Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Leashing the "Thiruttu Naaye" | Post 1 - Concept, Characters, Script Structure and Flow

Hello everyone. It’s been a very long time since I wrote anything on this blog. So I thought, I’ll write a series on my latest short film “Thiruttu Naaye”. This series of blog posts is targeted primarily at aspiring short filmmakers who wouldn’t have much budget and access to the best of resources but are filled with a lot of passion to make it big. Casual readers won’t have much to take from it except a load of mindless trivia behind the making of my biggest project yet. 

I was playing with the core idea of the film for quite a while during the days of last November and finally completed writing down the first draft by December. I remember narrating it to my friends during my trip to Hyderabad over the New Year eve. 

The core concept:

I wanted to make a rom-com with the clich├ęs of an unequal relationship. Initially, I had a plan to shoot an live-action film and “cartoonize” it (Inspired from “Waking Life” by Richard Linklater). I even had a title in mind – “Kaadhalithen Kaadhali Then” (I loved, and my lover is honey… Oops! That sounds a lot sweeter in my language. Of course with the wordplay). Well, This title is inspired from a telefilm I watched during my childhood days in Doordarshan. 

I was jotting down ideas for scenes and characters of this movie regularly. One fine day, I dreamt about a heroine who goes to her hero and complains about her missing horse (in a historical setting). I somehow got a spark of a girlfriend asking for a dog as a gift on her birthday. I immediately decided on the title – “Thiruttu Naaye” (Stolen dog). Again a wordplay! It could either imply the dog or the protagonist who steals the dog. (Sshhh! Thamizh is awesome in many ways) 


I started sketching out the characters in the story. 

1. Main Character – who’s insanely in love(?), who’d do anything for his girlfriend, who’s not very expressive of his views with her, who’s comical and boastful of himself, Fun-loving and emotional. 

2. His Sister – No nonsense girl, Sensible and practical 

3. His friend – Dreamer, a kind of person who’d keep boosting you in to doing things. 

4. His muse – Angel next door 

5. His girlfriend – controlling, demanding, stubborn and dog loving 

Script structure: 

Once I had all the characters in mind, I started writing down the points that needed to be put out. For example, 

1. Main character’s fear for dogs. 

2. His sister is a no-nonsense girl 

3. His girlfriend is controlling 

4. Main character is boastful 

After having a few points I started mapping them to scenes I already had in mind so that they won’t take up individual scenes for establishment. So I had an introduction scene for the angel and I also wanted to show the main character’s fear for dogs. So I clubbed them into a scene where a dog runs into the main character and he’s scared. The angel comes and picks up the dog. Our hero stands speechless! 

The flow: 

Once I started writing down the script, I came across the idea of having a scene each for the main character’s interaction with all other character one by one and still maintain a flow. I also had the next scene to start with dialogues as if answering a dialogue from the previous scene. But after watching the complete film now, I don’t feel that it has come up that well! 

I used to write down the script so that I can carry it with me online and continue writing wherever I go. 


I wanted to do the main role when I was toying with the idea of an animated short film. Once it became “Thiruttu Naaye”, I did away with the idea of playing the hero and started looking out for handsome guys who are hero material and would suit the romantic mould. I came across Rakshith in facebook and got in touch with him. He liked the script and was willing to support the production. 

I had Priyanka, Padmapriya and Ramya for the three female characters in the film. They all agreed to play the roles that I had in mind. And Ganesh Kumar, my associate in every film I make, the friend character was written with him in mind and he nailed it. 

Finally, the dog and all the production difficulties that came with it. That’s for the next post! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Women's Day Special | Fairness treatment and Fairness in treatment :p

I am not a believer of “days”. I hate each of these so called special days from “Fathers day” to “Mothers day”, from “Valentines day” to “Friends day”. Few of these even eat up a whole week. I’ve never consciously wished anyone on these day. Of course there were many awkward situations where people wish you happy friends day out of the blue and my voice instinctively replies. Let alone those involuntary ones, I never cared about these. But being a shameless marketer myself, I thought I could write something on women on their official day and at least garner a few extra views. But this is not going to be any insincere than a losing captain wishing the winner. This one truly is from the heart as my every other post is.

I’ll start with something I read recently. It goes like this, “Adam was not made for Eve, Eve was made for Adam”. When I read this first time, I could only infer one meaning out of it. But then I realized that there can be two interpretations. Based on the one that you make, you’ll fall under one of the two categories of people we see in this world. One kind which believe that women are made for men – meaning women are made to be subordinates of men, wives of men, maids of men and there are words I don’t want to use… those of men. This kind is the one that is found in majority, domestic violence still thrives in the society because of these people. And the worst part is, Men are not the only ones in this kind, there a quite a lot of women who believe that women are meant to be submissive.

How did the collective mindset of the society get afflicted with this patriarchal disease? Only possible explanation I can come up with is the misunderstanding of physical strength to be power. Early men went hunting and used brute force to control animals and people. This illusion of being able to control a women using physical power could have led him to believe that he is superior in some kind. (I am not forgetting those brave women warriors here, I am just keeping myself within the majority). But how come, the educated society of today which have come to more or less believe that physical strength is not power anymore, there are more to superiority than just being macho such as knowledge and skills still believe in the same old dogma.

Well, men still secrete testosterone. Moreover, the society of the present day has started believing in what they are made to believe by the mainstream media. Everything from fairness cream ad to the treatment of women as glam dolls in movies strikes at the root of feminism. And there are a very few who even take it in this perspective. I will make something very clear before I jump into this. I am not against Make-up. Actually I am one of those boys who would give a girl a run for her cosmetics in number of layers I have over my skin.

Back to the point -  What shocks me most is the fact that people don’t find fairness creams offensive. Society has been so infected to interpret fairness as beauty. Why can’t I be dusky and still be confident about it? Deepika talks in length about sex being a women’s right but never says my colour - my right. Isn’t my skin colour my right? With all due respect, you have the right to alter it and make it white. But why do you see white as some high standard that you look up for? Again, Marketing is the culprit. These people just want to sell products and they masterfully crafted this epidemic of attraction towards the fairer skin. And the result, the male dominated society started stalking white skinned girls and fairness enhanced girls and the fairness in five weeks girls. I didn’t only mean literally. Even parents looking for prospective brides for their son want the girl to stand beside a white washed wall and camouflage herself. Women independence starts when a girl stops giving into the society wanting her to be a marble model. Be yourself, you’ll be one of a kind. Be not a copy of that supermodel you saw on the last edition of femina. By restricting women to the belief that she’s just a thing of beauty, people still dominate the world.

Aishwarya Rai is beautiful so is Mother Teresa. Beauty is more than just looks. Don’t you think acid attacks are there just because we consider beauty as the only thing the girl has? The whole glamour and cosmetics industry strives to keep the society believing that girls are nothing more than eye candies. When the world wakes up to the true side, it will be a lot better. We’ll get to see so much of true beauty around. I don’t want to talk about the insane attraction towards anorexia. It will then end up being a book!

The whole movie and tv industry seem to have been monopolized by sex-starved maniacs. From evocative item songs to being outright offensive to women in so called punch dialogues, I do not understand what they want to express to the society. In years to come, if kids of the next generation watch the films of our time they would be disgusted at the treatment of women. Degrading women in every possible manner throughout a film and then shamelessly calling it entertainment should not be taken as lightly as we take it now. We should take a stand against this injustice towards women. Movies are part of the history. We should not be mentioned in history as people who lived at a time when entertainment was watching tastelessly dressed women on screen.

The true idiosyncrasy is the fact that these devils will wear a prada and masquerade as feminists on the screens on these special days. With their core concept against women, the fairness creams will support the education of 5000 women from the money they get from every sachet you buy and with the spine of the film against women the director flanked by the lead actors will stand on stage speaking in lengths about women independence. They will talk about all stuffs like choosing your course, going to work, getting married, having a child etc but they’ll all miss out on this mindset that we are nurturing in the society.

The feminine mindset – The seemingly insignificant forces that are capable of keeping you imprisoned for a lifetime. The sense of being empty without fair skin. The yearning to look beautiful. All these are imposed upon you to keep you from even thinking about your higher purpose.

I churned out so much on the first kind. Let me at least introduce you the other noble kind of people who makes the best interpretation of the statement. “Women are made for Men” – meaning men could not be able to exist without women.  

To be continued...

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Raghav Writes | A Life of lies

The following poem by Raghav may be light on language but is heavy in the heart. Feel the pain of majority of men in their middle years.

My son will be an engineer said my dad
As he took me in his hand for the first time
Having not even decided on my name
But robbing me of my choice of career.

My son is not like yours he won’t talk to girls
Boosted my mom to the next door aunty
I grew up keeping her words so true
And confused at the same time whether
She wants me to be gay.

I do not have a say in the courses I take
I just went with the flow and when I grabbed
Myself a cubicle in a MNC, every other uncle friend
Of my dad started speaking as if I have found a treasure.

Yes it is an opportunity not everyone gets
But so is every other job
What makes being a PA to someone from USA
Sound status worthy?  I never got it.

Muted by parents at every moment I try to speak
I lost my voice early in life.
I have no idea how it will even sound at a higher pitch.
I naturally fumbled at appraisals,
MNCs are places where silent workers are welcome
They’ll be shut down to the corner and paid decently,
And they’ll be doing their part ahead of time
And work for every other person in the team.
Please don’t ask about their appraisals. Most Important,
Mind you – the paid decently part was purely sarcastic.

I don’t dance or drink, sing or smoke
I don’t talk like every other potential RJ in the team
Pizzas tastes like shit to me, I puke at the smell of sandwiches
Coffees don’t keep me up; Nor does Cornetto excite me
I don’t find sweet corn tasty
My only sexual experience is an occasional consumption of secret porn.
Still I manage a few years in a metro city
Just to be looked up by friends at home as if I escaped out of some fantasy land.

I earn for my parents to pay our home rent
I earn for my sister to get married
Damn those imbecile bastards seeking hefty dowries
Even after being one other slave few steps ahead of me.
I never think about my dress; gets teased at by every other girl
I give a sly smile showing my uneven teeth
Evoking still embarrassing teases.
Of course, money can make me smarter but
It can wait for now. Family comes first.
I never regret a bit of it yet I cry every night
Thinking of all that I could have been.

A movie star, the prime minister, Bill Gates
Those were the dreams I had and said no one
Nor did I know how to reach them
When I badly want to go back to my childhood days,
Parents bring up the topic of my marriage.
Heck No! I want to shout at the top of my lungs
I have no experience in it and I stay silent.
As usual, that silence is taken as a sign of yes.

From fairy tales while feeding me to giving me an illusion
Of security and settling me in to a married life
My whole life is being built on a fabric of lies.
Each thread of different colours but each one no less a lie than the other
You granted me a life. True! Thank you
But you can’t take it for granted. Please give it to me.

By Raghav

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Cognizance Check | Interview with Cognizant Technologies.

     The hat trick ball is always the tough one. I had applied for taking part in the series of off-campus placement programme by Anna University even before the Exterro interview. I couldn’t take part in the Accenture interview which was the first in the series because it coincided with the Exterro one. So I participated in the second drive which was by Cognizant. It was held days before the Pongal festival. I remember calling my dad the day before the interview and telling him about my friends coming to my home. It was the first time and I felt a little uncomfortable about the bringing up the topic. Surprisingly, he agreed and was more enthusiastic than I really was. Then he asked about the interview next day. I confessed my fear of continuing to crack all interviews coming my way even though I had just done that two times. It was overwhelming to go on with an invincible track record. Because as Dr. Abdul Kalam puts it, many really are waiting to tell it’s all just luck if we fail after tasting a few consecutive success.  He just told me it’s ok if I didn’t get selected. That was a huge moral boost.
     Cognizant drive was a little overrated in our college. At least I believed so because they gave us practice to face group discussions. And the process of the drive in itself was also a little different in the way that GD preceded aptitude test. So maybe they were right in training us in GD. One person to be mentioned in particular was the new dean of our department Dr. Prabhu Ram Rajan. He was more enthusiastic than anyone else in making us all excel in the drive. Believe it or not, enthusiasm is contagious.
     Coming to the first day, we were all seated in a make-shift auditorium. There was some formal inauguration for the event and registration of the candidates. All this took more than half a day because there were around 2500 candidates. I met one of my old friends from IMU who also switched to engineering along with me during the registrations. He luckily didn’t get through the interview and I say luckily because he’s now working in Singapore and as of today CTS hasn’t called the selected candidates yet. Everything happens for a reason.
     The group discussion started around 2.30pm if I remember rightly. The HR was a lady who was friendly and she stated that she was bored of technical topics and thus gave us an even boring and such an oldie topic of love vs arranged marriage. She gave us some time to gather our thoughts and called out names and they would then stand up and voice their opinion. I presumed that many would support love marriages and it would be cool and unique if I supported arranged marriages. To my surprise, arranged marriage was most supported. Nor that I was disappointed but I didn’t expect it.
     Another funny moment that happened during the GD was the presence three Vigneshs on the same hall and we were not aware of that. When she first called out Vignesh she read with an initial so it was not a problem. The next time she called out Vignesh, I just stood up and spoke and sat down and there was no one raising a problem. After a while, she called out Vignesh Priyadarshan and I was surprised. I just told her that my turn was complete. Probably she didn’t remember me talking or I didn’t know for what she asked me to do it again. So I just stated in one sentence the summary of what I said earlier and she replied, “Perfect” probably remembering my earlier comment. 3 of us were eliminated at the end of the round and the rest of us were asked to take the aptitude test.
      The aptitude test was as usual quants, verbal etc and the result was announced only that night. I found my name on the list and did my usual preparation for the interview. Additionally, I also contacted one of my friends working in Cognizant and gathered first-hand information. Equipped with all that I went to attend the interview on a day when I should have been home for Pongal if not for the interview. The second day was horrible. I had to wait till 3.30pm for the interview and everything was over by 4.30pm. I helped some candidates by telling them some programming concepts they asked once they come to know that I was from IT background. Rest of the time, I was just doodling on extra copies of my resume. How could I pass a whole day waiting?
     I was finally called in for the technical interview. The questions asked to me were anything but technical. First as usual was the self-introduction and I just grabbed his attention by stating that I did my schooling in 7 different schools and went to show-off my varied course choices and my travel experience. He was pretty impressed. He then asked about the papers I had presented and the project that I was planning to do. He raised a few queries about my paper. I gave convincing answers. That was all. It became the easiest technical I had attended by then.
      Finally, there was an interview with an HR. It was kid stuff. He asked me about myself, my hobbies and location preference. He asked me to sign on a declaration that stated that location is not at all a problem for me. I signed because it never is going to be. The funny thing was he didn’t know what doodling meant when I said that was one of my hobbies.

      After the interview, I started left for my home and reached home the next morning. It was a Sunday and I was on my Pongal leave. I saw the results around noon and was really happy that I was selected. I really felt having accomplished something because 3 in a row is never an easy stuff. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Excitation phase | Interview with Exterro Inc.

It all started the day following the last exam of the last semester. The whole class was asked to take part in an intensive training in order to be equipped well enough to attend the exterro interview.
The first day was 22-12-14. It was a Monday and we were asked to bring all our things to stay in the hostel till the end of the training. I had my baggage ready and went to college at the usual time. Our class was assigned a classroom at the top floor. I took the last seat and it was fun to be at the last.
Then Parthiban took over. He segregated the students based on whether they want java or c++. I selected Java and we began our training in the communication lab.
The training went on for 4 days and it was followed by the interview on Friday. We all were asked to come in blazers. The first round was an aptitude test. The java questions were really a little tough to answer but the aptitude was fun except the time constraint.
I was shortlisted for the next round – the GD. There were a total of 27 students selected for the group discussion.
The GD took place in three sessions with 9 students for each session. I was in the second nine. And finally my chance came; the topic given to us was web browsers. I started the discussion and made some good points. I was sure I would be shortlisted for the next round and I was.
The next was the technical and I was second in order to the interview. Kumar was the first and they interviewed him for about 10 minutes. Then I went in.
I was asked a brief introduction about myself. The first few questions were about my interests in design and development. They probed me to find out my real interest whether it was design or development. I told them about the flash applications.
 Then they went on to ask about SSL which I managed to give a short answer. They told me that they were tempted to ask that question because of my interest in web technology. I said that by web technology I just meant html and stuffs.
Then they asked about get and post methods to which I gave a fairly good answer. The next question was on interfaces. I gave my best explanation. And finally they came to this question which they stated was a tricky one. If given an offer immediately would I choose Exterro or Aspire Systems?
I said I would choose Exterro stating my interest in a product based company. That was the end of my technical interview.
After the technical interview, 7 candidates were shortlisted to do a task from the company in 3 days. I was one among them. The task was to develop a Java web application which involved servlets, java script, css and sql.
We were given 3 days to complete the task and I was very sure of completing the task in 2 days and dedicating the entire third day for decorating my work. But it was easier said. Learning the basics of servlets and JSP took the whole duration and only when we were close to the deadline, we literally started our project.
We should have submitted the task by 6.00 pm and I was coding at full speed at the last hour. I had all the functionalities of one module ready but not the other one. Fortunately we were all given an extension till the end of that day. That meant an additional 6 hours of oxygen.
I completed my task by about 08.00 pm. Well, that was about 2 hours late but my work was complete at least. We all sent the task by mail at about 11.30 pm.
Only after two days on the New Year day, I came to know that I was shortlisted for the next round along with 3 others. Thus I learnt that the three rounds of shortlisting and the daunting task was not all.  
On 02.01.15, the day after the New Year we four were asked to come to the Tidel Park, at Exterro R&D Coimbatore for the second set of rounds of the Interview Process.
The start was great. It was an early day and I woke up at 04.00 am and got ready by 04.30 when Nantha Kumar came to my room. He, his brother and me were riding his bike to the Trichengode bus stand. Then took place the most interesting part of the journey.
The fuel got empty when we were not even a mile away from where we started. A man who passed us advised us to buy a liter of fuel from a local vendor and travel till the next fuel station. But Nantha didn’t heed him and wanted to try his luck more. He just put the vehicle down on the road and waited for the last drops of fuel to enter the engine.
After about 5 minutes, he started the bike again and we were able to reach our college 3 km away from my room and we had to go another mile to reach the fuel station. We just pushed the bike and were walking on the road at about 04.45 am early in the morning when the whole place was peacefully sleeping. The worst part was I started sweating due to the high physical activity. Thankfully, the atmosphere was chill and I was not sweating too much. Looks does matter after all!
The drama was finally over, when his brother got the bike started and he went ahead of us to reach the fuel station. He filled it and took us to the Tiruchengode Bus Stand. We were there at about 5.00am. We took a bus to Erode and then from there to Coimbatore.
Finally we reached Tidel Park at about 08.00 am. We were not let inside by the watchmen as we were not holding any ID cards. We called Exterro and they asked the watchmen to let us inside for the Interview and we all were asked to wait in the food court till 09.00am.
We were inside the company at about 09.30 am and the interview process started. One of us was called for the technical interview and I took the chance because I hated to wait long. I went in. The interviewer was the same one I had met in the technical round at college earlier. He asked me about the task and what I learnt out of it.
I gave a convincing answer and mentioned that I learnt JSP, servlet etc to which he said the use of JSP is not advisable because of the number of times of compilation required for displaying JSP pages. Then he gave me his laptop and asked me to code a java servlet to print the current date and time. He had already opened the eclipse JDK for me and I could see my task in the tabs. I just came up with some wild guesses on the name of the function. Even though I couldn’t decide on the right one over the choices provided by the drop down, he helped me with the one he expected.
He then asked me to code a program that gets the users name on one page and prints it with a “hi” on the next one. That was kid stuff. He then asked me a few questions regarding some concepts in java servlets. I was much new to java servlets and he knew that so he was pretty ok with the rather unclear answers that I gave. And finally he asked the advantages of using java servlets instead of JSP for which I don’t remember giving a sharp answer either. Nevertheless, he told me the right answer. I promptly said that I didn’t know it. And the interview was over just like that.
The next round was with the HR, Mr. Karthik Subramaniam. His interview was more personal. He just got me to tell about my family background and about my story of having ended up in a college in salem after completing schooling in Chennai. I also told him about the CEED exam that I had taken and I wouldn’t be able to join the company if I ever got a chance to do higher studies in IIT. He agreed and asked me to wait for the next round.
After lunch at the IT park’s food court, I was called in for the next round of interview with another HR. He also had some usual set of ice breaking questions like brief introductions and stuffs like that but he was quite cordial. He then asked me to rate myself on a scale of 1-10 on my java knowledge. I said 8. And then he came up with a really good question. He asked,”So you know the object oriented concepts?”. I nodded. He continued,”Just tell me which one of those concepts is used in the system.out.println statement.” That looks simple on the surface but I could not cut through it. I just tried my luck,”Inheritance??”. He didn’t say yes or no but just asked me how. That how made me think like maybe I was right. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I just gave a weird justification for my answer. He just smiled and said, “It’s polymorphism”. Looking at my puzzled face he went on, “because the println function works for int or a string or a character etc”. That’s when I deduced that he has got some really strong programming basics and I shouldn’t take HRs lightly. He then asked, “still you rate yourself at 8?”. But I didn’t give in. I retorted,”Sir, Maybe I didn’t know the OOPs concept behind the println statement but that is not going to stop me from using those functions efficiently in my programs.”. He smiled in approval.
He went on to ask about my short term and long term goals for which I gave fairly good answers. And he also asked how many years I would commit to Exterro if I am selected. I don’t know why I was that miserly, I just said 1. That too with a hesitation. But that didn’t make any difference.
The final round was with the Executive Director of India operations. She was portrayed to be someone so strict and I was a little nervous. But frankly, she didn’t seem so and was very cordial when she interviewed me. She just asked me when would I get my IIT results and I replied that by January 15. She told me that she wanted to give me an internship immediately but as I was also having other plans, she asked me to convey my result once I get it.
PS: Things took wild turns after that and eventually I didn’t get to work there even though my result was not as I expected it to be. Now, even my decision of not taking the offer immediately seems to be the best possible because I got to experience so many things just because I was free.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Aspiration Begins | Interview with Aspire Systems.

This is the first of the series of posts on the interviews I have attended. Hope you enjoy reading it
      I must first confess that I was not really very interested in attending the interview. It wouldn’t be all false if I said I just attended the interview so that I could skip classes. It was about a week or two past Diwali and I wore my Diwali dress, an ultra-formal solid blue shirt and my favourite pants to the off-campus held at Senguthar College, Erode. So uninterested was I that, I even took the photocopies of the required documents only on the day of the interview. The first round was an aptitude test. It was done in shifts because there were around 3000 candidates taking the exam. So the guys who came first ended up finishing the test earlier. I reached the venue a little later, due to which I had to take the test in the second shift only. That was not the big deal, I was particularly disappointed because only after reaching the venue, I came to know that the process is of two days and the face to face interview would take place only on the second day. If I had known that beforehand, I wouldn’t have worn my blue shirt on the first day. Anyway, who cares? I actually wore the same dress both days. It’s not that that shirt was my lucky charm or something, but I have always worn the same outfit for all my interviews and I have ended up getting selected in every one of them.
      I was really confident of cracking the aptitude test and obviously I cracked it and was called for the successive rounds on the next day along with Balaji and few others from our college. This time, we were taken to the college in the institution bus and the journey was so dizzying partly because I hadn’t had breakfast and also because Balaji made me read something from my mobile while traveling. Reading while traveling in buses always makes me dizzy. So when I reached the venue, I was not all well but as little a snack as a single egg puffs made it all vanish and I was refreshed. So breakfast had been the main culprit.
      The preparation I did for the day was a single glance over all the java concepts of which I had already made a ready reckoner that can be used instantly. This particular notebook of mine had been very helpful in cracking the technical rounds. I am not so good at technical but very good at selling what I am good at! I’ll come to it while discussing my interview. And there is another strange thing that I always did the day before interviews and paper presentations – watching one of my all-time favourite movies, The Social Network. I recommend it strongly to listen to music or watch movies, not any particular movie but anything that pumps up your adrenaline before the big day. It’s always good to go with a lot of spirit. It never fails to help you. But if you ask me how was I able to crack technical interviews just with a single glance before attending them, my answer would be this very simple thing - The last minute binging and last day efforts never work, it is the consistent learning discipline of months that is refreshed in minutes. But don’t be discouraged, by putting in extra efforts things can be achieved in a pretty short time too.
      Coming back to the crux – we were called inside an auditorium sort of a room where we were given programs to solve. There was an instructor, who gave questions individually to each candidate. They just gave whatever that came to their minds. So, it involved a little bit of luck too. My first question was to code a pattern involving *’s and A’s. It was not quite difficult, but I took a little time as I found that there was no time constraint and finally solved it. The second question was actually my trump card. He might have thought it to be a rather difficult question but I found it absolutely easy thanks to Balaji for having come up with the discussion on the same question earlier. It was the permutations of a three letter word, say ‘cat’. I solved it in no time and he was impressed. And finally, he asked me to code a program to eliminate extra spaces. Unlike the earlier answers, I did this in java. He then asked me which department was I from and promoted me to the next level of the technical interview.
      The level two of the technical interview began in a cordial way where a little over middle-aged person who I assume to be a senior developer asked me to take a seat and sat beside me. First, he asked me about classes and objects to which I gave fairly good answers. Then he asked me to draw a class diagram for an employee payroll. That was kid stuff actually and I did it with no glitch. And the final and only coding question in this round was to code a program to remove trailing and leading spaces. I came up with an elegant solution involving while loop and before I even completed the code, he asked me to go to the next level. While I was ready to get up, he suddenly said, “Ok, just tell me what virtual classes are”. This was quite surprising to me not only because he asked me that after short-listing me for the next level, but also because this was the only concept we discussed while traveling and this was the one that I read in my mobile while traveling which eventually made me dizzy. But Balaji has this amazing instinct of rightly predicting probable questions that benefited me particularly that time. So no wonder, I answered him and retained my position in the next level. (But I don’t remember so well whether I was right and sharp but thankfully, he was also not very attentive to my answer to that question. Maybe he had already made up his mind.)
      In the next level, I was asked to give two write-ups. First one, on the generic topic of career aspirations and as the second one, I was asked to write a one-page essay on my favourite film because I had mentioned watching films as one of my hobbies. The first one I wrote something usual but for the second one I had to take some time deciding which movie to write about. It’s the side effect of watching too many movies. But Social network came to my rescue and I wrote about it and what it means to me.
      They asked me to break for lunch and come back at 2’O clock for the HR interview. I was naturally elated. Only when I went outside I came to know that Balaji had also been selected for the HR interview. The joy was doubled now. Then we were four of us, Balaji, another friend Suresh Krishnan who unluckily or rather luckily because he got better chances later, couldn’t get past the first technical round because of being on the wrong side of luck (he was asked to implement a doubly linked list), a staff from our college Mr. Sathiya Kumar and me. We all had lunch together in the canteen. The funniest part was Sathiya Kumar sir suddenly started talking to me with a new respect and sorry to disappoint you, it was not for getting into the final round of the interview but was because he had gone through my profile and found me a little older than he expected.
       Back to the place of interview with a lot of spirit. Balaji introduced me to another guy who he said was from our place and I thought he was from tiruchengode maybe. Surprisingly the guy Manu Mathew, was from Nagercoil. It really was cool to meet someone who was studying in my hometown on a special day – it was not a special day just because I had an interview, November 1 is a local holiday in our place because it was the day on which we were integrated with Tamilnadu from Kerala. I think, it’s called the Founder’s day or something in our place.
      Cutting short the blabber, finally there were 4 of us facing the interview, Balaji, Manu Mathew, Pavithra, a girl from IRTT and I. We were all seated in a makeshift kind of an interview room which might have been the placement officer’s cabin. Balaji was called in first. And it took about 20 minutes for him to come out. The rest of us were silently looking at each other not knowing what to expect in the interview. Manu asked me to tell about some new technologies. I told him about quantum computing which I came across in digit magazine. Pavithra talked about how she went till the final round of some company, Tech Mahindra if I remember correctly. After some small talks it was complete silence in the waiting room and my body started feeling the chill in the air. No, it’s not the fear but the AC. Beyond a certain point the AC became too much for me. I was trying all techniques within the confines of a decent social behavior to keep myself warm like rubbing my palms, shrinking myself etc… Still it was so cool and it was taking a toll on me as we were called in the alphabetical order. That was the only con of having a name that starts with a letter near the very end of the alphabets.
      Thank god, before I started shivering Pavithra came out of the interview. I was the only one left and the interviewer took a little time in calling me in. The excitation took over the shiver. He finally called me in. He introduced himself stating his name and position in the company. I have this bad habit of not catching the name of people when they first tell them to me. Naturally I didn’t catch his name but then I came to know him to be Mr. Dinesh, HR – Aspire Systems. He was friendly and asked me for a self-introduction. I usually don’t have a generic self-introduction, so I just started telling about myself from my school days. I said about how I used to shift from one school to another in a matter of few years and how ended up studying in 7 schools. That averages to a school per 2 years. Then I told him about my short stint in marine studies and gave him a little background on why chose computer science etc. He didn’t ask me anything particularly difficult to answer. The interview actually changed course after that.
      He then asked me what I had learnt from my days at marine institute. I told him about the exercise regime we follow there and the discipline that was imparted to us. I told him about the sheer strength of character imparted by being entrusted with the responsibility of a multi-million dollar worth of cargo and ship at a very young age. The next question was to state an interesting concept that I learnt there. I told him about the “day’s work” concept. It actually is about maintaining track of the ship’s passage over a day. Everything such as the latitude and longitude of the ship’s positions are marked over 24 hours and it is used to check whether we are on the correct course. So the interview was really more related to marine than to computer science.
       And the interview was over finally. Waiting for the results of an interview made me far more anxious than the interview itself. It took 2-3 hours for us to know the results. Finally, all four of us were selected plus another girl from the host college. They congratulated all of us. Balaji and I being from the same college made us really special and it was more special because Balaji was actually asked to write about the best moment in life for the second essay and he had given an account of our winning the first prize in a paper presentation competition in our very first attempt and that too on his birthday. So the HR had an idea of our friendship. He commented that this would be another such day. It truly was!
     P.S: Unfortunately, I couldn’t accept their offer because of the three year bond associated with it. I contemplated a lot on taking the offer despite the bond but I just couldn’t do it. I felt like 3 years was too much for me to be spent on a same place. I may be out of marine life but the traveller in me never died.
 I wish to have all the others who attended the interview with me – Balaji, Manu and Pavithra to share their own account of the interview soon. Let’s hope they do me the favour.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

To a new city

I didn't want to skip a day of blogging just because I'm travelling. If I did then there is no use of having a smartphone after all.
So what will I blog about today - about the very train in which travelling. While I was travelling in the about 2 months back to attend my final semester exams I had thought that could be my last journey on that train. But it turned out that I have travelled by the same train twice after that. And both these times I travelled a longer distance than I used to while in college. So it's just very ironical that I'm travelling by the same train today.

More tomorrow from a new city...