I dread telling people in Pune I’m a Symbiosis student. It takes a huge amount of courage. One needs to take a deep breath and say it as casually as possible and wait for the interviewer to roll his eyes and slowly contort his face in disgust like a jumbled Rubiks cube. In nine cases out of ten, he will proceed to put you in the category one associates with Mexican drug peddlers. In the tenth case, the candidate will turn out to be a fellow Symbian, who will make a mental note to bitch about the worthlessness of your particular institute at some point later in his life.
I would love to tackle some FAQs at this stage. Firstly, we aren’t all rich, spoilt brats. Just because we happen to wear a uniform involving the amalgamation of a shirt and trousers and speak the English language with above average lucidity doesn’t mean our parents supply us with a diet of caviar and lobsters on plates of platinum at home. Secondly, please don’t give me the management quota look. I did actually study to get in. My admission procedure didn’t resemble a Dawood Ibrahim Hindi film parody, where the college asked for dus khoka and it came in a Qualis carried by 5 muscular men wearing aviators and white pyjamas.
Contrary to popular belief, we aren’t exactly a territory of the Netherlands as well. We don’t have an inner-circle currency system that runs solely on the market of psychotropic drugs. Not every person from our university is a Marijuana aficionado, and even the ones who think they are talk out of their ass most of the time. I’m not saying we don’t have our share of illegal trading, but it’s not like we die of withdrawal symptoms when we don’t get the herbs either. We do normal thinks like eating poha for breakfast, eating wada pav at the tapri and drink more tea than the English.
If I thought college would be a mean place where they’d beat us to the ground and other phrases Rocky Balboa had slurred out in his famous guttural speech, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The campus was harmless. There were groups of Delhites who liked Salman Khan, but they’re too lethal to be elaborated on here. We all saw the heart-wrenching video of how college blossomed out of the end of God’s own rainbow as a place where students of every shade, name and nationality could study arm in arm. We all signed an affidavit that declared ragging was an act of Satan. We all knew anyway that no one gave a two bit flying fuck to actually bother ragging anyone. Everyone was too immersed doing ‘their own shit’ to care.
If you’re talking to someone from a Symbiosis arts college, I’d really request you to not make eyes at the people around you, as if to suggest, “Symbi arts! Must be a complete knob-head.” If you’re an engineer who’s doing this, I’d really like to use this time to offer your eyes the wonderful company of my middle finger. I don’t make comments about how I’d rather watch Deshdrohi with Kamaal R Khan himself than be studying how to derivate the third root of an imaginary number. Though our lives aren’t perfect, we aren’t stuck in a vortex of oily hair and unwaxed limbs – and I thank my stars for it. So sod off.
Our houses aren’t brothels. If you knock at our door and happen to see a bored skeleton like human watching an Entourage marathon, don’t look around as if the air is bewitched. Keep your visual expectations of Naked Mile and Beta house locked in your own head; because we honestly spend most our evenings with no idea what to do. You might think us living in small herds together has something to do with promiscuity in every possible form, it’s actually because we miss home. Our friends are actually like family. At the end of three years of breathing down each others necks, people tend to get close.
I was in a college where my attendance was a disgraceful 92 percent. I attended more college than school, which really haunts my nightmares sometimes. It wasn’t because I wanted to, but I didn’t have a choice. They had a mandatory limit of 90 percent and I didn’t fancy spending my holidays doing detention hours in a library where bats would have happily committed suicide.
I spent three years in a place which I grew to love, and I’m very sure there’d be many like me. I spent three incredibly cool years, but I also learnt more about the world in general studying with such an assortment of people, that I’d never take it back, no matter what they say about our publicised Woodstock culture.
I’m sure a lot of the others would agree.