Friday, April 8, 2011

Starting up

We're starting-up and hiring interns using the help of a very amazing start-up called Internshala.

Much more, later.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Break-up ke baad

He lay shattered on the bed on his stomach. He tilted his head towards right and the picture at the centre of the wall appeared before him. She was seated on a chair and he was standing behind her with his arms around her. They had taken the photograph at a studio and both of them had got it framed it and put up on their walls. "How lovely they looked together!", everybody had remarked.

They indeed looked great together but it was over now. He had texted her yesterday and clearly told her that it was time they parted ways. It wasn't an amicable break-up. They had had a huge altercation before that. And, altercations had become the norm over the past few months.

He decided that he must stop thinking about the past and move on. He switched his on laptop and opened facebook's log-in page. He stopped while typing the password; he couldn't even type her name anymore. Disgusted, he shut his laptop down and went to the balcony. He put a cigarette between his lips, lit it and took a long puff. He remembered she used to hate his smoking habit and how she used to snatch the cigarette from his mouth everytime he'd smoke around her. "God, single life is great", he thought. "Freeeedom!", he screamed. The uncle, sipping the morning tea in the balcony opposite to his, got startled. He smiled and went inside.

"It has been ages since I wrote an anything", he thought, "and they say that some of the best pieces of literature are written after nasty break-ups". He sat on his study table, opened a notepad and pulled a pen from the pen-stand. Now was the difficult part - he had no idea what to write. Several options lay before him, but he narrowed them down to a love story or a poem. The genre had to be romance because the artist in him wanted to extract maximum advantage from their break-up. The problem with stories is that it takes so long to build a plot that most of the time one gets bored and abandons the idea. "Poem it is then", he thought and put the pen down on the paper.

The next few lines went so smoothly that he was amazed when he had done writing them. It was as if someone had held his hand and helped him write.

" I fall down and I get up
I start running in a gallop
I hear footsteps chasing me and I look behind
She is following me but I think I've lost my mind.

It's impossible because I had left her far away
It's astonishing how she always knows my way
There's no stopping me this time around;
There're bigger things for which I am bound

I run longer than Forrest Gump
and when i reach a wonderland, I jump
on seeing people dancing and birds chirping.
It suddenly saddens to think of what I've been missing.

Never fall in love, they say
I object, I say "Nay".
Sure, love has played a hand
In helping me find the wonderland. "

Without reading the poem and feeling satisfied with the effort, he closed the notebook. He logged back into facebook, changed the password and changed his relationship status to "single".

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

IIMs' faulty scoring system, and why I'm pissed off

In this blog article, I’d only like to talk about the IIMs’ scoring system for boards examinations and graduation marks. The fact that they consider a heavy weightage for the marks obtained in boards examination as compared to the CAT score is another contentious issue which I’d like to discuss some other time.
A rough pattern of weightage of various marks for any IIMs’ scoring system looks something like this:
CAT marks: 60%
Xth: 10%
XIIth: 10%
Graduation: 10%
Work Experience: 10%
The score given for marks obtained in boards and graduation is a step function defined as: Score = 10 for %age=< 100 and >= 95, Score = 8 for %=<95 and >90 , and so on)
Here, I’d like to compare two candidates A and B. The differences between their percentages in boards and graduation is small and A has performed better than B in the CAT exam.
Suppose candidate A has secured 264/450 (A percentile of 99.85 overall) in CAT, 89.6% in Xth, 79.4% in XIIth, 84.2% in graduation and no work experience. On the other hand, candidate B has secured 253/450 (A percentile of 99.54 overall) in CAT, 90.4% in Xth, 80.8% in XIIth, 85.6% in graduation and no work experience.
In this case, IIMs calculate the score from the CAT exam by linearising it through the following equation:
Score = (Cat score / 450) * 60
This gets A 35.2 + 6 + 2 + 4 + 0 = 47.2/100, while it gets candidate B 33.73 + 8 + 4 + 6 + 0 = 51.73/100.
Instead of this, had the IIMs linearized the scoring system for boards as follows:
Score = (percentage – 75) / 2.5,
A would’ve had a total of 35.2 + 5.84 + 1.76 + 3.68 + 0 = 46.48/100, while candidate B would’ve got 33.73 + 6.16 + 2.32 + 4.24 + 0 = 46.45/100.
The candidate B is helped by the fact that his percentages are on the right side of the percentage range while candidate’s A percentages fall on the wrong side. As we see, unlike in the first case with the final score difference between A and B is huge, the first case makes their score comaparable. Hence, when we linearize both the CAT scores and boards, graduation percentages before adding them up, it gives us far more just results.
Also, it is a known fact that boards across the country are far from uniform in their scoring. So, it makes very difficult for a person from, say Rajasthan board to compete against a person from Andhra Pradesh State Board.
This faulty and unjust system has surely robbed a lot of candidates who did extremely well in CAT the chance of getting into and IIM. Since my marks in boards and graduation are similar in manner to candidate A and the fact that I can't go back to my past and write the board exams again or work harder for my cgpa, I don’t think I am going to write CAT again, knowing the fact that the top IIMs are always going to elude me.

[Certain data used in this blog post is based on the scoring criteria released by IIM C and IIM L.]

Thursday, November 26, 2009

HR Interview with a Terrorist Organisation

Interviewer: Tell me about yourself
Candidate: I am doing mechanical engineering from the country’s most prestigious institute. I have no interest in academics, and my poor cgpa bears testimony to that. My poor attendance record shows that while my other batchmates were wasting their time inside classrooms listening to boring lectures, I was busy planting crackers in toilets and in headmaster’s office. I am intolerant towards others’ opinions and have a destructive mindset. While all my classmates went into sectors such as core, finance and consultancy, I had always been unsure about my field of interest. Until, of course, I came to know of this opening. I think I am a perfect fit for this line of career.

Interviewer: Can you give some examples to explain your personality traits?
Candidate: There are many. The other day, during a discussion, when I said that Mughlai Kabaab is the most delicious dish and one of friends disagreed with that, I was taken over by so much rage that I pounced upon him and kept thrashing him with my hockey stick until he fell in line with my opinion. I am a bigot and get infuriated when someone disagrees with my opinions. I am an efficient leader and have lead huge mobs to boycott classes until various demands were not met.

Interviewer: What are your skill sets that may be of use to our organisation?
Candidate: From what I’ve read in the news, your organisation is at the forefront of a technological boom. You have the nuclear technology and are looking to use it for making nuclear bombs. You’re always looking for methods to breach the security. I think I can apply my technological skills to these areas. Also, any operation requires a lot of planning and strategic thinking, and people at my college are famous for having superior analytical skills. As listed in my extra-curricular activities, I have participated in a number of brawls and have even been suspended from college after being repeatedly caught for cheating. I am a daring and a confident person. My skill sets would bring a lot of value to the organisation.

Interviewer: Why do you want to work for us?
Candidate: Working with your organisation entails everything that my dream job consists of. There is a lot of prestige associated with working for your organisation – both inside and outside the workplace. People address you as Bhai respectfully inside the organisation, and anywhere outside the very mention of being associated with such an organisation would command tremendous fear.
At your organisation, one gets to work in various places around the globe – from the advanced countries in America and Europe to the lovely mountains in Kandahar and Pakistan. Unlike most other companies that require you to wear uncomfortable formal clothing everyday, one gets to wear a variety of clothing – from tatty clothing during military training to smart clothing during a recce - at your organisation. Because of having to use multiple identities, one gets to experiment a lot with one’s looks – from a completely tonsured and shaven look, to a funky spikes and a goatee, to sporting a wig and a beard. One gets to meet a number of people as well.Huge sums of money obtained from operations such as selling illegal drugs and extortion from film producers and politicians ensures a lavish standard of living.
In all, I like the the work-life balance at your organisation.

Interviewer: Do you realise that there is a perpetual bond with the organisation and that the working conditions are tough?
Candidate: Yes, I know that one can only leave the world forever, but can never leave this organisation. Also, I am aware of the fact that terms such as getting "fired" and a "deadline" are taken literally. And, during this time of recession, companies are already delaying offer letters, making employees sign four-year long bonds, cutting employee strength and what not. Working at any company these days is stressful and there are few people who are actually happy with their job. Companies these days are making their employees work for twelve hours a day, six days a week and sometimes night shifts too. I don’t mind working at erratic work timings or the stringent criterion at work at your organisation because I’d enjoy whatever I do.

Interviewer: Doesn’t the negative public image about the organisation bother you?
Candidate: Not at all. Every government and every major corporation these days indulges in foul play. They swindle people of their hard-earned money and hardly bother about people’s lives. It’s all a matter of image projection through the credulous media. I admire the fact that your organisation is against creating false perceptions among people.

Interviewer: You’ve no prior knowledge about our religious beliefs.
Candidate: That’s my forte. I have managed to pass a lot of courses by rote learning at the eleventh hour before the exam. From the weirdest of topics such as bioprocess technology to linear algebra, I have been able to cram them all at short notice. I will certainly be able to learn the various abstruse religious texts by heart.

Is there anything that you’d like the ask us?
Candidate: I have been eager to know if the company allows flexibility in terms of switching between back-office work of designing strategies for attacks and on-the-field missions such as blowing up state properties or hijacking airplanes?

Sure. Congratulations, you’re now one of us.

(This blog post was a consequence of the discussion I had with my wingmates last night about the placement scenario)

Monday, November 9, 2009

The last message

He had first seen Rituparna in the Aeromodelling club. She was the only girl among freshies who had joined the club. Thanks to their googlegroup, he managed to get hold of her email id and they started chatting on the internet. And after the internet got disconnected, they would talk for hours through the night on the phone. Ritu was outspoken not even least bit conservative; she had lived in the US till eleven years of age. She still had a American touch to her english accent, which he used to find cute. He used to admire the fact the she was still well versed in hindi.

After a fortnight or so, they decided to go out for dinner. It was 7.30 p.m. and he was waiting for her outside her hostel. He remembered every minute detail about that evening. She was wearing a black halter neck dress and was looking stunning. He could not take her eyes off her while she was walking out of her hostel towards him.

‘Hey. Let’s go?’, she had asked.

‘ Oh ya, ya’, he had stammered.

She had bursted out laughing at this, and his heart melted in an instant.

They went to Simply Sumptuous and got along really well. She giggled at each of his jokes, and he used to love that. And when she started talking about her favourite cartoon series, she went on and on. He didn’t mind that at all because he got an oppurtunity to get lost in her beautiful eyes during that time. They returned to their college around 10.30 pm and parted to their respective hostels. He had barely reached the door of his room when his phone beeped. ‘1 message received’- it said.

He opened the messaged anxiously and it read – ‘I had a wonderful time. Thanks x’. He beamed.

She got a friend request from an unfamiliar id – rahul.superkool - one day. He told her he had seen her at the Aeromodelling club. Guys in this college are desperate, she had thought, but atleast unlike the other guys who were too scared to muster courage to talk to her, this guy had atleast tried to contact her. Even the girls in her hostel used to stay aloof from her. She didn’t know why, and didn’t even try to make an effort to be friends with them. She found this very bizarre because she had always had a huge friend circle, and some of her best friends were guys.

She started chatting with him and soon they became good friends. Then one day, when he suggested that they went out for dinner, she ageed instantly.

She saw him standing outside her hostel waiting for him. He was dressed garishly. Who wears a bright silver shirt to a dinner? - she wondered. He was even quixotic enough to give her a red rose tucked in his back-pocket.

Apart from the few jokes and the small talk that he attempted, she felt the conversation was pretty one-sided. She had little interest in knowing about his favourite footballer or his most adventurous trek ever. However, his good sense of humour made up for his poor dressing sense and under-confidence. She thought of him to be a nice guy but surely he wasn’t boyfriend- material. Upon returning to her room, she messaged him courteously saying that she had a good time. Not even ten seconds later, her phone beeped.

The message read – ‘I had d best time of my lyf :D u’re amazing n v pretty. Hey I think I’ve feelings towards u’. She was stunned.

Today Rahul, who is a few days away from passing out of college, laughed out loudly when he remembered those days and thought how naïve he was.

And Ritu, who was yet to make any good friends in college, wondered whether she should’ve chided him and terminated her relationship with him after that last message.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Story [day-3]

I will start a story now and keep adding to it every day.

6 A.M. It was early morning. The cynosure of all the activities was the yellow and green coloured building at the middle of the street. It had been cordoned off by the police. People were peeping out of their windows, gazes fixed at it. An air of anxiety and fear seemed to have engulfed not only everyone but everything in the surroundings. Even the leaves on the trees refused to budge. The eerie silence was sporadically broken by murmurs among the people, standing on the opposite street, discussing and forming opinions from whatever they had come to know.

But, nobody knew much yet. Mr. Sharma, who had called the police, was being questioned by the police and the detectives. He and his wife were sleeping when they were woken up by the shots. But, except the number of shots, which were two, and the time at which they had heard it, which was 3 A.M., neither of them had seen or heard anything which could be of any help to the investigators.

Apart from a couple of isolated incidents of chain snatching, the neighbourhood had so far been by and large peaceful. Parents could allow their children to play on the streets till late in the evening and would even hesitate to double check if they had locked all the doors before sleeping. But, after these horrifying murders, all that would change. As they say in hindi: shaayad kisi ki nazar lagg gayi..

Police, detectives and a medical specialist were examining the scene of crime, taking notes and collecting the objects for fingerprint detection. Photographers were avidly taking photos from every angle and of every nook and corner of the room. One constable was taking notes.

The inside of that house was in perfect order. Prima facie, there was no sign of burglary or forced entry. None of the non-living objects seemed to have been moved or touched for that matter.

The body of the young woman lay on the bed. Two shots had been fired into the eyes and the blood had dried up along the sides of her face and on to the pillow on which her head rested. A huge smile was painted on her face, over her lips, using a red coloured lip stick.

The watchman, who was on the night duty in that building, clearly did not anticipate anything untoward to happen that night. Nor did his low paying and zero perk job warrant him to stay alert throughout the night. He admitted to the police that he had been somnolent most of the times and had even perhaps dozed off for some time.

However, because the street which was largely quiet during the night, he remembered to have woken up twice by the noise of a vehicle passing by. His poor reflexes, helped by the old age, and the high speed of the vehicle prevented him from even noticing what the colour of the vehicle was, or whether it was the same vehicle on both the occasions. He estimated the time of vehicle passing by to be about 1 a.m. and the time difference between the noises to be about half an hour.

Police also spoke to the people living in the building who told them that Ruby had shifted to this house a couple of months back. She lived alone and worked for an IT company. From whatever they had known of her, although she mingled less, she seemed to be gracious and had a twinkly demeanour.


He was shy and introvert, especially when it came to speaking to the opposite sex. But, it wasn't entirely his fault. He had studied in a boys' school all his life and had little chance of mingling with girls otherwise.

When he joined St. Xaviers' College, he was initially shocked by the skewed sex ratio, which was in the favour of girls. And, there was no dearth of pretty girls either.

In the first year, he was smitten by a girl named Meera. When he saw her during the freshers' orientation, he was naive enough to presume that it was a case of love at first sight. He started paying attention to his hairstyle, his appearance and even got rid of his dark-rimmed spectacles. He made notes and even rehearsed what he would tell her when they first meet.

Meera was going to the library when he accosted her. She stopped and look into his eyes. He got so enamoured by her large and beautiful eyes that he blanked out. He could feel tiny droplets of sweat started oozing out of the pores of his forehead.

He gaped at her for what seemed to be an eternity for him before she asked, 'Hi. Is there something you want to say?'

'Oh. Well. Ummm. Yes. Oh no. No!' was all that he could muster.

'You sure?', she asked.

He stared feeling dizzy and took flight without even answering the question.

When he returned to his room, he punched the wall hard and cursed himself. She must have thought of him as some kind of a nutcase, he thought. But, he promised himself that he would definitely speak to her and apologise for his foolishness the very next day.

Next day, he saw her walking hand in hand with Rajiv. His roommate told him that they were dating. He was crestfallen. For inexplicable reasons, he felt betrayed.

That was it, he thought. After that, he stopped mingling with anybody and even stopped looking at girls. Library became his home and books became his only companion. He returned to his dark-rimmed glasses, unkempt hairstyle and even grew a beard. For the only reason that he topped his class for two years straight, were some girls aware of his existence. But, he was considered to be a nerd and even despised by most of his classmates.

By the end of the second year, most of his classmates had a girlfriend, unless, ofcourse, they had had a breakup very lately. Atleast those who wanted, did.

When Ruby joined their class in the third year as an exchange student, he was unaware that from then on his life would take a ninety degree turn.

to be contd..


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