Monday, October 31, 2011


Page 220 of Changu's 300 page biography, A Best seller (to the chaat-waalahs in mumbai)

Nov-mid:(Somewhere, in some part of the country, in some B-school campus. which is not necessarily your's - Disclaimer )

Changu waited outside with bated breath and sweaty palms, awaiting his turn for the next interview. The Cluster-1 tension and nervous energy was palpable and beginning to show on the faces of all 10 people sitting beside him, competing with him for the same company. Nothing from the dress-rehearsal interviews would have matched up to this pressure of expectations today. The firm was the most preferred recruiter on campus. Their India operation was based out of Chennai and they were into the niche area of Tea technology and consulting. They had dethroned Big "Mc". No marks for guessing who they were. They were none other than "Maru T Stall group" or Big Maru as was referred in the college lingo over the years.

"Mr. Changu, Please come in " called out a man politely, sticking his head outside the room. As Changu entered the room, the fresh aroma of Tea gripped and flirted with his nose. There were 2 persons inside. Both of whom had come down to the campus 3 weeks ago to give their pre-placement talk. Changu recognized one of the founders as Maru T. His's mind took the quick kitkat break and soon a flash-back followed.

4 weeks back:

Notice on the placement site:

Big Maru ,the very popular group is here for major roles. Please feel free to ask questions since this would be instrumental in getting strategic roles for us in tea-making.
Time: 4:00-6:00 pm
Dress Code: Lungi

The co-ordinator at the PPT opened the PPT (for the 52nd time) with: "Hi, today we have with us our most preferred recruiter, Maru T group on campus. Hope you will know a thing or 2 from him about tea stalls. Without further ado, I hand over charge to Maru.

Maru T,then, had stepped in to give probably the most 'senti' and inspiring speech ever heard in the history of the college placements.
He had been advised that all Classrooms were no-smoking zones, which robbed the audience off the heroic cigarette-flicking act of Maru. Nevertheless, they witnessed his goggle-wearing act which drew huge cheers and whistles from the audience. Then followed the speech which has every soul in tears. (even the placement committee member had thrown away his 'absent & penalty' register and started to sob).

Maru: "Friends, I had a very humble beginning like most of you, no IIT tag, no CFA level achievements, no high-flying GPAs etc. I was here 22 years back, at the very same place as you, attending some god-forsaken PPT like all of you are doing right now and completing my Marketing Assignment sheet. Alas, I was caught and fined a princely sum of Rs 500. I did not have the money then to pay the fine but that did not deter me from gaining expertise in my 'cogg'nitive skills.
I could not open simple T-accounts in Financial accounting for DEBIT and CREDIT. But 22 years hence, I advise people on opening million-dollar Tea accounts.
I did not study marketing but I can position well.
I was always the subject of cold-calling in all Probability & Statistics classes. Today I decide probabilities and nullify hypothesis.
I decided one fine day, to start a company whose valuations would equal all the fine penalties I have paid so far.

I know each of you is aspiring to be a Maru T. We ourselves need young and fresh minds (and hands) in tea making. So if u have it in you, our doors and stalls are open. Any questions

(His talk was interrupted by his mobile which rang twice. His ringtone was the remixed version of the retro-hit " Maru T, r u with me?".

A hand went up. It was a chick.
"Sir, what makes you come to work daily?"

Maru: WTF... What randomness and globe is this?? This is not an 'organizational dynamics' class. (Signalling to his side-kick) Please don't shortlist her.

Tsunami Jr. was itching to ask a question. "Sir, what is the selection procedure like?"
Maru: Good question. Our criterion is passion and excitement of wanting to become a Maru T. If you don’t exhibit it, I am sorry this is not the place for you.
Our choice is simple – The candidate should not exhibit characteristics of a Day-1’er.

A week later, after the ppt, the shortlists were out. Around 20 of them had got through. There was disappointment galore among many others at not being able to make it. Changu was beaming with joy. He was one among the 20 and was overjoyed!

At the interview:
Maru: "Sit down" he said. Unlke most interviewers whose standard favourite was "Tell me about urself" he asked " So what are your hobbies/interests?"

Changu: "Err… Sir. Giving CAT, filling up multiple CVs, uploading them, sending them to companies, filling up company forms and awaiting shortlists.

Maru looked stunned.

To be continued...