Monday, March 09, 2009

Most Memorable Day


[ Disclaimer: Although it all started as a blog, it has come out like a short story. So, kindly excuse me. But pl find time to read :) ]

I am now 23, which means I have spent almost 8400 days of my life so far. Of all these days, the one which I can never forget is when I got placed in Nokia. It is beyond doubt that the Finnish Telecom giant recruited me inadvertently. However, I am eternaly grateful to this world leader while I celebrate their mistake. I can still remember the day...

DATE: 17-Nov-2006: Friday:
Just a week before, I was shortlisted for Aricent but dint turn up for the Interview (as my file was lost!) resulting in severe reprimand from my lecturer, Mr.PigMouth. It was then announced that Nokia R&D was the next to visit our campus offering lucrative salary.

10:00 am: (A-Block - written test)
I have had the experience of many written tests, most of them being futile. But this time, deep within my heart, I had the urge to make it to the interview, to prove myself to Mr.PM. Once the test was complete, I was certain that my wish will not come true, thanks to the questions in C++ and Java (trust me, still I don't know the answers for (m)any). But the beauty of written test is - the Multiple choice Qs. So, my hand marked those answers directed by heart than by mind. Had it been 'Fill in the blanks', I would have been in soup.

04:15 pm: (Tiruppur)
After the written test, assuming my luck as always, I left to Thiruppur with my friend. Suddenly, I got a sms (followed by calls) from my class mate: "Machan, unakku anjegaalku interview. Seekiram kilambi vaa".. asking me to show up for the interview scheduled at 5:15. My Sonata watch showed 4:15. "Oh God, why me?!". A feeling of exitement combined with worry filled my heart. We hurried to the nearby bus-stop to catch a bus (preferably, a private one) to Coimbatore which started by 4:30 pm. To my surprise, the bus driver was motoring in full speed as though God heard my prayers and whispered my pathetic condition to him. We reached our college by 5:10 pm. Meanwhile, I had asked my friends, VelT and Tamil to bring my records to the placement cell. Just before entering the interview room, I realized that I was not in formal attire. Being a hosteler, no one had to teach me on how to borrow things - white shirt, shoes, socks & necktie. I still do not remember who lent me what, but thanks to all.

05:20 pm: (Interview Room)
I entered the room unkempt and typically looked like an inane fella. There were two interviewers - while one was busy going through my file, the other looked at me with contempt. His face carried the question "Naan ready, nee ready-a?". They did not bother to offer me a seat, so I took mine without invitation.

Int1: What are you good at - C / C++? (Apart from the literal difference "++", the only technical difference which I knew, know and will know is the 'Object Orientedness')

Me : C++, sir.

Int1: I have never heard of anyone feeling comfortable in C++ than C. Hmm.. Let me test your knowledge.

Me : (grinning brightly, as though received a compliment from President of United States)

Int1: What happens when a class is declared inside another. Is it possible? If so, what happens when I instantiate the super class? Will the sub class also be instantiated? How will I access the properties and methods of inner class?

I was totally bowled over. Till then I had never completed a single, simple C++ program. It is impossible for me to get successful compilation in first shot, even if I try a simple C program with printf statement in main method. Again.. "Oh God, Why me?". Suddenly, my conscience replied "you chose it". I remembered my reply "C++, sir". This time I decided not to act smart and bluff something trying to impress the interviewer.

Me : No idea sir. I have not tried that scenario before.. but..

Int2 (interrupts): I can see that you have scored well in Math right from your school. But you are not able to analyse things rationally. (he sighs) Ok. Answer me this simple question. When there is a problem given to you, how will you determine if you solve it using C or proceed in C++ way?

(Good question. But how will I ever know that? Till date, in labs, they ask problems stating "Write a C program to ..." or "Write a C++ program to ...". Then why am I concerned about how they arrived at this? Above all, I can never solve in both, making no difference if it is a C program or not)

Me : Sir, I see that any problem solved in C++ can be done in C. Moreover, you can run your C program in C++ compiler but not the other way (Man.. I know I suck!)

Both the interviewers smirked at each other. It is true that interviews are times of embarrassment, but my act of imbecility knew no limits that auspicious day. All my hopes were shattered in the first two questions. No hopes, no expectations. My only concern then was to get out of the interview room asap to save the left over(?) dignity. At the least, I was glad to be in the interview room after the high drama. Without worries on the upshot, I took the interview with full-confidence.

Int1: You seem hopeless in C++. Let me ask a few questions in C. What is the difference between pre- and post-increment operators.

There it is, the question for dumbos like me. I took a pen with excitement and briefly elaborated with examples. There started my pleasant journey which continued till the end. I was shot with questions on unexplored areas of C (but somehow managed many) and a couple of puzzles to end with. Atlast, they were gratified with my performance. Following was my HR interview which was the coolest I have ever attended.

In the end, it was a day of extremes - from abashment to accomplishment. I was on cloud nine when my name was in the list of selected candidates - a 7 month wait for my dual placement.
Everyone has their unique memorable moment, their private literature - one that can never be destroyed at any cost. And I have just shared mine.