Friday, July 27

Kismat - part 1

[The next few posts are going to be about my time in the Anthropology dept., Pune Univ. from 2004 - 06. I'll cherish those 2 years, always. I met some real characters... friends now, and went on a trip that left me with memories no amount of time can fade. If interested, read on... if not, well... tough.]

I'm lounging in my chair at work. My back is curved at an angle that promises some painful consequences later, but I leave it to my later self to deal with that. In this not-so classical position, the only thing I can clearly see is the ceiling. There's nothing even remotely remarkable about it; its been painted this marvellously creative shade of... drum rolls please ... white & there are two sets of tube-lights that compete with each other to light up the room. Since the room is only 7 x 6 at its most optimistic best, the brightness here manages effortlessly to set my teeth on edge. But, I digress. The ceiling only serves to bring back memories to me of another time and another place, when I was similarly ensconced on my Kinetic at the University of Pune, or as it's better known, Univ.

Words are not adequate to describe how comfortable the Kinetic is for lounging. The spare wheel is perfectly placed to be used as a pillow and the seat is a good enough mattress. Hang your legs over the handles and there you have it. Which was exactly the position I was in during those hot afternoons when even the bees are buzzing about sleepily and the general atmosphere is one of laziness. The trees outside the Anthropology Department, where I took my Master's degree, provided the needed shade and the sun shining through the dark green foliage is what I recollect when I contemplate this cheap imitation of an empty canvas above me now.

When I look back, me doing anthropology was not something even Nostradamus on his best day could have foreseen. I had just finished my B.A in Psychology and while there had been a considerable hiccup in my personal life at the time, I was all set to take my M.A in Psychology at the Univ. The tiny flaw in this master-plan was that the Dept. of Psychology at the Univ didn't want me. At all. Okay, so maybe it wasn't such a tiny flaw after all but well... 'the best laid plan of mice and men...' and all that. The thing was, there were 26 students who were admitted for the M.A programme out of which only 10 were admitted from the open category. So, one had to have exceptional marks to get in as a General Category student. I did not. When I first met one of the professors there, he told me a guy hadn't been admitted to the department in the General category in 9 years. I was effectively playing the part of the snowflake in hell.

According to the prof. the last guy who had applied (and obviously not got in) had instead applied and been admitted to the Anthropology Department next door. Smiling and in a winning tone, he further said that this student now held the Royal Flush as far as the hand of Life was concerned. I, understandably was not reassured. Due to past experience, I suspected that the hand I'd be dealt would consist mainly of Aces and Eights and therefore forgot about the anthropology application idea. I was determined to & confident of doing psychology and nothing else.

2 weeks later, I gave in my application to the Anthropology Department chair. By then, the semester had already started and I was facing the prospect of doing an unimpressive psych course from a college which wasn't even in the city limits. The Anthropology dept. chair was naturally reluctant to accept my application since it was obvious that anthro was my second and blatantly desperate choice. But he looked through my application, said it was fine and asked me to come with the fees that afternoon.

Apparently, August has its own Ides. Who knew ?

Next: I go around the mulberry bush

For those ignorant of the playing cards analogy:

Royal Flush - the best hand in Poker, consisting of the Ace, King, Queen, Jack & 10 of one suit
Aces and Eights - the two-pair hand infamously referred to as the 'Deadman's Hand'


bhumika said...

univ days were probably 'the best days of my life' too...always pleased to see that there are many otheres who have been smitten by its beauty and who talk of those days with equal passion...looking forward to read more :)

Ashish said...

Ashish gladly seconds Bhumika's notion. Wishes for a speedy follow up post.