Smelly CAT

8:03 pm

16th of November 2008 is the annual historical landmark in today’s times. It is D-Day. The day that will decide how a majority of padha-likkha of the existing graduated Indian youth’s pay-cheques for atleast the next thirty years will be…what sort of a standard of living their kids in the distant future will have. Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.

It is the day of the--hold thy breath-- CAT exam!!!


It is an unsaid rule among half (nay, more than half) the people I personally know, and their parents, that after a grad degree, an MBA in a “good B-school” is THE step…the ladder to an almost as good as insured good living. A few weeks back, Hugzy and I walked into the computer room (college walla) and we met a friend of Hugzy’s in the Journalism Dept. (Hugzy knows EVERYONE in Journo!).
The Friend shrieked: Ah…have you submitted the CAT form?!?
Hugzy, nursing her ears: No! good grief!
The Friend: Oh…
Hugzy (gives me a “look”): But Anya here has.
The Friend (now shrieking at me!): You have? You are giving CAT?
Anya: Yeah…
The Friend: You know what!! I missed the last date to get the forms! Can you beat that?
Anya: You what?
Hugzy (feeling left out): You wanted to give CAT? But why? I mean, you’re in Journo, for crying out loud! Give Mass Com na silly!
The Friend: Arrey, that toh I will. But it has been my childhood dream…CAT!
Hugzy: Childhood dream?
The Friend: Yeah. To sit for CAT.
Anya (smirking): Wait. Your childhood dream was to appear for CAT. Whether you get selected or not.
The Friend: Yeah.

Erm…yeah. This is an excerpt from an actual conversation from my actual life. Okay, so not everyone is like this highly dynamic woman (don’t laugh at her…her marks are like wow…the pride of our Journo Dept). Many “serious people” who think seriously of their lives (read: careers) start preparing for CAT ever since their 1st year in college. In fact, I once met this guy (yeah, I meet amazing people) who was in 12th grade, was done preparing for Law entrances and used to solve CAT quant section in CRS for “fun”.
But remember: Different people have different meanings of “fun”. ( I also know a wannabe-Melancholy Jaques who, while trying to pursue me to give a test, said “ Chal na, it’ll be cool!”. I mean, hello!! HOW is giving a test, even if you know everything, is cool?!? Oh well…I somehow manage to bump into such characters and like them, maybe because they are such masterpieces!)

The ultimate favorite food of media: HOW TO BELL THE CAT? (because this caption is soooo funny now, after the repeated use!). Everywhere I turn my head, I read CAT, MBA, GMAT, XAT…. But is everyone just following the herd mentality? I know lots of people who are. They want to be anything but managers…but because of various reasons (peer pressure, dreams of good salaried jobs, parental pressure, utmost confusion as to what to do in life and the existing & lingering stereotypes pertaining to any degree that isn’t engineering, medicine or MBA) just appear for CAT for the sake of it.

But there are those who do it because they want to. Genuinely. And work any amount into the night (actually, early morning) to get what they want. I have such unimaginable respect for such people.

Last year, I had a talk with my HOD about my “future” where she asked me what my next step, once I’m done with my grad, would be? I told her I’m thinking of doing an MBA but am not sure if or not I’ll crack CAT. And what’s the point of doing an MBA in a fattoo school? My HOD, an admirable woman, someone I really respect replied quietly “If you really want something in life, its worth putting all you have into.”

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