When the bus ride begins to get bumpier by the minute challenging Volvo’s suspension technology; when you sweat like a race horse despite incessant rain drops clamoring on the glass pane beside you; when at one random glance, you see more educational institutions than shops, houses and stray cattle put together – you are in Manipal!
“Homecoming 07”, the clarion call from Alumni Affairs Committee had sent our batch into a tizzy of activity. The two CRs, who are now quite adept at tuning microphones for clarity/pitch and breaking the seal of the whiteboard markers in the least possible time, now decided to take it upon themselves to book the bus tickets. Group mails, phone calls, sms, orkut scraps and even gtalk status messages all had but one topic doing the rounds – HC ‘07. The motives were diverse – nostalgia, ‘making ones presence felt’, meeting junie 1st year girls and using the cell phone on campus to name a few. (In the ascending order of popularity, just in case you didn’t guess that by now!) And yes, there was always the grapevine, the gossip to catch up with. Now that there was no more ‘group work’, accessing and passing on gossip had become an outboundy(1) task. So this was the time to hit TAPMI for all the right reasons. 😉
(1) Outboundy: adj. – extremely hard, difficult, arduous and yet very necessary.
I chose to enter TAPMI around 2 pm. There was a welcome desk with a large poster that declared the occasion. AAC, for some unknown and strange reason, had decided to liken us to crows sitting on electric wires in the poster. Three lines from a popular B-school song kept running in my mind: “Na rail ki patri, na bijli ka khamba….” And you know the third one, right? There were also several blow-ups of 05-07 group snaps adorning the walls. The posters added considerably to the hospitality – and more so to the U R Art guy’s pockets for printing all of them.
IN THE AUDI:
The agenda read that there were 3-4 welcome speeches in the auditorium followed by the group snap. I peered into the familiar audi and something very unfamiliar greeted me. It was three-fourths full – yes, including the first few rows! (1)Guys who had never stepped into the audi except for the induction perhaps were (2) sitting in the first rows and (3) paying undivided attention to Prof Badri’s speech! I know it isn’t good writing technique to include three mega surprises in one sentence but guys, it really happened! And just in case you missed the three, do read the previous sentence once again along with the numbers. I then looked at seats in the last few rows – empty! I slipped into one of them and took in the view. I noticed lots of familiar faces and voices all around – of batch mates, junies and professors. Cell phones were ringing everywhere and batch 05-07 pass-outs were giving on-the-job training to their junies at flouting some of the most sacrosanct rules of TAPMI, all the while stressing on the phrase – after you pass out! And as a double precaution, if any of the junies are reading my blog when they should be doing their assignments, let me re-reiterate – AFTER YOU PASS OUT. HEARD THAT? COOL! Now read on.
THE GROUP SNAP:
The wait for the group snap seemed abysmally long and was rendered more painful by the asbestos ramshackle of a mess-canteen combination. For some strange and unknown reasons yet again, AAC had chosen Madhav Kripa, the primary school, as the venue for the group snap…..
…… [-Editing begins- The next few lines have been deleted by AAC without the author’s permission – editing ends-] ……..
You didn’t believe that previous sentence, did you? But then, you never know. I am told AAC is getting increasingly influential, thanks to the huge pile of business cards they have been collecting from alumni in all sectors over the years! And oh yes, the snap came along fine though there was some last minute ‘squeeze in’ 😉 And for some strange and unknown reasons yet again, AAC chose to release the print copy even before the e-copy. I hadn’t received the e-copy until today when I got a mail saying that it is up on picasa – a full 60 hours after the print version was released.
Then came the best part of the whole program – the party. The agenda proclaimed that there was a cultural program line-up surrounding the theme ‘Arabian Nights’. And indeed the theme was brought out beautifully. When there is a strong gust of wind in the Arabian deserts you don’t see anything. Similarly in the party, one couldn’t see anything close to cultural or, for that matter, Arabian. The smoke added on to the invisibility factor. And who says genies don’t exist? You should have seen how some of the guys were reacting under the spell of spirits. A few seemed to have magic-carpet rides as well! Here, I won’t tell you that TAPMI sponsors all the spirits because if they come to know, they might stop from next year onwards – poor junies. 😛
It was nice to see the guys and girls in party dress – more so the girls. 😛 Some very important things were being discussed. It seems some former couples, considered indispensable to one another, were now eligible singles. Some guys claimed that they were trying their best to avoid being seen by their ex and even stepped on the stage to prove their word. One gal from the 07 batch was getting a lot of rave reviews about her new hairstyle. Some artistic people were prominently absent. And who says B-school is the enemy of romance? You should have seen the number of matrimonial successes standing arm-in-arm at the party, putting shaadi.com to shame.
The stage too was fantastic with a sexy hostess. My best friend told me the next morning that there was a host too and that I suffer from selective retention. I believe him. He never lies, especially when he is having a hangover. I won’t tell you about the lighting of the lamp and other such quotidian events as they are like slides # 1, 2 and 3 of all our presentations – redundant case facts that every one knows and are best skipped. 😉
The next day had a few major events like throwing TT balls in a bucket, bowling down mess glasses and other such management games. 😉 Soon it was time for packing bags and boarding buses. AAC came to wish all departing alumni a final adieu. For some unknown and strange reasons yet again, they didn’t bring their crows-on-electric-lines poster along. The bus back was again a Volvo whose suspensions recovered its magical smoothness once it was safely out of Manipal.
POST HC ’07 EUPHORIA:
I am back in Bangalore now reminiscing the great moments I had at HC ’07. I recollect the times when I grudgingly followed some of the rules at TAPMI; kept wondering why there was so much of emphasis on ethics; almost had a fight with the PGP Chairman who insisted on adhering to the rule book and asked me to repeat Outbound, of all the things in the world. Never understood any of it and always thought I should clarify matters once I am out.
But now when the eyebrows shoot up in meetings after I introduce myself; when the inevitable exclamatory ‘Oh!’ escapes from the lips of my company’s executives along with the extension of a polite hand from the other side of the table; I am overwhelmed by the respect and appreciation I see in their eyes. The reaction is instantaneous and very evident, not once but always. And the catalyst to this reaction, I know very well, is just one word in the entire introduction which is neither my name, nor my qualifications or any other achievements. It is ‘TAPMI’. And in that monosyllabic ‘Oh!’, the polite handshake and the appreciatory look in their eyes, I see my answers to questions regarding the inflexibility of rules and emphasis on ethics.
Perhaps AAC is metaphorically correct in having put up that crows-on-an-electric-line poster. The electric lines are like our careers running on. The other ends to which these cables are fastened are our futures. But behind all this is TAPMI, the electric pole, the ‘Bijli ka Khamba’ that has given us all secure and immovable grounding. I am honored to be associated with it.
VOTE OF THANKS: 😛
Homecoming 07 was a fantastic experience. Undoubtedly, it was great to meet all the batch-mates and it is their presence that made the occasion so memorable. But there were the rest who enabled this and my thanks to all of them – 1st year volunteers, our dear junies who are so capable (of course, we trained them!) and the faculty and staff at TAPMI.And for some not-so-strange and known reasons, I would like to congratulate AAC for its fantastic efforts at coordinating and organizing this event. Kudos.
So guys join me in saying: “Bolo Champa – A-ha , Bolo Tara – A-ha, Lehar Pepsi – A-ha , TAPMI Sexy!!!!!”
PS: I just realized that my best friend lies even when he has a hangover and I don’t actually suffer from selective retention. Vivek Chaudhary, you rock too as a compere 😉
Disclaimer: The above mentioned opinions are inspired by real life incidents so you can’t blame me for having them. No AAC members or any of their posters were harmed in the making of this blog. 😉