So you’re new in your Advertising College, just beginning to get familiar with the campus, you’ve made a preliminary decision on your group of friends, and evaluated the goodies in the college canteen. Now what?
The first of the conversations that buzz excitedly among the new uns mostly involve faculty-gossip. Whether it’s a tête-à-tête with a senior, or a pleasant bonding with a potential buddy, you’re very likely either being warned about the ‘disciplinarians’ (“If you’re more than fifteen minutes late, stay out. She turns into Godzilla, and starts trampling on everything in sight”), being amused by tales of the bizarre ones (“Try counting how many times he says ‘particularly’ in a one-hour class. We did once, and it was one-eighty times”), or, and this is extremely rare, being encouraged to take it easy with a few (“Ohh, I’ve heard she’s great, and she actually called the dean a pig earlier!”)
This is also the time when you’re initiated into the former nicknames the poor professor-folk have acquired, or, if you’re one of the blest, you coin a few yourself, and have your creation carved in stone, never to be forgotten. In fact, instantaneously after this initiation rite, you feel like you belong.
Well into my first day in my Advertising college, a few classmates and I decided to explore the grounds. A senior among a group of them lounging on the popular ‘wall of fame’ (a low brick fence that ran all around the football field), pointed at me, and beckoned. I was none too pleased about the pointing, and already wary of the curious ‘introductions’ the seniors seemed to demand, ragging now being not frowned upon, but severely restricted (“What’s your name? Would you, er, sing a song? We’re not forcing, but”) It was really quite ridiculous, and so it was reluctantly that I broke off from my companions and made my grudging way to their group.
“Relax”, I was commanded. “We only want an introduction”. I resisted rolling my eyes with difficulty, and said, a bit stiffly, “I’d really rather not sing”. The seniors laughed, “That’s okay, and we just wanted to ask if The Mule is teaching you”. “Who’s The Mule?” I asked curiously. “Alok sir”, I was told, amidst more laughter. I grinned, suddenly. I could sort of see why someone would call him a mule. He was shabby, seedy and horribly mean. He’d galloped around class calling people in the new batch dull earlier that day. “Oh, yeah”, not so frosty anymore, “we had a class with him today”.
“How about the Bride?”, another senior piped up. “She must be taking a class with you this year” I figured this one out for myself. Mrs. Mishra had been hard to miss, startlingly bedecked in a fluorescent pink sari, glinting diamonds, and seven rose-buds in the knot in her hair. I chuckled involuntarily. “Haan, she is. We haven’t had a class with her yet, though”.
Our conversation was cut short when I suddenly remembered, Cinderella-like, that I’d been required to get back to class at eleven for the next lecture, and it was now eleven five. I rushed off, after a friendly goodbye, only to be greeted by twelve of my classmates at the classroom door. “She didn’t let us in. Roared at us like frikkin Godzilla” Since our Advertising Institute has a compulsory attendance of 75%, the nickname caught on.
In just about an hour, I’d been made wiser by three nicknames. I felt welcomed and at home. Three weeks later, we were made richer by a few dozen more, until we began to forget the real names of many of our knowledge-providers. Wonderful, these sordid little initiation rites! Advertising and Communications education is like that only. My advice would be to enjoy these fun times cause after the first semester you are sure to get buried into a heap of Advertising projects, and assignments. When the going gets tough, you will surely, like me look back into these moments and smile. Such is life at a top advertising college