Back to school


Scene 1: Friday 06.09 a.m.

There is light…and it’s obtrusive.

An object hovers in sight and it takes some moments for the senses to realize that there is a perceptible sound. Strangely the sound seems coordinated with blinking lights. The music brings with it a vague sense of discomfort.

“6.10”.
“Huh??”

*Blinking, trying to focus*..”oh. Time. That’s it! Time.”
“Time?”…”Oh, ok. The blue annoying thing is my mobile”…. *Slipping back into oblivion*

“Its late”.
…”Wha…t”?

“Yeah, its late. You were supposed to get up.”
“Why?”

“You have to go somewhere..do something”
“What?”

“….classes. Yes, that’s it. You are supposed to go to class”
*Grimace*. “5 minutes. 5 minutes please”. *Hand fumbling for a flat surface to place the offending object in the hand*…

Scene 2: 07.50 a.m.

The silence is interrupted by the early-morning chirp of many birds. And the sound of my steps on the gravel. My lungs expand to experience more of the dewy fresh air flowing in. As I walk towards my destination, the grey stone walls and the accompanying peace seem like another world altogether. It is like time has frozen.

Scene 3: 9.30 a.m.

I walk outside the room amidst the crowd, going past others to a table where coffee, tea and biscuits are being served. Animated conversations surround me, … the otherwise peaceful environment becoming host to a cacophony. While I contendedly munch biscuits and laugh at my own predicament, my friends proceed to relate their own experiences. We’re soon aware of the time, and of a certain figure going up the staircase. As if on cue, we hurriedly gulp the last drops of coffee, shove the biscuit into our mouth and follow the path of the person who’s just walked past. The rest of the crowd piles back into the room, and the blue door swings shut. The mikes are switched on, and the russle of pages breaks into hearing.

Scene 4: 12.30 a.m.

The car comes to a halt outside office premises in Electronics City. I wearily walk towards the Siemens gate, my office identification card replacing the other one. I wave towards a couple of peers noting their quizzical expressions as I walk towards the reception. Finally at my desk, I plonk the heavy burden of my bag on the desk, and proceed to sit at my workstation, trying to come to terms with the number of unread mails in my mailbox.

Scene 5: 7.00 p.m.

I lug the bag on my back and run into the bus trying to find a seat next to the window. As the bus roars into movement, I pull out the heavy book from the bag. I struggle to see the words in the diminished light. Music from the ipod is flowing into my ears, and my mind starts to wander to the song every now and then. I try to rudely yank my mind back into submission, forcing it to take in the unfamiliar numbers and graphs printed on the book.

Scene 6: 11.30 p.m.

The pink highlighter hovers in mid air, poised to land on a smooth white surface. There’s a jerk and suddenly it crashes on the book, as my head snaps forward. The momentum wakes me abruptly, and my blurred eyes try to focus, without much success. Resignedly, I close the book shut, and fall back on the bed…within seconds, my mind goes back to the dream that it had just begun seeing a minute ago. Ah, back to oblivion.

—-

Having wetted your appetite enough ;-), I proceed to the explanatory part of my blog post now: What I’ve written above is just an excerpt from a Friday in my life these days… after a significant event that occurred about a couple of months ago.

I am now officially doing MBA, and am part of the executive management program conducted by IIM, BangalorePost Graduate Program in Software Enterprise Management or PGSEM, for short. The journey began on May 30th, when we had our orientation program. Classes began on June 20th and in most likelihood will go on for 2 and 1/2 years atleast, if not more :).

IIMB Campus

IIMB Campus (courtesy Guha's blog)

To say that the journey has been incredible is an understatement. How do you explain the awe that one gets being within the IIM Bangalore campus?  The campus is a contradiction unto itself – lying in the midst of noisy, choked and polluted Bannerghatta Road, but being untouched by the mania outside. A beautiful expanse of stone buildings, maze like roads and winding stone pathways amongst green courtyards – it puts to rest all worries you migh have and makes you want to walk around in gay abandon. Walking through the hallways, you almost hear whispers…stories of ageless scholarly wisdom. There are students around, some in the library reading or working on the computers, some emerging from the hostels animatedly in conversation, some seated with arms around each others shoulders around the amphitheater and some more, sipping tea and munching a snack around the many tea/coffee places. Its campus life in its virgin form; individuals of high-intellect who’re there for one goal, whilst partaking the many joys of the postgraduate education experience.

The PGSEM classes are splendid, the courseware enviable. How often does one get to meet professors who’re the best in the country – people who’ve achieved mastery of their subject and are contributing to the country’s future in many ways, not just teaching the next generation? During the orientation course, we had a couple of professors who’d come to talk to us about what they would be teaching. All 140 of us in the batch were awe-struck after each class – their passion and commitment to the subject was incredible. These weren’t serious lecturers; they were witty and brilliant – able to engage a crowd of anxious, accomplished professionals every minute. And the saga continues into the weekly lectures – the twinkle in the eye of my Microeconomics professor when he tries to show us the beauty of supply-demand dynamics is unmistakable :). These are people who’re not just committed to a cause. They are living it.

And as for us, the PGSEM students…Well, we’re one hell of a lot :). Experience levels range from 3-20 in the class; all of us are juggling work and life priorities already – some of us getting our fingers burnt in the bargain – yet out to add one more ball to our kitty. Oh, did I mention that we’re on a unicycle also? ;). The intellect levels in the class is high and usually there is no end to the commotion. Classes are never one-directional – almost everyone wants to speak into their mikes, and contribute to the thought process flowing around.

Of course, over time we are all facing stark reality. Having to read and understand atleast 2 chapters (40 pages) per course (3 in a quarter), prepare for a couple of case studies, and imbibe mind boggling concepts over a week is not a piece of cake. Especially when you spend 50% of your time per week battling complicated issues at your workplace. This is not just a course in management, it is a course in effective time management. I happened to realize how much of time I had in my life only after joining this course ;). It is also a course on sleep and fitness regulation. 8 hours of sleep is a luxury, and as they say, all work and no play makes jill a dull girl – so keeping oneself fit must also be squeezed in, as otherwise, the stress and late nights can play havoc with your physical wellbeing.

Yesterday was our first exam. As we spilled out of the examination hall, we laughed and joked about how we’d gotten massacred. It wasn’t easy… spending all the free time that you’d ever had, to go back to studies and fight it out – a battle of mental capacity as well as strength. It was sheer spirit that drove us to come to class at 8 in the morning, and stay till 3.30 on a Saturday. But we aren’t the first ones. The course is into its 10th year, and 9 batches have successfully passed us, so that thought does bring some relief when at times we question our own ability to understand the complex dynamics of business ;).

Jamming...

Jamming...

And yes, even after the strenuous burden of a test, and 3 one-and-half-hour classes, 2 of them being Microeconomics back-to-back!!, a smaller group of us didn’t haul our bags into cars and drive off. We stayed back, went to grab a cup of tea, and then collect around our canteen area. Two talented souls brought out guitars and started strumming whilst a few others started humming. The humming soon broke out into a full-fledged song, their voices booming and echoing off the walls. I looked around and giggled at some of their antics; at other times joined the fray. Some others came to see the jamming session and then sauntered out into another area, hoping to give vent to their theatrical artistry. What are we all doing? Practicing for Pehel, the first event we’re conducting as the freshers who’ve entered college :).

And so my description of my newest exploit draws to a close. As I stepped into my home yesterday evening, partly exhausted and partly on a high, I had thought – well, whatever happens a couple of years down the lane, this is one experience I am sure I will come back to many times in my life.

This is truly an experience of a lifetime. Wish me luck!! 🙂

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21 thoughts on “Back to school

  1. Blj: Thank you 🙂

    Susheel: Thank you! I definitely understand about the love-hate part; I’m just in the midst of figuring out which one it is 😉

  2. Raman Sir: Well, you would know that silence on my side doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m down and out ;). But anyhow, thank you 🙂

    Shamit: Glad you think so 😉

  3. Romila: Thank you! The one thing I share with Bembi now is the fact that we both are going to school …hehe :D.

    Anu: Hey, great to see you here :). Thank you! I did read your recent post on your PGSEM journey…and it was definitely an inspiring read!!

  4. Sho i was suffocated just by reading all that, i dont even want to imagine going back to my “studying” days though i dont mind going back to just my “school days”. All the best, mashine sammathikkanam….

  5. Hey….glad you find time to post this 😉 I am so glad there are more people who wish there were 5 more minutes for sleep 😀
    btw a couple of people in the “jamming” pic resemble some profs don’t they? (hairlines to be specific)

  6. haa..i get it now..
    the travails of a lady in IIM..;-P
    good luck and best wishes…am sure in some way u must be relishing getting back to those late night studies and burning midnight oil days…(i hope there are still power cuts there..;-P)

    I have stayed ocassionally in IIM B campus courtesy a close friend of mine whose dad is a professor out there(Prof.Manimala)..thought i mightnot qualify as a student there, i loved the ambience of the place..

  7. Ooomz: I’m sure Splitsvilla on Sunday wud hv eased your suffocation …hehe :D. Couldn’t resist cracking that one, although that should hv been on NBS actually!! Anyways, thank you maashe :).

  8. Gourav: Well, I took away time from studying Micro for posting this blog, and paid the price on Saturday :(!! But anyways, there is only so much of studies I can do anyways and my blog will be my outlet ;). As for receding hairlines, that was funny 🙂 – now that you mention it, the pic seems to resemble profs even more! – do you see the guy with the cap in it ;).

  9. Pervertism101: Thank you!! 🙂

    Mathew: Travails of a frustrated lady who’s finding Microeconomics and Financial Accounting way beyond her understanding – you can add that too :D.
    As for relishing, oh you can definitely say that again. Almost all my nights are sans power these days since the rain gods seem to have deprived us of water enough to fund our electricity. Having to study in the light of an emergency lamp, while being bitten by mosquitoes who’re relishing the opportunity of getting their snouts into my ever increasing flab – is my biggest idea of fun…hehe ;).
    But yeah, sarcasm apart, its actually fun to get back to the days of studying frantically before an exam, and having fellow students and backslapping around :).

  10. Pingback: Holiday thoughts and more… « Lonely In Space

  11. Hey Shikha,

    Well, Certainly i’m too late to read ur blogs. This one def brings out the true spirit of an IIM B student! im sure ur journey thru d pgsem has been goin exciting n wonderful!

    Yea, how often does one get to meet profs who have acheived mastery and are so highly proficient!

    At times the experience they share s enough to learn so much out frm it! And that’s exactly what i get from ur blogs too 🙂

    Cheers!

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