Wednesday, May 18, 2005

CEL, A life changing phenomenon – PART1 (with my seniors)

As the electric train rocketed its way towards Hazrat Nizamuddin, I was sinking inside my jerk and hugging tight my back-pack to bring in extra-warmth to my chilled and sinking heart, with my half-closed eyes starring at the old Punjabi couple deep asleep in front of me and a teen aged guy reading a distorted Urdu paper under the dim yellow lamp. I took a deep breadth and started re-collecting the last few moments of my last day at Pilani. It was when I went to room no: 3210, where I otherwise go with a prepared agenda and all geared up to meet some of the best minds on-campus. Usually on opening the lock, my hands reach out to the light switch and then move to the only cushioned chair in front of the IBM Black vista – almost in a programmed fashion. This time things were quite different – no agenda, staggering my way through aimlessly across the dark corridors of FD3 facing the S-lawns, with a heavy heart I rammed the key into the lock for one last time. I didn’t search for the light switch, nor did I head for the computer desk – rather I pulled a chair near the window facing the Birla Museum and started gazing at the clear Pilani skies. What I saw were not stars, but –

It was someday on April 2003 after a heavy Tuesday dinner as usual, I was browsing through the KG notice board when I saw something different – it read “Calling interested people for the BITS Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (BCEL), who’d be responsible for creating this new club on-campus”. It was a time when I was leading a typical 2nd year student’s life – unfazed by literally anything in life, hanging out with girls and trying to cajole an impressive bunch of them, had no clue on what I’m going to do in life and so on. Luckily, I was scrupulous enough to keep myself away from alcohol and tobacco unlike some of my friends, and I’ve always felt proud of being a sober man. But I decided to do something worthwhile in attending this BCEL meeting scheduled at 3201, at a stage when I wasn’t even sure how to spell entrepreneurship and me being a tam-brahm underlines that fact! In half hours, I was sitting among some of the shred minds on-campus – all seniors discussing things which seemed well out-of-age and clearly beyond my plane of intelligence. I just gave a good affirmative nod after every person made a point (not sure if I really got that point ;)). I have heard stories of this newly elect girl prez of BITS-SU called Aditi Pany, but never did I get to know her in person. I don’t know if Aditi ever realized, little dino (as she addresses me – for Christ sake I don’t know how I resemble Dino, the little dinosaur to her eyes!) learnt so much from her, by just observing and listening. For the 1st time in life I saw so much passion, fire and spirit in the eyes, as Aditi briefed her plans for BCEL – I learnt how to speak and get people enthused to what you speak. During that 1st interaction, I met Jimit, Sasi, Susheel and Vinay and everyone were senior to me and speaking things way lot more mature than me.

Jimit, Sci, Aditi, Harsha, Me, Anupendra

Days rolled by and we hit-upon this guy called Harsha of CSD who joined our team – this person is the one who then went about changing the tread of my life itself. I still quote Harsha as my first and best mentor in my life. We didn’t do anything remarkable in the first 6 months – rather we just met every now and then and brainstormed and got ourselves acquainted with all the business lingoes and schools of thought, which were hitherto alien to a place like BITS Pilani. Those long nights we spent together trying to start something new on-campus was a learning of my lifetime. Harsha by then got into the habit of reading every other book on business/management that BITS procured for its library and he started educating us on how business is done across the world and what some of the greatest business leaders think! And we had this greatest Seller and Management Prodigy called Jimit Arora (Jimmy as we call him), who adds a B School dimension to our discussions. You don’t have to take organizational behavior, Fundamentals of Finance, Negotiation and other B School classes – we learnt all those dry text book concepts the hard way.

After a life transforming couple of months that ended my II-2, I headed for Bangalore for my 1st internship, when I actually felt the change in me – A Mallika Sherawat smooch in Quaish didn’t make my head turn, but a news clip that read “ A 23 year old MIT grad quits $ 200, 000 job for starting his own company” did! People around me said I was going nuts, but I cared a damn about their comments. I started talking things that no more interested my ex-wingies, friends and relatives – and that’s when Aashish Bhinde (one of our alumni advisors) told us “You could not have two wives and manage things. The ball is in your court. Make a decision – Go for the kill or Close shop!” in a marathon 7 hour discussion that ended with a coffee in ANC at 2AM (I still remember the perplexed looks of late nighters in ANC on seeing Aditi). Then those “I’ll risk death to do what I want” type dudes from St. Stephens Delhi came to meet us and we had some real enlightening stuff. I realized for the 1st time what the words fearless, perseverance, focus, guts and energy meant. Team CEL then went through a lot of highs and lows – we had all those hot sessions running to the early morning, Sci slamming the doors and leaving, Jimmy sending an email saying he quits, Harsha invading Arya’s house, Anto bullshitting SB Mishra almost on his face, Sushee-Vinay quitting and joining and quitting CEL, Aditi spending less time with us and more with her rural group, enthu-less faculty counting every paise we spend, printing dessert coupons for Zing which the Diro blatantly rejects, Harsha is faculty or student, Jimmy I’d miss you when Devika comes back to campus, Harsha giving un-ending treats, CSD = CEL Service Dept?, and so much, so much more happened. But what remained constant was my belief that this is all going to add up to a better

Pappu and SKY - the brainstorm spot!

Then with all the inputs from the team and alumni, we became a part of the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) and Wadhwani Foundation became our seed funders and I started seeing the bigger picture of an organization evolving out of the little CEL we started. People started talking of recruiting, creating processes, putting systems in place, feed back analysis, documenting, writing the B Plan, networking, fixing deliverables, assigning responsibilities and so on. I started growing in confidence with my meeting of every big entrepreneur who come to campus then and there (I candidly remember the some of video interviews I took with Vijay Rao, CEO Epicenter and Raju Reddy, CEO Sierra Atlantic and Mr. Anand Pillay, CEO CLIME). Harsha was with me all along, correcting and keeping my cool all the way – I can’t imagine a better leader than Harsha, I’m really fortunate to have worked with him for a good 2 years which the lesser fortunate juniors at CEL didn’t manage to get! Then came the couple of NEN working sessions in Bombay and Ahmedabad, where I got to meet some quality people from IIT B, IIM A, SP Jain and IBAB. Well those were glimpses of my life at CEL with my seniors and alumni. Frankly I haven’t done justice to my experience with them all, which I’d cherish for a life time by this small post of mine. But then, nobody would read a 100 page post on a blog – I promise to allot a Chapter for this in my book which I plan to write in another 5 years or so. I would come to all of you for help in re-collecting a lot of events – Hope to work with the sweetest gang again for my book! Thanks to you all, for all that you have done to me – please be in touch! Well the next post would be on CEL Part2 (with juniors and Harsha of course a common factor!).

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Academics @ BITS – Good and Bad?

By now, the bus almost reached Delhi and was maneuvering its way to the Railway Station where I’m scheduled to take a local train to Hazrat Nizamuddin Station – and I started narrating Becky about my experience with books and professors at BITS and how good & bad it was. She was scared herself, given the fact that she was entering her 3rd year where she would be competing with some of the best of techno geeks the schools of computing could ever produce. So, I made up my mind to tell her something that would make her more comforting and look forward to the remaining 1.5 yrs of her BITSian life.

Academics – like any other thing has different proportions of its bit at different points of our life at BITS. Year 1 started as a fresher when I was feeling scared just looking at the highly cosmopolitan crowd that land up in Pilani every year, so I spent every hour I’m awake and out of the class in the Reference Library (Refli). When the Library closes at 11PM, I enter some lecture rooms (usually locked) jumping over the windows and take a corner seat and study for hours together till I’m completely burnt out. I would like to thank a couple of CBSC friends of my batch – Kaushick Narayan and Nikhil Karnad – I stayed more hours in their room than in my own, I attribute my 1st year success to these men of stunningly great attitudes. That strenuous routine served dual purpose – in addition to pulling up my GPA, it helped me escape the clutches the Minotaurs of the Bhawan corridors of power waiting for a fresher to prey on for the night. But the latent effect of this routine was that I was growing from strength to strength and gaining in confidence as I even started solving doubts of friends and my class notes became an must-xerox item on the day before exam.

Ghoting in Library!

So, that led me into my 2nd year which I started looking up in confidence and ease, having built my basics effectively. The apparent result of this was getting involved in a plethora of other things apart from academics. I tried my hands at a couple of departments (which still remains the popular hang-out of guys and girls) – but I wasn’t so happy the way they function. I was looking for some experience that would give me a much more serious learning – living up to the BITS expectations. Unfortunately, I found nothing that catered my needs, when I hit upon this first female president of BITS Students’ Union – Aditi Pany, and there started the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership along with Anupendra, Aashish, Harsha, Anto, Sci, Vinay, SasiKant and Susheel. I’d easily say this is the biggest thing so far that has happened in my life. For the first time in my life, work started getting me on a high and girls’n’games no more caught my attention – very uncharacteristic of an undergrad junkie still in late teens. From there I started interacting with a handful of people who have crossed my stages and achieved a lot in life. The result was weird and cool – my thoughts got refined, goals sky rocketed, started seeing the things which people of my wing considered cool as junk; to cut the long story short, I started going clearly out-of-my-age! That led me creating separation amongst a few of my wingies and few other very good friends of mine. I was feeling pathetic about this – but could hardly do anything. I got reminded of the quote my mom used to repeat when I was a kid – “If you want to achieve something great, you HAVE to sacrifice something precious to you”. It was SLEEP when I was gearing up for the school exams that took me to BITS and now its friends when I’m gearing up to become a person I want to.

The end of my second year with a dramatic change and on a complex note brought me in to my 3rd year which is supposed to be academically most challenging for any BITSians when we pump in some of the complex theories and concepts of our disciplines. Mine is a worst-case scenario given the fact that my natural talent is mathematics and computers and I have to do 4 heavy courses of my discipline (Mech) on which I had hardly any attitude. One might question me, why did I take Mech on the 1st place if that wasn’t my cup of tea. The answer is that is the discipline that took me to BITS! All I knew was I’m gonna get something BIG if I land up in BITS; discipline didn’t seem to matter much for me. Sure enough BITS lived up to the expectations giving me all the opportunities in the world to pursue my interests along with my core courses. I did courses in Computers, Entrepreneurship and Marketing in addition to the standard prescription – still spending the BULK of my time with CEL. You don’t have to spend 20 dollars for a book by a management guru on time management – I’d say your 4 yrs in Pilani has enough packed in it which would make yourself a time management guru. But I got just the previous day night to prepare for most of my discipline courses’ test – which I made efficient use of to make my grades! Along with all these, I managed to do a bit of Japanese and German, actively participate in an International Conference on Conflict Resolution and read a hell a lot of books by business leaders.

MaKa's Class still reverberates!

The day finally greeted me as a Psenti-semite, when I did courses that I really love doing and a not-so-surprising result – I was the course topper in all the courses I did and ended the semester with a clean 10 GPA! Talking of professors, I would say one would be called a professor by a student ONLY if the student craves to attend his class and enjoys the 1 hr he spends under his presence. I was extremely fortunate to have attended courses taught by some great professors at BITS. In a college where attendance is optional and winter floor temperature was -4 degrees, you’d see a Prof. Pratap Singh Class at 3160 jam packed at 8AM with students who don’t have seats on the floor and standing on the windows. I still remember sitting on the floor all ears to 60 year old Prof. Radhakrishnan explaining statistics as lively as ever, without even realizing that my hands were shivering in cold. I got goose flesh when the class gave a standing ovation at the end of Prof. Manoj Kannan’s last Gen-B lecture which ended at an un-earthly 10PM on a chilly December night and a few girl admirers of the Professor even asked autographs from him which he politely shied away. I was simply awe-struck when Prof. Kulkarni happily bull-shits a “Wresnik and Halliday” problem and invents his own methodology of solving a complex Simple Harmonic Motion problem in style using every possible Greek alphabet! Those were just glimpses of some of the great lectures I have attended at this awesome place called Pilani. From the bottom of my heart, I respect and thank all those professors at Pilani who have made BITS worth attending. I sincerely hope I could meet some of the professors I almost worshipped again.

Having talked so much, you would be stunned if I say academics was just 20% of the learning I got at BITS! The remaining 80% which came from other sources deserves a a lot more posts in order for me to give justice in portraying them for you. And there stopped our bus in front of the all-so familiar New Delhi Railway Station, which I thought I was seeing for one last time! It was time to say good-bye to Becky, as I started to the local trains reservation counter and off I headed for Nizamuddin. As train speeded its way through the Delhi Fog at 4.30AM, I was half asleep when faint thoughts of Pilani still lingered past my closed eyelids. The scenes were my experiences with CEL – with the seniors and for a while with the juniors. Those would be the next couple of posts.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

My last OASIS – The young’n’old effect

OASIS 2003 - D Lawns Structure

After a small gap, I’m back here with my Pilani Diary. I had been narrating my life @ Psenti sem to my junior as we were heading for Delhi from Pilani after the end-semesters. She asked me about the most memorable experiences in Pilani and the one that got into my mind in a flash, was OASIS – my last one! Although the one week cultural extravaganza, one of the coolest of college culturulz in India had nothing different from the previous editions I’ve seen, my last OASIS became the most memorable one in my BITSian life because most of the people I was hanging out during this edition are my juniors! I felt so different, good, “young and old”, nostalgic and a strange mix of happiness (coz it’s OASIS) and sadness (it’s my last OASIS). I’m trying to portray my experience of my last OASIS in Pilani.

Till last OASIS (in 2003), I was a different person on-campus, just lazing around the events, sleep and hang out with friends. But things had changed quite a lot after that – I got a lot busier, started loving work to girls, priorities underwent huge shifts, thoughts got refined, aims got higher, many perspectives and opinions got imbibed; to cut the long story short I changed lots. I was busy working actively with the Creative Group at CEL for it’s maiden OASIS event called PRAYAG which had a BITS Big Bout (a panel D in the D lawns on OASIS then and now), a business + fun event called Entretainment and a potpourri of events under the PRAYAG banner. I was working closely with Srevats, Harsha, Abilash, Srinivas, Uzma, Becky, Roma, Kavya, Shipra, Anil, UdKi and a few more people probably in almost every part of PRAYAG.

We the Creative Team had great fun in the name of creativity and finally managed to get the events done too – which included things as crazy as an advertisement piece connecting cow wash, toilet soap, and sweet smell to Veerappan having a conversation with the Goddess. We came up with a cutting-edge software (people who worked in the team knows how cutting edge it is;) ), for Entretainment. But due to low battery in laptop the cutting-edge software crashed halfway and we had to switch to manual transaction processing and evaluation of extremely complex and intertwined bunch of 6 teams. My God, I still remember that female (good that I don’t remember her name) who went on screaming for every transaction we made for their team. We had a tango performance by Harsha and Hema, followed by much more dance performances (most of it could not be classified) in the Punjabi Dhaba where we went after a huge success conducting Entretainment bringing PRAYAG to a conclusion.

Sophia (name changed to protect anonymity), the marketing babe (most of us had our doubts on her gender&species, only a DNA testing could have confirmed things) of one of our event sponsors called Ten Customer (again name changed) created a huge scene of every other thing. It was a learning experience (as we call every other thing at CEL) of how to handle such specimens and still pave your way forward. Pizza Hut was the center of attraction of this OASIS – we villagers of Pilani were all enthu’d to have a good deal of lip smacking pizza crunches to the heart’s content.

Me, Abi, Udki and Uzma (CoolUz), planned for an eerie walk late in the night as we munched our Pizzas. As we were returning from a not-so-adventurous trip from CEERI corner, Abilash came up with this wonderful (?) idea of exploring FD1 to do some ghost busting (how on earth Abi??). Adventure hungry gang nodded in acceptance and in a moment we were all geared up, loading our imaginary 22-calibre pistols and tweaking our imaginary James Bond gadgets and entered in style into the deserted FD1 – the haunted bungalow (LOL – couldn’t bear this!). Squadron leader Abilash led us through one of the two passages and with great caution and poise maneuvered a corner leading to the stairs, and took off his pistol loaded with Silver bullets and letting out a war cry, twisted to the vantage point – BOOM! On seeing something, Abi’s face looked psyched much similar to the faces of The Ring ghosts victims. I was shivering and so was Uzma and UdKi almost wetted his pants – I started thinking never in my 2 years of ghost busting experience have I come across such a difficult one.

Abi now asked us to have a look at what he just saw and one by one, we slowly peeped in – got the shock of our lives, much more than what we would have got had we seen a real ghost. A embarrassed looking couple without being able to find a secret garden in the whole of BITS campus settled for the IPC Stairs. And thanks to the valiant ghost-busters (read as couple-busters), who destroyed their privacy! We didn’t leave there, much against UdKi’s requests we explored the whole of FD1 and made sure that it was void of any ghosts (now you know what’s a ghost). Uzma, the smartest in the gang was shrewd enough to notice the Chowki roaming around and we sneaked out before getting pulled out! Enough of adventure – now its show time at Pilani with Euphoria, Antharagni and Mother Jane performing in prof shows in the Audi.

After doing some hip-hops (read as monkey jumping) in the dance floor and spending a while in front of the structure in D Lawns, we moved to stand in queue for the prof shows. We got seats only in the balcony, but we were lucky enough to get seats in the same row. I must disclose this BIG news here: Rama, Anupama, Sowmya, Chaytana were the pioneers of the brand new art of STATIC CHAIR DANCING. They did some mesmerizing steps to the beats of Euphoria and invited us to join them too. But since we found the art too new, novel, precision-centric, delicate for us to even learn it; we gave up (OMG! Uzma would be able to explain the intricacies of this dance genre in detail;) ).

Four days of cool music, dance, games, plays, rock got over all of a sudden and we’re back to our base station 3201 to fold the beddings we hired and settle accounts with Controlz. Despite some bad things like lobbying with a few deans, Students’ Union, Controlz etc., OASIS was ultimately a huge hit and we all had probably the fun of our BITSian life! I would like to thank all those who were with me and made my time really memorable one during the whole of OASIS. My special thanks goes to Abi, UdKi and Uzma – you guys rock and all the best in life! After we recalled the whole of OASIS, my eyes slowly started sinking when I work up to Becky’s next question – How was your life with CDCs. This question is especially important because I had no interest in my CDCs – well that’s my next post “Academics @ BITS – pain or pleasure?”

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Psenti Sem Daily Schedule – Vettiness Redefined!

The curious junior was asking me how I spent time all day during my Psenti semester. I was hoping I’d have something worthwhile to tell her – but it so appeared that there aren’t any. Here we go – my daily schedule during my last semester at BITS for the world to see! We call this “The heights of Vettiness” in BITS!

Time Activity
05.00 AM Go to Sleep
08.00 AM Wake-up, Breakfast in VKB Mess
09.00 AM Newspaper, morning latcha session in the wing
10.00 AM Check Placements Notice Boards,other notices
10.30 AM IPC Email Check and Orkut
11.00 AM Refli – browse through HBR, Business Week, Economist, Eco-Times
12.00 PM Conflict Management Class (only on MWF)
01.00 PM Lunch in VKB (on T, W, S, Su), in SKY/IC (on M, Th, F)
02.00 PM Matinee Show on the comp (on T, Th, S), Reading books back SKY (on MWF)
03.00 PM PAVA Class(on MWF)
04.00 PM Afternoon Nap
06.00PM Bath (every 1 day till October,every 5 days from October)
06.30PM Temple Visit
07.00 PM Dinner in VKB (on T, W, Th, S),in C’not (on M, F, Su)
08.00 PM RAF Movie(or) Evening Show in the comp
10.00 PM NCTime (Maggie/Dosa Time), pack Kurkure to the room for night show
11.00 PM Night show in the comp
01.00 AM ANC Time (Maggie/Dosa, Chaai), on the way back pop corns and Groundnuts for Late Night show
02.00 AM Late Night Show in the comp
04.00 AM Browse the LAN and Share Donkey/Filetopia to keep the movies for the next day ready
05.00 AM Punch keys till you wake up at 8AM with the keyboard on the face!
Hmm, looking at that please don’t conclude I was that hopeless. I did spend some time on other menial jobs like CAT preparation and CEL work. But what has been presented is a typical daily schedule. Having recollected my “sac-out” routine, the fact that it has all come to an end and life from now on is gonna be fast and hectic, rose in my mind. At that point, I was just telling myself “Come on Anand, you would be able to cope with the transition”. Well, my Psenti sem picture won’t be complete without telling something about “My Last OASIS” (This would be the next post)

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Goodbye was never so painful to pronounce

This was the time of the year when a phrase “Psenti” gets added in every other thing you do or see. The Music Nite was called the Psenti Music Nite, the Conflict Mgt test I wrote was called the Psenti Test and the list goes on. But every time the phrase was used, it struck as a reminder that the countdown has begun – 20 days left for the D Day. Wingies have started sending packages home through courier to avoid the last minute rush in the Gati and DTDC booths. Luckily, this time we don’t have to fill the crate a push them to the Common Room – this is one moment I hated the most every 2nd semester.

When I was hoping the days might get slower so that I get to experience the most of the last few Pilani days, time appeared to be running a 100m track events in Olympics. Thanks to the never ending farewells which is One Month affair in BITS unlike the usual One Evening festivity in other schools. The departments and clubs farewell got over, and soon after that you have the popular Assoc Farewells – you’re supposed to get good food every night at this part of the semester! Being a Psenti Semite, you don’t have to worry about being invited or not – you get a wild card entry to any farewells! I was a little different – I didn’t go for the official Mech Farewell where, the write-ups are read and the professors hand over the mementos, because I never felt like a true Mechite during any point of my 3.5 yr vacation in Pilani.

As the Compres begun, the fun and party slowly came to a sudden break. The time has come when the buzz of activity shifts from C’not to Refli and IC. I was no exception to this routine – stay glued to the Library chairs for hours trying to pump hitherto strange concepts into the party-tired brains and carry the books along to the cafeteria to utilize the time spent on the occasional breaks. But alas, not this time. I always hated this hard study routine for the heck of the compres, but this time when I don’t have to follow that rigor, I feel strange, old and left out. Having just two compres and being a pre-comp CT (course topper) in either of them, I hardly have to do anything at all. This idle period – when everyone on campus is busy ghoting and you have nothing to do, add to the feeling of loneliness and nostalgia that has already crept into my minds big time.

After those painful 10 days – when I know not much time is left but still wasn’t able to do anything great, the day finally arrived – the 13th of December 2004, a chilly winter morning. I got up at 7am (very unearthly for a Pilani winter) so that I get the most of my last day at BITS. In the mess, I was busy telling good byes to all the bhaiyas, and taking a deep breadth every time I saw a Psenti Semite saying “Macchi all the best da. I don’t know if I would see you later today. Stay in touch. Good Bye!”. I felt horrible every time I said that. Across the day, I had food with bunch of different friends in Munna reidi, Nagar reidi, IC, C’not and SKY. Finally, the bus came to pick me to Delhi at 1.30 in the night. Since I preferred to send all my fellow batch mates off, and finally leave the place, there were very few to big adieu to me when the bus started.

I was with my very good friend and junior in the bus. I was zonked for I was running around the whole day, so that I don’t miss telling goodbye to any of my friends. But she insisted in talking throughout the bus journey for it could well be the last time we meet. So I was burning the midnight oil, but as I started speaking I got more energy and I spoke out everything that happened to me in my BITSian life. I was watching out through the window which was very hazy because of the fog – as I was visualizing a full 3.5 yrs of my vacation in a place called Pilani. I started telling her my “The Psenti Sem Daily Schedule” (this would be the next post)

Saturday, April 16, 2005

My conversations with the Wind

Excuse me if I’m being slightly vague here – I must warn many of the things that I describe in this blog might not make sense for a non-BITSian. Can the winds talk? Yes, they can and you need to have the ears for listening to what they say. I was wondering where to start this diary portraying what might be the best days of my life. The one thing that struck me in a jiffy was the day I saw the farewell notices appearing on the notice boards!

Life was pretty cool @ Psenti sem. I just arrived at Pilani after a tiring week which ended with my CAT in Dharya Ganj, Delhi – the day was 22.11.2004 a Monday. Being a Psenti semite I took just two courses – Print & Audio Visual Advertising, Conflict Management, an outsider must be bewildered what these got to do with a Mechite in his final year? I was in the VKB mess by 7.30am hoping to find some hot Vadas, but the prominent Assoc and Dept notices announcing our farewells struck me before that. I was deeply immersed in strange thoughts as my right hands soaked the vada into the sambhar and left hand holding the tea. Neither the array of “Macchi did ya crack CAT” enquiries by friends, nor The Hindu lying on my lap made sense to me at that moment. Mind was just racing with snap shots of scenes that occurred for the past 3 years, and brains provoking a wave of shock – that it all is gonna come to a finish!

Guys didn’t notice the change in the otherwise chatter-box Anand. I started walking to the barber shop near Kappors’ to get my hair done, as per my original plan for the day. I could notice the slow-down in my walking pace and the rapid movements of my restless eyes trying to see every other thing on the way. It was 10AM when I found myself, out of my PoA, walking in the deserted Shiv Ganga, lapping the pond, when the winds started the talking. It said all the words of wisdom, at the right time when I started to feel slightly insecure. It said –

“Welcome Anand, finally you’re here too. I know what you’re going through – everything from the morning chaai, reidi chat, insti, temple to trees, people, buildings look different, suggesting a lot of things which otherwise goes unnoticed, and this nagging sense of feeling insecure about the impending life ahead outside of the protective boundaries of BITS. You must also realize quite a few things – every one passes through this phase and look back into your life, you must have passed through a lot of such phases too. After all, life is full of such huge transitions. It’s your ability to get over and rise above things that would make you stand apart. Cheer up buddy – life is calling – all the best! Goodbye.”

I was feeling much better after finding a new found strength out of the rhetoric – but I could feel a small prick somewhere deep inside my heart, shooting me with a lot of why’s – the few important being “Why should people come and go so fast?”, “why should few people be so good to you?”, “why didn’t I do this before?” and I had answers for none. And it was at that point that I decided to stop pondering over the questions and make the most of the 20 odd days left in Pilani – "Goodbye was never so painful to pronounce" (This would be the next post)

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