CAT Race: The MBA story

MBA is a much sought-after career path these days in India. With over 2 lakh students appearing for the Common Admission Test (CAT) conducted by the IIMs every year, MBA is what most graduates aspire to take up irrespective of their backgrounds.

There is a glut of info these days; from online forums to coaching centers in every street, an aspirant has no dearth of know-how.  But the excess can be quite daunting to a first-timer and might mean spending a lot of time scouting through too many forums and talking to too many people to decide on the next step.  Continue reading “CAT Race: The MBA story”

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I can always run movie-marathons or sleep 40 hours on weekends but…

Word Count: 429 | Estimated time to read entry: 5 min

Image Source: istockphoto.com


The months approaching placements in any B-school are full of apprehension, doubt and uncertainty. But for the few who are getting back into family business or entrepreneurship, the rest are trying to master every trick in the book to land their dream job. TAPMIans are of course no exceptions – all that BrandScan, Theme papers, Group work, Markstrat, MIP and other ‘learning’ better culminate into something fruitful, eh??!

Now, I am reminded time and again, from junies of various batches, that my blog is eminently popular among most of them. “Out of sheer modesty” 😛 I will skip all the eulogies.  I also get friend requests on Facebook from junies who ‘follow and appreciate’ my blog and I am surprised most of the times because I don’t see comments from (m)any of them and hence, I have no way of knowing my readers.

If the first paragraph is what you guys are feeling right now and if the second paragraph is even remotely true, I guess I can use both of it for something really useful. Here is the idea:

I have a couple of friends placed in various companies across various sectors from various batches, thanks to this blog! I can request them to address your queries on placements and all things concerned with it. We can have a nice discussion right here on the blog. And since this is an open forum, you never know what this can blow out into. In fact, every TAPMI junie is welcome to post queries and every senior to answer them. I will (of course) only moderate.

You send me your queries in the form of comments to the entry that I will be posting subsequently and seniors from relevant sectors with matching profiles who consent to help out will address your queries. I will pick some of the best comments and responses and make entries out of them so that they are not lost in the trail of comments, with due credit to the contributors. And yes, you can choose to stay anonymous but you risk getting into my comment spam folder.

I am not guaranteeing you guys a job here but if you think this is a good idea, please let me know. You can also suggest ideas on what you want featured. Based on the number and quality of comments I get, I will take a call. So the better your response, the higher the chances.

And if you come to think of it, I didn’t give this entry such a long title for nothing, did I? 😉

Who says I ain’t a Roadie – Part 2

Word count: 1827 | Estimated time to read entry: 20 min

Note: This entry is in continuation of  ‘Who says I ain’t a Roadie – Part 1

 

At the camp:

We stood in line for lunch – you could eat as much as you wanted but the total supply was limited. One person’s greed would mean someone else had to compensate by staying hungry. So I struck a deal with the guys on perpetual diet and requested them to overload their plates and unload it later onto mine. This was one hell of a reality show we were in!

Our tents
Our tents

Our dwelling conditions were pathetic. The tent was made of crude asbestos sheets supported by wooden posts and thatches, with a flap for entry. There was a bulb and that was the only luxury. The floor was bare earth and all its inhabitants were our uninvited guests. A heavy gust of wind would throw open the flaps and sprinkle us with the surrounding dust.

 

Each tent had around 6-7 occupants and all you could do in the tent was to lie on your belly with your elbows on the ground and chin in your palms, staring at all the other tents’ occupants who were also doing the same thing. A few meters away, there was a huge open tank with a couple of taps and this was the water you could use for anything, including Jai Ho  🙂

A huge lamp on a post lit this entire area at night and people soon discovered that it had a plug and socket for charging mobile phones. Some others discovered that the wind always blew in a very favorable direction at one spot and would be ideal for smoking.

 

Some optimistic chaps exclaimed that the food served was delicious to which I pointed out that after all the hectic tasks we did, any food would taste like ambrosia. But even I had to agree that it was far better than what we got in our mess 😛

 

The temperament of the folks was varied. All of us knew that if we didn’t finish the tasks, we would be sent back again like some of our seniors were, and that meant not one but two weeks in hell. No one had failed twice till date so we didn’t want to even think about it ourselves. There was no question of backing out and most of us did the tasks grudgingly.

 

Some pretended to like it for a while but even they began to detest the tasks as the level of difficulty shifted to top gear. During this, we found great solace in abusing the profs who had planned this and resolved that after passing out, we would arrange a similar Outbound for them all. Fortunately, the group politics was absent and everyone was supportive, perhaps because there was no credit for excelling or out-performing another. It wasn’t a competition so we were all in it together.

 

Cave exploration:

After lunch, we were told that our next task was cave exploration. We got ready with our backpacks and set out with the three trainers. After a good 2km trek on uneven terrain, we again faced another rock but no caves were in sight. Miss commando came forward to quell our curiosity:

One of the easy ones we have climbed
One of the "easy" ones we'd climbed 😉

“The cave is inside this rock but entry is on the other side. You have to ascend it and descend half way from the other side to enter it. More instructions after we are at the cave entrance. Move!”

 

This rock was more difficult than the first one we had climbed in the morning. It was steeper and in many spots we had to get on all fours and use our hands for support. We also had to take 3 breaks to catch our breath before reaching the top. Finally, we made it and began the descent. While ascent was tedious, descent was scary. Looking down from some 150+ feet with the wind gushing in your ears is a petrifying feeling. It psyches you out. Every step had to be well chosen because though you wouldn’t fall to your death, you could certainly break an ankle rendering you incapable of doing any tasks further.

 

We arrived at the tip of the cave with zero casualties. I expected it to be an Indiana Jones kinda cave with beams of light streaking from above and a nice deep blue pool of cool water in the centre.  All I saw was a dark pit in the rock, some 15 feet in diameter.

Moments b4 the plunge
Moments b4 the plunge

“This is the cave, it widens as you go in but not enough for you to stand up. It is more like a tunnel – you got to form a human chain lying down and slide sequentially on your backs. Your feet should be on the shoulders of the person sliding in front of you and he will hold on to your ankles. He will tug at your ankles when it is time to move – and you will do similarly for the guy above you. And that’s the way the chain will move through the cave. The leader goes first and will not have anyone to hold his ankles or direct him”.

“Remember these points”, she continued –

  1. There is only one way out of this cave.
  2. The cave is wide enough so you can lose your way and can get lost inside.
  3. Worse still, you can get isolated inside if you break the chain so never break the chain.
  4. If you are on the right track towards the exit, it gets very narrow and you can get stuck.
  5. There are bats inside the cave who will fly towards you in hordes if you create a noise so this whole task should be done is absolute silence.
  6. The cave is pitch dark and lighters, torches or any source of light is prohibited as it could attract the bats or other creatures towards you.

Happy exploration, one of us will meet you at the exit. So who wants to go first?”

 

I couldn’t believe my ears. This was like my worst nightmare coming true. Imagine sliding on your butt inside a pitch black tunnel with bats and “other creatures” ready to attack you. WTF did anyone even want to try this?

 

Soon we were in the cave holding on to the ankles of the guy above us for dear life. Our eyes grew accustomed to the darkness and the only sound we could hear was the rustle of denim on hard rock as we slid sequentially towards we knew not what.

“Waaaah! I think I have been bitten by a bat….a bat….a bat” echoed a panic-stricken voice from above.

“Shut the f#@# up Mr Batman, don’t make a noise…a noise…a noise”, came a reply.

“I’m stuck here, I can’t move a muscle….too narrow…too narrow…too narrow”.

“Whew! We are on the right track then…then…then”.

 

At the narrowest point, the cave touched our noses as we lay on our backs. We had to force ourselves out of this and the guy below tugged hard at your ankles to help you through. After a lot more acrobatics we saw light below and slid towards it.

 

Having come out of the cave, we had descended only 30% of the rock we had climbed. The remaining descent was before us and after that we had to cross a shallow river, go around the rock and head for the camp to reach our tents – a good 10 km of trekking awaited us. Our jeans were in tatters and so was our spirit.

 

We reached the tent before dark with every muscle aching. The medicine kits were out in full glory and the smell of odomos cream, boroplus, dettol, moov etc was in the air. A couple guys had injured ankles after descent but nothing serious.

 

Over dinner we realized that only 1 day had elapsed and we had to endure 6 more! And on this seemingly easiest day we had climbed 2 moderately difficult rocks and trekked nearly 15km! We decided to take one step at a time and went straight to our tents for some sleep. We were to be back in action very early the following day.

 

Mayday! We are under attack!

We were in a deep slumber when our camp was suddenly attacked by the best stealth bomber in the world – Rain. Angry torrents lashed at the unresisting tents and their confused inhabitants without warning. The flaps did little to prevent the gusts from entering and within minutes we all woke up to the fact that we were under serious attack.

 

The effects of the havoc unleashed were multiple. For one, most roofs started leaking and generous streams of water began to flow in. Secondly, the thatches on the sides got all soggy, thereby wetting our bag of supplies and clothes that were kept against them. Thirdly, all the insects from the earth came out in millions and we saw innumerable ants and worms crawl straight onto our pillows and glucose bottles. Fourthly, the tents were on an embankment just 6 inches from the ground and rain water was fast covering this little height and would soon flood in from the floor up as well. Fifthly, because of the rain the entire terrain and rocks would be rendered slippery, making our tasks more difficult and dangerous.

 

What followed was total chaos – lights were turned on, flaps were held shut, leaks were covered with towels to provide temporary relief, a few got into their boots and jumped all over the tents in an attempt to vanquish the insect army and bags were moved to the center of the tents to be fiercely guarded. As usual, there was a ‘manager’ in every tent who could only give ‘creative suggestions’ but could never implement any thing:

 

“Move the bag there….hold the flaps, hold the flaps….sweep out that water….why don’t you do something?!….stop being an idiot….keep the shoes away from the clothes…..”

 

Tempers flew in every tent very soon and there was utter fracas over all issues – people were shouting at the top of their voices addressing each others’ mothers, sisters and any other female member in the family one could think of. There were some pushes and shoves and the situation was slowly getting out of hand. The group leaders intervened finally, keeping aside their own quarrels, and decided to go to the coordinators’ tents for help.

 

The coordinators had thick nice tents made of canvas that were well furnished with beds, fans etc! They even had the luxury of securely locking their tents as some of them even had a TV. The plea for help was turned down and we were told that we are on our own and the crisis was part of the entire show – it was up to us to manage it and overcome it. We couldn’t even burn down their tents because of the rain and that reminded us that we were all unnecessarily getting wet. We returned to our tents, destroyed every single insect in sight, swept out the water and got ready to resume our sleep. The rain relented and we were soon asleep once again.

Pics Courtesy: Aashish/Nilesh/Lipjo/Paddy

>>To be continued…

Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4


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Guest Post: Booze, Babes & Boogie

Dr Deltoid This is a Dr. Deltoid Entry. Reader discretion advised!

Word count: 695 | Estimated time to read entry: Consult Dr.Deltoid

——

At party

So here goes nothing……………..coming to you straight, bitchy and hard. My virgin entree into the big bad swingin world of Tapmi underbelly. I hereby promise to be your unsolicited guide and somewhat sober companion in demystifying the mundane existence of an average hostelite.

There were three things sacred to an average Tapmian: Booze, Girls and last but definitely not the least, Parties. This particular rant I shall restrict to a highly specialized sub class “Girls in Parties”.  😀

No Tapmi legend can ever be complete without the “Chakravyuh” of dancing girls. This was an infamous circle comparable to “ring of fire” as the active Volcano Islands in the Pacific are termed. It was pretty impossible for a guy to penetrate this exclusive society unless he slipped on some beer dropped on the floor and happened to stumble in. The poor guy already half drunk would suffer from Abhimanyu complex at the sight of several “Mata Hari’s” 😮 rapidly shimmying at high speed around him and couldn’t figure out how to get out. The only hope for the poor sod would be that one of them took pity on him and kicked him hard enough for him to be thrown out. The only other way was to wait for the clock to strike eleven which was the time at which the girls left for hostels. The other guys would just watch helplessly and with a shrug of shoulders, raise a toast to the trapped soul just feeling glad it wasn’t them.

Another interesting species often found was the “invisible drinkers”. These were the girls who could drink to put the best of the guys to shame but were too conscious of their image to do so openly. Hence they would dance changing partners at rapid intervals (obviously preference given to guys drinking vodka) and chug a biggish sip from each. The guy so happy that some female form was dancing with him would be in a trance and totally unaware that his glass was being emptied steadily. Having finished the glass she would move on in search of the next victim.

Then there were the highly beautiful/popular/hot girls referred to as “Draupadis” 😀 😀 because quite like their namesake from Mahabharata they would have at least five guys clamouring for their attention at any given point of time. Like a f***in compass, they would just turn with every beat of the song east-south-north- west and so on all night. Obviously if one of the guys was good looking or had promised to help out with the next Operations assignment, the pattern would be east-south-south-south-west-north and so on (yes the guy standing at south being the afore mentioned helpful person).

Another set of girls would be the “Angry Girlfriends Squad”. Now this was a dangerous type because they had come to the party with a one-point-agenda and that was to kick some ass. They would wait and watch until their boyfriends would have maybe one cc drink more than permitted or see him dance with some other female. When this happened, all hell would break lose with consequences varying from “getting drink thrown on face” to “A Kick in the nuts”.

Last but definitely not the least were the “Ultra Drunks” (Not to be confused with invisible drinkers). These were girls who generally never drank but were overcome by some extreme euphoria or depression to pursue this noble crusade. Once drunk it would not take long for the puking to begin and then it would turn into a game of avoiding the dragon’s fire. Like all drunk people, the girl would refuse to believe she was drunk and insist on dancing, stopping at random intervals to shower some lucky winner with “more than her love”.

I think the candle is about to die out and I have done enough damage for one night, it’s time to return to my cave. So adios friends, until next time………… Dasvidaniya.

P.S: to the intelligent reader who can guess the names of all the girls referred to above, a drink awaits at Guzzlers 🙂 😛

——–

Opinions expressed in this entry are solely the Guest Writer’s. Read #6 in Disclaimer.

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Who says I ain’t a Roadie – Part 1

Word count: 1388 | Estimated time to read entry: 10 min

Incidents described below have been slightly dramatized for the benefit of the non-TAPMI readers and for the sake of bringing interest in the narration.

Photographs used are taken from the “Creative Uncommons” of the TAPMI B2007  esp – Aashish, Nilesh, Paddy & Lipjo and have reached me through various sources.

‘Roadies’ is a teen-centric reality show aired on MTV that requires contestants to endure various tasks ranging from the physically taxing to  the mentally humiliating. Contestants vote out the most undeserving after every episode and the one who lasts wins a cash prize, gizmos and the highly coveted title of ‘The Ultimate Roadie’.

——

 

We were in the toughest part of the MBA – almost drowned in excel sheets and group politics when the profs decided to up the ante against us. It was time for the most dangerous annual ritual that was designed to ‘test our mettle, team skills and how we would manage crisis and predicament under dire circumstances’. It was The Outbound, known to most HR folks as Outbound Learning (OBL). But I am sure even the most sadistic of you won’t be able to fathom the degree of difficulty and peril we underwent.

 

Assembled in the seminar hall, the seniors, who were already toughened by the experience, tried their best to hide their “it’s-your-time-in-hell” smirk but failed miserably. A brief ppt was shown to us about the ensuing ordeal – the location was a specialized outdoor training camp located at the outskirts of Bangalore bordering the Bannerghatta National Park; the place was owned by a firang Guru in saffron with a beard till his balls, escorted by two ferocious dogs; there were not-so-waterproof looking tents for sleeping in, like a refugee camp straight out of a World War II film; we had to stand in line for food despite having paid enough to stay at a decent hotel and no, there was no ‘tent service’; cell phones were forbidden as were cigarettes and liquor; one had to spend 7 days in that camp, complete all the tasks and come back alive if one wanted to receive the MBA degree!

 

The boys and girls went separately because the camp didn’t accept teams that had both in them. We soon guessed that this might be because of the fact that people might behave real dangerous under those trying circumstances… and man, did all of us suddenly feel safe and thankful that the girls of the batch weren’t accompanying us! We had seen enough of their dangerous behavior! 😛

 

After this, we were handed a list of essential items we had to pack if we wanted to survive the ordeal:

 

  1. Full sleeved shirts – rugged
  2. Rugged jeans
  3. Glucose – min 4 large packs
  4. Good pair of shoes – good grip
  5. Odomos mosquito cream – no coils, no liquid
  6. Torches with spare batteries
  7. Knife with long handle!
  8. Toiletries
  9. Medi kit with antiseptic and bandages
  10. Bedding – thick blanket essential
  11. Stainless steel plate and glass
  12. Caps
  13. Toilet tissue – big roll 🙂
  14. Water bottle with sling-on strap

 

Machine guns and napalm bombs were thankfully not in the list. I suddenly felt like I was force-recruited into Napoleon’s army and most people went berserk looking at that list. To calm us down, the wise seniors said, “The camp will be really difficult. You will have to walk through thick bramble and thorny forests, infested with mosquitoes, insects and even wild animals. You won’t have the patience every time to reach out for your bag for getting out your water bottle and you will mostly be walking all days and most nights through hostile environment. Every calorie you conserve or burn will account for your success or failure. Now, you decide”.

 

With this explanation, the items in the list became clear. We had to make a wise choice in loading our bags so as to carry all adequate supplies and yet prevent overburdening ourselves.

 

——-

Initial surprise and Task #1:

 

We had arrived at the camp and were standing to attention in neat files. The business suits, ties and formal attire were all replaced by summer cuts, denim trousers and armor-like shirts. We looked nothing short of a rookie commando training parade. Three camp coordinators were standing a little distance ahead, talking amongst themselves. Clad in full commando camouflage fatigues, sunglasses, caps and boots, the three of them looked like they could bring down our entire 40+ team before we could bat an eyelid. Finally, one of them came forward and addressed us and we were not prepared for the surprise – it was a woman! 40+ pairs of eyes suddenly widened and ran a quick scan but the “camouflage” attire did a good job! 😛 She decided not to disappoint us by taking off her…relax!…cap and sunglasses!

 

In a crisp voice, she then said, “Hi, welcome to the camp. In the next few days, you will learn all about various kinds of knots, reading maps, usage of compass, navigation at night, rock climbing, cave exploration, rock descending, river crossing and survival in hostile environment. It will look tough now but it is possible if you think you can. We have had many teams of girls from your senior batches who have done all this very easily…” Each word she said sent a chill down our spine and the last sentence, deliberately added, froze us stiff. I expected her to sign off her speech in traditional commando style – “Mushkil waqt, commando sakht” (Transl: In times of difficulty, a commando plays tough) but instead she asked, “Any doubts??” I bet each of us wanted to ask “HTF does learning this make me a goddamn MBA?” but instead we chose to murmur vaguely to which she shouted,

 

“I DIDN’T HEAR AN ANSWER!”

 

“NO MA’AM”, answered 40+ voices in perfect unison, with half a mind to replace ‘Ma’am’ with ‘you bi###’

 

“That’s better”, she said and flashed an evil grin. “Since today is your first day, we will just go across the camp and return to this spot for lunch”. I soon realized that statements like these were orders and didn’t require any of us smart chaps to say things like ‘Can’t we wait till it gets a tad shadier?’ or ‘Why don’t you just show us a ppt of the camp instead of making us all walk?’ 😮

 

The camp was ensconced in natural greenery. The other 2 “commandos”, both men, flanked us and we soon reached a spot which had a series of shacks not far from where our tents were.

 

“This is where you, uh, do your business in the morning”, explained one of them.

 

“Your senior batches have called them the shit pits”, grinned another.

 

There were some 6-8 closets, each containing a deep pit that stank to high heavens due to you-know-what. Toilet tissue was the only savior as water was nearly a km away and the path to the shit pit was so rocky and uneven that half of what you would bring would spill out on the way. I felt like crying out ‘Jai Ho, Rig Rig Ringa…Tu mere saath dance karegi na?’ but Danny Boyle wasn’t auditioning there at that time.  😛

 

We walked a little further and realized that this seemingly easy task of ‘just going across the camp’ wasn’t as easy as expected. The damn camp contained a hillock twice the height of Eiffel tower, within its perimeter and going across the camp included climbing it too. We started the uphill journey – there were plenty of shrubs and rocks and the ascent wasn’t quite steep so with some effort we reached the top. We were about to take out our glucose water bottles and towels when a voice came from above our heads:

 

“It’s not over folks, you got to reach over here”.

 

Miss commando was standing almost 25 feet above us, on a steep rock that was totally bereft of any footholds, as if it was newly polished.

 

“There are 5 footholds – here, here, here, here and here” said the other.

 

“Oh really, I thought they are ants”, said I. He looked at me and decided to answer my sarcasm with action. Pointing to the “footholds” he climbed up as if he were on an escalator!

 

One by one, we started attempting. Some climbed half way and then slipped down the rock on their bellies and knees, some dug into the rock with their nails to avoid the fall and bled at finger tips and some nimble ones did a good job.

 

Pic Courtesy: Padmanabha "Paddy" Nayak
Pic Courtesy: Padmanabha "Paddy" Nayak

We had finished our first task and 70% had minor injuries already. The trainers were explaining the nearby vicinity but I was least interested in the view or their instructions as I was busy nursing my fingernail injuries and stocking myself with glucose. All the nitwits had forgotten that the task was only half over yet– we still had to descend the bloody rock and get back to the camp!

———–

PS: B 2007 TAPMIans – please send some good snaps, hopefully with me in it 😀 I got 3 more parts of this coming up in the next few days. 

>>To be continued….

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4


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Honored or Belittled??

Word Count: 678 | Estimated time to read entry: 7 min

A few days ago, I received a comment from PaGaLGuY on my entry on Tapmi hostel life. I followed the link posted on my blog and was surprised/amused to see that they had decided to use one of my photographs on their site’s notification section. I also noticed that my name, hyperlinked to my blog entry, was specifically mentioned on the very top of the page.

I soon realized that the mention wasn’t very glorious after all. For one, PaGaLGuY didn’t quite think it necessary to ask/inform me before using the snap. The article appeared on PaGaLGuY on Aug 25 and the comment appeared on my blog only on Sep 5. Even then, it was a callous intimation conveying their action of having already used the snap instead of seeking permission.

For some reason, PaGaLGuy (wrongly) assumed that a post factum mention of my name/blog URL in exchange for the usage of my snap is sufficient enough to honor me. They also (and wrongly again) assumed that I would refuse usage if asked and decided to go ahead without my prior consent.

Now I wouldn’t want to get into the legalese of such usage (I can if I want to because I clicked the snap myself and I have uploaded it on my Flickr portfolio, the very act of which reserves my IPR on the snap under the ambit of Creative Commons), but a few things seem quite funny and worth a mention.

For one, the room in the pic was the dirtiest room in the whole of TAPMI men’s hostel – sorry Ashwin and Rohan 😀 In fact it was at its ‘dirty best’ just before the final packing and that was the very reason for my shooting it. It took me a hell lot of photoshopping to get it to the form it is currently in. It is strange that such a snap went on to represent TAPMI notifications on PaGaLGuy! Ashwin, Rohan – you have made TAPMI proud and this certainly calls for a round of ‘Lime Juice’ 😛

Secondly, the hostel premise has changed and the one shown in the photograph has been occupied by another institution in Manipal. In other words, it is definitely not relevant to the future batches that will step into TAPMI. Perhaps this snap or even this would have been a better fit – and yea PaGaLGuy, it is gratis in case you wanna use it now. 😉

Lastly, we now know for sure that there is not a single TAPMIan working at PaGaLGuy. It is quite inconceivable to think of a full-blooded TAPMIan forgetting all that rigorous citing, referencing and cross referencing training; especially not after most of our assignments running into a page or two but the appendix running into 30-odd pages, full of exact references, citations, foot notes and perhaps even the fingerprints, retinal scans and butt marks of the original author, whose works we chose to use in our assignment.

Perhaps, the only imaginable benefit from this whole episode is that those keeping a tab on TAPMI updates on PaGaLGuy will now want to read my blog. They might thereby stumble upon this entry, read the rigid rules at TAPMI and freeze to their bones. Of course, with the coming of the new management at TAPMI the rules also might have changed but they won’t know that until they have read this line and by then I would have already had my fun. That is the only imaginable benefit – I will get some cheap thrills by petrifying them for a while.

And in case the rules at TAPMI haven’t changed with the coming of the new management then the TAPMI faculty may site this “improper referencing” example in class to make things all the more clearer to the next batches, if PaGaLGuy doesn’t pull off the page in a haste. 😉

——

PS: If and when PaGaLGuy recruits a TAPMIan (s)he may come to me for fingerprints, retinal scans and (if the interviewer is a really pretty gal) my butt prints as well 😛


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There are only 2 kinds of people in TAPMI….

Word count: 375 | Estimated time to read blog: 4 min

…those who are in Litcom and those who aren’t!

Litcom – the revered and adored abbreviation for The Literary Committee is one of the most talked-about, sought after and highly discussed extra-curricular student committee of TAPMI. It is the first committee to actually invite junie applicants at the beginning of the year and flag off the extra-curricular activities of TAPMI with its magnum opus – ‘Episode’, the cynosure of all eyes.

No one can describe what ‘Episode’ is. It is like the matrix, it has to be experienced. But rest assured, it is the most involving and highly motivating event that all TAPMIans will always cherish. Ask any alumni about what (s)he remembers most about TAPMI and you suddenly hear a dreamy-eyed, nostalgic utterance – “Episode”.

Litcom is the committee that conducts this iconic event and has a cult following across batches. The event is so hallowed that it takes more than mere mortals to put it together. It is small wonder then that all the Litcom members are called “The LitGods”.

Unfortunately everyone can’t aspire to be a God, or for that matter a Goddess. The best 2 junie guys and the best junie gal have this privileged distinction every year. Within minutes after your selection as a LitGod, the whole college knows your name and bio-data. Senies queue up for your intro because not even a dozen of them put together will wield as much power as you would singly. And forget about the chicks in your own batch (and a lot many in the senie batch 😉 ); it is just a side-effect of greater things in your way.

Apart from the very aura of Litcom, you also have other benefits. Litcom is responsible for some of the most thought-provoking and defining events during all major activities in TAPMI – nothing works without Litcom and its benevolent involvement. To add to the power imbalance, Litcom also has one of the biggest budgets. And what’s more, when other committees are meticulously questioned about their annual spend (which is peanuts anyways) and often criticized, Litcom stays unquestionably sacrosanct. No one doubts a LitGod.

So are you going to try and be a LitGod or settle for something merely mortal?

PS: This entry is directed at the prospective 2008-10 batch of TAPMI. For the others, the facts mentioned herein might be obvious truths. 😉 😛


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My first day at TAPMI

Word count: 1200 | Estimated time to read blog: 10 min

Rain drops. That’s the first thing I saw when I woke up on the dull, grey morning of 17 June 2005. My room mate had not yet arrived and I had the entire hostel room to myself. Two cupboards, two cement cots with worn out beds, two tables with chairs, a fan and two book shelves were all that the management provided for the fees paid. Mosquitoes, cockroaches and lizards were thrown in free. 😉

There was a common bathroom and loo for two rooms and its 4 inmates had to time their bio-mechanisms for their own welfare. I got ready and dressed – in strict formals of course. We were getting trained to be managers and leaders. Hence I thought it best to begin by making an effort to at least look like one right on the first day. When I stepped out of my room, I realized I was not the only one who had got that brainwave. I saw a flurry of shiny shoed, slick haired men all over the place dressed in neat formals. The over enthusiastic ones carried some folders/documents and sported determined facial expressions that they had seen on some corporate honchos’ faces. Everyone was a CEO already!

It took all of us just one step outside the hostel to realize that wearing formals that day was a seriously flawed decision. (Now, to make seriously flawed decisions and then realize it, is so typical of management that we actually congratulated ourselves later. 😉 ) In our enthusiasm to look professional, we had forgotten what we saw first thing in the morning – rain drops. By the time we were out of the gate, all the hair gel had trickled on to our faces, our polished shoes looked like thick- crust pizza, the formals clung on to us like Raveena Tandon’s saree in “Tip tip barsa paani” and the determined expressions were literally washed off our faces down the drains of the hostel. (So now you know why my determination vanished on Day 1 and where it can be found.) The gardener in his comfortable overalls and plastic rain coat sniggered at us, adding insult to injury. But it did nothing to dampen our ‘B-School first day’ enthusiasm- it was so great that if it were to be converted to fire, it would burn down entire Manipal twice over, rain drops included.

Rain is the greatest prankster in Manipal. We gathered in the auditorium as per schedule and were busy drying ourselves when we noticed the sun shining brightly from the windows; not a drop of rain. We were welcomed by a senior professor, an incident that I have already described with adequate elaboration. Soon after this welcome note, we realized that Rain is not the greatest prankster in Manipal. 😛

We then queued up to submit our first assignment on “Unique experience and the learning we had from that” and got the rule book of TAPMI and a tie sprinkled with the TAPMI logo – the TAPMI tie (see pic above). All the girls in the batch saved Rs 500 because a tie was not forced on them.

We were then split into groups and each group had to study a particular function of the organization- academics, extra-curriculars, facilities, committees and fora, festivals, research etc and then present it to the rest of the groups. Faculty members distributed themselves to aid us in our findings. And in a short while, we were assembled again in the auditorium to witness the presentations. I guess a couple of guys and gals almost killed each other to be the one to present the findings of their respective groups – a mentality that would later be considered laughable and highly lunatic. It was perhaps the last time that the entire batch was seen together assembled in the auditorium. The faculty had cleverly made an assignment of this task as otherwise they would have to spend an entire day to educate us on all these.

It was almost 6:30 pm and some indefatigable students went for an overkill by singing songs and peppering their presentations with jokes etc. I was thoroughly drained out and was glad when the last presentation drew to a close. Suddenly a new assignment was sprung on us and we had to organize a cultural show for the faculty over the weekend. When there was a call for volunteers to organize this event, almost all the hands went up. The guy on my right started speaking to me in an excited tone and told me idea after another for the cultural event without my asking for it. Two guys behind me started enacting the skit that they would propose for the event.

The rain was on time and made Raveena Tandons of all of us on our way back to the hostel. We freshened up and headed to the mess. Out of sheer benevolence, since it was our first day, the mess manager had gone out of his way to change the regular menu to serve something edible. He knew very well that first days don’t repeat; we didn’t.

After the meal, it was time to socialize and we formed our own groups and assembled in nearby rooms to know each other better. Some guys lit up cigarettes and ranted about the rules laid down by TAPMI. The topic then turned to the babes of our batch and soon we all had a list of ‘must-watch’ chicks. I prided myself on seeing all of them on day 1! 😉

There was a sudden knock on the door and cigarettes were extinguished in a hurry and deodorants sprayed. We expected the warden but it turned out to be the senies. They felt that we hadn’t been ‘educated’ enough in the auditorium all through the day and the real education was to happen that very night on the top most floor of the hostel, the TV room. In a few minutes, we were all piled up in the TV room in a circle and a guy stood at the centre of the circle. He was the President and welcomed us all. It was a brief 2 minute speech and ended very soon and along with it ended all decency and decorum. In the melee that followed, “lamps were lit”, “Champas and Taras were repeatedly called” “Geminis were danced to” and at the end of it all, we were more steeped in the TAPMI culture than a decade at the auditorium. The rules were interpreted for us from a student’s perspective and the consequences reiterated. Senies hailing from the various states of the country called on their respective junies for an additional gyan session and by the time all this ended, it was nearly 2:00 am which was about the normal time any B-schooler would ever go to bed from then on.

We were looking forward to our first day of classes and all of us unanimously agreed to skip our bath and save time – the rain would be there on time anyways. 😉

PS: Thanks Balesh, for suggesting this topic. More such topics from the batch are welcome.


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Things not to do while at TAPMI

Word Count: 480 | Estimated time to read blog: 5 min

To the uninitiated, it might look like starting on the wrong foot – to talk about what not to do before even knowing what to do. But all the alumni know otherwise. So yet-to-be’s, read on and remember to remember a few of these if not all.

Click on the snap above to see a pic of the classroom
  • Forget the cell-phones: If you are addicted to cell phones, TAPMI will be a great de-addiction center for you. Usage of cell phones is banned in classrooms, labs and other academic centers. And the microphones in the classrooms are very sensitive and can pick up even the faintest vibrations. So try not to risk it as the penalty could be as grave as immediate termination of admission. Switch them off for good while in class, library or lab.

  • Cite or Die: Don’t forget to cite exact sources when you turn in your assignments. You will undergo a course on citations and referencing to help you understand the intricacies. You are not expected to generate the brainiest stuff all by yourself but do give appropriate credit to the one who actually does, if you use that in some way. The bottom line is, never pass of any intellectual output as your own, when it isn’t actually so.

  • Copying isn’t cool: This could be considered an extension of the plagiarism tenet explained above because when you are copying, you are passing someone else’s intellectual output as your own for personal benefit. Better get an F in the course than risk the consequences of copying. And no, you can’t copy the entire answer from your neighbor, cite his name in full, roll no etc at the end of it and expect to get away. Seven people in my batch were on the brink of expulsion for copying but the management took a ‘lenient’ stance after repeated requests from the batch – they barred the seven from placements!

  • Cheat and you face the heat: You might think you are smart enough to beat the system because you flicked a library book and no one detected or you faked the gym pass and went unnoticed. Fine, you are smart but only for a while. And when lady luck says goodbye it will be your turn to say goodbye and catch the next train home.

Rationale: You might think these punishments are grossly incommensurate to the degree of default but TAPMI’s stance on this is simple: Misappropriating a rupee is equivalent to misappropriating a million dollars because it is not the amount that is of concern but the tendency. The institute doesn’t want to send fraudsters into the corporate world.

Statutory warning: Your voluntary confession of any of your sins to the authorities doesn’t mitigate the penalty and will be held against you.

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PS: My ‘more experienced batch mates’ or any others from the TAPMI alumni fraternity might want to add on to this list. Feel free to post them as comments. 😉


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