Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Xaverian and a Xavierite.

Have you ever that that unique feeling of déjà vu? Of course I don’t mean the “Oh! Shit not again!” sort of feeling that most of us have that when we wake up to go for work; I am talking about the feeling that tells you that you belong to a place, even though it might be the very first time you walked in there. Well, it happened to me a couple of weeks back…

It all started when a colleague of mine, who had seen this brochure of XIC, was asking around whether anyone wanted to join a photography workshop – the basic requirement was to own a camera with manual shutter and aperture settings. A work friend of mine and I expressed interest. I had been clicking with the puny camera of my old Nokia N97 for a couple of years and was itching to upgrade to the real thing – a DSLR. The only hitch was that I did not want to spend upwards of twenty five thousand rupees and realize that I had landed a lemon. I figured that at the very least, I would learn which camera to buy by the end of the workshop – to get in, my old trusted Samsung S500 would do. On the other hand, my friend from work who likes all things electronic and can afford them, didn’t want to go in half prepared – and he got himself a brand new Nikon 3000D. It was set then – three of us would be going to this photography workshop at the XIC.

As is the trademark of most MBAs, none of us overcame our inertia till the last moment. As luck would have it, there were only 3 slots available on the last day of registration and if we could pay the course fees by 2 p.m., we could get in. The problem was that it was a working day and we needed to cut office in order to rush to the other side of town to make it. Just then, the stars decided to smile upon us and my colleague happened to have a meeting scheduled in the area around one in the afternoon. We would make it class, after all. I sure owe her one!

Where I work, the weekend is a myth. Saturdays are supposed to be half-days – the key phrase in the sentence being “supposed to be”. Thus committing to classes on weekends was a big deal. It meant sacrificing the pittance of “me-time” that I had and three weekends later, I’m positive it was worth it. But to borrow a line from Jerry Maguire, it had me at hello. The moment I got off the kala-pila cab in front of the grand old building of St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, I knew I was coming back home.

As I walked into the hallowed portals the bust of St. Xavier seemed to smile at me through its kind stone eyes. And then came the famous courtyard (yes that same one where Hrithik had danced, much against the ethos of this institution – man, money talks rather dances I guess) and the hallway that led to the back of the college where the Xavier Institute of Communications is located. Down that hallway, as I passed by the familiar classrooms (with their ancient oak benches, wooden platforms for the teachers and the blackboards that have played their parts in innumerable classes) and the laboratories (that smelt exactly the same as my school labs did), I was overcome by this feeling of unexplainable happiness. As if, the prodigal had returned.

I shall forever be grateful to my alma mater, St. Xavier’s Collegiate School, Calcutta, for the values that I have imbibed. Attending the handful of photography sessions at the Xavier Institute of Communication made me realize that both colleges share the same DNA. For once I don’t agree with Rudyard Kipling’s famous “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet”.
The Jesuits know how to build great institutions of nurturing and discipline and irrespective of where they build the institute, the ethos remains the same. Their students imbibe compassion for the world around them and the passion to succeed. Nostalgia has clouded my objectivity, you say? Allow me to prove my ‘hypothesis’.
As a student of branding, I am forever fascinated by the logos & tag lines of famous companies and the powerful symbolism that they convey. A comparative analysis of the crests and mottoes (the logo and tag lines, if you pleae) of two Jesuit institutions in Kolkata and Mumbai amply elucidates my belief (please click on the picture below to enlarge):

All I can say is that I am proud to be a full time Xaverian and a part time Xavierite... and please do join XIC if you interested in photography. Dr. JB Mistry's workshop is an experience!