Lucknow and hel(L)


(Author - Ruchitha Spandana Kuchipudi)

Lucknow gave me my many ‘firsts’ and the one I felt the most exhilarating one was the time when I stuck my head out of the window of a moving car as it cruised through the chilling clouds of mist. I could sense the breeze as it brushed my hair whispering its secrets in words of silence. I always hated the cold weather for obvious reasons but these little experiences I had changed my perspective about it. It reinforced the fact that beautiful, ugly, good, and bad are mere perspectives and what actually matters is how one finds the better in the worse. Calmness in chaos.

You can forget something which made you happy once but you can never forget something which stressed you out to your core and the same goes for the summer internship process. An adrenaline driven experience which demands every inch of your body and soul. It is the time when our senses are at our peaks. Ears dying to capture your name as the ops team guy arrives briskly into the hall with a paper in his hand. Eyes in hope of encountering your name as you scroll through the company shortlists. Nose in search of the smell of your favorite sub as you wait for your peer to get it and your tongue ready to taste it. And finally touch, waiting for that pat on your shoulder, a lap to rest on and arms to hug.

I don’t care what one says about the campus, but I feel it’s more than beautiful. The plain and raw sight of the setting sun, splashing the colours of orange and yellow on the white canvas on the sky which in turn creates a picturesque view of the convocation ground is simply astounding. Standing at a distance from the convocation ground, sipping a cup of the so called ‘coffee’, I see myself a couple of years from now, ascending the convocation stage among cheers and hoots. I shake hands with the director and take hold of the long awaited certificate as my friends and family watch by. It’s not far, that day. Time passes by quickly in IIM-Lucknow which is also referred to as "Hel(L)" by its students.

I never hated Gmail as much as I do now. Every minute I hold on to my mobile hoping that the dreaded mail from the professors wouldn’t pop up saying that we will be having a quiz tomorrow. A drink in my hand tonight, a pen tomorrow. Eager for tandoori tonight, a number to balance the balance sheet on my calculator tomorrow. Discussing rumors tonight, discussing depreciation tomorrow. It’s not all that bad though because tomorrow night I’ll hold a drink, have tandoori and discuss rumors. Party is back.

What’s bad is when you need to walk a zillion miles from the hostel to the class. What’s worse is when you have to walk those zillion miles with a bag which weighs as much as you do. The worst? Now this is when you walk those zillion miles with that heavy bag and the professor takes a boring class for an hour and half. It doesn’t end here. The catastrophe comes when even after being through all this the professor packs his things, carefully places his spectacles inside the box, turns of the projector and leaves the class smiling without taking attendance. All the pain in vain.

Golden yellow grains of rice with perfect hint of spice, not more not less, with tender chicken which melts as soon as it touches your tongue. Finally topped with finely chopped coriander, served with various sides and a coke. This is pure bliss. This is Hyderabadi Biryani. A dish so unique and a feeling which can’t be put into words. Well now I don’t find is so often unfortunately. But the void is slowly being replaced by it’s Nawabi counterpart. I find people arguing and debating about which version is better but I feel these dishes cannot be compared. Each version is unique in its taste and aroma just like us, us humans. We have our own unique features which are more than beautiful and instead of fighting over who is more beautiful, we should look deeper into the details and respect each other for who we are.


Hel(L) is the first place where I found this trait. Something which I never felt was this important. It’s not just about diverse objects coming under a common roof but has much more to it. Much more experiences to cherish and it made me realize that stereotypes don’t exist and is something we invented to make our lives and decision making easier. I have seen Bengalis who don’t eat fish. Punjabis who don’t drown their parathas in loads of butter and Biharis who have excellent fluency in English and Tamilians who prefer achaar to sambar. This is what I have seen till now and am hoping to meet new experiences and break much more stereotypes.

Early morning classes, unprecedented quizzes, skipped meals and fractured legs. The campus offers a lot more. It is harsh and treats rough right from the induction to the summer and am sure it would treat us the same way later as well. This is just one side of it and the other side is what is alluring. The calm and serene side of it which is found rarely and only if you have an eye for details. It is more like finding the 7 dragon balls in DragonBallZ.

Kenny, Kanan, Biswa, Zakir. Who doesn’t know these names now? We know them better than our partner’s phone number. Well it wasn’t this way 4 years down the lane, at least not in India. People are evolving and are becoming aware of the several career paths to tread down and are getting brave about the choices they make. We are gradually realizing that life isn’t about money and more about satisfaction and pursuing what you crave and enjoy.

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