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Monday, September 15, 2014

IIT preparation along with a Happy Girlfriend

“So now your books are more interesting than me?”
“Can’t even talk for 5minutes?”
Sounds similar? Congrats, you are suffering from
“Mi-gf-graine”, where “gf” is symbolic and silent.

Now, assume this: Your JEE is the Titanic, you are the Captain, and your girlfriend is the Iceberg.

So, Captain, its high time to know, how to steer, or else, Kaabbooommm! Na Titanic rahega, na iceberg, aur na tu.

Welcome to 100marks’ exclusive Rowing Classes.

No no, I’m not taking you to the pacific, but the ocean, called life.

There are two points you must remember, in today’s practical world, no matter what:
1. You CANNOT stay happy, if you have a successful career, but failed relationships.
2. You CANNOT stay happy, if you have a disappointing career, but successful relationships.
Let’s analyze you now, you’ve a girlfriend and are preparing for JEE, well, dude, you’ve put your legs in two different boats. Although, it’s said that you can only piss in this situation, but we’ll tell you how to sail.
All you have to do is, realize the importance that your girlfriend and JEE hold in your life, without underestimating any.
Once you do that, rest is a piece of cake. Try out the following:
  • Do not, ever, shout at your girl, for “disturbing you”. You chose her to be in your life, so you cannot just expect her to be invisible whenever you want. #Respect.her
  • Manage your studies and girlfriend efficiently, by allotting time to both. Chat with her while solving numericals, you’ll surely get the right answer.
  • If both of you are budding engineers, then bingo! Study together, while practicing some self control.
  • Make your girl understand the pressure that you feel due to JEE, share it with her, she, for sure, will understand and will give you space enough to relieve the pressure.
  • Focus on your JEE as well, avoid chatting while understanding any concepts, but do talk to her when you are done with the theorems n all.
‘Coz once you qualify JEE, you might forget it, but your girl won’t forget your behavior.

Remember, when you are broken, you won’t lookout for your JEE score card to sympathize you, but your girl, and other close relatives. Similarly, when you’ll be happy, you, sure as hell, would not want your score card to sit across you at KFC.
Do not listen to people who claim “focus on your studies, love n all are secondary, don’t get involved in these stuff” etc. This is shit in its purest form.
Fall in love, with your JEE, with your girl. Stay loyal to and passionate about both the relationships.
Unlike Cameron’s Titanic, yours will now sail.
You are sure to rise.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Blockbuster Story of Kota

Rajasthan’s Kota continues its winning streak in training students for success in pre-engineering and pre-medical college entrance tests

Getting into an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is harder than admission to America’s Ivy League: each year more than a million students take the entrance examination for a meagre 8,622 seats in the 16 IITs.
It is equally difficult to get into country’s premier medical school: All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi has only 72 undergraduate seats and more than 500,000 students vie for it. Of course, there are more engineering and medical seats in the country, but IITs and AIIMS Delhi remain the most sought after.
Almost one in every three youths who make it to these premier technical and medical schools are students from cram schools in Kota, a riverbank town 256 kilometres south of Jaipur in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. Kota’s success in these entrance exams has been stuff of legend as the coaching business in this otherwise sleepy town enters its 25th year.
Coaching here is now a phenomenal Rs20 billion (Dh1.2 billion) industry. It is therefore hardly surprising that hoardings and billboards claiming success in pre-engineering and pre-medical tests line the Jhalawar Road towards the south of town.

I am visiting Kota on the back of IIT and AIPMT (All India Pre-Medical Test) results. I find local dailies replete with fullpage, chest-thumping advertisements, on almost every alternate page.
Allen Career Institute is boasting a rare first in the city’s history: all India top rankers in both JEE Advanced, the entrance test for admission to IITs, and AIPMT are Allen students. Resonance, another coaching institute, as cram schools are locally referred to, is claiming highest selections (in JEE Advanced) from any single institute in the country: 4,105, including 1,916 from its Kota classrooms. People at Career Point rattle off statistics from previous years to say they have sent 8,400 students to IITs in 20 years of their existence.
It is that time of the year when institutions indulge in public displays of success. Photos of students with their ranks — all-India ranks, state ranks and reserved categories-wise ranks — are all over the print and outdoor publicity media. Top rankers are bandied around like trophies. Obviously, they are magnets for new students.
This exercise does pay dividends: Allen had 59,320 classroom students last year; this year it has already enrolled 65,000. The number of aspirants in Kota has crossed 130,000 this year. In 2013, it was 110,000.
Vinod Kumar Bansal, who pioneered this business, reminisces about how the Kota coaching juggernaut rolled: “It was in the late 1980s that the first lot of local lads began getting into the IITs. In 1986, Kota boy Sanjeev Arora got the all-India first rank, and received a prize of Rs100,000 from Brilliant Tutorials. This ignited locals’ interest in IIT. Prior to that, Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) at Pilani was Rajasthan’s first choice for technical education.”
Bansal began offering private tuition in Mathematics to IIT aspirants across the table in his dining room in his JK Colony residence after he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and became wheelchair-bound. In 1988, he founded Bansal Classes — the first coaching institute in Kota.

Around the same time, Rajesh Maheshwari, a polytechnic diploma holder, started Allen Career Institute — named after his father L.N. Maheshwari — at a rented place in Vallabhbari locality. “Ours was the first institute offering coaching in all three subjects under one roof,” he claims as he shows me around the Allen headquarters, called Sankalp, in Indira Vihar area. Today, Allen is spread across nine hectares in ten campuses.
In 1993, Pramod Maheshwari, a Kota boy, graduated from IIT Delhi but his mother didn’t allow him to go to the United States for higher studies — in those days, he says, IIT was considered a gateway to America. When he returned home in Kota, he didn’t find anything worthwhile to do in the industrial centre which had fallen on hard times. So he began teaching Physics at Bansal Classes. But very soon, Pramod set up Career Point, his own venture, with 51 students in a tyre godown — and became the first IITian in Kota to start a coaching school.
A few years earlier, a boy from a remote village in Ramganj Mandi, a municipality in Kota famous for limestone mining and coriander, cracked the IIT entrance exam with the help of books he picked up from Rampura market in Kota.
R.K. Verma’s father worked as a mine labour and during vacations, Verma joined him in the mines. He graduated from IIT Madras in 1994 and returned to Kota to prepare for one of the most desirable jobs in India, the Indian Administrative Services (IAS). When he couldn’t clear the three-tier recruitment process, he joined Bansal Classes as a Physics faculty, to fill in the gap left by Pramod Maheshwari. Two years after Maheshwari, Verma became the second IITian to plunge into coaching in 1995.
As the rate of Kota students selected for IITs rose, the city’s reputation for success spread, and young hopefuls flocked to the city from other parts of the country. Success of Bansal Classes and Career Point inspired a host of other institutions. In 2001, Verma, along with Lokesh Khandelwal, who went to IIT Kanpur before he briefly taught Chemistry at Bansal Classes, founded Resonance. Seven more Bansal teachers branched out in 2009 to start Vibrant Academy.
In 25 years, Kota has produced about 150,000 engineers and more than 100,000 doctors. Bansal Classes prefers to boast only about the 16,000 IITians it has given.
In the city with a population of one million, around 100,000 students cram for these fiercely competitive tests. Over the years, Kota has come of age. As the number of students rose, classrooms became hi-tech with world-class public address systems, lapel microphones and LCD projectors. Institutes diversified into coaching for the next best colleges such as the national institutes of technology (NITs) and Indian Institutes of Information Technologies (IIITs) for technical, and newer AIIMS and state medical colleges.
A Boom in coaching business spawned ancillaries such as private hostels and mess. Houses added second and third floors to rent out to students. New hostels came up. Eateries and tiffin centres began doing brisk business. Cycle shops recorded surge in sales since most of the students, especially boys, pedal to coaching institutes.

According to a rough estimate, there are about 2,500 hostels and paying guest centres in the city where the cost is directly proportional to distance from a coaching institute, but these days it is nothing less than Rs3,000 per month. In certain areas such as Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, some rooms cost as much as Rs20,000 a month. Of course, these are fully-furnished and air-conditioned.
Cost of cramming in Kota has gone up every year. Besides the course fee, which is anything between Rs70,000 and Rs100,000 per year, and expense on accommodation, parents pay through their nose to meet school tuition fees and pocket expenses. The total cost comes to Rs250,000 to Rs300,000 a year for each youngster.
But cost is no deterrent. The success rate has increased aspiration levels. “Dream sellers”, as one coaching owner likes to call himself, exploit expectation for that elusive IIT or a medical seat.
But why is Kota’s success rate so high? “Because of the atmosphere here,” says Career Point founder Pramod Maheshwari. “Here a student follows a rigorous regimen, attending three lectures of 90 minutes each every day, solving daily practice problems and taking a test every third week. The best part of this regular assessment and performance analysis process is that it gives students an all India competition and helps students know their true standing,” he adds.
“Performance of students in these tests is compiled, analysed and reviewed to help then know their strengths and weaknesses,” explains Resonance managing director and CEO R.K. Verma. “Batches are periodically reshuffled to keep students on their toes and foster a competitive spirit. At the same time, the faculty is always under pressure to generate new complex questions and revise course material every year. Remember, we have to follow a result-oriented methodology,” he adds as he gets ready to head into a class.
Verma, like his mentor Bansal, still loves to teach at least six hours a day though Pramod Maheshwari, also a Physics “guru”, gave up teaching a few years back.
“This regimen is Kota’s USP,” adds Manoj Sharma, Resonance vice-president (Operations) and Verma’s childhood friend. “Here a student is engaged at least 16 hours a day, attending lectures, revising and solving complex multiple-choice problems.”
Kartikeya Singh, a class XI student, who is enrolled into Career Point’s two-year programme, agrees that a student in Kota is always under pressure to perform. “But what’s wrong?” he asks. “My parents have put their hard-earned money on me. Their expectation is justified.” His father, a class IV employee in Bihar Government, has taken loans from friends to fund Kartikeya’s coaching.
In 2012, the government devised a new two-tier JEE system, according to which JEE Main is to be used for admission to NITs, IIITs and other centrally funded engineering schools, while students opting for IITs are required to clear the JEE Advanced test. Both these levels take class 12 marks into consideration: for NITs, the merit list is prepared with 60 per cent of JEE Main score and 40 per cent of class 12 score, while for JEE Advanced, a student has be to be in the top 20 percentile of Board marks.
It was due to this change in the examination system that institutes added Board preparations to their curriculum. Now, besides the six-hour JEE Advanced pattern and three-hour JEE Main pattern exams, students also take three tests of two hours each, which are set up like Board exams. “At the end of two years, a student has taken at least 30 tests, including mock tests with full syllabus at the end of the course,” Sharma says.
Despite this strict schedule, students are losing focus, says Aanchal Bansal, 23, who went to Bansal Classes before he made it to IIT Kharagpur. “When I was here, there were no distractions such as multiplexes and smartphones. There was nothing else to do than study — unless you wanted to sleep all the time. But today there are Facebook and WhatsApp to hook students,” he explains.
Bansal has quit Rs8-million-per-annum job to turn entrepreneur. Aware of the problems that students here face in term so food, he, along with his Kharagpur batchmate Pankaj Sharma, started Mr Hot, a service that provides customised food in disposable packets. In their sixth month now, they are already selling 250 packets a day.
Pankaj says Kota is gradually losing the blandness that was its selling point. “Shopping malls and cinema complexes have come up all over the city as economy grew,” says the 23-year-old who left his job with a business analytic firm earning Rs6 million per annum to join Aanchal.
Another factor that draws students to Kota is its experienced and highly qualified faculty. Today there are around 1,100 teachers in Kota, almost 400 of them IITians. Pramod Maheshwari says he went faculty hunting to IIT campuses when they did their placements. “We picked up the best brains and trained them,” he says. Resonance’s Verma agrees institutions invest a lot in “creating” teachers, training them rigorously for three-to-twelve months after they are picked up from IITs or NITs.
Now, it’s time for diversification as most institutions are branching out into other segments. Career Point has a universe for KG to PhD. It has opened Global Kids for pre-schooling, four schools for schooling, two technical campuses in Rajsamand (Rajasthan) and Chandigarh and two universities in Kota and Hamirpur (Himachal Pradesh), for higher education. Similarly, Resonance has started Commerce and Law Program Division for chartered accountancy and company secretary courses for commerce students and coaching for national law schools/ universities.
Allen, which has been a leader in pre-medical segment with eight of its students in top 10 in AIPMT this year, diversified into pre-engineering in 2008 and after 25 years of its existence, decided to venture out of Kota when it opened centres in Jaipur, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. All of these have also started foundation courses for students of classes 6 to 10 to prepare them for National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) and various national and international Olympiads.
But Bansal Classes and Vibrant have stuck to their core: coaching for IITs.
Allen, on the other hand, has set for itself a target of 200,000 students in its classrooms by the year 2020. Spelling out his vision, founder director Rajesh Maheshwari says, “My target is to have facilities for 50,000 students in all four corners of the city. At present, the coaching industry is skewed towards the south of the city. For developing Kota into an education tourism city, it is necessary to develop in other three directions.” That could be a tall order but with the pace that the industry is growing at, it’s not impossible, says his brother Naveen Maheshwari, also a director at Allen.
In last couple of years, some unhealthy practices have crept into the industry. “Till some years ago, some institutes poached teachers by offering them double the money; this year, there are reports of some institutes poaching students, too,” says business development honcho of an institute, not willing to be named. A cram schoolteacher, on an average, earns Rs2.5 million per annum but after poaching began, some started getting as high as Rs10 million. As a matter of fact, some teachers at an institute are even earning Rs20 million a year.
“The industry’s growing bigger by the day and some people are want to get the lion’s share,” says the BD honcho. Others talk in hushed tones about some top rankers being imported from other cities and now Kota institutes claim they attended their classroom programme.
However, despite these one-off blots, Kota largely remains a factory where toppers are produced. It is, therefore, no wonder that teachers here become overnight celebrities. Students paste their pictures in rooms, and they are all over the city walls, too. “Some students equate me to Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekanand and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and even ask for autographs,” says Jivanjyoti Agarwal, who is a senior faculty of Mathematics at Allen Kota centre. “I feel proud to be a teacher.”
Sumit Yadav, a Resonance alumnus, who has passed out this year from IIT Kharagpur, remembers “CSS sir” talking about his IIT Bombay days and telling students in his class: IITians banaye nahi jate, hote hain. (IITians are not made, they are born that way).

Friday, September 12, 2014

Are Girls really Crazy for IITIANS ?

A story from Bharat Jakati.......

This was during Mood Indigo 2008, the cultural festival of IIT Bombay. I was standing outside the main gate, on the other side of the road. Next to me were two very good looking girls. One of them looked at me, then turned to the other girl, and whispered something; both of them glanced back at me, smirked and turned away.

The traffic signal, which had been red all this while, turned green and they started walking towards the gate. I followed suit. They glanced back at me with derision as we entered the gate, as if to suggest that I had followed them without knowing where I was headed. The guard at the main gate asked them where they were going and who they were. They flashed - as in, their college I cards - and told the guard that they were going back to their contingent. The guard then asked me for identification. I calmly said, "Student", produced my IIT B I card, simply walked in (you can do that at the IIT B Main Gate; in fact, IITians can do that even at Mordor) and stood some distance away from the girls, waiting for a bus to carry me inside. A really strange thing happened then.

The girls immediately came up to me and apologized for their misconduct. They said that they did not know I was an IITian and that I must accept their apology. Somewhat hurt by their behaviour at the signal, I said, "Whatever", at which they started insisting that we exchange numbers and hang out later. Well, I did that. We caught up later in the evening, attended the concert together, went out for booze and came back; I sneaked them into my hostel and we had some, er, fun.

But I was all very nonchalant all this while, because this was part of every day life for me, as a student of an IIT. As IITians, we're entitled to such favours from good looking girls.  I did not have to woo them or anything; once we were on the other side of the gate, they were just falling all over me. It didn't matter that I was quite rude to them; it did not matter that I was wearing dirty, unwashed clothes; heck, it did not even matter that I had to clear my bed of unwashed undies, lizard poop, cobwebs and a few spiders that were lurking in the corner. Ever since they'd learnt  that I was an IITian, all they wanted was me. 

Once you're an IITian, you can be terrible in every other respect, and girls will still go gaga over you. Oh yes! To quote a famous band, Nothing Else Matters.

Also, before you fantasize about the endless possibilities this opens up, say hi to a very close friend of mine - Sarcasm.

Just so that this is not blocked for not answering the question, the answer is NO. Being an IITian does give you an edge in terms of smartness, at least as far as how you're perceived, but you have to follow the protocol: be nice to the girl, be presentable, engage in conversation, listen to her, give her time and so on.

But since I'm sure everyone knows that, and this is just a troll question, I think the first part of my answer is more relevant.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Craziest Story of NIT TRICHY!!

A Story from Nitish Krishna...hear it from him....

So this is a story from my first year (2008) . I was living in Diamond and around the time of the first semester exams we had had pretty heavy rains for about 4 or 5 days. The grounds in front of Diamond and around campus were completely covered with water and unfortunately for the cows in campus, this took away their primary source of food.

So after the Chemistry exam, one of my absent minded friends returned to his room. I call him absent-minded because he had forgotten to lock his room door before going to the exam hall. When he returned after his exam he casually looked around the room : Bed, Cupboard, Cow, Clothes, Books....wait what?

Yes, there was a huge cow sitting peacefully in a corner of his room. Not only that, it was munching away at a PW Atkins Physical Chemistry text book. Now this cow actually knew how to eat a book, it was eating it page by page starting from the cover. It had gotten to page number 176 by the time my friend got back. Shortly, a crowd had gathered as my friend tried to get the cow to leave. Unfortunately it refused to budge, even after being poked with a broom. It then switched to eating Richard Feynman's Lectures on Physics and that was the last straw for my friend (The set of 3 books was about 2500 rupees - even a five star meal isn't that expensive). So someone grabbed the tail of this cow and it ran out of the room and out of the hostel.

Few days later we even spotted white colored cow dung in front of the hostel office. Apparently the cow found Chemistry and Physics much easier to digest than we did :P

For those of you who do not believe me, we luckily have photographic proof :

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