Saturday, January 07, 2006

Congrats! So when's the treat....

It's that time of the year again but the difference from last year is too much to miss. So whereas in the last year I was a mere spectator, enjoying the show from the sidelines as it unfolded slowly and sometimes in mysterious ways, this year I am also a participant, patiently waiting for my turn to shine and till then, basking in the glory of my fellowmen. It's a strange mix of delight and apprehension, seeing your friends chalk out different career paths for themselves either by design or default, revelling in their success and getting more and more desperate for your turn at the same time. For most of us it's the culmination of four (sometimes five) years of grind and toil and the main reason we joined this institute; the campus placements. Except for those (un)fortunate ones who manage to get a job with a handsome package in their first or second attempt, the experience for the rest of us is one of its kind. Skimming through shortlists to find that your name doesn't find a place, suddenly realizing that GPA does matter, putting all your creative and MSWORD skills to the test to make your resume presentable and show that you have done a lot of work, trying to cram four years of computer science within a few days, waiting for the first interview call and the chance to wear the suit that you recently got made, and constantly lamenting to yourself and your peers something on the lines of "Yaar uss time mag lia hota naa..... to CG achchi hoti and aaj shortlist ho jaata ..." and hoping against hope that all the companies recruit by tens and dozens so that "Upar ki junta kat jae" (I can't translate that's beauty lies in these exact same words!), is all a part the grand show known as the placements where all of us have parts to play and though we all enter the stage at the same time, our exits are determined not only by our calibre and preferences but also by forces beyond our control.

The beauty of the entire process lies in its complexity and the numerous options it presents. So at one end of the spectrum, you have the choosers, as I like to call them, who, by virtue of their achievements here in IIT manage to get shortlisted and interviewed by most companies and bag an offer sooner rather than later. A sub species of this particular kind also indulge in the practice of getting shortlisted for every company they feel like for sheer pleasure and then deciding according to their whims not to sit for the interview. The other end of the spectrum is populated by a very different kind of people; the waiters. They are the ones who made the fatal mistake of ignoring their GPA and thus find themselves in a very unenvyable predicament, waiting for that one interview call to get a chance to prove their mettle which in most cases is more than what their GPA otherwise reflects.

The best part the entire process actually takes place after it's over. The triumphant recruit happily comes back to his hostel amidst the applause and delight of his mates who had thus far been making use of every possible communication technique ranging from word of mouth to cell phones to instant messengers, to keep themselves updated of his progress through the interview stages, dreading at the same time the show of camaraderie he might end up receiving which in hostel jargon is known as bumps. For the uninitiated ones, all I can say is that it's an experience which needs to be felt to be known. The coming few days sees the new recruit muster courage and monetary resources to satiate the demands of his friends in the form of treats.
Treats are a wonderful experience, not only because of the experiments that it allows one to make in terms of the choice of food (which ranges from Mughlai to Chinese to Italian) at somebody else's expense, but also for the time that one spends with close friends, laughing , gossiping, pulling each other's leg at times, indulging in visual art appreciations before and after the meal, especially if the treat is at Priya, reminiscing of the days gone by and talking about the days to come. I have always found the snaps that are taken during such treats to be the most beautiful and the most happy ones.

So, as the placement season moves on along with the season of treats and as more and more waiters end their wait, the one image that captures all the relief and delight associated with the process is that of my turbaned friend coming to our hostel and almost exploding with uninhibited joy as he ended his wait shouting out loud "Meri job lag gayi ..yaar.... meri job lag gayi .....". Congrats my friend. So when's the Treat.