Friday, May 01, 2009

Asiad to HRC: The MBA Journey

Well, strange way to define the MBA journey but this heading got stuck in the head when I entered HRC on the last day of my MBA life – which if I see in hindsight was a 2 year of dream journey. Something I had hoped but never expected in my life.
It all started at Hotel Asiad. Amit and I had just landed up in Mumbai and after dumping our stuff in the hostel-flat – later branded as 3HMV(and we as 3Hmvees), were looking for a place to eat a hearty (and economical) meal on a hot and humid day. We walked and searched till we reached Hotel Asiad. Looked fine, had AC and with some butter chicken and Naan, the Mumbai life had begun. What we later learnt was that Asiad was ‘The’ place for NMites. You won’t find a person in the batch who doesn’t know Asiad.
Our vice-chancellor on the opening day had said that time here will pass so quickly that you will never come to notice. It indeed did – specially the first trimester. It was hard work fitting in lectures of 10 subjects in 3 months. And on top of it there were those multiple assignments, tests and aahh.. the presentations.
The presentation part was a weak point and something I wanted to focus on. And indeed, it was a long journey as regards giving presentations is concerned. I remember the first presentation. Trying so hard to get it right. Consulting books whether one should prepare a script and cram it by heart or remember points and speak naturally on stage. Everything was tried. For once, I even tried recording it and analyzing it as part of the preparation. Cut to 2 years later. There were 2 presentations in the last trimester. Just before one of them, I was participating in a dance competition. Rushed to the class immediately after, saw the slides and gave some gyan. I had at least seen the case before hand in this case. The last presentation – I didn’t even know the topic and spoke for 3 slides. Un-imaginable.
The second remarkable aspect was the hostel life. It was for the first time I was living in a hostel kind of environment. Although it was not a perfect Hostel but quite close to it. And it is here that first of the 3 incredible group of friends was formed – the 3HMVees. 3 meaning 3rd floor and HMV for the building name – Hemu Villa. The amazing part was we had people from 4 religions and 4 corners of India living together. Hemu Villa was witness to innumerable discussions (especially when the internet was not working), India’s 20-20 world cup victory, playing dart games and ‘marann pitti’ at 2 in the night, coke bathing on each summer placement, Alok ki kheer, 10 different ways of studying (and non-studying) for exams and the unforgettable 3HMVee awards – all coming together. We had plenty of choices for food here but Hotel Nithyanand is a hands down winner for most orders from 3Hmvees, which includes a record of eating chicken biryani everyday continuously for more than 2 weeks – set by who else but me!! The irony is even after 2 years of ordering food from Nithyanand (conservative personal expenditure estimate of around Rs 15,000 – Rs 20,000) I have not even seen where the hotel exactly is. The best part – after 2 years he even recognized my voice and I just had to give the order!
The second trimester was similar in intensity in terms of subjects and presentations but I guess how to ‘manage’ things was being learnt. So it was not all academics now. Some extra-curricular activities started. And that led to the formation of the super group called Bulls. We started as a class project group and from that emerged a group which brought so many laurels that it got a special mention at the convocation at the end of 2 years. A deadly mix of people, we had the NM flag flying high from Mumbai to Pune to Chennai to Indore to Delhi and all the way to USA. Bulls grossed around Rs 8 lakh worth of prizes by the end of 2 years. The Bull run at the sensex – which inspired the group name, may have turned bearish but this Bull run continued unabated for more than 1 year. What the rosy picture doesn’t tell is the hard times, some failures and some hard fought debates behind the scenes. This was a group of friends largely responsible for the 2 years being a dream that it was. I remember a wonderful discussion – we had sheets of paper strewn across the table, chai and cold drink were sweating away in the side and the special part was the surroundings at Prithvi Café. Prithvi is something unique – in the center and still away from the hustle & bustle of Mumbai, creativity is in the air and you will find such a wide variety of people. From KK Menon having cutting chai, college students doing masti with their gang, people in formal suits pouring into their laptop, Shashi Kapoor idling out in his kurta pyjama, Markand Deshpande in his dreamy world, someone enjoying the intriguing peace with a book and coffee, and an occasional glimpse of other bollywood stars – amazing place.
After the first year, things became a lot chilled out on the academic side - except the 4th trimester which was intense than the whole MBA put together. Anyways, after that with the 5th trim setting in there was that placement pressure lingering on one side and on the other hand another group of friends was in the formation – the fun and party group called KIRDSS. It was KIRDSS who was responsible for the unlimited parties, hanging out, bekar ki bakar – basically chilling out and me finally falling in love with Mumbai. The times were tough (placements!!!) and it was due to this frequent chilling out sessions that some sanity could be maintained and pressure released. And it was not only fun we were having. There were discussions that helped us in our placements too. Improvement on the weaknesses, lending a helping hand wherever required, preparing for those typical interview questions were some alternative aspects of the group apart from other reflections on life as such. Now that the main aim was hanging out so it was now that some favorite addas were born. The first choice was usually Cooper Hospital Canteen. It is hard to fathom that after a meal, we used to leisurely stroll out in front of the emergency ward of the hospital where in sometimes you could hear cries of pain from inside. Ontoes was another hot spot specially after people started getting placed. It was a place when one was in a mood to be a bit lavish. More frequented and lighter on the pocket was Alfredos. Then there was the unmatchable rooftop and the Bhurji-Pav outside Cooper which was reserved for dinners after 2AM.
The last trimester was a haze. Trip to US, participating in dance, play, frequent parties. In fact it had become tough to just manage the parties by the end. Even the farewell by the juniors happened right in the middle of exams – no time for it before or after. And then that feeling of end as everyone started departing one by one. Suddenly it was the end of 2 years of post graduation. And it was decided to celebrate the last day in Mumbai in style at Hard Rock Café – the best one in town. And it was truly amazing. One huge place with rock music written all over it. The memorabilia, the music, the atmosphere– in an instant it became the favorite for all of us.
The journey which had started from Asiad where 5 people could eat stomach full in Rs 350 ended at HRC where a chicken burger cost that much. The progress from Asiad to HRC is just a metaphor to describe the unusual amazing journey which only went upwards in the 2 years at one of the most wonderful place one can have for a student life to be in.
I am one of the lucky few who have been able to enjoy a student life in a cool, laid back place like Chandigarh as well as in a fast paced, hectic, never sleeping and truly rocking Mumbai.


rahul said...

waah bhai waah.. chaa gaye.. kya nichoda hai do saalon ko... Sahi hai yaar. You are now seems eligible to write books. Shuru kar de kuch. Really missing those moments. Make plan for AHD before joining. It ROCKSSSS,....

50scent said...

Wealth creation of 800,000 Rs......U surely have become a businessman !

Ankit said...

Really well written , refreshing blog . Cool Man !