Life has exploded into activity… a kaleidoscope of colours swirling past me, time punctuated not by the tick of the second hand, but by a series of short breaths. Emotions are charged and the sky is alternately shining and peeking behind dark clouds…
Two months is what it’s been. Sometimes, it feels like a lifetime of change and thought. Do I feel the same way I did when I joined CET? No. Am I the same person I was? Maybe. Have I grown up? Hopefully.
Right now, I’m listening to Paul Wilbur, singing in Hebrew. The music is dark and mournful and brings to mind the pictures of Israel. Arid deserts, olive trees, small rocky hills, the shimmering azure of the Mediterranean in Haifa, the vista of the walled city of Old Jerusalem spread out like a picture postcard from the Mount of Ascension, the heart stirring at the sight of thousands of devotees from three faiths around the Wailing Wall, the shimmering Dome of the Rock and …incongruously, soldiers marching with machine guns in their hands. They’re barely older than I and are nodding happily at us Indians. Death and destruction seem so far away, in the Holy City of Jerusalem… Bethlehem is so near.. yet so far. Adonai, Elohim.
Coming to the point of the post, I finally thought I’d put our placement season onto print.
Placements have been stupendous this year. We’ve soundly trounced last year’s record, and still going strong! 607 is here… 800, here we come!
CTS came… took 197… Infy came… took 84… Wipro, IBM, Conexant, Socrates, ABB, L&T, Ashok Leyland, Deloitte, Mahindra, OnMobile…. each very impressed with what CET had to offer and promised to come next year. The college seems to be set for life.
There’s a smile on all faces concerned with the CGPU. Many thanks to Samson sir (whose face seems to be splitting with that wide smile he has on nowadays!), Vinod sir, and our very own KK (Chorimaster and all-around-Man-Friday) who has left for greener pastures.
Colours of green.
All my love and hugs to the reps, a bunch of very good friends I made in the last year of college. We’ve been having a ball, filching the extra cups of tea/coffee, munching on biscuits and cashewnuts, dropping in unannounced in sir’s office, hoping to gather just that extra bit of information about placements.
Yours truly seems to be the Queen Bugger!
“Sir, what is the next company?”
“You go away. Don’t you have classes? You lot always seem to be hanging out in the CGPU”
By the time sir is done with his admonitions, I’ll have sidled to behind his chair, to peek into his inbox for that extra bit of information. Sir’ll hastily close his active windows and swirl to look at my innocent face.
“There’s nothing I can keep from you lot.”
By now, everyone in the room has a smile on their face.
“Oh c’mon sir. We all want to know what’s the next company.” That’s our cajoling mode.
“You give me a list of 10 companies… I’ll tell you if it’s there..”
We got one up on him. I can’t say exactly how that happened! But sir’s the biggest sport… he takes it all in stride.
In fact, we sometimes suspect he dangles the bait of a company so that we go and wait patiently for him to come so that we can bug the name of the company out of him…
Colours of sunny yellow and bright orange.
The clapping and the look of joy on the face of the people who get selected. Some cry, some get kicked and slapped. Some are speechless… In a way, we feel part of what they are, feel as delirious as they are, sometimes happier than we did on our own jobs. A feeling of warmth spreads all over, a delicious shiver when milestones are reached. Relief is palpable when friends do well and get through a company. Eyes light up when company after company says they’re coming….
The colours of joy! The lights are glimmering in the college late into night, the stillness of the dark is punctuated by clapping and hoots of unadulterated ecstasy.
Sometimes, the clouds gather, the colours turn sombre and bleak.
Dark forbidding grey, black.
Hearts break when people who badly hope for this next job don’t get through. Are our words any solace at all?
“There’s a next time..Please don’t worry. You’ll do well.”
Words. Colours. Light. Life
Ecstasy. Heartbreak. Joy. Relief. Laughter. Friendship.
The placement season has taught me a lot. It has taught me the futility of first impressions. It has taught me the value of people and being there for your friends. It’s taught all of us that friends can be found in the most unlikeliest of places, you’ve only got to look. Finally, it’s taught me that sometimes you just have to turn a deaf ear to complaints. It’s human nature to complain!
The colour blue… Blue for IBM… Purple… for what I was… White for the room and a sensation of cold…
It was June 23rd, my second interview. I’d been placed in Infy two days ago, after a great “Inf”erview. After that one was done, I’d known in my heart of hearts that I was in.
I was on a high and had attempted IBM E&TS’s hardware test for a joke. (The alumnus who was the boss there was quite an inspiration and had been pushing hard for IBM hardware to come to CET.)
The questions had been easy. But, I looked around the huge drawing hall and thought “All these people. They’re really good at electronics. This is just fun for me..”
Surprisingly, I got through. I took out my file and ran my eye down my resume. It looked more like a resume of someone interested in a managerial job, filled with references of organisational roles and extra curriculars.
“It’s just for a lark, Shruti.” I reminded myself.
My mini-project partner’s interview was done.
“So, how did it go?,” I asked.
“They killed me. Asked me about my mini project circuits. I ‘thalled'”
“Damn. I don’t even remember what ICs we used. Just know the basic working and the circuit.”
Again, that small voice, “It’s supposed to be for a lark, Shruti.”
I went and sat outside our interview room on the plastic chairs and saw Aswin (of microrobot fame) and Divya come out. Both of them shrugged noncommitally.
Meanwhile, the panel split and I had the fortune to have the big boss.
“Sir, may I come in?’
“Yes, please take a seat.”
I sank down on the swivel chair and looked at Mr. Kurup (alumnus CET, and Applied Electonics grad) browse through my resume.
“Not my mini-project, please.” I’d buried it within a lot of nonsense about paper presentations and what-nots.
He looked up with a hint of a smile on his face.
“Your mini-project partner came in some time ago. Could you tell me about your project?”
I nodded and started explaining. In the middle, he interjected, “What kind of counter IC did you use?”
“Sir, we used a mod-100 CMOS BCD counter.” I confessed. “I can’t remember the number.”
“How did you interface it to the LDR?”
“We used a CC configuration amplifier.”
“What type of transistor was it?”
“BC 548” was at the tip of my tongue. I swallowed the urge to say something that couldn’t be substantiated, though it was true. “I don’t remember, sir.”
“PLEASE ask me something else… ANYTHING else!”
He went on to ask about some questions I had done in the test. I answered them, though I was dissatisfied with my own replies.
All through, my interviewer’s face hadn’t changed. It was frozen into the little half-smile. My own smile had faltered somewhat.
“It’s just for a lark, Shruti…” Somehow, I didn’t believe in it anymore. I knew that if I couldn’t get it, I would be disappointed and prayed hard that I would’ve the grace to accept whatever came.
After 10 minutes of the torture, he nodded at me and said, “Okay, thank you. You may go.”
I walked out, with mixed emotions. Part of me wanted to laugh out loud that my mini-project, which had caused me enough grief already was going to be the reason I lost out a job and the other half was a little bit relieved and slightly wounded by the assault to my technical knowledge.
The colour of a muddy brown. Like a puddle, holding promise and fear of the unknown, and equally murky and confused.
I walked out of the CGPU, with my head held as high as I could. Shrugged at everyone and said, “Hey, there’s another day. This interview sucked. This job’s not for me. IBM’s loss.”
They disbelieved me.
“Hey come on.. it’s you, nah? We know you too well.”
“Yeah, so? I had a terrible interview. I won’t make it.” I proceeded to narrate the incident.
“It was just for a lark.” I ended lamely.
Everyone spent some time laughing at me. Dredging up all issues from my marks and how I behaved before and after exams and my general craziness…
“HEY! you can’t use all that against me!”
“Oh yes, we can!”
“Shruti….” yelled Vidhya from the doorway, “Go and give some coffee to the panels.”
I walked into the CCF, where Gowri was having a blast of an interview, chatting about her wonderful experiences in college…
I felt like slamming the door on my way out…
“It’s just for a…Oh shut up! I am just kidding myself.”
In the middle of “this being a lark”, it had somehow become personal.
“Oh please, god, don’t let me be a sore loser…”
The colour of red…
I went back to the CGPU reps’ favourite haunt and spent sometime comparing notes with Josen and Subi about their own IBM interviews. They were both equally noncommittal, but I got the feeling it hadn’t been too bad for them.
All too soon, it was 7 pm and it was time for the announcement of results. All of us traipsed into the CGPU hall.
Vimmy came in, smiled at me and mouthed something. Arathi nudged me and whispered “I think you got through..”
“No WAY, girl….You didn’t see the disaster movie that’d been my interview.”
The HR got up and spoke a few words. She thanked Samson sir, Vinod sir and KK and the room gave an ovation to the CGPU committee. All of us grinned, basking in the appreciation. (hey.. we’re human!)
Samson sir said his customary thank you speech (We know all his speeches by heart. In fact, Juny can recite his introduction simultaneously as sir does!)
“Now, the cream of the IBM jobs…” *dramatic pause* “There are 5 people selected for the IBM E&TS job”
My heart was pounding loudly.
“Balasubramaniam.G, S7, ECE.” Applause..
“Gowri.S, S7, ECE.” “That’s expected…” I thought.
“Josen George, S7 ECE.” Louder claps, especially from the first two rows filled with the reps…
“Shruti Susan George….” My ears went temporarily deaf. I am told I did the “Sushmita Sen look of disbelief and hands to face” thing… Be it as it may, I almost ran to the podium and hugged all the IBMers….
“Vimitha Ann Kuruvilla, S7, AE”.. Hey.. Vimz made it too! This was way beyond cool. I looked all around. All our eyes were twinkling and every face was bright under the fluorescent lights.
My heart was singing… The colours were unrecognisable, twirling like deverishes in a dance their own.
PostScript: The other reps were waiting outside for Josen, Subi and I. The guys trounced Subi and Josen to within an inch of their lives. I was at the doorway, smiling, when Vimmy pulled me down the stairs, held both my hands in hers and simultaneously smacked me umpteen times on my back, while Sachin counted loudly. Later, Vinul, irrepressible as ever, smacked me on my hand and Juny had his err..revenge for what I did to him on CTS night with a well timed smack on my arm… The next day, it’d turned black and blue…
The smacks were duly repaid, with interest, when the smackers became the smackees….
This post is dedicated to all the wonderful friends I made through these two months:- Vimmy, Vidhya, Arathi, Vandana, Akhila, Anjana, Deepa, Gayatri, Tina (Pseud-mech rep ;)) Juny (my co-rep and resident CGPU chalu specialist),Josen, Subi, Aravind, Bush-Shinu, Vinul, Arnab, Jince (another pseud), Sachin & Thomas. I don’t always see them (heck, sometimes NEVER), but it’s fun all the same. Most of all, to Samson sir, who may never read this, but is every CET student’s best friend, whether he/she knows it or not. To our beloved KK. The CGPU won’t be the same without your wit and humour.
Here’s to the colours and the taste of victory