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The Reality Check

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It was the 29th of June 2008, a Sunday. I had hardly slept for a few hours when I heard noises. One was the alarm going off and the other was my mother trying to wake me up. My Sundays had never started this early! But this one was special. It was the day I had to leave for the Indian Institute of Management, Indore. I was actually going to join an IIM! Gosh, I had never thought that I would make it to a B-School, let alone an IIM! It isn't that I wasn't worth it or something! Just that I never had that serious attitude in life that is required of an IIM aspirant. My friends had actually suggested that I write a book titled "The hippy who got into the IIM" when I told them about it! Well, that's a story for another day!

And so, we packed the bags in the trunk, said goodbyes to the few neighbours around and hit the road. Bangalore had got a new airport outside the city and the roads were notorious for their jams. But it seemed so empty on this particular day. At the airport, I caught a glimpse of my parents through the glass walls. I cannot put into words the feeling that ran past my mind at that moment! I only wished the MBA was worth all the other things I was leaving behind. I starred at them till they disappeared.

Then, I slowly walked towards the security gate, checked in; found a chair and sat down. My flight was still two-and-a-half hours away. I was feeling lonely in the middle of a crowd. I had felt that way many a times in the past. But this feeling was by far the worst! I had lied to all my friends that I was leaving on the 30th. I knew I couldn't leave if they all had come to see me off, which they would have! It was hard enough to part with my parents. The presence of my friends would have made it impossible.

After a boring and painful flight that seemed to last for an eternity, I finally landed at Indore only to find myself being mobbed by 50-odd taxi drivers. Some of them seemed like they were willing to drive me to anywhere, even back to Bangalore! But I soon found myself in familiar company, a bunch of equally clueless boys heading to the IIM. Though they were all strangers, they still seemed so peculiarly familiar. Well, we were all in the same boat after all!

After some negotiations and packing of luggage, we headed to what was going to be our home for the next two years. As I starred outside the window of the car, I hoped this new home would match up to the one we had just left behind, though I knew it never would.

The drive did not last too long. We soon reached the institute, completed the formalities at the hostel check-in and set off to find our respective rooms. We found them soon, although moving our luggage up the stairs was one hell of a job. That done, we reached the mess only to find that we were late and there was absolutely nothing left for us to eat! Great! No breakfast in the morning, a horrendous flight and now, no lunch! It could not have started better! We picked up some fruit drinks, which tasted horrible, and headed to our rooms to get some sleep but were told on the way that we need to submit some documents to get our new contact numbers and we need to register with the student body committee -- this and that! More formalities! I was wondering what it takes for a guy to get some sleep in an IIM. I would soon find out...

By the time we were done with the days' formalities, it was quite late in the evening. We were all too lost in our thoughts to be able to sleep, so we decided to take a walk. My new home was right on top of a hill surrounded by greenery everywhere. Not bad I thought. As I walked along looking at the vast stretch of green fields and the hills further ahead, I wondered what I was doing there! I had worked hard to get there. I was one of the few lucky one to make it to an IIM. I was living the dream of a million young boys and girls. And yet, I was aimless.

I sensed similar sentiments on the faces of the others around me. As the darkness descended, we walked back towards the hostel. The sight of the mess brought some solace to the aimless hungry bunch! We ate to our heart's content and walked out to find a notice in front of the mess stating that we will have an introductory session from our students committee (senior) dudes at 10.30 p.m. All right, now this was strange. An introductory session on day 0, at 10.30 p.m.?

Well, all these initial hiccups apart, what matters is that I am now in the IIM. A whole new way of life will soon open up in front of me. I need to embrace it, live it, and do justice to it. I don't know what or where I will be in life at the end of these two years. But I do know that I will build experiences that will guide me through the rest of the journey; I will build memories that will remain long after this journey of mine is over...

Kishan K.A. is a Ist year student at IIM-Indore

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