Slick oiled hair, clean shaven, except for traces of a moustache that still casts doubts about the completion of puberty; I slowly put on my newly bought, ill fitting formal clothes. Hoping it would hide my usual laidback, not showered-just out of bed look, I made my way to college.
Crowded railway stations. How I hate traveling in the city. The train slows down and we get in. It’s relatively early so it’s less crowded. Still a stale smell looms in the air which is quickly taken over by another stench as we go past the creek.
The journey was uneventful but filled with anticipation and anxiety. The questions were many but I wouldn’t know the answers any time soon. Marine Lines station arrives. The cab pulls over outside St. Xavier’s. The stone building stares at me. Could the two years change me? I wondered.
The opening speech was uninspiring, ordinary maybe. Frankly, at the time I was more worried about the dress code rather than anything else. The tucked in shirt, neat hair, polished shoes, was already getting difficult to put up with. Just another week, the seniors informed me. Collared T’s, jeans and sneakers would be back and life would be good again.
Introductory games always make me queasy. Saying something about myself in a room filled with unknown faces makes me nervous. And that’s only to say the least. Approximately thirty people introduced themselves to me. An hour later, during the math lecture I could remember none.
At the beginning of every academic year, I make a promise to myself to give it my best and work hard. Sitting on the first bench, seemed like a decent start. On the third day I had graduated to the last. Just then the realization dawned. I was back in college again.
Some people we kick off instantly with. With others it takes some time. Over here, it would definitely take some time. Lol.
Read management articles and write reviews. The first assignment had begun. I could see everyone religiously and sincerely writing reviews slightly wary of the others. Over here, plagiarism could land you in serious trouble or so we’d been told. After a few days, if you didn’t copy, edit some one else’s work you simply weren’t a management student. And plagiarism be damned.
The second day Fr. Jesurajan entered. I look at him. Then at Kunaal. 30 years down the line, I’m sure no one would be able to tell the difference. Speeches, assignments soon began to occupy our time. An open book test was declared and everyone was scurrying through their notes. The race for marks had begun.
An important part of management school is to teach you how to lead people, to motivate and successfully interact with them. The first assignment in the management communication tried to exorcise all our demons of speaking in public without a script. We had to deliver a speech without reading.Readingin front of a crowd is easy. The words are in front of you and you don’t need to think. A lot changes without a script. Your mind blanks out, your lips don’t move. Your mouth runs dry and you’re lucky if your knees don’t give way. All this inspite of memorising the speech. Imagine something impromptu. Phew. Live to die another day. Fortunately my speech was average and something that wouldn’t linger in my mind or peoples for better or worse.
Economics, accounting, finance…they never leave you. Felix’s statistics lectures were 3 hours of freedom. The IT lectures were 3 hours of torture. The Spanish lectures were 3 hours of both and of Rancy and Manish. In retrospect learning the language could have helped so much. Sigh! If only …
Chitra didn’t make operations research any easier. She solved problems faster than I could borrow a pen. I sometimes wondered if she wrote so quickly so that the movement would help the blood circulation in her arms. She wore the tightest sleeves I’d ever seen. No kidding.
The first year was progressing quickly and in comparison to the other people I was regressing rapidly. Everyone around was so occupied in meeting deadlines and submissions and here I was wondering how I have all the time in the world to read, play ball, eat and then take a short nap. One word – the power of delegation. When you’re in a class with a majority of women who are nothing short of perfectionists half the battle is won. Ofourse, it helps if you act helpless and not so intelligent. Let them feel sorry for you. Its alright, your work is done. Also, be prepared to be picked last when project groups are formed.
As the year moved on my perspective about the course was gradually changing. It wasn’t a life changer; it did open your mind to different things and perspectives. But more than anything else I was looking at it as one big party. A vacation of sorts from the real outside world.
This was in total contrast to most of my batch mates. 72 hours a week isn’t easy and often I would come across girls breaking down from the stress unable to cope. More than a few breakups. The stress was telling.
The year ended and I interned at Parle products. But that’s another story for another day.
I chose marketing to major in the second year. And the real learning began. Its funny how such little time is devoted to a specialization considering it’s the reason you joined a Bschool while so much time is spent teaching you basics of something you probably would never end up doing. Sometimes its’ also unbelievable how much one can learn just listening to brilliant professors speak and offer their view points and guidance.
The third semester ended quickly and the fourth was pretty much a washout.
So in retrospect maybe the course didn’t give me a great job or a steep learning curve. But it has given me a few great friends (now if only you’ll can finance my start ups), many great times and plenty of great ideas ( ok maybe just a few). So many people, so many personalities, so many secrets and so many dreams. While it didn’t radically change my life, life’s not the same either.
I mean in which Bschool do you hear of people playing cricket, basketball and chess bet matches on a regular basis. And this is not including the throwing of paper balls, the funny spanish skits, drawing penis tattoos, Sahil getting drunk, Melissa getting stoned, MJ staring at random boys and sometimes girls, Kapadia making orgasmic noises and feeling me up, Satwik making weird sounds, Tommy talking like a goat and biting like a bitch, Chinaal constantly hitting on women etc etc. you get the point.
So XIMR provided some unforgettable times and some unforgettable people and maybe, even for just that I would do it all over again. (Minus the toxic fumes that nearly killed me. Haha)
I’ve written this in parts and have been meaning to complete it for a long time. Its patchy work I know. But I just had to complete it. Because I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to be in a class. What it is to sit down and dream. What it feels like to be wasted. And I needed to write it down because soon I’ll forget what all of this even was to even miss it.