Four years back…the place was same and so was the time. I had signed up for an educational initiative along with work experience for one of the premier organizations of the world…Eventually it turned out to be a work centric initiative with education sprinkled over the weekends. Four years hence, I was still there, accepting my offer letter for employment. I lived… I lived through WASE.
No… this isn’t any late evening classes or weekend programs that I’m referring to. This is something we wanted to get out of as soon as possible. Barely in the first season and we were counting years, then months when it’d get over. Now that it’s over… WASE was not just a course that we did. WASE is something that has taught us a lot of valuable lessons… some the easier way, most the toughest. Eventually what mattered was that we emerged winners. Throw any challenge at the WASEians and see how they conquer each hurdle initially with struggle but eventually with style and grace. That is the beauty of the program. Some realize it, some curse it. But every WASEian goes through it.
WASE is something that has made me what I am today. WASE came through my way when I least expected it to. The trials that happened in this period don’t seem to be for just four years. I almost lived my entire life in WASE. Where would I get to fall in love and then out of it… where would I get friends who’d take care of me when I’d be all drunk and knocked out… or when I’d want to fly while on a bike… the stock market blunders… the holi enjoyment… the exam fevers… the treks… the fights… the misunderstandings… the movies… and least but not the last the booze. Yes its WASE that gave me all that. Not only to me…but all. The following blog would be my version of the days… people can differ, but what the heck… this is my blog and my view rules.
Our first semester was smooth sailing for us. I was not too keen on studies… and hence crawled through with a 5.5 CGPA. The pass criteria were 6.75 which were later reverted to 5.5. Phew…I cleared. Over the semesters I kept my grades quite near my initial hit… that’s not chance, that’s perfection.
I was and am still inspired by the book, “Five point someone” by Chetan Bhagat. It’s about how three brilliant guys get their grades screwed, but tell me who wouldn’t want a life like they had. I’m not comparing myself to them. They ended up being five pointers but did it really matter? Do CGPA’s really gauge your intellectual prowess? I defy the school of thoughts that do. That might be my way of addressing my so called poor performance over the course… but am I listening? I was a five pointer, but I love the life that I’d got. I’d got friends to share my joys, sorrows… I’d seen enough… I’d lived enough… I’d enjoyed my life till here… and I guess that’s what matters.
Over the semesters’ we had seen enough issues… be it about chucking out a couple of our friends, be it dealing with attendance hassles… or last but not the least the exam fever. Me and my friends used to visit Abhinav’s on the penultimate day and we all used to have a gala ceremony of knowledge transfer. There have been occasions when KR [aka. mota] scored better than the Libin [not so mota]; while Libin was the one who was supposed to be the champ in the subject. The best part was… there were never any ego clashes. When our marks were distributed, KR walked over to Libin and thanked him… both smiling on the reality. Over the years we had learnt the art of scoring marks… I say marks because we never aimed for the stars. God willing all of us have sailed through.
Our WASE classes were early on a Saturday morning and stretched through to the evening. And mark my words, we just didn’t studied… we did a lot other things. I guess that made us effective in time management.
Pulling ourselves out of the bed was the toughest part. Once that was addressed, rest was a smooth sail with friends around. We all bonded well. We all had pre allocated places to sit…strategic places behind the computer monitors…hidden away from the prying eyes of the instructors. Some slept, some focused, some read books… and a couple of guys besides me played “Snakes” over blue-tooth on their mobile phones. Tea breaks were our way to freak out inside the campus. Huddled into one group all would be discussing about the latest flick on the large screen or a cricket match that India would have won… “won” is the keyword here. Or probably someone would be paying for the leg pulling that’d be happening there. I’m not talking about “Jai”: the gora from Canada. There would be a group checking on the latest chicks too. I’m holding all the names… I still want to live :)
Most of us had a perception change about WASE, post we joined the course. No... nothing wrong with the course. The work was more interesting than the course. Like me, most would agree to it; and when you have five days to work against one day to study… where would your focus lie? The course would have been more effective had it been two year duration with regular classes, but then there are commitments that we’ve got towards the organization. Ours was not an educational insti. These are just the thoughts that we’ve had over the last four years.
Libin, Hema and I were in the same working group for long, before Hema made the move. Libin and I continued growing in our respective areas of interest. We both had seen enough smartness in the industry being in that group. That group had taught us a lot. By the time I made the switch, I had learnt enough to be tried and tested elsewhere. Libin’s one hell of a dependable person…we were the twosome in the quality team. Both very well known and always together. Even the management had acknowledge the fact that we two were the best to work with… one prime reason being… that we never had any head weight. Boy you need something inside the head to have some weight.
Some of our friends traveled to work at client location. We were all so proud of that. On returning home they’d show us photos and video clips of various places that they’d have visited. I was touched when I saw a video clip of NYSE and heard Debu’s voice saying, “This is for Kunduda”. Thanks mate…you remembered me there. Chocolates and stories from the foreign land were the talk of the house then. I loved the chocolates. Our friends would bring goodies from there too. It’s not what the goodies are, but that something that our friend got us. KR and I had wanted to send one “GoodLuck” [piggie bank] with Debu where he’d drop in one dollar each day for the so called bhukhe-nange bhailog back at home. Debu used to call us at-least once a week and we all would be waiting to speak to him. Strange… that the days are over.
WASE days were the time when one of our huge friends took a huge step... He got married. Panky was and still is an amazing person. Intense and emotional but what a rock solid friend. He had stood by me many times. He had many times instilled the confidence that I won’t be getting a D grade in the subjects where I didn’t perform… more often than not, they used to be all the subjects. Panky is still very much living and growing.
WASE hadn’t been all fun and frolic. We had seen the disappointing departure of a few of our friends, unable to keep up to the mentioned educational requirements or otherwise. Then there was this attendance fiasco where the entire batch was questioned about false attendance being marked. Those present were asked to give the names on whose behalf they had signed; most had no idea on what was going on. Those who were absent physically but marked as present had no clue as to who their so called helper was, to put them in the soup. I was absent… both physically and on paper too. Blessing in disguise… eh??
There was no shortage of fun on Saturdays. By the time we were in the seventh semester, we were all too keen to attend the classes… cases like Debu and KR will remain where they are. Sleep is next best thing to nothing for them. But later even they would show up.
Bhavesh, Pankil and I used to be referred as the stock market gurus. I can never forget the portfolio discussion that Bhav and I did as Pankil overlook us. Bhav would tell me that the real investor just listens. Well till now the best returns are with Pankil. If Bhav’s the trader and Pankil the investor, then I’m the nomad. The Indian Stock market… well it’s the Indian Shock Market for me. I can never forget the “I’ll be rich mails” that I’d send to my roomies when the market used to tank. Debu and Panky used to and still value my suggestions more than anything. These guys are ready to invest just on my suggestion… crazy guys…but at the same time my best buddies. Rahul Soni had renamed me to “StockMarket” while I referred to him as “SoniKudi”.
We laughed, we cried… but we lived… Yes we lived the WASE days. We lived to fight another day…
Oh yes, I didn’t mention about my grades… I closed with 5.98… I guess that’s the best you can do being a five pointer.