Yes, I have invested 20 lakhs!!

I/You have invested 20 lakhs in this course!!” – This is one statement that I have often heard from multiple quarters since the onset of the program. I must confess though that I am in awe at the versatility of the emotions this seemingly simple statement evokes.

For starters, some Profs have used this statement, mostly in their introductory lecture, to arouse seriousness in their course. Thus, somber statements such as “I do not need to remind you that you have invested 20 lakhs in this program….” are often tossed around as-if we are all suffering from a simultaneous bout of selective amnesia.

But when the same statement comes from my fellow colleague, it takes a different proportion all-together. Often expressed with a puzzled look and usually when the rigor is at its peak (just before a submission deadline or during exam time), it conveys the irony of the situation.  As in – “I have invested 20 lakhs in this course and I am the one slogging!! Isn’t there any justice in this world?

Just before we headed for our well deserved short-break soon after the completion of the core-courses, I heard another variation of this statement that evoked a diametrically opposite emotion.  This one, prefixed with “Gosh” or a more explicit “Oh hell”, conveyed the ‘loss’ incurred with every passing hour for the brake in the program rigor!! As in – “Oh hell, I have invested 20 lakhs in this course but for every vacation day, I lose 5.5K of potential learning”. Reminded me of the story of the father, his son and the donkey – no matter what you do, there is bound to be some negative reaction.

But the one that steals the show was my experience with the institute library guard. Used to studying in the library, I often survived on the instant energy of glucose biscuits to keep me going. On one such occasion, I kept my half-consumed packet in the shelves at the entrance (since food couldn’t be taken inside).  After about a couple of hours, hunger pangs struck me and I walked to the entrance to gorge on the remaining biscuits. But lo and behold, it was not to be found. I eagerly searched for it and my eagerness rubbed off on the guard manning the entrance.  Well aware that at this hour, none of the kiosks in the vicinity of the library would be open (and I didn’t have the time nor the patience to walk to the other end of the campus), my face bore the irritated look. Thinking that he would calm me, the guard remarked “Saar, why are you so worried for a worthless biscuit packet when you have invested…..”. So much for our investment!!

– Amit Tambi

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