Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Monday, November 30, 2015
Sunday, November 29, 2015
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
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...
Friday, June 19, 2015
Our college had a decent gym facility to feed the fitness freaks inside us. College going boys usually would have an interest towards building their bodies. May be it was the raging hormones or the natural intention to attract girls or whatever be the reason, being fit always felt great. Until about one month since the gym was opened, so many guys were thronging it in a “welcome attraction”. Well the welcome attraction soon faded away and the gym master became the only one visiting the gym regularly.
Soon, My friends Suresh Krishan, Madhan (Maddy Mathan @ facebook) and I started giving company to the gym master at least with our regular visits to gym. We used to do some random exercises and we felt our muscles growing day by day. The one thing that we could not have at home was the all-round mirror arrangement in the gym. We could just look our toned body reflected and this added to the high that we got from working out.
As our exercise routine was starting to become more mundane of sorts, some greatly interested guys like Dinesh and Giri joined with us. They showed greater endurance and inspired us to do more repetition of the exercises we usually would be doing. This new surge in work our naturally increased our interest in going to train daily. Soon the gym master also gave some work out training regimes to follow that made the work out sessions a lot more interesting and exciting.
Every single day we felt our muscles bulging. It was not just about spending an hour after college sweating out for calorie loss and body building but is was also such a good relaxation method. It gifted me a good sleep and lot of energy to concentrate during the day time. I always spoke about the advantages of going to gym and encouraged many of my friends into developing a habit of working out regularly.
We used to call ourselves “the gym boys” to proudly proclaim that we trained and stayed fit. It was not the exercises alone, we used to hang-out together after college hours. We used to treat each other with fast foods, noodles, mushroom fries and so much more. So many memories still remain fresh when I start thinking of the time I spent at the gym.
Quite obviously, exercising was the only physical activity that we ever had in our whole college life except the few small walks between the college and bus stop and of course between classes and labs or canteen. The workouts never made us the next Hrithik Roshans but it at least made us feel good about ourselves, know the limits of our body and the reserve of our stamina. There is nothing equal to the pleasure of full exhaustion after a heavy workout session. We acquired greater joy in doing an extra repetition of a high intensity training. Each and every day we felt our strengths grow as we were able to do more reps. So that kept us all alive and awesome.
More awesome feelings coming soon…
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Having attended a lot of interviews in person and via phone and skype, the whole interview thing has started becoming some kind of a boring conversation where I just have to give some pre prepared answers to the most typical interview questions. But lately I attended an interview by an e-commerce enabling company whose name I would better give when I get selected and this was a totally different interview experience for me. May be if I reach a position where I would have to interview people for job, I would certainly re use the questions that I answered. The one very distinct feature of this interview was that it made me to mine the best and positive part from within.
The HR on the other side was Nisha and she opened the interview with an introduction of herself. So sweet of her that she made a very long introduction that I became tensed may be she would expect the same kind of an impressive intro from me too. I gave an account my marine studies and then switching to engineering including some details about my competitive spirit and challenging nature. May be my introduction didn’t match her flawless delivery but still I felt better of having said the things that I have planned.
Then she asked me what I thought about the company and some usual stuffs. Only after that came the bigger guns. The first question of this manner was “what is the most depressing moment in your life and what did you learn from it?”. My answer was about the critical switch I made from my marine course to engineering (See the posts on why engineering?) and the life experiences I had from that incident.
The next question was, “Narrate a moment in your life when you wanted to give yourself a pat on your back?”. God! What a question? This question really made me realize one serious flaw in my retrospection so far. Just take a look at all the posts in my blog and you’ll find that most of them are tough situations that I faced or some preaching stuffs. I have never really written something about an incident that made me happy or a mind blowing person that I met or blissful occasion or any such thing. All that I have been thinking and writing about are gloomy stuffs!
I couldn’t come up with an incident that I felt so proud of immediately. I took a moment and then remembered giving a speech before an audience of over 2500 students. (Coming soon a complete post on that speech alone). That was truly a defining moment for me because that was by far the biggest audience I have ever faced and even that was the best speech I have delivered so far.
After that, she asked about my interests and she was excited when I told her that I have a passion for digital film-making. (She even asked me to send her the links of my films). The more and more she probed me she was also giving information about her. It was like two people knowing each other and not like the traditional kind of interview where the HR would be the only getting answers from us.
Finally, she asked if I had any questions. I clarified my doubt about pronouncing the name of the company and also about the whole selection process. At the end of the interview, it really felt like I should work for this company. The one lesson I have learnt from this interview is that the image the company portrays to its prospective employees is only through the HR and their selection procedures. When a company has a good HR, good people are sure to join the company and when good people join the company it is sure to flourish!
From this point onwards, my posts will be more positive, optimistic, lighter and less complaining. I hope my Mumbai dreams would come alive soon!
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Many have this simple doubt – why is a manager paid more than the people under him while all the work is done only by the sub ordinates and the manager simply oversees them? Is it not unfair to underpay a working person and overpay someone who supervises? NO, it is not. The weight of managing people is very high. Only a few shoulders have developed the strength to carry responsibility with ease. Others just have to join the lot which wonders why the hell these managers are given perks.
Responsibility is such an important thing. Some people just hate responsibility, some others pass responsibilities by pushing it someone who could well be a scapegoat, and only a few cherish responsibilities as if they were born for it.
Feeling responsible for your success is the greatest feeling you can ever get. There are many situations when we succeed at something but we don’t feel it at all. We just sleep like it was any other day. This happens because your heart knows that you are not responsible for your success. But when you truly know that you are solely responsible for your success, your heart will celebrate like anything even if it was a very little accomplishment.
The reason for a very unsatisfying life is the lack of responsibility in some form. When we take control of our life, it begins to dance to our tune. At the beginning it may look odd, because we are not adept at composing good tune for the rhythm of life but as we move on, we will soon develop our skills in designing a good score so that our life will be choreographed in the most awesome way.
“You are responsible for whatever happens to you”, read it somewhere. Such a true statement. When we take such a responsibility for each and every move in our life, we will head towards our goal and feel an eternal bliss after crossing every hairpin bend in the journey. Because we know that it is our efforts that carried us throughout the rough terrain.
Some people just go on justifying their mistakes however we try to convince the error on their part. They are the ones who have weak shoulders that could not hold the weight of responsibility. But they don’t understand the best part. The proper training of holding responsibility is like doing an exercise or a weight training in gym it will make your mind stronger. It is fuel your confidence. The more you take responsibility the more you will be respected. People always revere people who do things that they aren’t capable of doing themselves. So naturally when you hold responsibility which they can never dream of, they start respecting you.
The more you run away from responsibility the more it will haunt you. An irresponsible person is certainly not a cool tag to carry around. No one on earth ever lives without making a single mistake so it is no mistake to make mistakes but it is a mistake to not take responsibility of your mistake.
So just go ahead and take control of your life. Start taking responsibility and you will feel more alive every day.