Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Job in Paradise – Part 2

Diary Entry - 29

This is a two part post. Please read the previous post A Job in Paradise – Part 1, before you read this, otherwise it wont make sense. 

Though people like Poochie thought TCS was paradise, I was not very excited about it. I had no intention of working there. But I applied anyway. It was my plan C. If I did not get a job in any other company and if I got rejected by all the universities I applied to, I will still have something to do in life. A IT job is my solace in case life puts me through the worst case scenario. But I really did not care because I did not want the job so bad. I did not open the C and C++ book like my other friends. Did not practise for HR questions nor did I have a decent passport size photo with me. The photo of mine was in the worst condition. When I think about it I want to bang my head on the wall. I did not have a replacement photo and I was too lazy to go take a new one.

Also, there was no water for the past couple of days in hostel and so I did not take bath before going to the interview. Well you probably are wondering why I even bothered to sit for the interview if I was not serious about it. It is because Poochie told me that if I skip the interview after applying, I wont be able to sit for any other company that comes to campus. Also last year the interview was super casual. Some students were even asked to sing a song in their native language and stuff like that. So I learnt the first  few lines of a song in Malayalam and Tamil just in case, hoping that will be enough preparation for this particular interview.

When I was finally called for the interview, one of the interviewers turned out to be a really pretty lady. Suddenly I started thinking what a big mistake I made by not taking a bath. This is what happened:

Interviewer: What happened to your photo?

Me: I had to submit my form for verification and the photo kind of got lost with other forms because I hadn’t pasted it properly. It happened to stick with the application that was kept on top of mine. I had to stick it back from there. It turned out to be like this. I am very sorry ma’am.

Interviewer: Haha that is okay. Tell me about yourself in brief.

Me: Blah blah blah (This is one question where I have so much to say in so little time)

Interviewer: You have any siblings?

Me: No ma’am.

Interviewer: Oh. So what will your parents say if we put you in Lucknow.

Me: They wont have a problem with it. They sent me to study in a hostel here all the way from Chennai and it will be the same thing if I go to Lucknow.

Interviewer: But college is different. It is a definite period of time. Working in Lucknow will be not the same.

Me: I am pretty sure my parents wont miss me as much as you think they would. If they wanted to see me that bad, we have skype. *Grins*

(I kept smiling the whole time. The Interviewing akka was sooooo pretty)

Interviewer: My god. Your area of interest is Heat Transfer and Thermodynamics. That is like the toughest subjects in mechanical.

Me: Blah Blah

Interviewer: But why will you want to work for a software company then? We don’t use Heat Transfer and Thermodynamics here.

Me: Heat transfer and thermodynamics can be used everywhere and anywhere blah blah blah

Interviewer: Okay but IT job can be just plain coding and not involve all this.

Me: I am pretty sure there will be some use to what I learnt.

Interviewer: Okay tell me why you want to work in an IT company.

Me: My ideal job will be somewhere I am constantly challenged and where the process of learning will always be continuous. I have heard that IT jobs are perfect for that. I will say an IT job is my dream job. (This was total bullshit and she figured that out herself :D :D)

Interviewer: Really? (She raises her eyebrows and gives me the Rock look.) But here it states in your career objective that you want to work as a mechanical engineer in a company that challenges you. You are not going to be a mechanical engineer here.

(I forgot to change my career objective because I had no intention of working for an IT company before. That line gave me away and showed that I was not even a least bit interested in working for IT. The questions that followed and the answers that I gave simply confirmed it.)  

Me: “A company that challenges me” is the main part of my career objective. Of course I want to work as a mechanical engineer but I haven’t been sitting in all the core companies that have been coming to campus either. I sit only for the companies which I think will be challenging and a learning experience. For example, I did a small project in L&T and the state of the engineers there were depressing because they were never challenged and they had reached a point of saturation in their career after the first few years. They had seized to grow and learn. In such working environments, a person’s mental acuity will start to decline. So when L&T came for campus selection, I did not sit for it and that is the case with many other companies that I did not apply to. TCS provides a challenging work atmosphere that I look for in a job. It doesn’t matter if it is not mechanical related as long as I am challenged.

Interviewer: But you are a mechanical engineer. How can you contribute when you haven’t studied what the computer science and IT students have.

Me: I am hoping to do develop a Java based software for Ford motors for my final year project. It involves using the algorithms I learnt in Operations Research. I will have to learn and develop the software all by myself because I am doing the project alone. So by the time I join the company, I will have considerably skill in Java.

Interviewer: Oh but what if they like your project in ford so much and hire you. Wont you go there?

Me: They pick people with a high level of work experience. Before they hire freshers, they will probably put them through a lot of tests.  I am pretty sure they wont just take me because I did a good project.

Interviewer: Okay then. What are the companies that come for campus selection in your college that you would like to work in.

Me: Ashok Leyland, TVS, Hyundai, Ford uh TCS :D :D

Interviewer: What if you get placed in Ford. Wont you go?

Me: There is a very slim chance of me getting a job in Ford. :D

Interviewer: Why do you say that? What makes you think you don’t have a chance?

Me: It is not that I am less qualified ma’am. It is just that there are several equally capable candidates in my college and Ford takes very few people. The competition is going to be really high and luck will play a major role.

She asked me a several more questions and she realised that I was Bullshitting her big time and I was feigning my interest in joining the company because I fitted the profile of a guy who wanted to work only for a core company.

Interviewer: You have done biology in school and you know nothing about C and C++. Would it not be a mistake hiring you.

(Hell yeah. The biggest mistake in both our lives :D)

Me: I did C and C++ in the first year ma'am. I got A grade in that :D

Interviewer: Oh good so I can ask you what pointers are then.

Me: Uh I don’t know what they are ma’am. I guess they point to something :D :D :D

Interviewer: What are the types of Variables?

Me: Integers, ....  :D :D (Why does this lady have to torture me before she kills me?)

Interviewer: Have you ever written any program in your life?

Me: We had a c and c++ lab in the first year.

Interviewer: What programs did you do there?

Me:  We did stuff like addition of two numbers and checking if a number is a palindrome.

Interviewer: You are definitely writing a program for me now. Add two numbers for me.

I squeeze out what I could remember from my subconscious memory and wrote what looked like a program. It was so not fair. All the other mechanical guys got questions only from mechanical and that too from their area of interest.

Interviewer: You do realise that this is an IT company rite?

Me: Yes ma’am.

Interviewer:  (She smiles and looks at the other guy who barely spoke). How will you equip yourself if we give you the job?

Me: Uh I will go through my C and C++ books and attend C class ma’am

Interviewer: *Smiles* Thank you. You may leave.

I was so sure I will not get the job. The lady even asked me if I opened the C and C++ book to prepare for the interview. I told them since C and C++ are primitive languages that people no longer use, I did not feel there was a need to revise.  I felt I had done a pretty good job of convincing them that I was not interested one bit. Before the interview I was considering telling them that I was going to do my masters in abroad and was not interested in the job. I wanted to do that because deep inside I felt if I ever work for an IT company, I will lose myself. But I dropped the idea because I thought having an extra option is not going to cause any harm.

Today the results came out. Four hundred people got rejected and I was not one of them. I got the job. (Yeah, I know. I don’t know why they hired me either.) What could those people who got rejected have possibly done, that I did not, for them to not get accepted. Guess all the smiling helped after all.

My parents give the worst reactions every time there is a prospect of employment. This is what my mother had to say:

Me: Amma, I got placed in TCS.

Mom: Ayo. Ippo Endhu Chaiyum? (Oh god. What will you do now?)

Me: I can sit for other companies too amma. It is not like I am going to work there.

Mom: Kozhapam illa. Pota vidu. (It is okay. Dont feel bad, leave it.)

Me: Seri ma. (Okay Ma)

Yes my mother is upset that I got a job.

As for my father. Well my father sort of pretended he did not hear and changed the topic to paying my mess fee. I always thought my dad hated paying my mess fee. First time in my life, he enquired without me telling anything. Changes TCS brings in a persons life are truly amazing.

Previous Post - A Job in Paradise - Part 1

A Job in Paradise - Part 1

Diary Entry - 28

Every now and then, professors from around the country are invited by the people in our college to deliver lectures on topics which nobody gives a damn about. Of course the students are not very excited about it because if there is one thing more boring than a classroom lecture, it is listening to a lecture of how a guy used a home microwave oven to heat metals instead of using it to heat cold pizza. The managements knows how much students hate this, so they threaten us to mark us absent in the attendance and force us to attend it. In the end they give us canteen coupons which we can use to buy badam milk in canteen. It is the thank you present that they give us for listening to the bull shit and for not pelting stones at the speaker. Doing an engineering degree is much like listening to a guy talking about heating metals with a Godrej Microwave. It doesn’t make sense to you at all. In the end you will feel bitter because you wasted 4 years of your life. But there is always a canteen coupon, a canteen coupon which is an anodyne for the pain. A canteen coupon which comes in the form of an IT job.

There are several IT companies that come for recruitment. But according to my friend Poochie (not his real name, it means insect in Tamil), there is no equal to TCS. Poochie thinks that working in TCS is like working in paradise. When I asked him how, he gave me the following arguments:

A new world record:

If you sit for TCS, you automatically become part of a new world record. Sadly that record will be broken, same time next year. Last year, TCS took 1359 students from my college. That is like 70 percent of students who sat for placements. This year they took 1755. That is 87 percent. This time, when the top officials from TCS came to our college to interview students, our college invited them like this:

                       We welcome you
You welcome our students/future TCSers
            All or how many above 1359?

When I saw this and pointed it out to a friend who was reading a news paper during the pre presentation talk, we couldn’t stop laughing. His reaction was “We are a bunch of cheapos macha”. He was right. The last line did take our college to a whole new level of cheapness. It is true that TCS takes a lot of people. But my college makes it look as if TCS is Microsoft. Dont even think for a minute that only my college is like that. EVERY COLLEGE in Tamil Nadu is like that. If it is not TCS, it is some other IT company.  People have a point when they say 5 % of engineering students get placed in core companies and the remaining gets placed in IT companies. So by getting placed, one automatically becomes part of a world record and that according to my friend is something one has to look forward to.

Male:Female sex ratio:  

Now this is something that really made me think Poochie was right when he called TCS paradise. TCS and IT in general has been a backup job for most people. But for guys, it is a backup job with a lot of women. According to Poochie, the sex ratio is 4:15. That means there are 3 and a quarter women for each guy. Poochie couldn’t understand why people fight so much for core jobs. They pay less and they have no women there (except for the cleaning ladies).  You are better off being a Jewish rabbi than joining a core job, because joining a core company is like accepting sainthood.

Work Environment:

Poochie tells me it is the best in the world. A senior told him that except for the initial taxing training period, the TCS work environment had no equal. If you are an engineering student and if you had computer lab in your course, you would have spent most of the time enjoying the ac and talking to your neighbour. Every now and then you do a little work in the computer. Working in TCS is the same thing, except here you get paid to do what you did in your college computer lab. When I told Poochie that they will fire us if we work like that, he laughed. It turns out that people who laze around  get paid too. People are never fired even if they do absolutely nothing. You cant expect the same treatment in other IT companies. That is why my friend found TCS in particular to be a paradise. You are promised job security of more than a hundred percent. You cannot ask more in this world. 

No Farewells:

Ever felt so emotionally bonded with your friends in school and college that you thought during the farewell day you will need counselling for depression? Poochie is like that. He misses the people he studied with in Kinder Garden. Well if you are in TCS, you can save yourself that pain. Everybody who finishes college, go to work for the same company. The people you hate and the people you like will all be there. The people you studied with in school are also going to be there. So if you miss them, you will be able to reunite with them too. But what excites Poochie the most is his reunion with his 6th standard crush. Who thought a company can make a person happy in so many different levels. 

Apart from this there are things like having a discount on all Tata products. That means the cheapest car can be brought at a cheaper price. You also get to go abroad if you are a hard worker and you will be rewarded in kind.

This is a two part post. Please read the next post A Job in Paradise – Part 2. But before you go, comment on this one and let me know what you thought.

Previous Post - My Crude Reproduction - 1

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Crude Reproduction - 1

Diary Entry - 27

They look so much better on paper. Scanning it makes it look worse than it actually is. :D

Previous Post - How we talk on the phone

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How we talk on the phone

Diary Entry 26

At 9:30, every night my mother calls.

Me: Hello amma

Mom: Hello

Mom: Endha Vishashum? (What is new?)

Me: Vishashum onnum illa. (Nothing much)

Mom: Endengil vishashum parra da. (Tell me something da)

Me: hehe onnum sambavachilla ma. (Lol Nothing happened ma)

Mom: When are you coming home next?

Me: Dunno ma

Mom: Ahvada Mazha indoe? (Did it rain there?)

Me: Illa. (No)

Mom: Did you read the news paper today?

Me: Mmmmm

Mom: Sheesh

Me: Hehe I don’t have time to read news paper amma.

Mom: Eda, do you atleast know who Anna Hazaree is?

Me: Mmmmm lok pal blah blah.

Mom: My god. It is a shame if they ask you to say something about it in group discussion and if you have nothing to say.

Me: Mmmm

Mom: Ahharam Kaicho. (Did you eat anything?)

Me: mmmm

Mom: Ivada Sunny aunty nde maganu oru kutti prasavichu. (Here Sunny auntys son had a baby)

Me: mmmm

Mom: I will go out to get something for the baby tomorrow, so I can visit them over the weekend.

Me: Mmmm

Mom: The uncle in our colony, who works in MRF, in our colony died

Me: Mmmmm

Mom: Geroge uncles son got enganged.

Me: Mmmmm

Mom: Shantha chechi is getting a operation done

Me: Mmmm

Mom: It is not anything very serious.

Me: Mmmm

Mom: Hmmm how is class going? When is your exam?
Me: Mmmm

Mom: Grrr Po da. Ellathunum Mmmm Mmmm Para. (You say Mmmm Mmmm for everything.. Bye..)

Me: Hehe :D

Phone cut.

Call summary: 8 minutes 43seconds.


Two weeks later, I call my mother in the middle of the day when she is working.

Me: Hello amma. I want to do a summer training. Can you ask our colony uncle who is in MRF if I can join there.


Me: Oh? When??

Mom: @$%!$


Then there is dad. This is what happens when he calls.

Me: Hello

Dad: Hello Kutta? Vishashum onnum illalo? (There is nothing new rite?)

Me: Illa acha. (No Acha)

Phone cut.

Call summary – 4 seconds.

Each time my dad calls, I will be left wondering if my dad set a new world record for the worlds shortest phone conversation ever.


I hate talking to people over the phone because it restricts my ability to multitask. Since my dad is a multi multitasker, it is a lot more brief with him. And from what my mother told me when I went home last time, every male cousin of mine have similar if not less brief conversations, when they get a call from home. I assumed that this was the case with every guy.  But I was wrong.

One day I called my eating buddy to go out to eat. He told me I have to pay for him and he will pay me later on because he did not have any money at that point of time. I agreed and he told me he will come to my room at 7 Pm. He was on the phone when he came to my room. We went to the place where we eat and he was still on the phone. He made signals with his hand and told me what he wanted to eat and I placed the order for him. He was eating and he was still on the phone. I paid the bill and he was still on the phone. We came back to our rooms at 8:30 and that is when he said bye and hung up. He was speaking to a someone for ONE AND A HALF HOURS.

Me: Enna macha? Figure ah? (What Macha? Was it some chick?)

Friend: Illa da. That was my brother.  (No da. It was my brother.)


Friend: Enna da? (What da?)

Me: What did you talk to him for so long? Wait. How can you talk to him for so long?

Friend: Grr... Figure call panna mattum ne kaddala podarele? :x (You talk so long when chicks call rite? :x )  

Me: Sheesh.

He had a point there. I was not laconic to everybody I spoke to over the phone. That is when I realised that the people who I talk very little over the phone are the ones I am sure I wont lose no matter what. I tend to take those relationships for granted. So last time when someone complained that I don’t talk to them as much over the phone, I had only one thing to say, “Congratulations, You are the latest addition to my family tree.”

The South Indian Glossary

Diary Entry 25

This blog post is not meant for people from Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Do not waste time reading this, because there are better things you can do in life. It also applies for people who have not read any of my older posts. I have already warned you so dont tell me later this was a mokka post. For all those people who dont know what mokka means, read on... :) I am typing down my next post, so check back in an hour.

Some of you people from North India and elsewhere have no clue what Mallu and Tamil is. Because of this reason some of you have been finding it rather confusing when you try to read my blog. I have included the glossary of all the words I use or might use when I write. Before I get into that let me tell you a little about where I come from. There are two states in South India – Kerala and Tamil Nadu. I happened to be from both these places. They speak Malayalam in Kerala and Tamil in Tamil Nadu. You will find words from both these languages depending upon who I am talking to. Below is the list of vernacular words that I am so fond of using. 

Akka – Means elder sister in Tamil. You use it address strangers who are not old enough to be your great grandmother. If they are that old we say Pahti (If you say it wrong, it will mean dog in Malayalam)

This is the last person you should be calling 'Akka'

Anna – Similar to Akka.  If they are really old we call them Tha-tha

Chechi – Means elder sister in Malayalam. Unlike Tamil I address strangers who are much older than my great grandmother as chechi. I don’t know what else to call them in Malayalam. The male version of it is Etha.

Da – A tamil slang used to address guys. It is a connotation of familiarity. I used to use this with women too but some girls have found it irritating when I say it. So with much difficulty, I have stopped using it. It is a sign of closeness and bonding between friends. The female version is De. But De lacks all the love, bonding and warmth da has. I guess women can be offended by the smallest of things. You can call guys a**h*le and they will probably respond with a grin. Not applicable to women. So if you want to show lack of respect to a girl, all you have to do is use de in the sentence :D

Illa – Means No in Tamil and Malayalam. They are not pronounced the same way though.

Kadalai - It means nuts but what it actually means is flirting. But this term has be so over used that a simple conversation with a girl is called Kadala these days. When people see you talking to any girl, angel or crone, they will always say "Aye, Kadala" (Hey flirt).  

Konjam – Means little in Tamil. Example - Konjam over (Little too much)

Kutta – I don’t know what it exactly means. But it definitely does not mean dog. My mother calls me that for christ sake. It is like something like darling I guess.
Macha/Machi – I have been using this so much that people in my department stopped calling me by my name and started calling me macha. Sigh... It means something like dude in English. What it really means is brother in law. But some girls say this to their girl mates.  I don’t know of how that relationship works though.

Mallu – Short for Malaylis or people from the state of Kerala. Can be used as a insult or a compliment. :D

Mokka – There are several meanings to this word. People have a hard time figuring it out.

1. Boredom – Macha Mokkaya iruku. (Dude it is very Boring)
2. Easy – How was the placement aptitude paper? Mokka paper da. (It was too easy)
3. A joke nobody finds funny – This is highly popular in Tamil Nadu. They have Tv and Radio shows for this. After you heard the entire joke, you will probably be waiting to hear the part that is supposed to make you laugh. In such cases we simply say – Mokka poda dhey. ( Dont put Mokkai)

Mass – It means awesome.  So when I ask, “How is my blog?”, You should say “Macha your blog is mass.”

Seri – Means Okay. It can mean Okay as in an okay to a agreement or it can be the monosyllable okay that the girls are so find of using when guys text them.

Thala – Means Head. Another word like Macha used like Dude in English. It might also refer to Ajit Kumar. Some people say he is an actor. If you dont see this line after a week, that is because a fan must have beaten me up. (If you are tamil guy: 1.You were not supposed to read this post. 2. Yes. Mankatha is mass. I was talking about his Pre Mankatha era :D)

Hopefully from now on, you will have lesser trouble understanding the parts where I fail to give an English Translation :)

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