Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Most Marvelous Year of My Life - 2011

Time is a very strange dimension; you don't realize the beauty of a moment until it is gone. As the year 2011 comes to a close, I look back and am filled with delight for having lived the most marvelous year of my life. From fulfilling dreams to creating new ones, from discovering the world to realizing the beauty of my home land, from making new friends to creating lasting relationships, from winning hearts to shouldering responsibilities, this year has really given me a lot. Hence, even though I am not very regular at writing blogs, this year deserves to be written about.

January 2011: The year started with me slogging nights to launch the Cognizance 2011 website and was a very tiring experience. I could only achieve 60-70% of my expectations as the short deadlines didn't give me enough time to bring out the best in me. Still it was an experience in itself to manage such huge amount of data and to coordinate with my team and work together to produce a durable website. Although, ridden with many hiccups and seemingly ridiculous administrative problems, I was happy that I could be of service to my institute.

Still, The January had more in store for me. On 21st, I went to AIL Mohali Parliamentary Debate and participated after a hiatus of two years in an inter collegiate debate with Kondy (a.k.a Anirudh Arun) and Sailee Rane as the two most brilliant teammates one could get. After putting some of our best speeches, we were disappointed to have finished with a win-loss record of 3-2 after the prelims. But the God was still very gracious and we qualified to quarter finals as the 8th team or the highest ranked team with a score line of 3-2. Thought, we lost in the quarters to the team which eventually won the competition, it was still the most memorable tournament of my life. 

February 2011: The most remarkable thing about February was that I got a mail stating that I had won the DAAD WISE scholarship (Phew!!) and was finally equipped with sufficient funds to visit Europe and realise my dream for which I had worked tirelessly for 2 years.

March 2011: Finally, Cognizance fever was reaching its critical points and people were losing their tempers at more regular frequency. Still, I could say after 3 sleepless and malnutrition days and nights, Cognizance was successfully conducted from 11-13 March 2011 and I had somehow delivered my duties without killing myself in the process. 

April 2011: The Visa process and several trips to get international student cards, youth hostel card, and the Eurail pass and i was ready to go to Germany.

May 2011: The excitement was reaching fever pitch and i was being asked to give exams - huge injustice. Always the exams before anything good can take place. Damn, education system.

But, then it was 15th May, time to get on the flight (my first intl flight \m/) and off I went to Germany :)

Landing in Germany, greeted with a warm welcome at the airport and rushed to our house. And then began the most memorable days of living in Europe for 11 weeks. Worked with Prof. Dr. Rainer Leisten and Natalia Prischepov and discovered more about my discipline on the serious side. And on the fun side, met Michael Pahs and Manuella Ganz who took me to my first German college party - another beautiful experience to cherish for life.

June-July 2011: Then started the trips - Brussels, Amsterdam, Switzerland, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Austria, Black forest, Cologne, Italy and finally Aachen. Toured 7 countries, made numerous friends, saw the marvels, appreciated the nature and cherished the life. I saw hills, seas, cultures and numerous types of cuisines, unfortunately being a vegetarian, I had to miss out on a lot of stuff. 
They say as you meet many people, some leave impressions and some become a part of your memoirs and stay in your heart forever. Met three people of the latter kind and still cherish each interaction with them. All in all, made some truly lasting memories and learnt some valuable lessons for life. :)

August 2011:  Ahh, returned to India and finally entered the most awaited final year of my college life. Super excited, I was overcome with a strong urge to forget all fears and do what my heart says. And hence, I went back home on the very first weekend to meet those three again and in the process, got a free dinner from the DAAD people again. Seems DAAD loves to treat me. :P

Returned, I was struck with an idea - "Why not enter politics?". Never had any contact with any political person in the campus and having ignored it for 3 years - I felt it was time to engulf it with both hands. It all started with Anunaya - who made the secretary of a seemingly unknown club called "Cinema Club" (with the only task of screening movies) but which made you a nominated member of the senate. Hence, I skipped the first phase of elections, but now faced the demon of the second phase. Numerous ups and downs, ego clashes, treaties and many MOUs came my way, but somehow I managed to surprise everyone by winning an Executive Member's post.

September 2011: Though my political venture, burdened me with two more posts, I was still able to somehow manage IMG recruitments, senate meeting, cinema club meetings, debating events and my PR duties. This taught me another lesson - "dont eat more than you can chew" but I managed.

October 2011: Fell ill for two weeks and was cut off from the world, was rushed home and somehow recuperated. Then Dusehra, exams, Diwali and internship seminar didn't leave much time to enjoy this month.

November 2011:  Screened a movie by finally constituting a few members of the Cinema Club and then began the placement fever -filling forms, giving online exams and the like. Meanwhile, I was also continuously thinking of something to send to a special friend for birthday. The end term exams went like a breeze this time and weren't even noticed before their end marked the beginning of the toughest three days of my life.

I was very confident because I felt I knew my subjects, was good at expressing myself and seemed to have some luck too. ITC, Schlum weren't even my dream and hence their rejection didn't matter but it was Dec 1 which I had most waited for.

December 2011: Finally the day was here, I barely slept for three hours and made full length notes for my technical interview and prepared for all questions. I got ready and left, confident that today was the day when I get placed. I gave the technical round of Shell and was sure I was through. But still gave the 1st round of I-runway - a consultancy firm based in Bangalore. Cleared the technical round of Shell, had lunch with them and then began the 1.5 hrs 40-page case study exercise followed by a 1hr interview. Their stress exercise finally crumpled me and I gave a less than perfect interview but was still banking on my luck to get me through again.

Meanwhile, as I waited for the Shell results, gave the second round of I-runway which I also cleared with ease and was immediately scheduled for third round. I was praying to get the results of Shell asap as I had a feeling that I could make it to I-runway but really wanted to get into Shell. Then came the blast that shook me - I had finally run out of luck and I wasn't selected in Shell. Broken though I was, I gathered myself and cleared the final interview of I-runway in the best way I could and was happy that at least I was placed on Day 1 which had always been my wish.

Then followed a few days of depression at failing to achieve my goal of getting into "Shell" but I managed and tried to enjoy other's happiness and revel in it. Finally returning back home, could only get me out of it and give me some peace. 

Now as I look ahead, I feel I have a perfectly set stage to foray into the waiting real world and leave a mark as a consultant(may be) but definitely as a "man of honor". 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Switzerland, life and philosophy

I wont bore you with crap like Switzerland is heaven on earth and the most beautiful place ever seen because you already know that but I would tell you that the place has its charm not only because of its natural beauty but also because of its people.

The mountains and the scenic beauty of Switzerland is no different from Himalayas but the way it is presented to you and the manner in which it is portrayed immortalizes the experience. The beautiful Rhine Falls near Schauffhausen, the beautiful cities of Zurich and Lucerne, the snow clad peak of Mt. Titlis and the walks in the countryside nearly summarize my visit. I would say beauty is best displayed in Switzerland than anywhere else in the world.

Moving on to the 'People', I have always held strong views that your experience is highly based on your interaction with the people of that region and the people here are the nicest ones i have ever seen. Always soft spoken, understanding and helpful are a few characteristics of these lovely people. but apart from that they show you that life is tough for everyone but it becomes easier by being polite and nice to everyone.

Apart from that, on a candid note, I can not stop myself from mentioning about the beauty and liveliness of the charming and cute girls that we met. Decent in their manner and attractive in their dressing, even they left a mark on my memory and enhanced my experience.

Concluding, it would be rude to not mention my companions without whom this trip would not have been as beautiful as it was... Vivek, Aakash, Hemant, Satyadeep, Ved and of course, Ruprekha. I thank you all for being a part of one of the most memorable trips of my life and making it worth writing a blog about.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ver usted de nuevo

Its time for the IMG Farewell again and like always, we people try to go beyond our capabilities and try our hand at creativity. This time I was asked to write a poem and I am happy that I was able to produce something from my heart, within the word limit imposed by the invitation creation team. Anyways have a look at the poem and let me know your views too about my first attempt at poetry:-

The end of the year beckons us ,
Asking to let you go,
As a bright new adventure awaits you,
Blossoming with fun, opportunities and success.

It has been a long journey together,
Caring, fighting and achieving.
You are no more an individual,
You are us and we are you.

We know the parting looms on the horizon,
And we cant hold you forever,
But letting go is not as easy as said,
It tears the heart apart to say goodbye.

We wish the best for you,
As you step into a new world.
Its time to bid you adios.
But we would rather say
Ver usted de nuevo
Cos we’ll meet again someday

In each line of this poem, I have tried to let the reader go into the depth of it, to understand its meaning and relish the feelings that the juniors have for the batch which is about to part from us. The line "ver usted de nuevo" created a lot of interest as many weren't able to comprehend it as it is a spanish line meaning "See you again" which was apt for my poem.

Also the line " you are no more an individual" came from the Gaia concept of Isaac Asimov and the general Group Theory that as you integrate into the group, you lose a part of your identity to become more than yourself, to become greater than an individual, to become a single entity called "IMG" in this case.

 My favorite lines were "But letting go is not as easy as said, It tears the heart apart to say goodbye." as it really pains a lot to part from the seniors who have become an integral part of our lives.

So, I dedicate this poem to all my IMG seniors, I hope you like it. :)

PS: This poem is my another attempt at sentiyaap. IMG farewell is a long affair, more sentiyapa to come. :P