The Eternal Journey

The Eternal Journey

Before the CAT was BELLed...

17th Aug 2011, Nightfall. I sat sleepily in front of my notebook, when my phone suddenly rang. It was my friend Rama Krishna, informing me about the launch of CAT Application forms and he wanting to get one. The next day being Thursday, was my weekend. So, I told him that I could get him one as I would be going out on my bank work. With this I shut off the phone with this and fell asleep.

          Next morning, a phone call from another friend of mine, woke me up at 9:30 AM. After a very long call, I got ready and left for the bank to finish some leftovers for the last one month. I reached Nigdi Chowk (Nigdi is a place in Pune) and turned towards the SBI there. For a moment, I felt I was in AP or Tamilnadu for a Superstar’s release. The place was so badly crowded, except that the crowd was following the Queues. There would have been at least 500 people outside the bank (Trust me, it’s true). Half of the main road was blocked by these people and the security at the bank was having “His Day” in controlling and answering the mob. God forbid, for what reason there was so much crowd, but thanks to the two wheeler I borrowed from my friend, I managed to reach another branch in no time.
         
          The same story again. Lots of people in front of the bank. Except for pelting stones at the office, the crowd was doing almost everything, shouting, jeering, pushing in, and what not. For a moment, I doubted if the bank was on a default. I reached a third branch, and the same scene again. I started getting pissed off with the cheque that my company gave me. However, my patience led me to another branch relatively far off inside the city. There, there wasn’t so much crowd outside the bank, but inside, there were many people. I managed to push myself in, fill in the form, and drop the cheque in the drop box (thanks for it being a cheque) and came out in half-an-hour. Then Rama Krishna called me to inform me that the forms are available only in the Axis Bank branch at Chinchwad. So, I managed to reach there and found a huge crowd only for the forms.

          Three years ago, on a similar day, my mom called me one fine day and informed me that the CAT application forms were being issued. She wanted to check with me if I was interested in attempting the mighty exam that year. I said a feeble yes, and went on with my work. Finally the deadline has arrived. And my mom indirectly wanted me to try the exam that year. So, after a hectic morning at work, I left for the Axis bank branch at Hosur only to reach it at 2:30 PM. After a while, the staff returned from their lunch break and informed me that they are out of forms. The next stop for me was Bangalore. I suddenly felt a chill down my spine. I came out running and reached the bus stop to catch a bus to Bangalore. Thanks to my luck, I had to wait for almost half-an-hour to get a bus. And the bus waited for another 15 min before it started. I was sitting sweating in the bus (never like before), only worried not about being unable to get a form, but about whether I would be able to convince my mom about this in case I didn’t get a form. With all these thoughts in mind, strategizing reasons on one hand and looking at my watch non-stop on the other hand, I finally reached Koramangala and landed right in front of the Axis bank at 4 PM.

          I went inside and asked for a CAT form and politely came the response, “Sir, stock out.” You can well imagine my condition at that moment after all the turmoil that I had undergone for an hour until then. Panic stricken, I came outside, and met another gentleman, who was also scouting for the same. Suddenly, something struck me. I went in to the manager’s cabin and asked him to check with their other branches about the availability of the forms. He agreed to help me and in 10 min, he came up with the nearest option. With the other gentleman appreciating my presence of mind, both of us left for that branch. At least now, I was sure of getting a form purely because the other branch was informed on phone to keep aside two forms as the two of us would be reaching there in a while. However, they said they would do so till 5 PM and if anyone else would be waiting there for forms by then, they would have no option but sell the forms to them. This was the only source of tension in us. We were pushing our luck hard through the heavy Bangalore traffic.
          While the climax of the episode was flashing across in my mind, my turn came at the counter. So, I asked them for a form and found out if I could take it on the behalf of my friend for which they said yes. So, I took the acknowledgement and started filling it.
“O ma Gaad... is baar tho pakka clear karna hai yar.. abhi tak 2 baar try kar chuka hoon. I’m all out this time.” Came a voice from the side.
 
 
          I turned towards that direction and found a bunch of people discussing about the exam. It interested me a much as it would interest Michael Schumacher hearing a bunch of newbies discussing their apprehensions about F1. So, I was eavesdropping onto their conversation.
“arey yar.. main tho pehli baar apni final year mein diya tha na.. woh tho pencil paper test tha. 2008 mein. Arey mast tha yar.. test tho aisa hona chahiye. U get the feel of writing a test. Us ke baad jab se they introduced this one, nikal gaya re.. it’s not at all interesting. First time tho bahut lafda hua tha test mein. Us ke baad se they have been changing rules every year. Is baar tho sirf 2 sections hai, in place of three. Pata nahi yar kya hoga.” A girl from the group said.
 
 
“arey, theek hai na. It’s all for the better. Abhi tho no. Of IIMs bhi badh gaye hai. Thoda sa paper bhi easy ho jayega with only two sections. And imagine yar. Verbal ke saath logical reasoning. Mera tho saare tensions nikal jayenge. I just hope that logical reasoning section is really logical enough. Mera verbal-phobia chala jayega. Do baar se mere wahi section mein atka hua tha.” Replied a guy.
“haan baba haan. Sahi hai.. lekin yeh bhi panga hai na. You can’t go back to a question again. Yeh sabse badi problem hai yar. Is me tho phat jaayegi sab ki.” Said another girl.
“haan re. Yeh tho tension mein daalne wali cheez hai. Pata nahi kya hoga. Mai tho pehli baar apply kar raha hoon. Totally unaware of the existing system and etc. Kya karna hai, yeh to kuch bhi pata nahi mujh ko. Mera seniors me se kuch log try karke phod diye the. Ek banda B mein, ek L mein, chale gaye. Mere mom dad tho bahut pressure karte hai exam dene ke liye. Pata nahi yar, job ke saath saath prep karna, mushkil si baat hai” replied another poor soul.
          The conversation was progressing in this direction with all the people putting forth their complaints and concerns. This moment, my heart wanted me to go ahead and pacify them whereas my mind on the other hand, wanted me to stay back. The struggle went on for some time, until my eyes showed me a movie on what could happen. Probably the movie could be titled “Ramblings of an irrational superior”. Even before it was half done, I decided to stay quiet. I was listening to their conversations though, all the while.

           One thing is for sure. All these people who are about to begin their journey think that CAT exam is the only thing that has the set of rough tides and once they successfully swim across, they will find a nice, calm sea in the IIMs. However, they do not realize that storm is brewing on the other side, unseen, and that the sea is only full of whirlpools. Only those who are strong enough to survive the catastrophes and have the way clear ahead of them, end up surviving happily. Others get lost in the sea of competitions, job hunts, extra-curricular activities, and the likes, and finally end up realizing that they have no time left for achieving their main goals, and end up complaining about the circumstances.
           So, my only suggestion would be, “Have/make your goals clear. Pursue what your heart says, and never get carried away by what others are doing, no matter how rosy they appear to be.”

       
           All the Best to all those appearing for the management entrance examinations, this year. May your dreams get fulfilled and may you lead a happy life ahead.
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About Uday Sankar Yerramilli