amongst the many rituals that take place at IIMA is something called the talent nite (t-nite for short.) it is ostensibly a cultural contest (music, skits and the like) between various sections of the freshie class, but in truth it is an excuse for newly graduated alumni to go back to campus and indulge in behavior they could never have while they were there.
and so it was that a bunch of us, including A, U, S, Falstaff, and bunch of other folks, turned up at Ahmedabad in the august of 2001, a few months after we had graduated. we were young, starry-eyed, dreamy and we all wanted to get drunk.
the show starts late in the evening and goes on till early morning. there's a prize involved. back in '99 when we were freshies, we put in immense effort to make our thing a success. i banged the drums completely sozzled (it was a conspiracy hatched by seniors from another section to get me drunk), and pappu belted out 'Lut gaye' while A, goddess of the senior year, tried to distract him by dirty dancing a couple of inches away from him. there are three things you should realize from what i just said. you should realize that on T-nite, the demarcation between stage and audience breaks down early on in the alcohol soaked evening. you should also realize that there is a lot of depravity involved. but the most important lesson in there is that it sucks to be the drummer.
so, that night in 2001, the booze flowed in the dorms. early on, i gulped down a concoction of mango juice and contessa rum (there is another story behind that drink), and had a couple of joints. Then I ventured forth to explore the harappan ruins that the IIMA campus always turns into for me whenever i am high.
on the way to the show, i ran into Falstaff, who was already considerably hammered, and was being persuaded by fool-jhadu to down a large coffee mug full of neat Bacardi. i believe i raised my right eyebrow disapprovingly, as is my habit when drunk, and hurried on, because the show had begun.
I recall three significant things that happened that night.
U, a friend who was highly respected for his calm and generally, er, respectable nature got into a fist fight. for those of you who don't know U, this is significant. this is a guy who, by then, had been dating the same girl for five years (he is now married to her), and was so unflappable that B, in a moment of frustration, had described him as a "laash since the day he landed at IIMA". what is even more significant is that U got into a fight because the freshie girls refused to dance for him (well, not *him* in particular, it was more of a "we won't put up a show for these bhediyaas" thing, but still). U, not liking this attitude, stormed the stage in protest and was thrown off it by one of the freshie guys. they came to blows. incapacitated by alcohol, i lay in my seat and found it incredibly funny. i believe statements like "do you know who i am?" and "i'll see you when you come up for placements", were thrown about.
The second thing i remember concerns Falstaff, who took off on an alcohol-fueled flight. If my memory serves me right, he also got violent about something that i am not entirely sure about. i do remember seeing him abusing a few people and then passing out on the floor in front of the stage. at this point, S (who features here) very considerately decided that Falstaff should be removed from the auditorium, lest he be trampled upon. so a few of us got off our drunken asses and dragged him out. the general idea was to lay him down on the grass outside, but once outside, someone came up with the brilliant idea of putting him on top of a table (apparently, sleeping on grass can give you pneumonia or some shit), and so there lay falstaff, on top of a table in the middle of the RJ lawns.
The third thing i remember (but would like to forget), was cozying up to a certain miss L. Although now respectably married, L had at the time the reputation of a trollop (i remember S saying "she's had more sex that you will ever have in your entire life!"). Consequently, passing out in her lap was not exactly reputation-enhancing for me, but that is precisely what happened. Fortunately, i was rescued by SG, a junior who had also been at iit with me, and was taken to the cafeteria where U was sulking and nursing a bruised eye. on the way out, i noticed that falstaff had rolled off his table and was now lying in the grass. it must have been a hard fall.
early the next day morning, we sat on empty palm oil tins at mangalbhai the chai-wallah's little shop. U was still grouchy from his encounter with the freshie's fists. falstaff sat with one of the lenses of his glasses shattered from his encounter with the ground. and i was hungover and being made fun of for my encounter with L. we reminisced for a while about our days as students, and then caught flights to our respective cities. there was work to do, and we were going to be late.