The Day That Was
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My 20 hours long journey from Kolkata to Lucknow somehow felt cozy and one of the best till now. The train was running on time, weather so fine with all the stars and planets best aligned - I reached Lucknow.
Lucknow, popularly known as 'city of Nawabs' is quite popular for its cuisines and handicraft. But to me Lucknow is a place where I would see my dreams getting realised during the next two years.
The campus is located 22 km from the railway station yet well connected. I hopped into an auto and as we turned left from NH-24, I could read 'IIM Lucknow, 3.4 KM' (popularly known as ‘3.4'). Soon, I was at the campus admiring the two mammoth structures that welcomed the visitors. The 'Arjuna Rath' and 'Dandi March' are strategically located near the main gates promoting India's Mythology and history. I went straight to the 'Student Affairs' office, where I was allotted by draw a room in Hostel 9. After cleaning my well-ventilated room with a spacious balcony it was time to explore the campus.
The lush green campus is strategically located away from the main city. It gives the perfect atmosphere to live a student's life. As I moved along the winding circular road of the campus, all the faces looked unfamiliar. It was both difficult and risky for me to ask if one is from PGP1 or PGP2. I had already committed the blunder of asking the lion (read senior) if it belonged to the feline (fresher) family. This time I hit the target, I met a PGP1 student who offered to introduce me to his friends. Within half an hour we were a group of 14. Someone has correctly said, 'Birds of same feather flock together'.
The academic block, administrative, faculty, guest house and library, all bear cryptic Sanskrit names such as Chintan (faculty block) and Chanakya (guest house). Nearby the double storied library is the 'commercial plaza' with stationary shops, banks, hangout joints such as Fauji, Gossips and Bites and Just Tea. We decided to try out the mess food which surprisingly was good. One of the most attractive parts of the campus is the sports complex 'Umang', with a Swimming pool, squash court, snookers and a multi utility gym. I whispered to myself 'the next 2 years would be fun'.
Done with sight-seeing, I was all set for the induction program tomorrow. As I entered the academic block a thin but threatening PGP manual was handed to us. It had the names of all the subjects, their credit allotments, marking scheme, passing criteria, rules and regulations etc. Suddenly the world seemed unpleasant to me. The session started sharp at 8:30 am with a pledge followed by series of Alumni sessions. The sessions became more and more soporific as time rolled. Interesting facts and figures were thrown at us. The objectives of the institute, market conditions, global requirements, and new trends were shared crisply. But surprisingly some students always have some question or the other. I wonder how they lead a life with so much ambiguity. The sessions continued till 7:30 in the evening, with the final presentation from different banks projecting their lucrative education loan schemes. But everything seemed bitter, all I needed was some rest.
My hope for a short nap was shuttered when we received an announcement about the induction session starting from 9.00 pm onwards. The night sessions were grueling. Various aspects of life at IIM-L, the common do's and don'ts, different legacies in campus were presented to us one after another. I quickly added the word 'sacrosanct' to my vocabulary as it was spelled numerous time to make us aware of the importance of deadlines inside the campus. The 'long' session came to an end only with the announcement of another induction program, scheduled in another half an hour in our hostels. We reached our hostels like zombies where seniors were waiting for us. This was a fun filled regular chit chat session. I had by now got the idea why IIM-L is called the 'HELL'.
It was 4:45 in the morning and I was on the verge of collapse while finally heading to my room. Barely had I closed my eyes when realised that I should check tomorrow's timetable. It read 'interaction session with chairman, student affairs at 8:30 am (sharp)'. Today's marathon session has already taught me to follow the cucumber and stay calm. I switched on my lappy, searched for Bryan Adams' 'Summer of 69' - my all-time favourite and retired to my bed hoping these to be the best days of my life.