Students Corner: Opinions, Experiences and Expressions

Orientation week at IIM Bangalore is not easy. For a lot of us, coming to Bangalore itself is uprooting our lives once again – we live or study in another city, maybe halfway across the country or halfway across the world; and then one day, pack our entire lives into suitcases to come to the place to B. In retrospection, I feel the very busy first week is designed to save us from the crippling homesickness that follows and the anxiety of having to adapt to a whole different lifestyle altogether. Maybe that is why the program starts off with inspiring talks from a distinguished alumnus and an Olympic shooter to remind us that it is important to start our journeys looking towards the future and not the past. Maybe it is the same reason why the DML Awards are held on the first day too – to make us concentrate on all that we have to learn and to gain rather than the familiarity we have lost. Indeed, I have found that the the spirit of not only the institute but also of the bustling city outside is one of endless enthusiasm to do better and be better. At that point, I thought that maybe everyday here would be about testing our boundaries.

I was wrong. The very next few days were packed with lectures about all possible rules that we were to abide by. There were rules about how to live in hostels, how to study, how to segregate waste, how to write our assignments. It is perhaps easy to feel overwhelmed and indeed a little rebellious after all this talk of restrictions, but since then I’ve realised that rather than being cages to contain us, these rules will end up being fences that keep us from falling off of cliffs. If I am talking like I know something of the human psyche, it is simply not true. I just happen to be really impressed by the behavioural lab here: as a member of the most generic segment on campus, engineers, I find it strange and fascinating that for once it is not machines that are being studied but people.

Every day at IIMB presents new challenges. It was probably to drive this point home that the third day saw us being taken to some secret location that no one seemed know about. Such days of extreme physical exertion and team building activities definitely do have their benefits but being the typical couch potato that I am, it is difficult for me to say nice things about it. While I greatly appreciate the effort taken to arrange such events for us, I was not able to feel my legs after the day was over and that night, I slept like I was dead. The theatre workshop the next day was about introspection and understanding our own self (more importantly, it was indoors). But it was the very next day that was probably my favourite in the whole week, and a day that I shall remember and cherish for a long time to come. My group was taken to the SOS Children’s Home and this place has taught me the most important thing I have learnt in IIM Bangalore so far. It is strange how easy it is to feel happy and proud when things are going well and yet completely forget about feeling grateful for all that has gone right for us. And only when juxtaposed against someone else’s loss and struggles does our good fortune become apparent. It is even stranger how when the gratefulness does come, it brings with itself the burning desire to do something good – for ourselves, for other people, for the environment; to give someone else a chance to have something to be grateful for. I feel that this is the true spirit of IIMB: the spirit of striving towards the creation of something that uplifts ourselves and others, something that makes a difference, something that adds value. As an alumnus would say a few days later, IIMB allows its people to become the best versions of themselves and only a place that truly makes people better can claim the kind of affection IIMB claims for itself. And maybe that is why people keep coming back. Maybe that is why, before we’ve even started, my friends talk about coming back one day when the trees they have planted in the new campus are all grown up.

– Dyuti Mandal, PGP ‘2018 (as published in Bheard).