10:54PM, Oct. 21st 2004. Payne's world.

The wheels are turning again. My blog is back. The HUGE post you see below is purely the result of a rambling mind. It is a perfect example of the hogwash that Payne can dish out. Read it at your own peril.

11:48PM, Sept. 17th 2004. Payne's mind.

Life. So easily understood, so easily complicated, so easily learnt, so easily lost, so easily lived...

Honestly, right here right now. It all seems so simple. The whole "it" of it looks soo good. :D 'Tis nice to be in this place. A place where I have NO idea what I am doing, no idea what I'm gonna be doing and sure as hell not thinkin about whats done. Some say its a shitty place to be in, that one has to know one's path or heck atleast one's position in life. But here I am, 11:50PM Sept.17th 2004, feeling totally high only 'coz I've cleared my mind of all things. Not that there was much to clear, but whatever vestiges of sense were lying in there I got rid o'em. I'm in this place not so frequently but I am every once in a while. These are the times, when I feel that writing is not a big deal, when creativity seems like a whole dosh of crap, when my skull feels lighter than usual...and boy, it feels like there's a draught of air in there right now...:-S weeeehoooooooo!! Ramblings of a maniacal schizophrenic is what these characters typed in notepad are. Utter dosh. Total crap. and so much fun. :p

Fine, the above shit was typed out just to get me flowing. Just to get myself thinking again. Just to fill up that empty space in there. To get my feet outta the wet cement over on the writer's block. Not a nice place to be I tell you. The wet cement's composed of all the energy-sucking thingies ever. It gets to you, it makes you stay in there, it makes you believe that life is good when lived by reading alone, it hurts. :| Yeah balls! ANYways.

Herd mentality. Two words I used to scoff at, two words I loathed, two words oft-repeated by one of my friends around this place. Well, time for a reality check. What have I exactly done in these past three years on campus? What have I done differently(if) in any way? What have I done? The answers are seemingly easy, just like so many things in life. I've had fun, loads of it. In more ways than one, the campus has been my life. By campus I mean the people and not the trees, benches, buffaloes and other such scenic beauties. Next answer, when it comes to life, probably some things done differently, but this is not about life - is it? This is about that elusive point of herd mentality I'm trying hard to grasp. Lastly, what I did do is follow the invisible pied piper. Ah, here it is. The point is I, even after learning once, am ready to hop along that trodden path. The path trodden by a million and then some. I shall put this explicitly in the next few lines and shall refrain from black-n-white generalisations.

Its been three years in this college, I stand at the crossroads of careerpaths as such, the clock's happily ticking away - the fingers pointing to the hour of decisions. Final year, like so many other students, I've made up my mind(mostly) about what to do. Here's the interesting bit, that decision about what to "do" is completely shrouded by the bigger question "what to learn?". CAT, GRE, Ph.Ds, GATE or jumping headlong into a job? Before delving into the details, its prudent that I say that this article talks about the majority of the people, not the rare few who know exactly what they're going to be five years from now. For most, the paths are clear, the decisions are definitely not, the motives even more unjustified.

Three years back, when I attended counselling, it was all so clear, so lucid. To be an engineer, to contribute in my own way in changing the face of some small technology somewhere. I place the blame squarely on myself for the fact that I have not done any such thing nor am I in anyway "an engineer". But along came the placements, first company and I'm placed. 4 companies along and 250 of us placed. Woohoo? Don't think so, time for some serious re-thinking. Look at the job-profiles, look at the kind of work. I'm not exactly lambasting the whole software industry here, but let me simply take stock of the situation here. Different cases - the student who's worked his behind off to get 91.6% in his electronics/mechanical/civil subjects, the student for whom software is a passion - in whose blood the lines of the coding matrix flow - and lastly, guys like me. First case, this is a person who may have got that exceptional %age by completely understanding the concepts of his subjects, by inculcating the fundas of the discipline into himself or by simply following the exam papers and grinding the heck out of the textbooks. Eitherways, the effort comes to a nil. None of that knowledge is viable now. Last case next, guys who've just about managed a 70%+ in the acads by playing ball under the floodlights of a reading lamp till the wee hours of the morning before the exam(one-day batting - so to say), guys who may or may not know the concepts, guys who may be slightly or not at all proficient in coding n such. The middle ground. Good speaking skills, good enough to shoot baloney at the companies coming down as to how "the acads are not important" and you're through. Then the software gurus, this is the sad bit, most of the MNCs coming down have downright menial work laid out for the freshies at their offices. Do you really see the coding god with knowledge in 18 languages making history at TCS? I don't. Lets now look at the other options, CAT and a Masters Degree.

CAT, how many of us are into it for the lure of the lucre? For the glamour of being branded a "future CEO"? For being the "head honcho" of an M-N-C? I shan't lie and say that I'm aiming for CAT for other reasons, but how many of us are really giving CAT for the right reasons? I don't even want to know. How many of them would be really capable managers? Sadly, all of them. 'Coz thats what the IIMs are there for I guess. How many of them really enjoy what they're doing? I don't know. Maybe you would. How many of us are doing what we're doing because thats we want to do? Sigh.

Is this what you bargained for? Is this what we want? Do we have a choice? Last question easiest answered, no. We may not have a choice, we may not even care to see above the madding crowd and look for that choice. We may not care to look inside ourselves and ask ourselves what we really want from life. Whistling Syko in his blog put it so well and so succintly, its passion that drives the world, its passion that gives life, its passion that creates, that invents, that innovates, that lives. More important than that, its the beauty of knowing YOUR passion. All the above paras mostly refer to people who instead of knowing what they want from life, continue to do things because they're clear about what they don't want from their lives.

Blame me for seeing the worst case scenario, blame for having a possibly caustic outlook on the future. But heck, these thoughts have been in my head for a looong while now and if it seems like I'm typing out mostly disconnected thoughts - it is that way wonly. Thoughts that have been killing me. My only hope when I started this BIG post was to in some way put my thoughts concisely and forcefully. As always I've flopped miserably. All I hope is that, from this point onwards atleast in life, most of us do what we are meant to be - not set out to achieve what is a de facto standard set by others. Its sad that we live in a country whose "individuals" are proud to constitute >60% of the workforces in leading industries worldwide but in reality are reduced to nothing but the masses. That quality education that is cooked up here in so many corners is seemingly wasted. I wish I knew what I had a problem with exactlly - I don't though. I wish that everyone would be an individual. I wish all of us would live to live. I wish I knew how to live.

(EDIT : The following text is typed on 21st Oct!)

Point is, here I am doing the same thing I did 4 years back. Aiming for a course I know jack-shit of. But dammit, do I want it or what! I may want it for all the wrong reasons, but I do want it. I want it for reasons beyond the course itself, I'm here for the competition, I'm here for the test rather than the course. Whatever it is, I'm here. 30 days to go to get there. Wish me luck.

If you've read till this point, you're awesome. *bows down*


Current Mood: Relieved
Current Music: Coolio - Gangstas Paradise