Monday, September 17, 2012

A new chapter....

So the Cambridge chapter of my life has begun. On Friday the 14th of September I was officially matriculated into the system... while signing a printout may not seem all that 'Vavoom!' trust me, it is. After several hic-cups, things finally got sorted out... in my case primarily because my better (at IT) half sorted it out for me. Left to my own devices I would probably have done something drastic like smashing something smashable or just given up all hope and gone home. The highlight of the day, for me at least, was the Matriculation Dinner. Not for the formality and the style and the rest of that blabitty blah blah blah. Oh no. I (The sole Goan in the batch - yes I am that awesome ;-P) thoroughly enjoyed myself because of the food and the conversation. Perhaps I was just lucky but I had a totally hilarious bunch of people around me. 

The conversation started off innocently enough with the basic introductions and the bread. Then came the first course - this awesome tart with onions caramelised in brie or something equally exotic...anyway, it was awesome. Conversational content was also upped a notch. I had a tutor diagonally opposite me with two Americans on either side of him. Unfortunately for him, both were climbing nuts - something he knew absolutely nothing about. He was however an ex-bond fund manager, so obviously we had a lot to talk about. So there was this very earnest T-shaped conversational thing going on, with the tutor describing his career to the guy at my side and me whenever necessary and the two bouldering nuts talking around him about various climbing and bouldering options in and around Cambridge. So you had things like the Russian debt default interspersed with chalk bags and climbing shoes. I tell you solemnly, the situation was hilarious. Neither part of the T-Conversation knew a thing about what was going on in the other conversation but their respective discussions were too interesting to let go off. That then shifted to a squarish conversation about Americans and English in America. You know how when you go places and locals find out that you are Indian, the first question you sometimes get is 'Do you know Amitabh Bachchan?' Well apparently British get asked if they know the Queen or anyone from the Royal family. Needless to say that conversation quickly deteriorated into accent imitations. One of the Americans was half Scottish and his vocal renditions of Scots versus American was quite, quite priceless. 

Just when I thought it couldn't get any funnier, another 'spirited discussion' erupted on my other side. I must mention that I had the Praelector on my other side with an Australian batchmate opposite him. The Australian managed to get himself totally tangled in his own argument and the Praelector was having a jolly good chuckle at his expense. This was now more interesting than the 'American idiosyncrasies' discussion. So obviously, I got into it. The Praelector specialises in medieval history. Apparently there's a whole other debate on what actually constitutes the medieval period. That led to a discussion on medieval politics and economics. Did you know that most warlords fought for control of sheep? Makes sense actually - food and clothing... like a two for one deal! Score!!! Eitherway, that then led to a thorough study of land grab strategy and liege lords and wars and then inheritance laws, both in England and in its colonies, and how English laws spread to Portugal and France etc. And did you know that London wasn't always in the place where it is now? Apparently at some point in the time before texts, it was somewhere else and was then shifted. But people are still trying to figure out exactly where! I can just imagine the heated arguments describing exactly why A thinks London was there aned B refuting it saying London was actually several miles to the left. Stirring stuff! 

And that wasn't the end of it! Oh no! The grace was said (in Latin) and some people don't agree with several of the statements in it!!!!! I was like...really!?! The last time I encountered Latin was when I was signing a bunch of forms before getting married! And here I am studying for an MBA when there are people doing PhD's in Latin and Medieval history and Bio Chemistry and Microbiology and I don't know what the heck else! Trust me, nothing can show you just how insignificant a blot on the landscape you are, like two faculty members arguing a point in Latin.