Friday, February 16, 2007


Somewhere in Dec 2006 I was informed by one of my friends that Rashmi Bansal was doing a run-up of Goa and its colleges (engineering and MBA) on the JAMMAG site, as well as on da JAM magazine. I tot it would be fun to rite to Rashmi, and tell her what facts of Goa I want her to highlight. I was surprised to receive Rashmi's reply, tellin me that she needed a proper write-up of da same for the survey... so wat followed was me writing it, and passing it to her - and she editing it down to proper size for da content on the page. I was unaware of what happened later - whether the article got published or not. Just today I got da confirmation of the article being printed in the JAM Magazine (Dec 1 to 15th issue), and also on the website. Please check out the same as under the section 'Behind the Booze'...

Click here for the article published on JAM website

The best part is dat it mentions my name and wherabouts too :D :D.

Though one small correction - it mentions me to be a student of Goa Engineering College, though I am actually from Padre Conceicao College of Engineering at Goa.

For the benefit of all, here is the proper, original article which was written by me. Hope it brings some awareness in one and all.


Yeah right – that’s what we hear more about - Goa being the ‘island’ of freedom, fun, enjoyment and the place where life is ‘susegaad’ in pure Goan style. The beaches, the sunset, the funky happy-go-lucky people – that’s what more people are looking forward to for a great vacation – after toiling for days and nights in their respective fields of work, families who need a break from the normal routine, couples who want to spice up their honeymoons, and yeah a lot more of others. Yes of couse, Goa offers all this to you – but probably the real life in Goa, how Goans make it big etc etc remains veiled behind the mish-mash which the tourism highlights and the picture which it presents before the world. Lets throw some light on the facts here.

Having been born in Goan, and being a native Goan, probably I can be the best horse’s mouth. But yes, its also true that one does realize the importance of his own native land when he is away from it – however far he may be. I moved to Bangalore in order to start my career a year back (yeah yeah – software). Fantastic climate, good people etc – but yes, Goa remains unmatched by everything. Having interacted with a lot of people here, my friends, my colleagues / superiors at the work place etc etc I gained knowledge about how exactly tourism has elevated as well as depreciated Goa’s image before the world, and especially before the people living in India.

Of course I can attribute tourism to be a major factor to have underlined Goa’s presence in the world. But yes, there are a lot of facts, which remain unseen, yet are taken for granted. For starters, most of my friends would go holidaying to Goa with the sole purpose of alcohol – and of course playfully condemning me as a person who has alcohol running in his blood – not believing that well, I do not drink. According to me, the very fact that alcohol is available at a cheap rate in Goa has tarnished Goa’s image. A blot on Goa’s canvas is the way it is being portrayed in this way – as a merry land where alcohol seems to be the only hope to life live with leisure, and well – all Goans indulge into alcoholism undeniably with pleasure. Probably people would actually need to peek into Goan culture and see that it’s the tourists themselves who mar Goan image in this way, by spending their holidays on the beaches and of course indulging in excessive drinking, sometimes to the extent that they create unnecessary issues in hotels, spoil Goan culture by openly exhibiting their cultures in a drunken state and so on. Several cases like this have been seen on Goan newspaper pages, mentioning names of Goans involved, yet ignored – well – just to worsen the existing beliefs about Goans.

Goan culture has been imbibed in several places in the Konkan region, and a lot of places of course do not attribute the same to Goa. This applies in most cases to the Goan language ie Konkani too. An even more important fact is that there is a major chunk of Goans is Hindus, yet the religion aspect highlighted by most of the tourism and other media is Catholic. I do not wish to compare the percentages of Hindus and Catholics in Goa here, just that the fact remains unseen that the Hindu culture in Goa is unlike any other state. There are innumerous temples, devasthanas, religious sites etc besides the huge number of churches. Of course to add to this a lot of mosques too– that is the Hindus, the Muslims and the Catholics live in peace and harmony. But as the Portuguese had ruled over Goa for quite a long time, Catholicism is dominant in the way tourism portrays Goa – placing major emphasis on Catholic culture. What I want to point out here is that the beauty of the churches and the Catholic religion is very pristine and rich, yet the vast spectrum of Goan Hindu cultures and traditions is not worth missing as an important trait to promotion and tourism.

Several points like these seem to have found root in the minds of people from all over the world – not just India – in terms of interpreting Goan culture and the people. Another one well-heard of in these days is that most Goans are non-residents, especially the Hindus and are either people from Maharashtra or Karnataka, who moved to Goa long back and settled in Goa. This is seemingly outrageous, as a majority of Goans are natives of Goa itself. Speaking of Hindus, there is a class of Goans, which specifically hold up the trace of Goan culture in their roots – these are the Goan Saraswat Brahmins. The class is very rich and prestigious, and well known in Goa. There are several such classes, which proudly hold the native Goan staff high. Yet several people outside Goa bear misconceptions, and build facts on half-truths and rumours.

I have completed my entire education in Goa itself, right from schooling, and would say that yes, Goa has some of the best schools and colleges – but again – most of which arent well known throughout India. Probably this is because most people in Goa choose to pursue their education under the State Board, which according to me isnt at par with the CBSE or the ICSE boards. What I gained from my education in Goa is primarily invaluable ethics and morals, which are hardly imparted in any institute nowadays – but find prime importance in Goan schools and colleges. I also had an opportunity of studying in the ICSE board in my primary and uptil my Sixth Standard, which imparted a lot of basic skills, and a high level of communication skills with verbal fluency in English in me. Making another important point here – the English standard in Goa, as I have observed is the one of the highest as compared to most of the other states. Most Goans excel in their fluency in this language as compared to other Indians, probably because English bears a huge weightage in their curriculum, and is the meduim of instruction is to a large extent in Goa. Of course I have made this observation only after having interacted with several people from other states in Bangalore. I have noticed that in most of the other states in India, the regional language is more dominant as compared to English, and in most cases, it even has an influence in the way English is spoken in the states. This is probably where Goans stand out, as there is miniscule or no impact of the regional language in spoken English.

Probably where Goan education might take a beating is the level of education in the other states, the study atmosphere, the cream of the intelligent Indian students etc. The Goan curriculum for Engineering was of a high-level, and on par with most of the NIT’s as I had noticed (many colleagues in the NIT’s). But the atmosphere for study was more languid, and very less student desiring to reach great heights. There are also a lesser number of extra-curricular activities and major events of institute meets, fests etc in Goa. Higher education on the national front also bears little weightage in Goa – most people would have, around ten years back or so pursued their masters more in arts or science. With the coming of three engineering colleges in Goa, there was a spurt of engineers passing out each year at Goa. After I finished my engineering, Goa also came up with BITS, a national engineering college, with national standards. There is little knowledge I can impart on it, as it has come up just recently. Though there is little Goa can offer to core electronic or computer engineers in terms of bright careers and work. Hence most people pursue their work life outside Goa – like me in Bangalore. The companies coming for campus recruitment to Goan colleges have increased only in recent times, but of course they mainly come from the other cities like Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai. Higher education from prestigious national institutes, in terms of MS, Mtech or MBA has been gaining importance only in the recent times, with a lot of people aspiring to do their further studies from the IIT’s, IIM’s and other national institutes. Although the resources available for studying for competitive entrance exams etc are meagre. Aspirants would normally have to get better coaching etc from outside the state and then fulfil their ambitions. A good example would be the removal of Goa as a center for the Common Admisstion Test of the IIMs two years back. This is probably where Goa needs some run-up to do, as Goan population is on the rise, and Goa is out to chart out its position in the world. Although I would always want to further my career in my own native land – I know for sure that the beauty and the status that Goa enjoys now would be destroyed if software and other industries start entering Goa on a large scale. Hence according to me, Goa is better off without these. Probably its just the task of the Goans to make it big themselves, and then make their own state reach great heights.

Goa is also on the forefront as far as the film industry is concerned. However in the recent times, Goa has acquired more of a negative stance in Bollywood cinema. To cite examples, Goa is portrayed mostly as a location of meet for smugglers or dacoits, or most of the times incidences of murder, rape, robberies are associated with Goa. This trend is now being seen on the small screen too. There is no particular reason why this has been happening – and it’s well known to Goans that there are hardly any such incidents in Goa. Yet cinema portrays Goa as the rendezvous for crime. Enjoyable on cinema, yet hard to believe, and emotionally hurting to the Goan.

Though now, Goa has earned its position in international cinema too, with the advent of festivals like IFFI. It makes me proud to say that Goa is the chosen location for such a prestigious event every year. It’s great to see that Goa is making its mark in most of the fields now – and enjoys a prized status in India. There is much much more to speak about Goa – but I guess this is all I have to say. It is definitely upto each person to individually see what Goa holds in reality, and how Goa enjoys its esteemed place on the map of the nation. Goa is a holiday destination for one and all, true, but well is, of course, much more than that too.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Catastrophic Admission Test...

19th November 2006. 1.77 lakh students. 2.5 hours. 3 gruelling sections. 6 renowned B-schools. One renowned – but over-hyped admission test.

No more stats needed – it was yet another year when students sharpened their ‘lead’ weapons and braced themselves for the make-or-break 2.5 hours – yes, 2.5 hours this time as opposed to the 2 hours before. But was it supposed to help collect your energy and supplement the weak chances, or retain you in the cave of strategy and sweat for longer… this was what no one knew about.
Brief additions – as usual my center was in North Bangalore – and I spent the previous nite at my friends’ place. The college was close by and was supposed to be a famous one in Malleswaram – that’s the area. No surprises in the morning – a huge crowd at the center – but yes, this time a majority of the crowd seemed very much prepared for whateva was supposed to come. TIME/CL/CF/PT/IMS/… (and many more…) seemed to have done their job well – though I will reserve my comments for that, later.

Having found the class and relieved myself, I settled in the typical Bangalorean college benches, awaiting for what was supposed to be the media sensation for the day – the question paper. The gleam of the white booklet was so much that in the hurry I forgot to get a very good look at the OMR itself – it had 5 options for every question. 120 questions printed – so well, I had kind of prepared for each kind of question paper pattern – and formulated some strategies. Though I skipped to settle my mind for the 5 option pattern for those few minutes. Mistake 1.

Why does the Admission Committee ask for the entire addressh to be SHADED is a question which still bothers me. Though I could have done without doing the same – probably I wouldn’t have wasted time till 5 minutes after the test began. Test booklet were distributed 5 minutes late – 75 questions - +4 and –1 pattern - and I had just time to shade the relevant stuff and see the pattern – though I was still shading ‘Bannerghatta Road’ – had practised for it, but it was getting irritating. Mistake 2. All of a sudden the bell rang… heh wait a minute – I am still shadin da address dude – cudnt u ask me before ringing it ???

The next moment I snatch the booklet, break it open and begin on my planned journey for the next 2.5 hours. If I can remember properly now – here’s the detailed transcript:

10:35 – Test begins for me – and I notice 5 options for each answer. Ok enough for 75 questions – I can definitely spend a lot of time on each question – but hang on – one smalll thing – the verbal section can definitely get tough as in elimination of options. But it might not be the case. Lets hope not. Lets go ahead and see the questions. Lets relax… Lets…

10:50 – Verbal. 3 shaded bubbles only – a forced attempt. Tough section. Bakwaas type questions. Sweat.

11:10 – VERY easy quant. Contrary to what I had expected. Some questions done and others marked. Can definitely do more. Bhaaaaaaaaai – wahi theherna – main waapas aaoonga.

11:30 – Easy DI – couldn’t believe I was doing well in this section, as it had been my nemesis throughout the preparations.

11:55 – Wtf – what was that ? RC?? One passage took more than 15 min !! What was happening? Verbal was my strongest section or what?? More sweat. Nervous like hell throughout. Gulping some water. Look on top – bhagwaan – main hi kyon??

12:20 – DI. Well done Ashish. Could manage some questions nicely. And the backward strategy worked everywhere. Verbal on mind though. Questions unanswered everywhere.

12:45 – Quant. Ok enough job done – but I could have done much better. Verbal questions still unanswered.

12:57 – Marked all the unsure verbal questions. Kya aur thoda quant karein ???

1:00 – Sorry buddy – time up.

All fancies of 75 attempts etc in paani. 45 attempts in all – 14 in Quant, 12 in DI and 19 in Verbal (god knows here if they were attempts or what – but they were well reasoned out according to me).

The rest is kinda curtains – oops history ;) – one good job done – I stayed away from the analysis and other bull shit offered by the coaching classes till the results – and did a fine job in that. Did not calculate my score. Threw the paper in one corner of the house. Great stuff. Definitely a degraded quality paper in terms of what the IIMs could have come out with. Only later did I come to know that the GMAT too has 5 options for each question. But does it have such pathetic, endlessly debatable Verbal questions? That’s another question altogether. Will be comin up in my verdict – but maybe not so soon.

Bout whether the result was good or not – that’s another story. Kisi aur din – sure… :D :D

Resurrection ...

Complaints from a lot of people, and received with due acknowledgements from my side… yes I have stayed away from my blog for long enough now – but its a primary passion I had developed – and I probably cant keep myself away from it. There have been a number of things I have had to pen down in the last few months – since November when I last retired from my dear diary friend, but the work and the MBA entrances kind of kept me aloof from the expressions of thought – though I cursed myself for the same. Probably what I jot down in the days to come might not be a chronological order of the events that have bygone, just that they are experiences I have to speak about.

Lets say that the feline story will come up in the next post – and this post is all about a gist of what happened in the last few months – and probably some things which I might be including in the blog as well. The last three months have been a roller coaster ride in terms of the start and the end of the MBA entrance season – right from the feline monster herself to the Delhi School of Economics entrance, just last week – interspersed in between with JMET of the IIT’s, the SYMBI test SNAP, XLRI honours XAT, Mumbai special TISS and finally Delhi zindabad to end it all. I havent had a moment to take a breath and say that ‘yes, lets sit now and muster the moments spent in the entrances on da blog’… But yes, the subtitle to my profile on PG – ‘MBA Entrances Suck’ definitely does say something about my own emotions about the last thre months. Lets set apart the issue that I might have become around 30 percent successful in some of these entrances.

Besides this, well, life has almost been the same as it was three months before – a nice relaxing holiday in Goa towards the end of the year as always, an overnite trip to Hogenakkal falls in TN with friends, and of course an even more unforgettable birthday at Goa again just some days back… probably these are some of the enjoyable moments in the bygone days. And yeah – then came the point where I realized that my diary friend was alone and isolated – I hadnt penned down anything since a long time… demands from the people made me think I was losing the creative side of my life, and heh I am determined not to let go of it ;)

Some great posts comin up – at ur service as always :D