Word count: 1200 | Estimated time to read blog: 10 min
Rain drops. That’s the first thing I saw when I woke up on the dull, grey morning of 17 June 2005. My room mate had not yet arrived and I had the entire hostel room to myself. Two cupboards, two cement cots with worn out beds, two tables with chairs, a fan and two book shelves were all that the management provided for the fees paid. Mosquitoes, cockroaches and lizards were thrown in free. 😉
There was a common bathroom and loo for two rooms and its 4 inmates had to time their bio-mechanisms for their own welfare. I got ready and dressed – in strict formals of course. We were getting trained to be managers and leaders. Hence I thought it best to begin by making an effort to at least look like one right on the first day. When I stepped out of my room, I realized I was not the only one who had got that brainwave. I saw a flurry of shiny shoed, slick haired men all over the place dressed in neat formals. The over enthusiastic ones carried some folders/documents and sported determined facial expressions that they had seen on some corporate honchos’ faces. Everyone was a CEO already!
It took all of us just one step outside the hostel to realize that wearing formals that day was a seriously flawed decision. (Now, to make seriously flawed decisions and then realize it, is so typical of management that we actually congratulated ourselves later. 😉 ) In our enthusiasm to look professional, we had forgotten what we saw first thing in the morning – rain drops. By the time we were out of the gate, all the hair gel had trickled on to our faces, our polished shoes looked like thick- crust pizza, the formals clung on to us like Raveena Tandon’s saree in “Tip tip barsa paani” and the determined expressions were literally washed off our faces down the drains of the hostel. (So now you know why my determination vanished on Day 1 and where it can be found.) The gardener in his comfortable overalls and plastic rain coat sniggered at us, adding insult to injury. But it did nothing to dampen our ‘B-School first day’ enthusiasm- it was so great that if it were to be converted to fire, it would burn down entire Manipal twice over, rain drops included.
Rain is the greatest prankster in Manipal. We gathered in the auditorium as per schedule and were busy drying ourselves when we noticed the sun shining brightly from the windows; not a drop of rain. We were welcomed by a senior professor, an incident that I have already described with adequate elaboration. Soon after this welcome note, we realized that Rain is not the greatest prankster in Manipal. 😛
We then queued up to submit our first assignment on “Unique experience and the learning we had from that” and got the rule book of TAPMI and a tie sprinkled with the TAPMI logo – the TAPMI tie (see pic above). All the girls in the batch saved Rs 500 because a tie was not forced on them.
We were then split into groups and each group had to study a particular function of the organization- academics, extra-curriculars, facilities, committees and fora, festivals, research etc and then present it to the rest of the groups. Faculty members distributed themselves to aid us in our findings. And in a short while, we were assembled again in the auditorium to witness the presentations. I guess a couple of guys and gals almost killed each other to be the one to present the findings of their respective groups – a mentality that would later be considered laughable and highly lunatic. It was perhaps the last time that the entire batch was seen together assembled in the auditorium. The faculty had cleverly made an assignment of this task as otherwise they would have to spend an entire day to educate us on all these.
It was almost 6:30 pm and some indefatigable students went for an overkill by singing songs and peppering their presentations with jokes etc. I was thoroughly drained out and was glad when the last presentation drew to a close. Suddenly a new assignment was sprung on us and we had to organize a cultural show for the faculty over the weekend. When there was a call for volunteers to organize this event, almost all the hands went up. The guy on my right started speaking to me in an excited tone and told me idea after another for the cultural event without my asking for it. Two guys behind me started enacting the skit that they would propose for the event.
The rain was on time and made Raveena Tandons of all of us on our way back to the hostel. We freshened up and headed to the mess. Out of sheer benevolence, since it was our first day, the mess manager had gone out of his way to change the regular menu to serve something edible. He knew very well that first days don’t repeat; we didn’t.
After the meal, it was time to socialize and we formed our own groups and assembled in nearby rooms to know each other better. Some guys lit up cigarettes and ranted about the rules laid down by TAPMI. The topic then turned to the babes of our batch and soon we all had a list of ‘must-watch’ chicks. I prided myself on seeing all of them on day 1! 😉
There was a sudden knock on the door and cigarettes were extinguished in a hurry and deodorants sprayed. We expected the warden but it turned out to be the senies. They felt that we hadn’t been ‘educated’ enough in the auditorium all through the day and the real education was to happen that very night on the top most floor of the hostel, the TV room. In a few minutes, we were all piled up in the TV room in a circle and a guy stood at the centre of the circle. He was the President and welcomed us all. It was a brief 2 minute speech and ended very soon and along with it ended all decency and decorum. In the melee that followed, “lamps were lit”, “Champas and Taras were repeatedly called” “Geminis were danced to” and at the end of it all, we were more steeped in the TAPMI culture than a decade at the auditorium. The rules were interpreted for us from a student’s perspective and the consequences reiterated. Senies hailing from the various states of the country called on their respective junies for an additional gyan session and by the time all this ended, it was nearly 2:00 am which was about the normal time any B-schooler would ever go to bed from then on.
We were looking forward to our first day of classes and all of us unanimously agreed to skip our bath and save time – the rain would be there on time anyways. 😉
PS: Thanks Balesh, for suggesting this topic. More such topics from the batch are welcome.