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Purnachandra Rao @Chandoo


All I wanted to Speak about CAT

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my 1st mockcat gave me 84%ile

i was happy bcause this was without preparation
next 10 tests there were fluctuations
high 80s n mid 90s
All this time i was aspiring for IIM A
but i knew with my %ile dream was just a dream not a reality
the harder i tried the worse it got(the frustration)
in all these tests i workd for strategy what to do
time allotment n similar stuffs

all these time i thought if i get SIBM i would be the happiest man on earth
on the second i always thought its only IIM
that too IIM A


with arnd 1 month to go
my simcat results showed no signs of getting near IIM cuttoffs

i managed 95-98 in the last 5 tests

i thought i could clear atleast 2 out of 3 sectional cutoffs
the ones which i attempted 1st

this was the case in my last 5-6 simcats

then came the shocker

our 7ths semester exams were scheduled as

10th , 11 , 12 , 14 , 18 , 22 november
cat 16th november

dis was another challange to face

actually my collge life was not too inspiring
lots of demoralising events , people ready to pounce on ur slightest mistake
sarcasm high on sky
even there was a general feeling
from our college no one could get an iim call


as expected i didnt clear the big one IITjEE

dropped a year

prepared a bit harder this time
yet not fully commited

result : again the same , slightly different i was eligible for AIEEE central counselling with an AIR 25000 roughly
with no hopes of top NITs

i got MGR engg college , chennai

thea fees was so high dat i derived proportional relation with fee n facilities.
but to my surprise i found the case was not to be this.

i would not malign my college as i have spend 4 yrs there
but certainly an advice to everyone
please verify extremely well before taking any big leap.

the 4 wonderful years
this was the place i found ppl from all backgrounds , states n cultures
the situation was that teacher did not know the formula of tan A
and a student didn't know how to convert centimetre into milli metre
this was my 1st experience of engineering collge.

anyways to shorten we were hit hard by a couple of floods
massive strike in the 1st yr.
2nd yr a handful out of thousand frm our senior batch (2007) got placements.

that was smthing to cheer for . even we cud get placed in an infy or tcs like our seniors.
the sprirt was high
2nd yr passed.

coaching for cat

joined IMS with full enthusiasm
as my 10th was rock solid , english was good enough because of my 10th school

strated preparing
managed to solve da package questions very easily.

then in the middle of 3rd yr got placed in a software firm
felt confident that i m not useless

but became lenient towards CAT

at the end of 3rd yr (200 received the jolt
our seniors were deferred joining
so started CAT prep again
was very tensed and nervous
college load + just 4 months to do everything

i was pretty scared , toughest exam on earth and 4 months thats it

wen i flunked IITJEE aft 3 yrs of prep
could i do it?
yes as my 10th was strong
no i hav never proved myself in the past


Well i got a chance to post in this sacred thread. I don't know whether my story may inspire others and bring a hero out of them .
but still hopefully my try is a worth.
to begin with
i belong to the small town of deoghar(jharkhand) it can called be as half urban town .
all this is necessary to say because many start chasing there dreams from a raw age of 10-12 yrs.
well during my school days i was good enough , sincere towards my studies
i studied in the best school of the city (st. francis)
the reputation was such that we were taught the difference between " take CAT n give CAT" which many 100 %ile holders of CAT don't know(no offence intended)

studying in such a school (although not too famous) was something to take pride of
i could not carry my form of pre boards and got 87.3 % in 10th (i should have done better as per my school records)
my parents were not happy enough but consoled there is always a next time.
however my 10th level knowlede was pretty strong.
This was the time when i had to decide between IIT or medical.
I chose IIT preparation and hence had to take quality coaching in that.
Meanwhile one of my cousins who was planning to take CAT that year asked me to solve some questions wich i did easily
so the CAT bug had bit me by the time i did not even pass 10th.

After 10th i moved to DPS , RANCHI
chasing my dreams of an urban life , girlfriends , IIT and of course IIM

being from a small town and extremely introvert in nature i struggled for the 2 yrs .
i failed during my 1st terms in DPS.
how could i show my face to my family members who considered me as a bright student.
they thought that there " SIDHA SADHA BETA" had become a spoilt brat.

back in ranchi the school environment was not the best to study
most of the locals were sons n daughters of rich class , so there life style was pretty different and surprising to me
i was happy riding a new ranger cycle in my 1st day @ DPS ranchi
only to discover that 10th n 9th class kids drove there own cars n bikes :o

i could hardly find a friend there. struggled to catch up with the sudden pressure of 10+ 2 n IIT.
visited my native every 20-25 days(8 hrs frm ranchi)
life was hell for me
somehow after pushing a bit i passed my final term and moved to 12th.
here i was not as pathetic as 11th
finally after my preboards took board with ease n secure a not so bad 77.2 considering the situation i had lived in the past 2 yrs


All I wanted to speak about CAT
I had hardly heard about CAT till I reached my 2nd yr of Engg(2004). Then I heard about it from few seniors and few batch mates. Tried to get some info about it.

June 2004 :
I feel like I can try it. After all, I have cracked IIT-JEE couple of yrs back, so Quant and DI shouldn't be a problem at all (heard that it's 10th class level ).
I just have to work on my VA and things are going to be alright.
Some of my batch mates have joined a coaching. I don't need to worry, still a long long way to go for CAT 05. No point in studying for CAT 1.5 yrs.
I'll get bored by the time CAT 05 comes. So, Just Chill !!
Also, the most important semester of the B.Tech (5th sem) is coming up. Probably, I should concentrate on that.

December 2004:
The dreaded, toughest 5th Semester's gone. I spent it playing Computer Games and Cricket. I am afraid of getting worst grades till now.
Forget it. Doesn't matter. Anyway I am going for an MBA ;-)
I should join a CAT coaching now.

January 2005:
As expected, got the worst grades of B.Tech till date.
Coaching is going on smoothly except for VA. I do not understand why my answers hardly match with the answer keys for any damn VA exercise.
Nor do I understand the reasoning behind the answers as explained by the teacher. Let's wait and watch what's being taught at the coaching.

April 2005 :
It's end semester time. So coachings have called off all the classes. From July, no classes, only Mock Tests for CAT 05 !!
I am in an awkward position. I am still not comfortable with VA. Haven't got any summer internship ! Need to work hard for End semester exam !!
I still think, there is lot of time on my hand. I can still work hard and bell the CAT.
May 2005 :
End sems gone. Did decently this time . Also got the internship ( somehow ). But boss, placements start in July.
After the hardwork in office ( I had to work hard during the 6 weeks of the internship ), what should I do ? Prepare for placements or for CAT.
CAT is still far away, if I get a decent job then
I can study for CAT without any pressure .
Better work on aptitude, C and C++, some digital electronics and Micro Proc's.

July 2005:
Yes! I have cracked big time. Got a job with a reputed company. But probably the package is not enough .
I should try for a few more days and see if I can bag another offer which is bigger and better.
Mock CATs started. But how would I do well if I am not concentrating on CAT.

August 2005:

Wow ! Now I am happy. I got a bigger, better offer This is a big success. Let me celebrate.
September 2005:
Oh my god ! I am left with only a couple of months. I am still unable to clear VA cut-offs, but absolutely no issues with QA and DI.
I am looking for help from everyone... seniors, coaching faculty.
November 2005 :
Finally, CAT is staring at me. I am still not confident of VA.
I'll give my best.

January 2006:
QA :98.xx
DI: 98.xx
( Attempted too many questions, poor accuracy took its toll )
OA : Don't remember
Verdict : No IIM Calls. No other calls either ( Why ?? Not applied anywhere else. IIM hi jaana hai yaar. Kisi aur college jaane se acha to naukri hi kar leta hoon !! - that's what I felt)
Did not take CAT 06. Was disappointed with the result and thought of working on VA in the long term. Some one told that VA can't be improved is short term.
Being low on confidence, I accepted.
August 2007:
I have been too busy with my office work. No time to study for CAT.
No problems, I just need to brush up the basics. Hopefully my VA would have improved :-P
I haven't even joined any test series. What's the point in joining the test series without preparing?

October 2007:
Man, I got the onsite opportunity. I have been waiting for this for more than a year now. I am planning to carry the CAT study material with me. I'll study there.
Any way it's a short assignment, I'll come back before CAT.
November 2007:
I am back for CAT but the workload was too much there. Couldn't study at all.
Ab to bhagwaan bharose hai sab !

January 2008:

I am not in India.
CAT results declared.
I have barely managed to score positive number of marks in Verbal ( some positive fraction). Other sections do not matter.
I am ashamed of myself. My room mates who were taking CAT for the first time, have done much much better than me.


April 2008:
I am back from the onsite stint. Got a promotion and a nice salary hike. Enjoyed a lot.
Earned good money. Bought a nice digital camera. But still, something hurts really badly; the CAT 07 debacle.
I have decided. This will be the year of a great comeback or retirement.

May 2008:
Incidentally, I came to know, one of my school-mates has joined a class room course for CAT.I think I should also join. At least I'll be studying regularly. Joined.

June 2008:
Started with basic exercises in QA,DI.
Now I am familiar with some of the students in coaching.

July 2008 :
I am learning a lot through discussions with fellow students in the coaching as well as the teachers.Mainly outside the class :-)
We discuss the problems from exercises and Mocks.We also discuss the strategies.

August 2008:
I have been pretty consistent with QA and DI (Never went below 90%ile in the mocks). But hardly cleared VA cut off twice. Need to buck up.
But yes... over the period of last 3 months I have improved on vocab and I am not missing the cutoffs by too big margins :-)

September 2008:
Fellow coaching mates are doing pretty well. Especially one Bong and the other guy from Kanpur. These guys really inspire me and put pressure on me to work harder and think smarter. I have improved my accuracy in QA and DI. Now I am always above 95%ile. VA cut-offs still doubtful.

October 2008:
Few weeks to go.
Although VA is still doubtful, I have managed to clear the cut-offs most of the times. And I am sure if it's my day, I'll ROCK. That's what I told Mr. Saha.

The biggest weakness in VA has been identified. I am going to stay away from the grammar section. I need to revise and practise as much as possible. I should get the mocks from some other coaching as well.

Net practice is not enough. I need good match practice. I have to hit the purple patch now !

November 2008 :
The D-day. I am pretty relaxed. The couple of days leave from office last week, has helped me stay focussed. Got "Best of Luck" calls from number of friends. On the CAT centre, I met Ravish bhaiya. It was highly positive discussion with him. Can't imagine how much a couple of jokes can help to forget all the tensions.Best part being, his offer to take a piece of a huge CRACKLE chocolate, just before the paper and I accepted it happily(waise bhi Chocolate ko koi manaa karta hai kya :-D).

The paper was a surprise as usual. Higher fraction of VA questions. Looks like I am in trouble!! Let me start with strongest section. QA is going pretty well.Although wasted some time in a couple of tough ones, but am satisfied with 10-12 attempts in 50 minutes. VA section looks big, but I just have to clear the cut-off. Looks like I have a lot of choice this time around. Big variety of questions, I can easily leave those from my weaker areas and still manage to attempt a decent number of questions. I have spent around 55 minutes to attempt around 20 Qs.Might be on the lesser side but have the least time left for DI which is unexplored. (HUGE RISK actually, but was very conscious of clearing the VA cut-off). Well, finally I have managed to attempt 11 in DI. Don't know about the accuracy though. Isn't really a very happy feeling coming out of the exam hall. Probably could have managed the time better. Now, I feel not only VA but also DI is doubtful.

After coming out, figured out that most of my friends have attempted more than 30 Qs in VA. What the heck !! I gave almost 1 hr to VA and attempted only 19 Qs !!

Within 2-3 days all the solutions were out. QA is clear pakka. DI: should be clear. VA: Scores fluctuating over a range of 15 marks(35-50).

January 2008 :
Eagerly waiting for the results. Came to know about the results one day before (Courtesy : Vinay Poojary, my friend).
99.43 %ile OA. With least being DI 92.74 %ile (was a close shave: one more wrong Qs could have caused a whole lot of trouble).
And the biggest surprise, a whopping 66 (98.xx %ile) in VA.

Anyways, got calls from L and K. Converted both. Going to L.

Something that I learnt :
1) Being systematic helps
2) Identifying weaknesses as early as possible helps.
3) Being in the proximity of strong competitors helps ( if taken positively).

People I want to thank :
My family,
All the friends including:
Amol Agrawal( For discussing every Mock in detail on phone even if it meant a big hole in the pocket and giving moral support),
Vinay Poojary( Encouraging and helping me throughout, mostly over Gtalk )
Ankur Rakshit, Himanshu Nigam, Shankar, Koushik Pal ( The coaching was lot more enjoyable because of you guys + all the help and awesome discussions over cutting chaay)
Sukrut Kharia ( Answers to all the questions and doubts + encouragement, especially "Amod bhai, China -wina ghoomna band karo. Is saal to kuch acha kar dikhao", after the CAT 07 debacle ).
Gautam Saha ( Always encouraging and checking status of my preparation just by asking a simple question "Kaisi chal rahi hai padhayi?", huge number number of times :-D )
Nishant Shekhar ( Mocks share karne ke liye)
Finally, all the teachers of my coaching. Especially Prem Sir (More of a friend and a mentor than just a teacher) and Chandraveer Sir.


My Advice To cat Aspirants---

Whether you are ordinary or extra-ordinary it does not matter.
Ultimately the motivation to succeed should drive you.
And do not stick to conventional methods.
Find your own way of approaching the exam.
do not get pessimistic by thinking there are lakhs of candidates or low mock
scores .
Realize your strengths and weaknesses. It will keep your nerves in fray.
Introspection is very necessary for GD and PI.
It may help us a long way in life.
Speak to as many people as possible and get their perspective to issues.
This helps during GD-PI.
Enjoy the challenge thrown to you.
Things will automatically fall in place


@ Avi@tel
Great story boss!It went for pages. Hope that ur date is a success.
Waise mera bhi kuch kuch aisa hi kahani hai(but the girl is not an MBA!)! But this is not the right place to tell those stories.
Add to it I am also from Kolkata(now @ Gurgaon)

@ Other puys
Please don't groan much. I seriously could not resist from replying.


I had taken 3 days of leave from work to concentrate on my preparation.
Had a sound sleep on the last night and I was ready to face the reality.

As usual because of more number of questions in english I gave more time to it.
Scored 3 RC and a bit of grammar.
Performed quant smoothly
Messed up in DI with one set.Spent 20 mins in that but could not crack it.
Took my chance in that set .there were 2 questions for which I could eliminate 2 options.
I took my chance..I marked randomly which I felt was the right answer.
both were correct.THAT WAS PURE LUCK

Results came out .
Percentile was usual in 96 to 97 range 96.89
My god if those 2 probs were wrong then my cat story would have ended then & there.

Except for IMT ghazibad I did not get call from any institute
Filled forms for BIM ,SIMSr,GLIM
Also Xat was disastrous .got a call fro SIIB and SCHMRD from snap,
I started preparing hard.Gave TIME mock interviews and gds,Read lots of books and magazines and went through pagalguy extensively.Captured as much as possible from gyan and live experiences of interviews
But anyways I am always positive in life and felt something was better there for me.
mother of all surprises
And then ..Got a call from SPJAIN .
Could not believe at first.I realized I had a
to beat her in life and to prove that I am worth for it.

Now I was fully into it .Spent 16 to 17 hrs a day going through pg and different experiences.
Introspected myself length and breadth to fill the SOPs.
I wanted it badly,something more than anything else

Initially I appeared for all other interviews.Got dings from SIIB,SCHMRD,GLIM
but my focus was SPJAIN and I believed in success.
IMT came as first success
and rest all is only success.
I got through it.
I told her and she was happy and was looking forward to coming in mumbai
I have proved that a very ordinary student like me can do it.
And now in a few months I will be going to Mumbai and will ask her for a date.

I do not know the aftermaths but I hope that it is POSITIVE

Let me tell you puys I never have looked back(analyzed) any mock other than the 3rd last and 2nd last mock.
Once the mocks started I realised certain topics be it in Quant ,DI or English were not in my comfort zone.
For eg.In quant -- Coordinate geometry,Probability,Modern maths
Di --- Calculation centric DI
English---Grammar part

I started avoiding these topics altogether .
But equally I started working on other topics harder.
It may look silly,but I was happy and was able to get more motivated.

Intially I was getting 80 percentiles in mock with no cut-offs cleared.
I started to work smarter. After coming back from office I would take
one practise exercise from time .Select the exercise which was in my comfort zone and would take a 20 min exercise on that.After that another 10 min break and 20 min exercise. This way it was easy and I could maintain the level of concentration.

More mocks passed and after 10 mocks I have not scored over 95% .
with very very poor accuracy in all sections.

In the meantime work pressure was getting higher and higher and I
was given more and more responsibility.My boss also came to know
about my work and started discouraging me and told that I am not fit for management.
It only motivated me further.
At all the time at the back of my mind was the girl from NITIE who
has got a job in P&G; and earning a cool 13 lakhs yearly.
I had to beat her and show her my capability.

My room-mates who are and will be very close to me always lead an
easygoing life and I had to devote time to them with one drink-party
in week .They teased me with the girl and the isolated life I have to lead after my mba .But no I was not to be broken down


at this point of time I realized that I was never going to score an envying
percentile in cat.I simply do not have that intelligence or whatever it is.
But I have to come near to that so that I can get call form other good
institutes .I may not be able to beat her but still I would make a good career.

In the 12th mock I scored 96% with 2 cutoffs cleared.
I was happy and practiced the exercises harder.Chatted with my TIME friends a lot more and with the teachers also.
I never missed any time mock.
Even from Calcutta I gave time mock during puja.

My last 3 mocks

Though I was not getting over 97 but I was always getting over 90 percntile.
But the third last mock shattered it.I got 52 % in it.
I thought it was a bad day and I need look what wrong I have done.
for the first time I started analyzing the paper.
I realized that my attempts were low though my accuracy was quite high
and the reason was I was spending too much time to find questions which were in my comfort zone.

I though I will be less choosier next time.I gave the 2nd last attempted many and scored a pathetic 61 percentile.
I was shocked .how could this happen but it happened and after analysis
I told myself that I will practice my old philosophy

Gave the last mock.Surprise 98.9 percentile with all cutoffs cleared.
Performance was at peak and I was happy

To be continued.....

Started preparation early.Enrolled for Time .
Started reading English books and newspaper .
I started with sidney sheldon and arthur conan doyle.
Was pretty easy and I realized I was enjoying reading also.

Job was pretty challenging .Japanese clients are pretty tough .
Had to sometimes slog for more than 20 hours a day.

From cat point of view I did not go through quants and di at all.
My only preparation at home was english. Very soon I start reading ayan rand ,robert ludlum,avitava ghosh and also biographies.
Was enjoying every bit of it.

2007 April.........Bangalore

My friend from NITIE came to Bangalore for summer training at intel.
she was so proud of herself and her career.She told me to go for it
seriously as she felt I was capable of far better

2007 June.....Bangalore

Gave the first mock of time
scored 94.2 percentile and getting a pathetic 50 % in quant .
I remember it.I realized I had look at holistic picture.

My job was eating me though.every week there were deliveries
and normally I would return around 2 to 3 o clock from office.
My hard work paid..........Surprise surprise

2007....... July 28 Bangalore
It was around 1.30 p.m.We were in a weekly status meeting .
Our team size was 60.
Suddenly the manager called me to meet him personally
client has selected 2 people to work in japan and I was one of the chosen.
I was elated at first.It was a great opportunity.
But then I thought about cat and I became a bit skeptical.
But then I could not throw away that opportunity
I accepted it and abandoned my hope of cat.
Went to japan on august .
Came back on february.

2008 .......April Bangalore

After enjoying for 2 months at bangalore once again my thought went back to cat.I realized this was my last chance to go for it.Also I had already
started missing college days.

Once again enrolled for full course at TIME.Got some reduction.
Attended every classes at weekend and tried to prepare ate least for
1 hour a day.

Met two good friends.
Amod who got at IIML ,Nigam who converted MDI and probably has now conveted FMS

And two good teacher...Our mod Prem.ravi and chandradeep
they were good and outspoken at times but the discussion we used to have was good.

My main objective in the initial days of preparation was only brushing up the
I did not go through any practise papers of time.
I did the same problems again and again if possible in different ways
It helped me to grasp the fundamentals of all the subjects.

I also tried to go through hindu editorials and economic times

To be continued...
Unable to sustain the constant onsite assignment threats, I shifted to 'Company B' and this time kept a low profile in my company, finishing off the work quickly and preparing. Motivation from parents, roommates and seniors kept me sane whenever the chips were down. I also became a regular at PG esp. in DI and QQAD threads. This time I had a clearer picture of my strengths and weaknesses and the need to strategize my approach to tests. I was also a regular reader of the UDT'07 thread and had somehow formed a strong conviction that if I join UDT this year I will be able to crack CAT. Again the same sequence of mocks started. This time also the performance varied but the fluctuation was very less compared to last year's scores. Most importantly I spent a good time solving and analyzing each mock. The new job also helped quite a lot as the workload was pretty manageable. The first major breakthrough was making it to THE UDT. This gave me a belief that I can also perform well given my day. Interacting with my fellow UDTians, their constant guidance made the desire to succeed all the more strong. Each and every one of them is an inspiration. But then in my last few mocks, the performance suddenly went downhill steeply. Despite my best efforts I screwed one section or the other. But amidst all this chaos, somewhere deep inside, I knew that I have it in me to crack it.
In the hindsight, pathetic performance in the last 2 mocks had a strange detaching effect on me. I went into the exam hall but this time I was not nervous; I was not worried about the result and the future. The moment I saw the paper where one section had 40 questions (I guessed it was VA - my loyal friend), my confidence levels soared. I started with QA and attempted 12. I knew the accuracy was good and attempts sufficient. Then came DI - my bugbear - solved the easier caselets in a jiffy but lost my concentration mid-way. Read a question wrongly and made a mistake in another one. But still nothing was lost. I was on time for VA. Started with RCs and finding them easy solved all. Moved to the verbal part aiming for full monty but ran out of time and missed the FIB sitters. People say that you know if you have cracked it or not immediately after the test. But frankly speaking, I had no idea how I had fared vis--vis others. I just knew that I had performed close to my best. Only in the evening when keys came out and scores started trickling in that I knew I had a decent chance of securing multiple calls.
The toughest part was to leave the baggage behind and give other exams seriously. I fared reasonably well in others except XAT (somehow I haven't got the hang of it.). This time I had promised myself that I will garner as many calls as possible so that no call becomes a matter of life and death for me. I started the GD/PI preps early this time by joining coaching classes and honing my speaking skills and widening the knowledge base. Decent mock GDs and PIs raised my confidence. On 9th Jan, my friend called me in the morning and told that I had scored 99.78% with calls from IIMs I, K and L. But this time my hands didn't shake with pleasure, I was not overwhelmed with joy. Instead I had a calm sense of purpose. I chalked out different areas of preparation like GK, acads, hobbies etc. and started to work on them. These two months were remarkable in terms of the value-addition I did to myself as a person.
One thing about confidence is that it comes from knowledge. I brushed up everything I could cover and made sure that I can answer whatever questions are thrown at me from these areas, strengthening my self-belief to face the interviews. Another valuable learning was that GD performance matters a lot if the panel is same for PI. I tried to make sure that I sealed the deal in the GDs. My personal experience says that if you do well in GD the PI will be relatively cool. The night before results was one of the longest. I was jittery despite having a feeling that I did well in the interviews. I could not sit still, tried to watch movies, listen songs but to no avail. Finally slept in front of my laptop and when woke up in the morning saw in PG that L results are out. With trembling hands I entered the roll no. and DOB. When the screen flashed "Congratulations" in the pink background I went momentarily numb, then all the pains, efforts, sacrifices for the last 2 years came rushing in. This time I allowed myself to be overwhelmed by them. It felt good. The proud voice of my parents on the phone that morning has got to be one of the best moments of my life.
As I prepare to join the hallowed portals, I would just like to give my 0.02$ of advice. I feel that the key to crack CAT is by taking it one question at a time without being awed by it. You don't need to co-relate your future with your performance in CAT and you don't need to make it a matter of life and death. (I know I'm being clichd but it is the truth.) Don't get bogged down by failures because eventually something good will come out of it. And MBA is just a means to an end, not an end in itself. In the end of this marathon post, I would like to reiterate that if an average person like me can crack it then anyone of you can.
My girlfriend asked me to be more affectionate....now I have two.

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