Friday, May 08, 2009

TISS trip Part 2


I have the memories of every journey etched into my brain and heart. The reason is simple- I have had very few journeys in life! No one lets me out of the house to spend money to watch the world!
I remember a journey for the people I meet and the pictures I take. Though I didn’t get much of a chance to name a picture folder of the same name as this write up is, I met some really good people. The list begins with-

Some IIM-A pass-out

The species are so sparse that I feel like finding God when I come across one! The credit of making them Gods also goes to the management entrance coaching centers like the one I had joined! I directly know only two people who have made it to any of the ‘centers of excellence’! :P
The ‘Devi’ -as I should call her after knowing the tag she carries-had come to get her sister’s documents verified. She justified a Prateek sir statement that an IIM-A student will never look or behave like one. A very nice and subtle person; she gave me company at the reception lounge for a good twenty minutes, in which she educated me about the falling returns on investment at the IIM’s and fantastic levels of the same at TISS. Like my mother loves it when someone praises her household appliances or furniture or the God’s corner or her Saree or the design of her home or her children or her cooked meals-it’d be better if I stop here-her statement about TISS made me happy. :P
I repeated an idiotic mistake that I’ve been committing way too often now. After talking to her for so long and about so many things, I forgot to ask her name!
So, I’ll remember her as ‘some IIM-A pass out’. . .


I love to change my accent with people. And I love speaking Hindi in the North Indian accent. A bit of Haryanvi touch, some intentional rudeness and lots of fun; I enjoy that. Akshay was the perfect ‘banda’ for a team. All the fears of having boring room partners were gone! He told me about the time he had spent in the IMA and the sad end of it. During that discussion, I mentioned that I had gained 11 kilograms in the past 11 months. This has been the only achievement in the past one year for me. In the last three years, this is the first person who has come close to me in terms of weight fluctuation. My earlier record is losing 6 kilograms in 20 days (Courtesy- a twenty-day training in Mumbai!). He said that he had lost 10 kilograms in 2 months. No wonder our jawaans commit suicides!
We cracked jokes, discovered the mutual love for food, made fun of a lot of people and had to get into some serious, ‘unavoidable’ appreciation of femininity. We finally celebrated the event of getting a flat by singing ‘Pardesi’, the Dev D song, in an auto, loudly! The pick of the meeting was when I lent him my belt when he was clumsily moving around for the process! Akshay, you should thank my extra pounds, buddy, that have rendered the belts obsolete for me now!


She told me that she would call me when she reaches the campus. Somehow, she didn’t. When she came and sat one chair away from me and asked for my bank challan to copy some trivial details of the fees, I came to know that she is the one whose call I had been expecting since morning. As far as the popular wisdom about Delhi university crowd goes, I was expecting her to be speaking in a pretending accent and someone like they say in incorrect English as ‘proudy’! Ha-ha! But she turned out to be a very sweet girl who seemed to quite sane as well. Actually, after some time with her, she seemed like a potential ‘she-will-write-your-assignment-for-you’ girl.
I hope you don’t change your mind after reading this, Aashima!

Aashima’s dad

In life, you meet some people who shape the way you think or act. I don’t know if it is premature to say that uncle has joined my list, I certainly feel so. I loved the very first gesture he offered. At lunch time, we headed towards the dining hall to pacify all the relevant organisms in our tummies. When we took out our wallets to buy the coupons, he stopped us and ‘sponsored’ the lunch. I love people who offer food for free!
Well, the reason for his influence over me wasn’t this gesture though. It was the one that followed. After everyone had analyzed the food, its quantity and quality, some conversations began.
His first question was to all of us. He asked us our respective reasons for joining TISS. The ghosts of interview nightmares were back! I stayed silent. After facing it a zillion times in the past one year, I have almost ‘fallen in hatred’ with the word ‘why’!
Before uncle began his story, a couple of guys mentioned their reasons which sounded like crammed answers. I guess the discussion lasted for around forty minutes, which passed away like forty seconds because of the depth and seriousness of the things he was talking about.
He bestowed over us all the ‘gyaan’ about how national highways were not suitable for Indian rural demographic, the neglect of environment in most of the government projects, the great grand implementation problem with Indian schemes, two failed projects in UP- one power plant worth 19 crores supposed to run on garbage (that lasted only two days!) and a national highway that is worth 9.5 crores which is a testimony of mindless plan-making of the engineers working on the project. The road was supposed to have different divisions for pedestrians and cyclists and vehicles. It finally had them but the sad part is that the cyclists and pedestrians are allotted the upward slope of the road which renders it impossible for them to use it, resulting in the ‘Indian khichdi’ on roads there! Out of his dissatisfaction with them he declared the engineers from IIT’s and the managers from IIM’s (I don’t know if the IIM guys join governmental organizations :P) as the most unintelligent people in the country! The only way to bring about a change in the system is by being a part of it, he said.
I loved it when he said that he demanded for registering an FIR against a minister (I don’t remember the name)-who had continuously neglected the environment in all the new projects his government undertook- in a meeting also attended by Ms. Sheila Dikshit and a few other leaders. No one present there in the hall could take any action against him after he justified his statements. I wish I was this brave.
All in all, it was a fantastic feeling after I met him. He was one of the kinds of people I desire to spend time with. His words, “Tata institute of social sciences will be spending so much money on you. You need to be clear about what you want to do for the society and for the people” kept buzzing my head all through the journey back home. I wonder why Aashima didn’t believe me when I said that her dad was rocking! I hope you do believe me now, Aashima… :)

Ms. Kanchan Kamle

Amazingly polite, at least through the entire first interaction, Ms. Kamle seemed to be a completely no-issues lady. She is the owner of the flat that we have booked for resting our bums when we will be released off our leash by our college. After she showed us the flat, she served us ‘kokam ka sharbat’ which was tastier than it looked from outside the glass. The slight sour taste gave it my extra point over all the regular sweet sharbats.
When we showed interest in the flat, she asked us to follow a few ‘simple’ conditions which were mandatory to get it. They were-
1. Thou shalt not bring in girls here for an overnight stay.
2. Thou shalt not drink or smoke.
3. Thou shalt maintain dignity in the society
4. Thou shalt pay the deposits in advance.
I loved the innocence with which she said all that.Actually, she was bothered because of her earlier experience with the girls who stayed there last year. She told us about their ‘modern and sophisticated’ lifestyle and we assured her of a ‘rural lifestyle’ that we aren’t going to follow!
See you, aunty!


There were a few other people whom I met that day. A guy from Manipur who promised that he’d teach me to play the guitar; Abhishek, a guy from Assam who had an amazing ability of talking about things that didn’t interest me; Dharmendra, who was tooooooo nice; Atul, who had a cute smile and a lovely UP accent and a couple of 'kakas', the species I love!

One person who needs a special mention here is a man in the academic section who had a nice South Indian accent but had an awesome ability of sounding rude! At times, I like people who are rude. I love being nice to them! After he went through my engineering mark sheets, he asked me ‘WHY’ I wanted to do social work. Even after a few dozen statements of mental clarity from my side-which is quite miraculous-he kept repeating that, “You will repent your decision! You will repent your decision!”
May his soul rest in peace!

It is impossible to term the return journey, 'happy 'as my phone had run out of charge and so I couldn't enjoy any music for 11 hours.I ran out of mumbai on the same day considering the killing heat there. But looking at my two-day freedom ending in just one day, I decided to celebrate it with some komdi. I got a lot of chicken-tandoori packed and had it with two bottles of coke at a dhaba! Wow! Life can sometimes offer you a lot in just 35 1/2 hours. . .

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