My mama ji too graduated from IIM, though a decade before I stepped into IIML. From his odd set of worldly advices, I found one to be surprisingly accurate and timeless - "There are two kinds of males at IIM - Those who do it, and those who talk about it."
In my long years of graduation, I had survived a batch with 590 guys and 18 girls. You've heard the saying right? "If a group of IITian girls are placed on the moon, the average beauty level of Earth will go up." I don't subscribe to that view. We won't actually take pains to place them on the moon, will we?...Come on! Be reasonable.
So when I heard my mamaji's profound statement, I resolved to belong to the former group. In what I'd vicariously seen and heard about IIM, I thought it'll be a radically different crowd. But it turned out people were not quite different in their sensibilities, just their mannerisms.
It was called bakar/gupshup there. It was called networking here.
It was called Bandi check out karna there. It was called assessing the landscape here.
In IIT we'd arrive to the class in our objectionable attire and fall asleep soon after. Here, we'd dress up to acceptable standards, turn up for the class and then fall asleep.
Like I said, freshers were the same monkeys from undergrad colleges. The ones with work-ex were polished monkeys - with thicker cologne and more expensive pair of jeans. Through the first term or so, I discovered and selected potential candidates. I also received gyan from seniors on previously successful and failed love stories. There were 3 paths to success:
Project Buddy --> Friendship --> LOVE
This was a hard one to pull off. You couldn't be obvious in your motives, considering fellow monkeys can get nasty when they feel wronged. You did it in more subtle ways - surreptitiously doing her part of the project work, allowing her to do the crucial 'introduction' to the project presentations, . And if things went well, a love story could blossom like the 24 million shades in excel.
Committee buddy --> LOVE
Think Godzilla and the screaming reporters and cameramen. Think Rang De Basanti and DJ and the charming blonde Sue. Under stressful situations and serendipitous moments blossom the timeless romantic tales. In short, if it 'clicks' with the batchmate/junior you are working with, then you were all set for life.
In both cases, I could barely manage my share of work. So I decided to focus on the third method.
Mess Buddy --> Friendship --> LOVE
Like I had attempted at IIT, it meant creating chemistry over meals, hoping repeated exposure would do the trick. Given the social setting of the mess, it would have been weird to arrive alone for meals. So a wingman/2-men unit was required. Within us monkeys, it was important to find a partner who shared a similar disposition. And not just any kind of chimp. He had to be that synergistic monkey that would help in making an impression of superior quality (for both). I found that in my room neighbour (I guess finding synergy didn't take that long). So after some brief strategic thinking, we began to roll out our plans in ensuing academic terms.
I would venture into the Mess with my neighbour/Wingman Suhaib (specially) during dinner. We would pick up food and scout the mess hall for girls, rapidly calculating the entertainment value to be had by having dinner with each of them. Girls would get points for being any of funny, irritating, interesting, good/bad looking, stupid, interested in us, irritated by us, in a group with a majority of girls and of course, for being completely unknown. We always feared the risk of crumbling under the pressures of socializing over dinner in the same venue repeatedly; Of being judged on our chatting skills ; Of laughing too loudly and spilling stuff ; Of laughing too little and appearing dense. Like company stocks, we had to consistently outperform the average dinner-conversation index to get any kind of credibility.
It took time. And I can safely blame my CGPA on this (...and alcohol!). Did I cross over to the other side? I choose not to tell. But if you are at campus, discussing this over a sutta at Guptas or Fauji, then you sure know which group you belong to! I'll truthfully reveal that I graduated single and content.
I thought I was in an excellent position. Till I found out that at work our kind were an exception here. "You don't have a girlfriend??? Why?" Their repeated bewildered looks bothered me for the first few weeks. Am I bowing down to peer pressure? You bet! Chapter 3 of my pursuits begin here in foreign land Singapore.
I awwwready said la...Beware lovely ladies .. Can Can?... (Bachna Ae Haseeno in Singlish)
If you want to read about other failed attempts:
Male Fantasy - O La La
The Laptop Crisis