We enjoyed the recruitment while at Madurai as we had the privilege to stay at a very prominent hotel there. The days I spent there were hot and we had sporadic rainfall at night. The ambience that the hotel offered was fantastic. I also had the opportunity to go to colleges at Kovilpatti, Tuticorin and in and around Chennai. Seeing the students in all these places, I had reminiscences of the days when I along with my friends, sat in corners of the college where I graduated from, waiting for the call from the campus interviewer. I remember some of us going through the books even at the last moment before we were called in. I saw the same body language and approach in many students too that day. But I was lucky to have realized sometime in the middle of my degree stint, that we don't have to slog and prepare that way. When we passionately pursue our subjects, it will take us to dizzy heights automatically.
There were students from different backgrounds. Some of them were from very poor families and I could see how difficult it was for them to express in English. But I noticed that some of them had much more zest to do projects of very high technical calibre than the students who were from better financial backgrounds. I measured them only based on this spirit that they portrayed and I allowed them to speak freely even if they had to mix a lot of Tamil into their broken and incorrect English. I still believe that enthusiasm on any day is a very powerful fuel in a human being to make them dream and to pursue their dreams.
I did tell some of the candidates during the course of the interview, that they could talk about themselves and their interests outside studies, as part of their introduction. This was to make them comfortable and to allow them to settle down. Some talked about their hobbies with great interest. I also asked a few to talk about any unforgettable incidents that they could share. One boy whom I found to be technically very sound, shared an incident which made him very emotional. In fact I found myself to be in an embarrassed state too as he recalled it. He told that had not been a great student for a while until the sixth standard. His parents had been strict and were putting pressure for him to get good marks. On one occasion fearing the wrath of his parents, he went ahead and forged the report card. The school teacher spotted this and informed his mother. His mother chided him an entire night and told him that she was ashamed to introduce him to anyone as her son. It wounded him very much and he left his home and did not return for weeks. Later, he came back home and then he was determined to turn around. And in the very next exam he took the report card to his mother and showed her the results. She was startled to see the marks. He had scored hundred percent in three subjects and the rest were about ninety five percent. His mother checked with the school teacher as she could not believe. That was the start of the turnaround and he remained as a very consistent student thereafter. He told me that he had a big dream of pursuing further studies in artificial intelligence after a few years.
I found another student who came in explain metallurgy and material sciences so well. He had also read through so much about the recent trends in space age materials that he exuded great confidence. His communication skills were excellent and he had a good exposure to software too. I knew that he could always be a part of my company. But I tried to discourage him from joining the software industry job rat race. Initially he tried telling me that he had seen the presentation made by my employer where it had shown several engineering projects. He told me that he could still be a part of those projects and sustain his enthusiasm for material sciences and metallurgy. But since I was not convinced, I continued to discourage him from taking up a software job. Finally at one point he opened up and told me that he had to get two of his sisters married and that he had no other way of earning a huge pay packet including the onsite opportunities that he had heard of. He also told me that his father had lost his job and there was no other earning member in their home. I felt really sad for him.
Sometimes in life it’s true and practical, that we have to beware of what we dream, as some dreams can really suck the life out of us. After all we have to remain alive to dream.