Monday, 23 November 2009

Feline Fits

An estimated 2.41 lakh candidates are said to have registered for CAT this year, and yours truly had hoped to be the only one in that vast expanse of humanity with a naught in the 'effort put in' column. You know, beginner’s luck and all that tosh. Sadly, The Incredible Bulk’s stout defiance has meant that we will be sharing the honours. While four years in R-Land have made the otherwise daunting task of turning up for an examination blank appear fairly routine, to repeat the feat in the second biggest event in the life of an Indian kid is, even by the high standards I’ve set for myself, quite daring. It isn’t without regret that I narrate my tale, though. The stubborn refusal to hit the books that took flight on the lofty perches of ‘I won’t join the IIMs even if I make the cut’ has now fallen into the more familiar depths of ‘if only I’d started studying earlier.’ Not for the first time, the Department of Electrical Engineering has done all it possibly coiuld to make a nuisance of itself, by lining up tests right till the end of the month.

There is a Tamil proverb that compares marriage to a poisoned confection of some sort dangling just beyond the reach of a thousand hungry apes. The ones that manage to get their hands on the sweetmeat die of poisoning, while the ones that don’t die of starvation. Oh wait, I think it was a Kannada proverb. Either way, for some reason, the analogy always reminded me of the frenzy that surrounds entrance examinations in our billion-strong nation.

I was catching up with Smelly Cat the other day. There was a time when we were as close as two straight males could possibly be, oft drawing comparisons to two peas in the metaphorical pod. In recent years, though, the distance between R-Land and Pilani has erected a wall too high for GTalk or Facebook to scale. My chaapos are his treats, and my fokiaap his studgiri. Five minutes into the conversation, I knew that things could never be the same between us ever again. What started off as a friendly chit-chat on life, the universe and everything gradually turned into a drab monologue on Artificial Intelligence- my rare contributions coming in the form of grunts and monosyllables. I was willing to forgive the guy this one indulgence though. His internship, after all, was at MIT where he has a Ph.D lined up under the same professor. Yes, the MIT, where the M stands for Massachusetts and not Madras.

Ironically enough, our last conversation was in June 2006- a good portion of which was spent consoling him for not making the cut in the JEE. Those were the days, indeed. Throughout high school, I saw JEE as a magical doorway of some sort-all you had to do was clear three tests and the rest of your life would open up in ways you could scarcely imagine. Four years hence, here I am- without a job and with as much a chance of making it to the IIMs as Ibu Hatela.

I can only hope that the IIMs are just as overrated.

P.S: Any comments containing the words ‘sour grapes’ shall be promptly deleted.

P.P.S: It was only after I typed out the entire post that I came across this. Stole the words from my mouth, in more ways than one. That said, I still can’t picture Madhavan and that Sukhi guy as college students. I can always make an exception for Aamir Khan, though.