This is a momentous post. So much that I’m taking the liberty of modifying the words of a song the great poet Roger Waters wrote.
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find two years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun
– Pink Floyd, Time, The Dark Side of the Moon
Two years (well, a quarter short, but then who cares?), quite a rollercoaster ride. The memories are so many, and my words too mediocre to actually even make an attempt to summarize it my own words. Except state that yes, two years have gone behind me.
There’s no easy way to summarize how this course has been, except maybe using the phrase, life affirming.
There are somethings at TISS, that puts it apart from the rest. The neverending credit facility at DM canteen, the sessions of drinking in the room, or the amphitheatre, Hans Zimmer and Pink Floyd playlists on never ending loops are just some of the things that stand out, but its really really hard to pin it down.
As the last lecture ended a couple of days back, there was a strange sense of disbelief. The end of student life as I’ve known it. In my days at GE, there was always a belief that a few months or years down the line, I will quit the job to go back to academics. As I look at TISS and the end of days, it seems sad that I will be unable to go back to assignments, crazy deadlines, walks in Bombay, early morning tea at the Taj among other things.
2014 was a year that was, by far the toughest I’ve had, with internships, academics, existential issues, a general state of being unhappy and facing issues of credibility, both personally and professionally. But then, I put all of it down to character building, and to the fact that good things in life, are never easy.
So let me recap a few things that I believe made TISS very special for me, and I will always keep them very close to my heart.
The Placement Committee
Anyone who knows me well, knows how much I’ve valued the 5 other people who are a part of the TISS placement committee with me. Placement committees, historically in colleges are a bed of intrigue, a melting pot of conspiracies, but for us, I think we ended up being the best of friends through meetings that would last entire nights.
While a few of us did have certain personal commitments to cater to, the committee came first (on most occasions). Being one of the few committees to have an exemplary track record, we humbly accept that none of it would have been possible without all of us. The ingenuity of Anurag, the ability to see the bigger picture of Akhila, the doggedness of Srinidhi (find someone who has the enthusiasm she has for meetings and I’ll quit my job), the out-of-box(or window) thinking of Bhat, the sheer brilliance of Meghna, and well, my ever constant presence brought together what was an extremely high performing, yet a well gelling team. While there aren’t too many happy memories, considering the pressure we operated in as a committee, the questions we had to face, the days where we couldn’t believe what the insecurity of a few individuals could make them do, we understand that we got through the tough days because we stuck together.
It’s a curious thing, insecurity. We all are insecure, but it’s how we deal with it, that makes us different from the rest. Life is not about channeling insecurities negatively but having faith in yourself. There’s no one who is out to purposely ruin things for us. Our enemies are the creations of our own minds. Life isn’t a movie, where there’s an arch enemy. Differing opinions exist, and Tiss has taught me that they need to be respected, and not hated.
I’ll quote my good friend Damahe here ‘the first set of friends we make in college are more incidental than by design. They’re more a matter of convenience’ and three of my closest friends have been my roommates. Damahe, Godara and Saha, from A-602 to C-302, all four of us have come a long way. Three of them are fairly well settled when it comes to life, with priorities pencilled in, and what makes me sad is that inspite of there being a lot of commonalities, the bond is not as strong as it once was. I don’t know what or who to blame, but there’s always the hope that things will be back to the good old single days at Nandanvan, where every drunk was not enough, and every laugh would not have an end.
Compensation, Advanced Compensation, Labour Law, Diversity, Employer Branding, OB 1, these are just some of the subjects that were an absolute delight to study. After all, we come to Tiss so that we learn some HR too. I loved an internship that I had at Mondelez and the chocolates that accompanied it. Never did I learn as much about human resources as I did at my month there.
Godara and I were once talking that every single advanced compensation lecture was like a hidden gem. We’d never want a break, nor would we want it to end. A seminal article, ‘the pretence of knowledge’ by Sumantra Ghosal is one that’s imprinted in my head, and shall be for a very long time.
Those classes were fun, challenging ourselves, trying to put in as much effort as we could and also realising that our boundaries were set only by us.
The parties at TISS have always been a cut above the rest. After all, put 120 drunk people in a room and what you get is mayhem (as owners of Sindhi Society and Oasis will tell you). I’ve been a part of a few crazy ones myself and its a great thing that I remember almost nothing.
There’s a lot I’ve written about my class but a few of my closest friends have been those who I’ve never shared a classroom with. A really close friend being Hamsini, who is, in all probability going to work in chennai and will be tough to trace going ahead, but she and her gang have provided me with peals of laughter (of late, I’ve been returning the favour), good moments, and crazy head blowing movies. (kingsman, ftw!)
My classmates have always been a source of support when I needed it, criticism when I deserved it and help when I was lagging behind on assignments. A big thanks to all of them.
Everyone’s read Tuesdays with Morrie, and it remains, one of the best quick reads that have had a profound impact on me. While life’s lesson wasn’t taught to me like Mitch was taught by Morrie, I’ve had many Morries, whether it be Malvika who propped me up in a really tough phase last year, the Placecomm girls who always made me believe in myself, my superboss at ITC, Mr Sajiv Nair, who told me that I give up too easily and kicked me into action, a certain gentleman who lives in Mysore and is fond of the Laphroaig who’s been riding shotgun with me every way of these two years, telling me when to speed up, or Hams, Nen, Shreya and The tall one, who’ve all been my Morries, giving me life lessons, one after another. To all of them, I’m grateful. And if you’ve been reading my blog, you know I don’t take names easily here.
So to close this rather sentimental post, I’ll leave you with a thought.
Step out, 2015.
“House on fire, leave it all behind you
Dark as night, let the lightning guide you”