Friends Forever5 mins 244 5 mins 244
As comedy shows goes the American TV series “Friends” have always been on top of the list. Yet again spinning a story on the theme of friends is not such a formidable task. If I were to produce one such series for the Indian audience, I would choose several episodes that have occurred in my own life with friends: funny, adventurous, comical, sad, and so on.
As I was finishing my engineering degree, I had managed to get a job but wanted to study further and found an interesting offer to my liking. This was at the Institute or Rural Management, Anand which offered a post graduate diploma in rural management, with a scholarship for the duration of the course and an assured job. My Professor warned me that I am entering unchartered territories. Little had I heard of Dr Kurien and the AMUL story, when I took the decision to chuck the job and take up studies.
A lot of this story has been woven around friends at IRMA. So, the youthful Director made a pitch about learning in the street. It helped much to know that he was a PHD from a Harvard equivalent school from the US of A. It was first names with most of the professors, a refreshing change from the yes sir, yes sir culture elsewhere. We were housed at the farmers’ hostel since there was no campus by itself for IRMA. The mess that dished out our meals, we called it, cattle feed factory as the food was apt for the cattle only. But it was a kind of live test for our tolerance as we were the torch bearers of rural management and supposedly work for the farmers/producers’ organizations, the AMUL clones.
Luckily there was a bakery correctly named as Ambrosia outside our campus and we got our supplemental feed depending on the pocket money we had with us. That brings me to the girl, one of the youngest in our class who was constantly dieting on the Ambrosia. One was not sure as to whom she was dating though. Her first of the dates quit at the end of the year not sure it was due to the girl or the course. Unlike the American ‘Friends’ boys and girls did not hop on to each other’s beds and there was no miscarriage of justice eventually.
We were the second batch of students at this new institute and first lot of boys and girls were quite untameable for the professors and hence carefully chosen a supposedly docile lot. Docile we were until the second mid-term when a young professor teaching for the first time gave us a case running to about 40 plus pages for a three-hour exam in financial management. I was the first one to walk out after mulling with the case for about half time. Many followed suits and even the best of the commerce students spent six odd hours and could not crack the paper. We got even with our professors at the end of the mid-term.
We were a suppressed lot. Some of us friends then decided to come up with a notice board magazine to vent our frustrations. It was called yelp and a friend who could draw made a yelping dog as the logo. Through this magazine we could take pot shots at our professors. Our marketing professor was nick named muttor raita a kind of anagram of his name. He would whip us in his marketing class when one of us opened one’s mouth for class participation. The myth was that he comes prepared having put in 6-8 hours for each case he would discuss in class. We could ill afford that kind of time for one subject.
One of our friends always started his class participation with “in my village.” The irony was that his life ended a few years back when he was actually taken to farming in his very own village. We had a class representative from what is known as cow belt these days. He like the Trump declared himself as the class representative, but one doubted what kind of class he had ever.
There was this girl Prema (name changed) and her name seemed to suggest most of the boys were having a crush for her. I did not fall for her but had a soft corner for another girl who later became my life partner. It began with the usual way of doing a project together. Coming back to Prema who told me much later that she was very wary of me, as she had heard that I had mentioned something not so pleasant. So, when it was time for a field work and we were grouped together she had cried at the thought of being in the same group for about 5 weeks. At the end of it we became best of friends and started a ‘curd cooperative’ and not so much along AMUL model but to relieve the pain of eating in the cattle feed mess.
With my partner, I have memories of carrying her doubles in my cycle during field work, of course, on the carrier alas! We had picked up the cry of the women working in the paddy fields and replicated it when it was our turn for the presentation of the fieldwork report and walked away with the best presentation.