Monday, March 29, 2010

वो दिन गये कि कहते थे...

Till two days back, I was a student. And then there was a Sunday - the only vacation I had for a transition from a full-time student to a full-time professor. In just one day, from a student of IIMA, I became an alumnus of IIMA and in just two days, I am remembering Ghalib -

गालिब वज़ीफ़ाख्वार हो दो शाह को दुआ
वो दिन गये कि कहते थे नौकर नहीं हूँ मैं!!

a rough translation would be
Bless the king Ghalib for you are on his doles now,
gone are the days when you were a free bird.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

FPM 2005

An almost five year short journey culminated with the convocation today. The time may seem long but it was like those hours of exam, which pass the fastest. In the May of 2005, 28 of us entered the famed heritage campus of IIMA for the Fellowship Programme in Management - the doctoral program of IIMA. We started with a month-long preparatory program, followed by two years of course work, a qualifier exam, a proposal seminar, a thesis seminar, a defense exam, a dissertation submission, and finally, the convocation.


However, today, not all of us were there on the stage to receive the title - some dropped within first term, some more during the first year. Two left after completing the first year and three completed their thesis just in time to convocate last year. But we were and we remain the most special batch - not only because I was there :D but also for many other reasons.

Till date, we remain the largest batch of FPMs and the only batch to have at least one candidate in each of the ten areas of specialization. And yes, at least one from each area has completed (or soon will complete) their thesis. We had the best gender ratio as well - 6 ladies in 28 total. We were the first batch to attend lectures in the new campus of IIMA and the only one to attend our first year in both, old and new campus classrooms. Ours was the first batch to gain visibility for the program - not merely because of the large number but more so because of the sheer talent.

The strong profiles, high class and frequent CPs (class participation), and in-class as well as outside performance was really a never before (and perhaps not yet) show. The FPM 2005 batch had IITians, scientists, toppers, and even, gazetted officers. The victory of Talent-Nite (an inter-section competition) was attributed to an FPM and that was the trendsetter for the coming batches. For the first time, an FPM was chosen a dorm-representative by common vote and for the first time (and the last, so far), an FPM won a POTY (Person Of The Year) award too. Today, as I close the last day of my student life, I really want to get nostalgic - to sift through all those learnings and unlearnings, highs and lows, nights and days, joys and frustrations...

As my job would be in Ahmedabad only, I will stay on campus till May 31, 2010. Exactly five years ago, we had our first preparatory lecture on this day and five years later, I will have to move. We all will move eventually... but deep down inside, all of us will always remain FPM 2005 (the Greatest Batch ever).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cuttings of Life...!!

Finally, everything is over. I mean, at least on this campus of IIMA, my days are numbered now. So I was cleaning my room, packing my stuff for a courier to home. And in the process of cleaning, I was reminded of my hobby of keeping paper cuttings, like the first picture below. Many of these were used for making cards and posters for the closest of my friends. The entire process of selecting the cuttings, arranging them on a theme, furnishing, pasting, finishing usually took a day or so. There were every sort of cuttings and for every occasion - sweet, cheeky, puns, verses, quotes, pictures, and what not!


And there was a small selection of paper-cuttings - kept neatly in a folded sheet. The selection I had made from the entire pile of cuttings. The selection for making the most meaningful card of my life. The selection for the most beautiful person of my life. Alas! It was too late. I was left with the cuttings, and the cuts - a thousand of them... forever.

It made me feel immensely nostalgic, sad, and hapless. I decided to destroy those cuttings - not only the selection but all of them. What is the purpose of having them if I'd never get to make the best card of my life. In a frenzy, I threw everything on a sheet of newspaper and wrapped it to burn. And then, I couldn't. I simply couldn't. I cannot burn all those memories. I cannot destroy all those pieces of past. I cannot forget those small and big 'cuts'.

I thought that I have moved on. I still think I have moved on. I want to believe I have moved on. I know that life is full of blue skies and colorful rainbows. I am out to explore many new horizons. I don't know why then, I am still sad about one of the most beautiful chapters of my life. I don't know why I still feel like another cutting from the same collection!

Monday, March 15, 2010

एक थे अमीर खुसरो, एक थे सिद्धार्थ रस्तोगी

एक बार अमीर खुसरो को सफ़र के दौरान प्यास लगी। वे एक कुएँ पर पहुँचे जहाँ चार औरतें पानी भर रही थीं और उनसे पानी माँगा। उन औरतों ने खुसरो से पहले कविता सुनाने की फ़र्माइश की। खुसरो ने उनके मन का विषय पूछा। पहली ने खीर पर, दूसरी ने चरखे पर, तीसरी ने कुत्ते पर और चौथी ने ढोल पर कविता सुनाने को कहा। खुसरो ने सुनाया -

खीर पकाई जतन से
चरखा दिया चला
आया कुत्ता खा गया
तू बैठी ढोल बजा

आगे चलकर इतिहास में अमीर खुसरो काफ़ी प्रसिद्ध हुए और उर्दू कविता के पहले कवि के रूप में जाने गये।

*******

एक बार सिद्धार्थ रस्तोगी (जिनका घरेलू नाम मनु था) से उनके सबसे प्रिय मित्र ने किसी नये विषय पर कविता सुनाने को कहा। रस्तोगी ने विषय पूछा। तीन बार पूछने पर बारी-बारी से विषय मिले - लौकी, बोतल, और पिंक पजामा। रस्तोगी ने सुनाया-

बोतल, लौकी, पिंक पजामा
लेकर निकले मन्नू मामा
मामाजी से पूछो हाल
हरदम बोलें बहुत मजा मा

आगे चलकर सिद्धार्थ रस्तोगी ने अर्थशास्त्र में शोध किया, कई ब्लाग लिखे और कविताई के नाम पर भी काफ़ी कोशिशें कीं। उनके किसी भी काम से किसी को कोई फ़रक नहीं पड़ा।

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

पुराने शहर की खुशबू

I have been to a good number of cities so far and somehow, I have come to believe that there is no point in seeing a city in a two-three days' quick tour. With most cities, only the base-touching is possible in such small time but to understand the distinctive character of the place, one must spend at least a month or more in the city. However, it is also true that given the constraints of time (and money and company and what not), even a base-touching is usually good enough.

After spending almost 24 years at a stretch in Lucknow, I was back there for a brief vacation and I re-realized that how many facets of the city remain yet unexplored for me. The new city is obviously new and mostly developed after my departure, but even the old city - Chowk, Nakkhas, Aminabad, Charbagh - I kept getting introduced to the things so new in the places so old... and thankfully, most of it was pleasant.

I think all these old cities have a distinct smell, a peculiar taste, a curio aura - something very unique. I felt this in Old Delhi and in Lutyen's Delhi, in Calcutta - the Victorian and old city parts, in Mumbai, in Lucknow, in Jammu, in Jaipur, and in many more places. I hope there will be a day when I'll have enough time (and money and company and what not) to taste a mouthful of all those places.

I also want to attend Durga Puja in Calcutta (despite a contrary advice and cautionary note from many of my friends), Ganseh Chaturthi in Mumbai (despite all the Marathi - Northerners issues), Republic Day Parade in Delhi, and all the special events in all the cities of India... And then there will be the world to conquer - France, Egypt, Germany, Brazil, Australia, USA, UK, and more. So much to do and so little time (and so little money and company and what not)... but those old cities are calling me and some day... some day, I will answer all those calls and I will taste all the tastes of those places and I will smell the fragrance of all those places!! I will merge my aura with their aura!!!

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