Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bell The CAT

CATastrophe. CATaclysm.

There are problem half a dozen more such puns I could make. Mercifully, these are the only two I can think of.

The point is, hopefully, clear. The CAT (Common Admission Test, for the uninitiated. One of the many entrance exams in India for MBA programmes) is a fighting animal, a dangerous one, and quite intimidating. And much like the lolcat pictured above, it means BUSINESS.

I've always wondered what in tarnation does "bell the CAT" mean. Every year, around this time, I would see articles in the paper with the same stupid headline: "Belling the CAT" (or something to that effect). And then I would laugh at the morons that would be tripping over themselves to give this very competitive and difficult exam. And then, a few years later, here I am, giving it. Well, just gave it. Anyway, "bell the CAT" brought to my mind an image of hitting a cat in the head with a cricket bat (not a baseball bat, mind you. I'm losing touch with my roots. Hmm. That's a private joke, please carry on) after which the cat vibrates with a loud gong sound, much like in a Looney Tunes cartoon. But apparently, it is an actual phrase derived from a fable, with a pretty interesting history, which you can read here. Oh, what a wonderful mix curiosity, the Internet, and Wikipedia make. One learns so much these days!

Right, so the CAT is in itself a pretty difficult exam. Added to that is the competitiveness. In a year, no less than 200,000 give this exam, and the number of seats in the "good colleges" are, predictably, quite less. The scores they require are stratospheric, and the spread in that rarefied region is razor thin. People miss a seat by a matter of a fraction of marks. One could do an MBA at one of the many spore colleges that have popped up on this rock, but every wants the Main Mushroom.

My point being, of course, that this is the reason that people make such a big deal out of giving CAT. If you are going to give CAT, you might as well do it right. And if you are going to do it right, you DO NOT want to fuck it up. Yes, the previous paragraph flows properly into this one and from the one before. Mon dieu, I'm treating my blog like a Reading Comprehension... which pretty much sums up my state. I have been attending weekend classes for the past few months, and have taken all of last month off from work to prepare for this exam. I wake up thinking that the ratio of time left to sleep is inversely proportional to speed, so I need to sleep faster, at which point I jerk awake wondering what the hell I'm thinking. I'm finding remainders of ungodly division (like 3 raised to 2011 divided by 7, which is actually quite easy once you know how) in my dreams. I'm beginning to doubt my English- my first, and only, language.

Yes, I've prepared as best I can. I would give practice tests and do miserably, and almost throw my new laptop against the wall. Such has been my state. But it's over. I've burned through all my official leaves, gone through several notebooks practicing sums, gone mad trying to understand and then remember a hundred concepts in math, while leaving English largely to an instinct which I found out is not as developed or refined as I once thought it was. And the test got over in a flash. But that's the funny thing about tests, isn't it? You spend countless hours that add up to days and weeks preparing for it, losing sleep, losing hair, losing your mind, and all the while the grains of sand are falling, counting down to the inevitable. SO MUCH TIME has gone by... and yet the damn thing is over in under 3 hours. All the work you've done in a week, in a month, in a semester, in twelve years of school, in four years of college: it all comes down to those three hours. That's pretty fucked up, and a concept that has always amused me.

I always envisioned studying as arming myself with weapons, and the final act of giving the test is personified by myself and the test in corporal forms going at it in an epic Jason Bourne-esqe battle. In the vision, I always come out on top, albeit battered and bruised. In reality, it hasn't always been so. Hopefully this time, it will be. Perhaps I should have thought of working with the CAT, treating the CAT as a friend, as someone whom I must go through this journey with together, instead of something that needs to be attacked and conquered (blame the male ego, or whatever Freud-esqe psychological or Darwin-esqe evolutionary theory it is). Maybe I've been giving exams wrong all along...

Whatever. The whole reason behind giving the CAT in the first place is that I've been failing in the exam that counts the most, the one that begins as soon as you pop out of yo' mama's womb. And that's something I mean to amend.

And hello, Blogger. I'm back.

Answer the following question on the basis of what you have read in the passage:

1. The author earlier despised CAT aspirants because:
A. They're a bunch of wankers.
B. They are way smarter than him, and hence prove a threat to his fragile ego.
C. Because coaching classes and geeks are making more difficult an already difficult situation. Just because you can crack and exam (be it CAT or JEE) doesn't mean you deserve to be or are ready to be in IIM or IIT. The whole system is corrupted by what may have once been a high ideal, but is reduced to something resembling a joke.
D. He has no idea what he's talking about.

2. What is the purpose of the author referring to the "Main Mushroom"?
A. Because all these tiny little colleges are wank, and it's pointless to go to them.
B. Isn't it obvious?? He's a fucking hippie!! Mushrooms indeed, I bet the fucker's high!
C. College students like pizza and you can put mushrooms on pizza.
D. Isn't the picture of the lolcat funny?

3. The author is:
A. A wanker
B. A delusional, egoistic moron
C. Pissed off (and a closet Glee fan)
D. All of the above


  1. if you cared to answer the questions, you can grade yourself. the thumb rule is, no matter what you answered, IT'S WRONG.

  2. Unnu.....boring...
    need to cut it short...
    there is a fine line differentiating humour from torture..
    funny in bits and pieces...
    don't try to hard....(even at toons)
    that's a thumb rule too)

  3. EPIC. Loved it. Especially the mushroom bit and the time concept and treating CAT as a friend and the questions at the end. How clever and funny you are, my friend.

  4. Oh, and the pew pew pew picture. So cute :)