Thursday, November 24, 2005

My Story: An engineering undergrad's training saga

(The following post is what I wrote in a couple of emails to my friends at TIET in the first week of Feb. It describes what I had to go through to get my six months industrial training started(as part of B.E.'s curriculum). Also, this post frequently mentions "moli" - his name is Amol, a close friend and a classmate)

11th Jan(tuesday) - As I(alongwith Moli) was making my way to sector 17, Chandigarh, after another day of waiting and waiting, I blurted out-"Moli, when all this is over, I m gonna write about this". At that time, I thought it'll be over soon. Little did I know there was still a fortnight to go before I could breath easy again.

Now, finally, a month after it all started, its over. The wait, the uncertainty, the drama of my training saga has finally ended, and now, I m ready to tell u about the rollercoaster ride I had from the day I went to Delhi on that fateful day, 29th december, 2004...

We(Moli and I) were quite cheerful on the morning of 29th dec. We were on our way to janpath, cp, to meet Mr VB, manager, Wipro Infotech. The day before, we got our letter(as all of u did) from the college without any hassles, left for Delhi at noon, and stayed at gurgaon for the night. That our training in Wipro was confirmed, there was no doubt about it. Also, we had no doubt that it was for 6 months, and not 2 months as they had originally said. After exchanging a few pleasantries and having discussed a bit about what kind of training we were going to get, Mr VB said politely, "as u know already, your training will be for two months..." huh, what the hell? They had said it will be extended upto six months, right? Wrong. "it is Wipro's global policy that training can only last for 8 weeks, no more, no less". We tried to reason out with him, "sir, the college wont allow us training for two months". "no, no, it cant be done." I thought I had a bright idea-"sir, how about u put us on one project for two months, then on another for the next two months...?" "sorry bud, u can stay at Wipro as a trainee for two months ONLY". The writing was on the wall, there was no way they were going to do it for 6 months. Still we pleaded with him, so he told us to come the next day, but he wasnt too hopeful. Turns out, somewhere along the chain of communication between Moli's mom(who had ararnged our training in Wipro) and Mr VB, someone just said "no problems, it will be for 6 months", without ever getting it through to the other end. But then again, how come their letter was approved by the college if this training was to be for two months only? Surely these guys must have mentioned the duration of training when they sent our names to the college. Whatever happened, we didn’t know. At that moment, something had to be done. Then we thought, how about two months at Wipro, then the next four months at some other place(even college, if nothing else), but that was plan was shot down by Chatterjee sir. So we went to Wipro again the next day, and, as expected, there wasn’t anything for us over there. Wipro was out, surely. Now it was time to look at something else. At that moment, we(or rather, Moli's mom) were so desperate, we even called Devay, to ask for the number of ST's HR manager!! Once Moli's mom was convinced st was not an option, we started looking elsewhere. On the way out of CP, we saw some central govt telecom research centre. Doesnt seem like a bad option, why not try it out? So, we just walked in, asked for the training incharge. Fat chance, they didnt take in any trainees. That day, and the next morning, we were in Delhi, calling up anyone and everyone we thought might do something. We even visited a career consultant, hoping that she would help somehow. "sorry guys, I can only suggest u where to look, but I dont have contacts in the electronics/telecom companies. If u were in mechanical, I could have done something". So that was that, after three days of going from Delhi's one end to the other, we decided to go back. By then, we had decided to try out CSIO after the weekend. Weary, and tired, we were back at our homes on the night of 31st. I reached my home three hours before 2005, which came while I was asleep.

3rd Jan(monday) - We reached CSIO, Chandigarh, at noon. Hopefully, this would be better than Wipro. Things seemed to be going smoothly. We knew already they needed a minimum percentage of 60%. Both of us had that already. The training incharge said no problems, u pass our minimum criteria, ur training wont be a problem. And they would also need the college letter, and all the cgpa cards. O oh, cgpa cards were at home, cant they wait? No, they were needed, all of them, for them to confirm the training. Chatterjee sir said he would give the letter, but we had to come quick. We were already getting late, so we decided to move. On the way out, Moli showed me a notice:
"for training in sixth semester, minimum percentage is to be 62% in fourth semester" now, in fourth semester, my cg was 6.82. 6.82x9=61.38%. What the f**k is this? No, not again, please. Anyway, we went to college, got our letter, we tried to find out our gpa, but the list was nowhere to be found. The office was also closed. Kuwaiti was there too, I thought he might know, and he did. Now, after fifth sem, my cg is 6.95. And, 6.95x9=62.55%. Great! I went back home in a happy mood. Finally, something did go right.


The next day, 4th of Jan, we went back to CSIO(I went via Patiala, where I had to get a duplicate gpa card, for one that I had lost). Although my cg was now above 62%, I was still a bit apprehensive about one thing-in the notice it was mentioned that it shd be above 62% in the fourth sem. Oh man, soon that apprehension became a horrible reality. All that they would accept is a 62+ percentage in 4th sem. "But sir, I already have it above 62% in 5th sem". "No boy, 62 above in 4th sem. We dont care what it is in 5th sem". After pleading and requesting them for something like 4 hours, I knew it was over. CSIO was out, too.

However, Moli did get it in there, and he's got quite a project on his hands. Coming back to me, Chaterjee sir had already told me that Advance Tech. was available too. But from what I had heard(from many people), Advance was completely bakwaas(useless), and shelling 10 grand for training there was not worth it. Now, I really started thinking about going back to college, and doing my training there. However, there was still one option left, Spice. There was a contact in Spice. So I decided to try that next day. Called up Chatterjee sir again, who told me that there was a slot free in Alstom too. Good, I thought. I am gonna try Spice tomorrow, and if nothing happens there, I would take Alstom. Next afternoon, I met Mr Murli, our contact in Spice. After around 5 hours of waiting, roaming around Chandigarh, going to Spice mohali and then waiting again, Mr Murli finally took me to the man who was to interview me. "your resume, please". "hmmm, your cgpa is quite come?" this was not looking good. "we r used to guys from Thapar with pretty high gpas...& we already are full as far as trainees are concerned". "would be quite difficult to fit u in" " we would inform u on 10th". For probably the first time since I joined college, I wished I had a better gpa. "by the way, what r ur interests"? "mmm,sir, I have...these days developed an interest in programming." What the hell was I saying?? I had been programming and had an interest in it since I was in primary school. Was I really that nervous? Anyway, I came back from Spice, really, really feeling low. Anyway, alstom is still open, I thought. Was I kidding with myself? The next day, as I prepared to go back to college for the Alstom letter, I made a call to sir to inform him. "wait, but what is ur cgpa?" "6.95, sir". "I m sorry, Chaitanya, but those who went to IP gas have also left, and one of them, who has a gpa above 8, has asked for alstom. So I cannot give it to you." for three consecutive days, at three different places, I suffered because of my gpa. If only I had studied a bit more...(now, now, dont start thinkin I m aiming to be a dassi(10-pointer) in 7th sem)

Well, now what? Should I go back to college now? Am I destined not to get my training anywhere else? But then, why back out now? While I m in chd, why not try something else. A day earlier, I had met Ankur Aggarwal, who was in SCL. Not a bad option, scl. So I got their contact no from him. "well, our training slots are full, but if u know someone over here, we might fit u in." ok, so now we had to find someone who knew someone in SCL. Meanwhile, another option came up, Puncom. We got hold of someone at Puncom, so I went to Mohali again, this time at puncom. The hr person over there said "we would need an NOC from your college, a draft of Rs 9000 & 2 passport size photographs, thats all." Really? Thats all? Nothing else? No cgpa, nothing? "no, theres nothing alse we need, just that draft, NOC and photos. Bring these and you'll get your training." Thats better. But we were still cautious. So we also tried my cousin in Mumbai who's working at Reliance. He knew someone from Airtel in Chandigarh, he said. Might as well try him. So, in the evening we met my cousin's friend. "can I see ur resume?" "well, ur gpa is a bit low..." no, not again, no, no, NO! "dont worry, its not a problem, just take it above 7, thats all" as for training, he had a cousin in Spice, whom he said will get it done. So next day, I went to Spice, again. This time, however, was different. The resume was seen, but the gpa was not a problem. Finally, I was told, "we have a setup in sector 35, in the basement. Go there, if u r ok with it, then u'll get ur letter on monday."

Thats where I m sitting right now, folks. But it was not over. After I had seen this place, I got the call from someone we hoped would get me into SCL. And he had the form alright. "just get the letter from college and a draft of Rs 7800, I have the form, so dont worry." WOW! What a change of fate. 24 hrs ago, I was thinking of going back to college. Now I had three different options before me. I decided to stick to Spice. That was to give me worries for another 20 days. Monday came and went, but Mr Raju(who was to give me the letter) was in Delhi. On tuesday, I was told the my resume had been forwarded to the hr people, who would issue the letter. Meanwhile Chatterjee sir also told me to bring the letter quick. Finally, I was told to join on thursday, but the letter would have to wait. Well, atleast I was going to start my training. A week into my training, I, alongwith other trainees over here, was called at Spice HO. But why? For an interview. What for? Huh, seems that Spice was overflowing with trainees, and they wanted to screen us first. Back at Mohali, I was called up first. "the CV plz," "sir, I had already given my cv" "you did, so then where is it?" I thank my lucky stars for that day, cause they didnt have our cvs at that moment. They did ask a few basic questions about C and SQL though. Now, all I can say is, I was stumped, really. These were things which I should have known. But anyway, the real interview was postponed, till they had our CVs. We forwarded our cvs again, but the interview never happened. And the letter didn’t come either. Al last, after asking for the letter day after day, the HR people finally came up with our letters. And finally, on 28th of Jan, a month after it all started, I got my letter. It was all over. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief and called up Chatterjee sir, who said "ok, so u post it to me then".

And that, is my story in a nutshell :) Hope I didnt bore u guys too much.

(Even if I did, I sure would love to see your comments!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

IIPM vs JAM & Bloggers

Am a little late on this one(probably 'cause I got no interest in MBA, and joined blogosphere only 2 weeks back), but since it involves Indian bloggers and freedom of speech, not to mention that some of my friends are preparing for CAT, I'll post a few links where you can read about the whole IIPM flap i.e. if you haven't already done so.
You can find out much more on Desipundit's and Arun Varma's updates on the controversy. Chances are, you already know the whole thing, but still, am trying to do my bit as a brand new member of the Indian blogging community.

Update - Just saw IIPM on Wikipedia. Nice read, and quite informative. Also, wiki page on Arindam Chaudhuri, current dean at IIPM. (Update 2 Dec, 05: Wikipedia being a free encyclopedia can be edited by anyone; its IIPM article has recently been vandalized by pro-IIPM editors, so please don't rely on wiki alone, see other links too)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Boycott Sony

Wired News: Boycott Sony

Yes, absolutely BOYCOTT SONY. Your PC's (and your own) safety depends on it.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Counter-Strike Wins

Date: Somewhere between July to December, 2005
Time: 1.30 AM
Venue: de_dust2 (in CS world)
Hostel A, TIET, Patiala (in the real world)

“Ok, let’s go”. Buy the AKs and the grenades. Guys, on to bomb site B. “Cover me”. Throw the HE into the hallway. “Fire in the hole!”. No one there. On to B. The flashbang. Any CT hiding behind the crates? No. Ok plant the bomb. Ti.. Ti.. Ti.. “The Bomb has been planted”. (Meanwhile, a lone terrorist heading on to A is killed by a counter-terrorist’s M4A.) Get into position. A T behind the bomb. A T behind the crates looking downhill. A sniper with his Magnum aimed down the hallway. A confused T in the middle looking every way. “Enemy spotted.” The T looking down the hill kills a CT. The sniper frags another two in the hallway. The third CT from the hallway takes down the sniper and the confused T. The T behind the crates takes him down. The last CT coming uphill kills the T behind the crates. And the T behind the bomb fills him with shotgun spray head to toe. “Terrorists win”.

Sometime later…

Take them before they reach A. The sniper’s at one end of the long corridor beside A. Two other CTs take positions to defend site A. The last two rush to the hallway near T spawn leading to the A corridor. “Go Go Go”. Two CTs take on three Ts. Unlike Sholay, this time the three overpower the two. But only one T remains. The fool heads towards the corridor and becomes a spectator, thanks to a sniper’s bullet. The other two reach A from the other side. There’s a CT waiting for them. Fall back. “Fire in the hole!”. A flashbang and an HE. A CT is blinded, a T is injured. The Ts take down the blind CT. But they don’t know that two other CTs are waiting for them. One of them falls to a Magnum. The other to a Bullpup. All the Ts are dead. “Counter-terrorists win”.

But of course Counter-Strike is not just about terrorists or counter-terrorists. There’s a lot more that goes on than just “Terrorists win” or “Counter-terrorists win”:
Time: 2.00 AM
The CTs have just finished off all the Ts, but the bomb’s stil there. The two remaining CTs rush to the bomb. None of them has the defusal kit. Time is running out. It was Ti…….. Ti…….. Ti…….. when they reached the bomb site. Now that they have finished off the terrorists, its Ti.. Ti.. Ti.. As he defuses the bomb it becomes TiTiTiTiTiTi…. Will he won’t he? The question’s on everybody’s mind. Its gonna be tight, very tight. The defuser’s sweating - its almost complete - don’t blow. The dead Ts are sweating - its almost over - blow up - don’t let him. Hold your breath, ladies and gentlemen, ‘cause the bomb has…..
“…………….....….s win”

How does CS manage this? How is it that virtual fights lead to real fights? I’ve been playing games since I was maybe five, but never have I seen a game affecting people’s lives like CS does. I am a voracious(but a little bit less now) CS player myself, and I acknowledge its real good. Unlike most games, it actually gets better as you keep on playing it, but really, how come we allow it to get so far? Maybe it’s just that team games build up emotions much faster and stronger than single-player games. Or maybe the realism of CS seeps into our reality. Whatever it is, many of us are falling victims to its addiction. The end-sems are coming near, and of course there’s very little studying in BE, but lets see how many exams CS manages to destroy…

Time: 2.10 AM
The game is over. The score line reads Terrorists 19, Counter-terrorists 13. But you know what? Counter-Strike wins.

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