I landed in Mussoorie for a training program. Came via Delhi – stayed at a friend’s place for a couple of days, caught up with stories- old and new, and got an extensive tour of the malls in and around Delhi (Noida, Gurgoan etc.). If you haven’t seen/been to these malls, you haven’t seen malls – period. And, people from the US who are reading this and feeling smug that they have seen all that malls have to offer, and seen the most outrageous, over-the-top ones – sorry to burst your bubble- you haven’t. These Delhi ones are temples of consumption that are unmatched in their flamboyance, size and ridiculousness.
Then took the night train to Mussoorie, with a bunch of IFS officers who were traveling to attend a mid-career training – very genial fellows – all of them got up at an ungodly hour and yapped non-stop till they woke me up. Took a cab to Mussoorie and was promptly stunned by the Himalayas – imposing, awe-inspiring and majestic. I am still reeling from the awe-struck feeling – when ever I look out of my balcony or when I take a walk.
The first day had two super-boring, super-long (2 houurrrrrsss… each) sessions done artfully (the art where someone speaks a lot without saying anything). I don’t know how some people manage to talk entirely in clichés and redundancies (sample bullet point on a slide: “sustainable development with integrated holistic approach”). Lesson for students – Don’t ever trust what a person says if he uses “innovation” and “strategy” in the same sentence.
Lesson #2: Don’t trust a professor who doesn’t encourage student participation. If a professor declares at the beginning that he knows students will go to sleep if he talks for too long, and proclaims that he plans to encourage student participation like never before – then definitely don’t trust him. (The good ones just do it, instead of saying it.)
And a word about our program coordinator: he is like a roshogulla – round and blank. The roshogulla will roll into the class once in a while and look here and there and roll out. When we ask uncomfortable questions regarding programming or some such thing, the rosho will quiver and roll its eyes uncomfortably before rolling out.
A crow sitting 6000 ft above sea level, alone on top of a tree, with a “kich-kich” problem, and needing someone to feed it Vicks desperately. It sounded more like a crow-bar stuck between barrels.
An IAS officer (mid-forties, I would say) with a harried look asking her colleague “Yaar, mera chashma ko-gaya; kal-se doond-raha hoon” – makes one think of the files and petitions at her office.
A recently recruited IAS trainee with dark rimmed glasses, and in trainers, lost in time, with that far away look. I looked at her for a few seconds – if I had looked any longer, I could have seen even my future through her lost gaze.