Recently, I attended the Delhi chapter of IIM Indore Alumni & Freshers meet. The last such meet I attended was in Chennai, 2005.
With each passing year, it’s a delight to see batches of enthusiastic youngsters push you further and further up in the echelons of seniority. Fortuitously, for my batch (1998-2000) the tag ‘senior-most’ or ‘first batch’ came as the fringe benefit of being the first batch of IIM Indore! No matter how many batches get added, we will always remain — the ‘batch of origin’.
A few observations:
- The recent batches are the strongest in terms of numbers, most visible, and not surprisingly, most vocal too :-)
- The fresh batch of people joining the institute are invariably a mix of predictable profiles (Engineering and economics graduates) and some interesting ones too (MBBS doctors & people with etymology as a hobby!). Maybe it’s a figment of my imagination, but these youngsters, on the threshold of a career defining move, have a dreamy halo around them!
- It’s good to see the presence of girls at such a gathering; and if they are smartly attired, even better! Why do I even need to make such a statement that has shades of sexist overtones? For the simple but stark reason that girls continue to remain a lop-sided minority in institutes of higher education in India. I don’t have the numbers, but the number of girls students would be less than 10% at IITs and less than 20% at IIMs. In our batch it would have been around 15%, but in the batch after us — it was 0% . Yes, no girls at all!
- One of the easiest ice-breakers between various batches is a discussion on the faculty. “So, who taught Operations to you guys?” “Prof. Agarwal? Oh! He taught us too. Great guy!” “So, is he still around?”
The ‘batch of origin’ privilege ensured that I was asked to cut the cake and deliver a speech too ;-)
And since 1998 itself I was ready for such an occasion, and had this one speech drafted in my mind! :-p Borrowing extensively from Prof. Asopa’s (the then Director of IIM Indore) talk to us when we complained to him about sundry facilities not working. He had mentioned that building an institute is like building a big boat, that sails on high seas and charts new courses and discovers new horizons. We the first batch, were the bottom of the boat — the most critical part of the boat. That bears the brunt of choppy waters on behalf of the whole boat.
I used to wonder then (1998) why did he not use ‘foundation of a building’ as the cliched metaphor to define the first batch. Today, I can see why. The bottom of the boat moves along with the boat to where ever the boat is headed. On the other hand, the foundation of a building lies buried underground and forgotten, once the edifice takes shape.
It’s been a decade. Time flies. IIM Indore soars.