Wednesday, June 30, 2004

I dont think I've come online so often before. Sure there was the time when I just got my internet connection and I realised there was a whole world of porn waiting to be explored. Porn got boring after a few years, after all, there's only so much 2 people can do (and 3 people and 4 people and...n people...and sometimes not even people....I wont go into the details).

Since I am kinda jobless,I log on every 2 hours to see if some company out there has decided to hire me and pay me a fat salary. So far, no company has..but I've got my hopes up.

What I dislike right now is not having a schedule or a purpose for the day. You know that somethings wrong when the weekend is no different from the weekday.

I keep telling myself that I should sit down and study for the CAT again..but finding motivation is hard, esp because I'm also hoping to get a job. I've got confused goals now. I thought I had it all figured out when I told myself " I'll prepare for the CAT and if I get a job then well and good ". Trouble is,I didnt bother to account for all the heartbreaks, the tension, the jealousy that an intensive job search brings along. Its very distracting. Besides the thought of going through all that preparation again for the CAT isint attractive.

I guess I have no choice though.I really have to's wishing I'll stick with it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Well, nothing worth mentioning has happened in the last couple of days. I might get a call from ICICI Infotech..but dont wanna go into the details of it. The last time I got too excited about a job, I paid for it.

Watched Anger Management...not too great a movie. Not really funny..

Hmm, CTS keeps postponing the date of its aptitude test. Now I have to check my status again on July 13th. They've been postponing it since May 12th!

Among other things...I just wish July 4th would never arrive. I hope we get caught in some kinda time warp and that its now December 18th 2003 :-(

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Here's a nice article I got off Rediff:

The truth about IT cats & dogs

June 24, 2004

There are two kinds of engineering students in India -- the cats whom all companies run after, and the underdogs, who are running after the companies. The cats usually bag the cool jobs which pay you well, send you abroad and keep you far far away from sweaty industrial shopfloors. 55,000 such cats found employment with the likes of Infosys, Wipro, TCS and other such companies in 2003-2004, by Nasscom estimates. But considering that India produces over 300,000 engineers annually, it's a dog's life for many fresh graduates out there.

So, what is it that separates the IT cats from the dogs? It's a question that needs to be asked, as yet another admissions season is upon us. The mad rush for engineering seats continues fuelled by this simple logic: Engineering has more value in the job market than an 'ordinary' BSc. And the jobs that are fuelling this perception are the lucrative software careers. Few would be happy building roads and bridges or working in factories -- as previous generations of engineers did.

Let's face it -- an engineering degree is a means to an end, not an end in itself. But it can turn into a dead end if you don't keep the following facts in mind:

* It's not what you study, but where you study that counts: Always, always choose college over branch. The reputation of a college is what determines campus placement prospects. This might mean doing civil engineering at VJTI although you have little interest in the subject. Live with it. At the end of 4 years, a bunch of software companies will visit the campus. If you pass their aptitude test and interviews, you're in.

It sounds illogical but companies look at it this way. "We believe in the generic concept of learnability," says Hema Ravichander, Senior VP (HR) at Infosys. "This, we define as the ability of the individual to derive generic knowledge from specific experiences and apply the same to future contexts." So when the company visits a campus engineers from any stream are welcome to apply for the aptitude test. All recruits are subsequently put through 14 1/2 weeks of intense training.

The scene at Wipro is similar. "At one time, we insisted on BE Electronics/Computer Science," says Ranjan Acharya, corporate VP, HRD, Wipro. "Now we look at basic analytical ability, understanding and grasping power." Wipro has a 45-day training program for computer engineers, and a longer one of 70-days for those from other streams.

Here's the catch, though. Infosys visits 60 to 70 engineering colleges for campus placements annually. IITs, NITs and a few top colleges in every state make up that list. "Historical relationship, performance of hires from a particular campus, ratio of offers made:joined are the main factors which determine which colleges we visit for placement year after year," says Ms Ravichander. Wipro visits 120 colleges, but its intake is less than Infy. TCS is the other large recruiter which visits about 130 colleges.

A relatively new recruiter -- Cognizant Technologies -- has also started hiring aggressively from premier engineering campuses. The company planned to pick up 60% of its targetted 4,000 new recruits for 2004 through campus placements.

* Performance does matter: The top software companies are pretty sticky when it comes to grades. It's not enough to just get into a great college, you must perform once you get there. Consistency is a very important -- companies will look at your grades right from class X onwards and expect to see a first class through all years of engineering. ATKTs (Allowed To Keep Term despite failing a subject) or dropped years are a strict no no.

This is a tall order, especially in some universities like Mumbai known for its vagaries, which often affect even the brightest students. As a popular shayari on Mumbai engineering campuses goes: Woh baap hi kya jiski beti nahin... Woh engineer hi kya jiski ATKT nahin.

Jokes apart, performance is key even if you get into a college which doesn't have attractive campus placements. A 60% throughout your engineering career ensures you still have a shot at your dream job. You can apply when these companies conduct aptitude tests off-campus.

The story goes like this. Companies have to make offers through the campus placement route, 12 to 15 months before the actual joining date. A lot can happen during this period -- often requirements drastically change. So a certain % of freshers are taken in at a later date, through off campus hiring. Infosys for example will visit various cities and test up to 10,000 applicants in a single day. Graduates from any engineering college can apply, as long as they have a first class throughout.

Aptitude tests normally cover arithmetic and analytical skills, GDs (group discussions) gauge communication skills and in the interview applicants are usually quizzed on basics from their core subjects. Any project work you may have done, as well as extra technical knowledge, eg having leant a popular programming language could help tip the scales in your favour.

Since many engineers are eventually put on the project management track, qualities such as leadership skills, teamwork and all round personality also matter.

* The year you graduate matters: An engineering course takes 4 years to complete. A lot can happen in the IT world in that time.

Some factors are simply not in your control. The graduating class of 2002 had a tough time finding jobs. 2003 was better, and the current year -- 2004 -- has seen a boom in demand for freshers. Infosys alone recruited 10,000 employees, a majority of them straight from engineering campuses. At Bangalore's RV College of Engineering 43% of the 460 students seeking placement were recruited by just 4 software companies -- Infy, TCS, Syntel and Cognizant.

This upward trend is expected to continue. But if you are entering an engineering college today, it's hard to tell exactly what the job scene will look like in 2008. Especially since the ups and downs in the US economy directly affect the fortunes of Indian software companies.

In boom years, students have more choices and better prospects. For example, at IIT Chennai last year, a strange thing happened. Less than half of the 450 eligible students took the TCS aptitude test. And there wasn't a single computer science student in that lot. Why? The salaries offered by Indian software companies (in the Rs 1.8 lakh to Rs 4 lakh per annum range) weren't attractive enough compared to other recruiters like McKinsey (Rs 7 lakhs pa), Intel and HLL (both offered Rs 4.6 lakhs pa).

In a tough year such as 2002 there was a major hue and cry when Infosys hinted it was reconsidering some of the offers made on the IIT campus several months earlier. The offers were later honoured. Companies realise that some years are hard on freshers. For example, in February 2004 TCS continued to invite entry level applications from engineers who had graduated in 2002 and 2003, as long as they had not been interviewed by the company within the last 6 months.

* You're no 22, try harder: It's true that graduating from a lesser known engineering school may mean you leave campus without a job. But it's not the end of the world. It simply means you have to conduct your own jobhunt. Respond to ads in newspapers, upload your resume on job sites and start doing the rounds of companies. Staying in touch with friends and seniors who've already got jobs is a great way to get to know about openings and entrance tests. Some companies actually prefer to recruit through employee referrals.

The good news is, a sustained effort of 3 to 6 months usually gets you a job. The important thing is to stay optimistic! As an underdog, you may end up joining an underdog company, ie a smaller outfit. But with the right experience and skills picked up along the way you can always hop, skip and jump your way to the software company of your dreams.

* Engineers@call centres: Last but not the least -- the call centre option. BPO outfits such as Wipro Spectramind actively recruit engineers, paying them higher salaries than regular graduates. And they have no dearth of applicants. But most engineers see call centre jobs -- even if they're in technical support -- only as a short term option.

If things don't work out on the software front, there's always the option of going in for higher studies. Which for most, boils down to an MBA. But remember, there are two kinds of MBA students in India -- the cats whom all companies run after, and the underdogs, who are running after the companies... But that, is another story waiting to be old.

Rashmi Bansal is an IIM Ahmedabad graduate and founder-editor of the popular youth magazine JAM

She can be reached at

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Watched "Brother Bear" with a friend today. Good movie, quite touching. Its a nice family sort of movie, go watch it if you can.

Couple of things I should mention:

1)Nice to meet you Taruni. After 8 months of knowing you, it was nice to finally meet you :D

2)Congrats Shobha for getting a job with Barry Weh Mlller, you owe me a treat (and dont tell me you cant get cash because your dad put it in the bank)

3) Thank you 9444------ for a most exciting june 19th ;-)

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Dropped off my resume at the L&T office on Mount Road yesterday.Also modified my resume because it was too big and didnt look professional.Kinda happy with the new one.

I also registered with a few job sites like and
I've heard that they send tons of email, so I created a new email id: . Please dont mail me there, its meant only for prospective employers :P

My parents went to Coimbatore for the weekend, so my cousin Prashant and I lived a very bachelors life for 2 days. We ate outside, didnt bother about personal hygiene, didnt bother to boil water, so there was no drinking water available until I went and bought some :P. Prashant got a dozen cd's to watch. I watched only one though(spiderman), I'm not too into movies.

I've bought myself a Terry Pratchet book, reading it now.

Friday, June 18, 2004

I love the number 6. I just hope it becomes 12 and multiples of 12 thereafter. If you dont understand this, dont bother.I know someone else out there does :-)

Thursday, June 17, 2004

He He, the moment Gmail came out with its 1 GB account, Yahoo made itself a 100 MB account and now rediff is offering 1 GB too! What will I do with all that memory space?

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I'm beginning to enjoy the benifits of unemployment. To do nothing all day seems like sheer bliss to me. However, 2 conditions have to be satisfied before I start basking in the luxury of idleness :

1) My dad has to go to work in Pondicherry
2) My mom has to go to work in school.

See, once the two people who worry the most about my future are out of the way, I automatically start relaxing a bit. This is not to say I dont worry about my future.In fact all I do these days is worry about my future.Its just that after a while worrying about your future starts getting on your nerves and you cant do anything without feeling like a burden to your parents.

Tamizh slang has the perfect word to describe my current status-" Dhanda Soru". For my very english friends, literally translated it means "Waste Food" (ie) an idle person who eats the food his parents provide and does nothing all day to deserve the food. My only consolation at the moment is most of my classmates are in the same boat:P.

Getting a job would be a major ego booster for me now. It would mean financial freedom, perhaps a vehicle of my own, a cellphone and most important of all, it would send a strong signal to my parents that I have grown up and can look after myself.

IGATE had another exam in Eashwari engineering college. I didnt go because I had attended the test in DG Vaishnav college a couple of weeks earlier and they had asked for Rs.29000 as training fees. So when I heard they were having another exam, I didnt bother to go. Now I get the awful news that no mention of the training fees was made yesterday :-(. A few of my classmates have got through the initial rounds...damn! Why didnt I write the exam! Its a missed opportunity and I feel terrible about it.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Here's what I plan to do with my life for the next 5 months ( sorry AJ, I had to flick your code idea :P )

void main( )
while (unemployed)
if (status= = employed)
cout<<" HALLELUJAH!!!";


studyforCAT( );

goforcomputercourse( );

readthedamnnewspaperfindoutwhoprimeministeris( );

gym( );


A depressing birthday, but a happy ending nevertheless. And hey! my blog is a 100 posts old!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I share my birthday with Donald Duck, didnt know that :p
So today I'm 21. Was woken up at the ghastly hour of 5 AM because my mother wanted to watch Sanskar TV, one of those religious channels. The bhajans sung slowly penentrated into my subconcious and proceeded to extract me from my sleep in slow painful steps. Its very uncomfortable to woken up that way. First you are fast asleep, then you slowly become aware that there's something is bothering you, though you are too befuddled to know what it is. Images from the TV brighten,darken, flicker and pulsate through your closed eyelids. Then the monotonous bhajan slowly pounds against your eardrums and makes you want to scream, pull your hair out and throw the TV out of the window. At this point my mother wished me a happy birthday and asked me to go sleep in the hall. Too drowsy to comply, I lay still. Then the bearded chap on Sanskar TV began giving a lecture on how to sleep well. The hypocrite! I picked up my pillow and bedsheet and went to the hall. Hardly had I closed my eyes when I started recieving phone calls wishing me. Sigh.
I'm reading Kalki's "Ponniyan Selvan". I've realised that all the books I've read are by european or american authors. Other than RK Narayan, I havent read any indian or more important, tamil ( tamizh! apar) authors. I'm not reading the original tamizh version though, its an english translation.

So far, the book has all the elements of a spy and war novel. Quite intriguing to say the least. It does take some times to get familiar with the names though, they are really hard to pronounce. My eyes just glaze over when I read sentences like

"There was a pallipadai of this kind near the village of Thirupurambayam, half a kadham to the northwest of Kudandhai, on the northern banks of the Manni."...quite a mouthful huh? ;-)

Went to collect some photographs from Guhan studio yesterday. I've been getting my photos developed there for as long as I can remember. The studio is run by two grim looking sisters with lots of make up. They never bat an eyelid and I've never seen them smile.Theyre presence is there is purely functional. You pay the money and they will give you the photos and if you are lucky, they will glare at you.

For the first time EVER! they smiled at me. Guess why? Because I refused to take a plastic cover.I've been refusing plastic for a few years now because I'll be crucified at home if I bring plastic in. My mom feels very strongly about the whole non-biodegradable issue.

Anyway, they complimented me and said I was the only MAN theyd seen who had refused a plastic cover.( Hmm, or maybe they were just turned on by the sight of me in shorts...quite a possibility...).

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Its a new day, a new start. Forget about barry, stay positive.
Being a cynic, I always assume the worst is going to happen. A negative quality perhaps, but I'm a cynic because I know the higher my hopes rise, the harder I must fall when the truth revealts itself. Until yesterday my friend Poorni rendered glowing descriptions of how well I'd performed in the interview. She made me feel really good about myself. I was on a high all day...until I realised I still hadnt got an official phone call. So then I worried myself thin during the afternoon and evening. I called Poorni in the evening but she wasnt home yet. She finally called back and said " I'm sorry, you've been put on hold for the moment. Maybe you'll know in a week..." She then apologised for getting my hopes up and said I shouldnt worry. Sweet perhaps but my heart was already broken. The cynic in me taunts saying
" See, you were an ass to think you'd get through. You shouldnt have started dreaming about buying yourself a phone and a vehicle. You shouldnt have dreamed of a nice fat pay cheque! Look at whats happened now...".

I'm depressed because I've fallen once again to the mediocrity of unemployment. It felt good to think of myself as employed and earning a salary. Now that I've been rudely brought back to earth, I just want to cry.
No call from barry as yet. I'm getting scared. I called them up and the lady politely said she'd let me know if I'd gotten through to the next round. I'm slowly losing hope...sigh and I spent the entire morning dreaming of ways to spend my salary...

Monday, June 07, 2004

Blog meet photos at

Check em out.
I've got unofficial news that I've got through the Barry interview. This my friend Poorni who works over there tells me. I havent got an official call though. My friend Shobha however has got an official call. There's a final round of interview with the General Manager of the company left. Keeping my fingers crossed....

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Went for a Madras Bloggers meet yesterday at the Amethyst. About 20 of us turned up, an eclectic mix of PSBBians and IITians ( Also one bi-sexual mallu, one girl who did not like PSBBians or IITians, one man clad in revealing shorts ;-), one man with a cellphone shaped like a video game and one veritable old man who claimed he had come to increace the average age of the crowd.). The first half was kinda akward. People who knew each other laughed and joked among themselves while newbies like me sat with a frozen smile on our faces, not sure what to do. I spent a lot of time just turning my head from side to side trying to get a feel of the crowd. Eventually the entire crowd did warm up and the conversations and jokes that followed were side-splittingly hilarious.

Among other funny incidents, a fashionably clad, fairly pretentious young girl of about 15 called out loudly to her friends " Yo guys! Lets meet up at Bikes and Barrels!". She turned around and saw 20 of us staring right back at her. Also one chap among us who wasnt feeling too well saying " I dont feel so great, dont want anything cold, I'll have a warm iced tea please.".

On the whole, an enjoyable evening with a fairly intelligent crowd. True the mosquitoes made things a bit difficult (esp for shorts), but I did enjoy myself. Made a few friends and most important of all, selfishly promoted my own blog. So a satisfying evening, to say the least.

And guys, if you are reading this, do check out :

Suggestions, criticism welcome.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

The Barry interview...I'm not sure how it went. There were two interviews, a technical interview and a HR interview. The technical interview went kinda well. I was asked to explain how sea water could be used to generated electricity, so I drew a tidal plant. Then the interviewer said that if he had a small toy car on a black surface and there was a white line running on it, how would I get the car to run only on the white line? This I could answer too. Then came the surprise question. He gave me a big smile and asked " Why are man-hole lids circular in shape?". I thought hard, tried to relate it to area occupied but I said I didnt know it in the end. Other questions were mostly on my project. The interview went on for about 30 minutes. I was offered coffee but I politely refused( I didnt want them to see the cup rattling in my hand from nervousness). 2 minutes into the interview, the interviewer knocks his own cup of coffee over and coffee runs all over the table, drenches my resume and my appraisal form. A stream of coffee rushes towards me, comes right upto the edge of the table and then mercifully stops. The interviewer apologised so profusely, I felt embarassed.

After this, I went down to the reception and ran into my friend Poorni who works over there. I asked her the man-hole lid question. She thought for a while, laughed and said " Man-hole lids are circular because Man-hole's are circular!!!" DUH!!! I went for a technical interivew, not a Poor-Joke interview! I was annoyed!

What I'm really scared of is the HR interview. The lady interviewing me was very friendly and made me feel nice and comfortable. I think she did this to loosen my tongue. She asked me what my hobbies were and I told her about my writing, showed her a Colleger issue. She read the sports article and laughed. The interview went on for close to 35 minutes and mostly only my writing was discussed. When it was over and I rose to leave, she asked " Why not a career in journalism, why software?". So I said I enjoyed writing as a hobby and I would never enjoy it if I had to do it full time. She seemed to accept my explanation and I left. What I'm really scared of is that I might have given the impression that I was not suited for the position. I shouldnt have blabbed about how much I enjoyed writing, should have said I loved to program(white lie, but hey I need a job). She said she'd let me know by monday. Keeping my fingers crossed...

Friday, June 04, 2004

Barry interview is tommorow and its occupied all my thoughts today. I thought about it even in the gym. One chap kept asking for help and I was absent mindedly assisting him, my mind being completely occupied with the forthcoming interview. After a while, he came up to me and said " Hi, I'm Ashok and I work for CTS" to which I replied " Hi, I'm Dinesh, I have an interview tommorow." Duh!!! What kind of answer was that?? I felt like kicking myself. The chap gave me a strange look and went away. He didnt ask for help after that.

I have to go through C++ concepts, brush up my HTML(why ever did I mention it in my resume? :-( ), revise my project and give convincing answers as to why I want to join that company. So need to do some homework now.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

In a way, I guess its my fault. Directly or indirectly, I have been responsible for one of the most action packed, high emotion, high drama days of my sisters life.The thing was you see, my sister had put on a lot of weight. Before her wedding, she'd been pretty skinny but afterwards, she put on a lot of weight. Dutiful brother that I was, I ensured that I made negative remarks regarding her weight whenever I saw her. After which I had the satisfaction of watching my sister squirm, wail,complain to my mom and then run to the mirror to check her physique from all angles.

She joined aerobics classes. The classes went on till everyone else in the class dropped out. Who'd want to jump and dance at 5:30 in the morning anyway? So then my sister took up swimming. A couple of days back, my sister found herself practically alone at the pool. Her only company was a 10 year old boy who insisted that she dive from the springboard a few times to entertain him. My sister dutifully agreed and jumped a few times for him. The bonding completed, she returned home,had a bath and discovered that her "Thali" was missing. For those of you who dont know what a Thali is, its a thread with some ornaments which is tied around the bride's neck by the groom during the marriage. Its the most important part of the marriage ceremony and its the final proof that the woman is married. Its supposed to remain around the neck for her entire lifetime. So naturally when she found she was Thaliless, my sis panicked. She dragged my Brother-in-law to the swimming pool so that she could find it again. Trouble was, she'd forgotten her swimsuit this time. So she ran to her friends room and borrowed her swimsuit. It never occured to my sis that the swim suit was too small for her. So pushed, pulled and squirmed into the suit and dived into the pool. First dive, no sign of Thali. Second dive, no sign of Thali. Third dive, her contact lenses drifted away.

You must understand that without her contact lenses, my sister cant even distinguish between night and day.(Luckily, I did not inherit this from my dad). So my sister struggled out of the pool, got onto the land, went to the changing room and found that the swimsuit had ripped.

She tearfully asked the trainer there too look for the Thali. He dived once and came up, triumphantly holding the Thali in his hand.

So in a way, I guess I'm responsible for the mishap. Trouble is, I find the whole incident uproariously funny :P.

Here's some stuff my cousin Prashant picked up at the Taj Hotel. I find it kinda funny.

Service Facts
Why do customers leave ?
1% -- Die
3% -- move
5% -- buy information from friends.
9% -- Lower price from competition.
14% -- Quality
68% -- Indifference towards customers.

5 Determinants of Service.
Reliability 32%
Responsiveness 22%
Assurance 19%
Empathy 16%
Tangibles 11%

Types of Language and their impact.
Verbal 7%
Vocal 38%
Visual 55%

Private and public Zones
Intimate Zone 0 to 1.5 ft Emotional relation
Personal Zone 1.5 to 4 ft Social oficial relation
Social Zone 4 to 12 ft Stranger postman etc
Public Zone 12 ft+ Large Groups

What irritates the guest the most ?
Not yet
I have been busy
Its company policy
I dont know
You will have to
That’s not my department
We dont do that here
It was’nt me
I did’nt tell u that
Have a pleasant night
I cleared the Barry-Wehmiller written test. My interview is on Saturday :-). I'm wondering though, I'm a EEE student, dont know too much about software. Lets see how things go.