It had rained heavily that day (17.06.2016), the same way its raining heavily in Chennai now. I don’t know why I am triggered to put my memory into words.
This is how it starts…
It had rained heavily that day….
We had emptied the old hostels, H1, H2 & H3, our home for almost a year. As we boarded the bus, there was a restless chit chat going on about the new hostels.
It was quite a scene. IIMs boast quite a diversity and you could see that reflect in everyone’s faces, and also in the state of their minds…
The excited ones had already left in the first bus. The confused ones were sitting outside the hostels, waiting for the pessimistic ones who were still packing. Then, there were a few disheartened ones. They were all going to Gautami Heights to get drunk and shed few tears.
“Life is not going to be the same”, you could hear people murmuring.
People didn’t talk much that day but we all knew it, as we stared at one another. Life was for sure, not going to be the same.
The bus which took us to the new campus last week to show the campus couldn’t reach the hostel this time as its tires got stuck in the stagnated water and loose sand lying all around the hostels. So, it dropped us 50 meters away from the blocks in the middle of a slight drizzle.
As we searched for our luggage from the pile which got emptied from the bus, I looked around and all I could see lights on only in few rooms indicating the levels of occupancy.
There were also halogen lamps put on the top of every hostel, intended to illuminate the surrounding. But the swarm of insects and flies were hiding even that little speck of light showing us our path through the mud.
The WhatsApp group was filled with messages of issues and problems.
The campus was not connected to the main power line and was running on a generator. The electric connections were not working in few rooms and water was leaking in few others, as the pipes had been freshly pumped with water.
Infra comm was catcalled almost every other minute. We all knew it was for only a short while or so I hoped, yet it was an opportunity for all of us to pull their legs.
As I entered my dorm, the scene was very different from my expectation. Though it was little dusty, with a few left over bricks lying near the window. On further examination though, the rest turned out to be fine. It was much better than what we had hoped it would be.
It was quite a different scene again.
One was cleaning his room, one was busy chatting or dating in quizzup, one was pouring a glass of vodka, one was checking his balcony view, one was missing from his room as usual as he has to quench his thirst to talk…
Making my way around the floor, I finally entered my dark room and dropping the luggage on the floor, fell on the mattress as I was not left with an ounce of energy to move.
As we went over to the mess for food at nine, the food was not yet ready as there was no gas till eight.
Now it was time to catcall the Mess Comm as they were shuttling between the kitchen and dining area, passing on information on how much time it would take for the food to be served, trying to pacify the hungry crowd.
Checking the WhatsApp group, I understand that the ladies had not taken kindly to have been left out of the night trip. They were making quite a lot of noise in the last one hour, for the management had not let them shift to the new campus like the rest.
As we laughed at their messages and joked or rather truthfully informed them about how the grass looked greener from the other side, you could see the temperature rising up in their words.
The walk back to the rooms was basically a free for all insect buffet of any variety one could imagine, and especially for anyone unlucky enough to open their mouths. The halogen lamps had invited all the insects from the surrounding paddy and sugarcane fields, for this one big buffet.
The night thankfully went by without any drama and we all had a sound sleep, tired and confused.
As the day dawned and I woke up on a bright, and sultry morning, I opened my eyes and I saw, the red academic building standing tall right across the ground, through my window.
We took bath in the few washrooms that were functional and dressed-up without a fuss. It was a BSchool and we ran as the clock ticked.
The walking paths were filled with insects, dead after their night time coupling with the halogen lights.
As our campus workers started their day, clearing the insects and the dirt on the walkway, half of the batch rushed to the academic building for a class.
The first class in the new campus!!! It was B2B Marketing by Prof. Mala Srivastava.As we all sat on our seats, she entered the class with her usual swag and the sweet smile lighting up her face.
She starts the class with the basics, but loses her track suddenly in-between to the sultry summer weather.
“Isn’t the AC not working?” She murmurs almost to herself and then rings to the CAO, I guess. “My kids can’t learn without an AC and they are paying for it. Why is it not working” is all that we could hear her utter and she walks out of the class.
We start our usual chit chat and go silent at the click of her shoes. She stands in front of the board and asks the guy from PGP Office to click a picture, which she shares to the entire class.
The light switches on indicating the arrival of power and the AC starts to pump in cold air. She talks in her shrill voice with a lot of confidence, trying to instill in all of us the same and that things will become better within a week and the Director Gautam Sinha enters the room with a happy laugh accompanied by a big team. They all were happy as the first batch has shifted and they walk away to inspect the issues.
The bell rings and we walk out of the class to get back to our luggage. The brick walled hostels look beautiful with the background of the clear blue sky.
It’s a short story of a batch which stood to its collective decision making, to be the first batch to shift to the new campus, in spite of the harshness it would experience.
It’s the short story of a Director who stood on the construction site almost every day to complete the campus as promised.
It’s also the story of a PGP Chair who tried to inspire her students when they were down.
They were all successful as they believed in themselves and they believed in their efforts.
Little did they know that it would become history one day.
Yes, we are the Cubs of Corbett and we fell in love with our new den.. IIM Kashipur on its own Campus.
Off the story line:
1.The major issues were resolved within a week and the mud became beautiful lawns in two months. The flower beds started their bloom before arrival of winter.
2. The insects got accustomed to our lights and then didn’t bother much. Probably they were very excited on day one.
3. The director would park his car between the hostel and academic block watching us running to classes as he reviews the issues and the growth of the campus. He had his entertainment making fun of us.
4. The batch fought with him to complete the OAT so that they are the first batch to conduct the events there. They didn’t want to leave any legacy for the new batches to come.
5. PGP 15–17 became closely knitted leaving aside all the differences they had. They stood through their ups and downs together (Well, almost…) and they have stories which they reminiscence often..
6. People became more optimistic within a week. It was the clean air or the beautiful view or the new buildings, we had no clue about the reason but the place had a charm & a mesmerizing beauty to it, all the while working it’s magic at all those who live there.
7. A lot of disheartened souls today, wish for those beautiful nights to come back… Nights spent dancing till dawn, round and round the fireplace, on the chilly winter nights of Kashipur.
8. The batch today doesn’t remember much about their old campus, as their memories got corrupted by a beautiful new campus which rose from the dirt they stepped in. :-D
Happy Ending of course!!!