Thursday, November 13, 2008

TCS Campusing Experience

Its been quite a while since I cracked TCS this year on the 19th of Feb. But I have been longing to share the wonderful experience that I went through during that time, and here it is. It was really unique. I never really did anything special for it except for revising a few subjects of previous semesters. After spending 15 years in South Point, I was more than a bit confident that my communication skill wouldn't be a problem. So it all came down to brushing up my soft skills, revising subjects from old semesters and practising quantitave aptitude and reasoning from R.S.Agarwal, the very popular book amongst all engineering students.

The preparation started from about the end of 5th semester. Unlike other sem-breaks, this was different. Rigorous practice of previous year’s papers was an integral part. Popular sites like and were really of good use. It’s really a continuous process. One really can’t change overnight and be a master in solving the aptitude and reasoning problems. Continuously revising RDBMS and C programs, I really forgot to listen to Enrique Iglesias and Suman Chattopadhyay. However, the process went on and on and on for the next 2 months. We were told campussing would start on mid-Feb. Near about the end of Jan, I got a mail from our placement cell that TCS is going to come any day from the 14th-16th !! Being my dream company, I was really charged up for it. Its always a unique feeling when facing something new for the first time in life. Around 12th or 13th we were informed that the D-day was 14th. Dressed in extreme formals for the first time in our lives, we all went to the specified venue, a different college, with my CV and all required mark sheets and documents at 9am. They gave a presentation on TCS. Really informative. Then batch by batch we were led to the computer lab of that college, where we gave our aptitude test online. Our batch was called up at about 4.30pm. The given 90 minutes passed in a flash, steadily answering question after question. There was no negative marking. After the test, we all went to hall and sat there waiting for our results to be declared. Our TPO came with the list and read out the names, and it was really a good feeling to hear my name being called out. After that we all were given a form to fill up, where we provided all our educational and residential details. The sirs from TCS who were there were extremely helpful to clarify all our doubts, I guess everybody from TCS are like them. Finally, after submitting the form we all left. A slight sense of victory, a feeling of slight success I felt, when I thought that I’ve cleared the first hurdle of my first attempt at a test in the outside world. But it was only the initial round. The next round of interview was to be held 2 days later, on the 17th, in our college, from 9am.

The 2 days were spent on revising some portions of C, Java, RDBMS and specially focusing on how to answer interview questions, how to handle myself during an interview. My dad provided me some very useful tips, I also got to know a lot of useful things from Google Search regarding the desired etiquettes. Finally, on 17th morning, one of the most memorable mornings of my life, I went to college. All of us were equally nervous, or confident, both we can say. We all waited in our 2nd floor classrooms while the interviews were held in the 1st floor classrooms by many panels, consisting of 2 persons in each panel, and 4 panels in a room in the 4 corners. We were called one-by-one. After being called, we briefly waited outside the interview rooms before being called in again. It was a peculiar feeling. It was not tension, it was not confidence, but it was also not normal. Something I fail to describe miserably every time someone asks me. It was 1.50pm. Finally I was called into the room by a sir who carried a list of all the names. Game on !!

I was greeted by a firm handshake by one of the sirs. I wished him “Good Morning", instantly realizing my mistake, I wished the other sir sitting beside him a “Good Afternoon”. What a beginning. But I managed to put it behind me the next moment. The sir who greeted me asked my name and brought out the form which I have filled up last day, there he saw my personal details, residential details and finally while looking at my educational details, he seemed to be pretty impressed when he saw I have spent 15 years in South Point and said “Why you want to join TCS? Why don’t you go for MBA, or higher studies when you have so high marks throughout?” I really answered from my heart that TCS had been my dream company and it would really be a privilege to be a part of the TCS family, so renowned for its work-culture. Unlike many other new companies, this company it has its own heritage which I really admire. He was really friendly and seemed pleased. After that he asked me a few questions on cardinality and 3NF. Satisfied with my answers, he asked the other sir to take care of me and went for a brief walk. This sir asked me about threads and processes, life cycle of threads and to mention the function of the methods. I answered fine. Next he asked me the order of bubble sort and difference between malloc and calloc. After that, he asked me the from Java the concepts of inheritance and interface, multiple inheritance, the life cycle of applet and synchronization. As he did not have any expression on his face, I could not understand whether he was happy or not, though I was very much satisfied with my answers. Then the other sir, who has already returned in the meantime, asked me what would I do if I had no work to do at office but still had to come. I thought for a second and said I could learn something from other departments, some thing I don't know, which will help my career as well help my company in a broader sense. Then he asked what would I do if I saw someone completely neglecting his work. I said I would try to provide him encouragement to work. He asked me what if the person is extremely reluctant to work, hates to work, what would I do then? I said I might help him a little to do his work if I get time after finishing my own. “Both of you are getting the same package of 3 lacs, why would you do his work?” To this I paused for a bit longer, and replied it’s my nature sir. He seemed satisfied. Then he asked me what would I do if your family members fell extremely ill, and your boss is extremely strict to provide you with any leave. I said I would ask my relatives and friends to manage the initial situation until I get a leave. He said no, the situation is such that you yourself have to come and you get no leave. I thought and said I would request my boss explaining him the priority of my request for leave. He said no, your boss won’t listen to anything. I was bowled out on that. I kept silent. Each second seemed like an eternity. Finally he broke the silence, asked me whether I am relocatable anywhere, whether I had any eyesight problem and finally whether I had any problem joining as a Software Testing Engineer. I had little idea which was better among various software engineering posts, but I said I would do my best to put up a performance up to his expectations, which I really felt. Happy with that, he asked me a bit more detailed about where I stay. After That, he said “Thank you, Rahul.” and reached out his hand for a handshake. After shaking and thanking him, I reached out my hand to the other sir for shaking (something which I later learned I shouldn’t have done, as he should have done that) and he also shook and I thanked him and finally left the room.

Phew! What an experience. All my friends were really excited, each one discussing about their own experiences, some were sad, some were happy with their performance. I was satisfied. I returned home and shared all that happened with my parents. I felt I have done my best and would make it. But I really didn’t depend on it so much that it would break my heart if I didn’t make it. That’s me always. We’re not sure when the result would be declared. So a day passed. Next day, on 19th, I heard our results would be declared. I kept checking my mails all morning. But seeing no mails till about 12.30pm, I took a break and went about. One of my friends called me at about 1.10pm, asking me about his result. He said results were out at 1pm. I suddenly had my heart in my mouth, something that seldom happens to me. I found a mail in my Inbox from the placement cell of our college containing a list of names who has cleared the selection process. Bingo !! I found my name in it. My dream has come true. This would certainly be one of the most memorable mornings of my life, with the rejoicing that followed.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

End to an unforgettable era…

Its been an awesome journey, starting since 1996. The dream debut itself hinted what the world was going to witness over the next few years. And to say the least, we got a lot more than what we expected. Sourav Ganguly, Will always remain as a legend in the hearts of all Indians. He was not the greatest of Indian batsmen. But still, his career will be remembered forever to be cherished by all cricket-lovers. Simply because of his guts, grit and determination. These  are his qualities which have been talked about a lot already, but he possessed these attributes to such an extent that it cant merely be described by mortal words. Sounds exaggerating? Well, we’re talking about Sourav Ganguly here. Who could just think about wining when the entire dressing room is trying to find a way out to save and defend a match. Who never looked back or down in the face of evident defeat. Who was a remarkable inspiration to his team-mates. Who could just pay back an opponent in his own coin.

Under him, we saw an Indian team we’ve never seen before. The team spirit was really unmatched by any other Indian team before. The team simply looked as if they we’re out to win. Much of which is like Dhoni’s team has been looking like off late. People may talk a lot about his failure to handle specific deliveries, of his putting-personal-achievements-before-team attitude, but who cares. We had in him one of the greatest of Indian captains. He doesn’t have anything to prove after his tons of runs. True that his form dipped during latter part of his captaincy, but he was a greater born-leader than a batsman, its evident.

His tiff with Greg Chappell grew louder and louder, a person whom Ganguly himself visualized would add great value to the country’s cricketing infrastructure. But its really unfortunate that it was just the other way round. The team which went through the finals in just the previous world cup, went crumbling out of the very first round under his coaching. Months later we’re really back in our incredible form, winning T20 World Cup, beating Australia comprehensively, and now looking for a whitewash for England.

Sourav Ganguly’s comebacks are another cause what he will be remembered for. Its  been a fairytale for him. Sometimes it looked like as if he’s not human. How could someone possess such steely mental strength. Unaffected by whatever happening around, unaffected by repeated insult by dropping him out of the team ! Truly, he’s a true champ. For Bengali Kolkata's like me, he’s all the more a favorite champ….Hats off to you Dada !!!