As I stay up on one of my last days in Bangalore, a city I’ve befriended, and loved, I think about the last two years. I think about the next two years. And how the former shaped the latter.
I think of my engineering. The most demotivated years of my life.
I go farther.
My school. And I how I loved it. And how I still love it. And how it, to date, remains the most important factor that shaped me. For hadn’t it been the confidence in myself I’d pretty much gathered during my schooling, I’d have been, what they call, a Loser. Big Time.
It all started when I got a 68 in Social Studies in 10th. This meant 88% in boards. How I cried my heart out for days. Funny how the mood of the examiner could’ve changed a lot in my life. (This realisation came just a couple of months ago.)
So Boards were sour grapes. I never wanted them. 81% in 12th pretty much closed it. Or so I thought.
I didn’t make it to any A-list engineering college. I didn’t care. About the grades or the classes or the assignments. And how it paid me back with a measly 66%. . The only concession being a likely B School stint that might change my fortune.
And so CAT was my new road to redemption. The only way I could get out of that life of complete ignominy.
CAT 2008:I joined CL, missed zero sessions, took the mocks. Mostly didn’t do well. But sometimes, did well too. That was enough. I knew all it would take was a good day. And I was all geared up.
Form rejected. No signature. HAH!
Yes, shit happens.
Managed some calls from Non-CAT colleges. Didn’t make it. Didn’t care.
Placements brought Infy. Infy meant a 70 percentile in CAT 2009.
It was impossible to prepare with Mysore, and the training anyway.
But then came the XAT result. A 99.53 and a PMIR call. And suddenly I woke up from my slumber.
And I cared. So much as I’d never cared for anything else. I gave up everything. Infact, I gave up the only thing I was doing those days. Studying my ass off in Infosys.
I prepared all that I could. In all the time that I could manage.
Introduction, hobbies, past, present, future, MBA jargon.
And I fumbled. On the D-Day. I was too much in awe of the situation. A direct reject.
And a couple of days later, I flunked the most important exam in Infy and for the first time ran the risk of losing my job.
So there it was. Rock Bottom.
I had never doubted myself so much. Maybe this wasn’t meant to be. Maybe the days at school were just an illusion. And maybe CAT and the likes were meant for a species of a different kind.
But I didn’t have much time. I had to save my job. And I got to it. And I did it. First things first.
Then Bangalore happened. And I was ready to take the plunge again. This time with a lot more conviction. When I look back, I feel, that nothing really changed since I’d taken my first interview. But somehow, it felt so much better. I prepared. I took the mocks. Without a laptop at my disposal. In cyber cafes and through printouts. My score ranged from 60s to 90s.
But none of that was a cause of worry. It was my VA that was troubling me now. It had always been my strongest, my fastest section. And it had ditched me. So two days before CAT 2010, I borrowed a laptop, took some 12 VA tests on the trot, and left it only when I scored what I deemed was a good score. I slept peacefully.
CAT 2010 was something of a surprise. With a few simple and few tricky questions. Mixed feelings.
I scored 98.15.
And I knew that meant no IIM calls .
But then it might have. Had there been a 90% in my CBSE Boards-You get the picture.
I had four calls. SCMHRD, NITIE, MDI and MICA.
SCMHRD gave me my first convert. And I knew this year would be it.
I didn’t block my seat.
I made frantic calls before the NITIE interview. On how things worked. I prepared. And I got through.
It was the news I’d been waiting for.
A top 10 college.
MDI came out. A PGP-HR looked likely.
But I had made up my mind.
After Delhi, Noida and Bangalore; it had to be Mumbai.
It felt perfect.Finally.