Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Things I'll take back from XL - 2

Quite accustomed to the long queues of the bureaucracy that a govt. college (I was in NITK) brings, I was actually shocked, even scared, by the free ride that registration in XL was. For all you know, I could not be Puneet Aggarwal and still be completing the two years in here. And that my friend is the freedom that XL accords you with – of doing anything as long as you deem it right; if you are ready to bear first, the costs and then, the consequences of what you do, no one here is gonna tell you what and what not to do. An independent life, devoid of any rules but your own is not one that less responsible people can handle. That is the true test of a manager and that, thankfully, I passed. So, responsibility that comes with being free is the second thing I’ll take away from XL.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Things I'll take back from XL - 1

From today I wud try to post one new post every two-three days till the day I leave... all about something in XLRI that I’ll take with me... will try to keep it chronological...

I was travelling alone from home (Bellary) to XLRI, Jamshedpur. Apparently that was new for ‘freshers’ who were generally dropped off by parents but then, I was always an independent child. There was anticipation and even an iota of neophobia. As I reached platform number 19 of the Howrah station, that neophobia seemed to melt a little. I saw another family which was going to XL to drop off a classmate. As I boarded the train, Steel Express, that neophobia was all but gone as I realised, where I go, I’ll never be far from an XLer. There were so many of my to-be batch-mates on that train. One family, on realising I was travelling alone talked to me through the journey to Jampot and I realised how big getting into XL was. And that, though we curse the location, the journey from Cal to Tata ensures we all travel together, wherever we go, whatever we do. And that is the first memory of XL that I shall carry with me... Of being close to friends even in a completely new city...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Mercenary

He was just ten – a toddler in his world full of soldiers – tin soldiers with a metal head and a hollow chest. He was no 10 – for he could carry weights much larger – of those hammers, belts and arrows – all together. He was just ten – he mistook the ticking mechanical sound from those tin soldiers to be a heart-beat. He was no ten – for he could do tasks others twice his size couldn’t – fighting a lone losing battle for example. Not just a battle – but one that was never his own; One that he chose to fight because the king was weak – too weak to even acknowledge his presence – or when he did – follow it up with further battles.

And just like that, after the battle was won – litres of his blood spilt – he walked on – to the next battlefield. And just like that, if the battle was lost, he vowed to come back – never any taller – never any stronger – Just in his battered state – to avenge the defeat – to bring glory to a gory king who never knew he existed. The king – the dear loved king who he idolised – the one with those green eyes which saw everything green – green, not as the expanse of grass before him – but the barren battlefield – greened by the impure blood of the other tin soldiers.

And just like that he fought on – and on – and on – swords flung at him from all sides – including his 'own side'. His own side – or the one he thought was his own – for he never had a side of his own – and also, always did. Every time he turned – whichever way he turned – his back felt a sharp sting – from the hammers, belts and arrows – the sting he was no stranger to – a seasoned hard-bound bag of sand – who ruffled every time it was hit – ruffled to the core – and in no time – reformed to get ready for more. And his king looked on – at times sending a bludgeon to the weak spot – the tender spot – ensuring he was seasoned fully.

Could he run away from battle – but run from which battle – and go where? Back to the loins he came from – to the place he was born – born to fight – or so he thought – thoughts of a warrior –here to please and appease – just waiting for one strong paw of the beasts to pin him down – the thought of being the gladiator – when in fact all he was – was an expendable, replaceable – but always available – a mercenary.