More often than not, the lull before the storm causes the real flutter.So was the case with me,given the 2 month hiatus between the IIM group discussion-interviews and the final shortlists. To be fair, most of my interviews were akin to "first day-first shows" which meant that the process would be spread over a period of nearly a month to accomodate the large sea of shortlisted candidates.
Even as the final interviews were still on, speculations on the possible date of the release of the final results took root and spread like wildfire. The mere mention of the "probable dates" had the aspiring students as much rivetted to the Pagalguy (PG) site as the spectacular India-SL world cup final.
Although the logical self in me restrained me from checking the PG site to avoid the unnecessary hype & hoopla; the whole buzz surrounding the aftermath of the GD-PIs was too tempting to reist, especially for my mother. Each day would start with the same-old,dreaded question from her.
" Any news?". She would ask
The question to which I would give a shrug and a nod in the negative. The frequent "NOs" somehow made me feel awkward and guilty given the fact that she was dead sure I would convert all my IIM calls and that it was just a matter of time. I wasn't half as sure as her. The fact that I had got IIM calls had only just begun to sunk in now.
IIM A was a 50-50 chance. Not that I had screwed it up. But no one seemed to have performed badly.
IIM C had generated a feel-good feeling in me. Nothwithstanding any twists & turns in the final shortlists; deep inside, I knew I had aced "C" like no one before. Just the official confirmation was needed.
IIM L, I and the 4 news IIMs were a breeze.
I went about my work as usual just to ensure I was engaged & busy and had no time to sit & worry like many on the PG site.
A close look at the PG site would be enough to tell you that a major proportion of posts on the CAT forums are those of desperate people who whine about just about anything from their poor past grades to their bad CAT scores to the look of the interview panel they faced.
They speculate about their chances based on some really trivial observations thus making a mountain of a mole-hill.
( " He dint offer me a toffee while I was leaving. Everyone else got 1 at least. I am screwed. I am screwed",
" They never checked my files", they dint fine me interesting".
" He cleaned his ears while I was answering his questions".
" He scratched his @&*. I am a failure. Boo hooo !!"
Somehow, all at once, everyone seem to have messed up his/her chances of converting a IIM call! There are ,however, a few exceptions in this gloom of pessimism. And from a few such composed voices emanating from the forums it was known that 18th April would be D-day!
April 17th,the night: A casual log onto the PG site (Curiosity always kills the cat)at around 12. Disappointly, none of the IIMs had come out with their shortlists (IIMs and their surprise element!).
I followed the link provided in their site, keyed-in my details and waited in anticipation. The page refreshed itself, so did my brain. The merciless XAT paper, 99 percantile, the interview, the old man on the panel etc appeared & vanished within 2 sec. Finally the page that mattered the most appeared. It furnished all details including the most important one - " Was I in or out?" And the decision read as under:
!! CONGRATULATIONS !!
You have been selected for BM Programme for which you have applied to XLRI Jamshedpur.
Please wait for the official letter from the Chairperson, Admissions, XLRI Jamshedpur.
I confirmed it a couple more times just to be sure before telling the others about it. It was a mini-victory and given the unpredictability and weirdness associated with XLRI final calls, this was no mean achievement. I gave myself a small pat on the back, mentally. This would be a insurance, good enough to offset any depression if I dint convert any of the IIM calls.
Most people on the PG forum had promised themselves they wudnt sleep until they had seen the A,B & C final shortlists. Maybe it was too ridiculous a thought or I was too sleepy ;I dint bother checking any further and had a good night's sleep.
April 18th, 9:30 am: On my dek, sipping on some elaichi-tea, I brushed aside my work-dairy and opened the IIM A webpage (Our company's server-filters arent too fond of PG forums).
Today there was a new link under the PGP admissions heading. I clicked on it and fed in my details. No expectations, no fear of failure, no heart-breaks. And IIM C was always there to bank on ( I had made up my mind rather covertly that C was my ultimate source of refuge.) The page took not less than a few seconds to flash the following details:
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
Admission Status : Post-Graduate Programme in Management (PGP 2011-2013 batch), IIMA
Congratulations! You have been selected for admission to PGP (2011-2013 batch), IIMA. Please indicate your decision by e-mail.
The casualness of the moment melted away in thin air. The elaichi-chai was still swirling inside threatened to fall out of my open mouth. I sat staring at the PC in disbelief as if it were news of Katrina proposing to me. Shell-shocked, I scanned every word of the last 2 sentences esnuring it wasnt a typing error on part of IIM A.
For a moment, everything else around me seemed to come to a grinding halt.
Thinking it was the old GDPI-shortlisting link (such errors are common place), I entered my details again. The msg was the same. Out of disbelief I repeated the exercise a few more times. No change, same verdict!
How could it change??
India's premier B-school had finally decided that from among the 2-lakh odd candidates who had competed in the CAT, I was worthy enough to make it through to its hallowed portals.
" A ratio of 766 students per seat." my mind computed instantly. The mathematician inside me refused to die down even though CAT was over ages ago.
It was indeed a big deal after all. Beating 765 others for a seat in IIM-A is no joke. I had come up with something really special!
I was still in a stupor of utter disbelief, completely oblivious to the hectic daily activity around me.
Tears started to brim in my eyes and tried hard to sneak out. It wasnt wise to burst out in full public cognizance. Not that boys cant cry (Although women like to belive its their monopoly of sorts. They forget, we do hav feelings too.)
Give vent to my feelings, I certainly did. I dashed off to the nearest washroom,locked myself in and poured it all out.
A million thoughts engulfed me then - buying the CAT admission form at Rajkot during one of the longer supplier visits, test preps,mocks,CAT,my percantile,the shortlist to the interview stages, the interview,the cut-throat competition, the sacrifices that went into all these etc.
After composing myelf, I called up my mother in Banglore. She answered my 2nd call. Her reaction was palpable excitement and it was something she couldnt hav expressed in words.
I turned and walked to "Saab" who was working away furiously on his lappie. He was overjoyed to say the least; so was "chits", "yogi","amma","shaktiman","tame tiger","guru","alok" and many others. Slowly but surely, the news made its way through the whole dept in Kandivli. It was indeed wonderful that everyone else was enjoying and revelling in my success and it made the occasion all the more special.
By late afternoon, IIM C had declared their shortlists and I had made it there too! To be honest, thats wasnt a surprise.
Things were happening so fast,so soon. It was going to be really tough digesting the whole run of events right from last night.
The resignation letter had already been typed in my head
The feeling had just started to sink in now...