Doing what you Love?

It’s really heartening to see many batch mates of mine and otherwise as well, young folks plunging themselves into this wonderful and exciting arena of start ups, few forming their own ventures and others becoming a part of the ecosystem, joining the founders in their journey towards solving one or another issue that a modern consumer faces in today’s hectic style of living that all have got so accustomed to, thanks to the materialism which all of us tend to be running after, voluntarily or involuntarily, getting inspired from the rat race.

On one hand where it’s a real pleasure to witness the above, on the other, I cannot help but wonder what makes people to be drawn into this world of startups and entrepreneurship. Is it because of the extreme distress and dissatisfaction that they tend to face in their current jobs? Is it because they perceive a chance to make it big sometime in the near future and thus choose to join the bandwagon? Is it because that’s the in thing to do and coming from a generation that is into everything that’s in, how can one miss upon yet another in-thing? Is it because of the freedom and ability to decide upon one’s schedule? or Is it because of the thought of being able to make a difference?

Whatever it might be, the reality today is, that even students graduating from the likes of IITs and IIMs are either grabbing start up offers or preferably forming their own ventures in collaboration with their colleagues.

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No matter how successful one goes on to become, with success being gauged from the amount of VC capital pouring in, one aspect that is found to be lacking in nearly 99% (might be less ūüėČ ) of startups today is the ability to go from “zero to one“.

Though one gets to see innovations in the manner in which the start up is being run, yet more often than not, either they are carbon copies of the flourishing ones in Europe or America or are the same of the ones operating in the Indian ecosystem, primarily a meta-copy of our much aspired western neighbours.

This makes me wonder even more whether the choices that we are making is influenced for the love of success or for the love of what we actually want to do and might love doing. As is said, “chadte suraj ko sab salaam karte hain“, would just like to add, “kahin suraj itna na chadh jaye ki wo badalon mein aisa kho jaye ki koi use dekh bhi na paye aur fir wo khud se pooche, kaash!

Source for Image: http://smspunch.net/single-article-forum-post-3412.aspx

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The Crappy Interview!

It is believed that the toughest part and the most subjective of all for any sort of examination is the last and final stage which everyone in the World seem to call “the interview”.

Well, most of the times the guys from IITs or IIMs tend to believe that they are big shots and want to be treated in high regards, but sometimes the breed and the likes of the very same can be on the receiving end and below I take great pleasure in illustrating one such incident where an IITian cum IIMian (if I can call him so) (G) found himself to be on the receiving end of the scheme of things that ensued after he happened to step into a room where the factory manager (FM) was eagerly waiting for him.interview 2

May I come in, Sir?”—-G

Yes, of course. Please have a seat.”—FM

Thank you, Sir.”—-G

Well, I won’t ask you questions like tell me something about yourself, because I know you will give me the crappy stuff that you have done and I personally won’t be impressed by what you have to say, just because I am different from the other morons who try to bask in the glory of the past and forget the task at hand and indeed the future ahead. So I will come straight to the point.”—–FM

Sure, Sir.”—G¬†

Ok, since you have got the point that it doesn’t matter who you are, what you have done in the past, considering that you don’t have any prior experience working in a factory, give me one good reason as to why should you be hired?”—-FM

Sir, yes I haven’t had the experience of working in a factory, but my credentials speak a volume…”—-G¬†

Again you are giving me a crappy answer. I told you I am not interested in your tags that you have happened to achieve during your so called illustrious academic career. What I am interested in knowing is how on earth can you increase my revenues?”—-FM

Sir, for that I will have to look at the processes and the implementation of the same in your factory.”—-G

See, that’s the problem with you A League people. You come here for an interview without knowing about the set up and believing that you would be able to do practically anything on this planet. Such arrogance, I must say, will lead to your downfall. And that’s the precise reason why you guys end up doing some silly 9-5 job. By the way, have you ever thought of opening your own firm or a factory?”—-FM

Not really, Sir. May be after a while when I am experienced enough.”—-G

See, the kind of answers you are giving. Such low risk-taking ability is a killer when it comes to a career. What will you do after gaining experience, sit on it all day long. You got to take risks in life if you want to achieve something big. Yes, if you don’t have any ambition what so ever then it is alright to think like what you are thinking. By the way, where do you see yourself, say ten years down the line.”—FM

Sir, I didn’t think about it. I have no clue. Now since, you have asked me to, I would indeed give it a thought.”—-G

No aim in life, no ambition, no risk-taking ability, no sense of responsibility, no vision, why do you think I should hire you?”—-FM

Sir, just because, if I had all the above, I won’t be sitting here asking you for a job and just because of all people in the world, the benchmarks that you have created might be too high for 99.99999% of the people and I am the best pick that you can have from the remaining 0.00001%.”—-G

Well done, good answer. See, now you are talking. You need to leave that “please give me a job” attitude. You need to come out in the open showing your true self. By the way, you are hired. I want to see you tomorrow 9 am sharp :)”—-FM

Thank you so much, Sir.”—G

Well, not the conventional of interviews that tend to go on and on talking about the credentials and how wonderful one is. But indeed an eye opener for the aspirants who tend to go to any level and go on compromising just because they want a job.

What can be seen in the corporate world today is implicit exploitation of the job seekers and employees, just because the company bosses know that they will not come out in the open with their grievances. Imagine a guy working from 10 am to 2 am in an investment bank. He doesn’t even realize the kind of health problems that he will surely get in terms with in future.interview

Well, you can argue that it is his sweet will to chose such a profession. Indeed it is, but that doesn’t give any company a right to exploit people.

So, all people out there, who are working in corporate sector, if you feel exploited or if you feel that your company is taking undue advantage, then come out in the open and speak against the same; for it is this very attitude that will help you take big strides and indeed will prove to be a harbinger for happiness and success.

Source for Image: http://todaycut.com/customer-relationship-manager-interview-questions-and-answers/, http://www.adeptresources.com/blog/how-to-stand-out-in-the-interview

Optimizing Corruption!

A couple of months back I came across an email from the Alumni Association mentioning the probable contenders for this year’s Satyendra Dubey Memorial Award. If you are wondering who Satyendra Dubey was, let me tell you that he was an IITian and an officer in the Indian Engineering Service (IES) who was eliminated from this system as he proved to be a roadblock for those who wanted to exploit this system to their advantage.

If you are wondering why suddenly I am referring to him, then it is because both; him and myself had one thing in common which is that we are civil engineers. And recently I came across a guy from the same breed of civil engineers who happened to apply for a job of an engineer in one of the construction companies.construction 1

Though, it is no hidden truth that we all happen to be living in a system where everything ranging from getting your passport made to applying for a gas connection requires a common man to fill the pockets of those granting the same in order to get what they legitimately deserve to have, yet when it happens to come out as blatantly as it did in the interview that ensued between the company representatives (CR) and this guy (G) one cannot help but wonder whether corruption has become such an integral part of our lives that a point has come where one cannot get rid of it at any point of time in one’s lives.

Hello G! I can see on your resume that you have had an excellent academic record, you are from the likes of IIT, so there is no need to talk to you about technical things. But one thing that I would want to test you on is whether you are pragmatic enough to handle the situations that arise while working in the field. Are you ready?”——CR

Of course, Sir. I am.”—G

Good. Then I would want you to answer a question for me. Say, you are in charge of implementing a project and you come across a serious issue while supervising the project that the contractors are not using the same kind of concrete mix which is required as per the standards and are instead using a formula which will help them get maximum profits. What will you do in such a scenario?”—-CR

Sir, I will first of all stop the work and will come and report to the office of what is happening in the field.”—G

See, that was the exact reply that I was expecting from you. Very correct to the core. But this is not what we expect you to do. What we want you to do instead is to carry on with the work at the same time ensuring that the safety aspect is not compromised. In short, let the contractor do what he is up to, your responsibility will be to take care of the safety within the parameters that have been set by the contractor. For that if you need to compromise on the durability aspect you can do so, for in the end the maintenance contract will again come to us, and then we can repair it and keep the cycle going on forever.”—-CR

You are kidding, right, Sir?”—-G

Well, that is my only complaint with institutes like IIT. They do teach you all the fundamentals and theories but they don’t teach you anything about the reality and how you will be able to survive in this system. It is a pity that a talented guy like you is looking for jobs just because you are totally unaware of the system and its reality. May be it is high time they start teaching you the pragmatic part as well.”—–CR

If you are now wondering whether G got his job, then I must tell you that G preferred to walk out of the interview instead and is still looking for a job where he could get a chance to make use of all the things he has learnt in an honest and legitimate manner.

This is not only true for the construction industry but for all the sectors, though the kind and form may vary depending on the dynamics of that particular sector. Wherever one goes, one needs to become a part of the system, otherwise either he is called a loser of simply stupid person, for not being able to cope up with the pressures and demands that this system presents to us.

Every modern chanakya will tell you that you got to be a part of the system if you wish to bring about a change in this very system. In every high profile interview that you happen to appear for, be it the civil services examination or any other PSU, you might be lucky enough to get a lecture from those who consider them as part of the system on how you got to become an integral part of the system in order to bring about a change in the system.

Sometimes, I wonder, though, whether becoming a part of the system in itself is equivalent to giving a go ahead or an approval to the fact that very little can be done in case you choose to remain honest and in case you want to tread your own path and if you dare to do so, you should be mentally and physically prepared to meet all the challenges that will come your way courtesy of you being an honest officer.corruption

But it is true as well that if you are not able to enter the system then you won’t have a chance at all of making some difference to the way things are being conducted in our system. The better way would be to indeed work towards getting into this system and trying to live by the values and principles that could make both you and your family proud.

The choice is yours whether you want to join the herd who try to optimize corruption to their advantage or instead stand alone in this crowd and take on those who take great pride in doing acts of corruption. The only glitch may be that such honest people seem to be in a minority with majority joining the herd as that seems to be the easiest option.

Rest assured that there will be consequences, there will be times when you will feel down and out, there will be moments when you will feel like toeing in the line, but it will be your courage and desire to shape a better future for your children alone, which will carry you forward in this journey of creating a World of your dreams.

Source for Image: http://adminfinance.umw.edu/parking/construction/, http://technorati.com/women/article/leadership-lessons-loosening-the-knots-of/

A Night to Remember!

It is not often that you get a chance to explore your city on a bicycle at 2’o clock in the night, especially when you are living with your family and assuming that you don’t lie to them regarding your whereabouts.

But yesterday, 3 of my friends along with me decided to do the unthinkable. The biggest impediment though was how to arrange for 4 bicycles at that point of time, considering that we all had given up the habit of possessing the same since our IIT days.

It is said when the going gets tough, the tough gets going and so did Birju who made every possible effort that he could to arrange for the bicycles, which seemed to have been the most luxurious of vehicles that all four of us would have loved to have that very moment. And at last he succeeded.

And there we were riding our bicycles on the famous streets of Lucknow which appeared much wider and broader than what they look like during the daytime because of the traffic that tend to demean the very character of the broad roads during daytime.

With no plans as such in our minds, we just rode our bicycles to every nook and corner of the city, some known to us and some totally unknown and unexplored, taking short breaks at times to fulfill our appetite with a kulhad of tea accompanied by a well baked band-makkhan and at times to pose for a photograph on the weirdest of locations. 

As if this was not enough and as if we wanted to relive the college days once more, we decided to bring some happiness to the faces of a couple of our batch mates who had by then already hit the bed and were sound asleep in their respective houses.

We rode all the way from Hazratganj to Gomtinagar, which is around 8-9 km in distance in order to bring some excitement into the life of a person who had been too busy for the past couple of days by any stretch of imagination.fun night 

One thing that we all can do and take great pride in doing is to take at least some amount of liberty when it comes to playing pranks with our batch mates and friends or when it comes to willingly or unwillingly include someone close to us in our ad hoc plans.

And the good thing is that our friends or batch mates never ever seem to play spoil sport, instead are more than happy to join the brigade, if not in reality but definitely on paper ūüėČ as if replicating the policy implementation measures taken by our government at times.

After having a wonderfully prepared tea with a couple of biscuits at a 24-hour tea stall, we all decided to play dumb charades with Naidu offering himself voluntarily to become the soft target for all of us when it came to giving Bollywood movies to a guy who, considering that he belongs to Hyderabad and expecting him to flounder on every occasion, did a wonderful job of making each one of us burst into laughter.

The time flew by and we could hear the birds chirping amidst the cold and foggy morning. It was already 7 a.m. and we all decided that it was time to head back to our respective nests , where we knew that we were in for a bombardment of questions from our respective family members.

As Saty drove on his scooter with me sitting on the backseat, the vivid scenes from the night that had just gone by, flashed in front of my eyes and I could see Birju dancing to the tunes of Rang De Basanti, I could see Naidu going nuts with his explanation for the movies and I could see Saty chipping in with his witty and hilarious remarks.

It is said that nothing lasts forever, but one thing that stays with you are the moments and the memories that you tend to cherish even when it’s long gone by and this night will find its place right up there amongst the wonderful nights that I have had the fortune of experiencing in my entire lifetime ;).

Source for Image: http://blametheblogger.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/a-fun-night-in/

The No. 1 Aunty!

I have had the fortune of knowing this wonderful lady for years now. Her husband was my father’s colleague (now retired) and they used to reside right in front of our government alloted house.

Whenever I used to meet her in a social gathering or at either of our homes, she would go on talking about how well her son and daughter were performing in their respective classes and were rewarded for the same by their schools. It seemed as if there were no better kids than hers on this planet Earth.

When it came to her husband, she was not much behind with citation of circumstances when her husband was able to pull off a great feat and was able to restore the dignity of the government department. It seemed that the department was performing well only because of the efforts that her husband was putting in.parents1

Pretentious, as it might sound, all her hopes and aspirations were hooked on to her children and husband. I guess, our mother’s generation belonged to an era wherein they were supposed to derive happiness and satisfaction from their husband’s and children’s success.

Courtesy her efforts, her son qualified the JEE examination and went on to study engineering from IIT Kanpur, which she used to refer to as the No. 1 institute for engineering in India and this time around she had the rankings to boost her claim. If this was not enough, right after completing his B.Tech from IIT Kanpur, he went on to do a PhD from MIT, which is again considered to be one of the best (though for her it was always THE BEST).

Her daughter was not much behind and she went a step further to do an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, which again the aunty claimed to be not only best in India but also the best amongst all colleges offering the MBA course whether it be in India or abroad.numero uno

The lady, was in true senses, a replica of the numero uno. I am sure she must have derived great pleasure from boasting about her children and husband. I am sure, that must have been the aim of her life. But yesterday, when I met her again, after a long time, she looked very old and dull. As if the exuberence and confidence, that she once used to reflect, was taken away from her and she looked a pale reflection of her true self, the self which I had associated with her.

She could barely walk without the support of her stick which she held in her right hand. At first, she had difficulty in recognizing who I was. It was only after she was sure about the sanctity of the person walking alongside her that she began talking to me in a frank tone.

How have you been, Kush? I met your mother a couple of days back.”—Aunty started the conversation.

Aunty, I am doing fine. How is everything with bhaiya and didi? How is uncle doing? Haven’t met him since ages.”—I joined in.

You know, Kush! Uncle and I have gone old now. We just want to see our kids doing well. It just reminded me that my son have just switched jobs in US. I don’t remember the name of the company. I am sure you might be knowing it. It is the best private sector company in the entire World.”—-As she spoke, I could see it in her eyes, the confidence and joy of being No. 1 was back.

Of course aunty! Both bhaiya and didi have always been there, right at the top.” I smiled back as I took her leave to head back home.

As I was heading back, there was this big smile on my face and I wondered:”Some things do not and should never change.” ūüôā

Source for Image: http://webfronter.com/greenwich/DiscoverySchool/menu0/School_Information/Discovery_Parents_Group/Discovery_Parents_Group.html, http://wallpaperswide.com/numero_uno-wallpapers.html