The second best thing that has ever happened to me over these 25 years was the prestigious IIM offering its coveted ticket to the 2-year MBA course. Well now don’t ask me what was the first best thing. It is personal and more so not to this target audience. While the feeling is still sinking in, a year has got over and lot of people, places, parties, pots, pretties, posters et al have passed. Yeah not just 4 p’s. This last one year journey at IIM has been fantastic up till now and so many memories. When the world itself is going into the archival mode by archiving documents, videos and even tweets, I have also decided to do something at least during this fag end of internship.
So here you are. This is no guide on how to survive at IIM or any sentimental screen-play. This is just the pictures of my first year at college in which you also could be captured. Focused or out of focus. Does it matter? Read on..
On the foothills of Aravalli mountains, in the city surrounded by the lakes and streams, my college.. Aah no wait i can’t do it. I have not got those adjective using skills to describe how green the grass is or how blue and big the skies are. So while the city in which the college is located is very beautiful, our college hostel rooms aren’t. No complaints there. I loved my lawn facing room if only it were not for my neighbor-senior who pokes his nose, eyes, ears, at whatever I do and hitting even on the one or two girls who comes to talk to me . Sad part he chases them and they never again visit. That bloody bugger. Nevertheless, lovely neighbors, never ending corridors, volley-ball and badminton courts which are not just restricted for those sports, TT room, gym, night canteen and the study room which I seldom used formed the wholesome beautiful hostel. Contradicts my earlier statement doesn’t it ? Apologies, got carried away by the emotions. It is indeed a very beautiful hostel.
Then there is mess. Don’t get me started. I want to have only good memories. So Gulab jamoon, er… only Gulab jamoon and the innovative ways to safeguard it from the predators. While most of my fellow classmates would miss the breakfast, I am one of the those mommy’s boys who'd hate to miss it, hence the parathas and omelettes become the take away food while I rush to the class.
Finally, the place where I had the least learning- The academic block.
Academics, Cases & Competitions
Mistake me not as I am starting too soon about the studies. I have reserved the best for the last ;) Like every other B School, we were also bombarded with cases, assignments, quizzes and whatnot’s but the good manager inside you will find a way each time out of the suffocation. First term was very difficult. It all looked like a maze, cases which run as long as Draupati’s sari, incomprehensible assignments, dreadful professors and the terrorizing CP kings. I burnt the midnight oil only to doze off next day in the class and get embarrassed by the class. Tried nityananda’s yoga, meditation, pills et al. But I was stuck in a vicious circle. Have I leapt before looking ? Am I in a wrong place ? MBA ?????
In the blink of an eye, term 1 got over. Then I took some time off for myself, introspected on the terrible things have come and gone in the past 3 months. That moment came when the torchlight behind your head starts glowing. Kotler’s words, the great daddy of marketing , ‘You don’t go for the entire set, you pick and choose!’. YeSss Tea and Pee. Voila! I learnt the art of Free riding :) The next two terms were a smooth ride. Although not much of it have reflected on my grades, life was good. I may not have been big fan of acads inside the campus, but I developed an interest which is innate to all the free-riders, jabbing at all the fancy B-school competitions. Winning or not is secondary.
Clubs & Committees
One thing you can’t escape from in a B-School is the clubs & committees. They attach some kind of inordinate pride to the clubs, making us feel inferior if we are not in any of those clubs or committees . Till date I don’t know the difference between the two. How does it matter, we follow the crowd. The desperation to get a CV point, the cajoling of your seniors, the looks if you are a girl ( I am not sexist for saying it out) and the innumerable interview experiences will help you land in one or other clubs. It did for me too. I didn't know what I was doing in the first few weeks, and in the next few weeks I dint know what the club was doing.
Another popular pedagogy in MBA is assigning group tasks. First year the institution itself helps you in hooking up with a group. Sometimes, you get lucky. Me so not, but how long could i have evaded – I got sucked into Stockholm syndrome. Only with these people I understood life is larger than grades. I take this moment to thank my study group for that and many other things. ;)
Okay that was official-involuntary-study group. IIM being a place where people come from all over the country and even from other countries, encourages diverse culture and hence the birth of social groups. First there is this group of cool dudes or at least they call themselves so, they party hard, make a lot of noise and show they know best how to enjoy the good life. If Fridays are sunburn then Saturdays are Axe boat parties. Even though they give rise to a lot of jealousy when they take the pretty girls, there is equal amount of fun and energy in the college with that music, dance and drinks. Next the exact opposite gang, the group of sadhus. The vision and mission of these people is to get those jobs with ABC, BBC firms and salary equivalent or more than IIM’s fees. Half the time they are either bugging some professors or they keep bitching about the cool dudes for not allowing them to read the CFA books in peace even on a Saturday night.
Ha! Now to the third front. While the people from all the states mostly fit into either of the first two groups, there is one minority group. Every year a sizable crowd from this state comes and the poor souls out of love/(no)choice/compulsion/language-challenge stick together and walk around with raised collars. Yes the chaps from Tamilnadu. Heiii me too. :) The secular criers sprouted out of nowhere accuse us of fomenting regionalism, favoritism and other ism’s. Dei dei we are itself in one corner, silent without understanding your star plus channel. In our defense each of us have two or three close Aryan friends, male and female.
I’ll stop with one last group. They are a very small group. Individual visionaries. The Aam of Aam aadmi’s. The Modi’s. The leaders. The Godfathers of the institute. They breathe, eat, sleep and fart for the welfare of the college and its pupils. Somebody bad mouths about any brick of the institute, their eyes turn red, veins protrude in the forearm, body trembles and a transformer post bursts. Captain style. It is only when their emotions are overflown and uncontrollable they become a subject or object of mockery. Otherwise their intentions are so pure. Please god don’t let me rot in hell for this.
Thanni , Dham & Tea Kadai
What has become an integral part of my life, what has been a life saver, what has been a good companion at times of distress as well during cheerful times continued to make my life merrier. I am not that loud dance music type. For me happiness is sipping slowly, with songs playing (preferably Tamil), talking senti, listening senti, teasing-give n take, so we find occasions and become the occasional drinkers. No college story can end without mentioning the tea kadai just outside the campus. It is the place where we have spent our time discussing the entrepreneurship ideas as much as talking about the girls. :) Also special mention we love that anna.
Seri ok. Loo break over. Let us see how the second half turns out to be. You have to just wait one more year for it. At this moment I leave you with a fact that I like a girl and the girl also likes me. How intense ? I don’t know. See you at the other end of the break.
p.s any resemblance to anybody DOA is purely coincidental :P