I’m an MBA. I’m an Actor

A few days ago I went for a play. It was a very well done comedy, the storyline simple but well-crafted, the writing fluid, the punchlines suitably placed and the acting accomplished; all-in-all a hilarious rib-tickler.

A couple of days ago I went for another, big lover of theatre that I am. It was a very different kind of drama, an adaptation of an Italian play nearly a century old. The storyline was convoluted yet riveting, the writing forceful and the acting intense if at times not as accomplished; an example in absurdism and a mirror of the dark side and torments of the human soul.

And both these evenings although very different from each other, provoked the feeling of a certain kind of déjà vu. I understood the differences between the two, but there existed a certain commonality between them and not just the mere fact that they were both plays. There was a feeling of having been there before, of having witnessed those emotions, those performances in the past.

And quite subconsciously, it came to me. This was reminiscent of all the drama, the tragedies and the comedies that I had witnessed over the past year. For a B-school is so much like a giant stage with its huge cast, all of whom represent a character still in the process of being created. And these characters form a part of a script that is written every morning and torn up at sundown, only for the process to be repeated again the next day. On this stage these characters act out their dreams and ambitions, mime their emotions, celebrate their successes and mourn their failures.

The Stage is Set
The Stage is Set


All their actions appear to be a part of this great thespian experiment, choreographed to intertwine with one another. But the choreographer is a novice and doesn’t always know what fits where, with the end result being a drama that is somewhat muddled, something that apparently lacks direction but generally reaches its climax with a few amazing moments along the way.

And it’s these moments that I talk about. These moments that prove to be the highlight of a character’s performance in any scene. They form part of a very broad spectrum ranging from awe and wonder at finally being part of a legendary institution, to frustration and despair at one’s perceived inability to cope with the pressure and to relief and celebration at the achievement of a target (or just surviving till the next act). There are scenes displaying the softer side of human existence like a budding campus romance, noble emotions like characters helping each other get through difficult times, and even the base and ignoble ones like stabbing a friend in the back or manipulating someone for your own gain (a fair few of those campus romances end up like that).


The Cast in Action
The Characters in Action


And the spaces between all these highlights are filled with the execution of ‘normal’ activities; begging the professors to extend deadlines or to go easy with the grading, begging the studious types to loan their notes or to take a remedial class because you were fast asleep, or maybe even begging somebody to grab a coffee with you (I realize now that there’s a lot of begging that takes place here). These and many more activities form the broad canvas on which this daily play is staged.

A Lot of Begging among Other Stuff
A Lot of Begging among Other Stuff


There are some people who dismiss all this as make-believe. Do not pay heed to them dear reader for they are cynics. Everything that transpires on this stage is completely real to all its characters. The struggle to make it till the next act, the fist-pumping celebrations in triumph or the heart-wrenching keening at defeat, none of it can be pretense or affectation.

And so we continue in this vein, living out our own little tragedies and comedies and romances, assuming ourselves to be the lead and all others to be merely the supporting cast, not realizing that the characters keep changing, it’s the stage that lives on.

After all Shakespeare did say “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.”

We can’t argue with The Bard now can we.

Curtains. Exit, stage right.

–          Nadeem

Nadeem is currently trying to make sense of Life, the Universe and Everything coming to the end of his first year at XLRI, Jamshedpur and working very hard at his summer internship. He’s also a music lover, master of 3 musical instruments, undiscovered singing prodigy, class jester, wordsmith, and the secret identity of Superman all rolled into one charming package. You can follow him at nadeemraj.insideiim.com

He’s an amateur storyteller at 42shadesoctarine.wordpress.com

Drop him a line on Twitter or Facebook. He doesn’t usually bite.


Nadeem Raj

Nadeem is a class of 2015 student at XLRI, Jamshedpur in the HR stream after working for 3 and a half years with TCS in the Program Management function. He is a big fan of literature and music and will be doing his summer internship with Novartis Pharmaceuticals.