“Tell your grand parents to live on for 2 more years, your parents not to fall sick for 2 years and your brothers, sisters and cousins not to get married for another 2 years. These are not valid excuses for taking leave during your two-year stay here. In fact, there are no valid reasons. Saturdays are full days and Sundays are most likely going to be half-days, if you are lucky 😉 Late-comers needn’t bother asking for permission to enter class – it is denied already. And memorize the rule-book handed over to you because any single instance of violation and we will be only too happy to pack your bags and see you off at the railway station. I don’t teach the first year students. In case you manage to get into the second year and choose marketing, you will see more of me. And oh yes, Welcome to TAPMI”, was the introductory message to Batch 05-07 by a bespectacled, French-bearded professor sporting a t-shirt and a mug of coffee in the auditorium.
If the untimely rains of Manipal hadn’t already chilled us to the bone on our way to college, this welcome message surely did. 140 pairs of eyes could hardly conceal their horror. Married folks and guys with decades of work-ex shifted uneasily in their seats. B.Com grads, who didn’t know what it means to have even 40% attendance, gulped hard in disbelief. And Engineers almost ate away their TAPMI ties to muffle their surprise. “100% attendance?” exclaimed one guy under his breath, “Even six-sigma isn’t that stringent, yaar!!” Little did he know that there was a lot more to come.
One of the first things that came my way was additional math classes. For reasons that didn’t surprise me at all, I along with a few ‘number-blind’ batch mates were made to undergo some management related math coaching in the afternoons. It is here that I met most people my ilk. I soon began liking these classes because, apart from the terrrrrrrific mental stimulation, I also liked what I saw in the class. For the first time in my life, I realized that I had gotten my ‘figures’ right 😉 When word went around, a lot of math geniuses lamented for not getting ‘selected’ for the coaching. I got several offers for trading places but I vehemently refused to take part in such heinous acts of misdemeanor and for the love of math. How could I miss this god-sent learning opportunity? Even now when I think of these classes, I still go, “Ooooh maaaa ….an” 😀
Group work was the most visible part of life in TAPMI, though the reasons for its visibility changed constantly. During the first one month, its visibility was because it was conscientiously carried out everywhere – in class after the sessions, near the basketball court, outside LH under the street light and even in restaurants over weekends. For the remaining part of the course it was visible owing to its absence. By then, there was clever division of labor internally and hence most assignments were finished individually. Guys interested in HR would complete HR assignments. Similar best-practices existed among Marketing, Finance and Sytems oriented guys. But there were always some guys who would have ‘kept an open mind’ – so open that assignments would just fall through them. These were the free-riders. It was always fun to watch these free-riders’ faces when the grades came – not because they expected more or less but because they didn’t even know that the assignment was handed out, completed and graded! (Did any one of you have fun watching my face when the grades came out??) 😉 Among free riders too, the concept of group work was very much visible – in the past tense. They sat outside night canteens and sang, “Ek Zamana tha, jab mein bhi group work karta tha…..Hahahahahahahaa, kaisa laga re mera naya gana….Anna, mera double omelet banaa nahin kya abhi tak?” I too was quite enthusiastic about group work initially. And then came Mountbatten, or should I say Edwina?? 😛
TAPMI had a fantastically rich extra-curricular life and a string of cultural events. It began with the all–day senie orientation program on a Sunday. And the orientation to this orientation program happened in the TV room for boys and on the TAPMI floor in the MIT LH for girls. Our batch girls were literally ‘floored’ and disoriented by this orientation, I am told 😉 Then the heavyweights would follow – Episode, Homecoming, Tattva, Janmashtami, Founder’s day, BrandScan, Dionysia, Speed, Atharva etc. Some professors would strive hard to retain the ‘surprise’ element in surprise tests by not giving them. But despite the pressure and equal chances of not having a surprise test, most people preferred studying the loathsome subject to drinking non-existent tea with the elite! 😉
Speaking about tea and non-existence reminds me of the TAPMI mess. The mess had mouth-watering delicacies. Only, it wasn’t our mouths that watered – it was the mess manager’s, who would lick his lips in malicious glee at all the cash he was raking in. He was also a miracle chef because he had made saw dust, brick mud, beedi stubs and even blades edible to the entire TAPMI student populace. He was very imaginative and gave extremely innovative names to the items on his menu card – idly, vada, chutney, sambar, rice, omelet etc – though by just looking at them, you would never have guessed it. He was a roaring success of an entrepreneur. His success was largely because of one of his mess staff who noted down the roll numbers of all those who opted for extra helpings in the mess. The moment you declared that you want an omelet, he would go “Aaaah, omelet-omelet-omelet-omelet- omelet-omelet- omelet….” and simultaneously note down your number before vanishing. And that was the end of it. The omelet would never materialize beside your dinner plate but all the same, you would be charged for it. And you needn’t be Datar (Author of the green-colored cost accounting text, remember? No? C’mon man, the subject at least if not the author?) to note that zero expenditure and total revenue means extraordinary profits. When one has such efficient staff, how can one not afford a Palio? 😉
Two years in TAPMI had many more things worthy of note. There were friendships and quarrels, love affairs and ditches, groupism and loneliness, learning and unlearning, brain-teasers and heart-warmers, classes and bunks and all other things that make it an interesting potpourri of experience – all of which can’t be captured in one blog. And I really don’t intend to make this blog as long as some Founder’s day speeches, you bet. 😀 We have had enough of it.
Do visit this blog once in a while. I have now started a new thread ‘Life @ Tapmi’ and will contribute regularly under this. You too could suggest topics that you’d want to read on. And as long as I get the hits and the wonderful comments like I did for my HomeComing 07 blog, I will keep it rolling. 😉
(FYI: Nearly 200 hits in 3 days. 17 comments already and counting!)
So this post ends here. An aesthetic and poetic line to rekindle the spark of TAPMI reminiscence before I sign off:
“Aaaah, omelet-omelet-omelet-omelet- omelet-omelet- omelet….”
PS: The title of this blog is inspired by the Batch 04-06 song with a ditto title, ‘Ek Zamana Tha…’ Due credits to Kanishka Chatterjee (Director), Anudeep Sapaliga (Vocals) and Vinayak Kamath (Guitar).