Term 5 is done and dusted.

Time, time, time.. you’re running, no – sprinting! You’re determined to pass me by and make me want to enjoy the remainder of these two beautiful years at MICA even more (if that was possible). And alas, term V has come to an end as well. This term-end has made me realise so many things, but importantly, I’ve realised that I’ve forgotten to document my learnings from the last term!

Before I forget anything else, I think I should get down to writing it down, NOW : 

Two years – you’d think that was a long time. But it’s just not enough for a place like MICA. Between the time that you’re getting to know your seniors and trying to remember the names of your juniors, you realise it’s time to go. Relish this time. That’s what MICA taught me this term. Well, sure, I attended two great account planning workshops, won an inter-collegiate table-tennis tournament, had a total blast organising quizzes on various topics and generally had fun, but MICA this term was just another lesson in the temporality of the whole experience. 

I entered the gates to this campus at the beginning of these two years with a special greed – a greed to make the most of these two years, to try out as many things as I wanted to – sports, cultural activities, academics, quizzing, international cinema and more than that, sharing that experience with like-minded people. This place truly brought out the best in me. And one of the greatest bits about living in a residential college like MICA was really really getting to know yourself. That’s the good part of living in such a diverse mix of people, your natural differentiators come to the fore and you can really appreciate yourself for what you truly are. Of course, there is also the risk of wanting to blend in and mimic people around you, just to be part of the ‘crowd’ – whatever you choose, it teaches you a lot about yourself and I am glad that I had that experience. 

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Learning about myself, learning about relationships. It’s a small, cozy campus. At the beginning of the course, I had made a mental note to go to every single birthday dunking of my batch-mates. I tried to stick to it as much as I could and attended quite a few midnight birthday dunkings in the first year, but slowly that stopped. It was not out of dislike or laziness, I guess I just realised proximity does not mean closeness. I managed to live with that, and accept it. 

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This term also made me value integrity and to value people who stand for something. There were many situations where I saw people around me behave contrary to themselves. It was extremely unsettling to see people who I had known for quite some time give in to things they were oblivious to in the beginning. But in the end, I came to know and appreciate people who knew what they were doing and stuck to their guns even when times were bad. In hindsight, this term at MICA was really a big course of people skills and appreciation. 

As I look forward to beginning my last term at MICA in a week, I will try and treat every new day as a chance to explore this place and the people associated with it even better. There are so many things unsaid, unseen. Some days seem to contain infinities in them and then suddenly, two years seem like a blur. 

As I read somewhere –

Some infinities are greater than other infinities.

Looking forward, MICA 🙂

 

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The cup overfloweth.

The cup overfloweth.

Today, as part of a Twitter campaign – the BCCI handle sent personalized messages with Sachin’s handwriting and his autograph to everyone who tweeted with a #thankyouSachin. Now, I don’t know why but this just hit home in so many ways. For a long time, I was unable to process the fact that an Indian cricket team without Sachin was to be the new status quo.

Neither was I any excited about the fact that Sachin was playing in his 199th test match and his second-last match in a long long time. This photograph, his handwriting – has suddenly made it all so real. And it hurts. It hurts that there will no longer be the Sachin Tendulkar constant in our equations.

Sachin, you may not figure in Indian teams anymore – but you are the gold standard. You are the end-all and be-all for fans like me. Thank you for making it come alive. Thank you for getting the cup back for the second time. Thank you – for you make the cup overflow – with emotions, happiness and eternal gratitude of a hero-starved nation 🙂

Lazy roads

The title of this post seems weird. It definitely does now that I read it again. But it makes complete sense to me after being back to my hometown Nagpur after a grueling internship at Bangalore. I always fantasized about living in a big city, enjoying the fast pace of life, enjoying reading multiple newspapers every day and being in the midst of all the action. I got to partially live my fantasy for the previous two months in Bangalore and those months have made me grateful for not being obsessed with my reality and for being blessed with a reality called Nagpur and the beautiful life that I lead here. 

In Bangalore, a journey from point A to B with an average speed of more than 30 km/hr is a success story. In Nagpur, you can reach any part of the city in 10 minutes, with the speedometer surprising you with readings of 50-60 km/hr easily. Bangalore introduced me to amazingly frustrating traffic jams, while coming back to Nagpur reminded me of the joy of driving on empty roads. As I get ready to start my professional career in less than a year, the thought of shifting to a metropolis to do quality work bothers me a lot. I have grown accustomed to the lazy roads in my city, the lazy roads that let you speed up, that let you wander without having to know where you are headed, the roads that give you the luxury of getting lost and not losing anything at all. Ideally, I would never leave these roads.. 

But then, when I think of it, these lazy roads seem to be leading nowhere. I look again, the roads lead home. 

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Looking Back On Term 2.

Looking back on term 2

(Photo credits : Abhijeet Singh, MICA)

This post comes midway in term # 3 at Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA) when it suddenly hit me that I hadn’t done a follow-up post to my earlier one.

Term 2 taught me :

1) No matter who handles Chota (the canteen), the cold coffee *must* remain as good as it was. Otherwise, the handover has been a failure.

2) Going to watch a movie costs more than the movie, emotionally and financially.

3) Unfulfilled plans are like unfulfilled study plans – they get made often, and often go unrealised.

4) Rajneesh Krishna Sir is awesome *yes, he is!*

5) Time runs past you like Usain Bolt on steroids. It’s been 7 months to this place already and not a lot of us acknowledge it. Make the most of the time left.

6) Getting through to round 2 of any competition deserves to be celebrated. For real.

7) Culture just got real.

8) Ek Diu/Goa/Jaipur trip to banta hai. PLAN it.

9) Students at IIM may deserve more salary for just the fact that they can make a good financial plan for B-school competitions.

10) Thakur Chacha is a rockstar.

11) Summer placements make MICA the campus it isn’t. I am glad that phase is temporary.

12) Taking down notes does not really help. Lose some sleep over those assignments. Keep an open mind.

13) The newspapers can become your saviours.

14) Know what you want to do. But more importantly, know what you don’t want to do.

15) Being cynical is the easiest thing to do. Think beyond the stereotypes, appreciate.

Term 3 is half-done. Everything is a blur. But the second term will remain special in a lot of ways. Account planning, brand management, media planning, market research : everything beckons. Gear shift time, NOW.

Cheers to the almost-PGP2! 😀

Airports

The word ‘airport’ brings up a lot of images in my mind. While most of them are happy, some of them are sad. Sad, when I have had to say goodbye to people close to my heart. Sometimes, saying goodbye to people I don’t know when I’ll meet.

Over the last week, I had to go to the airport and say goodbye to two people very close to my heart. Both of them were leaving the country and for both of them, I can say that I honestly do not know when I am going to see them again. You don’t really feel a lot until that person is stepping away towards the departure gate with his/her trolley and suitcase, with a ticket in the hand and some tears in his eyes that threaten to flow.

Of stuttering moms who say goodbye to their sons and daughters and want to say to them, “Don’t go.” but cannot. Of friends who enjoyed those many many days of beautiful company and don’t know when they will have so much fun again. Of stoically silent fathers who want to cry but cannot. Airports make you sad. Airports actually tell you that it’s alright to cry, because so many people around you are doing so! And yes, it IS alright to cry. And it’s important to hug people when they leave, just to tell them how much you’re going to miss them and how much you love them. Airports bring out the emotive best out of you. Airports make you want to wait till the person disappears around the corner in the baggage screening queue.

 

But Airports tell you something more important. Airports tell you to move on. Move on, literally. Just a few more steps and you reach the Arrivals terminal. You reach wide grins, bouquets of flowers, welcome balloons, flower garlands and name-boards waiting for that special person. You see disproportionately large welcome parties, reminding you to always celebrate and make a big deal out of your happiness. Why? Because I believe you must. MUST.

Airports mean this to me –

Airports remind you life is happy and sad. But you must move on. Travel that distance. Hug that special person before you let go. Be there as a part of the welcome party. Shout out in happiness and sheer glee. Hug that person again. Happiness is an arrivals terminal! 🙂

First ‘flight’.

There are somethings that instantly put a smile on your face. One such thing happened with me over this weekend. On the flight from Ahmedabad to Nagpur that stopped at Pune, a man and his uncle were on the seats in front of me. And it was their first time on a flight. They settled down nice and quiet but grew visibly excited when the departure of the flight was announced by the captain and the plane started it’s taxi route towards the runway.

Pune being a defense airport, has a lot of fighter planes. There were two fighter planes on the runway scheduled to take off before us. The man and the uncle looked in awe at the fighter planes and the immense sound that followed. The planes distracted them for a while but soon it was our plane next for take-off. The engine roared and the passengers were pushed back because of the sudden increase in speed.. the man looked outside, his lips moving in prayer. The uncle,on the other hand, put his fingers in his ears, expecting the plane to blow up into smithereens any second.

The plane took off and the man looked triumphantly at his uncle and declared – We are flying. Aaah, that look of joy on the old man’s face when he smiled back and took those fingers out of his ears. Things we take for granted once we’ve done them time and over again, things like the joy that you are in a flying object. The feeling that by association, you are now flying! It is rare to see that innocence I saw in the eyes of these two people that day. It is rare to see grown-ups having such delightful first experiences due to technology. It is heartening to see adults behave like kids for a change.

 

It’s a pleasure to see emotions take flight.

No red lights.

A strange thing happened yesterday. Strange to the core. The ‘I cannot believe it’ strange.

I was driving to some place and cursed my luck for having to stop at one of the busiest squares on my route. A signal turned green and cars from my left zoomed past to my right. Or so I thought. I sighed.  I looked at the signal right in front of me. It was out of order, but the other signals must be fine, I thought. That’s why such an orderly transition.

I refused to give it more thought and sank back into my chair as I saw the next lane cars move. After a while, I got impatient. This was taking too long. I looked around at the next signal. It was out of order as well. Fantastic, I thought. This meant that a policeman was controlling the traffic. I craned my neck to see a policeman somewhere but couldn’t. To my surprise, the next lane cars started moving. I wondered who was controlling the traffic.

And then I looked closely. All the traffic signals at the junction were out of order. There was no policeman. But no body realized that there was no one to contro the traffic. To my utter surprise, the traffic was following the same pattern as it would when the signals were on! Hah! This was something absolutely new to me. People BEHAVING themselves. I could not believe it.

As my lane cleared and I revved up the engine, I realised. They all thought their signal was out of order but they did not know that the other signals were out of order too. Had they looked? I don’t know. It was a unique situation. I could draw an instant parallel.

Why do we behave ourself? We do that because our red lights are always on. And sometimes when they’re off, we behave because we know other people have their lights on. And sometimes we realize, there are no red lights. That’s when we have chaos.