26 February, 2021

A Few Soft Skills

With my cut-off marks, the choice was limited but my caste helped me get admission in a Chennai college. I faced no discrimination.

A Few Soft Skills

For someone like me who didn’t plan a professional career, the last 10 years have been nothing but exciting. In school, I never thought I’d get into an engineering college. Given my family’s financial situation, I thought I would end up at the local Chennai college pursuing a BSc, maybe later an MSc. Perhaps, if I was lucky, a government job would beckon thereafter. That defined a good "career" in the family circle. But by the end of Class XII, the engineering bug bit my father. And after a relative told him that engineering was beyond the reach of lower middle-class Dalits, he had a point to prove, and I decided to help him.

I joined a coaching class for the Tamil Nadu Professional Courses Entrance Exam (TNPCEE). That’s when I encountered words like dote 1 (Department of Technical Education’s nomenclature for free seats), DOTE 2, DOTE 3 (payment seats), cut-offs, quotas and management seats. The results came in. I scored a disappointing 203 out of 300. My anxious father...

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