Tag Archives: Colleges and Universities

Rift – A Short Story

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By Ganesh Subramanian

The bell rang loud and clear. It signalled the end of the final semester exams. All the students heaved a sigh of relief. Vikranth rushed madly towards the college bus- Route No.6 which takes him to his house. Finding his favourite seat, he dumped his bag and slumped by the window seat, closing his eyes for a moment allowing his brain cells to relax which seemed to have worked overtime cramming up equations and formulae. There was a tap on his shoulder. Vikranth opened up his eyes to see Nidhi standing next to him. She sat beside him and asked, “How did it go?” Vikranth sighed and said, “Hoping to clear it. Surely not going to top the subject though”. Both of them laughed.

“You know what”, Nidhi continued, “Actually feel bad that we are gonna miss all this fun of college life”.

“Yeah. In a way.” replied Vikranth. “But equally excited looking forward to the corporate life”.

The next 45 mins of the bus journey passed in a jiffy with Vikranth and Nidhi reminiscing about the 4 years that they had spent in engineering. When Nidhi’s stop came, she waved good bye to her best friend Vikranth and promised to call him up soon.

Weeks passed. Vikranth and Nidhi are computer engineering students from a newly opened engineering college in the city. Vikranth and Nidhi opted for this college despite the college being a new one and despite the fact that the college may struggle to find campus placements for its students, simply because they could be at home during their graduation. So barring a few students who were willing to accept jobs in mediocre BPOs that visited the campus for placements, the college placement department couldn’t do much. As a result, students were left to seek their own avenues for jobs.

Nidhi called up Vikranth on one day. She seemed excited. “Hey Vikranth. I got placed in Czone solutions. Attended an aptitude test followed by an interview two weeks back. Looks like I did well. Got the offer letter from them today. I have to join in a month’s time from now.” replied Nidhi.

“Hey Congrats. So now this news calls for a treat. Isn’t it?” said Vikranth.

“Surely it does. But only after I get my first salary” Nidhi teased him.

“Hey that’s unfair. I need it soon. I can’t wait for two months till you get your salary” reasoned Vikranth.

“Ok. Ok. I will treat you soon” laughed Nidhi. “How’s your job search coming along?”

“In Czone, my application number is in 10000s. Not sure if and when will they call me. Other prospects not looking that promising at the moment” replied Vikranth.

“Don’t lose hope. It’s only a matter of time before you land on a new job”, Nidhi tried to pacify him. “Ok. I have to hang up now. Will catch up with you later. Bye”, said Nidhi

“Bye.”

Two months passed. Vikranth was still jobless. Nidhi didn’t call Vikranth even once in the interim. Vikranth was also increasingly getting frustrated by the fact that another one of his classmates – Nitin – has been visiting Nidhi’s house often on weekends to work out aptitude questions with Nidhi’s help for his job search.

Nidhi ignoring him was killing Vikranth. He told another of his best buddies – Dinesh – that he’s got a bone to pick with Nidhi. Dinesh advised him not to do anything stupid. But Vikranth was determined to set things straight.

He finally called Nidhi. “Hello Vikranth. Nice to hear from you. It’s been a long time. You’ve forgotten me or what?” laughed Nidhi.

“I should be asking you that question. Madam seems to be very busy these days”, said Vikranth in a no-nonsense tone.

“Lots of work, Vikranth. No time to breathe” reasoned Nidhi.

“Oh, I see, You don’t have time for me. But you have time for Nitin. Isn’t it?” remarked Vikranth sarcastically.

“Nothing like that, Vikranth. Why are you comparing you and Nitin? What’s wrong with you?” asked Nidhi.

“What’s wrong with me??? Everything’s wrong with you only. Not even one call in 2 months, but you have time for that egg-head Nitin” thundered Vikranth.

“Stop that Vikranth”, growled Nidhi.

“What do you think of yourselves? Just because you are in a job, you think you are a demi-god or something?” Vikranth screamed. His joblessness feeling was getting the better of him and his emotions came in a torrent.

“If you are going to speak like this, don’t call me hereafterwards” Nidhi remarked angrily.

“Fine. So be it” thundered Vikranth and slammed the phone down.

Two years passed. Vikranth and Nidhi didn’t speak even once after that incident. Ironically, Vikranth was also now working in the same company as Nidhi’s. Vikranth found Nidhi’s mail id through the people search option in his mail folder. He mailed her apparently in an effort to mend things. No reply even after 4 hours. Vikranth called Anisha, another collegemate of Vikranth and Nidhi and a common friend to both of them and she also worked in the same company in Nidhi’s team. Anisha spoke to Nidhi and informed him that Nidhi will be sending him a reply shortly.

Ping. Vikranth’s mailbox beeped with the sound of arrival of a new mail 20 minutes after Vikranth spoke with Anisha. Vikranth opened the mail from Nidhi. The reply was short. It said:

“I don’t know what to say. You apparently feel that what you have done is wrong. But we can’t be the same friends anymore. We can just be hi-bye friends” replied Nidhi.

Vikranth realised that a rift has formed between them. He acknowledged the fact that he and Nidhi can never be the same good old best friends once again. He shook his head and closed the email from Nidhi.

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Calcutta Chromosomes – I

Sampurna Majumder narrates her sojourn to the City of Joy for a year. Although born and brought up in Kolkata, her perspective of the city changed when she returned to Kolkata after a Sabbatical of five years.

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Kolkata, popularly known as the City of Joy, is considered to be the cultural and intellectual capital of the country. Locales, such as the College Street Boi Para and the Coffee House will stand witness to this statement. These are the hubs within the city that beam with intellectuals and budding artists. This the city’s nucleus where one will find some of the best minds flocking.

mile-long book stalls on college st in calcuttaBookshops or rather kiosks strategically positioned all along the footpath is an unique attribute of the street. Apart from these, the street definitely boasts of an array of premier institutions, right from the University of Calcutta to Presidency College. This is where the youth of Kolkata comes to life. Comes to live life.

However, I belong to the category of the not-so-lucky ones to have lived the experience. Though this city happens to be my birth place, I never really got to experience or live my youth in this city, because as a young adult, I moved to a different city, probably in pursuit of something ‘bigger and better’. Nonetheless, my destiny took a different turn when I returned to the city after a hiatus of six years.

30-calcutta-universityMy hands were empty just as my mind was. I had completely lost control of myself. Could not figure out what to do with my ‘doomed’ future, as my Mom said. After sitting idle at home for five months I enrolled for a Diploma at the prestigious Calcutta University. I thought probably this would give some meaning to my meaningless life, a direction to follow in my seemingly directionless life.

Classes were held in the evening from 4pm to 7pm. Thus began my year long association with the age old renowned university and more importantly the College Street.

I still remember my first day at the university. Despite my mother’s explaining the bus route and the stop, I lost my way to the university the very first day. Nonetheless, I managed to reach the esteemed institution after a long walk from MG Road. While walking down the street I could not help but stare at the kiosks and the booksellers in awe.  The amount of knowledge these people had regarding books! Books from almost every field from literature to science to engineering, law, competitive exams. The list moves on.

CU 3A week into classes, I had made a few friends with whom I started hanging around after classes. It was then that I began my tryst with the intellectual hub of this age old city. I shared a good rapport with K and S. However, what was interesting was, the variation in the age group of the students. Since the course specified that there is no age limit, the eldest student was a retired college principal of sixty-five and the youngest being a fresh graduate of twenty-one. This distinction made it unique and all the more interesting to know and associate with people with myriad personalities. Somehow, I could feel a certain flamboyancy raging through, whenever I interacted with the group.

We first met at the College Street campus of Calcutta University. Little did I know that the year long association would leave behind such indelible impressions, which would force me to pen down a memoir, after much time has lapsed and I have again moved away from Kolkata, probably in pursuit of my dreams.

….And I Completed My MBA….

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Gurulakshmi Iyer-Hait narrates an account of how difficult it was to manage a husband alongside a regular MBA course. Husband looked more manageable than MBA. Read on…..

I am sitting in the examination hall sweating. It’s the QT exam. Well, I had memorized all the formulae. To all those who are unknown to Mr. Quantitative Techniques, it cannot be mastered by memorizing. But I had done it. The examiner distributes question papers and answer sheets and I go blank. I just feel like going to deep slumber. Just then my sub conscious weak mind is woken up. And Ah!! it was a dream!! What a nightmare, I realize. People dream of missing a train, being left in front of a monster and here I was, dreaming of going blank in the examination hall. Having woken up I could not resist thinking of my B-School days.

Well it was difficult to manage home and college. Yes, I was married when I enrolled for my MBA. After trying all the career options in professional financial courses, I decided to end my jinx by getting married. For parents, this was the safest bet. Finally they were getting rid of me and alongside my whims and fancies of another expenditure involved in a professional course. This definitely was a two-way victory for the Iyers. However the aspiring and restless mind that I have, I just couldn’t remain composed without getting into something fruitful. This time I decided to convince my better half to get me enrolled into this prestigious course called MBA!!!

College after marriage wasn’t easy to say the least. Day long lectures, challenging presentations and assignments. No wonder it was a monstrous task to get placed after all that toil that went in for 2 years. A great balance and adjustment was needed at the home front and husband dear readily agreed to such adjustments. Did he have an option after the kind of money he had spent and also his belief in me was at stake.

The thought of again attending college brought back memories of graduation .The good memories though as usual did not last long. The initial excitement was replaced gradually by over whelm, anxiety and cut throat competition. Late night lectures, Sunday presentations became part and parcel of life. Getting half a day off on Sunday was a bonus for both of us. We actually learnt to live within constraints then. But when I entered corporate world, I remember frowning on six days working culture. What a pun it was?

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Guessing the lunch menu while sitting in the lectures seems so funny now. The IP messengers were such a boon to pass on secret messages within the class or to exchange jokes on professors.

And finally the thought of the tension during the placement season. Even today I feel butterflies when I think of those days. Companies came in and picked up students, both friends and competitors while you waited for your turn anxiously. Someone will surely be fooled by you is a strong belief which starts to fizzle as the placement season nears its end. As you wait, someone selects you and all that you enjoyed in those 2 years seems to slip away faster than water from your hands.

After two years of excessive pressure, fun and sweat, I finally became an MBA, something that was very important for me to break the jinx and get started with a new life altogether!! Today when I get up from my nightmare and think about those days, it really seems like a great achievement to me, an achievement or rather an opportunity not all married women get!!

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