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Book Extract 2 : Yours Sarcastically

“Yours Sarcastically” narrates the life of Nikhil, who pursues his MBA at one of the most coveted business schools of our country and follows his experiences in the “real” world. Nikhil isn’t an all-conquering hero – far from it with all his supposed imperfections – in fact he is quite lovable because of his audacity and his shenanigans.

One is given a complete glimpse of the class atmosphere, banter, canteen gossip, the understated romance, the unholy competition – the battles to be one up over the next person, and those necessary elements that constitute the MBA student life. The minute details and experiences such as the academic crunches, controversial club decisions, events, and love tales… You read about his secret love which he can’t express, but at the same time his self proclaimed expertise at giving marriage advice, philosophy to style hungry girls desperate to grab eye balls. The pain of rejection in job interviews and in love, and his transformation – one wonders if it is autobiographical.

Extract from the book: Club Selections in B-School

The selection of junior students to the numerous student clubs was in full flow across various rooms on campus. L420 and I were selecting juniors for the core team that would organize our flagship business festival. We had a marathon nine hour session, interviewing close to seventy five people at a stretch. L420 was maintaining an Excel sheet with the vital stats of every girl who entered the interview room. Almost everyone ended up saying the same thing in reply to why the club should take them and what their strengths were:

‘I want a platform that will give me intellectual stimulation leading to my growth as a person.’

‘I want to join this club for the creative satisfaction it will give me.’

‘My biggest strength is that I can fit into any situation.’

‘My biggest strength is that I am a people’s person.’

‘My biggest strength is that I love accepting new challenges and I never give up.’

‘My biggest strength is that I am a team player and have incredible problem-solving abilities.’

When the next candidate finally walked in, I ended up telling her, ‘I know you are a people person who is looking for an intellectually stimulating environment. Do you have anything to say other than this?’

‘I am into sericulture—the rearing of silk worms. I am joining this club because, through this club, I want to do something for the larger silk worm society.’

L420 went close to her, looked her in the eyes, rubbed her upper arms, kept feeling her back and said with a perverted look of which even Prem Chopra would be extremely proud, ‘Tum kaam to kar logi naa darling?’

The Institute Rank 1 from IIT Mumbai was being interviewed by Rohan as part of the club selections for the Finance Club. Rohan started the interview, ‘Tell me something about the butterfly spread?’

The humble batch topper answered it correctly.

‘You should be more self-assured while answering. This is so unconvincing! So, what do you know of efficient portfolio hypothesis?’

The 10 pointer from IIT answered it correctly as well.

‘You lack charisma and the ability to apply knowledge coherently. You should come to me more often to build your self-confidence and to turn yourself into a dynamic, energetic personality…so tell me something about differential equations.’ Before the 10 pointer could start answering, Rohan laid down a disclaimer, ‘Be more confident this time. I know you are interviewing with one of the best you have met, but you should be more self-assured in your approach.’

The humble guy said, ‘It would be great if you could let me know about your knowledge in this subject. Can you tell me at what level I should be talking so that you can understand? I will give my answer accordingly.’

It turned out that the humble 10 pointer had finished 2nd in the International Mathematics Olympiad while representing India. He had published multiple papers on differential equations during his undergraduate days.

After a few more inconsequential questions, Rohan finished the interview with, ‘Tell all your batch-mates that I am a total stud. Send all your friends to me for interviews, confidence building and mentoring sessions.’

L420 and I were also interviewing students in the junior batch for the new club we had founded. One of the most memorable interviews involved a twenty year old Aggarwal girl. As I quickly glanced at her résumé, I noticed a Delhi University Rank 2 from Delhi’s best economics college, a Sheila Dikshit award for something, major debating achievements and a paper on some economic theory amongst many other high profile achievements.

‘This is quite a power packed resume, I must admit. So tell me something about yourself.’

She repeated her long list of achievements.

‘Just out of curiosity, have you ever failed at something in life? If I may ask, what has been your biggest failure till date?’

For the first and only time during the interview, she looked a little vulnerable.

‘My biggest failure has been that I came 2nd in Delhi University and not 1st,’ she said and continued in a dejected voice, ‘It was a tough time. I had to undergo psychiatric treatment…I’d rather not talk about it now.’

I thought she might break down if I pushed the topic further. I thought of offering her my handkerchief, but the fact that my own clothes were never washed properly in the hostel prevented me from showing any chivalry.

‘Okay, tough luck I must say. Tell me something. What is your priority amongst all the clubs you are interviewing with?’

‘This new club is my first priority. My second priority is the club that is organizing our business festival.’

I pounced on her reply, ‘I hope you are not lying, because I will be interviewing you again for the core committee of the business festival and I will ask you the same question there.’

‘I am quite sure about my decision.’

‘Okay. So why do you want to join a new club like ours? New clubs are always a little mysterious and a little dangerous—we are on probation and there is a question mark on our future existence as we have not proven ourselves. So why exactly do you want to join a new club like ours?’

‘Actually, I have always wanted to be part of something which was similar to a start-up. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and I am always excited at the prospect of working with something new. But the more important reason is the quality of the people I will be interacting with. I think the founders of this club are extremely talented and I am sure I will learn a lot from them.’

‘Can you please elaborate?’ I said. I was sure she was referring to me, as I was one of the more dynamic founders.

‘Look at someone like L420. He is such a charismatic person. I have not interacted with him a lot, but from what I have seen of him, he is a class act. I think he comes from the school of thought which respects women and treats them at par with men. I think he is a thorough gentleman when it comes to behaving with women.’

I had to grudgingly agree with her observations as she kept singing songs of praise about L420’s class and charisma. Thankfully, I never told L420 about his newfound admirer, or else I am quite sure he would have climbed up four floors and tried to break into her room every night.

– Sandeep Das.

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