Five Point Someone

Chetan Bhagat made the acronym FPS so popular that it has given new identity to a section of the academia which though long existent has never been prominently highlighted. Who are these Five point somethings (not point fives mind you!) that are so abundantly found in every knowledge imparting institution? People like me and many of the student junta out there. You know why Mr. CB’s book became such a phenomenal best seller, because WE were presented for the first time in our true colors by a person who was in no way a five pointer himself (IIT topper+ IIM grad = dementedly academic).

My analysis of the psyche a five pointer (fp henceforth) is threw up some points:

The fp guy/gal is the most relaxed of all the students in class when ‘miniscule’ things called exams are round the corner. We don’t sweat and pee in our pants imagining what horrors the examiner has set for us, because we know, we are not here to ace or break university records, but just make it through with ‘passing colors’. Why this laidback chalega attitude? Because every time we prepare seriously for the exam due to the damn ‘set system’ (I’m talking about the JNTU here) we get entirely different set of questions of which we know no head or tail. We write some subjective crap and scrape our way to the pass margin.

And in some special cases:

=>All the questions for which you know the answers are there in question paper but that ‘heavenly’ set lands in front of your friend/foe and the ones for which he knows all the answers lands on your desk. Both are confused and scratch their heads and give each other stupid glances (in those probing looks each is musing: if only I had got that set…) and the paper evaluator has no qualms giving both of them nice big zeroes.

=>You prepare very hard for a subject burning midnight oil and your carefree friend/foe hardly touches his books. The next day during exam he gets a very easy set with all LKG questions (this happens only in JNTU) and you get a PhD. paper.He aces and you flunk. Some blame it on fate and some on their planetary positions… only the system is to blame here.

WE get fewer marks and make the toppers look good; ‘They’ get a high on seeing our
pathetic marks and comparing it with their awesome marks. WE provide the silly lecturers attending the class fodder for their opening lines each time after the results are out. WE are the life of the class, WE can’t sit calmly like dumb menhirs, with backs straight like railway tracks; without batting a eyelid suppressing a yawn/sneeze andtake down notes devotedly all day long in a neatly margin drawn notebook. WE were born to be cheerful and happy. WE live for the moment and take life as it comes. The future doesn’t bother us because: tomorrow never comes.

But all is not rosy in OUR lives. WE are subject to constant abuses at the dinner table; we get compared to our neighborhood auntie’s sons and daughters; WE are constantly warned about a dark future; even if WE know a subject damn well than the brightest student in class of for that matter better than the dumbo teaching that subjectno one is going to rush to US for doubt clarification, WE are branded a bit low on the academic side na, but WE are recollected promptly for info about movie timings, location of cheapest eat-outs in town, tips on speed dating, music/movies/books/chick/automobile reviews, urgent money lending, creating nuisance in class, participation in demonstrations, encouraging mass bunks; OUR names are not recollected for ‘intellectually demanding’ tasks in college; if WE flunk it’s common- if WE pass it’s breaking news; if WE turn up on time for something the lec thinks the clock must be wrong ; WE are not given permissions to participate in ‘scientific knowledge expansion’ activities (what will the toppers do then); no faculty is going to remember us one day after we have passed out (unless you have kicked his bottom or screwed his offspring); WE are portrayed as examples of ‘what happens to you when you finger THE SYSTEM’ to our juniors; our laboratory records are not archived, instead disposed off the first raddiwalla for the highest price; if WE come up with a brilliant ideas for our final year project, the lec scoffs at US saying, “ how dare YOU get such a awesome idea. With your limited faculty of understanding of the subject how can you execute this successfully?” ; campus placement is just another ‘acads bashing’ event (which company cares about the ‘real’ stuff anyway); if YOU get placed- you raise eyebrows else get the clichéd bitter consolation :YOU? How can YOU ever dream about things like placements?

I present you a snapshot from my WIPRO interview (you can call it the interview of a FPS) … in the HR round:

Interviewer: so Mr. Sid tell me about yourself?

Sid: I’m such a big thope yada yada yada…

Interviewer: so how do you explain your low academic percentage?

S: hmmm… (Internally I was thinking: what a dumb question) externally:ahem… Sir, in my four years of college life I’ve participated in many extra-curricular activities (read musings, nirvana, industrial tour). The dedication with which I participated in these activities had a telling effect on my academic performance. But I always have taken care to maintain it with in the ‘safe’ range.

I: See Mr. Siddarth, Wipro doesn’t need people who work for college magazines or who fall in the ‘safe’ range. We need people who have a proven academic record.

S: Sir I may not have the ‘proven’ academic record but I have qualities which many of your ‘proven’ candidates don’t have.

I: can you elucidate on that?

S: Sir, I’m a team player and a team leader. I’ve worked with different kinds of people and handled some very big assignments (Mission Chipkao). I’ flexible, adaptable and handle stress very well.

Suddenly the fatso (another interviewer) barges in from no where. He’s heard me say something about adaptability so he wants an explanation on what I really meant (poor thing should have checked on my credentials before daring to ask me that question)

Fat Interviewer: So Mister you said something which sounded like adaptable…am I right?

S: yes (ass hole)

FI: So what’s this adaptability you possess which you say others don’t have (saala he must have been listening secretly. So much for privacy.)

S: ahem… [Clearing my throat because I know this is my million dollar lucky question]

Sir (in a powerful voice; directly gazing into his eyes) The Siddarth who sits before you is an entity shaped by many factors and influences. My upbringing has been much diversified. From my KG to my UG I’ve lived in many places and have had the chance to sample many cultures. I have met many people and seen places. Due to the transition nature of my father’s job I’ve studied in six different schools in six different locations. I’ve stayed with my parents, relatives, and friends and even in hostels. All throughout my study- transition- period I have never had the problem of adjusting to a new place and its environs. I have taken them up as challenges and have seen to it that I succeed in what I set out to achieve at that particular place. This is the ‘adaptability’ which I’m referring to.

Tomorrow when I join your reputed organization (I had slipped in this line intentionally to throw a hint to the interviewer that I’m damn sure of making it to your company) it will be required of me to work in new challenging environs, work with peers, lead teams, meet deadlines, and perform well under stress. I can boldly state that I’m up to the challenges I’m gonna face.

I: speechless…

I: clearing his throat…. Well Mr. Siddarth …it’s been my pleasure interviewing you. {Shakes hands. I’ve would have loved it if it would have been a female interviewer instead}

FI: {as I’m about to turn and leave} tell me one thing…why dint you make it to Cognizant technological solutions? [The company which had previously come head hunting on campus]

Sid: [call it presumptuously daring on my part but I answered in verbatim:] Sir they were not lucky enough to have me!

And walk away like a lawyer who has delivered his final blow to a case.

I walk out of the room held high because I know (gut feeling) I have made it to the final list of selected candidates. The fat interviewer runs out of the interview chamber and gawks as I catwalk away… {My assumption was right…I made it to Wipro…the icing on the cake was that I was the short-listed candidate no.1!}

It was as if the final happy conclusion from Five Point Someone [where in the hero gets placed in a software company even though he is a mediocre student] was unfolding for real in my own life; only thing missing was a profs daughter to play my love interest. Life of a five pointer ain’t that bad after all.. eh !

All this dormant ‘mediocre but arrogant’ angst in my pangst transubstantiated into this post after a casual sms from my friend who was feeling a bit low because she scored some (83 + chillar) percentage when the rest of the nerds/geeks/ ten point somethings in her class had scored (84 + chillar) percentage. She was worried about her downward spiraling chillar percentages (i.e. the numbers after the decimal) over the years.

Parting Quote:

Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run. Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education

Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

10 thoughts on “Five Point Someone

  1. I completely relate to your post in a lot of ways, and the biggest one is being an fp gal. The prospect of being placed in an MNC remained an elusive dream until I made it to Satyam, although it was not as dramatic as yours buddy! Anyways, now that we both have chucked our jobs and heading for MS, lets see if we continue to remain the eternal fp’s… Cheers

  2. yo dude this is really amazing…..you wrote my heart out…i had this raging this from my childhood…….the thought provokes me and my senses to figt against it…..but now i feel completely relaxed after seeing your success story…..i can show someone who was an fp and achieved something which noone thought that he would make it….an ale to your penmanship…cheers for life

  3. Balls,Your description of the “we” scenario sounded like an Ayn Rand description of the greatness of narcissism in Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. And what was there in your Laptop?B again,CEDP.S: Seven pointers rule too!

  4. Nice one…But the so called MNCs’ which hire very good MBA’s in hiring professionals dont really know what the correction is in JNTU and I really dont understand y people go ga ga over high %’s after all these high scoring nerds dont know how to survive in real life and atleast they dont know the application of what they study they to get 84+chillar % but are still branded he creme de la creme…. I personally feel its the kind of treatment that these nerds get from their profs to get all the unnecessary attention…

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