So what’s your aim in life ?!

I was talking to a friend yesterday about how the whole placement scenario works in engineering colleges. It’s weird, but the one thing Dale (a COEP professor, I think that’s enough said!) was bang-on-target about is that the reason students want to get into a good engineering college is to get a good job! Somehow the moment you come to know you’ve cleared your third year, the one fear that strikes the mind of every engineering student is- placements! Anyway been there, done that. So I completely understand and sympathize with them! So, I was reliving my interview experience when I suddenly remembered this seemingly simple, but brillianto question this guy from Cognizant asked me- “What is your aim in life?”

Now in interviews and SOPs, you make up your answers. And more often than not, they consist of phrases you pick up from the company/university website spiced with stuff like “cutting edge research”, “pioneers in the field of blah blah”, “leaders of tomorrow”, “perfect opportunity to hone my technical expertise” and what not! Obviously, coz these people decide whether you get the job or the university admit. But while I was telling her all this, I realized that I haven’t even bothered to give a thought to its real answer all these years! (And I thought, at 23 I’d know it all!)

I remember when I was in school in Doha, my mom had a teacher friend who’s daughter was about 5-6 years elder to me. I must’ve been around 13 then. So this daughter, all bright and smart, apparently told her mom that one day she’d have a flashy office on like the hundredth floor of a glass building from where it’d seem like the whole world was at her feet! See, that’s so Shah Rukh Khan-isque !! Same illuminating moment came in his life when he declared to his friend, standing on Marine Drive (I think) that one day he’d own the city! And he so does! Lol.. Well, I have no idea whether that bright and smarty-pants daughter got her hundredth floor office or not, but the point is- she had the “guts” to make a statement like that, when she was all of 20! And that is what oh-so-impressed my mom, who got all sentimental that day! Made me seem like a fool coz I hadn’t made any such promises; I was still battling with World War I statistics!

Then, I remember there was this one time my mom, sister and I were driving home from someplace, I’m guessing a fancy dinner coz that’s when we’re at out chattiest best! And I told my mom that one day I’d have a production company and I’d name it after her coz I was so proud of the way she’d raised me !! Yeah well, first reaction to that was shudder- why would I launch a production company!? And that was followed by laughter, fortunately not the ROTFLMAO kind coz she was driving! She thought I was drunk on food or something, making crazy statements like that! So there, my first attempt went down the drain! Well what do you know, I’ll still have that production company one day; only it won’t be named after her! So her loss, not mine !! 😛

Anyway, so ever since that fiasco, I stopped making such claims. 12th Boards happened, engineering happened and now further studying will happen. And I still don’t have the answer to that billion dollar question- “Where do you see yourself ten years from now?!” (By the way, shouldn’t that question be reserved for film stars; at least they’ll have interesting answers!)

So, with a hint of apprehension, I attempt to answer that question today. And since I truly believe that success is a journey, not a destination (taaliyan !!), instead of a definitive target, I shall be listing out things I plan to accomplish before I’m 27. Why 27? Coz I don’t think I can plan as far as ten years, a five year plan seems like a good start. (On an entirely different note- in five years I shall be 27!? When is that quarter life crisis supposed to hit!? Does it kill!?)

1. Have a job that will hopefully be related to industrial engineering and will be something I really care about. Now question for all working people- is it possible to have a job you care about or is that just a myth?!
2. Become a professional photographer.
3. Complete Dream Project 1. What the project is about is a secret. You’ll anyway know when it’s complete.
4. Have a detailed plan ready for the production company. Let’s start with the name..
5. I do measure success to some extent with material possessions. So I’d feel really glad if I’d own my own house and car by then. I’m guessing if I accomplish 1 by the time I’m 25, then this wouldn’t be an impossible dream.
6. Visit Egypt, Greece, Europe (at least Germany and France), Nepal and Australia. That’s one for each year. And implied here, would be doing all the stuff that’s typical of each place like scuba diving at the Reefs in Australia. This is in keeping with the “do everything at least once in life” motto! Hopefully one of the above will be one of those budget trips with random strangers, as I mentioned here.
7. Learn to speak German fluently. And manageable French and Spanish.
8. Learn how to play football, ekdam properly!
9. Visit an Indian Air Force base and hopefully co-pilot one of the jets. This is coz I’m crazy about the IAF (and NOT because of the airforce pilots in crew cuts; that’s sooo typical… :-P) And if I were two centimeters taller (and a lot fitter), I’d be an IAF officer today!
10. Stay unmarried. Yeah well, you’ll know why that’s important once you meet my mom !!

Phew! There…that’s my list! I don’t know how many of these I’m going to be able to accomplish in the stipulated time frame. We’ll continue this five years from today..


The Big C

Well, no, I’m not referring to Cancer or Commitment though they are Big C’s too! What I’m talking about is COMMUNICATION !!!

You know, I have more than 400 friends on Orkut. (Well if you’ve lived in two countries, gone to two schools, a junior college and a professional college, you end up knowing those many people! Anyway that’s not the point here, so shush! :-P) And if seventy percent of these people have been in relationships (you know, the boy-girl-in-love types) that didn’t work out, at least fifty percent of them feel they ended because they “didn’t communicate at the right time”. (How do I know this? I didn’t conduct a survey; there’s a section in the profile called “From your past relationships you learnt:”. I know from that. See, Orkutting can be useful too! ;-))

There are reports of how the divorce rate in India, especially in metros, is increasing at alarming rates. Most couples blame it on miscommunication.

I was reading this article in India Today on teenage suicides. Apparently 16 teenagers commit suicide every day in India and 82% of them say they’re under stress because their parents talk to them only about their marks and career, while they want to talk to parents about themselves.

Until a few years ago, I always thought that it isn’t necessary to communicate your feelings to your friends and family. Since they’ve been such an important part of your life for so long, they’ll understand what you feel. But the past few months have made me realize that this is far from true. It is often the people we’re closest to, who need to know how much we care about them. And I’m not just including romantic relationships here; even our parents and friends come in this bracket.

All through my school and college, I’ve had so many friends, some who I thought would last a lifetime. But more often than not, we drifted apart in due course of time. And I often blamed my pals for what happened. It was always something they did or something they said that strained relations. Until I realized that since I was the common factor in all those disagreements, surely something would be wrong with me too!

My sister, though, is very good at this communication thing. Since she stays away from home, all the sms-es she sends my mom and me are laced with “Love you” and “Miss you” and what not. If we don’t talk to her for more than 24 hours, she gets restless. And one thing she keeps telling us is that she doesn’t want us to get used to living without her, ever! At face value, all this seems a tad too sentimental. I used to always think- What the hell, she’s away from home to study. You can’t afford to be so emotional about silly issues. But the fact is, she doesn’t say this coz she is miserable without us. She’s managing fine enough. But these are just ways to tell your people what they mean to you. And going by how much my mom loves those sms-es, I can safely vouch for it’s success.

We people get so bogged down by the rigmarole of life that we often give our family last priority. And while I agree with the philosophy that “paisa hai toh jahan hai“, we should not forget what we’re losing out on, in the process. Which is where the second aspect comes into picture- communication at the right time! You know how these couples claim that one of the golden rules of a successful marriage is never to sleep over a fight. I think this is one practice everyone should follow. In fact, don’t even wait for a fight. Prevention is better than cure here. And while I’m not saying that you should scoot off to send balloons/chocolates/gifts/flowers to your loved ones every single day, it always pays to take some time off over the weekend to call up or email your pals. Write crap, but write. Like a few days ago, a friend from the US sent me a silly email about why I should be thankful I got a reject from Georgia Tech as most people in Gatech are gay! Well don’t ask me what that means, this guy is a little loony! (Sorry Soumya! :-)) But I was laughing for ten minutes after that! See how simple it was?!

So, all I’m saying is- It’s important to not take your family and friends for granted. And while it may seem trivial to some, taking time out to involve your people in the happenings of your life really goes a long way in building trust and love in a relationship. If someone like me can learn to do it, it must be child’s play for sure!

And since this has been a rather serious article, here’s a joke to lighten the mood –

When God made the first Negro, what did he say?
Oh shit! Yeh toh jal gaya !! :-D:-D
(I don’t know why, but I love this joke! Just the idea of God saying it is h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s, no offence to Black people, I love you guys! Go Obama !! :-D)

"Me" defined

If any of you have been pondering over one of the greater questions of life- “Who am I, exactly!?”- then you should read about this interesting concept called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Now, I am generally wary of these multiple-choice personality-assessment questionnaires, having attempted wide varieties of them in Pune Times (!!) and the ever popular Tickle! Tickle, in fact, even has these “Ph.D certified” tests that help you determine how many karma points you accumulated in the past year and how bright your aura is, whatever that means! :-P.. But I must admit, I was amazed at the accuracy of the MBTI test. In fact it was one of those aha! moments for me, coz what the test reveals is stuff that you’ve known all along, but have never been able to put in words so succinctly. Besides, they put it all so nicely, it makes you think you’re the greatest thing on Earth since sliced bread !! I took the test twice, just to see how reliable the results are, and they were 60% similar both the times. So I guess, that speaks for itself.

Excerpts from my report –

“……when it comes to their own areas of expertise – and INTJs can have several – they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don’t know…” (That makes me feel like Socrates, though I think there are miles to go before I reach this stage! ;-))

“….produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake”

“Anyone considered to be “slacking,” including superiors, will lose their respect — and will generally be made aware of this; INTJs have also been known to take it upon themselves to implement critical decisions without consulting their supervisors or co-workers.” (Bull’s eye, I admit!)

And this one takes the cake –

“Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ’s Achilles heel. While they are capable of caring deeply for others (usually a select few), and are willing to spend a great deal of time and effort on a relationship, the knowledge and self-confidence that make them so successful in other areas can suddenly abandon or mislead them in interpersonal situations. This happens because many INTJs do not readily grasp social rituals; for instance, they tend to have little patience and less understanding of such things as small talk and flirtation (which most types consider half the fun of a relationship). To complicate matters, INTJs are usually extremely private people, and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misread and misunderstand. Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense. 🙂 This sometimes results in a peculiar naivete’, only instead of expecting inexhaustible affection and empathy from a romantic relationship, the INTJ will expect inexhaustible reasonability and directness. “

“….the strongest INTJ assets in the interpersonal area are their intuitive abilities and their willingness to “work at” a relationship.”

Anyway, true or not, apparently I share my personality type with Lance Armstrong and Richard Gere !!! Aur kya chahiye !! *stars in eyes*

Anyone interested can take the test here. And do let me know how bang-on-target your assessment turns out!