Sunday, February 13, 2005

The aftermath of a GATEcrash...

The events described below are as I see them and have experienced them myself over the past three days in my life. Any relation of the above events to any person living or alive utill today morning, while not being necessarily co-incidental, is awesome. Its definitely less painful to know that I wasn't the only guy at the guillotine today.

And so it came to pass that on this Sunday, and the three days before that, I found myself in situations that gave me a serious identity crisis and the people around me, quite a scare. I, for instance, was awake before dawn on all four days, had breakfast in the mess for probably the first time this year, slept for a record low number of hours, studied a total of 1800 pages of academic text (spelt c-r-a-p) and watched a sum total of 0.00 movies, sitcoms and shows. And by 9:00 AM on Sunday morning, there I was, walking towards the examination center to take GATE-2005.

Once seated in the exam hall, in the few minutes to spare, I quietly prepared myself for the challenge that lay ahead. No, you are getting it wrong, not those mental preparation and charging up the psyche and stuff. I located and discussed elaborate strategies and invented new sign languages with my new neighbours, my would-be saviours for the next three hours. My plans would have made any of those KGB, CIA, FBI, MAC (mysterious alphabetic combinations) real proud. Little did I know that my good neighbours would make such good fences in due time.

Once the exam started I got busy and in 15 minutes I was done reading through the paper. There were some questions here and there that must have been inserted just to make people like me feel good, or stay awake rather. Anyways, by the end of the first hour, there I was, done with the exam thoroughly with a check and a re-check, as is the proper way. One look at my neighbours and I knew where I stood on their priority list right then. Those poor souls, the paper must have been tough, I wouldn't know either way.

Coming fresh out of the inter-hall basketball tournament last week, I found that I had pretty short fingernails to attend to and my best manicure job could still kill only fifteen minutes. I sat down for another reading of the question paper, finished it in a jiffy, took inspiration from one Mr.Forrest Gump and read it in the reverse, all in half an hour. I sharpened the pencil from both sides, tried to sharpen the borrowed pen, balance the pen on my finger, the pencil on the pen, my GATE admit card on the pencil, got frustrated and gave up. One more hour to go...I sat down and took stock of how many questions I had answered in each section, how many of them I was sure were wrong and how many were doubtful. I worked and re-worked the numbers until I came to the conclusion that I was a prodigy at statistics, searched the questions on that topic and solved them real quick. Before I could work out what else I was an undiscovered talent at, the three hours were up and I was let go, back into the sanity of my own world.

On a more serious note, fortunately, the stipend, that I am now never going to get, never did matter that much anyways. My dad has been very kind and understanding throughout the four years of this mega-bumper-five-year-holiday package that he has sent me here on. So hopefully, he'll remain likewise for the last year too. This blog therefore goes in wishing all the guys who've actually put in there sincere efforts and to whom the result does make a difference, all the very best. By sticking to the lower strata of the merit list, I have made my contribution in upping your percentile. Here's hoping that you make it into whatever lies beyond the gate.

In retrospection, I now see that the whole thing was a big mistake right from the beginning. The very name of the exam for instance. You see, Graduate, Aptitude, Test and Engineering are not words that I particularly like or relate to. And then, there I was, preparing for this exam from books written by guys with the names - 'Crazy'g, Pop-oww and Peekay Nag. Critics might like to compare me with the fox that said that the grapes were sour and walked away. Fie!! Fie!! Shame on you for thinking that way. I am not a fox and I am six feet tall, thank you. There are no grapes that I can't reach, only GATEs that I can't seem to unlock...