Saturday, December 10, 2005


Two weeks before the big day, I received a brown envelope. The brown envelope in it contained my ticket to unimaginable riches and beyond – My Cat 2005 Hall ticket.

It looked something like this...

For those of you who only noticed, my unshaven passport size photo on the hall ticket, it would be imperative to take you through the address of the venue allotted to me again.

“Raja Rajeswari Engineering college, Near Maduravoyal, Via Vanagaram, Adayalampattu, Chennai – 600095 “

Now, usual addresses would go something like this.

“ Hi-Look Bread Omelette, Near I.I.T, Via Sardar Patel Road, Adyar Chennai – 20”

Now chances are, if you haven’t heard of Adyar, or further still you don’t know it’s via Sardar Patel road, chances are that you probably have heard of I.I.T. (Actually they are many for whom Hi-Look Bread Omelette is enough of a landmark) But you get the drift.

In comparison, we have the Raja Rajeswari Engineering college,near munificent Maduravoyal via vibrant Vanagaram in Amazing Adayalampattu. Come to think of it, the only recognizable word in the address is “Chennai”, even the pin code following it is unrecognizable.

Me and my dad immediately got to work. About a week in advance, I logged onto Google Earth to see that juranmo! Adayalampattu did infact exist; the only challenge now lay in infact locating it.

My dad very charitably took it upon himself to help in finding out where exactly Amazing Adayalampattu was located. After which, he had the tougher role to play of helping me get there, all this taking into account that his 55th birthday bash would be only the night before, I knew I was in for an eventful journey.

The exam was slated to be at 10’o clock and after the evening histrionics concluded, it appeared that we would have very little sleep, before the scheduled 8 AM departure.

At departure, we were expectedly about half an hour late but my dad said that the lack of traffic on the roads would make up for it. Very soon while traveling and traveling into the beyond, it became very evident that I was entering parts of the city which I had never ever encountered before. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised if I suddenly saw a mile stone on the road saying.

Actually no, that’s pushing it. You wouldn’t readily associate the French port of Calais with the sight of Fowl, Buffaloes, Onyx bins and not much else. There were about 45 mins left to the start of the dreaded examination, and here we were still trying to locate the college in the middle of water logged roads, potholes and ditches.

We were asked to look for a board announcing the CAT venue, next to which there would be a right turn going towards the college. Thanks to a friendly cop, and enough commotion around the board, we spotted it but alas! there didn’t seem to be any right turn next to it.

Or actually, there was a right turn. When my dad called up the college officials for directions, they had said “Take a right turn at the CAT board”, now they didn’t necessarily say “right turn” into what? We found out, it was a right turn into farmland.

Farmland which was uphill in nature.

To say that there was complete pandemonium in the farmland approaching the college would be an understatement. There were dogs, students, cows, anxious parents, buffaloes and a few cars all trudging up the dangerous embankment together. Of the few cars, notably present was my dad’s “josh machine”.

On advice from a benevolent stranger, without whom this post wouldn’t have been half as interesting, we were advised to take a path onto another embankment. The embankment was heading downwards this time. Yes, the oft quoted saying, “What goes up, must come down” and we were heading downwards now.

The path opened, and low and behold lay before us an open field. An open field with a pond next to it, actually come to think of it we really didn’t know whether it was a pond, cause it seemed as if half the pond was on the field. The college lay in the backdrop, with only another pond separating the field and the college.

How on earth, was I to reach the college and where on earth was my dad to park his car? Taking a diversion, we crossed a small bridge made of a part of a broken tree, and I swear I could see fishes swimming next to the tyre of the car.

There were now 15 minutes left to the examination, my dad looking at me with a defeated expression on his face said something which I doubt I will forget for a long time to come.

“ I’m sorry Son, that’s as much as I can help you with. You are on your own now.“

He parked his car under a tree and retired.

With the help of 2 strangers, a log of wood, stones and rolling my pants up, I somehow made it to the college. A college constructed with such ingenious architecture that the massive placard announcing its name could only be seen by a valley of huts which lay below the college.

I made it to the 3rd floor, and found my spot. In a few minutes, a prayer bludgeoned out from 2 gigantic speakers in the front of the room. I immediately felt at ease. I had made it to CAT 2005.

P.S For all those of you, who are eagerly awaiting my travails with the burly cops in the copstation. I’m afraid it might have to wait till the next post.