My first day at Podar college for WE School's (Welingkar Institute's) Marketing Management Program.
It was hardly 20 minutes past 9 in the morning today that a late, but happy realization struck me.
I was seated in the first row of class full of ‘fresh graduates’ and aspiring students who came to attend a lecture at Podar College, Mumbai – as a part of Welingkar’s 1 year Diploma Program. I was one of those who reached 10-15 minutes earlier than the professor. Sitting on the first bench (my memories with sitting below the nose of teachers and professors can be dated back to my kindergarten days), one by one, I was looking at my fellow classmates walking inside the class, making sure they are in the right classroom and then looking for the best spot to sit in.
The class, which was getting filled with slow chirping sound between students, flashing Id Cards, Sounds of unfamiliar footsteps falling in the class for the first time – was all disturbed by the honking vehicles and traffic on the road adjacent to the institute. The class and its classmates were nothing like what I expected or hoped of. It was a Sunday batch for working professionals and I couldn’t find anyone who looked like ‘working’ and not at all ‘professional’. I sighed and told myself – “this is what you got into and this is what you will spend your entire year with”. My thought was broken by a gentleman whom I saw entering the class wearing a look of confidence and pride. “Oh Thank God”, I said, releasing a breath of relief, “atleast someone!” “Someone who looked like a ‘working professional”. As if it was a ‘day of breaking dreams’, my expectation after looking at this man broke too when he stopped right in front of the podium, starred at the class and unzipped his bag to remove his laptop. “He’s the professor!!”, the demons inside me shouted.
Prof. PM Rao, the lecturer of that session started introducing himself in a typical South Indian accent and I was very sure by the end of his introduction that this man is ‘well learned’. With an optimistic view, I took a deep breath to fill myself up with positive energy required to start a new journey, while Prof. Rao was demonstrating his excellent skills at setting up his laptop and projector.
A click of mouse doesn’t do any harm (or good) to anyone. But for me, it was a click of ‘stupidity’, ‘ignorance’, and lack of ‘awareness’. Prof. Rao entered his USB device in the laptop, swiftly browsed through his folders and quickly located a powerpoint presentation on ‘Purchasing and Material Management’ while my fellow classmates removed the textbook ‘Principles of Management’ from their bags. “Wait a minute”, I said to myself, “There’s something wrong here”. Neither my online schedule on the institute’s website said anything about ‘Principles of Management’ NOR have I taken admission for a course in ‘Purchasing’ or ‘Materials Management’.
It was 9.20 in the morning, when this ‘wise’ thought struck me – “Dude, I’m in the wrong class!”. It took me approximate 20 seconds to gather my guts and tell Prof. Rao that I’m in the wrong place! “Ummm, Prof Rao”, I said, interrupting his conversation with another student, “I Guess, I’m in the wrong class”. A feeling of embarrassment struck me, which was very quickly soothed by Prof. Rao. “Its OK”, he said with a smile of wisdom on his face. “Please see the schedule on the notice board to find the correct lecture room” he said, while escorting me till the exit door. I replied gently with a “Thank You” and left for a journey to hunt for the ‘correct’ class.
My journey to find the next class was indeed a long one. It took me precisely 4 seconds to reach the next classroom, marked as ‘T2’. The feeling of embarrassment was seeping through me and was building yet another feeling of being ‘fooled’ by T2 classmates for coming in late. “T2, Oh Yes! That’s what I saw on the online schedule last night, Stupid Me” I said to myself. There I was, standing on the threshold of T2 with a stupid look on my face and mumbling, “Professor, Sapt..ar..shi” looking around the class to see if I can find yet another gentleman who looks like a Professor – I found none.
“Aaja yaar andar” (come inside, my friend) came a loud voice from the back benches of the class. My attention was drawn towards this round faced guy, wearing a light blue full sleeve T-Shirt and an even lighter pair of denims. My mind confirm, “yes, he is the one who invited me inside in an unconventional way”. While I was settling myself on the first bench of the second row (first bench again :), a guy continued with his speech, which somehow sounded like an introduction, as he was saying, “I have done my graduation from ….” ” and I am currently working with…” I seldom remember what he said, as I was struggling to fit myself in the narrow bench – wondering if I am growing fat, or is the bench really narrow? After he completed with his speech, the same gentleman in blue clothes requested the next person to introduce himself – I could remember the next was a ‘He’, as by that time, I was all settled.
It took another 15 minutes of laughter and fun before my turn came to introduce myself. As I was sitting on the first bench, I had to rotate a complete 360 degree to look at the class and….
…To be continued in my next blog, soon…