Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Blue Umbrella By Ruskin Bond

There were three things that prompted me to order this book:
1. Ruskin Bond
2. Catchy Title
3. My Amazon pay balance was just a bit more than its price :D 

The package got delivered on 25th September 2017 and I was so disappointed. It had just 88 pages with font sizes of somewhere between 14-15 points. Even the dimensions of the product that Amazon shows were not anything near to okay.  There were pencil sketches on few pages just to illustrate the developments.There were seven chapters or parts of the book.

 I read it in one stretch. And in the end, I was more than just satisfied. It was a great, short and sweet story. After reading the book, I googled the same and that was when I came to know that a film based on the book of the same name had already been released in 2005. It was directed by Vishal Bhardwaj.


The story revolves around the girl named Binya. "Binya belonged to the mountains, to this part of the Himalayas known as Garhwal." She lives with her mother and her brother - Bijju. She often grazes her cattle around valleys and returns to home by evening. One day she finds 'holiday-makers from the plains' picnicking on the spur of the hill. She spots an umbrella. "The umbrella was like a flower, a great blue flower that had sprung up on the dry brown hillside" She trades her pendant (tiger's claw) for the umbrella and finally she owns it. The only shop owner of the village 'Ram Bharosa' gets jealous of the umbrella and wants to seek one. In fact, everyone in the village wants to have an umbrella of that kind. Binya never leaves her umbrella and always carries it wherever she goes.  Ram Bharosa offers money to Binya for the same but she refuses it. After a while, Ram Bharosa employs a boy named Rajaram for all washing up and various errands. He senses his masters' desire for the umbrella and asks whether he would pay him extra if he managed to get him the umbrella. Ram Bharosa agrees and Raja Ram plots to steal the umbrella.

But it ends in a fiasco. He is ultimately caught by Bijju and Raja Ram speaks up about Ram Bharosa and how he wanted the umbrella so bad. Everyone in the village cames to know about the evil plot and they stop going to Ram Bharosa's shop. Villagers now used to walk an extra mile to another shop for their daily needs. Ram Bharosa repents over his actions. In the end, Binya herself walks into his shop for toffee and then gives her umbrella to Ram Bharosa. She says that she doesn't need the umbrella anymore. In return, Ram Bharosa gets her a new Tiger Claw pendant. The villagers' starts to walk in his shop again.

"She walked home through the darkening glade, singing of the stars; and the trees stood still and listened to her, and the mountains were glad."

As of now, it's of Rs 50 on Amazon.in. It is worth of every penny spent.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cracking Campus Placement

Cracking Vedanta Resources Plc; Larsen and Toubro (LnT)

The following post is about my experiences and views about the company selection process. Basically, I would be writing about the dos and don'ts that I got to know from my brother, friends, and seniors that aided my preparation.
The writing pattern isn’t conventional. If you just want to know the answer to any specific query and want to jump directly to that section skipping the rest of the verbatim, then this post wouldn’t help much. I request all to be patient (something that we are losing in today’s time) and go through the wordings. It may help somehow to you. It doesn’t mean that I have got all things figured out. I just want to help if I may. Don’t try to trace the aroma of arrogance from this post. There ain’t any. There are hundreds of people who can advise thousands time better than me. I am just trying to share as much as I can within my capacity. I also urge my friends, seniors, and colleagues to add up any valuable information/experience on any part in the comments below. That may help.

1. Should I go for this company?

One of the major questions that you need to ask before applying is that if you really want to go for this company. Don’t go for the company just because your friend or roommate is applying for the same. Get to know the exact job profile that the company is offering. Get to know the locations where the company would be demanding you to work, given that you got the job. Get to know about the work culture; get in touch with any senior and ask them about the tasks they are being asked to do. Is there any bond? If yes do you think that you would be able to make it in the same company for those many years? Why am I emphasizing on the same? Getting on campus placement is an easy work than getting it through off campus. That’s a blunt truth. Once you would get selected or even applied for the company,  it means that you can’t skip either of any rounds even you want to. You need to go for all of the rounds till you haven’t made further. There are few students who apply just to get familiar with the pressure and question pattern in the apti round or similar alike. The worse part comes when accidentally they make it to the next round and they just don’t know what to do next so that company would stop them in penultimate rounds itself. Those candidates either don’t speak in GD round or try to spoil the interview deliberately. There is a policy of 1 job per student unless it's not a dream company. Even you make it then it just means that you are not going to go for any other company in most of the cases. They ultimately land up themselves where they don't want to. So make decisions wisely. You need to work for it. Don’t just apply for the post just because everyone else in your batch is going for the same. Let me switch it to the other aspect too. You can only choose when you do have options. The irony of the fact is that; we aren’t left with many options nowadays. The core placement stats are poor. The above factors decisively change from branch to branch. So if you know that there aren’t so many options for you out there, then just go for each one out there.

2. Analytics or Core?

One of the most often asked question. Let’s directly come down to business. Get to know what it means to be an Analytics company or a Core company and getting to know about the company means to do more than spending time on Merriam- Webster or Google answers. Talk to people who are already there and try to differentiate. Go to https://www.glassdoor.co.in and similar sites to know about the reviews of the working professionals already working out there. Getting in a core company doesn’t mean that you need to be very sound in technical studies. You need to be good and I accept that but most importantly you need to have that learning attitude.

3. Preparation

You need to live the company for the next few days. You need to think only about the company for the next few days no matter where you are and with whom you are. That is one of the things that one of my senior Tarun Kaushik sir and Himanshu Wadhwani sir had asked us to do while giving theirs placement talk in 2016. You can even change the wallpaper and screensaver of your gadgets with the company’s logo or branding. Getting On campus placement is a big deal. It is one of the important milestones of your life. There would be few seniors who would just brag that they just made it and no preparation was required for the same. Don’t just watch out for the weeks of preparation that he/she did or does. Getting placement and cracking interviews demands skill sets that you gained over so many years of inhabiting this civilized world. Don’t listen to those who say that they just went for the company and made it. I don’t disagree with the fact that there are talented people who are able to comprehend things 2x or 4x faster than you are capable of. But skill always beat talent. Just put in all of the hours you got and believe me you will make it. While other people are wandering you need to work; while others are playing, you need to work; while others are going to check out latest weekend releases, you need to work. There isn’t any easy way around pals. All these hardships will be worth it when you would call your parents and tell them that you made it. All those hard times will come as a bliss to you. So preparation is a tough time indeed but what you get in return is completely worthy of the hours that you are willing to put in.

a. Resume: Most of the students have their resume sorted out in their 3rd year itself. They need to send their resume to companies for internship and all. So this section is all sorted out for them. Still, there are few branches and students who are not done with their resume. There are few who think that they would draft it only if they get ahead of the apti round. There are few who think they would draft only if they clear GD round. There are few students too who think that HR wouldn’t even open up their file during interview and resume doesn’t matter at all. They just sneak in any A4 paper which got their name in the heading or asks their friend to print it out fresh while the candidate waits for their his/her turn to come up on the day of. I mean what’s wrong? Few people behave this way only because they want to sound ‘cool’ in front of their batch and circle.

 ‘Resume bana liya’, One student asks the other.
‘Arey chd na yaar…… kal bana lunga na ….. waise bhi kaun sa woh HR mera file padhne wala hain’

You should be sure that you are going to make it to the interview round. You should be sure that you are going to be selected in this company. You should be confident from your side and you should send this clear message to your subconscious mind that you are going to make it. If it doesn’t happen then that’s another part of the story but what if it happened. You need to be prepared to your best that you can show. Get your resume done today as it takes time. If it didn’t take time, then trust me you didn’t make it fine. Try to strict it to 2 pages. You should be knowing what’s there on your resume. The interviewer may ask you to recite yours career objective. There are 98 percent candidates who copy this thing just from any site, seniors resume, friends or any other source. There is nothing wrong in copying but try to mould it a bit. Try to know what these wordings mean in actual and try to memorize it. You shouldn’t be blank if you are asked about your career objective. There have been instances when the candidates have answered completely different with what is written on paper. That doesn’t make a good start for sure. So try to be a bit cautious. Every resume format is nice. Don’t spend much time in thinking that with which format should I stick with. What matters is that it should be neat and there shouldn’t be any blunt mistakes.

b. Study part: Questions related to your training is going to be the nub of your interview session. There are several students that would have just gone to their home skipping their training part. They may have got the certificate but they did lose few things. Though let’s focus on what things should be done. Get your training report briefed many times. You should know the technicality of the subject. One of the basic question that interviewer is going to ask you to tell him/her about the things that you saw in your training period. Now you need to prepare this question a week beforehand. We will cover this thing in the Interview section.Meanwhile, let’s focus on our study part. You should study your current subjects followed by the important subjects of last semesters. Now, how you are going to get familiar with the all the subjects that you studied in last 2-3 years? Get the syllabus in your hand of any certain subject of any semester and see if you are familiar with all the chapters that are mentioned in the syllabus. There may be few topics in certain chapters about which you would be completely blank. Get the basics done and then move to another subject. Once you will clear basics of all chapters, make a priority order. The important subjects needed to be focused first and then the rest of the subjects. In this way, you will be familiar with each and every topic that you studied so far in your all of the semesters. It may sound tough but only if you get into much detailing. I just asked you to get the basics done. It means that you need to be able to answer a 3 marks question on that certain topic. In the maximum of the case, the interviewer is just going to ask you to explain a certain term or if you are familiar with this topic. Neither you should be blank nor you should answer anything absurd. So studying is a vague part and it isn’t much you can do except putting lots of hours and getting your basics done.

c. Aptitude/Reasoning part: Get all the arithmetic topic done. Don’t indulge much in the geometry, maxima-minima, modulus and similar alike topics. Don’t go for many shortcuts. You are not going for CAT. You just need to clear the Aptitude round. Vedanta doesn’t have any apti round either. What you need to make sure is that how you are responding to questions in given time frame. Suppose there is 2-minute timer left onscreen and you need to solve a basic upstream and downstream question. If there wouldn’t have been the timer, most of the students would solve the same in a minute or a bit more than that. But because of the fear, anxiety, nervousness: all compounding to uncertain level, they fail to sort out the answer to the same question even they have got more time than required. Take a reading comprehension for example. They spend 4-5 minutes reading the passage and in the end, they conclude that the passage is too tough to solve, ultimately skipping it. They lose 6 minutes without scoring single marks. What needs to be done is that you need to be familiar with time-bound question-solving ability. Take online apti tests and it would much help you. There are so many sites out there. Just search ‘LnT placement paper’ and you will so many sites to help you out with. Don’t go for too many shortcuts unless you are going for CAT or any competitive exams. It wouldn’t be of much help if your prime objective is only to clear Apti round.

d. Group discussion: Students spend thousands to improve their speaking ability. I am just talking about ability here as there are so many students that aren’t even able to speak in front of a panel. There isn’t much that can be done except the practice. Try to have mock group discussions beforehand. One of the most important that you need to have to clear this round is CONFIDENCE. How are you going to get confidence? Having certain attributes apart from your league is going to give you confidence. You score the highest in your class, that helps you with your confidence. You have a great personality and everyone in the college knows you, that will help you with your confidence. You are very well in any sports, that will help you with your confidence. You are very good with Photoshop, that will help you with your confidence. You are dating someone for whom you craved for, that will help you with your confidence. You have a lot of money at your home, that will help you with your confidence. Basically, if you have something that others are craving for and you know the importance of certain stuff, then it makes you feel confident. In the end, gain some skill sets. It comes with putting hours in certain things. At this moment when the time is less, try to know the basic dos and don’ts of this round. Get aware of things going around. You should be familiar with burning topics. If you don’t know anything about the given topic, let the others initiate. Let others speak and then you will get to know what the given topic is about. Try to contribute. NEVER EVER BE SILENT. Try to speak up. Work on your posture. Everyone knows it but less work on this stuff. Sit on your chair in your room and try to imitate your eye coordination and things are you are going to do and avoid at that time. Reach out to the GD room a bit early on that day and get familiar with arrangements of the chair. Try to think that how things are going to change if you have not got the centre chair and instead you have got the terminal chair. How eye coordination and your way of addressing the whole panel is going to change with respect to the change in your position. Dos: Phone on silent; You pen should be in your shirt pocket. Don’ts: Never sit crossed leg. Still few will and you would be reciting the same stuff to your juniors.

e. Grooming: Let’s take the fact that it matters and let’s take another fact that engineers are very bad at it. Borrowing formal pants to shirts; from tie to file; from pen to shoes; from even socks to resume blueprint, engineers borrow out everything. In the end, let us be frank, we shouldn’t be proud of these things. Try to get everything sorted ahead. It has happened that candidates have forgotten to take their pen along while going to the interview round. Even when they got a pen from their friends, in rare instances, it was not working. So take things seriously.

4. Interview

If you are still reading this post, then congrats. Many would have just reacted to the post and then went on to read other stuff. Let’s move on further. This is the most important stage for sure. Going through interview round is like driving a vehicle. Whether you want to ride along the smooth trail or rough terrain, it depends on you. The first question that the concerned person is going to ask is about you and your background. Most of the students feel very confident about this question and finally, they sabotage the whole process by taking a pause in the middle allowing the interviewer to shift to technical questions most of the times. Why not prepare the same question in writing ahead of time? Just write the stuff that you are going to spill for the answer to this question on the day of the interview. Get that stuff printed. Edit it, rectify it, groom it, fix it and perfect it. It takes time my friend. Memorise it. You don’t need to spill everything like a robot or make the interviewer feel that you have mugged up. Get it a bit slow and get it natural. The next general thing is going to be asked is about Training. You would be having minimum 2 industrial pieces of training in 2 years. Emphasize on the one you feel confident about. Let’s virtualize a situation.

Me: There were 14 dumpers in the mine sir. The drill rigs were of Atlas Copco.
Interviewer: What was the capacity of the dumpers and what was the depth of the holes.

He asked me about the capacity of the dumpers only because I let him do that. He asked me about the depth of the holes only because I talked about drilling subject. Whatever you are going to speak may lead to another question. So speak wisely.

Interviewer: What is your favourite subject/ which subjects you had in your 5th semester

You shouldn’t take a pause in answering these questions. You should be prepared.

Interviewer: You are good at singing? / You are a poet?
Me: Yes, sir
Interviewer: Sing me a sing/ recite me a poem.

Keep in check what you are speaking of your intro part. You may need to meet those demands. Which song are you going to sing in case if you are asked to? Which poem are you going to recite? You must have all the things in your mind. There are many questions that you know it has been asked in the past and so. You know many things already. Where we lack is in preparing for those things. Let me tell you one of my HR interview experience.

Interviewer: Tell me about yourself Shashi.
Me: I spoke for less than a minute and he asked me another question
Interviewer: Tell me something about India- Russia relationship
Me: I spoke for another 20 seconds.
Interviewer Thank you.

It lasted hardly 90 seconds. I was a bit surprised in the last but I too thanked him for the opportunity and then came out.

Prepare your best and that is what I would suggest each and every one of you.
Make sure that you do believe that getting campus placement is not the most important thing in life. Be ready to brace yourself for any situation and circumstances. Study as much as you can. Work as much as you can,. You need to give time to your friends, committees, batch, juniors. You just can't skip everything and sit in your room preparing for the job. The balance between things. You may not be talented but you may excel in ridiculous, sickening, work-ethic. So keep hitting and keep punching.

Last advice: You should always know what you are going to do on the very next day of your interview, no matter you get selected or rejected.

Views and Reviews are warmly welcomed. All the best for everything. Feel free to ping in case of any help.

About the Author:
My name is Shashi Prakash and I graduated from NIT Raipur in Mining Discipline (Batch 2017). For more details, you may visit www.shashiprakash.in

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Read It and Feel proud to be an Indian.

“If I were to pick one field to focus on, it would be that of mathematics, India invented modern numerals ( known to the world as ‘Arabic’ numerals because the west got them from the Arabs, who learned them from us!). It was an Indian who first conceived of the zero, shunya; the concept of nothingness, Shunyata, integral to Hindu of culture and Buddhist thinking, simply did not exist in the west. (in the history of culture,’ wrote Tobias Dantzig in 1930, ‘the invention of zero will always stand out as one of the greatest single achievements of the human race.’) The concept of infinite sets of rational numbers was understood by Jain thinkers in the sixth century BCE. Our forefathers can take credit for geometry, trigonometry and calculus; the ‘Bakshshali manuscript’, seventy leaves of bark dating back to the early centuries of the Christian era, reveals fractions, simultaneous equations, quadratic equations, geometric progressions and even calculation of profit and loss with interest.
Indian mathematicians invented negative number: the British mathematician Lancelot Hogben, grudgingly acknowledging this, suggested ungraciously that ‘perhaps because all the Hindus were in debt more often than not, it occurred to them that it would also be useful to have a number which represents the amount of money one owes.’ (That theory would no doubt also explain why Indians were the first to understand how to add, multiply and subtract from zero- because zero was all, in western eyes we ever had.)

The Sulba Sutras, composed between 800 and  500 BCE, demonstrated that India had Pythagoras theorem before the great Greek was born, and a way of getting the square root of two correct to five decimal places. (Vedic Indians solved square roots in order to build sacrificial sophisticated altars of the proper size.) The Kerala mathematicians Nilakantha wrote sophisticated explanations of the irrationality of ‘pi’ before the west had heard of the concept. The Vedanga Jyotisha, written around 500 BCE, declares: ‘Like the crest of the peacock, like the gem on the head of the snake, so is mathematics at the head of all knowledge.’ Our mathematicians were a poet too! But one could go back even earlier, to the Harappan civilisation, for evidence of a highly sophisticated system of weights and measures in use around 3000 BCE.

Archaeologists also found a ‘ruler’ made with lines drawn precisely 6.7 mm apart with an astonishing level of accuracy. The ‘Indus inch’ was a measure in consistent use throughout the area. The Harappans also invented kiln-fired brick, less permeable to rain and floodwater than the mud bricks used by other civilisations of the time. The bricks contained no straw or other binding material and so turned out to be usable 5000 years later when a British contractor dug them up to construct a railway line between Multan and Lahore. And while they were made in fifteen different sizes, the Harappan bricks were amazingly consistent: their length width and thickness were invariably in the ratio of 4:2:1.”

 This excerpt is from the Novel- “The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cellphone” by Dr Shashi Tharoor.  I strongly advocate and advise you all to go through this amazing piece of work. 

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