Prof. “Fortunate Blessings” asked me not to write this experience in a blog, but it was a kind of experience which makes me laugh whenever I think about it. As they say “one lie leads to a hundred other lies” and it came true during those twenty minutes. Lying doesn’t come naturally to me but that day it seemed, even to me, as if I was telling the truth. It was the GD-PI for entrance into IIM Kozhikode at Monarch Luxor hotel in Bangalore on 15th April 2010.
I was the second last to be interviewed; it was around 5:00 PM in the evening. I did not have my lunch and was quite bored looking at the worried faces of the other boys and girls in the black suites. I came down to the reception and browsed through the TOI. A line caught my attention in an article about Oprah Winfrey. "I've confronted her and asked, 'why do you tell such lies?' Oprah told me, 'that's what people want to hear. The truth is boring',”
I came upstairs only to wait for my turn. Finally, Prof Blessings (PB) came out of the room, tucking in his shirt as he adjusted his belt. I thought he must be an Alumnus of the college; a professor cannot be so young and handsome. A kind of stereotype formed during IIT Kharagpur.
“Are you Vikram?”, he asked.
“Yes Sir”, I nodded.
“Please come in”, he invited and went back.
I took out my mobile, switched on the voice recorder and put it in the chest pocket of the coat. I took a deep breath and went inside the room. Our GD too happened in the same room. They had removed the bed of a normal hotel room and put a table and few chairs to make it an interview room.
Prof. Pleasure (PP) put his mobile for charging and started with a smile. The questions about my work, technologies like GSM, CDMA etc continued for 2-3 minutes.
PP- So which mobile do you have? Show it to me.
I was ice cold for a second. The mobile was recording the conversation. Does he know about it?
I somehow kept the composure, took it out carefully, saved the recorded file and gave it to him.
“It is an ordinary phone!” You are earning 50-60k per month, why don’t you have a smart phone?
I told that it was good enough for my needs; I’ll buy a better phone when I reach IIMK. (I still have the same phone). He inquired about its features and returned it to me. This time
I didn’t dare to switch on the voice recorder.
PB asked me about my hobbies- which I said to be reading novel and writing blogs about my experiences.
PB - Blogging is good habit but please don’t write about the questions which we ask you, it gives an unfair advantage to other people.
Ok Sir, I’ll write only if I make it to IIMK.
PP - So which is your favorite Novel?
Its “My name is Red”; (luckily) I didn’t say “Atlas Shrugged” which I had read just a week before.
I told something about it as my mind wondered for a moment about Shekure – the Lady in the Novel. It brought a smile on my lips. Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel winner, has done some good work while writing it.
PP – You look smart; you must be having a Girlfriend, don’t you?
I thought what a weird question is this? I surely didn’t have a girlfriend; in fact I didn’t even have a good female friend in those days. But why should I be a loser!
“Yes Sir”, I replied with a smile.
PP looked at PB and said, now a day’s everyone has a girlfriend, we’ve asked all the eight students today and every one of them has a girlfriend! Time has changed. We are the only people who were unlucky, or probably we are not as smart as these people are.
I kept mum, I thought it’s over with this answer, but there was more to come.
PP- So what’s her name? How did you meet her?
Now the challenge begun!
Her name is Richa Sharma and she’s my friend since I was in 12th Class. We went to tuitions together, later on she went to IIT Roorkee and I went to Kharagpur but we stayed in touch.
PP- Where is she now? And are you from the same caste?
Sir, she’s in Adobe Gurgaon and she’s a Brahmin. (I didn’t know that there is no Adobe office in Gurgaon, but it somehow came on my tongue.)
PP- Did your parents know about it, didn’t they object to it?
Sir, we have already told about our friendship to them. Even though we are from different castes but our parents are well educated and they are ok with it.
PP- But you are staying in Bangalore, how are you keeping up with your relationship?
We generally talk over phone, and we regularly visit each other within two months.
PP- Do you believe in Live-in relationships?
I believe that Live-In relationships are alright, but I would marry her before staying with her permanently. (Our GD case was related to Live-In relationships and I spoke on the both sides of it)
PP- So, you are from a village. People must worship you there; he asked with a quirky smile.
Sir, no one worships me but whenever I go home, people do ask me about education for their kids and which stream to choose.
PB- You raised some good points in GD but you were not assertive and your spoken English isn’t good enough for an IIM, how will you cope with it.
I’ll improve it when I reach IIMK. (I’m yet to do it)
The conversation continued for around 20 minutes. I kept smiling most of time. I wasn’t even aware whether I was speaking or it was someone else who was doing all the talking.
PP- What is the probability of getting into IIMK? as he unplugged his mobile from the charger.
Its 99% my preparation and 1% luck. (What a stupid answer for a probability questions)
PP- Well, your interview is over, you may leave now.
Finally I came to IIMK. I’ve always told my friends that I have a girlfriend and I’m deeply committed. I don’t know why they believe it. Probably it’s something like a Fight Club type story.
Now as I sit in PP’s class I think my answers were affected by subliminal priming because of article about Oprah or it had to happen this way.
I think that even Adobe has got a connection in it, as I was planning to join it if I could not have come here.