Sunday, March 30, 2008

Halfway through the gutter and the galaxy!

Nine months of struggle, innumerable hours of labour and some frustrated screams later, I am finally through- no, I did not give birth to my first baby, I just managed to survive my first year of MBA!

It seems only yesterday when I walked into the serene campus of Symbiosis nested in the peaceful infotech park of Hinjewadi- wide eyed and full of hope of eventually realizing my MBA dream. Armed with the experience of being a seasoned hostelite, I was quite sure of myself- no farewells, no tearful goodbyes and definitely no overdose of parental affect(ta)tion. In spite of being an only child, my parents were sensible enough and loved me enough to let go (well, they did it when I was 18)…

The next nine months was a saga of sacrifices, new discoveries, new information in the name of “knowledge” and new people.

I gave up Mumbai, I gave up my freedom, I gave up memories and yeah, I gave up a comfortable job and a comforting relationship. I learnt new things: may be not things that I had expected to learn, but either way it turned out to be a learning experience in a “learning institute”. No, I am not talking about the 30-odd subjects spread over two semesters (some of which I may have learn again in the 3rd sem, thanks to my special “aptitude” for them- they call it backlog, I call it revision…). Rather, it was learning in terms of the more important tools of survival: CCP, pfaffing, fudging data, impressive jargon, making 11th hour colourful appealing ppts to make up for the lack of content, and ahem, wearing a saree ( though not very successfully)!

Right from Milaap, to Arambh, to Freshers, to Summer Placements, to RMS, to Neev, to Final Placements of seniors, to admissions for juniors coupled with the nasty surprises of FCQs and the final academic rigour of the last couple of months, we were stretched till we were on the verge of giving up. But each time we were pleasantly surprised at our capacity to rise like a phoenix, hand in hand. The past few months have given me the opportunity to come across some awesome people who accept me as I am, who patiently sit through my cribbing sessions, who tell me wonderful stories explaining those intricate concepts written in those text books and notes, who tolerate me day in and day out and yet not get tired of me (or so they say)… it has given me the opportunity to be a part of a family, a home and a feeling of belonging!

But the most important take away for me in the past year has been my involvement in the Corporate Communications committee. When I joined SCMHRD I thought I wanted a career in management, but now that I am half way through it, I realize that management can only give me a job, but it can never give me the satisfaction that I derive from writing. MBA may facilitate a cushy comfortable lifestyle, but not a fulfilling career that writing does.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

holi (day)!!

My life had always bordered on the wild side and all the more during festivals, especially the ones that leave a lot of scope to unleash your suppressed instincts. Err, for example, HOLI!!

While in Calcutta, even as a teenager, even under the strict eyes of my parents I managed to make a vision out of myself, and it wasn’t pretty (to put it mildly). I used to hang around with the most questionable characters, who possessed the most vile colours and the most creatively insane ideas… I loved Holi and I still recall those glory days when you are just discovering the alien species called “the opposite sex”, when you make a big deal out of little touches and “accidental brushes” and then suddenly holi gives you all the license to get crazy! It was innocent, it was fun and yet, it was exciting!

Then in Bombay when I was in my “mature” phase, and Holi no longer as exhilarating as it used to be, I never had an option! In a hostel, usually you don’t have one! You are expected to be as uncivil as the rest of them and if you don’t live up to the expectations, you are dragged into it until you are as bad (or worse) than anybody else.

But today we celebrated holi like we have never done before. In B schools you tend to get carried away with whatever you do but today it was nothing short of madness. Like take my example: first I was pasted all over with yellow gulal, then by some extremely stubborn colour which is still painted on me like cheap make up, then I was dumped on a flower bed, and then the grand finale: being carried and dropped on a mudpile and kicked all over until I tasted the true mudcake (believe me it’s nothing like the yummy dessert served at Lemon Tree). I had layers of dirt all over me, my hair dripped with all kinds of muck and as I headed towards the hostel, I could see people point and laugh! Everybody looked so hideously colourful that you had to stare at them to make out who they are, and every time the morons had to creep behind your back and scare the hell out of you. The guys had a raw deal as they were stripped off their shirts apart from the regular ritual of torture! But in spite of all the filth, clogged bathrooms, hours of struggling with different cleaning agents, it was fun and quite an experience that I will remember for a long time!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Battle of Water(loo)!!

I must say I am quite an entertainer- I mean every alternate day I will do something stupid and then console myself that it can’t possibly be any worse. But the very next day I will end up making an even bigger fool of myself! Err, now it’s become a way of life with me…

Like a couple of days back, it was 12 am in the night, we had a killer exam the next day and my roomies and I were trying to cram the last minute “knowledge”. Then suddenly I felt an urge to purge myself of all my sins and take a bath at that ungodly hour. As I relaxed under the shower, I barely noticed that the drainage system in the bathroom has gone for a toss and our room was flooded. My room mates were so busy admiring each other’s knowledge (or the lack of it) that even they didn’t notice the water trickling into the room from the bathroom. So when I finally came out after my refreshing shower I was greeted with a deluge with my bags and chappals floating across my side of the room.

So for the next two hours we forgot all about Six Sigma and set about our live project of cleaning up the huge mess… with some 200 newspapers collected from different rooms, a broom, and my bedsheet, we could have given the municipal sweepers a run for their money! Obviously we had plenty of neighbours visit us, ridicule us, take sensitive pics with threats to post them on the common folder and generally laugh at us!

So next time, you want some entertainment, do get in touch; I have the most innovative ways of having fun at my own expense!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Beginning of the end?

Well, you can be screwed, and then again, you can be ROYALLY screwed!! Now that my 2nd sem end term exams have begun, the term “royally screwed” has been redefined… I thought I was royally screwed in my Chemistry paper in class XII board exams where I could manage to attempt only 60% of the paper. Then, I thought I was royally screwed in some 10 GDs that I sat for during my saga of management entrance exams. But now that I given two end term exams it’s misery revisited all over again.
Now economics is the only academic subject that I really enjoy and am passably ok in it. I had done decently in my class tests, but for a change I wasn’t happy at “merely passing”. So I bugged the professor (I have a soft spot for him given that he teaches well and was the interviewer in the panel last year and made the biggest mistake of his life by offering me a seat at SCMHRD) to allow me to take the viva along with the students who have missed the test. He warned me that he is going to screw my case (in a politer, more fatherly language, but it essentially meant the same thing) but I took up the challenge. Well, what could he possibly ask? I have done this for three years in my graduation and managed to top my university and I teach people here. Well, I soon found out! He bombarded me with apparently innocuous questions but every time I ventured an answer he found some cinch in the armour. So I sat there, looking down hoping for a hole in the floor so that I can disappear, while a sparkling grin lingered on his lips continuously until I froze and refused to open my mouth. Finally when he let me go, I just covered my face and stormed out of the room, running till I was safely in the cafeteria! Gosh, I never want to see his face again… hmmm, so both finance and Economics electives are out of contention! At this rate, I shall have nothing to study in the 3rd sem and I will be the dreaded student banned by all centres of excellence!!
The other paper was Oracle Financials. Well, let’s just say, we didn’t foresee the oracle that we were about to be royally screwed, that mugging up 250 questions from the question bank can backfire and that herd mentality can sometimes really push you down the hill! So I seem to be paving the way for a very busy 3rd sem: people say there is too much free time in the 2nd year. Well I have other plans- I am apportioning my backlogs judiciously to make sure that I have my hands full!

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Today was International Women’s Day and suddenly we got all carried away by the entire girlpower thing!! So some 15 of us girls decided to go out and celebrate the spirit of womanhood without the guys. Now this was the first time we went as an all-girls group, but surprisingly, it turned out to be an awesome night.
Usually I am the anti-feminist kind, I don’t like the concept of “Women’s Day”, I don’t like reservation for women (be it in the parliament or in the bus) and I definitely don’t like to go out ONLY with girls! In fact, I have grown up in a co-ed school and 15 cousin brothers- I played with marbles and balls as a kid instead of barbies; I have more fun discussing sports with my dad than in the kitchen with mom and generally, I am more comfortable with men than with women.
But today, somehow when we trooped into the prim Tamanna Executive, a group of 13 rowdy girls, I experienced a different kind of high! The conversation was totally out of control, and it invited strange, unappreciative looks from all corners but we couldn’t care less. And I am sure, if the children present there paid attention to our discussions, their “knowledge” would have been enriched manifold! The only concern that kept us slightly in control was the possibility of getting thrown out of the restaurant.
It was kind of a liberating experience- we are sooo much better as a species than the male sex!! Thank god, I am a girl (I will try to remember it every time I crib about guys having an unfair advantage over us)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Best Friend's Wedding!!

This is more of a tiny postette rather than a post… my oldest friend just called up- she is the studious type, rank holder and stuff. Now she just completed her MBBS and going in for MD. But the biggest news is that she is getting married!!!!! I just can’t believe it… we used to do weird stuff in school, we shared a passion for languages and playing tricks, we learnt our algebra together (correction: she learnt, I struggled) and we performed in school functions- such people don’t just get married, they can’t!!! Well, tell my mom that. Five minutes after my friend had called both of us, my mom called me- panic stricken, agitated and well, being a typical mom (though a part of her is very happy for my friend)! Her point: why is everybody around her getting married except her daughter… her anxiety is directly proportional to the number of wedding invitations she receives! and what am doing to console her? No, not putting up my profile in but instead blogging about it! I have a feeling, she isn’t going to like it…

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Till death (or degree) do us part...

We did it… we survived nine months with one another under the same roof, and not only that, we are brave enough to spend the next year together as well! So yeah, we went ahead and booked our room for MBA II as well!
Say hello to the members of Room No 213: Shevaita (the pretty girl in black, thw Mother India of our group and the most talkative), myself in the middle and easily recognizable even in the crowd as the most vertically challenged and Shivangi (the cutest, craziest, baby of the room who bullies me all the time and whose morning ritual consists of being mean to me immediately after she opens her eyes!)
Now being a seasoned hostelite, I have had my share of room mates and touch wood, I have been extremely lucky with them. So when I walked into our spacious three seater room (with the luxury of an attached bathroom) in June, I discovered that the other two have already staked their claims and I have been relocated to the cornermost bed farthest away from the fan and nearest to the door. So every time I am arranging my cupboard, somebody decides to walk in unannounced and knocks me down and then people say I am accident prone… hmmmmm!!! To cut a long story short, I didn’t like my new room mates and missed Divya, my college room mate who became my soul mate (in a strictly non-lesbian way). Well, my room mates later clarified that the feeling was mutual: it wasn’t exactly love at first sight when they met me either!
However, 9 months later, we have pleasantly surprised one another and the fact that we are still live, still on talking terms and we still like hanging out with each other speaks volumes about our relationship. We do what all girls do: borrow each other’s clothes, shoes, food, books, phones, stationary and basically live on borrowed stuff more than on our own. We try to study together and then curse one another when we discover two hours later we haven’t turned a single page and never noticed when the study session turned into a gossip session. We wake each other up, we fight regarding who gets to use the bathroom last (so that she can catch 10 more minutes of sleep), we eat our meals together and we go out shopping or for dinner, but most of all, we criticize one another! Our common vocabulary includes "Look you don't understand", "Let's just be honest", "You know nah, it's crap", "Assh*le" and "Get lost".In spite of our different schedules, thanks to different specializations- Shevaita (Marketing), Shivangi (HR) and me (Finance turned Entrepreneurship), we still manage to complete our daily quota of annoying each other in whatever little time we get!
So now that we have successfully survived each other for 2 whole semesters, we have decided to stick it out for the next two even though there is no love lost among us. But the sad truth is that each of us is so unpopular and irritating by her own right that no other girl will accept any of us as their room mates. So we are kind of stuck together in absence of better options!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Lil Pleasures!

Being a part of a B-school, we tend to get carried away with the so-called important things like placements, summers, CGPA, CTC etc etc and often miss the little things which probably gives us more happiness than the ones that lure us to B-schools…
At SCMHRD, in the past 8 months, I haven’t had much of a chance to look beyond FCQs, assignments, presentations or backlogs (ahem!), but now that I have 2 exams early in the morning tomorrow, I think this is the best time to introspect about those little things….
Street Food just outside the campus: If you don’t find me in the cafeteria or the juice shop, you will definitely find me outside the gate feasting on the delightful fruit chart, dabeli, falooda or phuchka (at last a place which comes close to Kolkata!)
Late night movies: I have never put my laptop to such amazing use ever before- it caters to my every whim: romance, drama, comedy, action or just some hearty laughs! All I need to do is turn on some old episodes of FRIENDS, or the ever popular tear-inducing When Harry Met Sally or the gripping Godfather, and tune in till I am fast asleep with the lappy on my lap until a kind room mate decides to switch it off!
Gossip: Put a group of 10 people together, and in no time we would have dissected the entire batch: who went out with who, who kissed who, who got drunk and embarrassed themselves, who broke up with who, and much more: the most romantic stories are cooked up in the idle pastures of the campus lawn or the hostel rooms which gives complete uninhibited freedom to our creativity! And yes, guys gossip too and they are worse than the girls!
Bus Journeys to the city: Being tucked away in one remote corner of Hinjewadi, 14 kms away from the Pune city has its disadvantages and nobody knows it better than me: remember my determined walk from Wakad or my misadventures of trying to catch the college bus in order to save money! But it’s a different experience altogether when all of us jostle against each other in the crowded 5 p.m. bus, dressed in jeans and T-shirts (a welcome relief from the campus dresscode), singing along till our voices become hoarse and the one-hour journey suddenly comes to an end as we happily troop down at E-square and discover modern civilization after a month long break!
Cricket matches in the Audi: Ok, granted India doesn’t win too many matches. But that doesn’t stop the over-optimistic souls from crowding into the auditorium to cheer for the men in blue and the atmosphere is almost as electrifying as the unruly Eden Gardens crowd- I have been a part of both, and I have behaved in the same barbaric manner each time!