Shady Hues

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Escape to Victory!

Till high school, I used to be a fairly good student. I scored 85% in my X boards. Then, I was sent to Delhi from Solan (a small town in H.P.) for IIT coaching, coz i was identified as a 'bright prospect'. But, I had always wanted to be a cricketer. So, with renewed vigour, I completely gave up studying, and turned to cricket. I wasn't a bad player, but then, I wasn't exceptional either. It was more of a rebellion against authority.

Anyhow, my scores dipped, and I barely scraped through Class XI. I didn't improve much in Class XII. Another issue I faced was that I felt I was being discriminated against by the majority ethnic community. I flunked my pre-boards. The school called my parents, who were horrified to know that their supposedly brilliant son was flunking. My folks had to plead with the authorities to let me sit for the XII boards. Anyway, I somehow managed a 67%.

I studied a bit for Engg. entrance exams, and cleared a few. Then, I got admission to PEC, Chandigarh. Again, I wasn't quite convinced with studying Civil Engineering. Consequently, I flunked an exam each in my first two sems. In the third, I was out of action for 6 months, with a near-fatal road accident. But, to quote Charles Dickens, 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.' That accident changed my outlook towards life. I learnt many lessions, and I guess I matured in those 6 months. After that, I worked heart and soul to get life back on track. Eventually, I scored 61.9% in engineering.

By then, I had been written off as a bright star who had lost his glow, by family and friends. So, I decided to shift base, and move to a different city, away from everyone. That's when I took up a job at IBM's BPO in Gurgaon. I appeared for CAT '02, without any preparation. To my surprise, I got 97.5 percentile, and a call from UBS, Chandigarh. (That was the only place I had applied to.) However, I was not confident enough, and messed up the GD and interview. I was devastated, but went back to my job. After a few months of good performance, I was promoted as a trainer. Next year, I filled up the CAT form again, but chickened out of appearing for the paper. I spent another couple of years in my job - got another couple of promotions, and lots of accolades. But somehow, all my past failures haunted me.

I switched jobs, and came to Genpact in 2005. Once again, I settled into a reasonably comfortable life. It needed a jolt to break me out from my world of computer games and books. Being a Liverpool fan, I tuned in to the Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan. Liverpool were trailing 3-0 in the first half, and I was seething with rage! They went in at half-time like losers, who'd given up. But after 15 minutes, I was surprised to see Gerrard charging out of the tunnel, followed by his team. And lo, after 15 minutes, I was jumping with joy. Liverpool - 3 goals in 10 minutes!! Eventually, they won. I didn't rjoice, dance, or whoop with delight. I took my bike, went to a peaceful place nearby, and cried like I'd never done before.

In those 90 minutes, I had found vindication. I saw myself in the team that came back when everyone, including ardent fans like me, had written them off. I realized that all was not lost, till I decided. I went back, with renewed vigour. I decided to give my fullest to my job. For anoher year, I drove myself hard. I was quickly recognized as an efficient and good worker. Still, I couldn't bring myself to exorcise the demon of CAT. Then, life changed...

Late in 2006, a girl at office, who lived en route to my house, asked me for a lift. She and I had a small conversation. I dropped her home, and forgot about the incident. A few days later, the 'lift' became a routine affair. And before I knew it, I was deep in love with her, and vice-versa.

After listening to the story of my life, she would bring up the subject of an MBA, and I would nervously change the topic. Then, she also talked about getting an MBA and joining a coaching institute. So, on a weekend, I took her to IMS, TIME, CL etc. We discussed the options, and concluded that TIME sounded best. We went back next week to sign up. That's when she dropped the bombshell. It wasn't her who was signing up, it was ME!! I was reluctant, being more keen on a part-time MBA, but she asked me to give it just one shot.

Despite my reluctance, I had to join up. And I took the first mock they gave. Score 99.xx. I regained a bit of self-belief and vowed to give it 110%.

I had enrolled for classes in Jan '07 at TIME, and began studying hard. Days became weeks, weeks became months. I found that when the mock tests began, I would always score in the region of 95-96, but never beyond. It began to frustrate me. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't score above 96. The faculty were extremely supportive and counselled me regularly. Two of the teachers, Mr. banerjee, and Mr. Pankaj, always had positive things to say. They sat with me, to understand my issues, and advised me at every step. Tanveer Sir (writetotanveer), who was part of the faculty, was especially encouraging and inspiring. He was the one who introduced me to this wonderful world of PagalGuy.

Still, by September, I only had one 98+ score to my name. And if you plotted my scores, you'd get pretty much a straight line. Essentially, I felt like I'd just be knocking at the IIMs' doors but not getting in. Meanwhile, things were also getting tough on the personal front. The girl, who'd been by my side through all those times, moved on with life. Life had once again, come full circle. I lost interest in everything. Appeared for one of the mocks, and walked out after only 45 minutes. The result showed me 79 percentile. , when I scored 98+. I was at my wits' end. In extreme frustration, I walked out of a (2 hour) mock test after just 50 odd minutes. However, to my surprise, I found that I had scored 79 percentile in that test. I remembered the day a team in red had refused to die out, and come back to beat all odds.

I began preparing with renewed vigour, and decided to give one final thrust, always keeping the Reds in mind. Come D-day, I felt I was ready. Tanveer Sir met me at my center and told me, "Mr. Singla, dimaag thanda rakhna. Ho jaayega." And well, if not spectacularly, I think I have done reasonably well for myself with a total of 7 calls from top-league institutes.

Today, that team in Red is almost on the verge of another historic victory. Today, I'm on the verge of getting into a b-school. I don't really care if the Reds win or not. They tried hard, and gave their best, so they'll always be heroes to me, even if they hadn't won. I will always worship them, and go back to that famous day in 2005, whenever I need them to motivate me.

So, I'd say, forget about winning or losing, make sure you give it all! Just don't quit, ever! No one says it's easy, but then it isn't impossible either, right? Go for it, and get there!

Monday, February 25, 2008

I know, it's been a long hiatus (again). But, I'm back. With more thoughts and ponderings. I watched this movie yesterday. It's called 'The Bucket List' and it left a deep impact on me. I won't give away the story (you'll have to pay for it, you know) but it will suffice to say that the characters make a list of things to do before they 'kick the bucket.' Not just that, they actually proceed to do them. Nothing special about that, except the characters are terminally ill cancer patients. So, even though it might sound macabre or dark to you, I've created my own bucket list. Here it goes:

1. Own and manage a football club

2. Watch a football match at Anfield stadium, and cry myself hoarse

3. Write a novel

4. Make someone cry with happiness

5. Visit Disneyland and be a kid once again!

6. Adopt a child

7. Do something for the underprivileged

8. Attend a Linkin Park concert

9. Have my own library

10. Go on an African Safari

I know, some of these might sound childish, or even inane. Nevertheless, it's my list of things I'd love to do before I die. There would be lots more, and some of them might take precedence over the ones listed here. But for now, this is the list. And if you're reading this, you've been 'tagged'. I'd appreciate if you leave your own bucket list in the comments section.

Friday, January 04, 2008


I've been sitting and staring at a blank screen that's been begging me to write something. I don't know if it's because I have nothing to say, or because there's simply too much. Whatever be the case, my barren blog still hasn't seen a post from me this year. As I set out to remedy the situation, I can't help but muse at the year gone by.

Once again, it seems time has flown. I still remember the lovely blossoms in the spring; the hot perspiration-filled days in the summer; the sights, smells, and sounds during the monsoons (UGH!!). And now, as I look around me, I can see the lights of the city bravely trying to shine through a misty curtain. Winter happens to be my favourite season (despite the constant sneezing and coughing!).

But, a whole year gone by? Unbelievable. It almost seems like yesterday that I decided to take my career places by preparing for the scary CAT. It did pinch me sometimes, to be studying and attending classes when my peers and friends were partying or having a gala time. But I consoled myself with the thought, "No sacrifice, no victory." But yeah, now, the die is cast, and as Optimus Prime said, "...fate has yielded its reward." Not quite, but it will, in the next few days...

Anyway, the past year has had other chapters too - some bitter, others sweet, some pleasant, others painful. One of them was all of these. Though it lasted nearly a year, and was beautiful till it did, it now is closed. Still, I did learn a lot. I learnt to be responsible. Plus, I learnt my own worth. While she may not have been the one for me, she did teach me to value myself, and to believe... in myself.

Still, the most beautiful chapter has been Aarbee. From two individuals who had been hanging around the virtual world for donkey's ears, we quickly progressed to chat acquaintances, phone friends, and now soulmates. The very thought of her brings a smile to my face (actually, it's more of a goofy grin). I just can't get enough of her! And no amount of thanks to the man who introduced us (Harry) will suffice. I could write reams after reams about her, but they'd still be less. Bottom line: Aarbee is wonderful, and an angel.

So, with the beginning of this lovely new chapter, I bid adieu to 2007 and turn towards 2008 wishing joy and happiness to all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


He was a mockingbird, a little hatchling. He had newly learnt to fly, from his parents. He dreamt - of flying to faraway lands, meeting other birds, and talking to them. He dreamt of making a nest in a faraway land. He told his parents of his wish. They were sad, but told him to go and chase his dreams and fulfil them.

One morning, he flew away. He flew over mountains, and rivers, and dense forests. He flew as far as his wings allowed him to. Tired, he stopped to rest. He found a cool stream nearby to quench his thirst. There were trees laden with exotic fruits to satisfy his hunger. There were none of the predators that his worried parents had warned him about. So, he was happy and content. He decided to stop chasing dreams, and enjoy reality for a while.

Over time, he forgot all about his dream. To him, his current surroundings seemed like paradise. He grew fat and lazy. Then, one day, he woke up to hear a new voice. The voice belonged to a beautiful sparrow. She asked him to tell her the story of his life. She made him dream once more. She made him believe in himself again.

He had his doubts, but he started readying himself for his long journey for he had begun to love the sparrow. But since he was busy regaining his strength for his journey, he was able to devote less and less time to the sparrow. Gradually, the two broke apart. One day, the sparrow flew away. He was heart-broken. He remembered all the happy times he had spent with her, and cried. He did not want to pursue his dreams alone. But, he forced himself to work hard, and prepare for his journey. He resolved to proceed on his journey alone.

He was almost ready to leave, when he heard a beautiful song. A little dove was singing a song - of sorrow and joy, of hope and despair. The song brought tears to his eyes. He requested the dove to sing to him everyday. And each day, the lovely dove would sing a special song for him. He began to look forward to listening to her each day. She became his isle in the middle of a desolate desert of emotion. Without even realizing it, he fell in love with her.

One day, when the dove sang a song that told a tale of love, he could stop himself no longer. With tears flowing from his eyes, he told her of his love for her. The dove smiled through her teary eyes, and told him that she loved him too, and wanted to be with him through his journey towards his dreams.

At the first light of dawn, they flew away together towards the horizon... towards their dreams...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Abstract Musings...

Resplendent images that rule my dreams,
Intense, enchanting, enrapturing,
Coy like little birds,
Haunting, flitting in and out of my thoughts,
Asking me to own them forever.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Shady Blues!

The last few days've been rather gruelling workwise. Today was especially hectic.
Sample this:

8.00 am: Woke up. Started whiling away time.
8.50 am: "What the $%#&? I am late (again)". Rushed!! Took a bath... got ready for office... ran out of the house
9.05 am: "A**h**e! Get out of my way. Saale picnic manaane aa jaate hain road pe". And countless such abuses follow....
9.30 am: Whew! Another day at work... oh heck!
10.30 am: "Another one of those rewards functions! Hell! Why? I have work to do..."
11.15 am: "The award for exemplary performance goes to.... SHADY!!"
11.45 am: Back to work
2.00 pm: Lunch! A welcome break from work
3.00 pm: YAWN!! YAAWWWNNNNNN!! Shady wishing he could just curl up like a lazy cat and sleep...
4.00 pm: Counting the minutes to freedom... 60... 59...58... damn! Too far away...
5.00 pm: Yippee!! I'm leaving... "Hey!! Before going, can you please help me with this?
"@#$@! Stuck again..."
6.00 pm: Instant plan chill a bit at the malls, with friends
8.00 pm: Mom called. Had a bit of a disagreement with her
10.00 pm: Back home after dropping the gangsterz
10.26 pm: Writing a blog post

P.S. Routine, mundane day, right? NOPE! It would've been one if it hadn't been punctuated by frequent smiles brought by the one and only RB.

Moral of the Story: Remember to thank God each day for sending across that wonderful girl.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


In slumber sweet, late last night,
I dreamt of a sight that filled me with glee,
a lovely vision, of us walking together,
a wondrous sight to see.

I reached out to touch you,
to caress your lovely face,
I clasped your hand in mine,
and savoured your loving embrace.

I looked into your smiling eyes,
filled with a love so sweet,
in that fleeting moment,
I felt complete, replete.

I awoke from slumber,
with thoughts of you that stayed,
with me, since that lovely dream,
and never once did fade.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lose Yourself

"Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity,
to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment,
would you capture it or just let it slip?
He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready..."

Sounds like these words from the song 'Lose Yourself' were written for me. Tomorrow is C-day, and I am filled with a mix of various feelings - exhilaration, nervousness, apprehension, excitement, determination, and god knows what others. So, as I listen to this track, I can't help but think of what tomorrow will bring.

January. When I decided to give CAT a shot. Since then, life's been a rollercoaster, with loads of ups and downs. And the months have just flown by. However, currently life's on an all-time high. A good outing tomorrow will be the perfect icing on the cake.

So, I'm looking forward to it. Eagerly. As the song ends, I can't help but smile.

"...You can do anything you set your mind to, man..."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Have I?

These words, written long ago, when meeting that girl who'd make life worth living was a dream, couldn't be any more true now.

Have I told you?
If I sit still and ponder,
I can hear your voice,
whispering in my ear.

Have I told you?
Often, I have waited,
in anticipation, wanting,
to be close to you.

Have I told you?
The first time we talked,
I sat up all night,
playing the conversation over and over.

Have I told you?
There are times,
when I have ached for you,
and cried with emotion.

Have I told you?
Often, I dream of you,
I dream of reaching out,
and finding you.

Have I told you?
That I’d give up everything,
just to touch you once,
just to know you’re real.

Have I told you ever?
Do I still need to tell you,
that I love you?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Never 2 Far*

The happenings of the last few days have been fairly extraordinary, to say the least. I never knew I had such a romantic side to me as well. Always considered more of a calculating machine, with an extremely analytical and data-oriented approach, even towards life, I had almost begun to believe in the ascribed status. Well, perhaps, I had even started deriving some pleasure out of it.

But all that's changed. In the space of a few weeks. I have learnt that within me, there lies the ability to love another person. To an extent that even I didn't ever imagine. (Even greater than 9000!, as some of my 'mathematician' friends may snicker). And it's all thanks to Aarbee. The girl who makes me smile all the time. The girl who always has something niice to say. The girl who always has a better punchline ready. (Damn!!) The girl who occupied a corner of my mind till a few days ago, and now fills my mind with thoughts of her. The girl who I love.. a lot.

Aarbee, today, I was listening to this song, and just can't seem to get its refrain off my mind (not that I really want to)

'...and all these miles that separate,
disappear now when I'm dreaming of your face,
I'm here without you baby,
but you're still on my lonely mind...'

* The title of a track by Eminem.