The Night Walkers

Don’t worry, they said. Term 2 would be easier, they said.

Term 2, Day 1, 11:30ish pm, IIMA Campus

As I walk towards the placement office, I am joined by a few others stepping down from their respective dorms. And together, we, like an army of soldiers, march with determination to submit our applications.

Well not quite…

We do walk towards the office – but with our heads hanging in submission. It is just the first day – but tomorrow, we have 5 classes. With 3 cases to be prepared, 2 of which require powerpoints, homework from today, club work, and an already overdue assignment from the previous term – the day has just begun for most of us.

But you know what? Despite all of this, when people ran into their friends or classmates, they stopped to ask about their weekend. Despite all of this, right now, groups of people are gathering to celebrate the birthdays of their friends in different dorms. Despite all of this, Whatsapp groups are overflowing with easy banter and teasing. Despite all of this, we are somehow HAPPY!

Out of all the things that I will learn from this place, THIS will be my greatest lesson. There are good days and bad days. And of course, there are really bad days. But you can’t let those dampen your spirit. You just have to learn to enjoy the challenges, celebrate the surprises, and believe that things will get better.

Because in the end, we are all in this together. And we all will live to see another day…I think.

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Rains and me

‘Anyone who says that sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain’

Rains have always been special for me. There is something about the pitter-patter of drops that draws me in.

Back when I was a kid, I would often sit in the balcony, watching a storm unfold, trying to weave a story into it. Or I would sit at my table, observing the drops glide down the window pane as I penned down my thoughts on paper.

Rains have become even more significant since I have come to Ahmedabad. They are no longer just miracles of nature. Instead, they have come to reflect important milestones of my journey on campus.

I still remember the first time it rained here. I had been living in the hostel for a little more than a week, struggling to keep up with the fast pace, and more importantly, struggling to fight the loneliness which threatened to engulf me.

I hated being alone. I was always either talking to a friend, or on the phone, or just sitting in the library (right in front of the door where I could see people passing by). I would come back to my room only when I knew that the moment I touched the bed,  the world would cease to exist.

Then one day, I was walking, engrossed in my own world thinking about how I would finish some work when I was shaken awake by the first drop of the season. And then it hit me. I had walked all the way to the library, all by myself.

That was the first time when I was truly alone. And yet, I was not so lonely.

A few days later, another bout of rain came. It was a weekend. I had packed my bag and was ready to go to the library for a whole day of studying. It was all planned. But as fate would have it, it was raining so heavily that I had to turn back. My clothes were muddy, I had almost slipped twice – the rain didn’t seem as romantic that day. But things worked out as they always do and one hour later, my friend and I were sitting outside our rooms, relishing some not-so-crisp pakodas with the not-so-warm chai, as the sound of rain meshed with her playlist to set the perfect background.

That was the first time I spent a whole day in my dorm.

I admit that rains are not always so friendly. Yesterday, my dreamy world collided with reality as drains started overflowing, walking became difficult on the waterlogged paths, and mosquitoes took a sudden liking to my blood – you get the picture. I was ready for it to stop and the scorching sun to come back.

But the thing is, I can’t stay angry with the rain for too long. It’s drizzling again. I am sitting in my room – but more out of choice than compulsion. As I write this, I am thinking about the past month and how quickly it has passed by. I am thinking about how my life has changed. How I have changed. How I have started doing things I had never thought I would be able to manage. And how I have probably taken another step towards being the person that I want to become.

Yes, tomorrow work would again threaten to pull me under, but so what?

Today, I AM HAPPY.

And maybe today, IIMA is finally home. 

The 13:45 Thrill

Every day, when the clock strikes 13:45, IIM Ahmedabad erupts into chaos.

Go to the mess, you’ll find students nervously checking their phones.

Right outside, there will be a group lurking around the noticeboard.

Walk around and every 10 meters, you’ll overhear the phrase, ‘aya kya?’

You might also come across some omniscient gurus declaring to their groups, ‘I am telling you, it can’t happen today. They haven’t circulated the slides yet’. Or some damn pessimists saying ‘It will definitely happen. The professor was clearly hinting at it.’

The ‘it’ is IIMA’s (in)famous surprise quiz which is announced at 13:45. You can’t possibly know which day(s) it will be announced. Worse, you don’t know for which subject it will be announced. So, every day, the campus is abuzz with, ‘You’ll see, today it will definitely be ID’, ‘No no, PS will happen’, and of course, ‘FRA won’t happen, right?’ Knowing smiles are exchanged in corridors. Professors’ remarks are dissected for clues. And greetings are substituted with pleas for remedial sessions.

One of our alumni once told us that even today, at 13:45, his body goes through a sudden sense of urgency. I am starting to understand why.

But different people have different takes on the concept. While some are ready to throttle the PGP officer, many feel that these quizzes prepare us for the ‘surprises’ that life throws at us. And then there are others who say that they simply make life interesting. No day passes us by in a slumber. The adrenaline rush slowly builds up throughout the day before reaching its peak at 13:45. Whatever it is, I think that very soon, it will become an ordinary part of our not-so-ordinary routines.

I have been wanting to write about my life at IIMA for quite a few days. But every time something would come up, and I couldn’t find time to do this. But I think it was for the best. Because what better way to start my ‘Chronicles of IIMA’ than with the legendary 13:45?