Stopping a ritual this year

Sunday, the 18th of November, 2007. Hordes of students, around 2.5 lakhs to give you a ball park estimate, descended on schools/colleges which were bereft of their own students. Occasion was the "Mother of all Indian Exams" - Common Admission Test 2008 conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management.

Before going further, a small introduction to the IIMs. Conceptualized during the socialist days of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, these institutes had a mandate to produce world-class managers who will build the "India of Tomorrow". There are 7 of these institutes currently, the youngest one being IIM-Shillong. I am not very sure how profound an effect IIM-ites have had on nation building but yes, they have done well. They have brought name to the country and their alma mater. These were the bland facts. Now for the place that the hallowed portals of these institutes hold in the Indian Middle Class Psyche. I do not intend to use Indian Middle Class in a derogatory way or to allude to bourgeois behavior. I use the term only to define a class of people.

The "Government ki Naukri" mentality took deep and firm roots after independence and during the socialist days when "Profit" was a cuss word. This was a time when celebrating the fact that the richest man in the world is an Indian would be considered blasphemous. This stifled the entrepreneurial instincts of most of our grandparents and their parents. The little drops of business acumen that seeped through this drought, evaporated when it came in contact with the frying pan called "License Raj". Graduation from IIM, like IIT, provided freedom from vicious cycle of middle class life. It reminds of electrons, in an atom, gaining energy and moving up to the next higher orbit around the nucleus. IIMs, thus, were a sure and for some the only way to get to the promised land.

There is a very common group of students which writes the CAT exam. The average student at college, primarily engineering colleges, who was as good at extra curricular activities as he was bad at studies. He has better than speaking skills. I belonged to one such category. Why "Belonged", you ask ? Well not because I cease to have these traits but because I am not going to write CAT anymore. Every Diwali in the last 5 years, I would celebrate CAT. It did not help that even my birthday comes sometime before the D-Day.

It has been a humbling effort. Seeing thousands and thousands of boys and girls vying for the coveted few seats. Even though I still harbour ambitions of MBA, I do accept that the glitz of management may have forced many a people like me to brush their true calling under the carpet. Finance and I-Banks are the hot things today. Marketing was THE thing sometime back. Preparing for CAT has truly been a back breaking effort. Nights and Nights of Quant/DI/English. Mornings starting with Geometry and Word meanings.

I remember the 10 days preceding 19th Nov 2006. That was my best shot at IIMs and the closest I got. It is a wee bit difficult task to capture the moods, expectations, bouts of hope and despair that a person goes through when preparing for CAT. Every time you hold the book you see phantasmagoric images of cracking the exam, destroying other candidates in GD and getting a call from all the six IIMs. Now 7. It is every parent's dream to see their son/daughter in IIT/IIMs - won't hurt if you do both. But then as I say, there are few things in life bigger than life itself.

Anyway, I am going to bit adieu to the "Har Diwali, Ek Billi" ritual. Enough. Now I am searching for people who can buy the three sets of TIME material that I have. Anybody dreaming of a glamorous life selling glib talk?

No comments:

Post a Comment