Friday, November 24, 2006

The CAT that belled me!

Statue of SK Pottekaad @ Calicut

Me n friends @ the entry to SM Street

At the Beach road

Yummy! We all scream for ICE CREAM!!

After having Ice creams @ Baskin Robbins

NB:Sitting on railway tracks in a punishable offence..........yea!

This is what i call .....................Butter Chicken

Look at the shelves with the goodies......

Happy faces with the CAT Admit cards!

So finally it's over, the TOUGHEST exam in the whole wide world; and surprisingly not many found it to be tough! Except for a few, almost everyone i saw had told that s/he did well and was expecting a call from IIM/IIM's. Well what happened to the mother of all exams?? Why did the IIM's make it this simple if they want the cream of the Indian youth to be in their roll. Well the only answer can be this: CAT is not an exam that tests your knowledge, it's one which test how you apply that knowledge and how well you handle pressure!

The quest for CAT began on 17th Night when i boarded the MANGALORE EXP at 2045 and bid adieu to Trivandrum. The journey was fun with me travelling in a train with so many friends after a long time. The seats that we got were in the S8 coach, but still we made it a point to CHECK OUT all coaches from s1 till s10. If the doors of the AC Sleeper were also open, we would have dared to CHECK it out too. Some people found this to be annoying, while many had just looked on helplessly at the numerous guys and gals passing through the corridors. The train went smoothly (crawled wd be a better word) Even though we were in an express train, the speed didn't cross much above the speed that I DRIVE in my bike. I was passing time by reading "How Opal Mehta got kissed, got wild and got a life"; but then it was tough amidst the heated debates that were going on. We had discussions on various issues ranging from "Which institute is the best for CAT coaching" to "Which coach had the best gals". All this and more kept us awake till the wee hours of morning when the last of my buddies left my compartment for their respective berths. I Still remember looking at my watch and saying "gosh, it's 2 am; just 4.5 hours before we reach Calicut". Thus passed the 1st day.

The next day surprisingly the train reach ON TIME and we had to get out of the station in the huge rush that was pretty much caused by the large number to IIM aspirants who were camping @ Calicut from the 1st day. We had a tough time finding our HOTEL. Basically we had 2 places: 1- Ajay's KOORA Hotel with a room large enough to fit the 6 of us and the place that i booked with 2 double rooms for the 6 of us! We decided to 1st look at Ajay's place and if that was found to be good enough, we will stay there. The place that was supposed to be 5 mins walk from the station took us 15-20 mins to find. It was in a kinda deserted place with not much activity around it. We were right across the railway tracks and could hear the horns of the trains when they passed through them. The place looked pretty OK and we decided to stay there. We dumped all our stuff in there and it was 730 by the time we reached the room. After a short break we went in search of a decent restaurant to have some breakfast and we crossed the rail tracks to find ourselves in the midst of the city. It was a place called MAANANCHIRA, remember it pretty much coz that's the only thing i rem other than the place where my exam centre was. So we just walked and found a pretty OK looking restaurant named PARAGON, even though it was named after a brand of CHAPPALS, the food was pretty good and also was affordable. After having our breakfast we decided to stroll around the place and to find the routes to our respective exam centre (6 of us were in 3 different center’s).

Thampi and Afhay had better luck than the rest as their centre was within walking distance and was near the Beach. Manu n I were @ the same centre and it was pretty far off from the hotel. My centre was KV East Hill. I just enquired about the distance and the bus to take to reach there. By then it was 1030 and Manu n me had this deep urge to study sumthin for th next day's exam. So we split and the others decided to try and see if they could get tickets to the new bond film that had released the day before: Casino Royale. I had read rave reviews about it in the newspapers and saw amazing stunts in the TV. We told them that if they manage to get tickets, we shall get there somehow. We 2 reached the hotel @ 11 am and at 1115, Thakku calls n tells that the show is at 1130 and we needed to get to crown theatre ASAP. Me and Manu had just settled down and were going through the old questions. We got out as fast as we could and we had no idea about the theatre's location. Fortunately we got an auto from our hotel and when we had just been through something like 300 mts, the guy says Crown is on the other end of the tracks, do you guys wanna go all way round or would u just cross the tracks?? We stopped the auto and very hesitantly paid the driver 10 rupees(SOB). Rushed to the theatre to watch the very first Bond novel's film version.

Within 10 mins into the movie i understood 2 thing: 1) Tvm theatre's ROCK compared to the one's in Calicut. We were in Crown that was touted as the best in the town and the screen was small and very hazy and the sound was not at all clear. Even in the first row of the balcony we had difficulty in seeing what went on in the movie. 2) The film SUXX big time. The so called no CGI all action adventure turned out to be a disappointment as all stunts were rope tricks and it was pretty evident like that in KRRISH. The new BOND lacked the style and the persona that was needed in a bond and the film had 0 Gadgets. After the film we got out to see other good friends waiting in line to get in. We told them in the best way possible not to waste money over this Piece of SH*T. Then we were told that the BEST BIRIYAANI in KERALA was found @ a place called SAGAR in Calicut. We got into 2 auto's and reached the place. The auto's were really affordable and the driver's didn't cheat the unwary customers like us. The restaurant was jam packed and we had some trouble in finding seats for all of us. After a short waiting period we got tables and ordered Chicken biriyaani's to taste the best in Kerala for Rs 61 a piece. Sadly the food was worse than the film. The best didn't even come close to anythin that was praised about it. We cursed the damn cook and the guy who recommended the place to us (paavam MJ).

After this we spent some time in the hotel and had good fun teasing each other and adding and subtracting surnames. After this we studied something and i managed to add some knowledge about probability and revised the other portions. In the evening we had decided to go to the Beach. We had heard that Calicut was the city which had the beach with most accessibility with the beach being just 2 kms away from the town centre. We did find the beach but to our bad luck the beach was deserted and it was drizzling a bit. We had a good time at the beach, walking along the empty road holding our umbrellas and i really felt like a small kid walking along side my buddies. We had a sumptuous dinner and had trouble walking back to the hotel. We found the city to be calm and their were plenty of good looking gals to be found all through the day.

The Day: 19th Nov, The day that we all had come prepared for. I got up 1st at 530 and by 6 i was all dressed and ready to go. By 830 all of us were ready to leave except Ajay who left alone. All of us had breakfast and proceeded to our respective exam centre after saying our "ALL THE BEST" to one another. I, Manu and Simon reached the centre at 910. The gate to the school was not to be opened before 930 and we got our room numbers from the poster outside. I was inside the centre at 930 and was in my seat by 935. It was nice to be in a KV, a school where i had good memories, even though it wasn't in this school; still all KV's had that special ingredient that made them distinct from other schools.

My class was a primary class and so the benches and desks were small and i had some trouble getting accustomed to the cramped space, where i will be sitting for the next 3 hours. The test procedure began at 10 AM sharp, with an announcement from the PA system welcoming us all to CAT 2006. The voice that i heard was having a very strong North Indian accent and sounded old (probably some prof from IIMK) He listed out the formalities to be carried out and by 1010 we got our answer sheets. We got the questions booklets by 1025 and i was surprised to see that each correct answer would fetch 4 marks and there was only -1 for a wrong. That gave me some strength as i could go on and have some FREEDOM to find my way through in verbal questions where, according to me, a small risk should be taken to get the right answer.

The paper had 5 choices to each question and the surprise was quant. It was the easiest paper that i had seen in recent times. The quant section was pretty simple with a lot of DOABLE questions. After this i proceeded to the DI section, which also i felt to be comparatively easier that my expectations. EU was a section that shattered all my beliefs about how the CAT paper will be. There were 3 passages with 5 questions each, making this the most RC intensive paper in ages, 15/25 questions from RC. That was very tough and with no sure shot mark earners like VA and synonym, antonyms; the going got tough. I had a tough time understanding the passages and this made me have doubts about answers.

At the end of the 2.5 hrs i had attempted a total of 40 questions out of 75, with 10 in QA, 13 in DI and 17 in EU. I was hoping to clear the cutoffs in all sections and was pretty much happy even when i heard that there were people who had done 55-60 questions. I reached the hotel and then went to the MITTAI THERIV or S M Street, to have our lunch and then for some small shopping. By then i had busted almost my entire cash and had to get some money from Afhay and Manu. We had a good time at the street and did some purchases and reached back @ the hotel by 430. Our train was at 1905 and we decided to reach the station by auto. The 1st batch of 3 got an auto and went. The other three: I, Manu and Afhay were stranded and we just couldn't find any auto's to get to the station. Finally we just walked all the way to the station and managed to reach there by 1845 after we trespassed into the station from the back side and walked through the rails. We settled at the station and then were waiting for the train. The Railways again surprised me by having the train reach Calicut at the exact time that was displayed at the station. We got into the coach and this time we had the s1 coach. We had a set of gals and an older couple(parents of a gal) in the seats next to us. We had good fun in the train and roamed frm s1 till s10 in our QUEST. We had a good time with many of us singing songs and trying our level best to disturb the couple's engaged in conversation in the seats next to ours. We were joined in our singing by a few of our friends from SCT and CET and we had a gala time till 1030 when a policeman asked all of us to go to our respective seats. We all slept a bit early that day and when we woke up the next day the train had reached Kazhakootam and was moving fast to Tvm Cntrl. It was pretty good to see the familiar sight of All Saints College and ISRO Rocket on our way back to tvm.

And so ended the Quest for the CAT!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth!

An Inconvenient Truth, is a documentary on Al Gore's campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide. I had heard a lot about it from the media and had been searching for the film on the net. I got hold of it last week and downloaded it(illegally of course) and saw it 2 days ago. The way Al Gore presents the facts really made me stand up and take notice of what's happening to the world that we are living and how badly we have affected the balance of the earth.

The documentary is based largely on a multimedia presentation that Gore developed over many years as part of an educational campaign on global warming. The film premièred at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and opened in New York and Los Angeles on May 24,2006. It is the third-highest-grossing documentary in the United States to date. Both Gore and Paramount Classics, the film's distributor, have pledged proceeds from the film to further educational campaigns about climate change. The film, which opened at film festivals, was promoted with tag lines such as "A global warning", "We're all on thin ice", "By far the most terrifying film you will ever see", and "The scariest film this summer is one where you are the villain and the hero".

Rather than simply listing facts in a dry, mechanical manner, the film places its subject in an emotional—and moral—context, with dramatic plot elements. Sprinkled between the charts and graphs are moments of humour and emotion. Al Gore quotes many a personal incident that made him make this film, like his son's death, his sister suffering from cancer and so on.

Coming to the issue that the film handles;The vast majority of climate scientists around the world agree the climate is changing and the globe is warming. 2006 saw the hottest summer in 70 years and the first six months of '06 were the warmest on record - poised to break the record 2005 set of the warmest year on record - worldwide. In addition we are having record rainfall like that we had in Mumbai this year and the last year. Also there is an exceptional increase in the number of Hurricanes and Typhoons that have hit US and Japanese coastlines.

In spite of all this the USA is yet to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol now covers more than 160 countries globally and over 55% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Still USA is not adhering to this protocol simply because the USA thinks it will cause UNWANTED losses in the form of modernisation of factories and equipments to meet the new stricter emission norms. But they fail to realise that the future is looming upon us and the next ice age will rush onto us, unless we do something about the way we are ruining the planet. Only USA and Australia figure in the list of the so called "DEVELOPED" countries which are yet to ratify this protocol, which may save the earth for our children.

The Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, has refused to ratify the Agreement and has argued that the protocol would cost Australians jobs, due to countries with booming economies and massive populations such as China and India not having any reduction obligations. The United States, although a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, has neither ratified nor withdrawn from the protocol — though their one-time representative, Condoleezza Rice, remarked that the Protocol was "unacceptable" at the time it was presented to her. The protocol is non-binding over the United States unless ratified.

The documentary emphasises these point with SOLID FACTS, rather than scientists giving boring speeches and graphs and charts that make no sense, Al Gore puts the facts in very easy to understand numbers and graphs. He personally explains the melting of various glaciers and ice shelf's, with pictures, video's and audio content. The film includes many segments intended to refute critics who say that global warming is insignificant or unproven. For example, he discusses the risk of the collapse of a major ice sheet in Greenland or Antarctica, either of which could raise global sea levels by approximately 20 feet (6m), flooding coastal areas and producing 100 million refugees. The documentary shows the projected areas that could be submerged by the rise and includes areas like Kolkata and Bangladesh. Water from Greenland, because of its lower salinity, could halt the Gulf Stream current and quickly trigger dramatic local cooling in Northern Europe, pushing it into an ICE AGE.

Now all the scientists across the world have been unanimous when it comes to the fact that the green house gases are being emitted and they do alter the climate by causing unwanted heat to accumulate in the atmosphere. But then some do show reservations as to when the break even point will be attained. Such thoughts 1st came to my mind when i saw "The Day after Tomorrow".
That film really scared me and that was how i started to look for facts, as to how much truth is there in the film. But after some time i had dropped the topic and moved on, until i saw this documentary. The documentary and the film will really push any sceptic of the global warming program to take notice of what's happening around the world. The amount of data that has been collected over the years, the changes that are visible to naked eye all point to the fact that its coming to us much faster than we ever thought about it.

The documentary ends with Gore noting that if appropriate action is taken soon, the effects of global warming can be successfully reversed by releasing less carbon dioxide and growing more plants or trees. But then these are just small steps, major changes have to come in the upper echelons of power by changing government policies and laws.

Visit Climatecrisis for joining hands with the initiative and cut-down your GHG emissions by following the steps in the site for a better tomorrow!