It was the first day of placements. M$ and DE Shaw. We were standing in 220’s wing, discussing the outcome of the day’s placement. M$ had not given any offers. Piyush and Prashasti, we were told, had answered every single question asked by the interviewer. When asked why they had not given any offers, the explanation given by M$ had been that people were “not good enough this time”.
We stood there in the wing, laughing our guts out. “Saala, koi bhi place nahi hua, sab ke sab chud gaye!”
The conversation slowly was beginning to take a morose turn, when suddenly, Himank appeared in the wing with all the momentum (an amount which I can never hope to muster) possible for him.
“Abe, saalon, DE Shaw bhi zero! DEShaw bhi zero!”
“DE Shaw bhi zero!!! M$ – DE Shaw: zero – zero!”
“Abey ye match to draw ho gaya!”
And there was another huge bout of laughter. I remember wondering at that time when was the last time I had laughed so hard. And also that why one earth were we laughing so hard.
Throughout the initial placement season, laughter, and roaring laughter at that, was something that was always round the corner. A year has gone by, and I cannot imagine how much more difficult things would have been, had it not been for that laughter.
It was the fifth day of the placements. In the past four days, we’d had a total of six companies, with a grand total of six offers. Two companies had not given any offers, Three had given one each. Amazon had been the God, lord and master, with three offers. The same set of people would wake up every morning, dress up in their formal bests, write the papers, give interviews and come back rejected. There were people who, in the beginning, had cracked all writtens but were rejected in all the interviews. By this time, they had stopped cracking the writtens as well.
So the Vice President of this company came for the PPT and said Good Evening. To an audienceof 180 people, none of whom, at this point of time, was capable of finding anything good about the evening.
“Good Evening, guys!”
Feeble, can be the term for the response from the audience.
“Good Evening, GUUUUYSS!” He again exhorted.
The response from the ‘guuuyss’ still wasn’t very encouraging.
“Okay,” said the V-P. “I’m not likely to receive a nice good evening from you people like this. Let me give you an offer.”
The V-P seemed strangely confident about this offer as he continued, “See, the louder the ‘Good Evening’ I receive from this class, the more the number of hirings I’ll take from here…” he finished with a broad self-satisfied smile on his face, the kind which I suppose comes from the satisfaction of having created an awesome, god-level piece of humor.
I don’t remember the reaction of anyone else, but I didn’t find anything remotely humorous about this proposal.
“Okay people, ready? Say, Good Evening!”
“Good Evening, sir.” The voice was a bit louder now.
“Umm, not good enough. Say it again!”
“GOOD EVENING, SIR!”
“Still not good enough. I might take three for this. What say, Madhu? He asked his HR.”
“GOOD EVENING, SIR!”
“Ho-hum… four, Madhu?”
And this process repeated itself, till the time, in increases in steps 1, his hire count had risen to 7. Towards the end, people were screaming at the top of their voices. And at least a few of them, I know, were screaming in the wild hope that maybe it would make a difference; that the V-P had be telling the truth – that he really would take more people only if they screamed a bit harder.
I was sitting exactly in the middle of Motorola hall, unable to utter a sound. I didn’t cry during the placement period; that time, I really came close.
I had quit hard drinks long back, but I had promised myself that I’ll drink whiskey when the last person of the batch got placed. I never really did that. A few people who got placed, making themselves inelligible for the other companies got their joinings on a date a year afterward. A company which came for recruitment turned out to be fraud. A company which came for recruitment shut down. Quite a few packages, not much to begin with, were further slashed. The placement committee was still functioning atleast till October.
The person who spoke on behalf of the placement committee at the farewell congratulating everyone for their ‘100%’ placement, one of the few good men credited for whatever jobs 2k9 passouts have, will be coming to Hyderabad today to join his job.
Sometimes things are so away from usual, that for better or worse, they start appearing amusing sometimes.