April 23, 2007

A Trip Down Memory Lane III – The People

Nostalgia is the ability to forget things that sucked. In fact, most of us like to remember the good parts of our pasts and reminisce about the good, old days. Luckily, the last two years have made me more objective and I at times, strangely though, seem to be able to things in the right perspective. To each one of us, memories are made up of both people and places. Pilani is no different. However, the difference is that I look at Pilani as a whole; an experience much above just people or places or incidents. For this reason, I can still stand visit places which are full of memories of people who are now far far away. The point is, unless I could do so, I could never have experienced what it means to stand under Gandhi Statue much more confident than I was with my life in 3-2.

A loyal student of Marketing, demographics is something I can not ignore at any place. First, the two things that hurt my vision of Pilani the most. In my four years, I have never seen so many outsiders in Pilani all through the day. Yes, they would come in to visit and then go away leaving the campus to its peaceful tranquillity. However, this time they were everywhere and what hurt me most was to hear that the sanctity and peace was often destroyed by them. My mind raced to Shammi and his accident. Those things can become very common unless care is taken. There are too many vehicles on the roads.

Whenever I talk of Pilani to others, I tell people how it has helped me develop as an individual. When I walked into Pilani, I was just another chauvinistic headstrong teenager, bred into machismo by a strict missionary education. Pilani changed me. I was in a campus that had a women population nearing 42%. I learnt that friendship need not see genders; I learnt to be as free with anyone from MB as I could be with my wing after 11. People back home, school friends or even friends at IIMB never understood. My phone calls were always from friends, in the true sense of the word, however loud the sniggers were. With BITSAT coming in, things have changed. There are around 12% women per batch in Pilani now. Sacrilege I say! Anyway, as I was speaking to a very bright young lady over lunch, I was informed that there was once a talk for a sort of reservation for women. In a moment to restore Old School I must have shown extreme enthusiasm for the idea and I shall never forget the angry voice and the reproachful look in her eyes. They may have decreased in number but the Pilani women remain some of the most amazing individuals I have ever met. Hats off to you people.

In Pilani, very interestingly, my relationships with professors have remained more non academic than academic. For example, as I walked into the Languages group, not only the professors but also the administrative staff recognized me. The best part was a comment, “After all you spent more time here, winning competitions and stuff than you did in the Electronics Department!” My poor dad, he would have fainted if he heard this. Anyway, as I walked into Prof. Sharma’s chamber, her first question was “So how come you are alone?” I mean, that was the point right? A sojourn back to the campus. And even if I had plans to take back someone who would be crazy enough? Well, you can’t blame her. After all she was the Warden of Mal as I graduated. Prof. Devika, Prof. Kusumlata, everyone seemed to remember. I sometimes wonder if I should have actually done my Masters in English at Pilani. However, the greatest honour, if I may call it so, came out of the meeting with Geetha B. Madam. CALCI (Critical Appreciation of Literature and Cinema) has been my favourite course in BITS. In fact, this was my last compre, and in my final course at BITS I was the course and the compre topper. (Bigger kick, the only person I sometimes agreed was a better writer than I was, took the course with me). So we got to speaking about how CALCI had changed, how many more students were interested in the course and then we got into discussing MATRIX. Suddenly, Ma’am asked if I could discuss The Google Story with students. Before I knew it, I was standing on an FD V podium and talking to close to 100 students as to why Google was such an amazing Marketing story. Thanks ma’am. It always feels great to stand on the other side.

I obviously had to meet my Group Leader. And this is what the E&I Group Leader asked me. “So how is your writing coming along?” Strange, no one remembers that my degree from BITS was in E&I, except Instru Mag Editors. But that later. The only person I was afraid to meet in BITS was the Great GSu. I mean, we have had a brilliant relationship on campus. He thought I was responsible for everything that the press published and I considered him the most amazing personality I have ever met. Prof. Sundar is now the Dean PSD and as usual he’s heart and soul into his new assignment. Anyway, GSu called me in and as we kept talking about how my life has shaped up. A part of the conversation:

GSu: So you continue your non academic stuff even at IIMB?
Me: (sheepishly): heh heh
GSu: So instrumentation is all gone?
Me: (Aside: He remembers!!!) Sir, I can’t actually make any instrument right now if you ask me. But give me any instrument and I’ll be able to sell it.

I walked out, completely bowled over once again by the only person in the world who has been able to convince me that editing CF is a pretty worthless effort and that too in our very first meeting.

My relations with most of the Bengali Profs on campus have been pretty amazing. Working together to make a Durga Puja often brings down the prof-student divide. Most of their kids took the place of my cousins I left back in Calcutta. So when I went back this time, I was actually not meting my professors, but rather I was meeting families with whom I had shared some of my most amazing times in Pilani. And that’s why even if I do not know any student on campus, I will always be able to go back, knock on certain known doors and just shout out, “kakima, aaj dinner tomar ekhane korbo.”

1 comment:

Anyesha said...

Its nice to know that some things never change. Tomar saathe khokhono dekha hoi ni..kintoo anek golpo shunechi. Nice to stumble upon your blog.