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As I turn 21

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I’d written this long post on my 21st Birthday when I didn’t even have a blog. Happened to come across this when sifting through my e-mails and thought I’d save and back post this for records…

December 12th 2006:

It’s been almost six months that i’ve been placed in Infosys. But still at times, I find it hard to digest the fact that I hit the bull’s eye, right in the first shot! Having ideally no much expertise in coding languages, leave alone my own technical field, It’s been an admixture of both shock and surprises for me all the way through. If there had to be a core reason for me being placed, I would primarily attribute it to my Dad’s choice of enrolling me in the university that I am presently in. The reasons of enrolling me were way much different then. But does’nt  everything happens for a reason?

Studying in a college of pretty low repute, not a single thought had even occured to me all through the last three years about being placed in a firm through campus placements.I had just got back to the room after my GRE, when I heard rumours of  our college being invited to Tagore Engineering college for an offcampus placement. This was the first time we heard of prospective placements, and not one of us believed it. Just one day before, the Off campus was confirmed and none of us were prepared for it, neither mentally nor intellectually! Just one reconcilement was, we got to hear that Infosys does not emphasize on technical expertise; but then sources were pretty much unreliable!!

July 20th 2006

The day before the interview (rather the night before the interview!)

Only a handful of us had our resumes in hand. Formal wear and other requisites was an alltogether different question…this was only our seventh semester beginning and placements was no where in sight! We had only a handful of systems operative and around fifty guys running berseck to get their resumes done first. A handful of guys prepared a rough draft of the resume and the rest of the pack just edited the same to develop theirs..the wierdest part of it! And when finally after a gruelling three hour tryst with our eye’s pondering over the resumes, we realized we needed hard copies and soft copies alone would do no good! We rushed over to a nearby cafe to get hold of a printer..a few of us got our resumes printer and a few couldn’t – The printer buckled! There was nothing more that we could do but go and purchase the formal wear…10:00 at night.Finally we got back to our rooms buying what good clothes  we could buy from the one and only one reasonable store in the silk town…All set and done,we got back to our rooms and tried to finish off our last minute arrangements for an interview…certificates, photographs, mark sheets and other papers.All the requisite documents set right ( oh yeah!! BUT for the Resume..) we just hit the bed..Not one of the faces of my friends showed any sort of jittery feeling …after all who cared!

July 21st, 2006

First day of the recruitment drive

The college where the interview was about to be held was a good two and a half hours away from kanchi, so we had to start atleast four hours in advance.And then we had to scout out for DTP or Cafe’s for the resumes….Alarm’s started hooting at about four in the morning…and there was a mad rush of people trying to first rush to the bath room and get ready.The frenzy settled in about an hour and a half and all of us were set to leave.A batch of about six guys (Calvin, Collin, Doggy, Gotman, Bruce lee and PLN )who got ready first left about half an hour early. The remaining battalion (including Me, Abhi, Doms ,Jamanujava, and Sexiter) left slowly at around 6:30.Had a hell of a time in the bus exchanging our thoughts on Infosys, major part of it out of our imagination! Placed calls to so called knowledgeable  people to find out things about the firm and all that junky stuff…Finally got a break when  we got a call from Calvin telling us that he could trace out a cafe in Tambaram , enroute Vandalur. All pack of nuts finally met there and got the resume’s done.It was already 9:00 by then and the interview was supposed to start at around 9:30.We called up a few of our friends who had already reached the  college and asked them directions.Ten of us hurled into two auto’s and finally happened to reach the college just on time..Once we were was as if the whole SCSVMV campus had been there to receive us….we were the last set of guys to reach the center.We settled in the room allotted to us and the scrutinizing of people began. There was one gruffy person checking people’s attires and their certificates and filtering out people who did not satisfy the basic requirements. The drill was over in about an hour and we had to wait for about two hours for the aptitude test to begin. The test began at about 12:00 and in almost one and a half hour we were done with our test…Basic Puzzles and a very simple Verbal section. All students were requested to wait for the test results, which they said would be released in around two hours. Most of us had an unpalatable meal in the College canteen and just kept whiling away time for the next two hours. Gotman, Abhi, Doggy, Munna and myself walked over to the room where we had first sat and after the sumptuous meal almost entered into a refreshing siesta almost simultaneously. Probably a few minutes after we started swooning, the gruffy guy banged on the class room door and literally ordered us to get over to another class room where results of the written test would be declared. We managed to reach the room, still partially asleep.

Things changed drastically after this. Looking at people in the seminar room, I suddenly experienced the butterfly syndrome!! The fear of  failure!! Though I tried best to hold my composure, things didn’t really help…I just waded down to the rest room and got back only to find a larger troop inside…People seemed to be so very optimistic of being selected, I felt I was the odd one out. My inner feelings were so very averse , that I literally thought of spanking the guy beside me who was screwing me with his software language expertise. Fortunately, a couple of my college mates happened to take the seats in my row and things got better then.

The results were announced alphabetically college wise. When names from our college were read…I, for no apparent reason, felt the urge to hear my name in the list….who wouldn’t… the thought of a job in hand, a job in one of the reputed firms in India. Just out of college life… one of not much repute…Placement mattered. It would be like missing the treasure, right when the key is given to you…My grey cells were literally flushing with unnecessary thoughts ….Those, I believe are the moments and feelings that I would never forget in my life. My feelings gave way when I heard the name ‘Srikanth S Perinkulam’ being read out. From then, I’ve learnt to respect the name…respect the way it is spelt .No doubt I was on cloud nine when I heard my name being read out…but then reactions had to be controlled to a very large extent as not many of my close friends were filtered in. Around fifteen of us were selected in the written test from about 180 from our University (170 and odd from the overall 2000). It was almost 6:30 by the time all the results were announced and the details of the next day’s Interview were given.

The college was in a quite remote location and there wasn’t any proper conveyance mode to the main city. A few lucky of us happened to hop into a bus and managed to reach the City. We reached back kanchi at about 12:00 midnight. I was the only one in my room to be selected and had an excruciating time facing my other roomies. Bruce lee was the one to tell me that quite a few of my batch mates had walked all the way back to the city from the remote college (around 4kms) literally crying over their ill luck. Only then did I realize how lucky I had been, and how much being placed in a company means to final years from a non reputed institute.

July 22nd 2006

Second day of the recruitment drive

Early morning again at around 4:00 in the morning the alarm rang. But then I was the only one who had to get up. Was up and ready by around five. I knew having cleared the written test, getting through the HR shouldn’t be a big hurdle. I had also heard Infosys HR rounds are a cake walk. Now, the ball was in my court and I knew it was up to me to give it the best short. Every word that I talk in the interview would decide my future and I had to do my homework. For one solid hour I sat and posed myself all probable questions I would face, prepared irrefutable answers, and rehearsed my body language mentally, visioning myself before the HR. That brief  spell of ten to fifteen minutes would transform the way people look at me. The way I look at life,  more so because I had  to dismiss all allegations set up on me and this was one wholesome opportunity. That one hour is the only hour in my life till date that I have devoted hundred percent concentration to…This had to be a zero and a one…the result HAD to be a 1.

With spirits high, but still shell nervous, I walked over to the bus stand at around 6:30. Collin and Abhi had stayed back at Chennai the previous night at their relatives place and planned to come down directly the next day. Met Ravi Bhattrai and Alpana there and from then on had a quick journey to the college. Reached the college at about 9:00 am .The scrutinizing of certificates began again and we were asked to wait for our turn of HR. The SCSVMV batch was called to the first floor of the College building .The HR session was being held in different labs in the same floor. Most of us were seated adjacent to the Computer Lab. There was a camera on each corridor ceiling and I started wondering if at all videos were being streamed to some location in Alaska. My senses brought me back to reality and with this brief imagination started the damn jittery feeling again..…the fear of losing!! I realized unless I shred all unnecessary thoughts my one hour of hard work would take me no where. Just to divert my attention I roped in Ravi Bhattrai to a conversation and we started talking about every damn thing in the world…movies ,games, places, novels, tourist spots, girl friends and what not…and that did help us to a very large extent. Meanwhile Tiwari and Satish joined the conversation and things got quite relaxed. Turn by turn, people were called in to the Lab and interviewed. From what I heard from people coming after the interview, I pictured the room and the location of the HR. Plan B had to be rolled out now. I had to get acclimatized to the environs mentally. Just a few minutes after the dust in my mind settled, my name was called ….Srikanth S Perinkulam.

The Course of the HR Interview:

The moment I was led into the Lab, I had a quick survey of the seating arrangements of the HR’s. There were about six of them, all ladies, totally seated in three rows one behind the other and spaced equally all through the expanse of the lab. There was no means of one HR being able to listen to another HR’s conversation. Realising this did wonders to my confidence levels and my morale was boosted. It’s always easy to tackle one single person than two…Plan C need not be evoked!! I was requested to proceed to one HR seated in the left corner just as I entered the Lab.

The HR was facing the expanse of the hall, so I would not have to, during the interview phase…just another morale booster!! I walked over to the table, turned around  gave her a gentle false smile, asked her permission to sit and gently sat down, all the while having a sub conscious eye on my body language. She was the one to break the silence first and asked me for my resume. I took all my time in the world to gently remove my resume, giving her time to atleast have a glimpse of my well ordered and indexed set of certificates in the royal folder that I was carrying. The Table is not yours!! I had read in quite a few CSR interview booklets that my bro. had subscribed to for his preparation for CAT. Mindful of that I gently handed over the resume to her hand. The remaining major part of my interview was wholly dependant on my resume.

The first question she asked was why I’d joined a University somewhere in the outskirts of Chennai when we had wonderful colleges at hyderabad. I was well prepared for this question I have been answering it for the past three years to almost every Tom Dick and Harry I end up having a conversation and each time I’ve given an almost different reason. But this time I had to give an answer that could change the course of the interview to my side. All that I said was a direct blatant answer…I wasn’t academically strong in my 11th and 12th grade…gave a gasp for about three seconds and then said.. But then once getting exposed to the really competitive world in the course of my engineering I’ve turned stones. I’m probably not good at answering questions oriented theoretically, which require by rote knowledge. But I am pretty good in the practical point of view. All through the last three years I’ve been consistently receiving an S Grade in my Labs. Not to mention my good grades in other Theoretical subjects. Thanks to my mastery of the art of answering theoretical questions that my schooling has taught me…and we all know how examinations in India are held. With such a response I could explicitly bring out three main points of my personality a) My ability to learn from my experiences b) My Practical orientation in life c) My realization of the way of the society functions. With the very look on her face I could see I had given a justifiable answer and that the ball was still in my court….

The second question that she’d asked me was regarding my choice of Career. Why ECE ? I knew I had to keep in mind that I was applying for a software company and my long term goals that I would be mentioning soon should be in line with the requirements of the software industry. I very well knew this wasn’t going to be a technical interview so I planned my response on those lines. My response was…I’ve always been interested in Computer Science and the primary reason for me joining ECE was because I felt I had the ability to learn the intricacies of coding In parallel to my regular course of study. I’ve learnt working with SQL and am quite conversant in UNIX commands. I do have a good understanding of the basics of coding languages like C and can work with HTML commands with ease. With such a response, as previously mentioned I’ve strengthened my stand as a good prospective software engineer and have exploited her question to the most possible extent besides revealing the languages or scripts that I am familiar with.

The next question was quite a common one that is generally asked in almost any Interview. Why Infosys? I responded saying it had the best Work culture, being both Social and competitive. I’ve got quite a few of my relatives working in Infosys and from what I hear from them and their previous experiences, I’ve realized it to be the best company to work with.

Then she asked me a few questions on my industrial training sessions, what was taught there, and other questions such as Your Positive features,  Negative aspects , Long term goals, Future plans , Hobbies and the like. The interview had been running for almost around thirty minutes for now and things weren’t looking like as if they were going to end. Finally she turned my resume over to the second page. I had listed myself as being a member of IEEE.. She asked me what role I played as an IEEE member. To this I responded as saying that I was an active member of the IEEE Chapter in organizing technical events and have met several prominent personalities (Doled out quite a few names…brought in people who never existed ! Boy, I still don’t believe I did that!) . I also emphasized on the skills that I had learnt whilst being a member such as working in a team, leading a group of people and the like…..The very expression on her face spelt that she had taken the bait. And that gave me further confidence…

And then finally she gave a smile and told me to solve a small puzzle..I had to find a triangle in a maze of circles or something of that sort.Done with that she said ‘We’ve come to the end of the Interview. So Perinkulam do you have any questions?’ I was on cloud nine, when I heard that the interview had come to an end but I wasn’t really prepared for an answer to this question. So just to buy time I asked her when I could get to know about the results. She responded saying it should be out in an hour or so. Not able to frame any more questions impromptu, I just smiled and thanking her quit the lab gently and as soon as possible….and this is where I felt I could have taken a beating.

Now all said and done, my Interview was done with and I wasn’t really sure of the outcome. Machi, Sami and Ravi had to still complete their interview. Sami was thundered with a lot of Technical questions and was pinned by two HR’s. and Machi was’nt really confident in his approach. Ravi was chilling out and things were pretty calm after the HR session….We had a grueling three hour wait and finally at around 6:30 the results were declared. Abhi, Ravi, Madhu,Tiwari,Collin, Jai anand, Animesh, Hippo and I had cleared the HR. Aravind, Machi, Sami and Alpana were screened out. There wasn’t much of an elated air, for reasons mentioned before, but the moment we were segregated from them…Man!! You should have seen the ruckus that was created…people literally kicking each other like predator and prey!!! We had a post placement talk wherein they informed us about the offer letter, passport etc. etc.

After such a tensed day, only at the end did I experience the real throbbing heart inside me. The feeling.. Mamoo tho bhi kuch banega life mein…crept in. I had developed a feeling that  I’ve shattered all possible inhibitions in my mind , that I ‘ve overcome something that’s been a hindrance all through my schooling and college life. I’ve finally got at least one salient point on my list and the thought of the black mole in the family being me is weeded out. If there’s something that my success is to be attributed to, it would be to that solid one hour that I had spent in the morning. That one hour paid off!!

In Retrospect:

And on this day when I turn 21, if I look back at my life in the year 2006, I realize how lucky I’ve been. On July 7th when I escaped unscathed after a horrible accident (involving the bus in which I was traveling and an Oil Tanker on NH7) which scooped 16 lives; On July 17th when I was almost sure I had to redo the GRE test and all through the test I was intent on clicking the EXIT button without even completing the test and on July 22nd when the Infy thing happened…I am sure Luck’s played a horribly vital role. Things have changed quite a lot this year….and with things, even I’ve changed….Or is it that Darwin’s theory – Survival of the fittest is being reinstated in my life…

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