That elite league

>I have been thinking about writing a blog for some time but never quite managed to get down to writing one. When I did find the time & inclination to write one, I found myself 35000 ft above sea level on the way to Kolkata. The last 7 years have been somewhat like this – Scaling new heights & finding myself at the threshold of even bigger things. What seemed nearly impossible at one stage seems within the radar now. Sach is life – you build it brick by brick.

I was on top of the world 7 years ago when I cracked the most difficult examination in the world to enter the hallowed portals of IIT Bombay. Life has come a full circle since then. Well, never quite reached the same level of achievement but experienced some truly amazing moments along the way. Looking back, one always wonders,” How did I ever manage to do that?”. I am sure almost everyone must have felt this at some point of time. At IIT, I had a different set of problems to deal with – My own low self-esteem at times coupled with the dream to crack a well-paying job (WPJ) haunted me for a long time. I was unhappy about something, perhaps about the lack of ability to control my life & that of my family. Somewhere, there was this deep desire in me to improve the state of affairs in my family. Nevertheless, I enjoyed IIT, although differently. I was very clear at the outset about what I intended to do at the end of 4 years. I am happy I stuck with that & didn’t allow anything else to distract me. No GRE, No CAT for me. Quite frankly, I knew I needed a WPJ even if it meant I would not be satisfied in the short run. Now, I believe that stage is over & I have newer challenges to look forward to. WPJs no longer make me lose sleep over them. I have developed the firm self-belief that if you are good enough, you will succeed in whatever profession or career you choose. What actually determines your character is the goal you choose & your pursuit of that goal. Yes, I kicked a WPJ in pursuit of my dreams & I can now smile at my choice.

I believe one needs to feel vindicated of one’s efforts or choices in the form of milestones along the path towards one’s dreams. Those milestones are good indicators of how committed you are in your efforts & how much potential you possess. When I joined TECHNIP as a process engineer, I was excited about working in core engineering in the oil & gas sector. However, I always knew that my heart lay in the field of education & sooner or later, I would be returning to it. Anything else would merely be an experience along the way. However, these experiences also tested my mettle in different ways. I was expected to be proficient as an engineer. At the same time, I learnt to interact with friendly & not-so-friendly people. Yeah, even that is a challenge of sorts!! However, the most memorable memories of my job in Abu Dhabi have predominantly been out of office. After what happened to mom during my 3rd year at IIT, I was very conscious about erasing all bad memories of the past & infuse a fresh breath of life into my family. Which is why it is easier for me to forget all the technical reports I prepared for my client but what really stuck is my parents watching me play my favourite sport in an international arena!!! The cricket field remains one of the few places where I have displayed my passion & emotions to the fullest. You don’t expect an engineer to jump up & down in office in front of his boss. I was missing all of that. Travelling in the Gulf remains one of my most fond memories but clearly, the lack of challenge, being away from the people whom I love & my pursuit of my dreams all encouraged me to prepare me for MBA.

If IIT was a peak conquered with great commitment & self-belief, IIM has to be my reward for tremendous focus & desire to move ahead in pursuit of my dreams. The entrance exam doesn’t matter when you live in a desolate place with average thinkers who cannot seem to think much beyond what they earn at the end of each month. To pull yourself out of such a stupor & false satisfaction is really tough. It’s easier to accept a WPJ however drab it may be rather than fight it out for something more meaningful in life. I really never looked at MBA as an end. It was always only a standpoint on my incredible journey. The IIMs just happened to make it a very memorable one!!

IIT taught me the importance of self-discipline & focus. It’s easy to get swayed by what your peers do or don’t do. At times, it’s hard to listen to your own mind but that’s the challenge. Nevertheless, I learnt a lot from all my friends at IIT. All of them have gone on in different directions – some are pursuing their PhDs, some have completed their MBAs & others are climbing up the career ladder in their jobs. My stint at Abu Dhabi was my first lesson in finance management. For a person who didn’t get much pocket money in his school or college days, drawing a 7-figure salary was a huge responsibility in every sense of the term. At the same time, all the money never made me egoistic. They never made think low about my own dreams, no matter how difficult they seemed to be. I always hated people who linked dreams to your bank balance. There are materialistic desires & then, there are DREAMS, which this narrow-minded group of people could never differentiate between.

At IIT, I had the opportunity to study & interact with arguably some of the best students in the country. Not just their technical skills, but their literary skills, sports skills, music skills, acting skills & DREAMS at times amazed me. I felt elevated to a different level. Which is why I always felt that one’s company does matter. IIMs are capable of providing me with the same environment & that’s the reason I look forward to the next two years with great enthusiasm. I knew this opportunity comes to a very small group of people. It’s really huge – to be called an IIT-IIM grad!!