So my journey continues from –
In the morning when I failed to register my alarm on the phone, people around me woke me up.
Ok, a fresh day and a fresh start. I reached the center this time without getting a fool made of myself by any auto driver.
Now was the best part – they didn’t make us wait, in the batches of 20 odd people, we were given a written aptitude and English test. This being my forte, I cleared them without a hitch. Then came the first written technical exam and it turned out to be a cakewalk too. It was already 3:30 pm and the results were announced. I just never had been so sure about myself and knew that I’ll crack both of those tests – AND… I DID!
The next surprise in store was thrown at us and we were in shock of our lives then – we had to leave for Bangalore ‘coz the next 4 rounds of interviews were all scheduled to be held there. It was very hot in Chennai then (as usual), we wore all the sweated shirts and since I hadn’t brought anything except a pair of utilities and a pair of interview clothing, I now knew I could be in a tight corner later. I knew no one in Bangalore and was very lucky to have the phone number of a friend of mine. I called him up and he gladly invited me to spend my interview days at his place. It was the thrill of the unknown and we kept acting on instincts. We got tickets on a bus and started rolling at around 11:30 pm. That would be the last time I’ll ever see Chennai – got a bit nostalgic then!
We reached Bangalore on the morning of 19th December and it seemed so nice and cozy from inside the bus! The bus stopped at Magestic bus station and those who had been around the city anytime before at that time of the year, knew what they had to do after getting off the bus – COVER THEMSELVES WITH A BLANKET ‘COZ IT WAS FUCKING COLD!!!!
I didn’t know and so it was chills all over my body and spine which was yet to recover from my first journey, which you can read about here –
Some good soul, while I tried to get a hang of the cold, brought us tickets to our destinations and we boarded our respective buses. That was the first time ever that I sat in a public Volvo bus. A nice cozy experience – it could have been – had I got a seat but that was not to be. It was around 15 kms of journey again with a bag full of very ordinary items on my back, which then felt like a bag full of boulders! Unknown as that place was for me, I mistakenly got down a good 2 kms ahead of my destination for my fear of getting lost.
But after some running around, my friends got me to their flat and man it felt cozy just like every guys place does. I was given a place to sleep for a couple of hours and I slept. Woke up to the sweeper sweeping the floor and ran like a wind for Accenture – Bang 4, Marathalli. I was late by around 10 minutes but apparently, many of my people were yet to reach the place themselves, so that calmed me down significantly. I HATE BEING LATE!
I have to admit, I am quite good at group discussions (GD) and when I heard the first round at Bangalore was a GD, I couldn’t help but smile and concede that at least one more round is through. GD’s proved to be a huge filter and left a very few people who would appear for the next round of interviews. This was the only round that day and we were given the rest of the day off. I used it fully to prepare for interviews the next day and thanks to my room mates there, they provided for me. One more thing was to be done though. I had to buy a new shirt for the one I had been using for Accenture round of interviews was now DIRTY!
So I called my father, asked him for some money and got myself a new light orange shirt. I still remember, since it was bought on discount, it had a manufacturing defect and a hole near the seam of my chest pocket. But since that was the best that was available cheaply, I bought and slept content that I would rock the interviews the next day.
Next day morning, Accenture were kind enough to provide for our breakfasts and we started with the round of technical interviews. COBOL was the first and I got through it rather easily. CICS was next and this, I knew, was my Achilles heels. As I have written on my first post, I was yet to cover my last module in my Mainframes training and CICS was the one left out. I could hardly answer any question at the start and the interviewer understood that I was very nervous. To get me comfortable, he started small talking and got me into the groove and in between he would shoot a technical question, and now I was answering. I came out an hour later from the interview room and was very nervous as I was very unsure. We were then made to wait in a room which incidentally was freezing cold. It seemed to be a sort of chamber where agents like James Bond are tortured. The fear of the unknowns wasn’t helping either.
After our lunch, came in a female with a lot of pink dots on her face and asked me to come out and took me to another room. She told me that this would be my HR interview as I had cleared all previous rounds. Now to settle everything into perspective, I am quite good with interviews that are NON-TECHNICAL. So this round too would be a cakewalk and since I knew there would be no salary negotiations, I wasn’t worried at all. The surprise was to come after this interview.
They told us that we were gonna have a practical exam and that we would have to write a code in COBOL to prove our coding skills. I did. It compiled the program fine and ran the job. But I forgot the most important part – HOW TO VIEW THE RESULT!!! As I sat there in front of my PC, my palms kept over the keyboard and my fingers were trembling with sweat pouring from my forehead. The invigilator saw that and asked me what happened. I told him the truth and he decided to help me with it. And VOILA – there was the result and it was correct!
I was the first one to be pushed out of the room once my exam was over and the invigilator was satisfied with the result. Nothing was said or told and we (a few others who had completed their test and were asked to wait) waited patiently at 7:30 pm. An hour passed and the HR came and announced the names of the ones who had been selected. Mine was FIRST!!!
It took me awhile to absorb the sensation that I would later come to know as HAPPINESS. For so long I had remained devoid of it that all of my positivity took awhile to wake up and charge me.
We were told to come the next day to collect our offer letters. As soon as I left the building for the night, I started running for something strange was burning inside me. I ran and ran and didn’t stop. Reached home and broke the news to my friends and one my seniors, threw a party that night. I didn’t know what I was going to do with all this happiness for it knew no bounds. It took a lot of effort to sleep that night for I couldn’t wait for the morning to arrive.
In the morning, we went to the Accenture building again and were given our offer letters. I caught my first bus from Bangalore to Hyderabad that evening and slept. The bus was overcrowded, and we reached Hyderabad, next day evening after our bus had had multiple tyre failures being overweight. For the first time I saw South Indian Dhaba’s and tasted food in one of them too. Thank God I had some money to spend on my food.
I had to leave my PG room, got my advance payment back, got a ticket reservation for next day morning train with the same money and went on to find a huge plastic bag to pack all my stuff in a closed market. Packed my PC and got ready for what I knew was gonna be a tough next day.
I woke up in the morning, picked up all my stuff, boarded an auto rickshaw and went to the Secunderabad station. Got all of my stuff booked to be taken in a good’s car and waited and boarded my train. This was not a reserved journey and I was travelling in a General class compartment and some jolly people let me have a share of their seat. I sat, ate, slept, then ate and slept again till I reached my home Bhopal.
The entire journey from Bhopal – Chennai – Hyderabad – Chennai – Bangalore – Hyderabad – Bhopal comprised of 3 train journeys, 3 bus journeys and countless hours of pain and restlessness and the part that I’ll remain most proud of – An offer letter from Accenture in my hands!!!