Lunch was served from 1.30 to 2.30 and the break was till 3 o’clock. We had a good enough Bengalee menu consisting of rice, daal, alubhaja, a very tasty vegetable curry and fish, and mango chutney for dessert. The majority, however, was unhappy with this lunch, since more than half of the participants were non Bengalees and they preferred more vegetarian dishes or chicken. Being a fish-hater myself, I would have been happier with a change in the menu, but the dishes barring the fish didn’t fail to soothe my appetite. One of the most important things I discovered in the camp was my ability to do a lot of things within a short time span. I figured 1.30 to 3 was a long enough break and took not more than twenty minutes to eat. Lunchtime also made it possible for the participants to talk amongst each other and thus I ended up making quite a few friends in the dining hall. However, at 2 P.M., when most of them were still in the middle of their lunch, I rushed back to my hostel and took advantage of the empty toilets to have a long refreshing bath. Then I changed into casuals (only the morning session had a dress code of white formals), and finding that it was only 2.35, I took a walk around the hostel and the adjoining parts of the campus and finally reached the Tata Hall at 2:50. A boy from my team and I were the first ones to turn up for the lectures scheduled to begin at 3. Everybody else turned up by 3:10. I happened to notice that the commandant was taking note of the late comers.
The real fun began at 3, when I started to realize that the event was absolutely worth attending even in the middle of my end semesters. The lectures were delivered by eminent Rotarians, who are successful professionals and many of whom belong(ed) to the IIM faculty. The first lecture was entitled “A Bouquet of Vignettes” by Rtn (Rotarian) Bhaskar Bose. Mesmerizing is the word for the lecture he delivered. It was rich in stories and even old clichés that are superficially very funny but have solemn morals within. We got quite a few laughs because of his jokes that hit the funny bone hard. His lecture covered a wide area ranging from relationships at the personal level to the public level. In the middle of witty one liners, he told us a story I remember still. It was about a boy who wished to marry his lover, but the girl said she could only marry him if he got her his mother’s heart. So he killed his mother and cut out her heart and set off for the girl’s house. On the way he stumbled upon a rock and fell down, and the heart called out “are you hurt, son?” An immensely touching story no doubt, but at the question-answer session I pointed out that the boy probably did not know the difference between metaphorical and literal interpretation. Rtn Bose agreed, but said that when he read it at a very young age, all he felt was a deep sense of hurt and the importance of different relationships. He also mentioned the role of media and the commercial attitude of the media in present times, which however is not the fault of anyone in particular, and which is not bad either, if exploited correctly (e.g. the news that do not have the glamour like the IPL, say, but the similar or more importance, should also make it to the drawing rooms of houses). The half an hour lecture was followed by a 10 minute Q&A session. Unfortunately, I fail to remember most of the questions asked barring a few, one of which was about Rtn Bose’s opinion about Reliance World. He was pretty positive about it, although I might have missed skepticism in midst of the optimism.
The lecture that followed deserves to feature in the beginning of a new post, not because it was one of the best, but because there is a lot to say about it. So stick with me. RYLA part 4 is coming up soon.