Let me warn you, this is not an informative piece. If you are looking for admission help or any stats, head back to Google and use better keywords. If you keep finding me, you just have to accept the fact that I am damn good at SEO.
You may ask what kind of a post it is then. I have no idea. A decade after passing out, there are no strong feelings for most things. The colours bleed into each other, the sounds mingle and before you know it, it has all turned sepia.
But it is a little more difficult to put the memories of D School behind. Life changing episodes are like that. I don’t mean to rave about the institution, but good education is supposed to change your life. Not in the sense of getting you a better job and enabling you to buy a bigger phone, but in a much more fundamental manner.
It tells you how you have been missing details all your life; how you have always half-seen, half-heard; how you resisted being awed by wonderful little things. On a meaner note, good education also provides bullets for your gun and substance to your arrogance.
We saw both kinds at Delhi School of Economics, and more – humble professors, talented assholes, perennial wannabes and quite a few how-the-hell-did-he-get-heres. There is a very distinct and pronounced emphasis on theory at all departments within the school. Economics was double dipped in theory as opposed to what was being taught at business schools. Sociology was all classics and academic vis a vis the field studies of social work schools or TISS in Mumbai.
The theoretical singlemindedness made us desperate when it came to job prospects but very snub and egoistic otherwise. That is how most of us ended up being highbrow, jargon spewing, forever debating, generally smart guys without a job. Hand a cave man a razor and the first thought he will have is changing the world with his newly acquired power. It takes a long time to realise that all it is meant to do is help him shave.
Personally speaking, as much as I learnt in the classes, the Ratan Tata library taught me slightly, ever so marginally, more. It is the best social sciences library in the country and it got a govt funding to the tune of 7 crores in 2011. It is a lot altered now. This, below, used to be the main entrance, now it is a forgotten side door. I am sure, for many, this is all of the library that they may have seen. In the belly of this library, my morning resolves crashed against the afternoon snooze. This is where doze defeated Durkheim, day after day.
Given that the effects of metabolism were universal, sleepy afternoons provided the perfect opportunity to lean over to the nearest girl and ask her out for tea. You would guess that we, the fervent intellectuals, will prefer coffee. We didn’t. Almost all of us preferred the lemon tea at JP tea stall. One sip of it was enough to get those frozen durkheims and webers flowing again.
The sociology department didn’t have a huge lawn. Economics had a big one and geography had none. The theoretical inclination of a department was clearly indicated by how completely its students embraced the grass.
In this regard, the sociology department was a clear winner, so much so that quite a few of our classes were held in the lawns. But hasn’t wisdom always been associated with trees?
Wisdom has also been associated with the name Rabi Ray. He is the pater to my alma mater, the gyaani in the age of professors and lecturers. He is (was, by the time you read it) due for retirement on the last day of August 2013. An end of an era, just like that. He plans to focus on his literary projects after retirement. I pray the world gets to see those gems, soon enough.
Suddenly, there is not anything left in that campus to get back to. For me, it will never be the same place again. I am sure the course work will get done as efficiently as ever, but the future generation will know what made the place such a legend. Or, may be, they will find their own icons.
Some will say so long as mutton dosa and jelly is being served at Anna’s, there will be two good reasons to go back. It looks a lot different from the outside, but inside, it is same as ever. They have not replaced a single broken chair nor have they kept glasses next to the water filter. The spoons are still the lightest and flattest one in existence, you may still find a crack in your ceramic coffee cup. And, it is still served with a saucer.
They say, more the things change, more they remain the same. As sad as that will be our nation’s politics, I will wish it for my D’ School. Delhi School of Economics and the bantawallah and the bhelpuri wallah – may your contents never be diluted.