My Group Discussion and Personal Interview experience at TISS
I left my house at 7 40 am sharp, not knowing that I would return back home at the same time in the evening. I had unusual thoughts running in my head. I could not deal with them so I preferred not to think about the thoughts and just let them be. I was going to Tata Institute of Social Sciences ( TISS ). Many have heard of it, many haven't, many dont care. After my experience, I guess now, I belong to the third category. TISS is around an hour away from my house and since I had to reach at 9, I preferred to leave my place a little early ( in case I didn't get the bus on time or met someone interesting to chat with on the way ). I boarded the bus thinking it would take me at least 45 mins to reach. I was mistaken. In 20 mins flat I was dropped by the driver outside TISS. I looked at the driver while getting off and my guess was right. He was either drunk or had had a fight with his wife. Rash driving always has a reason.
I bought myself a packet of chips and headed straight to the institute, my dream institute, as I used to call it. I was eating when I noticed a huge crowd of students, all gathered and girls were chirping about how hard they worked for this. Yes, I felt out of place because I did not work hard, neither for the GD nor for the PI or the written test. I registered myself and was told to walk into the Common Room. I saw a couple of lost souls there and preferred to sit alone. To my horror, 2 girls, one from Bangalore and other from Chennai, occupied seats next to me. Bang on! I was in for trouble I knew that! Once they started discussing names and people and places I have never ever heard before, I wanted to bury myself and run away as fast as I could. Voila, I had a brilliant thought. My simple Nokia phone never ever seemed so useful to me ever. I got my headset out and put on the FM. With my favorite song ( Pehli Nazar mein...) playing, I felt relaxed and composed. That lasted for around half an hour till a man wearing a red t shirt walked in. He was reading this book called " Who made the minister smile?". I said in my head " I did, I did!!" Ok, I thought that was it. Again mistaken. He called out names of 8 people and instructed them to move to room number 10. The two " oh so knowledgeable " girls were in the first group itself and I silently prayed that my name would not be announced. It wasnt.
I waited till 11:45 for my turn and finally, we were told to move to Room number 11. I could write for hours on that Room number 11. I never felt pleasure and pain like that before. I never will. We headed towards it. I saw my place. There was a duster on the table with my Number written on it. I said to myself " OK, so I am just a number now". Obviously, what could I expect? They called 600 students and were going to finalise on just 30. And yes, people who have work experience will be given preference. I wanted to walk out. I stayed.
The topic was given. We discussed it. I spoke a few times and ended the discussion with a quote. I will never forget that quote " One speaker cannot beat 10 thinkers. 1 thinker cannot beat a 100 planners and a 100 planners cannot beat ONE performer. I felt proud. I really was.
Next, we were told to again go back to the Common Room. By now, I even knew the colour of the curtains there. I didnt want to go back. I did.
Next, I was heading towards the Canteen. Perhaps, the best part in my entire trip was the food I ate there. Mind blowing!. Chole curry rice and Panha ( a drink made of Raw Mango ). After eating, we all ( oh yeah, I made some friends there ) headed towards the CR again. And then the best part, I slept off for 45 mins only to wake up with a call from office. My over enthusiastic friends asked me how it was. I wish I could tell them how I felt exactly, how bored I was, how putoff I was and how much I missed the Airconditioning in my office. I didn't.
I woke up and asked the woman there how much time would it take. She replied with this " Abhi number 4 gaya hai, aapka number 16 hai ". Again, I was a number. Fantastic! I said, " Theek hai, I am going back to sleep!". She smiled. I walked out again.
Finally, at 6 in the evening, " number 16!!" was announced. From the last 2 years, I was waiting for this moment and now, I did not care. I was exhausted, tired and as disinterested as the Interview panel itself. I walked in, was grilled for 15 mins. Questions pertaining to e-counselling and education and development and why was my TYBA so taxing, blah blah blah. No offence to the panel. But I was as bored as them. I have never cursed the Indian Education System as much as I did yesterday. I loved it.
As I left, I had a very strong urge to ask them a couple of questions myself. " Why is the managment so poor?" " Why did you keep me waiting for so long?" "Why are you looking so bored?" "Why cant you increase the number of seats?" blah blah blah. I didn't ask them anything. I just walked out.
Next thing I knew, I was in an auto with my two new friends, heading to Govandi station. I had never been there before. Crazy thoughts ran in my head " What if the panel had asked me what my favorite song was? or Which was the last book I read? or what if they asked me to dance or something?. Then I remembered it was not a MTV Roadies interview. It was TISS. Reality.
When I got off the train, I passed the same bus stop I had visited in the morning.I felt nostalgic. I laughed. So many students take that bus everyday, 505 ltd. So many dreams, so many hopes. Some brutally crashed, some fulfilled. I dont really care if my dream is fulfilled or not. It was an experience and like my Dad always says " Experience counts, not winning or losing".
Next thing I know, I got back home, narrated the entire incident to my dad. The best thing about him is that he listens and he need not comment. I just know that he understands. He did.
The day ended. I slept. But before going to bed, I thought of the thousands of students with dreams, their own dreams, their parents' dreams. I wanted to write about the unfair system of education in our country. I wanted to thrash the management. I wanted to scream and yell, just to be heard. I did not do any of it. I just smiled and slept. The next day, I had already forgotten about it. Back to work. Back to life. C'est la vie ( Such is life )-An excuse in itself.