We Won’t Give It Back – Part 1

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We Won’t Give It Back – Part 1

In the early 1970s, even before India and Pakistan entered the Bangladesh skirmish, the seeds of a long standing battle were sown. It was because the students of the two Schools felt the need for an interaction, a lasting relationship that would facilitate an exchange of ideas and thoughts and also to have some fun. Though the institutions were separated by only a few hundred kilometers, there was hardly any meeting between the two Institutes prior to that.
So, they planned an annual rendezvous wherein they would participate in academic seminars, presentations and some sports over a weekend in winter. Over the years, as new generations entered the portals of both Institutions, the raison d’être behind the meet – exchange of ideas, thoughts, etc. – started tilting more towards another arena, which forms the mainstay today: what was originally included along the sidelines to generate interest and have fun – sports – started taking center stage. What started off as a pure exchange of ideas later transformed into one of the most passionate encounters that every B-Schooler waits for on both sides.

The popularity of this meet can be gauged by the interest shown by the alumni of both institutes in this event. Folklore says that the first question an alumnus of either institute asks is not about his favorite professor or anything academic, but “Who’s winning the XL-IIMC Meet now?” This XL-IIMC meet would perhaps go down in history as the second such instance where XLRI has won consecutive years, one at home and one away. The nerve wracking finish would perhaps go down in the annals of XLRI-IIMC history as one of the closest finishes ever. This 4 part series is an attempt to capture the glimpses of the most talked about thing on campus XL-IIMC and preserve it for posterity.

2014 had been one of the crowning year for any XL-er as we had won the trophy on home ground. It had been made clear in every sporting event and practice, every GBM and as guys brushed in the bathrooms, that the trophy had to be defended. 2015 was the year that we would strive not to give it back.

23rd January 2015

A 160 strong XL contingent boards the Janshatabdi carrying all sporting paraphernalia. Marching up into the station in double file with bats, basketballs, volleyballs, pool sticks, tennis racquets etc. it looked like a full army battalion in motion. The laughter and the ribbing on the station, the discussion of possible strategies, the flirting with the opposite sex, everything was just a façade. The single undercurrent that ran throughout the batch was to defend the title XLRI had won on its home turf. It was not going to be easy. Winning at home is not the same as winning way. Several factors would prove to be an impediment this time. The foreign ground, the foreign conditions and most of all, the foreign crowd which outnumbered us almost 3:1. The whole sporting contingent along with the supporters and the sledging team knew they were in for a heck of a fight. And what a heck of a fight it would prove to be. We knew we were outnumbered. We knew we would be surrounded. And that fired us up even more. We would give back as good as we would get. Apparently by the time we reached the Joka gates, they had not anticipated us coming, so we were stopped as they went around in an open auto rousing the students from different hostels. The gates opened, the buses drove through. Every XL-er was on his toes craning for first enemy contact. The atmosphere was simply electric. We were baying for blood. We knew we were outnumbered. We knew we would be surrounded. And that fired us up even more. We would give back as good as we would get

And then we heard the buzz. It grew into a huge cacophony of screaming Jokars who had lined up on both sides of the road as the bus entered the melee. As soon as our bus entered the fray, they closed in and thumped the side of the bus in unison. The battle conches had been blown. We fell silent as they commenced their anti XL chants .We stood inside the bus in defiance. We were made to march in single file in mosquito infested roads by the lakeside

.Apparently we had heard that the kind of verbal punishment we had dished out had made some of the Jokars cry, but this time, everyone laughed in their faces. That really pissed them off. All those proverbial banal comments and verbal abuses didn’t ruffle any of our feathers.

In the Tagore hostel, they had made a separate enclosure from bamboo, just underneath their hostel corridors. An open space that was surrounded on all sides by corridors, landings and an overhanging ledge. We waited as each and every XL-er trooped into the pen one by one, cheering every entry. We felt like freedom fighters being cooped up into the same cell…The torture was about to follow. The ground below was muddy and had turned squishy as we stomped around.

Finally as every guy and girl had been accommodated in the pen, we stood shoulder to shoulder looking upwards in defiance. They had hung up a poster that read 37-7. The 37 had been struck off and had been replaced with a 38. Apparently they had foreseen their victory. Time would prove how wrong they were. And then the chants started. Outnumbered almost 4 to 1 in this melee, we made sure we screamed the loudest. As waves and waves of water descended down on us, the cold biting into every bone, it fired us up..1…2….3…4……5…6….7…8…rent the air

Everyone had whistles with them and as we waited for the next wave. We ensured that the shrill cacophony of whistles we carried drowned out their voices. We had heard stories of stale Sāmbhar, egg yolks and garbage would be thrown on us. But to our pleasant surprise they showered us with dry surf, gulaal and water again…That made us laugh.Atleast some of us who had not bathed that day got a free bath with all the surf and water. Most of us emerged from the pens looking shade fairer…Never had they expected such a defiant return from an away crowd. They just couldn’t keep up with the slogans. Yes we had left our mark.”1-0 everyone said, before boarding the buses for the journey to the dorms. “Outsledged ‘em”, said a senior. In the bathrooms, as everyone cleaned up, just one thought ran in everyone’s minds-“Tomorrow revenge would be taken…..Tomorrow would be retribution”

 

24th January 2015

The crowd gathered at the Pailan International school cricket ground. It’s a bright sunny day, perfect for cricket. XLRI is put into bat and puts up a daunting 157 in 20 overs with a splendid partnership by Vikas Kumar and Himanshu Raghuvanshi. The bowlers are all taken to the cleaners as boundaries are hit galore. Cuts, pulls, drives and a few misfields result in a commanding total. And as IIMC goes out to chase, the XL-ers are already licking their lips in anticipation.They had tasted blood and were going in for the kill. With some probing bowling by Sandeep, Veer, Nitesh and Kaustabh, finally the Jokars capitulate with 115 runs on the board. With the abysmal fielding performance by the Jokars, it was a delight to see our team diving around to stop the ball in the 30 yard circle as well as some solid fielding in the deep. Sandeep ends up with 2 scalps and Nitesh, Veer and Kaustabh end up with a wicket apiece. Falling almost 50 runs short of the total, XLRI ensured that this match was not only a win, but an emphatic one. Sandeep Singh a.k.a Sandy, with his composed captaincy ensured that XL-IIMC tourney started with victory. That has all he has dreamt off in 2015, and he does it in style.


As the last ball is bowled and the whole XL contingent rushes onto the field, news comes in that Prashant Jha and Harish have gone down fighting in the Squash event. 1-1 stood the overall score. In fact it was expected, these two guys would later be part of heroic wins in football and futsal. They had played just because they had to.

A perfect start to the day, the XLRI team was ecstatic. Whatsapp groups were abuzz with the in, and congratulations poured in for the cricket players. With the score line at 1-1, everyone knew that this win was a morale booster for the fight ahead. Sandeep and his boys had done their job. They had set up stage for the down-to-the-wire tournament and the best of the day was yet to come.

Day 1 was not yet over and what a long day it would prove to be. Catch the rest of the action in the 2nd part of this 4 part series.

Cricket Team
Sandeep Singh(c) Vinod Reddy Veer Vikram Singh Arpit Nigam
Nitesh Goyal Atul Anupam Maity Himanshu Raghuvanshi (wk)
Kaustabh Bijalwan Abhave Sharma Vishap Rana Vikas Kumar
Akshay Pandita Devang Jesrani Anshul Savant Ajoy
Saurabh Deshpande Amikar Ashish Kumar  Mahesh Puvvala
Squash Team
Prashant Jha Harish
Anjan Mahapatra
Anjan Mahapatra
An Avid Quizzer and Blogger, loves to play tennis and volleyball. A consummate foodie with a weakness for freshly brewed tea. A first year student of HRM in XLRI, he is a prankster who is often found in the hostel mess with a diverse set of friends.
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