Tuesday, April 19, 2005

So, What are your hobbies?

Q. What are your hobbies?
A. Well, lets see.. catching man-eating tigers, learning bird languages, but hey, I'm still working on it *DHISHUM*

Hobbies are no longer personal stuff. Now they are not the private affairs, practised in one's free time to soothen one's nerves. Almost every interview candidate is supposed to have some exotic hobbies to boast about. Hobbies are looked as a way to see through the candidate's persona & who doesn't want to potray a colorful picture? Since I've faced a lot of interviews in my short stay on the face of Earth, I'm also supposed to have some meaningful hobbies. First of all, I don't understand why hobbies should be meaningful of all things! My wordweb suggests that Hobby means an auxiliary activity, nothing more, nothing less. That means one has some primary activity & hobby is supposed to be auxiliary. So if my primary activity is eating & when I'm not eating I'm sleeping -- that certainly means sleeping is my hobby, no rocket science here! Simple, isn't it? But no, the puritans will just pounce upon me & shred me apart over this. Hobbies for them include painting, photography, horse-riding, travelling, etcetra etcetra. I just want to raise a rebellious flag!

During my childhood, various uncles-aunts had this question as their favorite ice-breaker. After extracting my name, the name of my school & my class, next cliched question was always about my hobbies! Cricket was my saving grace in those days. I could paint well in those days, but I never considered that a hobby. It was another homework; I used to do it because I feared our painting teacher, Dr. Ojha. Cricket was a plain lie tho'; I should've said batting because that's what I used to do most of the times. If I ain't batting, I ain't playing! The constables from my Dad's guard never objected to my tyranny, may God bless them. Infact, unfit uncles deemed it essential that every child have some sports as a hobby. Otherwise, the child was labelled abnormal!

My next ordeal waited for me in form of NSO. Freshers in IITB are supposed to select some game or activity (auxiliary of course) for their first year curriculum. I selected cricket (like many others) & tennis (I had tried my hands at tennis once or twice before). Despite my sterling performances, I wasn't selected for any of them and I was forced to opt for guitar classes among other good-for-nothings. It wasn't forced in proper sense, I had choice between violin & guitar. Just that guitar seemed more glamorous then. Had I not flunked the second semester, today I could've boasted of guitar as a hobby. Alas! That was not to be. Our snobby guitar teacher stole another potential hobby from my resume.

In my IIT days, my main auxiliary activity was going to classes; primary being sleeping. So, you must've got the hint; my resume was not adorned by some exciting hobbies. I didn't hold any administrative posts in hostel, didn't paint anything, didn't write anything, didn't click anything -- I spent my four years totally engrossed in my primary activity. Regrettably, I had no time to pursue any auxiliary activities! I never missed a proper hobby until I had to face job interviews. I still remember distinctly, in one of the interviews, one of our IIT seniors only, asked me,"Your acads aren't very good for a Computer Science bloke. What did you do in your four years at IIT?". He was expecting something on the lines of cultural, atheletic or administrative activities. I was caught off-guard and I think I said,"nothing" or something of the same effect. How brave is it to corner a docile graduate and grill him over such naive points? My hobbies wouldn't have made any difference on their coding job ("Ooh..this bug, While photographing in Bastar I did the same mistake!" or "Ohh.. In painting we use Java like this".. stupid, isn't it?).

But being a quick learner, that I am, I took no time to learn to do things like Romans do. Now my resume has some, rather safe hobbies. Most generic of them is reading. Even if you still enjoy Raj Comics or Diamond Comics or Amar Chitrakatha, you are most eligible to count reading as one of your hobbies. You might not be well read, excuse: I started late! Safest books are categorized as light reading. No interviewer can grill you further on this. How stupid will they look if they start to ask about stories of Jeff Archer, after all! Never commit to any other category if you ain't sure. Once I did the same mistake; after reading 2-3 Khushwant Singh books, I once told them that I read mainly Indian authors. I certainly lost the job, but I found some 10-15 names of Indian authors! The problem with reading is, it doesn't allow much scope to lie.

Next safe hobby would be travelling. You may haven't gone further than Bommanhalli but you can still tell them that you love to travel. Moreover, there is excellent scope to lie! In one interview, I told them I liked travelling. Trying to be a jackass, interviewer asked,"Where did you go last?". Being smarter jackass, I bluffed,"I was in Goa last weekend." That's the beauty of it. Another lie-able (excuse the neologism) hobby is writing. This one is bit tricky though. You should know what you write about. "I used to write for our campus newspaper, InsIghT. I used to write light articles for the masses. I once published a detailed analysis on various cinema halls of Mumbai, rating them for new students. I once wrote about chances of Indian cricket team in '03 World Cup." See! How easy is it to lie. Basically, you write only about things you know!

Finally, I want people to recognize few neglected hobbies(yes! I count them as hobbies. Sue me!) and give them their due credit for their marvelous contribution towards soothening one's nerves. Sleeping never let me down! And since all of us spend so much time sleeping and must say, majority of us love it, why not consider it a hobby? Why not eating? What about ogling? Atleast half of the population enjoys it thoroughly!

P.S.: Nowadays I'm trying to have one real glamorous hobby - photography. Check out my latest efforts at my photoblog.

1 comment:

chutki said...

My unsolicited opinion:Decent hobbies ARE essential 2 shape ur personality into a more complete one that stretches beyond just Java coding.Very nice,genuine,straight-from-the-gut kinda article though.Good work....n next time u ogle, I know I shud just shut up :)