I choose to write fiction (and will continue to do so) because I love the idea of creating stories that you and I could live but haven’t yet. This blog post and the #1 in the title shows I have another reason to write: I am experiencing new things and meeting new people that are just as spectacular as any fictional characters I have read and written about. I hope you enjoy what follows.
When the decision was made to pursue an MBA, I knew there was a minute chance of staying at home: a big negative of living in Mumbai is that all the institutions here are in high demand. Nevertheless, I found my new home at SCMHRD – roughly about 150 kilometres away in the city of Pune,
The Oxford of the East – after working not-especially-hard at the preparatory MBA entrance examinations.
“The course is unforgiving”, “You won’t get room to breathe in the first semester”, “You’ll soon start treasuring 4 hours of sleep” were just some of the tales shared by fellow pursuers of the famed degree and, more importantly, those that had already gotten through it. I knew for a fact that the next 20 months would be demanding, but it wasn’t the lack of sleep or the unforgiving schedule I was worried about – it was the people.
For the first time in my life, I would be staying away from home – I’m not referring to the actual structure that I reside in but the protection of people, places and feelings that surround me. Needless to say, I have lived in a variety of places during my travels or functions but those were all temporary arrangements. This would be something else; this would be shifting home base – and I wasn’t confident in my abilities to handle it.
What exactly went through my mind when the process began, which activities I enjoyed and which ones I didn’t will be shared at a different time. I write this blog post as a celebration of the many relationships I and countless others have formed as part of our #scmhrdxp.
The term ‘Strange bedfellows’, as coined by William Shakespeare, comes to mind every time I walk through the corridors of D-Hostel (the one with First-year boys) and see a few of my classmates smashing buttons and smashing heads over a game of FIFA or when I see a good dozen of them huddled around the unfortunate birthday boy who is moments away from a sore back and hundreds of hugs and wishes. In any other world, these guys would never be friends but as observed in the past six months, they are inseparable.
The women do not fit this narrative. They are still carefully colouring within the lines, not trying to step on anyone’s shoes or trying anything different. There are few weird friendships, yes, but largely, you can place these girls into various compartments and every compartment probably has a secret handshake and BFF group on Whatsapp. However, who hangs out with who in their hostel rooms is anybody’s guess; all I get to see are the many factions taking rounds of the campus, with the rest being conjecture.
I’m comfortable speaking about the Boys’ Hostel because I live and breathe in it (sometimes wishing I didn’t have to breathe in it). Coming back to Day 1: As someone who finds it difficult initiating meaningful conversation with strangers, I thought I would have to spend most of the first month looking up at the sky and discussing weather trends. I haven’t looked at the weather forecast once since joining as the boys’ hostel was brimming with conversations and handshakes during individual first meetings. As things go, I’m close friends with some, enjoy the company of some more and don’t mind being in the same room as the rest, but there’s a sense of camaraderie and understanding with my hostel-mates that I wouldn’t have bet on, before walking into the college.
I speak about this now, after about six months of silent observation for two reasons:
- I’ve only just gotten the time and motivation to write and update my blog
- My Facebook newsfeed is full of odd couples travelling to various parts of the country
The second point is the beauty of the D-Hostel – you see two guys renting bikes and riding their way to Goa, you see five of them boarding a bus to Bangalore on a moment’s notice with no bookings and, most surprising of them all, you see two classmates who seem to have nothing in common enjoying Arthur Lake, Bhandardara.
There is something about hostel life that makes you dependent on the people around you: It could be the limited resources or the realization that you are stuck with this bunch for 20 months. Or it could simply be that you learn that people who differ from the normal bunch of folks you hang around aren’t alien or weird; in fact, they’re unique and special.
Here’s to another 1 and 1/2 years of 2AM celebrations!