yoga class, he backtracks and decides to proceed to a park. Ashok Nagar, a scenic locality in the heart of the city, is home to most of the well-maintained parks. He decides to proceed to one such, located a few metres away from home. As he rests on a bench in the park, he wonders if he should give company to the many senior citizens there. And as he looks out, he finds a few of them even jogging. But, he immediately realizes, he’s in a philosophical mindset and that, it’s certainly not the time to jog or to do yoga. He acknowledges all he needs now is peace, the private space and the time to get in touch with himself – talk to himself, understand completely what he feels inside, analyze and decide how best things could be made better, and more importantly, at the earliest.
As his inclination with the bench gets more obtuse, and as he views a larger part of the sky, memories of the past – registration at a private institute for CAT coaching, the first day class there, the crush he had on a girl who quit classes after a week, the Cappuccino times they spent at CCD that week, the two problems in ‘Number Systems’ he taught her, the tens of problems his tutor and batch mates made him understand, the hundreds of exercises he solved at home, and the hundreds of prayers he said to God to make Him realize his dream – haunted him. At the end of the recollection, he is forced to pull his T-shirt up to dry the wet region just below his eyes. Uncontrollable, the tears had indeed edged out of the eyelids – a reflection of the pain in his fast-beating heart.
“Almost a year has gone by…” he adjusts his throat as the inner feelings stiffen it, “…just like a flash of light.”
He wonders if he shouldn’t have had a crush on her but instantly realizes that things like these happen automatically. He regrets joining her to CCD and questions himself if he was justified in extending her a helping hand to solve those two problems in Number Systems. He admits, he did so not with an intention of helping but with the purpose to make their relationship closer in the early days of their coaching stint.
“Did these hamper my preparations?” he asks himself.
But then, happenings of the first week, he feels, would never have had a deep impact (as the one left by the exit of the girl from his life) on his performances. On a positive note, he feels, he wouldn’t have got even this particular GD-PI call had that girl not quit that early. Hatred towards the highly valued entity, MBA, starts to pervade his heart.
“Why the h**l should I do an MBA?” he asks himself annoyingly.
He’s reminded of the answer he’d given to the interview panel to that standard first question - why do you want to do an MBA? - posed to every so-called MBA aspirant in every B-school PI. Apart from those reasons, he’s reminded of the most important reason behind doing an MBA – the wads of Gandhi notes that would make his wallet look smaller than it actually is.
“I’m not lucky enough to do an MBA…” he regrets. And after gaining an iota of confidence, he continues, “…this year”.
Inside his heart, he thanks his saviors – the RMG at TechM – who have made him understand ‘be happy with what you have and try to make the most of the same’.
“I tried my best…but just couldn’t get through the PI” he consoles himself, and with a reluctant smile, decides to make his mind up to accept the job offered. He knows that the only subject he failed to clear in the first attempt in college was C programming and he also realizes how hard he studied to scrape through in the second attempt.
“But, when thousands of people can manage to learn programming and coding to earn 20K a month, why not I?” he tells himself.
With time, out of the blue, life in an IT company appears pleasing to him. To a Mechanical Engineering student deprived of feminine warmth, pretty looking women are definitely much more than an icing on the cake. After more than half-hour, after many deliberations, with a seemingly pleasing face, he gets up from the bench and proceeds to the exit of the park only to hit upon his dad, standing just in front of the gate.
“Hey…” he exclaims. “What are you doing here? I thought you’re at the yoga class”
To Be Continued…