It was the last week of June 2002. A decade has gone since, but that week is still vivid in memory. The week in which me, and many more like me (who were used to living a cozy life with the security of a family around them), really stepped into the outside world. A week in which me, and many more like me, made their entry into IIM Bangalore. At the time, I can assure you, not many amongst them would have known the turn that life was to take then. Speaking for myself, I did not have the faintest clue.
The euphoria of clearing the CAT and then, getting that coveted final call lasted for not more than a few days. Talking of getting that final call, I remember that day too. I was at my desk writing, what else, but code (working for Patni Computers those days) when a call on my landline from home (those were the days where cellphones were in their infancy) confirmed the news ! But any misconceptions of having cleared the biggest hurdle in the quest for an IIM tag slowly evaporated when one contemplated the road ahead. The thought of living a hostel life for the first time, and the stories of the super-crammed schedules and night-outs quickly bought me back to earth. And thus it was that I, with parents in tow and with mixed emotions, boarded the Udyan Express from CST Mumbai on Saturday, 22nd June 2002, not exactly ready to face the world.
In the train, I could make out people with similar predicaments. Later on, I came to know that quite a few of my future batch-mates (amongst them Bhushan Lele, Dhananjay Redkar and Ketan Kulkarni to name a few) were on that very train. We rolled into Bangalore the next morning and in the afternoon, I had my first glimpse of the 100-acre grey-stone campus that IIM Bangalore is housed in. I also distinctly remember the butterflies in the stomach, not to mention the awe accompanying it, when the institute bus that ferried us took that small left turn from the main Bannerghatta road and entered the gates of IIM Bangalore (later made famous in 3 Idiots !!). It was truly, an unforgettable moment. Following that were the room allotments and the first taste of hostel life, and of course, that first sleepless night away from home.
Thereafter, things became much better. On Monday the 24th began our orientation session, where the first bonds of friendships between batch mates were formed. Within the next couple of days, the first beer party at the nearby Guru Garden restaurant followed and slowly, life-time friends were found. And that gradually led to the two most memorable years of my life. A journey, of many ups and downs, but one heck of a journey nevertheless !!
A decade has passed by… since it all began !!.. J
Cheers to the batch of 2004