Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Test - Part 2

He kept himself free that day and was eagerly waiting for that call. All that was totally new to him, which added to the excitement. The phone rang. He greeted the lady and the conversation started. It lasted for exactly 45 minutes, as precisely mentioned in the email. It was one-of-its-kind interview he had ever faced. The questions were unique. They were not only interested in what he had done till now but also on what he was capable to do for them in the future. So, they tried to know him and his leadership qualities along with aptitude. Before he could accept what was going on, it was over. The lady told her that she would update him about the telephonic interview in a couple of days. He felt he did a good job and gave brisk and confident answers.

He got an email in exactly two days, just like it was mentioned. He saw it in his inbox and opened it with his pulse shooting off the roof. He was getting excited at each stage wanting to know what was next. It was not the end goal which he was focused on but wanted to enjoy the journey to reach there. He could not believe the content of the email. He got through the telephonic interview and was now invited for a final round of personal interview at the company’s headquarters. This personal interview was not just a couple of hours of conversation but actually a three day process. It was an all-expense paid trip to the company’s headquarters including stay and food. Coming from a third world country, all this was getting quite amusing, funny and surprising for him. It was getting hard for him to realize and understand the amount of time, energy and money a company was investing in hiring people like him. All of this, when he considered himself as an average person with hardly any special skills.

The connections were checked and tickets were booked to reach the company headquarter which was actually in a different country than the one he was living in. He preferred to take the train. It was faster and hassle free. A top class hotel room was booked for him with a double bed and other luxuries. He checked-in at his destination hotel in the evening before the beginning of the real deal. Keeping up with his small town mentality, looking at room he thought, what a waste of money. The company could have easily adjusted two students in a single room. Little did he knew of the concepts of privacy and etiquette of the western world. 

While checking in, he was told that a representative of the company which invited him for the interview will meet all the candidates in the lobby next day morning at 8 am. He was told there were 12 guests in total booked for 3 days by the company.

He had a couple of sandwiches for dinner which he had brought with him and then checked his suit if it needed any iron. All excited for the next day, he went to bed early.

More in the next part ... 

The Test - Part 1

Like in the life of any other post graduate student, during the later end of his studies in 2007, he was looking for an Internship. With the intention of getting a big name stamped on his Resume and to get a better job in the future, he was only applying to big companies. He believed - big name matters most. That was his level of naivety in the real world.

He also applied to a company which had almost nothing to do with his studies so far. Even though being from the IT background, he applied to one of the biggest oil companies in the world. It was his way of exploring ways to deviate into another domain and try his hand at something new. This internship did not had any particular prerequisites. Anybody with good grades and involved in a decent level of extra curricular activities could apply. So, all confident of the open and flexible requirements, he applied and waited for a reply.

Now, this was not any average company. Founded in early 1900, this company has almost 90,000 employees worldwide, with total assets in the range of $600,000 billion, and with a recorded revenue in 2012 of around $450,000 billion. With such statistics to back it, even the intern recruitment was no child's play. They really meant business. 

The first phase of the recruitment process was an online application with an essay to write on one of the given topics. In addition, there were several questions to be answered which gave an insight into the applicant's character. That was also assisted with an online psychometric test. He carefully answered the questionnaire and the test which took him almost 2-3 hours but he was satisfied with his answers. He was quite surprised and happy at the same time for going through such an experience which was completely new to him.

After a few days, he almost forgot that he had even applied there since he did not heard back from them for a long time. Then one fine day, he got an email in his inbox informing him that he has cleared the online phase and had been selected for a telephonic interview. He was happy and content. He selected one the days offered in the mail for the interview keeping enough time for himself to prepare for it.

Being the kind of person he was, he kept all of this to himself and did not shared it with anybody, not even with his family and friends. He had once heard a phrase which stuck a chord with him and had stayed with him ever since. It says - It ain't over till the fat lady sings.     

More in the next part ...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Shades of Life

With my hands firmly on the steering of the car, I was trying to reach a destination whose route I knew by heart. It was in the same town where I had spend most part of my life. I knew those roads so well that I could even reach there with my eyes closed. But, even with my concentration bang on the road and keeping my eyes right over the beam of headlights of the car, I felt like a person who was in dire need of navigation. I was taking wrong turns on the roads I had grown up with. The streetlights on the road were somehow failing to serve their purpose. I felt like I was driving alone through a pitch dark narrow tunnel. The loud noise of traffic from the outside felt like falling on deaf ears. It was totally silent in the car. I could not feel anything. I felt like someone on a decent dose of afeem (opium) whose senses were shut down and whose concentration was hanging on the tip of a needle.

All I was trying to do was to follow the Doli of my newly wed sister. 

As per the rituals, the brother is supposed to deliver the sister's belongings to her 'new' home and family. Such a trivial task of delivering some pieces of luggage had never been so hard for me before. 

I had never thought I would feel that way. I am known in my family as the 'cold' one. I am known to be too practical, blunt, hardhearted, expressionless, feeling-less with my-head-before-my-heart kind of guy. They say, this is the reason I live in a 'cold' country like Germany with such ease. To an extent, I would agree with my family. I do not blame them. I prefer to have such an image.

I have had many fights with my sister as kids. There had been times when I didn't talk to her for long periods. I remember as kids when we used to fight and when my parents took her side I used to say, "When she gets married, I would light up the house with desi-ghee diyas". The house was definitely lit for the wedding but with a completely different feeling than of those times. I understood and knew that nothing would change after her marriage. I have anyways lived away from my family for more than 10 years now. She anyways had lived in Bangalore for a couple of years away from home for work. I knew that we do not live in times or society where meeting or going to sister's family used to be formal and seldom. I knew nothing would change but still why did I started missing her that evening would still remain a mystery to me. After all, I am the 'cold' one ! 

I still do not understand what kind of feelings took over me that day in the car. I never ever cry but there I was sobbing inconsolably sitting in my seat with a flood of tears and emotions in my eyes. I was unable to find my way.

There are some things unexplained in life. That moment would go down in my life as one of them. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gluttony as charged !

Normally, I don't like taking pictures of food. I prefer to bring it to its right place asap i.e. stomach. But a few weeks back, me and biwi prepared manchurian with noodles and it came out pretty good. Biwi forced me to take pictures and they came out good as well. Thought of sharing on my blog for a change to the lighter but fulfilling side of life.

I love cooking and feel that it is the best stress buster in the whole world. No matter what mood I am in, whether it is anger, depression, tension or anything else, it tends to mellow it down to pure pleasure. If there is anything I would like to do in my life at some point of time is to open my own Restaurant.

Monday, August 11, 2014

My dose of 'hatke' Indian Media

I think I have mentioned it several times before on my blog that I am a news junkie. I do not know why but I always feel the urge to know as much as possible going around me from every perspective possible. It is tedious, time consuming and sometimes even frustrating. Even after all this, there are time when I feel, I still know nothing about this world and its working. The famous saying from the Vedas, "neti neti neti" (meaning: neither this nor that, nothing) starts resonating in my head.

Anyways, I thought of documenting some sources for a subset of news which I have been following regularly. Or in other words, how with changing times and priorities, I moved from one source to the other. So, before I lose track, it would be a good idea to document it somewhere. No better way than in a blog post. 

Living outside India and being fed up with the way, the mainstream media in India had been working in the last years made me look for something else, something "hatke". All the big Indian newspapers went online by 2006/2007. Like many Indians, I was a regular TOI & HT epaper reader living outside India. Slowly, I started feeling that these sources were limiting themselves in thoughts and news both. Half of the paper were advertisements. The main news was almost limited to the front pages with a continuation inside. Somewhere in the middle were opinion columns from regulars. The international news was almost limited to a single page. I got fed up with such short sightedness and limited information provided by MSM (Main Stream Media). So, I started exploring other venues on the internet.

Somewhere around 2007/08, I came across Mint. During that time, I has just started to explore the stock market and the business of shares. It had some really interesting and knowledgeable articles back then. It provided me a regular dose of the Indian markets. Another thing which I was hooked onto was its Lounge. It contained some selected articles from different facets of the ever evolving Indian culture. I was impressed by this new form & presentation of Indian media. With time I saw some great minds writing articles for Mint. A famous blogger I used to follow and now a writer, Sidin also wrote for Mint. I felt I was in the right direction. It was then owned by HT with some collaboration from the Wall Street Journal. Slowly, the articles became lame and I was losing interest in it. I felt that Mint had also fall prey to that limited form of media, restricting itself somehow. It made me move on to something else. (though I still sometimes visit it's Lounge) 
Then, in 2009/10 came the time for Open. It was more kind of a magazine but the articles were really thought provoking and their news appeared fresh. Or at least, it's presentation was new. I felt that it was the new and improved version of India Today and Outlook. It was as if Open had started from where India Today and Outlook stopped. It was my new dose. But again over time and due to some incidents at Open, I felt it was starting to go in a particular direction where I did not wanted it to go. Then in 2013, Hartosh Singh Bal, who I was fond of, left Open. I am still almost a regular at Open but now I read it with caution.
In 2010/11, I found my new joint or I can say was looking at something in parallel. It was Caravan. Based on a format which I found similar to Open, it came up with some flow or articles which I had never though or imagined or expected would come from India. Again, its presentation and feel was something I got attracted to as well. To some extent, I can say that Open and Caravan changed my perspective of news information and opinions on several current affair topics. In 2013, Hartosh joined Caravan after being let go from Open. I was happy. Though I might not agree with everything he writes or appear on Caravan, I am a regular there.

I found something different happening with news in 2012/13. A new website came up called Firstpost. It gained more attention during the Anna campaign. It started out with good intentions, it seemed. I was impressed with its format. It was different from Open/Caravan. It was more like MSM but filtered and refined. On and off, I was gradually becoming a regular there. Then came elections and its tone changed a bit. It again took another turn after elections. Now, I feel it is completely in  contrast to where it started. It has started to voice some strong opinions and mindless bashing giving its reader less to think and more to fulfill an agenda (at least what it seems). The website is cramped up with too much things which I would not like to see there. I hardly visit it now.

In 2014, I started following Scroll, Newslaundry, Hoot. Currently, I don't see these with a particular format or seriousness but maybe they evolve into something which can really has an effect. Good luck to them.

It is unbelievable how fast and how different media is evolving and in parallel how fast the taste of people is changing thus moving them to different sources. I hope that Indian MSM also return to sanity soon enough.