Sleepless in IIM-A

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Unforgettables - I

The next few days, we went through a series of orientation sessions, dorm meets, lecture sessions by seniors, presentation by SAC (Student Activity Council) members. Really it is quite difficult to present it here in a coherent fashion with a sense of flow. Especially if you take into account the fact that right now I'm blogging where 250 others are busy preparing for the next week's classes.

But I cant resist the temptation of leaving you a few quotes, which I definitely wouldnt want to forget. So here are they.

"Welcome to IIM-A. You've won the war. However the battle just begins" - the director, IIM-A.

"The session will start at 9 tomorrow. Not 9 oh 2, not 9 oh 5, but 9. Its 10 minutes past 6 in my watch. Set your watches." - PGP Chairperson's only statement after he was invited to speak in the introductory address.

"See, you are speaking from your point of view. You arent the one who's going to teach for 2 hours continuously. You should think from my point of view as well. When you think of options, you should consider all the affected parties and come to a mutually agreeable action." - A prominent professor's first retort on a student's suggestion that a microphone might not be necessary.

"Kamasuthra is an Indian speciality too. Why dont you open a brothel ?" - A prominent professor, upon a student's suggestion that KTPL should stick to restaurants serving ethnic Indian food, because thats its speciality.

"Frontlog. Prepare for classes one week in advance. Anyways thats what 250 other freshers would be doing" - a thoughtful 'Tuchcha' or senior, giving away a few words of wisdom to yours truly.

"Its your first class and I dont want to humiliate you." - A prominent professor says with a sigh after a student made a final point near the end of the class.

"I have to be polite now, but yeah, what you just said is utter bullshit." - A prominent professor, reacting to a point made by a student in the class.

"If you find yourself depressed, stressed, disillusioned with life, or if you are wondering about the meaningless of life, you can come to us for counselling." - Professor of Psychology, one of the speakers in the introductory session.

"There's a machine in a big room and all a guy has to do is to switch it on and switch it off. How will you motivate him. Will you ask him to look at the button a little more closely ?" - Professor of Human Resources, on a students point that one of HR's responsibilities is to motivate the employees.

"He has 5 gold medals from MIT. I would be scared to shake hands with him." - Arun Raghavan, fresher, on one of the professors.

"D-2 yehan hai, pani yehan hai, D-16 kahan hai ?" - Tempo shouts of D-2 girls in front of my dorm D-16 after the bucketful of water emptied from the third floor just fell short of them. Later, ten of us, mostly barechested, chased the girls with buckets of water and dunked them completely.

"In IIM-A, there is absolutely no ragging. Seniors dont rag freshers. Professors rag them." -Words of encouragement by dorm representative 'Dildo', earlier known as Nirav.

"You must be feeling sleepy now. Dont sleep. Never sleep in the afternoons in your first month in IIM-A." - A few words by Sarath to yours truly.

"Crap." - A prominent professor.

"Even if God comes in front of me, I'll push Him aside to look at you guys studying day and night." - a senior, deriving sadistic pleasure out of the fresher's predicament.

"You guys remind me of umm... let me see... oh yeah, sacrificial lambs."

The lull before the storm.

AC had my train ticket.

Three of us, Chandrashekar, AC and I were going together, and he had booked the tickets. I had just transferred the money to him through the internet, thanks to ICICI.

Actually I wasnt quite sure what his name was. Even in the mails he sent to the IIM-A egroup, he signed off as AC. So, by some sort of intuition, or probably some supernatural power or just by dumb luck, I guessed that his name is Arvind.

I later discovered that there were 10 others who were going to IIM-A, some of them with their families. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of bond-building in the train. The journey was pleasant and completely uneventful, as even the eunuchs were not allowed into the AC coaches.

I have had a lot of experience with eunuchs on trains. They usually hunt in groups, in any number from a pair to half a dozen, and their favorite target is the young, especially the student.

First there's a clap, then before you could swivel around to face the origin of the noise, someone jumps right in front of you. And in that split second, if you think that its one of your friends trying one of those childish tricks to scare you, you'd be mistaken, especially after you are touched 'lovingly' on the face. Of course, once you have had the chance to completely take in the man/woman dressed in female grab, there's hardly any room for doubt.

Chances are, the very apperance of the eunuch is enough to scare the shit out of the student. He (its always a he.) is especially terrorized when the eunuch puts her hand over different places on the student's body.

If, despite this, the student manages to maintain a stern face and push the probing hand away, the eunuch turns to the next strategic tactic. A view of 'Taj Mahal', as they call it. Which is accomplished by standing right in front of the student and lifting her saree or skirt high enough, to reveal... umm, well, to reveal 'Taj Mahal'.

I havent seen a single student who's able to resist 'rewarding' the eunuch after the final 'revelation'.

When students go to BITS from Chennai at the beginning of a semester, there would be so many of them, that the whole train would be full of students. Eunuchs have a field day on those days, and I have a nagging suspicion that some of them have even invested in real estate after a few such ventures.

You see, some of my friends keep saying things about their landlords...

The best part about the train journey was its prompt arrival. And it was only about half an hour when AC, Chandrashekar and I found ourselves in a taxi merrily purring along a straight road towards Vastrapur.

Chandrashekhar noticed that there were quite a few posh localities in the city. AC noticed that Ahmedabad had its share of billboards too. I noticed that the gujju girls were very pretty.

In under an hour we reached the IIM-A gate. We took the taxi beyond the gate and a little further into the campus, and got our baggages out. After I had unloaded the final piece of luggage from the taxi onto the road, a heavy suitcase, I rose and stood erect to see what lay in front of me.

We liked what we saw.

Between the tall green trees, stood buildings designed in a brickout architecture, the color perfectly complementing the rest of the view. And in between the nearest two buildings, lay a magnificent ramp, which as we would later come to know, is known as the Harvard ramp.

The following day, I registered myself to the program, and completed a lot of other little settling-down chores. I met a lot of people, and started getting cheeky with the few people I knew for more than a day. It was pretty cool.

One problem though, was remembering the names of the hundreds of people I met. I'd see a guy whom I'd have met a little while back, and enthusiastically start saying 'Hi....', and then the realisation would strike me that I dont know his name. Trust me, the average brain retains just about 25 % of the names it learns. In my case, its about 1 %. I remember the names of people who have the same name as me.

But I've discovered ways of getting to know the name again without feeling embarassed.
One of the ways is to ask him the full name. The other is to ask him for his email id. Yet another method is to ask him to spell out his name, feigning ignorance(with a stupid face).

I was sitting opposite this guy with whom I had travelled on the train from chennai.

'Hey, you got a sim card ?'

'Yeah, I did.' he said.

'Give me your number'.

I type in the number into my phone book as he dictates it. After I did that, I paused at the next screen. The phone was asking me for a name to be put next to the number in the diary. I thought. and thought. After about half a minute, I asked him how he spelt his name.

He gave me a blank look. 'What ? Its the same as yours right ? You dont know to spell your own name ?'

I guess I have to revise my retention estimates.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


It has been a fascinating life till now.

And chances are, its only gonna get better. I am a day away from boarding the train to Ahmedabad, and three days away from formally registering to the PGP programmme of IIM-Ahmedabad.

At this precise moment, in a fit of introspection and deep thought, after having delegated the packing work to my mom and dad, I've decided to give shape to my latest idea. To completely record my adventures and misadventures at IIM-A; right from day one. I have no idea as to what purpose this would serve, but for a change, I decided not to think about the benefits before I begin something. (I am not being completely honest here. I do have a few vague ideas about what I'd do with such a piece of literature ;) )

I've named this blog 'Sleepless in IIM-A' in expectation of long hours there in Ahmedabad. We'd know in course of time, if this nomenclature proves right. :)

The road to IIM-A (the metaphorical road, I mean), has been very interesting. A part of it has been captured in my blog on my stay in Hyderabad, (Do go through "LMAO - Laugh My Ass Off !!!" - and hence I wouldnt talk about CAT and my GD/PIs here. I would rather begin from the time I left Oracle.

On 31st May, 2005, when I was running around here and there between the different Oracle buildings, getting those crucial signatures which would get me the relieving certificate, Pratik called me up and asked me what I wanted as a farewell gift from the team. Frankly, he was disappointed that I was getting anything at all.

"Are you expecting anything as a farewell gift ?" he had asked me a day earlier as he had quite often in the past.

"No. How can I ever expect anything from a team which has you in it."

"Good. But I am afraid we wont be able to live up to your expectations."

"Live 'up' ? Hmm, but why ?"

"Ramesh has asked me to think of a gift for you."

Now, on the phone, he asked me if a laptop case was okay. Trust me, I was quite shocked. Because this was by far the only sensible thought he has ever had in his whole life. Before he could take my shocked silence for a no, I hurriedly said that it was a great idea, and that I'd love it.

A week earlier I had placed an order for a Dell laptop, and given the address of one of my friends in US as the shipping address. To pay for the laptop, I woke up one other friend and asked him if he could pay. I still think Avin was too sleepy to realise what was happening. Unwittingly he gave me his debit card details. And voila ! A Dell laptop was paid for ! As was a digital camera, a scanner, a printer, an ipod mini, and... okay kidding, Avin - just the laptop.

My little sister Priya and I collected the laptop at the airport from the girl who was returning home from the US. It was a funny experience, especially for Priya, as the girl's dad who was waiting at the airport kept saying "very good" for everything I said.

"Hi Uncle, I'm [beep] (I say my name here). Your daughter is getting a laptop for me from the US"

"Oh, very good, very good" he said. "Are they cheaper in the US ?"

"Yeah. Very." I said. "By the way, this is my sister."

"Very good, very good. I'm Dr. Ravindran."

"Very good, very good." I said.

His daughter was quite nice, a bit pretty too, I thought. But she appeared extremely confused. I introduced myself to her as soon as she came out, and she blinked at me a couple of times. I had to go on and tell her that I had come for the laptop.

And there in that dim place outside the airport, lit dully by the nearby lights, appeared my laptop out of her bag, its metallic silver exterior shining brilliantly.

Thoroughly captivated by my new possession, I thanked her profusely and headed home in a trance.

Since then I have been thinking of an exotic name for my laptop.

A bit hesitatingly I decided on Neo. Preethi said it was too common a name. Mohan remarked that I chose the name because its close to the nigger. (Maybe he meant Morpheus and made a indirect reference to my sexy, dark skin which is perpetually a source of ridicule). Matters came to a close when Pratik remarked that it makes me what he always suspected I was - a gay bastard. I decided to think of an exotic feminine name.

I've been considering various names for my little baby. Trinity, Mercedes, Miranda, Soleil, Esmerelda etc etc. Do feel free to drop in your suggestions. And keep reading. :)