It IIT Bombay I was written off by professors (most had not even seen me) and fellow students. Fellow students, most of them thought that some people misuse the system but I was the master of them all, though they couldn’t figure out how. They thought I was trained not to reveal my secret – perhaps some SC/ST quota at prime minister’s level, not only IIT Bombay but also electrical engineering where Narendra Karmarkar, their favorite mathematican of past 1,000 was being groomed. Nandan Nilekani was one of the very few who treated me with respect, even took me to a few meetings where Mood Indigo was organized and discussed. I din’t know why? Maybe he had sympathy for total loser like me.
It was 1978. Most had gone abroad, or enrolled in IIMs or IIT MTech programs, or joined Unilever to sell Liril soaps. No jobs were coming.
For one job interview went to Delhi. By AC Chair Car. The guy who interviewed me had a son in Japan, and just wanted to compare him with IITians. The interview was over in 5 minutes. Went to Nirula’s and had crispy masala dosa.
Second interview was in Baroda. Nothing came out of that. I was resigned to be the first IITian to remain jobless, no future prospect.
All of a sudden, got a phone call from Rajesh Gupta, a good friend in IIT, that L and T was looking for a sales engineer. And finally got a job there. My life was made. Now had some movey to spend on small things like moview and 12% alcohol beers. Guru beer was may favorite, Kalyani 2000 and Hayward 2000 were similar. On Saturdays, taking lunch at a Nariman Point restaurant, with 12% alcohol Guru beer, and later a paan. That made me very happy. Sometimes I would burst out singing on the street near Nariman Point, nobody seemed to care.
Most engineers left L & T after 2 years. But I was still there and had no plans to leave. The company didn’t fire people. Instead my manager got me transferred to Madras. I got the hint and after coming to Mardas started applying for IIM and abroad.
IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Bangalore called me for interview. They love people with experience at L & T. At IIM Ahmedabad interview foolishly asked them about “group discussion” which was more like 1 minute solo presentation for each. No sooner the words came out of my mouth, I realized that I had made a blunder. In the Interview, 5 of them “gang raped” me, asking me questions I had no answer to, and as a result got the lowest scores in the interview. Might be that record is still being kept – 1,1,1,1,2 out of 5 each.
In short didn’t learn much but it was not a massacre ground like IIT, where I was penalized for not preparing enough for IIT, like completing a PhD or at least a bachelors before IIT. Or could have at least grought fresh veggies for them or could have laughed at their “jokes” – I was serious with no smile as if I was put in Hell, professors don’t like that attitude.
I could save moved for my plane fare to America.. I traveled a lot so that could my salary, which went unspent. Air France fare was 7,000 rs plus which I could pay from my savings of rs 12,000 in spite of L and T’s graduate engineers’ salary being not that great.
Funny to say, but after V.P. Baligar became an IAS, securing AIR of 4, lost all interest in USPS, IAS or things like that.