Friday, April 11, 2008


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.


Kams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kams said...

Hii ...Just read this blog at orkut thn seached for ur blog..u awesome writer. i must say work on it dear .. I still hv to face interview let see wht happns,,

der Bergwind said...

hi blown... ur orkut tag
hmmm... read thru ur take on the tiss gd/pi @ orkut

u have changed sides now... as u say, u have shifted to the third 'kind' who care less abt the whole tiss aura. maybe u do not rewind the interview reels at odds hours of the day... maybe u feel the lovez labor lost... i dunno... but is it so easy to let go of a love? a passion strong?
3000 people, 60 seats and helluva madness. how to quantify that you care.. you feel and do really wanna be part of the old world charm? how do you stop and stare around and seep in the greens, the slow pace around... the little nothings not lost in the rat races of so called b-schools? you have 250 ids 'n a bedlam to live thru... agreed! the management, the ratios, the time lags between the process etc have left little to individual brilliance n most of it to lady luck, but if u have loved tiss... u cant let go of the feelings easy. this is a view, this is how i see it, feel it... hope u dont take this as a diatribe, gyan/sermons or musings of an 'argumentative indian' . i have loved this place since a long time now... have had friends passing out.. have been there in the campus, stayed in the hostels n been a part of the perimeter of life @ tiss... wish i cud stop loving it... wish i cud shy away from it! am scared, shitless! ya! i am hopeful... a sinusoidal wave of emotions surround tiss... but even i try... i cant stop caring... caring for the college... the aura arnd it, the way it remains unchanged now for the last few years i have known it... felt it! might sound a lil eerie, a lil archaic n slow, but what is this life so full of care...??
how would they make sense of so much data.. evaluations n comparisons...?? how would they decide the fate of so many people n when most hardly care abt it... ?? would there be a logic, a reason? i dunno... itll hurt real bad if red's the light... but even then, the love for tiss would not dry... there are very few things in life one really lives for.. u know! very few people in life u can just fight for... guess tiss is one such minima in the maximum city of bombay! it felt a tad ironic how a day can take the emotions away... n then there were people who kinda did the la comedy show over the whole thingy :) - democratic india, i know... but hope u do get in thru to tiss n realize tat it much more than just a skewed process of selection.. its much more than a dayz vacuum... its much more than hard work n preparations.
well... tatz more like it... nice blog u have here.. hope u can make sense of these jumbled scribble n read beyond words, beyond lines to know tat tiss... is a legacy... is an honor... the method never hurts the means...
hope is the opium of life n tiss is worth every shot of it :) (u cant really mix romance with humor n rite now am too zonked to really make much sense... so.. amen!!)

Raman said...

what makes u think indian education system is unfair? no system is unfair - it is often the people involved that mess it up. Anyways, if TISS wasn''t ur dream & u don''t care for it, may be u won''t get in - or may be u won''t like it once u get in. TISS is the kind of institute that has the power to produce people who can change lives. It is even more powerful than IIMs becuase it has the power to select only based on merit. TISS is an institute where only people who dream of getting into it should get in. Especially Social Work...

Manas said...

main likhta raha main-khumari mein
unko jaana to khaak ho gaya

Quintessential said...

Amazingly well published stuff.All this while, I thought I was the only 1 who felt out of place on the interview day. I gave my interview on 3rd n was horrified to find ppl trying to slog n slog till the time they were just about to see the panel. Somehow felt a bit crazy seeing the huge crowd for mere 30 seats.....glad to see atleast my thoughts had sm company among thousands of weird "sloggeratis"