The company had arrived on campus. With bated breath we sat in the Audi waiting for the “Big Guys” to give a quick presentation about their company and roles on offer. The subtle buzz that was slowly transforming into an irritating noise was soon overpowered by a prominent “Ssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….They are coming!!” from the PlaceComm guy who was standing near the door. I scanned the whole room from my seat. Everyone had put on a studios look on their faces. I could not control my laughter at seeing the usually mischievous TJ(my roomie) putting on the cloak of innocence with panache. The biscuit packets had disappeared and had been replaced with the pen and pad everywhere! I could not help giving a smile again knowing the fact that however great the presenters be, the only two things that would be noted down in the pages dedicated to this company by these guys would be “The Take Home” & “The Profile”…in that order. The presentation was a short affair because the company was a big fish and expected the attendees to know about the company rather than them spoon feeding the same. Resumes were submitted and in half an hour the flowers and to everyone’s surprise an equal number of weeds too had been shortlisted. The unlucky few proceeded to attend the next in pipeline while the shortlisted few began to check out their opponents.
The sight of people who will be fighting against you can both soothe your nerves and rattle your senses. 2 years of camaraderie ensures that you know the strengths and capabilities of your opponents. Something very dangerous in a battle where that kind of knowledge can ring death knells for you! I was slotted in batch 3. I read the other names in that list. The batches were divided into groups of 10 and there were a total of 5 batches. 50 people had been shortlisted out of the 100 resumes the company had received. Quite a number of shortlists going by usual standards which only meant that the GD’s would be a bloodbath!! The betting meter had odds stacked towards 2 shortlists per batch taking the total number of shortlists for interviews to 10. Gosh!! 10 out of 50 like minded people with similar credentials and aptitude. 10 out of 50 who had shown their might in CAT and beaten the blue out of competition to arrive here. It does not get tougher than this. The pressure to perform is immense and the battle with the brightest minds is the toughest you would ever come across in any stage of your life in future. Never had I been so unsure of what would happen. I quickly checked out the warriors I would have to eliminate to survive. I sweated at the sight. It seemed almost all the good speakers had conspired against me. Nano(Divya Chattopadhyay)..Mithun(Sid)…Chuchu(Rahul)…Major(Bharat)…Reddy(Kasturi)…gosh!! The probability of me being in the top 2 from this batch seemed remote! The first two batches had come out. The first batch was sent out in less than 5 mins and the reason was stated as “Fish Market”. The second batch managed to utilize their time and seemed to have done reasonably well. Topical GD’s were being given, which had me sweating again. Topical GD’s are like stepmothers. You never know when you might be deserted of all the love you are used to!! Batch 3 was called in…..We sat in the order that was assigned. The panel asked us to settle down and cracked a joke or two to lighten up the tension. You feel most miserable at the times when you are forced to laugh at a joke which you would have ridiculed had it been mentioned by your batchmate. Corporate manners….ahem ahem! Darwin’s “Survival of the fittest” theory fits beautifully into the scheme of things here. An apple is thrown at you in the form of a GD topic. 10 hungry kids make a jump at it for a bite. Whoever manages to bite or even nibble it stands with a chance of enjoying crates and crates of apples for a lifetime!! Funny are the ways of nature. The apple for which we would be fighting for was hurled towards us. The lady spoke, “The topic for the discussion today would be REALTY IS ON THE BOOM. You have a minute to think on the topic and 10 mins to discuss.” Deathly silence prevailed for the next minute. I could not get my mind to jot down points. I had no clue how the real estate market was doing. Shit man, TJ had forwarded me an article last week emphasizing that it was a popular topic. I had been foolish to not go through it. Some figures would have helped. I was taken aback when the lady ordered, “You may start”. One min had passed!! It seemed like her watch was running really quick. The slaughterhouse had been declared open. And I had not even polished my weapons. The Bengal tigress, Nano(Divya) started. She then said something which would make her immortal in campus folklore for years to come. Perhaps I do not rue the fact till date that I missed out on the company because that 10 mins gave me a week of laughter attack. I still can’t help smiling when I imagine the amused faces of the panel all the while Nano was blabbering. Poor soul. I don’t blame her. Perhaps the panel made a mistake by announcing the topic rather than writing it down. Perhaps tension molded her brain to think like that then. Perhaps she had not paid attention when the topic was announced. Whatever may be the reason, it was one of the most memorable GD’s that I was a part of.
Nano started off in a dynamic fashion. She speaks with such confidence that you cant help but applaud. That’s the reason she is called The Bengal Tigress out here. She roared, “I acknowledge the fact that reality shows seem to have gripped the imagination of the entire nation. But is grabbing eyeballs the only thing that matters? We need to question ourselves, Are these shows catering to the voyeuristic needs of its target group? Do the channels only care about the TRPs that these shows muster or is there anything ‘REAL’ in these shows? These are the points we need to probe in this discussion. I am of the view that these shows are a great means of revenue generation for the channels and at the same time aiding in shooting up the TRP's. One of the topmost in these list of reality shows are the ones graced by celebrities. We Indians are more often than not dazzled by the charm of celebrities. We yearn to discover every teeny weeny bit about these demi-gods off-screen. These shows present before us a more human version of these stars. The audience find themselves being able to relate with the stars in a rather realistic manner. They are so used of seeing their glitz and glamour that they welcome a non-glamourised version of the stars with open arms. They tend to start believing in what is being dished to them. When the drama queens amd the kings of popular Indian soaps jerk a tear or two in real it strikes a chord with the audience. But what they fail to register and question is the authenticity of the "Reality" term associated with these on-screen drama or whatever is shown in the name of back-stage drama!! Do these shows really stand a chance in front of reality talent hunt shows? How "Real" are they?? No one had interrupted her till now. Because all of us were gaping at her. What had she just done??? Had she got it wrong by misinterpreting “Realty” for “Reality” or was it us who had done the opposite?? We looked towards the panel who were exchanging puzzled looks. Nano was taken aback by seeing no one taking the baton ahead. She proceeded by handing over the baton to Chuchu forcefully. She looked towards him and said, “Lets see what Rahul has to say on this. Do you think there is anything ‘real’ in these shows Rahul?” She was desperate for someone to take it ahead. All of us were too dazed at what had just happened to respond. And there was Nano, smarting off and completely unaware thinking that she was the only intelligent one in the group. I think I missed out there. I did not see the golden opportunity that moment gave me but Rahul did. I think he would have got through even if he performed average in the interview given the sheer presence of mind he showed to veer the group back on track. He smiled and coolly addressed the group, “ I will discuss whether there is anything ‘real’ in these SHOWS later in the evening Divya. But I can definitely root for the fact and discuss it with you all that there is something ‘real’ about the Realty Sector!!”. The dazed crowd fell into place cognizant of the fact that the crap they had written in that dreaded one minute was totally relevant and the discussion went on smoothly. Divya had turned totally pink in embarrassment. I was silent throughout because my eyes had filled with tears and I doubted that I would burst out laughing if I dared to open my mouth!!