First day of college. So, of course, there were rounds and rounds of introductions. I’d say about a four hundred or so snarky snap judgement made in the sanctuary of us students’ heads, of which about three hundred or so were mine. It’s horrible how judgmental I can be about short, ten second snippets. And how snarky I get when forced to do something that makes me uncomfortable.
The real introductions happen when the students get a few moments to themselves. The ice has been broken by the teacher(despite our shared lack appreciation for the way it was done), and we get comfortable with introducing ourselves to total strangers, and said strangers are now actually paying attention. It is then we tell them the stuff the stand-up introductions would never cover. What music we like. How we’re liking the city if we’re newcomers, what are the good places to go to if we’re not. Sometimes, if you connect really well, the introduction can cover everything…
About an hour after I had given the only completely honest How-I-Ended-Up-Here introduction I was ever going to give someone(at least, for a while yet), I realized that my life up to this point sounds more like a continuous string of failures than anything else. It’s an odd realization to have on the very first day of college, but the kind of odd that, hopefully, makes for a good story.
So hello, new readers(and I know you’re new. This is my first blog post here). My name is Armaan Babu. Born and raised in the allegedly sunny state of California until the age of six, by which time my parents had saved enough money to comfortably retire and introduce their children to their heritage. To raise them in the culture that runs through our blood. In short, to move to India. Kodaikanal, to be exact. I was schooled there until the tenth grade, then was sent to Bethany High, Bangalore, for my tenth and twelfth(funny story there. Ask me about it someday). Graduated out of twelfth, with slightly below average ICSE marks but somewhat above average SAT scores, so off to American College I went! Clark University(the only place in America, interestingly enough, that Sigmund Freud ever agreed to lecture at. His statue still sits rather comfortably marking the place where he spoke) was perfect for me.
I flunked my first year, and was brought home, where I tried for an internship at DNA, which also ended badly. Don’t even ask about my three months spent as a grade school teacher. And the many, many months doing, um… essentially nothing. Doing nothing was becoming habit forming. I needed out. So out I got, straight into the welcoming(and air-conditioned!) classes of Jain University.
My first week of college went as well as could be expected. They threw a lot of seminars at us. Some hit, some missed completely. I had my trusty notebook and pen with me through every one. Because this is a blog that’s going to be read by people who include my journalism teacher, I shall take heed of the words “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” and talk about the seminars that really got my mind’s gears a’spinning.
The first one was the seminar conducted by a radio jockey and stand-up comedian(there was something else, but I forget it) who asked we call him Anjaan(pretty sure it was Anjaan). He worked his way through his personal philosophy summarized by the acronym TIP(Time, Ideas, Passion). He spoke to a rather full classroom, and what was fascinating is the way he held the attention of about a hundred students for almost two hours. He was on full steam the whole way, too, filled with energy and focus. It was that energy that really made the last part of his acronym stick in my mind – passion. When you think about it, it’s passion, really, that powers every action worth remembering. Passion lies behind every great action that’s been done. It was an idea that coloured my thoughts through all the other seminars – when Einstein was mentioned in another one, I couldn’t help thinking, “What if he wasn’t more intelligent than anyone else, buy was simply more passionate about physics? And passionate about proving the theories he had that nobody believed in? Because anyone can have an incredible idea, Einstein achieved his greatness by proving his idea was right. What inspires that kind of hard work but passion?” And so on.
Another thing I got out of the seminar with Anjaan was an idea of how the world must look like to people with two feet in the journalism world. I saw the world as a swamp, filled with hundreds of pretty gems lurking in the muck. I saw journalists picking those gems out of the murky waters of ignorance and rearranging the gems into beautiful patterns for the world to see and understand while the world sits around waiting to see when the next summer blockbuster movie is showing.
I wondered how frustrating they would find someone like me. Despite all the work they put into understanding the world and trying to make sure the world understands itself too, there are people like me whose knowledge of current events borders on the schizophrenic.
The other seminar that really grabbed my interest was held by C.N. Srikrishna. His seminar heading had the word ‘global’ in it, which is never a good sign. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I suppose I could take the cheap shot and say that he took the easy way out of having to lecture a group of students by keeping them happy with about 40 minutes of videos, but 1) They were really good videos, and 2) In the minutes between the videos, when he spoke, he did so with passion. Passion for the work he did in trying to save to world one healthy meal and glass of water at a time. Saving the world is a passion I can identify with, what with my unrelenting love of comic book superheroes. Speaking of which… the videos he showed us made me think of a Batman villain, Ra’s Al Ghul, who had his own ideas about saving the world. His idea was to bring the human population down “to a more manageable population” so that there would be more than enough resources to go around. Ra’s Al Ghul had some fascinating ideas, and the videos that Mr. Srikrishna showed us had me thinking that unless the world cleans up its act, the world will be in a situation only dreamed of by Ra’s. The world at war for its resources, and only the fittest will survive. If survive anyone does.
These were the two seminars that grabbed me. Solid 9 on 10s. The other ones hovered around the number five, and besides, I must wind up this post. The longer my entry is, the less chance there is that ANY of it will actually be read. Inverse logic, but true, nonetheless.
Lemme see… I am still getting to know my classmates, there are a LOT of stairs to climb to get to your classes(I refuse to take the lift. On principle), I’ve not yet gotten all my textbooks and my first week has me hesitantly optimistic about my three years here.
Dream safely, my readers.