On 20th July 2018, I arrived in Mumbai. My Enfield was low on fuel and I was low on patience. What should have been a short ride of 4 hours from Pune to Mumbai had turned into a nightmare. I was drenched in rain, had no place to stay, I took a wrong exit near Navi Mumbai and spent nearly an hour in a traffic, and to top it off my dad forgot to send my luggage to Mumbai, which meant I had to shop for new clothes. So when I stood outside Plaza, Dadar; all I could think of was the expectation vs reality sequence from 500 days of summer. The rains washed the color right off of my rose-tinted glasses through which I adoringly looked at Mumbai.
A friend indeed, Avadhut took me in his room. After shopping, eating and resting for a bit, I was back to my former self. Now I knew that 1st semester at JB is hectic, but boy had I underestimated the severity of it! From attending lectures at 7 am till completing assignments at 2 pm, all it was that helped me from falling apart was the fear of missing out on something amazing; that how a group of people, dedicated towards a goal can work wonders if they work in unison. JB encapsulates the spirit of Mumbai: Keep going on, come hell or high water. You'll definitely feel the pressure, no doubt about it; and you'll also realise that no matter who you are or what you've achieved, there will always be someone who is better than you, in one aspect or another.
But this is an essential process. You have to burn in order to shine. During this period, everyone seemed to be united. Remember how in movies everyone holds hands while facing death? Yeah, kinda like that. Strangers become friends, and whole the batch just acts like a family.
There's this one incident which I'll never forget. I had to skip dinner the night before, and was as famished as one could be. At 7 in morning, I ask the girl beside me if she has something to eat. Without thinking twice, she just handed me her tiffin. Those nutella sandwiches tasted like heaven. I can still remember how Siddharth was looking at me with hungry eyes, and I am not justifying myself in any way; but I was scared that if the girl saw me giving her sandwiches to another guy, she'd take them away. Hell, I'll admit it: I would have cried that day had it not been for those sandwiches.
Life at JS Hall is a different story altogether. Calling JSH a hostel is like calling Hamilton a driver, it does no justice to the stature of this institution. It is not only home to future managers, certain cats who have no affiliation with University of Mumbai also consider this a home. And how these cats have managed to become huge chonkers still amazes me.Where do they eat from? Do they have separate mess for cats? Because no human can gain weight by eating at our mess. It literally is a mess! And the less we speak about living conditions, the better. This building is dirty, dilapidated, and a health hazard. But I won't trade it for anything else. Because when you stand in the balcony with friends by your side and view of Mumbai skyline, you get a sense that you have MADE it.
So what has JB taught me? A lot.
While I am definitely not an ideal student, JB has so much to offer that only a fool will return empty handed. One thing that stuck with me was something that our Director said: It is not the building, the location, or the infrastructure that makes an institution, it is the people who operate from within. And every time someone from JB achieves something, it reminds me of this statement. There is a reason people take pride while saying that they are from JBIMS: surviving JB is a task in itself. It prepares you for the corporate world. Whenever an alum starts talking about his time in JB, you can see it in his eyes. Whenever you talk to people from other colleges, you can hear it in their voice.
JB has earned this respect over past 60 odd years. And I can't help but feel glad to be a part of it.