Rizwan Farooqui, CCIE #26741


Hi Everyone I took Lab in Dubai but before flying there I missed my flight due to delays of London public transport. I was just 13 mins late from the cut off time for check-in (10:00PM night for Dubai) although I was travelling very light but they didn't take my boarding. After having lots heated arguments and telling Air-line that I have exam the next following day in Dubai after arrival but they never listen and never try to help me for next available flight. The flight they were offering, it was plan to land during lab times. After so much arguments and totally un-cooperative customer service, they gave me ticket vouchers instead of refund. After finding out from Airport staff, only next flight departing was Emirates at 8:00 AM (18-Aug) for Dubai and I had run to book it before seats get filled OR dump the dream of attempting CCIE Lab on 19-Aug and go home plus get punishment from Cisco. It was like everything was going against me and all the odd started to come against me. I wasn't mentally prepared for all those odds and un-predicted possibilities. I didn't have cash to buy another ticket on spot. I quickly went to Emirates desk and there were few people in queue for next 8:00AM flight. My heart was pumping fast and thinking if she says that flight doesnt have any seat then I will completely be screwed for Lab exam. I was so worried because all other flights were going in evening or night and arriving during lab time. I really wanted to be there at least late night before Lab time 7.30AM on 19-Aug. After few wait my turn came and she said we are now closing and you can come tomorrow morning at 5:30AM for ticket status. I explained whole story what happened with me in last few hour and told that I have very important exam. She looked into system and said yes there is seat but I can't take payment and I had come early in the morning. She gave us (me & my bro) booking reference for morning flight. Me and My bro decided to spend whole night at AirPort fully awake because we wanted to be at Emirates desk before they open it at 5:30AM. We spent whole night with total worry. I found spot where I could read my notes, DOC and Flash Card. So whole memorable night was spent doing flashcards and reading at Heathrow AirPort. My parents and wife must be thinking that we are in flight and will land Dubai according to last Booking Confirmation, which we gave them. Although we had last phone from Dad asking about departure and we said "Yes, Dad everything is alright...Don't worry!" while we were about to spent night at airport after missing flight. But we were determinate to get there and I really wanted to do exam at whatever cost because I been preparing for it since I failed last time. Time was getting closer to 5:30AM and Emirates staff was about arrive at their ticketing desk. We were awake since last 24 hrs by now and looking forward to Tickets for Dubai. After washing face and shave at Airport we went to Customer Service Desk and presented our booking reference. They retrieved our booking from Last night and asked for payment of two tickets, which we paid and got tickets. We went quickly for Check-In and afterward quick super sharp hot coffee to keep us awake as my head was feeling like super heavy due to lack of sleep. After time went by and we boarded on plane and time in plane was also spent reading docs and flashcard for final revisions because I knew whatever I am study or review will help me to refresh my memory. At last after 7-8 hrs flight we arrived in Dubai and took taxi to get to our hotel. By the time we got into hotel it was 11:30PM local time. I took shower and ordered food to eat. We were so tired and our eyes were looking like Panada eyes and faces were looking long after too much coffee and sleepless nights. By the time we went to sleep it was 1:00AM and 7:30AM (19-Aug) I have to be Cisco for my Lab exam. It was nearly 48hrs; we didnt have sleep at all and I was worried about missing Lab in morning due to sleep. We putted 4 alarms to wake us up with the difference of 5 mins on different places in room. So whoever wakes up must move out from bed and shut the alarm up. Initially I was unable to sleep for 30mins and was totally terrified by past events. My mind wasnt switching off even after not having sleep nearly for 48 hrs. I prayed to god and said you brought my here after so many ups and down, please help for morning exam and I came here to pass the exam after all these troubles. God knows when I went to sleep!!!! After 6:45AM alarms started going off but none of us wanted to come out from bed because sleep was so sweet and I was totally sleeping like little baby completely fearless. Slowly I heard in my ears voice of my bro Wake Up you got Lab ..Wake Up you got Lab at 7:30.Dont you want to Pass CCIE His words really dropped on my ears like lighting!!!!! I quickly rushed into bathroom took quick bath and got ready for Lab. Of course, super fast breakfast. By the time I got to Lab site, I was nearly 10-12mins late. Proctor Zia collected from Front door and told me he will NOT give those lost mins. Fair enough! After exam briefing I went quickly to my desk and did OEQ. I had two very simple questions and two were tricky, they were with some error snapshots and syslog msgs. I was bit worried to answer them wrong but I used best of my knowledge to counter them. After finishing OEQ, I moved quickly to Lab part and made quick small diagram and progress tracking sheet for later use. It was my 2nd attempt and I failed 1st one due to some issues. Well, in 2nd one I refined my strategy and time management. By lunch time I only had 5 tasks remaining to finish Lab 100%. Around lunch time I was feeling so sleeping because I had only 4-5 hrs sleep since last 48 hrs and my brain was getting so slow. I decided to leave all Troubleshooting after lunch which was the best move I made in exam. On the other hand I was also losing concentration and sleepy feelings were griping my body. I decided to take a trip to wash room and splashed my face with cold water couple of times and looked into mirror and spoke to myself that I must not let slip this lab from my hands. I have to do it for my family, parents, friends and myself after remaining out of job. So I must do it and I dont want to fail again !!! After 30mins, Proctor called for lunch and he was great during lunch. He asked everyone about their Lab and I told briefly about my story. He said I must be feeling roasted in Lab after all those past events, I told him that I very determinate and told about my approach for lab tasks. After lunch break and conversation with other CCIE candidates I was feeling much better and fresh. Anyway, I resolved all last five tasks 30mins before close of day. So spent last 30mins in verification again and ensured everything is working as I was continuously monitoring my progress by task tracking sheet and counted all points. I left lab with very positive feelings but I was little worried about those two OEQ questions. I was continuously praying to god for his help during whole day and pushing myself to collect all points. I didnt miss any task in Lab and used Doc-CD only twice and I have also couple of time went to Proctor to ensure that my correct understand of question and their possible solution. Before leaving exam, I thanked proctor for conducting lab and answering my queries. Zia Hussain was very co-operative and understand proctor during lab. After leaving Ciscos site my bro and parents were waiting for my lab day. I told my lab experience but they were still un-aware what happened with us in past 24 hrs. I didnt want to tell until we get back to London. Now waiting time started for Lab results and until next day early morning there was no result for me. Again I check Cisco account for results in hotel lobby but no result. I was getting worried because It was getting too late for lab result and I started getting worried for those OEQ because I seen few people failing lab due to OEQ. After 30min I checked again and this time I had my result. It was PASS YES, after all those rollercoaster of drama, emotions, suspense and thrill ..Now I am CCIE Security with CCIE no. 26741 . I was so pleased with results and all my family members and friends. I dedicate my CCIE to my Dad and Mother, who always supported me from the day I started computing back in 1988. In term of preparation I used the following: 1) INE Vol1 and Some Vol 2 along with ATC 2) IPX great for filling the gaps 3) Yusufs books, Labs and his FlashCards (Yusuf I will never forget that night and your Flashcards, which I spent at Airport) 4) DOC-CD, I spent hours reading and finding exam topics in Doc-CD and during lab never experienced difficulties to find anything from Doc-CD links. 5) Time Management, Quick Decision, Passion, Determination, faith and most importantly prayers of everyone OH! Yes, After Lab result I went for Desert Safari and visited Dubais various locations for my hobby of photography. I will be posting some video and pictures of our Safari very soon!! I hope you will enjoy it. I would like to thank everyone for reading my small success story of CCIE Journey. I have tried my best to keep it small but sorry for taking your value able time. Of course this Lab was really nerves cracking from leaving home until getting the result. It was full of drama and thrill. Yes, I have never ever faced such drama in my life. One point my both credit cards were declined because large amount of ticket transactions. So I have only debit card left to try out which worked to clear my Emirates tickets. As you know most banks blocks large amounts transactions and I didn't have the cash for tickets. In term of strategy I done all config parts first and small task because I knew I will be very sleepy later in lab. So I wanted to maximize my points in first 4-5 hrs before lunch. As you know in above story I didn't sleep for more 48 hrs and more I was thinking I was getting sleepy. So after lunch time I wanted to do Troubleshooting and lucky I also took red bull for drink which got caffee-in enough to wake me up Once again thanks everyone for their support and good luck to those who going for this Journey. Its worth going through pain. On the other hand, I will be looking forward for Jobs. Kind Regards Rizwan Farooqui CCIE Security #26741

- Rizwan Farooqui, CCIE #26741 (CCIE Security)

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