One Most Crucial Thing Your B-School Friends Won’t Tell You!
Now that I’ve successfully arrested your fickle thoughts with this gimmicky headline, let me head over to discuss a most urgent matter. A lot of writers on this website have expounded on topics of trivial, or at best, tangential significance to B-schools like placements, resume-building, libraries(!!), professors(!!!), alumni networks, summer internships etc. It is high time we focused on more troublesome issues that are symbolic of the precipitous decline of our civilization. Like the brutal Birthday Celebrations in B-schools.
Birthdays in IIM’s have evolved from a display of good-natured rowdiness to tasteful sadism to downright barbarity. By now, they openly flout nearly every norm and tenet of the Geneva Convention. If you are lucky, you will “escape” with only a few badly sprained joints, a t-shirt torn to shreds and a face smeared by eggs, pies, ice cream, steaming tea, maggi, pepsi and mud and other odds and ends. If you are among the chosen few, you’ll be subjected to more enhanced celebratory techniques.
I have spent sleepless nights mulling on what is it that makes man inflict this primitive bestiality on fellow-man, what turns the sunshine of friendship into the blackness of enmity, what impels the best friends of today to thump the bollocks out of their mates tomorrow. Night after night, I have woken to the sound of baying crowds letting out war-whoops in the twisted glory of their fiendish deeds. Though I have always been outwardly anguished, I am often secretly delighted by these triumphant cries.
Hehe, well, for starters, there is indeed, something truly egalitarian about a violent birthday celebration. It is the second-greatest leveler, after death. Topper and laggard, highest and lowest earner, honest worker and free-rider, Committee Secretary, member and non-member, Fin-guru and marketing-swami etc. are all meted out the same punishment.
And the birthday celebration provides a platform for otherwise unremarkable blokes to parade their talents. I am talking about some chaps who have absolutely none of the finer virtues nor any of the admirable vices. I mean, they are neither awesomely good nor awesomely bad students, not very good sportsmen, by no means tolerable musicians, quite foul poets and perfectly inadmissible as organizers or dancers. These critters tend to go under the radar a bit. They have little to fill their resume. The birthday allows them to carve out a niche for themselves using their unique abilities to inflict torture on their victims.
Contrary to my earlier assertions, I realized that all birthdays are not equal. There is a method in the madness after all. A rigorous analysis of 480 birthdays allowed me to reach this conclusion. The amount of thrashing one receives seems to be determined by three factors, and the relationship is explained below:-
Beatings = f(weight, popularity, Schadenfreude Quotient)
1. Weight:- Your beatings are inversely proportional to the distance of your weight from the Arithmetic Mean of the college; i.e. if you are of average weight, you get emphatically thrashed. If you are purely skin and bones, you get off lightly (even a slightly mistimed or misplaced blow will knock the life out of you. No one wants to take that risk). If you are obese, you again get off lightly (hehe) because of the logistical issues in lifting you up. Hence my advice would be either:-
a. Small is beautiful: Starve. Pass by the pizzas. Eschew the ice-creams. Stay hungry (you’re already foolish). You will fall below three standard deviations from the mean (see fig. above) and land in safe territory.
b. Size does matter: Let yourself go. Pile on the pounds. Gorge on the pizzas and ice-creams. Set ambitious eating goals. Attend at least three all-you-can-eat buffets every evening. You will rise above three standard deviations from the mean and soar into the safety zone.
2. Popularity:- Your spankings are directly proportional to the extremeness of your popularity or infamy. Being extremely popular is as good as being dead. An extremely unpopular guy of course, is just extremely popular for being unpopular. He suffers the same fate. Those in the middle, without a large network of friends and well-wishers are the ones who get off lightly here. I am sure you are now beginning to appreciate the virtues of introversion, seclusion and solitary confinement.
Final verdict: The final flogging is a weighted average of all these factors. For example, a moderately built guy with too many friends is in a cauldron of soup. An unpopular placom secy of average weight, on the other hand, will still manage to get away unscathed because of a very low Schadenfreude Quotient.
– Shyam Sunder RamaKrishnan
(Shyam Sunder Ramakrishnan is amongst the rare breed at an IIM whose variety of talents stretch beyond what is considered as normal. Ranker, Musician, Sportsman, Writer and an extra-ordinary friend – Shyam Sunder Ramakrishnan is all this and more rolled into one. InsideIIM is privileged to have him on board 🙂 SSRK is an alumnus of IIM Indore – Class of 2011 and currently works with IiAS)