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Thursday, October 23, 2008 

Past Records!

It was 31 December 2007. I was walking the streets outside the airport at Bangalore with my friends. It must have been a good 2-3am. Since it was New Year now, we all decided to say our resolutions. Not that I made only one resolution, but of the many I made, I was able to fulfill one last Thursday. It is not a feeling of victory or achievement, but enormous self belief, that I am not that bad after all. What that resolution was, is academic for this post. Yet if I must, I had decided to make a well rounded application to a B-School.

Why was this, such a big deal? Mainly because my previous two attempts had been very weak, uncomprehensive and remotely tasteful. Needless to say, not much happened of these applications. But as many of you would know, writing your essays is an activity of great introspection. It is actually useful for everyone my age to just sit back for a month or two and make an account of what really has transpired. With some of the “adjustments” that I made to my applications, I realized that I was promising more than I really was. Much more in fact. And so this time, the desire was really to prove and tell conclusively that the potential really exists. And that I can make stories and make them true as well. That very frankly was the objective of this resolution. My fruit was only in this proof to myself. The judgement of an adcom can hardly come close and those who have ever applied will concur with me.

Miraculously, or call it hard work, things went well this year. I took the GMAT again and did considerably better than last time. I had more faith in my essays, and of course due to the additional experience, I had more professional stuff to write about. I was better prepared for the interview and most definitely had a better interview, which is only to suggest how bad the first one was.

But the key to getting many of these things right is not hard work. And it quite surprisingly is not miracle either. It was just a question of getting in touch with myself and realizing what I am really made of and what I am capable of. That is the lowest common factor of all achievements. Without understanding oneself, it is useless to set targets. If I know I can’t bowl a bouncer at 140k, it is pointless to have a short leg fielder, you know. If I know I can’t hit the big sixes, it is better to do it in singles.

Through the process of application I realized many things about myself. But one of these things surprised me. I realized that I give a lot of importance to the past. That I am a keeper. And as much as I never show it, my folders and old bags are filled with stuff from the previous decade. I don’t know how many of us keep our 3, 4, 5 class marksheets (of course I had reasons to keep it). But as I dug deep into my past there we so many wonderful memories that came like a gush of cool breeze to me. There was an old photo from school, of the tree plantation day. There were birthday cards given by dear friends in 2nd and 3rd years at IIT. And why I am so sure of the years they were given in, is because of the distinct names of women they carry on them. I couldn’t stop laughing J. Then there were two letters from cricket team mates, who as parting gifts had written some really heartening words full of praise for me. There was this birthday-card, which I bought for a friend who was slightly fat, and the card had a funny illustration on it. But I resisted giving him that card, thinking he might not take it in such good faith. So I decided to keep the card and give him next year. I bought that card in 1999, my friend’s birth date is “17 November”. Maybe this year. But knowing me now, I am not making that promise (smile)

The best part is that these things can hold so much meaning. So much more than just a piece of paper. The play ticket from my first date, the bails from the last time I played for IIT Delhi, the notepad having notes of my treacherous internship experience. They all are just things, but they connect me back to those times so vividly. Your past is important for what you are today. It may perhaps not have the same effect on your future, but you never know what does.

Funnily all this stuff was happening while I was rummaging to find some of my certificates to show in the interview. I didn’t find all of them, but I found the certificates which really matter in the end. And in a spirit of my vindication, the ISB interview committee didn’t even ask for the certificates.

P.S. – I am not posting my interview experience. It was just a few run of the mill questions and well err… my answers!


good to have u back... and yes i have said this before and i'll say this again... u do a terrific job of these nostalgia posts :)

Even I usually keep old stuff for good time sake, but could never get a hold on the play tickets;)

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