M.I.R.A.C.L.E.S – PART II

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Sometimes, I feel my mind is brimming with so many thoughts at once, that it really becomes difficult to figure out what I should write and what I shouldn’t. Having said that, I feel my life is an open book and therefore, I have the liberty to share all the intricacies of my day-to-day being.

The title of this post has really made a difference to my life. True to the core, I have experienced miracles in the most adverse situations. This time, it was on the professional front. Struggling through the corporate journey, I qualified as a Chartered Accountant which was again no less than a miracle. But the difficult part starts from here. Survival in a Big Four consultancy firm is no child’s play. I wanted to get rid of a job which was no more satisfying and which constantly gave me a feeling of being stuck at a wrong place. And hence, the struggle to find that perfect job began. In fact, this time I had a challenge thrown at me. Someone had challenged my capabilities, my commitment towards work and the grit to always excel in whatever I do. ‘What do you think you will be able to achieve post qualifying? You will still earn peanuts which will not be enough to buy a luxurious car or a lavish house!’. These words still rattle in my ears. It pierced me from within, more so because it came from someone whom I had considered as my mentor. It was difficult to digest such grey shades of a corporate life. But still, there was a constant fire under the belly to prove it all wrong.

So round of calls with the HR consultants began. I landed up for my first interview with another Big Four for a profile which was slightly linked to the kind of work I was already doing. I somewhat liked it, but was quite apprehensive because it was still a consulting job. I was able to impress the interviewer’s in the first instance. However, my current profile again overpowered my suitability for the job. Rounds of follow-ups with the HR, but no breakthrough. Interview I – crashed with a thud.

The second interview was for an industry profile in a top FMCG giant. All went well until the last round because of my ‘too frank’ attitude. I was somehow able to recall the scene from 3 Idiots – ‘Sir, aap apna job raklijiye, main apna attitude (‘Sir, you can keep your job, I will settle for my attitude’). Interview II- crashed with a louder thud.

The hunt continued with the third interview being scheduled with an extremely diversified Indian group known to recruit only those Chartered Accountants who were placed on the merit list of the Institute in the final exams i.e. ‘rank holders’. This particular organization was famous for paying a fat salary with the best perks. Probably, a job which a top B-school graduate would look forward to post completion of MBA. And here I was, someone who had cleared his finals in revaluation, was neither a rank holder nor had an MBA degree from a B-school. I was just SOMEONE. All throughout my educational pursuits, I have been a good student who was academically strong but not exceptional.

I was really apprehensive to even give a shot to this job. But still I filled up the preliminary information form, uploaded it on the consultant’s website and did not look forward to any call. After all, I was just SOMEONE. Why would someone pay a hefty monthly salary when people believed I was worth earning peanuts only?  And while I was being shown the door in the second interview, pat came the consultant’s call ‘You have been shortlisted for the first round’. Okay. But I have not been given the job! So why this euphoria? Again went for the interview, but this time around I was getting tired and sick of explaining people about my profile, my ambition in life, why I want this job and how will I prove to be an asset to the organization. The first round was taken by very senior persons from the industry. I actually discovered, how difficult it is to convince people almost twice or thrice your age. Their year’s of wisdom, experience and knowledge defies your ‘fresh out of the school thoughts’. One week later, my phone rang ‘ Congratulations, you have sailed through! We are booking your tickets and accommodation for the final round in Kolkata’. Okay, but still there are a couple of rounds more to go and the job is still not mine! Not a good time for that euphoric feeling. The next thing I remember was flying to the City of Joy. For the first time in my life, I was all alone. The little boy in me had outgrown into a young confident professional. I was travelling to a place in the far east without my parents, without siblings and without friends. All alone. My nervousness reflected in the way I handled my baggage at the airport, collected my tickets from the check-in counter and sat throughout the flight. But I tried to maintain my poise. There was just one thing that went over and over in my mind, ‘this job belongs to me and it will be an answer to those who questioned my capabilities’.

Kolkata is a totally different city when compared to Delhi. Busy and narrow roads,extremely humid climate and still stuck in time. It had an old world charm. I managed to grab one of the famous yellow taxis at the Kolkata airport and reached the assigned accommodation late at night. Next day was a big day. Full day interviews. I reached the office which was in the heart of the city. To my utter shock, I was the only candidate who was shortlisted out of the ten odd candidates interviewed in Delhi for the first round. I was joined by four competitors from Mumbai and Pune respectively for the final rounds. There were three rounds lined up for the day followed by a last round with the CFO of the Company (only if you sailed through the earlier rounds). Each of the four competitors were well grounded professionals.They already possessed the necessary skill set and experience required for the job. But who was I? SOMEONE who has handled a niche consulting profile and who just wanted to win a challenge thrown at him sometime back. The interview was quite grilling. Three rounds of interview with three different people who were accomplished in their respective fields. I felt that I had given my best. But lady luck rarely shines bright at me. These four young budding professionals were far more sorted out than me, they were outspoken, well-groomed, level-headed and knew what they wanted.On the other hand, I was juggling with my cluttered life. I was still trying to find my way. I was still trying to solve my jigsaw puzzle. By the end of the day, I was exhausted. I wanted to go back to my home and just sleep.The HR personnel entered the room where all five of us were seated. One of the competing candidate was totally anti-Big Four. Unfortunately, he couldn’t appreciate a consultant’s life. Irony being, I myself couldn’t appreciate the same. How the hell in this world I could convince this guy when I myself wanted to get rid of it! The HR personnel settled down comfortably. ‘So, all of you have done pretty well. But for today, only Arpit has been selected’. What a joke, I mumbled to myself! This SOMEONE, who has been living a messed up life was selected against the clan of sorted professionals. I felt bad for them because their profile was far more suitable than my hollow consulting experience. Where was that euphoric feeling? Still missing! Because I still do not have the job. Next day, again, an interview. I had to meet the CFO of the company. This gentlemen was rated as one of the best CFO by Business Standard. Again, someone so senior both in age and experience. This man was known to hand-pick Chartered Accountants before he bought them on board. I google searched his profile while sitting in his lavish office. His Executive Assistant called me for the final interview. He simply threw some bouncer questions relating to my profile (ah!! finally, somewhere consulting profile helped, else I was told by one of the interviewer in my past interview with the FMCG giant not to give consultant type answers). But soon he realized that the googlies were getting too much. He smiled and said  that those were too difficult questions. Thank God! Else he was giving me a minor panic attack with each of his googlies.

Finally, I managed to return to the visitor’s lounge and waited for the result. In – out, in -out…. playing that ‘she loves me, she loves me not’ game. HR came in. ‘You have sailed through’. What ? What? What the hell are you saying? This sounds like some alien language to me! So can I finally feel that euphoric moment? Yes, I could. She handed over the appointment letter. The CTC just bowled me. I had never seen so many zero’s in my life. What the hell? A miracle just happened again. This SOMEONE had actually achieved SOMETHING in his life. Honestly, I had tears in my eyes. I was sitting all alone in the room and just recalled the last few months of my life. How I failed, how I passed, how I was rejected and how I was finally ACCEPTED. The feeling did not sink in. But again a MIRACLE had happened. But there was something holding me back from signing the appointment letter, something was missing, something was wrong.

Image Courtesy - Google

Image Courtesy – Google

( To be continued…….)

M.I.R.A.C.L.E.S – Part I

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After a long break, today I have finally decided to pick up the pen and pour my heart out. This year has been no less than an emotional roller coaster ride for me. I have seen and experienced the myriad shades of my emotional being. I felt myself as an artist’s impression transiting from the shades of deep grey to bright yellow. The artist here being the Almighty and I, being a mere extension of his thoughts being painted on the canvas of life.Oh! how badly I hated this artist when he painted me in deep grey. I felt like taking away the brush and painting the canvas all by myself  in all the bright shades of yellow. But the irony is, I am a mere impression of his thought process. I am one of those several million canvases he keeps stroking with his brush and puts on in his exhibition of life. I am nothing but just a human being.

The month of January had started with the declaration of CA results. No matter how strong I appear, I was left emotionally devastated on realizing that I had missed my goal. I think more than being disappointed with myself, I was hurt with the cold and callous attitude of some people on the professional front whom I respected and unfortunately considered as my mentors. I was taken aback with the fact that people could stoop to their lowest level to attain professional glory even if it meant evading the emotional space of the other being. I had never felt so weak and helpless. But probably, that is the way corporate works. I had locked myself away from the world and cried. I cried like a child. I was angry with the Almighty. After all, his own creations were trying to destroy and supersede the other. I remember sitting alone for long hours with just remorse and tears in my eyes pondering over the infinite dark space that lay ahead of me.  I found my companions in books and music. I remember how Tehmina Durrani (the author of My Feudal Lord),had expressed her belief in miracles and Allah. I too longed for it. I too longed for a miracle to happen. I too longed for the divine intervention. But I guess Allah couldn’t hear my prayers. Each day was a struggle. A struggle to survive the emotional imbalance I had encountered. A struggle to regain my self- respect and dignity. My fight with Allah had begun. I discarded all items symbolizing faith and humanity and challenged his own being. Why is it that his followers have to prove themselves? This time, he had to prove himself, his very own existence or else he was losing on one of his loyalist.

Come March and the spring was somewhere around. The tormentors had their share of pie and were about to part ways but they still spewed poison like pythons. 14th March, 2014 was a day I will remember till my last breath. A random click of mouse here and there on the laptop. I was about to shut down the system but thought of just checking  the status of the revaluation result of CA exams. Rarest of the rare cases were people who cleared the CA Final exams in revaluation. Allah was not by my side. Despair and hopelessness was only I could think of till that moment when somebody painted a stroke of bright yellow on my canvas. I was left numb and couldn’t move a muscle. I felt choked with temporary loss of voice. I remember shouting aloud and calling my mother and every single person to just see if this yellow was truly yellow or had I turned color blind. That day I understood the meaning of MIRACLE. That day Allah proved his existence. That Holi was and will always be the most colorful Holi of my life. Because that day, Allah had filled my canvas with all the colors of his palette. That day, my faith was restored forever.

And he held back my hand till eternity....

And he will hold my hand till eternity….

The pythons had their bait ready. If 3 months of continuous spewing of poison was not enough, there was more to come. This time, the pattern had changed. This time, the poison was being spit against me through others.

I calmly ignored it. A single thought went on in my mind. If I will stoop to their level, then I was no less python. I let it go off. Go off the bunch of good memories I had.

Spring had set in. Flowers were blooming and the pythons had left the garden. Only bluebells, lilies, camellias, dahlia, gardenia and lilacs were to be seen. There was bright sunshine and eternal peace. I felt my canvas was his perfect creation.

 

 

C’est la vie!

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Searching through an old memorabilia, I realize how badly I have missed the pure joy of writing in these past years. I have deprived myself of the enthusiasm brought by every single comment sent across by someone reading my thoughts in a corner of the world. I have failed to jot down and share my experiences of work, travel, education, money and relations. In short, I have missed to share my life ~ Time for some sweet revenge @ bitsnbytesoflife

Well, it is time to break the monotony. It is time to tighten the reins of my life and do what I have cherished and missed all this time. It is time to love myself back for what I am, for what I think and for what I have. All these past months and years gone by, I have learnt to hold my head high with dignity and respect. I have worked hard all these years to make a niche for myself. I have seen the highs and the lows. I have tasted the sweet fruit of success and the bitter syrup of failure. But all throughout, I have learnt. I have learnt to make lemonade when life threw lemons at me.

Yes, I failed. Yes, I could not make it in the first attempt. Yes, I have to wait for another five months to prefix the two letters before my name ‘CA’. I have dedicated five years of my life to this profession and all these years my respect for it has manifold. I feel you never cherish something until you realize its worth. I had been reading omens for some time now. Something was telling me that it will not be November, 2013. Something was holding me aback from thinking November, 2013. I had envisioned May, 2014. I have never been a person who has believed in omens or sixth sense. But off late, I have realized that there exists a karmic connection. As a matter of fact, year 2013 has been really restless for me. I was not able to enjoy anything, be it travelling, catching up with friends, watching a movie, reading, writing blog or even working in office. I thank almighty because the storm has crossed and has left some unsettled sand. I have picked up myself, trying to get hold of the old me – a determined, courageous and a hard-working person. This storm has made be more determined to fight back and chase my dreams. It is said that you do not fail if you fall down. You fail only when you do not get up to walk again. Yes, I have fallen down. But I have got up with more determination to cross the finish line this time. I have got up for my happiness, for my dreams and for my life.

Yes, I cried. I cried out aloud. But I cried for having stood through this failure. Life is all about the choices you make. I have made a choice to be happy and give my last shot to it. This time I have promised myself to gift those two words ‘CA’. I believe my success has only been delayed by five months. For all the tireless efforts of my family, for all the midnight oil I have burnt in the bygone time, for all the endless sacrifices I have made, I have to fight. These failures are just learning lessons for success. It is your choice whether you want to cry over the spilled milk or bounce back with a winning spirit. I have chosen the latter.

Last but not the least, I have been mesmerized by a poem of Robert Frost which I read long time back during school days and which perfectly sums up my thoughts, “The road not taken“.

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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

So let your spirit rise up against all odds and miseries. Do not let failures boggle you down. Fight for your existence. Fight for your loved ones. Fight for your dreams.

P.S. I had something different in mind for the opening post of 2014. But I didn’t find any reason for not starting this year with an inspiring and a motivational post for all the readers. :)

Moving on with Bits n Bytes

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Dear Bits n Bytes of Life,

Its been approximately four years since I started this journey with you. I was 17 then and had a small world.  A world made of dazzling dreams and bestowed with a promising young mind that could differentiate between good and evil. I always had an urge to retain my identity in the crowd, to speak up my mind and fly like a free bird  cutting through the complexities of life, high, very high, towards that endless sky. You have  seen me grow, you have  nurtured my emotions, you have been  my personal space, a mark of my  existence. Bits of experiences and lots of experiments have embossed your soul. You are my alter ego, a lost treasure where I can find shreds of my existence still alive , memories which I will always cherish and experiences which I will always uphold.  Above all, you have taught me the most important aspect to ” Speak, Listen and Share”.

You are where you are supposed to be – strolling along my side  through the phases of life. Thanks for being there, for bearing my anger, for sharing my happiness, for comforting me in the toughest of times, for listening to me, for feeding my appetite for writing and for all the smiles you have brought to my face.  

 

4 years down and the journey continues!

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for Bits ‘n’ bytes (and I got a reason to publish a post as well :D ).

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Recreating Magic

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Let me slowly unwind,

a delicate thought is waiting to break the cocoon,

let me slowly unwind,

a part of my life wants to renew,

let me slowly unwind,

I wish to go slow,

let me slowly unwind,

the thought has broken the cocoon,

let me slowly unwind,

‘coz the life has started to renew,

let me slowly unwind,

as I have already recreated that magic long ago.