A few months have passed, and the ‘Amphi’ as we call it lovingly still remains my favourite spot
The amphitheatre was perhaps the most interesting part of the Viman Nagar campus when hopeful freshmen searched for a satellite image of the same on Google Maps. When we arrived for our Personal Interview and Written Ability Test, we noticed the amphitheatre in all its glory, although a steaming hot cup of expresso from the neighbouring Cafe Day Express was what calmed our anxious thoughts.
We were instructed to report to the institute between the 4th and 7th of July for our pre-induction sessions. I booked my tickets to Pune for the 5th of July, beaming with joy to commemorate the start of a new journey and escaping the scorching heat of Calcutta.
The pre-induction sessions were packed with people and their insecurities. We understood the importance of screening room 501, it was where the odour of soiled socks and expensive colognes established a confluence of sorts.
The sessions were filled with formalities and interesting factoids about the institution, which saw the students interact in a formal way with each other, no ‘informal groups’ had been established. Until of course, the amphitheatre happened to us.
Along with a trio of newly made acquaintances, I made my way to the zone. We sat under the metal banner which proudly proclaimed ‘AMPHITHEATRE’ in a shade of red which looked pleasing. No sooner did we settle ourselves on the marble than we saw that a huge group of people flocking towards us. It was unsettling at first, but we started the introductions. We were simply aghast at knowing that there were people from every corner of the country ! Students ranged from Jammu to Tamil Nadu, from Gujarat to Mizoram. It was a like a ‘mini-India’ similar to what the Drafting Assembly of our country’s constitution looked like in the 20th century. An interesting faction was that of the Delhi-NCR students. For anything positive, the Ghaziabadis and Gurgaonkars proclaimed themselves as Delhites, while they quickly stuck to home turf if anything negative was said about our capital. They were the most energetic of the lot, and some of them bonded over Punjabi raps and songs.
The people of Mumbai were also gleefully divided, one South Mumbaikar left the august gathering when the conversation was going stale. The ones from south India politely refuted the plight of the north Indians which said that ‘Everyone from the south was a Madrasi.’ A few didn’t even shy away from singing songs in their native languages, much to anguish/delight of the others. We observed that although the NRI’s felt a little out of place, they tried their best to be part of the commotion.
What was so striking about that 1 and a half hour ordeal was that college hadn’t even started. Yet, the kind of camaraderie and bonhomie prevalent was almost infectious. There was a feeling of warmth, there was a feeling of being at home.
Practicing for theatre, discussing communism during lunch break, reading the latest Jeffrey Archer novel, or just sitting around and contemplating that year after year, students may come and go, but Amphi will stay the same.
Article by: Shreevar Chhotaria (Batch 2019)
Photograph by: Hari Ramanathan (Batch 2019)