Togetherness without being together

We have fun loving people all around us, but very few of them love people more than fun, and that makes all the difference.

I always wonder the meaning of being together. Is it about being able to look at each other, talk or even touch each other? Save the “touch” part, looking and talking is now-a-days possible no matter you are physical near to each other or not, thanks to the technology in the form of Skype or Hangout.

But, I believe that being together is much more than this. It is when we are together even if we are unable to hug, see, hear, or touch the other person. It is when our hearts are together, our heartbeats are in sync even if we are away, our memories make us feel as if we are still next to each other. This, I believe, is true togetherness.

Usually, in one’s life, family and close friends are the main source of strength and motivation. I am no different. Even while living at different places, unable to meet many of them for months, even years, we are still together. Many times, when I felt low, they inspired me, took my hand and made me stand up to the challenges of life.

Once I was unable to visit my home for 8 long months. I was working thousands of kilometers away from my home while also preparing for MBA entrance exam. Sometimes it became very hectic but my family stood together and kept me going, even though they were so far away from me.

My closest friend lives in my hometown and we are friends from our school time. We rarely chat on line and once in a while on phone. Even then, when we meet even after long duration of time, we feel as if we are meeting each other every day for the last so many years. The bond is unaffected by distance because it is nurtured by love and care.

When I was in Hyderabad, working in a very hectic job on weekdays, preparing for CAT on weekends with no time to spare for roaming around or parties, my roommates helped me out in every possible way. Even away from home, with them I found a new home. I feel lucky to be there, together with them at that time. Sometimes I felt as if they were more worried about my exam than I was. And it all worked out pretty well.

Love and care are the main ingredients of togetherness, mixed with goodness of heart. In the absence of these ingredients, there is no meaning of being with someone. It is as if one is alone even when surrounded by crowd. We have fun loving people all around us, but very few of them love people more than fun, and that makes all the difference.

Housing.com is encouraging people to be #together. You can visit them here: housing.com

The change that fueled life

When I was about to graduate from my engineering college, I felt the uneasiness created by the upcoming change in my life. I felt sad by the thought that soon my college life will be gone. At that time, a very good friend of mine told me that “change is the norm”. And moreover, some changes are irrevocable and one has to accept them anyway.

Very soon my work life began. I was excited to begin a new life. But at the same time, I was little bit skeptical about going 2500 kms away from my home. “Is it worth it?” I asked myself. And guess what, yes, that change in my life was for good. I will cherish those memories for life.

As a matter of fact, I believe most of the changes in our life prove to be good at some point of time or other. When I moved to Southern part of India, I got a chance to experience an entirely new life, to learn so many new things, get familiar with a culture totally different from mine and meet people who are different yet same as I.

When I was in my hometown, I never liked South Indian food, or I can say that I never liked South Indian food cooked in North India. I was prejudiced that I will get the same food there. And fast forward to 1 year later, it became a norm to eat dosa in breakfast for me. I literally loved some of the South Indian dishes.

I am from Northern part of India where we experience extreme weather phenomena throughout the year. There are too much hot dry summers, too much humid summers, excessive rainy season, pleasant spring and extremely chilly winters. It is good to experience all types of weather but all this in a single year sometimes make it difficult.

In South India, I found that weather can be uniform as well. While Mysore and Bangalore were so pleasant throughout the year, Hyderabad only got somewhat hot only for 4 months. That was a new experience and I realized that it was good too in its own way. However, it seemed monotonous to me after being in North for such a long time.

Gradually, all my prejudices were gone and I enjoyed my stay there. And finally, one day, I had to leave that place too. I still remember the day I left that place. I felt really bad. Remember, this was the same place which was thousands of kilometers away from my home and I was feeling bad when leaving it.

This taught me that sometimes some changes in life seem really big and our inner inertia may obstruct us from committing to that change. But most changes are for good and we should overcome that fear and take the opportunity to experience something new. I took my chance and it was definitely worth it.


A company named Housing.com has changed for good. You can visit Housing.com to experience the good change.

When a stranger made me smile

Image Source: www.forangelsonly.org

 At a certain point of time, we start believing that there is nothing good left in this world. But, there are those little moments in life which make us realize that we are wrong, that there are still so many good people in this world and it brings smile to our face, a relief in our heart.

In the present day life where everyone is running around aimlessly, competing with others to win some race, everything seems full of pessimism. At a certain point of time, we start believing that there is no one with a good heart left in this world. But there are those little moments in life which make us realize that we are wrong, that there are still so many good people in this world and it brings smile to our face, a relief in our heart. And I found those moments a few months ago while travelling in Delhi Metro.

It was the evening of a very hectic day full of surprises and I did not want any more surprises. I still had so much to do and I wanted to be at peace. The overly crowded Delhi Metro is no more a place for peace lovers. You can find people fighting for seats, boys leching on girls or people holding their pockets tightly, trying to avert pickpockets.

I got a seat after 4-5 stations. But I still had 30+ stations to go and had to change metro at on place. The battery of my mobile was down so I could not play any games on it to kill time. Suddenly, I noticed that the passenger sitting next to me was watching a movie on his mobile phone. I started watching it though I could not hear the sound.

This went on for a while. Suddenly, that passenger looked at me, smiled and offered me one of the ear buds of his earphone and turned the phone’s screen towards me so that I can also watch the movie. I was surprised. But I had nothing to do. So, I accepted his offer and put the earbud in my ear. The man politely explained me the story of the movie which I missed till that point of time and then we started watching the movie. I felt really good as if my tiredness was gone.

In between, we talked about various things, though I was not much interested in trivial talks. Also, I was a little bit skeptical about him. How can someone be so friendly with a stranger in the present day world? But he was an exception. I double checked my wallet and phone, everything was at its place.

I started enjoying the movie with him and did not even realize that I was just 4 stations away from my destination. At that station that man deboarded the train. Before leaving, he said a very nice good bye and greeted me with a smile which I reciprocated. We never asked each other’s name and we may never recall each other’s faces even if we meet in future. It made me sure that the man did all this without any expectation of gaining something from me. He was just sharing his happiness with me. And someone has rightly said, happiness is multiplied when shared with others.

It made my day. I was no more skeptical about the world. There are still so many affectionate people who smile at strangers without any bad intention. From that day onwards, everything around me looked even more beautiful. more positive. I realized that world is full of optimism if we are willing to look at it. And once we start looking at it, life becomes more beautiful.

The memories of that heartwarming journey will always be there in my heart and I will contribute towards making this world a happier, more beautiful and optimistic place.

You can visit Housing.com/lookup to see how Housing envisions a world filled with positivity.

How to start preparing for CAT (IIM)

How to start preparing for CATHow to start preparing for CAT? As mentioned by many, CAT (Common Admission Test) is one of the toughest exam to crack. It is the gateway to getting into prestigious IIMs and other top B-schools of India. A lot of CAT aspirants ask me how to prepare for CAT. Here I am sharing a few tips which I feel helped me in cracking this exam.

Understand the syllabus

This is a useful tip for almost any exam. Understand the syllabus by going through past year’s papers and official guidelines. CAT can be segmented into four broad parts-

  • Quantitative Ability
  • Data Interpretation
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Verbal Ability

The concepts used in this examination are broadly of class 10 level. However, the questions are little bit tricky to solve and require good amount of logical thinking. But it can be developed by practice.

Begin with the end in mind

Start your preparation with sheer determination. Whenever you feel demotivated, you can dream about the day when you will crack the exam and it will definitely motivate you. March-April is a good time to start preparation for the exam which will be held in October-November.

Should you join coaching?

This is based on a lot of things. If you have a lot of time, you can go for coaching. However, if you are into a hectic job and get very little time to study, you can prepare on your own without wasting that time in going to coaching. Coaching will only give you guidance. Rest depends on how sincerely you practice.

Also, the syllabus of this exam does not require any special training. Most of the things we already study in our school. There are few concepts which can be revised from books and other material. Rest is a lot of practice.

Books and material

First of all, get CAT preparation material of some good coaching institute.

For Quant, there are two good books- Arun Sharma & Sarvesh Varma. You can refer to any of these. I referred the latter one as suggested by one of my friends. However, I think the former is more popular with the students. Both the books are good. But don’t buy both. No need to unnecessary collect a lot of books & material. If you have limited time, solving one book is enough. Go for the second book only when you have finished the entire syllabus.

No special book for concepts of Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning and Verbal Ability. You can rely on the coaching material for all the concepts and can solve all the practice questions. However, you can refer to some books on these topics only after you finish the entire syllabus.

For verbal, you also need to read “Word Power made Easy” by Norman Lewis. It is a very good book which helps in increasing vocabulary not by memorising stuff, but by understanding the ideas behind the words. It is distributed into 45-47 sessions meant to be read one at a time. It is a must-read book and should be completed within two months of starting your preparation.

You also need to read a few good story books as explained in the next point.

That’s it. Yes, you do not need any other book for concepts. This much is enough.

Note- For detailed list of important books, please refer my post “List of Important Books for CAT Preparation“.

Reading, reading & reading

Many students, specially engineers are already good at quant but perform badly in verbal. Earlier, CAT was heavily based on vocab and grammar concepts. But these days, it is more of a general English exam which tests one’s command over English in common usage. You should be very much familiar with English.

The only way to improve your verbal score is to read a lot of good books written in standard English. These can be fiction, non-fiction or anything, just written in good English. I have already written a blog post regarding this. You can read it here: How to develop the habit of reading. I have also mentioned the example books there. Reading 4-6 books during your preparation would increase your familiarity with English and you can easily score good.

Test Series

This is like the Holy Grail of CAT preparation. Subscribe to one good Test Series and write all the tests very sincerely in simulated environment. Fix a day, say Sunday, fix a time, say 9 AM, and give the test every week at the same time. Sit in proper position while attempting the test and tell all your roommates or family members not to disturb you at that time.

Once you write 15-20 such tests, CAT will no longer be a stranger to you. When you will sit for actual CAT, you will feel as if you have done this a lot of times and it will help you to remain confident during the exam.

Most coaching institutes try to set the Mock Question paper to be as near to the real exam as possible. Subscribe to a test series which is more difficult than actual CAT. You may find it difficult to score good in the mock tests. But it will boost your confidence when you will find the actual CAT to be easier than the mock tests. Many good test series are available.

News coverage for post-CAT preparation

Once you clear CAT, you need to qualify the Personality Test rounds of various colleges which include Group Discussions, Written Tests and Personal Interviews. Qualifying CAT makes you eligible to attend this stage and its your performance in these rounds which finally help you getting selected. Preparing for this stage immediately after CAT result can be difficult. Try to follow the basic news in your daily life from today itself. This will ease down the load of preparation for Personality Test rounds and boost up your confidence as well.


And that is all. I followed these things and I feel it helped me to get through this exam (Scored 99.41 percentile in CAT). I hope these tips will help you in preparing well for CAT. All the best for getting into an IIM!

You can also refer to my detailed interview published in a MBA preparation magazine (Careers360) here: http://www.bschool.careers360.com/cat-topper-interview-iim-student-abhineet-mittal-shares-cat-preparation-tips

Note: I have not suggested any particular coaching center for coaching, material or test series because I do not know names of a lot of coaching centers. I know only two which are TIME and Career Launcher. I subscribed to TIME Test Series and referred to CAT preparation material from TIME. But I have heard that Career Launcher is equally good and you can refer to that as well. It all depends on your convenience and availability in your area.