Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Adieu XIMB

Today when I was deleting obsolete files from my laptop, I found this in a Word file. I now remember that I wrote this as I was waiting for my flight to be called in Bhubaneswar airport. I must have forgotten to post it. Although it is technically too late to do so now, I think the sentiments are still valid. Happy reading!

Phew! The moment is finally here! It is time to leave. Now, as I sit at Bhubaneswar airport awaiting the call for boarding, the reality that I may be leaving this city for good is slowly beginning to sink in. I ask myself, “When I came here some 2 years ago, did I ever think it would be so difficult to get out of XIMB? Or for that matter, what is XIMB for me?” The usual bout of introspection followed.

When I first landed at XIMB on that rainy day in June 2008, at first, I was appalled that I had been allotted a room in a hostel that was far away from the academic block. More walking for lazy old me! It wasn’t even a week before I called for my bike to be sent from Bombay. In the meanwhile, the action was only building up. Interactions turned out to be a bitter-sweet affair, but certainly did its bit to thaw relations between us and the incumbent batch. Then came the full brunt of the reality of MBA. At first, I used to scoff at the so-called pundits who kept on insisting that MBA wasn’t easy. Of course, they were wrong (at least in some sense)! The academic part was easy enough. It was the overall management of time that was the most troublesome. To add to that were other matters like food (very very important!), crushes, photography, IlluminatiX and my baby! I certainly would never have got through that torrid first year on my own without the support of Sissy. However, that is now in the past, and I mean the first year, not Sissy’s support!

Summer internship was a breeze and a welcome respite from the stressful atmosphere on campus. In second year, I began to appreciate the smaller things in XIMB a lot more. Maybe the move to the older hostel helped. Whatever the case, suddenly, the steps in front of the mess seemed to be a lot more inviting, X-CafĂ© food tasted great and X-walks were something I actually began to look forward to! The trip to Europe under the guise of a student exchange programme was the icing on the cake! Granted I missed my friends and Xpressions 2010, but the alternative certainly wasn’t an unwelcome one.

Last term was when I actually realised what all I would miss when I eventually left the place. It certainly wasn’t the buildings, or the neatly laid out campus. Those are things that are easily replicable elsewhere. What isn’t, is the company of that special set of friends who shared every aspect of their lives with each other. Those nights spent on D-roof indulging in long heart-to-heart talks were extremely cathartic for me and I am sure that the others who were there will agree with me. The north-east trip only served to cement the close bond that was formed with those 9 crazy individuals who ensured that time spent on campus might be seemingly fruitless, but never boring! Thank you guys for making the whole XIMB experience worth it!

Now, as I look ahead, there’s a month-long vacation awaiting me with some more travel. My camera shall have liaisons with more exotic places and then, it will be time for real life to start. A shift to Pune beckons and brings with it responsibility, a set schedule and more importantly, the fact that every move, every action matters! There are some good things about it too – finally I shall get to hang out with S after a really long time and there’s the prospect of spending face to face time with Sissy!

Whatever the future may hold for me, I know this much. XIMB has played a major part in shaping me into what I am today. I am sure there will be people who disagree with me when I say that I like the current Sumo as opposed to the one a couple of years ago, but then after all, it is my opinion that matters to my happiness, isn’t it? So, adieu XIMB! I don’t know when I shall walk your halls again but I do know that I shall never forget you!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Only Friends

How many times have you heard this set of words being used? If you haven't, then I say that you are a lucky person. However, having found myself on the receiving end (directly or indirectly) of this phrase countless number of times, I sometimes wonder. Is it good that I have so many people around me who consider me as a friend? Or is it just my naivety and that I am simply destined for solitude? All my ruminations could still not lead me to a conclusion. All that I can say for sure is that...

Only Friends - the two best and worst words in the whole world!

Euro Trip Travelogue: Brussels

After having settled in Lille, we felt that it was high time we put the 1100 EUR we had invested in the Eurail pass to good use. So one fine day, after class, we found ourselves at the Gare Lille Flandres inquiring about a train for Brussels. Armed with the information, we boarded the train bound for Liege, and got off at Mons. The connecting train to Brussels arrived in 20 min time and we thought, Brussels - here we come. Alas! There was something more in store for us. After halting for almost half an hour at some God forsaken station in between, the conductor announced that the train wouldn't go any further, as some students had broken the window of a compartment! To top it all, he said that the next train to Brussels would leave in 2 min from another platform. RUN!!! Huffing and panting, we managed to catch the train and in due time, found ourselves in Brussels. Now what? In the midst of planning trains for Brussels, we had forgotten to look up what to do out here. So, we decided to wander aimlessly around the streets, gawking at the street musicians, weird outfit choices and of course, the girls! Needless to say, I was continuously clicking away at my camera. We wandered into an organic food shop and got a good looking cheesecake to eat that turned out to be pretty good-tasting too! The evening was topped off by delicious and fresh waffles from a roadside stall and a bacon jumbo hamburger! :D

We boarded the last train for Lille, promising ourselves that we would be back for sure!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Euro Trip Travelogue: Lille

After having settled in on Saturday (19th Sep) night, we slept for most of the day on Sunday. We spent our waking hours exploring the apartment and the surroundings. The apartment is definitely well furnished and has all the amenities that one can want, including a hydro massage shower. Well, all but a provision for water at the throne! All the walls are wooden and the house has an overall toy house feel to it! Just opposite the apartment is a supermarket while McDonalds is also within 3 min walking distance. I finally got a taste of a genuine hamburger!

We had classes on Monday and had to take a bus into the city centre. We found the bus system to be extremely streamlined. Bus stops give precise information about the expected arrival time of the next bus. Drivers dispense tickets and people also get off at stops by informing the driver through stop buttons placed all over the bus. This helps save time at stops where there are no passengers getting on or off! We reached IESEG, registered for our courses, and finally got a taste of what good teaching can be like! No wonder one of my seniors had a crush on this chap! I suppose, if I wasn't straight, I would be thinking on similar lines too! Clear and precise manner of teaching with an underlying structure to the course. I suppose some of the profs back at my institute could take pointers.

We decided to explore the city centre a bit at night and went around clicking pics of the majestic buildings surrounding the centre, near the Gare Lille Flandres. I shall upload these pics soon. This weekend, we may go to Paris. More about future plans and their fruition in the next post!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Euro Trip Travelogue: The journey abroad

Early morning, 19th September, 2009. The big day had finally arrived. After a hectic few hours of packing, weighing, repacking and weighing again, I was all set to go to France for my exchange programme. Last minute delays and my usual long drawn out bath routine meant that I was, not surprisingly, late for my appointment with two of my batchmates who were also accompanying me for the exchange programme. So, out came the usual bout of crazy driving. 28 mins later, I was checking in at CSIA. Managed to just make the luggage limit of 30 kg! Immigration was a breeze and then came the waiting lounge. Unfortunately, most of the shops were closed which was very surprising considering that this was an international airport! Anyway, long story cut short, I purchased Dan Brown's new book and settled down to read until our flight was announced.

EK0505 was an Airbus 330 and I had booked a window seat. Brilliant views of Bombay were afforded and I settled down to enjoy the creature comforts. A seafood meal was only the icing on the cake! Dubai International Airport's duty free shopping is legendary for a reason! It is, quite simply, HUGE! All sorts of goods were on offer and we simply passed the 4 hours of waiting time roaming around and soaking in the atmosphere. A Beef Royale at Burger King was the bonus!

The connecting flight to Paris was the EK075, a Boeing 777-300 LR. It was, by far, the biggest plane I had ever been in! And so much more comfortable than the A330. Meals were served continuously and were varied. Crackers and cheese, chicken casserole, tea and biscuits...you name it, they had it. Plus, there was the wine which was, admittedly, quite disappointing. Paris was reached in approx. 7 hours from Dubai. The higlights of the descent to Charles De Gaulle was the view of the Eiffel Tower with its twinkling lights, from the air! Too bad, my camera was lying in a dismantled state in my backpack! The camera mounted on the nose wheel assembly afforded an excellent view of the approaching runway and the landing was oh-SO-super smoooooth! We never even came to know when the aircraft touched down. The passengers all broke into spontaneous applause for the pilot. I had heard of this phenomenon happening before, but actually experiencing it was a lot of fun. 15 min of taxiing later, we were being ushered through customs, baggage claim and then down to the CDG station. In no time, we were on the TGV to Lille. Our landlord had come to receive us at the Gare Lille Europe. A short drive later, we walked into the apartment that we are going to call home for the next 3 months! I shall upload a few indicative pics soon enough. For those who know me, the pics are already there on my Facebook and Orkut accounts. More on Lille in the next post.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The XIMB Chronicles - VII

It's 4.30 am and I have just finished watching 'The Notebook'. I loved the movie, without doubt. But why is it that such movies always manage to put me in a melancholy mood? Perhaps one day, I shall figure it out.

But today, my melancholy has not been solely caused by the movie. A part of it had also to do with how I felt before that. A dream you have been chasing for so long, a dream that you always harboured as a child, a dream that is about to come true after overcoming so many obstacles and putting so much at stake just to make it come true. How would you feel if such a dream was once again taken just out of your reach by a misguided individual whose intentions may have been noble, but who never, for once, stopped and thought about the repurcussions his actions may have and whether his actions were even necessary!

I guess I shall find out tomorrow whether I can still stretch out and grab for it or whether I will have to finally let go!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Long Shower

Sometimes I wonder why I like to take a long shower so much. It's certainly not because I want to be squeaky clean. Just clean enough to move around in civilised circles is enough for me. It's also not because I feel good under the shower. Although the latter may be partly true, I start feeling uncomfortable after a few minutes.

Why then do I still spend so much time under that high pressure jet of water? Perhaps it's because it gives me the chance to be truly alone, to think quietly without any fear of disturbance, to ponder over what may have been. Or maybe it's because I still cant get her image out of my head - first wet JLT, her hair falling over her face in a cute manner, her enthusiasm to dance not waning with the increasing intensity of the water cascading over the dance floor, the cute way in which she scrunches up her face when asked if she wants a drink, the tinkling sound she makes when she laughs. Maybe it's because I know that it's not possible, not just because of my lack of self-confidence, but also because of the knowledge that we want different things and that too in different places. Perhaps its for the best that I couldn't whip out my trusty Canon today because of the rain and capture her ecstasy for eternity. Maybe I enjoy the long shower because my lachrymal glands are given free rein with none the wiser, sometimes not even me!

Maybe I like it because the shower doesn't judge me...it lets me be just...me!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The XIMB Chronicles - VI

For some weird reason, I decided to check out my own blog today. To my surprise, I found that I had not blogged in more than 2 months! That sure is a long time and not surprisingly, a lot has happened in the meanwhile. For starters, I am done with my internship and am back at XIMB for my second year. I have stayed in Pune for almost 3 months, having gone there feeling happy that I would get to spend some time with someone I am really close to - my best mate. I have come back with, admittedly, a bit of that and memories of time spent with another person who I can say I am very glad to have initially befriended during that wintry holiday in Joka. My 26th birthday passed by on the 1st of July and I sang to myself that timeless tune originally conceived by the Hill sisters, feeling happy that around 50% of the people who mattered called at midnight (the rest messaged) while I was in the middle of an IlluminatiX meeting, with none the wiser! It was like my own little secret and I somehow derived some ridiculous childish pleasure out of it. Maybe Sissy can throw some light on the reasons for this weird behaviour. But then, when HAS my behaviour been called normal?

Anyway, I am digressing. The other big thing that has happened is that my application for an exchange programme with a French university has been accepted and I will be going for a term to the IESEG School of Management in Lille, France from September to December. Right now, only the tickets to Paris have been finalised and we know for sure that we (6 students from XIMB, incl. me) will be flying out to Paris from Mumbai/Delhi on the 19th of September. Accommodation still remains an issue, but we are hoping that something will work out. Let's see what happens. The only thing that remains after that is the tour planning. Unfortunately, the Eurail pass will not be available at a discount for me due to the passage of a certain event mentioned earlier in this post. Still, this is a once in a lifetime chance and I shall certainly not be hesitant in taking it! Europe, anyone? :D

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Life's Aims?

Just last week, after a lot of time, I found another comment on one of the posts here. Princess was back and here to stay, I hope! Anyway, it made me realise that I had not posted here for a really long time. Well, not much has happened since then, anyway. My first year has ended and I am currently sitting in a sterile air-conditioned environment in a top IT firm in Pune, doing my summer internship. Out here, the work isn't very hectic – at least, not right now. That leaves me with a lot of time to think aimlessly.

Well, today, I was doing just that when I suddenly asked myself if I really wanted to do this. This being working as a consultant in an IT company, earning what would hopefully be big bucks. The self-posed question intrigued me and I tried to delve deeper to find an answer. I decided that I liked working with technology and trying to make it fit the needs of a business. I liked juggling different things at a time and finding the optimal mix of time and effort to perform all tasks. My job is giving me all these things. Then, why did I ask myself this question in the first place?

More introspection resulted. What did I always want to do, LOVE to do? The answer was instantaneous – drive. I am always eager to drive, whatever the situation, however tired I may be. I am always able to drive at full alertness. Yeah, it is wholly probable that I may slump at the wheel the moment I reach my destination…but then, that's a story for another day. Unfortunately, they don't have job which lets me drive for pleasure – well, not one that I am aware of, anyway!

I also love to write. Put my thoughts down, so to speak. There is something about being able to read about what I was thinking a couple of years ago, as this blog now allows me to do. It just helps me understand myself better. Too bad the bug bites me only once in a while!

I love to take pictures. Pictures of nature at its pristine best, pictures of people doing weird things, the more spontaneous the better. Pictures that will make people shake their fists at me, yet grudgingly admit that this man can click! Unfortunately, I am too lazy to get down and dirty, as the professionals like to put it!

I love to be in Bombay. I know my opinion is biased, but as far as I am concerned, there is no better city anywhere else. I love the anonymity it provides me with, the ability to go places without being recognised. I love the fast pace at which it moves, yet it gives me the ability to just stand at Marine Drive, or sit on the wall at Bandra fort and simply stare at the sea. Unfortunately, my chosen line of work allows for a very slim chance to be in Bombay for the near future!

I love all these things. I hope I will continue to do so. But, what I love the most is being able to go back. Go back where there is someone waiting for you. Now, it's my parents, tomorrow it may be someone else. At the end of the day, I just love to go back…home!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I understand...

There are many things that I can't be told, as I am too 'young'.
I don't like it, but I understand.

I need to drive with a running commentary run by my 'well-wishers' in the back seat.
I don't like it, but I understand.

I need to study 'hard' for results.
I don't like it, but I understand.

'She' is happy with someone else.
I don't like it, but I understand.

People fail to see beyond the 'loud' me.
I don't like it, but I understand.

All my 'friends' are slowly moving away.
I don't like it, but I understand.

My best mate is hardly available when I need him the most.
I hate that I understand it, but I understand.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Well, the hellish week of lectures has ended and I am temporarily back home. As I lounged about in my favourite chair, reading fanfiction in front of my beloved old Presario while Mum fretted about the packing arrangements, I began to wonder what would I like to take with me on the trip. That led to a whole new chain of thoughts, which finally led me to ask myself, "What are my most prized possessions?"

The very first one that comes to mind is a life size car that my grandfather gifted me when I was two. When I say life size, I mean life size for a two-year old! I used to sit in it and drive it around the house for ages, generally driving the people around me stir crazy! I still have it at home, although it is now used for stacking a lot of junk stuff on it, so that it can be moved around easily (the advantage of the wheel and all, you know!).

The next one came quite a few years later when I passed my Std. X exams. This time my grandfather gave me a Titan watch that I had been mooning over for months. I still wear that watch everyday. Then came the very tool that I am using to write this - my Presario. This was during Std. XI or XII (I can't remember which), when my grandfather asked me what I would like to have for my birthday. I jocularly mentioned a computer and lo behold! He gave me a cheque of the appropriate amount and asked me to go get one for myself! There have been precious few times when I have been completely flabbergasted, both mentally and verbally. This was one of those times. Now, I know most people will be seeing a pattern here, what with my grandfather being the well, "gifter", for lack of a better word. Well, up until this point, it was like he was my very own Santa Claus, and I loved him for it! I know it sounds really materialistic on my part, buy hey...I was a teenage kid, cut me some slack! Well, back to the topic on hand, the Presario was the last of my treasured gifts from him, simply because of his unfortunate death when I was in FE.

My next prized possession came when I (in combination with a couple of friends) threw a party for our birthdays, which happened to be pretty close to each other. All the three of us were recipients of gifts. I happened to receive a porcelain mug with 'Happy Birthday' written on the side. It is ironic that I had told Mum that I needed a mug just a few days before this. I still drink tea/coffee ONLY from that mug whenever I am at home. In fact, my Mum is the only one who is allowed to touch it apart from me!

Speaking about Mum, brings me to my next possession. On successful completion of my engineering, she gifted me a Parker Vector. Pretty simple and straightforward gift, really. But, I really don't know why I still treat that pen with fondness. Signatures are the only thing I allow myself to scrawl with that pen.

Finally, we come to my last treasured possession so far - my baby...well, my bike for the uninitiated. She is special to me simply because she is well and truly mine. I have earned every penny spent on her purchase and to this day, I zealously maintain her in good tune. Hopefully, we will have many more rides into the sunset together!

So, what do you own that you treasure the most?
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