Posts Tagged ‘life

29
Sep
13

Inspiring, depressing and funny graduation speech by Tim Minchin

11
Jul
13

The time when I took a break from college

I once took a semester long break from college. It seemed like a nutty thing to do back then but in hindsight I feel pretty good about it.

 

Here’s the story.

Image of a man holding a caricature of a well dressed monke on his way to work. The monkey hold's a suitcase that says, 'No more routine'

Break the routine. From Flickr.

 

I dropped a semester after my seventh semester and I had three more left to graduate. The decision was very hard to make because there was nobody else I knew how had dropped a semester for non-medical reasons yet I strongly felt that if I didn’t drop a semester I would ruin my career.

The reasons were multiple:

  1. To buy more time: My goals and aspirations weren’t clear, so I wanted to try out new sectors and roles. I had already gotten some experiences in non-profits(CEL projects), web programming(via part time projects), microcredit(helped an alumni launch a startup in Bangalore), business consulting(summer internship at Intellecap), bio labs(PS2 at Cancer Research Institute), etc. Yet none of these really excited me.
  2. Academic Counselling Board(ACB): Since I was doing the above, not attending classes, even skipping exams, bumming around and other random BITSian timepass, I was in ACB that particular semester and was pretty sure that I would be facing Dr. RK Mittal, the dreaded ARCD dean, next semester as well. Being in ACB a second time also meant, being forced to attend all classes which I dreaded more than the wrath of the ‘counseling’ board.
  3. I was unhappy: Being in ACB was tough, not something I enjoy thinking about. I was ashamed of being in ACB again because most of my friends were the geeks and would often coast through exams without trying. And there I was, nearly failing and trying to hide that. I’ve always been a pretty confident, optimistic and secure person by nature but Dr. Mittal had the most sadistic way of using words to convince me of my worthlessness instead of counseling me. He was a close minded, short sighted and a cruel man, I today genuinely pity. I know a friend who’s been seeing a therapist for years since graduating from Pilani, that’s the effect this man had on some people.
    I desperately needed time and freedom to think, to figure out the strategy for my remaining semesters because I was on the expressway to career ruin.
  4. To find a job: My CGPA was not stellar, to put it mildly. My disciplines were biological sciences and pharmacy, you can’t have picked worse disciplines to sit for campus placements in any economic situation and we were in placement hell that was 2009/2010. I wanted a job, a well paying job that I actually liked.
  5. To travel and network: A year earlier I had ended up at an elite conference(my first one ever) with Fortune 500 CEOs(edit: Link to the speaker page: FORTUNE Global Forum) and got a chance to see up close how business deals are closed. It is a lot about who you know and how. If I socialized with the right person, I had a better chance at scoring a job at his company. One of my goals was simply to party, travel and meet as many people as possible.

Once I had made up my mind about dropping a semester I had about thirty days to find a company ready to take an intern for six months and hopefully pay enough so that I could travel to the magical continent of Europe. I informed my parents of this decision, since I had a snow flake’s chance in hell of convincing them so I didn’t try too hard. They were annoyed for a little while. My father just had a mini panic attack when I told him I was writing this answer on a public forum, he doesn’t recommend dropping a semester. Its not for everybody.

Finding an internship was simpler than I thought because I got replies to most of my cold emails begging for an internship. I wasn’t aiming high because I had very little time and I scored an internship at my top choice, New Energy Finance(now owned by Bloomberg). During the internship I wanted to understand the renewable energy sector and gain skills to possibly apply for jobs in investment banks. They had just opened an office in Hyderabad with an American lady leading the team.

My role was that of a financial analyst and entailed poring through financials of renewable energy companies in Indo-China, churn out reports, interview experts, etc. It was tremendously interesting in the first three months and I got a chance to work with a lot of people in their SA, UK offices. Hyderabad was incredible and people A few months before the end of my internship I also went to the St. Gallen Symposium in Switzerland which gave me a new perspective to work and life. More here Abhishek Nayak’s answer to When have you most successfully hacked some (non-computer) system to your advantage?.

I coasted through the last months, mostly bored and unchallenged. The salaries of my colleagues bewildered me, perhaps it was an apology for the unsatisfying work the company gave them. During this time my first serious relationship also bloomed with a lovely girl. By the end of my internship I was convinced I never wanted to work on spreadsheets or routine finance. This wasn’t for me. At the end of the internship I had a job offer which was going to pay me about 70K a month in India and required frequent stays in London(by some magic the CTC was 13.5LPA). I was ecstatic.

When I went back to Pilani, I attended classes with new vengeance and with real interest. My main goal was now to be Happy, with a capital H. Life looked amazing, I was certain that I wanted to start a company perhaps in the energy sector and didn’t have the pressure to go through campus placements.

So a B1-A5 five pointer ended up with one of the highest paying jobs in my batch, not something I would have bet on. Life is funny.

I of course ended up starting Gharpay, got funded by a bunch of top investors, having a fun job(though still trying to reach that CTC) and I wake up everyday hoping that I’ll get to do what I’m doing right now, for the rest of my life. I know this is happiness. Full points to the 20 year old me.

This was originally posted on Quora.

03
Jan
11

Big year ahead

Dear nameless readers,

I’m excited to announce that tomorrow is my first day working full time on GharPay.  Two good friends (way) smarter than me are also founding this venture along with me, working with whom is really the big perk of doing this startup. I’m really looking forward to earning my lunches and dinners (and hopefully a breakfast occasionally, fingers crossed) the hard way.

What is GharPay? Its a way to pay offline for stuff that you order on the internet or on the phone. A simpler but an exaggerated way of describing would be ‘PayPal for offline payments’.

I’ll try to blog often, perhaps half-baked philosophies or about the surprises of the real world. One day when I’m famous or dead due to poverty, you can tell people you were among the handful people who read my blog before others did.

May we all find what we are looking for.

Peace,
A

14
Oct
10

When do you stop obeying?

Your parents pick out what you study and where. They then nudge you towards the job which you soon hate. They helpfully tell you that its all for the long term, when this work experience would help you study further. You go to grad school to get out of the previous job you hated. You then take the highest paying job you get out of grad college, making more money than you ever hoped to. You happily obey for a while at the new job, enjoy the golden cage you just built for yourself. Your relatives decide its time for you to get married, they’ll be more than willingly pick out your spouse for you.

If you are really lucky you’ll never realize that you are living with instructions. But more often than not somewhere down the line you will find out and continue living in quiet desperation, because really you don’t know any other way.

Obey giant

Obey Propaganda

If you feel angry about living with instructions, then stop obeying. The world won’t end if you start living.

26
Jan
08

2008, the start

2008 is proving to be a year of radical personal changes. What is surprising me most is that most of them are unmotivated by me. And I continually feel astounded that I am adapting so well to them, and they make me feel so much better too. Here’s a list of them:

1. I’ve developed a taste for classical western music. Chopin and Beethoven are my favorites. I was a little embarrassed  about it at first, especially because when my wingies first heard (glorious) piano music playing in my room, they assumed I was watching Tom and Jerry Show episodes. Sic!

2. I find more pleasure in the old western movies like Casablanca, 12 Angry men, For a fistful of dollars, etc than I ever did in modern hollywood comedies(think Adam Sandler, Vince Vaughn). And a few months ago I couldn’t complete movies, now I’m sitting peacefully through B/W’s.

3. I’m curious about astrology. I’m not proud about this. But, seriously why can’t the seemingly random positions of star patterns imagined by humans affect the personality and fate of a person born when a particular constellation is prominent in the sky? Think about it, or better let Linda Goodman convince you about it. I’m a scorpio.

4. I feel confident and good about my future. I actually have a plan for the future! I miss the old aimless me 😦 .

5. I’m sleeping soundly. Thank God!

6. I’ve got new crushes. Ah, I’m turning all red and blushing. Kidding, I can never tell when I’m turning red, it’s so hard when you are dark skinned! However lame and untrue this may sound, I hadn’t had a crush on somebody for the past 2+years. What a relief in the barren cold desert, to feel a warm beating heart 🙂 .

Looks like 2008 is going to be fun and unpredictable. Just what I love.

04
Oct
07

Introducing a new word into English Language. Phuck.

Its time f@&k lost the taboo associated with it in respectable society. Introducing Phuck. Its f@&k that rocks and can be used where ever f@&k is banned.

Phuck: defined as f@&k minus the profanity/obscenity/vulgarity. Can be replaced wherever fuck is commonly used, except in cases where sexual intercourse is implied.

 

 




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"I rarely end up where I was intending to go, but often I end up somewhere that I needed to be." - Douglas Adams

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