Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chronicles of an Interviewee

At the outset, I’d like to warn you that this is not a post on; how to crack interviews or how to look presentable or how to prepare for one. If this is what you are looking for, stop reading right away, close the window and yeah, let the others read on.

I’ve attended so many interviews that I can write a book on how to whatever in your interviews. All I have to do is find a dumb publisher you will buy my bullshit, and then I will become the “Gyaani Guru – Interview Mata ki Jai Ho” types.

Well, that can be a book, and we will discuss that in detail another day.

This post is about; how to talk to random people at interviews, how to make a fool of yourself, and how to do serious timepass while you wait for your call.

An interview process is akin to waiting at a doctor’s clinic. You don’t know when you will be called, you have no idea how it will progress, and the result is beyond your control. I hate doctors but I don’t end up hating all interviewers, there are exceptions though. The interviewer at the FMCG Company was extremely cheeky, so cheeky that I really wanted to kick him on his groin.

I had nothing to write about so I’m publicising my interview escapades on the blog ok?

At the end of this post, you might come to three conclusions; A) this girl has attended too many interviews and is probably real dumb. B) This girl has too much time on hand, and therefore is crapping. c) I line marofy too many people.

Interviews are fun when you take them in the right spirit. Most of them border on being extremely comical or very sardonic or plain depressing. You can’t classify them one category, it’s usually a fair mix of all three.

In all the interviews I have attended so far, all of them have been always been off campus. This means I go to the corporate office, fight it out with random candidates from other colleges. In other words, I’ve always been out of my comfort zone, I don’t have a placecomm who stands by my side after each round, nobody to speak to or even smile at. So, a chatterbox like me will naturally or unnaturally strike conversations with equally random people.

The idea behind this is to – size up the fellow competitors. More like, are you smarter or Am I smarter. This makes good sense because, you get to show off to the crowd that you are the one who gets along with most people, and also increases your popularity quotient. I don’t do this for the popularity factor, I do it simply because; I cannot keep my trap shut for more than a quarter of an hour.

The next thing to do is an interview apart from acting smart is – keep a book handy. It depends on the position you are applying for. Handwritten notes carry more weight. You deceive people into believing that you have actually prepared.

I wouldn’t say I’ve had the best time, but they have not been bad experiences at all, irrespective of whether I make it or not. Though I did not make it list is longer till date.

This was my first interview of sorts with an HR company, and I was shit nervous, because I had not been to a serious interview before, and I had almost messed up my telephonic. At this point, I must mention that the guy who conducted my telephonic had a super sexy voice! I was torn between admiring the voice and answering questions. So there was this employee at the corporate office, who saw me sitting all alone in the waiting room, walks up to me, makes small talk, and breaks the news – wait here for another 15mins the VP will interview you. I almost passed out. And then he went on give me some real good gyaan on companies and I being a smart lady must crack the interview.

The next best one was at the glass company! There was a candidate with a guitar – Something like Surya from Varanam Aiyiram. When you have a caricature like this, and a curious case like me on the other side, this is bound to happen. I jumped at the guy with this super duper smart question – are you here to play the guitar? This one smiles at me, and I go aawww. I know I was very shameless, very me. The guitar guy was applying for a higher position, and I turned out to be the ONLY girl in the hall. Now I’m dead sure that India has a very bad, male-to-female ratio.

The bestest of all was this – the bank! This was also off the campus, but we were a bunch of “finance titans” on the prowl. All of us cleared 2 rounds and then they call us for the 3rd round. The interviewer starts quizzing me about core finance. Greek and Latin to me, but I did manage to make some sense. At the end of god knows how many questions, he asks “So, Sandhya, when do you plan to get married?” If I was out of my senses I would said- now, ippo, abhi. Thankfully common sense got a better hold of me, and I had to go back to the room where the classmates were waiting for me. Point to be noted here is – this interviewer was a perfect picture of geekiness, chamathuness and that charm. The glasses and the clean shaven look did me in.

This happened in the latest interview:

I: Sandhya, I see you are wearing blue. Is it to match the company's logo?

Me: (mind voice) I did not know there existed a company by your name until 15hrs back, I did not know what you guys do until 2hrs back, and I had absolutely NO idea you logo was blue in colour until I reached your office 15mins back.

Now, ladies and gentlemen I’d like to ask you this – is it only me or are all of you like this only?

**Taps fingers on the table**

I’m waiting for an answer!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My take on Vinnaithandi Varuvaya

VTV released almost a month back, a bunch of people loved it, some hated it, and people like me think it is absurd. The reviews were very mixed. I did like the movie in parts – ARR’s Music, the visuals and the sarees. My love ends here.

Before I begin, let me make my stand very clear – I am not anti love or an extremist, save the pink chaddis for another day or another person. I am all for soppy love stories with lots of mush, if it gets too mushy I will even shed a few tears if needed. VTV failed to strike that – oh my God, I feel like crying now moment.

Now I will tell you why I found the movie absurd.

a) There is no such thing called – love at first sight. Ten days back, I fell off the bike right in front of my mom’s office. A really cute looking guy held my hand, helped me get off the bike, switched off the ignition for me and put the bike in the parking lot. Tamil movies portray this as love at first sight right? Guy looks at girl, girl looks at guy, and then the guy breaks into a lovely song – hosanna in VTV. But none of it happened with me, the guy went away on his bike in his direction and me in mine after first aid. The guy did not run amok all over Besant Nagar looking for me. You get the drift? Stuff like this doesn’t happen in real life.

b) Stop demonising brothers – please! Honestly, brothers are the best things that have happened to girls. And Mr. Gautam Vasudev Menon, I’m quite serious about this. They are the only ones who’ll stand up for you when the whole family is against you and will make sure you feel better. They don’t go about beating guys.

c) Hindu-Christian, Tamil-Mallu. Inter religion Inter caste marriages don’t work out. Who told you that? Alaigal Oivadhillai released in 1980, when my dad was in his early 20’s. But things have changed now. I will give two examples to prove my point. Case 1: - Tamil Iyer guy – Spanish American girl. This guy turns out to be my cousin. My perima did fake a heart attack, but when you are convinced that he/ she is THE person, you can always convince the grey haired junta at home. Case 2: - Iyer guy again, Mallu Christian. This guy turns out to be a family friend’s son. He managed to convince the people. I mean, if staunch orthodox Iyers or tam-brahms can do it, you can do it too!

d) Parents are not monsters, mister. I’ll agree to the fact that we girls are scared to bits of our dads. But they’re not monsters. They are good natured men who only want the best for their little girlies. And there is nothing wrong in it. If you think you are right, you can always tell the appa character that this is what you want. They will not give in immediately, but eventually they will budge.

e) Why do you have so many clich├ęs in the movie? Why does the hero have to name his move ONLY Jessie, Karthik nu peru vecha padam odatha? Love or affection or even that, deep emotion connect wears off over the years when you lose contact with that person. You will miss them a lot in the beginning and very soon they become just memories. People get over their exes in a matter of 3weeks, you are talking about 2yyrs. Konjam over ah ille?

f) All love stories need not have happy endings, but all love stories do not end because of parental opposition. There might be so many other things that can mar the progress, personal issues, ego clashes, and sometimes people just grow out of it.


I have another major doubt – why would a woman who hates movies, fly to god forsaken Madras to catch a flick?

Bottom line: Ulagathala evalavo padam irundhu, naa yen vinnaithandi varuvaya pathen?

Prash, thanks for saving 120 bucks for the ticket, 80 bucks for the food :P

Peace out!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Holidays and Families

Think national holidays- what comes to your mind first?

a) Lazy mornings

b) Good food

c) People at home

d) Quality time with the family

e) All of the Above

To me, it is all of the above.

Lazy mornings – are the best things about holiday. But what if you are on a perpetual holiday? What I thought would be one of those one month vacations has multiplied itself to 3 months and more.

I’ve been bumming around at home ever since; I have a project to work on, power yoga in the morning and gym in the evenings when I feel like it. I read sometimes, or randomly browse through websites, and cook when I’m in that mood, sleep like a pig, and the process repeats itself. The rest of the time I’m plain bored.

When you are in this holiday mode – project in college, and the company wants you to work from home, and you have no choice but to take their orders. Quoting Praseela’s oft quoted quote “If you rest, you will rust” I think that is slowly getting to me, the boredom, the mood swings, the tempers flying, that hopeless feeling and don’t forget that “emotional atyachar-ed” mood all the time... I know it’s not the right approach to life, but somehow things fail to fall into their respective places.

Good food – yes! There’s vengaya sambhar, potato curry and rasam. It makes no difference to me because the most favourite dish on the menu will never be offered to me. Why you ask?-diet I say! And I must admit that I’m doing a great job of staying off the potato chips as well.

People at home – Yeah, so today turns out to be a national holiday for my folks, and just another day for me. So, the scene looks nothing like a Sooraj Barjatya movie. All 4 of us are under the same roof, my dad is majorly cheesed off because, the branch he is auditing seems to have a lot of really bad accounts and he is screaming at a hapless manager. My mom thinks I’m ruining a little boy’s board prep, because I’m making Adi fill up my market survey questionnaire at gun point; she wants both of us to get back to studying. Fat chance! And I’m reasoning out with Adi why I will not buy him a RCB jersey, when I’m a diehard CSK fan.

When the scene at home looks like, you know what vetti people like me do? Bury their noses in a pillow sized Brealey Myers textbook! I thought I’d read Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series, but looking at Amma’s flaring temper, I settled for the Corp Finance textbook. Safe bet, and also makes me look like I’m reading something academic, and also saves me from the lecture sessions :D

Next time, when you have a holiday and there are people at home you know what to do- pick up that text and act like you are studying!

An afterthought, I never thought, I’d enjoy reading that Corporate Finance textbook. It is interesting! But that doesn’t make me a marketing traitor as yet ;)

Quality time with family will start at 4.30 and will continue until 12 tonight. I so wish CSK win today’s match! GO CSK GO!!

Ok, now Amma is walking towards the room to check on me and Adi.

I better get back to act-studying now :D


Friday, March 12, 2010

My Name Is...

Is not Khan, and I’m not a terrorist, and this is not the review of the movie.

A name is a noun, which carries the highest importance. It gives you inkling about the person, what he/ she stands for, a little about the background – place you belong etc. People identify you by your name and nothing else. A name ultimately is something you live with for the rest of your life. Some names are really unique, some pulled out from scriptures by well read grandparents, while others might be some fancy name. Nevertheless a name is a name, and people take it upon themselves to brand you based on that. Nobody would ever change their names, unless you are Gogol from The Namesake though.

My name is; a simple 7 lettered word, which has been mutilated to no end. My placecomm for instance, makes it a point to mutilate it, and I hate her for it. This is one example, I know so many people who’ve called me with so many different permutations and combinations.

A name is not just an identity, it has a deeper meaning. Like mine; is the daughter of Lord Brahma and also means twilight. That time of the evening when the birds fly back to their nests, and those little angels who keep whispering Tatasthu(so be it). And talking about angels, I need them now, more than ever. There’s one major drawback of being “Sandhya”- every Tamil film director thinks it’s fashionable to name his heroines. And this leads to people asking me questions like – “is this your real name”. Honestly, I wouldn’t rent a name.

This is about naming people, now what about naming products? Products are inanimate objects. They don’t feel offended when you misspell or shorten their names. These lovely new to the market babies are named by Brand Managers or some of the well qualified people in the company. These men and women probably sit together in that air-conditioned room, where they are served coffee, tea and snacks, and then after wasting bucket loads of caffeine and lumps of grey hair, they dish out something that is in tune with the company’s existing product range, the product characteristics and the likes, the positioning etc.

This time around, the company where I’m doing my project have decided to bestow upon the opportunity of naming the new baby. Ok, this will only be a tentative name, and by company I’m referring to the boss in the company. I refuse to call it ‘my’ product because; the product for one is really not mine, it is the company's, and two if they don’t name the product after my suggestion I’d be a little cheesed off, and thirdly if the company does not absorb me I’d be damn upset.

So, I’ve decided to keep the emotional component out of this, and I will only think in terms of the product and the company. Makes things easier for me :D. I’m trying to come up with something that translates into being; nutritious healthy and appeals to the aam-admi. Something like – Drink this and it will make you healthy. Ok, I haven’t started working on the positioning and the promotion yet. Tough job I must say.

I’ve been raking my brain cells trying to come up with fancy names for the new baby. I don’t know if I will be there when they officially release it, or they might not release it at all. I have my own predicaments about it, but I will not allow them to hinder the working process. Now I understand how difficult it would’ve been for all those oldies to come up with beautiful, lovely and ear-catching names.

I need names! Sanskrit or Hindi preferred!

Deep down inside, I’m just hoping that these people don’t stash the report I submit into some dustbin. I’m just hoping it works fine... Just the way I’ve planned it.

**Fingers Crossed**

Monday, March 8, 2010

Letter to a Duffer.

Dear Duffer,

Although I would like to call you by so many other names, I’ll stick to calling you a duffer for convenience sake. Even if I come up with alternate names, they would turn out to be extremely unparliamentary, and I don’t want this blog of mine to become a dictionary of sorts for swear words.

Where was I? Yeah, Duffer; I’m at a loss of words to express myself, not because I’m not clear in my thoughts because, I’m seething with anger from within. Ok Duffer, let’s get to the topic on hand without losing time. Do you recall the first conversation we had? I’m sure you don’t, but I do. The assignment I was asked to shoulder was apparently your dream right? If you disagree with me, then the whole point in writing this is lost.

So this was the dream of yours, a dream so big that you decided to make it my assignment. I wouldn’t call you indolent though, I’m thinking of a better word. Ok, you promised me complete guidance, and I had blind faith in you and your guiding abilities which I sincerely doubt now.

This was how it started; I was sincere, maybe a little too over sincere for a student. I fixed my timings, and you made me wait. I thought you were busy, and I did not crib about waiting for solid 120mins. I wondered to myself if somebody could ever be this busy. But hey, you are the Duffer aren’t you? All through these futile meetings I did not let my confidence sag one bit, until what happened last week. I decided to brush it off as a onetime event, and today’s conversation was the last straw.

I mean, how can you be such a Duffer? First you promise me something, and then not keep it up. You’ve been such a self centred prick! All that I’ve been asking for is – data, and not your fricking property in Poes Garden. You want me to come up with hypothetical data. How amusing baby! How very intelligent of you... I’m bedazzled by your acumen! You know what? One day when I get to where you are, I will outwit you. If somebody were to give out an honour called “The Dodo of The Millennium”, I will trespass every proxy server and make you the proud winner.

In all these 2 months, there has not been an iota of guidance from your side. You wanted to be my Single Point Contact, and I let you be that. Now, don’t you think it is only fair on your part to walk the talk? I must admit that you are bloody talented at coming up with characteristically intelligent answers which blow my nonexistent brains away. When I say; I want to give it a novel name, you say think on broad lines. When I ask for the cost structure, you want me to make up my own crap. When I asked for a place in the huge hall, you said we don’t allow jackasses like you, while you duffer let the other guy work from the same place. When I ask you, if there is an opportunity, you brush it off, but you absorbed that guy!

How unfair you duffer! Will you beg to differ?

60days later, I’m still at the same place I was 60days back. When the junta in the college asked me to explain the assignment, I was tongue tied, because I had no information. Now what do you expect me to do Duffer? Fall at your feet/ ask for mercy.

Why on earth should I do something like this, when I’m only asking for something that is rightfully mine!

Going by all that you’ve been over the last two months, I can’t help but second my guide. The Wise Man wants to know if you are qualified to handle the subject or if you just rose up the ranks.

Duffer! Will you care to answer?

Peace Out.