Right throughout the 1st semester, we kept hearing about the field trip; an almost-mythical rite of passage that students of anthropology underwent after the final exams. Our curiousity being piqued, we naturally asked around and all we ever got were infuriatingly superior looks and sneers that suggested that those hapless missionaries who travelled through deepest Africa had been on a picnic compared to what awaited us. Left with no option we obliged, waiting and wondering.
Just before finals week, our professor handed us a list with a rather grim air (he had the grim air, not the list). Or maybe the fact that we were in the lab with the skeletons contributed to the atmosphere. Anyway, the list contained a number of things one would normally take on a camping trip and a few items I'd never seen on any sort of legitimate camping list before. Beedis, for example. Since finals were hovering, we didn't pay too much attention to the list and by the next Friday, exhausted and shaken by the effort of the papers, we didn't rightly care. All I could think about, writing that last exam was the first cold beer that I'd down the moment I got out of there. The thought itself had me dreamily nodding and smirking at odd moments, no doubt leaving the supervisor to wonder whether the strain of it all had finally caught up with me.
3:00 pm and we were done... or so we thought. Apparently, the tradition at the anthropology dept. was to discuss the details of the field trip in excruciating detail immediately after the exams and I literally mean immediately. Ergo, instead of beers, my classmates and I found ourselves distastefully eyeing a list of topics for the trip and listening to the professors drone on about the importance of selecting a good topic, doing it adequate justice & a plethora of unnecessary details. I glanced through the titles, all 24 of them, and mentally crossed out just one. There was no way in hell that I was picking that topic.
The Fates glanced at each other and sniggered.