We have been residing here a month now. Balicha. IIM Udaipur’s new and permanent address. The postmen know it now, so do the local cabbies. IIM Udaipur has officially shifted all operations to its sprawling 300 acre campus.
You must be wondering how it is in here? Specially since we did tell you how great it was even in the temporary campus.
Well, not very different than what we had in Mohanlal Sukhadia University, our old home for five years. MLSU nurtured us, took good care of us and it takes a lot for a new place to emulate that comfort zone.
Surprisingly, Balicha has. It has exceeded expectations in more ways that one.
Imagine waking up to sunrise in the valley where the skyline dips into the mountain range setting a beautiful poetry in motion. That, my friend, is Balicha. Imagine waking up dewy-eyed, and looking outside the window to see the bright sunlit open space between hostels where your classmates are up and about. It is a rather welcome sight. Currently, three hostels are operational housing more than 320 students, and two more are on the way to be erected soon.
It is a different kind of pleasure seeing your home getting built. It is a very special kind of pleasure knowing you are seeing a legacy being built, stone by stone. Fast. Really, really fast.
The hostels are a cross between Hogwarts and relics of ancient India. Handsomely built from stone, each boast of unusually comfortable rooms fitted with Air Conditioners soon to be operational as summers hit us, a pleasant welcoming front yard and facilities such as washing machines, induction ovens and microwave oven. Cooking is a passion adopted and popularised by the representatives of Andhra residing here. Every now and then, other clans do try their hands at cooking but so far they are still waiting for better cooks to come up.
Every four rooms share a bathroom block having two bathrooms and two restrooms. Solar heaters provide hot water for bathing purpose. Every room is equipped with a cupboard, desk and table and a bed. Every room also has a soul. Decorate your rooms the way you like and leave an impression! Personally, my roommate and I are leaving behind a collection of Flipkart package wraps. Good luck to those who find uses for them! Recycling is the key. That reminds me, ours is a green campus. Bikes are to be parked at the main gate and four wheelers are a strict no-no.
As you come in through the Entrance Plaza, you may hear drums and guitar. You are at the sixth floor level of the massive structure, the music room is close and people are going wild in there. As you walk past, if you chance to look the other way, you would find the large gymnasium. Health fanatics sweat it out here as the music guys serenade them. Honestly, the writer does not go to either room and prefers the next part the most. It is this beautiful huge thoroughfare that connects the entrance to Acad and Hostels. Acad block is a few floors down. But you don’t want to go there just yet. You keep walking straight and avoid collision with one or two gold carts and reach the hostel block. On the way, you come across the grocery shops and the Mess. The mess is large enough to seat 200 at a time and is shared by students, faculty and admin. This is the socialisation centre as well. Table tennis boards are set up nearby and you can watch a live match as you have your dinner. The area in front of the mess is large and the churning ground of ideas. People meet here, sit on the benches and talk of latest science to the latest romance on campus. Close by is the night canteen which serves a wide menu and is frequented by students till almost 3 in the night. We rehearse for plays and dances here and sometimes, a random game begins and everybody joins. The next three hours resound with laughter.
The hostels seated in the mountains are more than a place to rest the head. We made them into our home and finally there is this comfortable feeling that everything is fine. The feeling sinks in. All the hostels are DAP friendly and designed for equal comfort to all. Cricket enthusiasts play every evening in the common areas near every hostel and the huge roof of the mess is the cherished hangout spot for most groups. We are the first set of people to have settled here. In time, more will come who will see better versions of the campus, but none of them will know the anticipation with which we waited for this.
Our management fest ‘Solaris’ and Cultural fest ‘Audacity’ took place on the new campus this year and so did the final Placements. The place spelled good luck and a high tide in the IIMU calendar as dignitaries and business luminaries praised the new campus and expressed interest in visiting again.
We will soon see fully operational sports facilities and single rooms for all students. The same is proposed to be done for second years, followed by first years as the hostels keep getting completed. We will see more shops and developments in the area. We now have regular buses to take us to the city. In time the city will approach and swallow the campus surroundings. The initial few months of struggle would seem like a small little hurdle then. We will meet you then and tell you stories about how we braved a hundred odds and made ourselves a new piece of heaven that you are now a part of.
The Acad block is set up well and the work still continues on upper floors but the pace has picked up now. Rapidly as foundations grow into entire buildings, IIMU gets ready to open her doors to the world. The new 330 seater auditorium will be reminiscent of the first batch graduating from the campus collecting their degrees and throwing up those black hats in the air.
As the current academic year draws to a close, and emails that speak of returning books to the library or Batch Photograph fill our mailbox, we wonder if it was only yesterday that we came in and how quickly we made a home out of a place we didn’t know. With barely a month to go, we look back and feel lucky that we got to be the link between this great institute’s history and future. Anyone who comes in next will be the harbinger of great leaps for the institute academically and in every other aspect. But now, it is time for us to pass the baton and we know it will be borne well. IIMU has this way of picking out the bravest, much like the sorting hat. You only ever belong in a place you wish to belong to. So, if you feel connected with what you read, come write your story in these walls and begin an era. Hereby, the ball rests in your court.
“The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter. It's not always clear why. But I think it is clear that we can expect great things from you. ” – Mr Ollivander, Harry Potter and The Philosophers’ Stone.
About the Author:
The writer is a student of IIM Udaipur, Batch 2015-17