The class room seemed like new-age stuff, what with air conditioners and all, sitting places arranged like a Greek theatre, the place seemed more like a mini-concert hall than a class. I sat on one of the revolving chairs meant for the students, staring at the paper that I held in front of my face. I wasn’t reading it though; I was using the paper as a cover to steal glances at the beautiful girl with waist-length hair who sat somewhere in front. I closed my eyes for a bit. The slow breeze from the air conditioner had a soporific quality about it, which I enjoyed.
The class room was filled with people who were busy scratching away at their respective question papers, the same version of which so uselessly was held in front of my face. My partner (who does not wish to be named and who was sitting beside me the whole time) asked me what I thought about the paper. Not sure about what to reply, I felt its texture for a bit and finally looked at its contents.
The title said ‘Wordly Pleasures’ and its opening lines was a verse from the Bible. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 “. In the meantime my partner, a good catholic, was getting very restless due to my inactivity. So since he did not wish to be named, for all practical purpose, let us call him ‘John’ as an ode to the good verse.
Its cultural festival time! Nearly every half decent college in India arranges for its cultural festival around January and December. Indian Institute of Management of Kozhikode, which is among the top 5 business schools of the country, is no different. Thus Echoes ’11 was organized. Cultural festivals are one of the most important ways to buy some precious ‘limelight’ for your university, hence these festivals are brutishly marketed and advertised. Since we are talking about an IIM, this is even more true.
I did not wish to go the IIM at first, planning to devote the entire weekend to textbook-worshipping. But when ‘John’ came to me looking for a partner for Word Games in IIM, I thought it was a good opportunity for me to make my mark in an institute of some standing. After all, John is quite a prodigy with words and to pair up with him would enhance my chances hundred-fold. So off we go to IIM.
Me , John, Stein (my roommate) and Joel (a venerable senior) hitched a bus ride from our college to the IIM gate. I walked to the checkpost and was waiting for Joel to catch up, but then Joel went and hired an auto. Hired an auto?! I thought. We were there, right at the gate, why would we need an auto? But Joel was right. Even with an auto-rickshaw it took us a good twenty minutes and we were going uphill.
When I first stepped into IIM-K, I thought we were in a hill resort. I was so used to the forced severity of buildings in educational institutes, that I couldn’t believe that IIM actually tried to create a college and ended up with what looked more like a plush hotel. You can get a 360 degree view of the entire Calicut region from various spots in the college. And they were indeed breath-taking. After staying in NITC for one and a half-year, I did not believe that Calicut could look so good.
And then we walked into the registration desk which was being manned (…er… womanned?) by the prettiest girls IIM-K could muster. Joel, a vigorous participant in all IIM events, was well known and all the girls gave him the … well ….“full heat” of their hospitality. No offense to the girls in NITC, but spending half a year at my college could leave your eyes thirsty, if you catch my drift. ( I mean no offense, I am sure girls have some choice adjectives for the boys in engineering colleges as well.) One of the girls in-charge of registration asked me, “okay, so now that you have given me your names, I will need a team name.” “We need a team name?” I asked, caught off-guard. “Yes.” the girl replied with the sweetest of fake-smiles, which was laced with write-it-or-go-back-to the-end-of-the-queue. So like Steve Jobs, I put down the first thing that came to my mind, which was the name of the breakfast I had eaten a while back – ‘Scrambled Eggs’.
I doodled something completely random at the edge of my sheet. John, in the meantime, was explaining to me the nuances of the word ‘decoupage’. I was not listening, rather I was appraising the vivacious tamil youngster who was my partner. Stealing a quick glance at the pretty-girl-with-cascading-hair who was sitting-somewhere-ahead, I wondered whether there was any chance I could have replaced John with that girl. The thought brought with it a wave of hopelessness, yielding to which I sighed aloud. John, mistaking my sigh for a grunt of approval, quickly wrote down D-E-C-O-U-P-A-G-E on the answer sheet.
To say the truth, we were getting nowhere in the word game competition. John was busy smashing his head on the paper, when I decided to use unconventional means. Stein and Joel were a team, and they were sitting on our right. For the record, Stein is a complete hoe when it came to vocabulary, and Joel is a monster when it comes to word puzzles, together they made a great team (they match each other, even in the height department). So I strain my neck and eyes trying to catch a glimpse of their answer sheet. All I could see was one big jungle of solutions, of which I could make no sense. Disheartened I retreat back to our own answer page, which was rather white. We struggled all over the question paper through the entirety of an hour allotted for it, interspersed with John’s usual comments which went along the lines of “Okay, Goswami, we are f*@^#d.” Unfortunately, John was right all along.
When the answers were discussed by the organisers, me and John found ourselves with both our head under the desk, trying to drown out all those “Hell Yes!! Another correct answer!” and “I told you that was the answer!”. We reconciled ourselves with probably the last position.
Then there was scrabble. Neither me nor John had any clue about scrabble rules. We participated anyways, and deduced the rules while we were at it. John came up with words whose origin I could never guess, but which would never work. For example, he said “Hechsher!” and then would go, “wait, we don’t have a ‘c’.” I would help by pointing out that we don’t have an ‘r’ either. He never did say ‘Hechsher’, rather a word that I don’t remember, mind you. At length, the girl hosting the event announced time up. We go into a flurry of scrabble solving and settle for words like ‘And’, ‘what’ et cetra. John suddenly looks up at me and says, “ Listen Goswami, times up, but the collector hasn’t come here yet, we should think up better ….” He is cut short by a tall, imposing IIM-K senior staring down at us. At that moment time seemed to have stopped. Me and John staring at the senior and the senior staring at us with a bored expression. “Oh f*@^#,” says John and pleads, “please give us FIVE minutes, why don’t you come to us last?” The senior replies dispassionately, “You ARE the last.” It was the first time I had seen John plead, no doubt he failed, he should really work on it.
Needless to say, Stein and Joel had had a ball of a time. They got the maximum scores in nearly everything in the scrabble that and the two even qualified into the next round. And thus was closure brought down upon Scrambled Eggs.
End of Present
IIM-K had been a great experience. It was the first time I had seen a college which actually looks good. Looking at the structure itself would influence anyone into taking a shot at CAT. The students are great (and some of them R-E-A-L-L-Y pretty too), the professors are great (one of them judged the debate) and the canteen is great too. It actually served ‘food’. If you eat in an NITC mess, your definition of ‘food’ would change. I don’t know about the other IIMs, but students should definitely visit IIM-K.