I forcefully opened my eyes to switch off the alarm. The digital clock in my mobile struck 8:52 am. I had overslept and now had to make it to a 9 am lecture, and rather quickly. Then began that listless (no breakfast, no water) race against time. You then curse the random lottery that gave you the room farthest from the learning centre classrooms.

There is something about this place that gives it a “wow” factor. Some call it the XL culture without fully knowing what culture means. What struck me first is how easy going this place is. Seniors that are always ready to help, committees that make life simple –You just need to arrive and rest will be taken care of. The course brings you out of the comfort zone with programs like the outbound (Everybody gets to be a Roadie here), village exposure (If you’ve always lived in a city, this will show you a different side of life) and the mandatory Nukkad Natak.

Last minute rush for the assignment xerox, the Big-Daddy aura of PlaceCom, their deprecating General body meetings (GBMs) that removes any misconceptions you had as a junior,”Bhasad” (North Indian word) that never ends, late night walks to Bishuda—that’s life at XL, a place that never sleeps. There is a committee for everything: A committee that ensures you know your seniors, a committee that helps you during Summer Placements, a committee to remind you of home, a committee to entertain you; Seniors almost always ensure you have a good time.

The biggest binding factor for this college is the traditions it has always held, traditions that are followed and bequeathed to the junior batch year after year–seniors serving dinner while juniors enjoy the lip smacking dishes during the senior dinner, the cultural committee, DRACULA carrying its much-famed lamp for its introduction and selection processes, the sports committee ensuring that its members are in a particular “state of mind” when on stage are only some of the numerous traditions. Even the first week of college is a traditional “orientation”. The professors have a legacy too. You are reminded of a certain Quantitative Techniques professor’s stringent grading by the antics of the BCT (an informal committee) while a play captures how Summer Placement shortlists seem all but fair. Each of these have been carried forward as if in a family system over the years; and a happy family it is here, indeed. Some committees remind you of home food and festivals while other non-inhabitants also get a chance to cherish the taste of your delicacies and culture.

“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch free time”. There is always something to look forward to. If nothing is, unexpected events like horse-riding and poker nights make way. In fact, into the first month of classes, you realize that things here work a lot more differently (read professionally) than your conventional graduation college: Professors that won’t budge, deadlines that won’t move, punitive actions that make doing-the-job look much more attractive, mandatory attendance and 9 am classes that start on time. Caffeine-rich night-outs become commonplace. If nothing else, time management is one valuable virtue you will definitely take home.

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