Thursday, April 21, 2011

XIC-JR - 2010 2011: A Tribute

I completed my junior college from St. Xavier's College. Yes, the one where Kabhi Kabhi Aditi was shot. But I had to shift to Wilson's to complete my graduation due to unavoidable circumstances. Yet, I knew my association with Xavier's had not ended. This end was abrupt. I knew I would be back. And I did come back to complete the story.

Last year, I got admission into Xavier Institute of Communications, which is the *duh* communications wing of Xavier's. It has two campuses: one within Xavier's and one next to the St. Xavier's school which is a stone's throw from here. (Not really, actually. Ask us who had to run from the college to school campus for lectures within ten minutes.) But the crowd is still the same, just that we're expected to be more mature, as we're "post-graduate students" in the words of our Dean.

The convocation ended yesterday and with that our year at XIC and hence, I present here a photo blog (with a few lines too) showing how my year at XIC went by. It was not always fun. It was not always work. There were times we could kill people. But, in the end, I'm going to miss this place, the people, the college, the fun, the anger, the everything.

Chronicling the year became easier because the Elective One folks had to get hold of DSLR cameras. Although it did cost too much (Rs. 22000 over the Rs. 175000 we paid) the photographs I clicked helped soothe the mind. Also the free Reebok watch. Anyway, the photograph beside this paragraph is one of the first ones clicked with this camera. This was during the still-life photography class. There were many other genres we tried too, like food, people and fashion but we shall skip those photos for now.

Our first significant event in XIC was the photography trip to Hide Out in Vikramgarh which is on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway. We clicked a lot of rural India, nature, including birds, trees and insects, as well as still-life. It was rejuvenating being away from the city for three days in the peace and serenity of rural Maharashtra. Although it was a bit annoying that we had to listen to "This is not a picnic. This is a photography trip." a lot.
The Campfire
Emu: Miniature Godzilla
Ladies By The Well
I forgot what this was called. But enchanting it was.
Ulka and Sylvia sitting by the waterside.
This trip was a wonder for all of us. Going to a place so beautiful and graceful. I, personally, got to be in the arms of nature in a manner I never was before. And the best part was, this was just going to be the first instance of it at XIC. There was one more trip coming. The one with the entire class. The one at Shakti Yogashrama.

Then towards the end of October, when everyone was well into the course, and stressed by the continuous assignments and projects, the college decided that we could refresh ourselves at Shakti Yogashrama which is on a remote hill somewhere near Lonavala. How the bus found the place is beyond me.

We were not allowed to take our cellphones and laptops and stuff around because electricity was anyway at a perpetual shortage there. That didn't stop people from taking their cellphones and searching for network at far-flung places at the Yogashrama like in the toilet, under the banyan tree or even when we went hiking to the waterfall.

Mind you, I didn't take my cell-phone. And hence stayed without it AND Facebook for four days. And survived. (Now say that I'm a Facebook addict!)

Anyway, two of our classmates had to be packaged off back home on the first evening itself because they took ill the moment they stepped onto the holy soil of the yogashrama.
Fixed Eyes
For the rest of us, it was a fun-filled four days away from assignments (By the way, we were asked to write a review of the place and what all we did once we got back.) We did yoga and meditation, slept during it; attended lectures on Indian classical dance and music as well as Indian Mythology, which were very interesting.
Creepy Crawly
The Hopper!
We hiked to waterfalls and clicked photographs of people with a lighted background. (Yes, my stupid ideas which turn out amazing at times.)
Let There Be Light!
We also saved people from dying. But that's another story, altogether.

Almost Down The Waterfall!
We played football.
Had to play!
We sang loudly in a place where we were supposed to remain silent. We broke rules. (Yawn!)

We played dandiya and garba.

And then we returned to the city to sit on Facebook and upload the photos so that we could all like and comment on them.

Oh! A few people even celebrated their birthdays at the Yogashrama. Here is a photograph of how mentally retarded Shefali was at the end of the trip. Imagine not receiving any wishes due to unavailability of network. And eating veg food when you would have otherwise been eating non-veg. (Okay, vegans, no hurt intended.)

We got a break for the Diwali holidays. Just a week. My birthday fell in that week. Now that's what I call sad timing. Anyway.

We were back in no time and already laden with more assignments. But then, fear not. Because Christmas was just around the corner. More like eight weeks away. So when Christmas did come, we all put our Santa caps on and attended the research lecture, which was fun indeed.

Some people managed to keep their caps on straight while some were left open-mouthed at the fact that they looked awesome in a Santa cap. (Some credits go to the photographer, of course.)

In the New Year, we returned to work harder. Not for our assignments much but because the first elective folks had a Photography Exhibition to arrange at Piramal Gallery, National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA). In case, you’ve never heard of the place before, suffice to say that it was a matter of huge pride for us. Here is a photograph of the First Elective in all its glory.

Oh! And here’s an awesome photo (I think, at least) that I clicked that day.

Towards the end of January, the Public Relations (good folks, them) batch organised Xuberance In Colours, an annual event organised by them which involves the entire college. It was a fun night for all of us. Especially those who got to wear sleeveless to college for once without being halted at the gates by the watchmen.
Picture Courtesy: Shefali Menezes
Pic Courtesy: Shefali Menezes
Pic Courtesy: Manav Juneja
The good folks at PR also organised a Sports Day for the first time at XIC. Football for the boys and Basketball for both. Our esteemed Journalism batch was among the winners. In both the sports. We’re just awesome.
Pic Courtesy: Shubhra Rishi
Pic Courtesy: Shubhra Rishi
February came and we *insert appropriate assignment and projects line here again*. The same with March. But no worries, we had a traditional day lined up which all began with the idea of having a cross-dressing day. Anyway.

So most of us adhered to the dress code and did come in traditional wear. We even clicked photos dividing the class into groups like the ones seen here.
The Christian Minority
The Twitterati
XIC was almost coming to an end and we were really sad about it. April entered and one last event was still left for XIC JR: The launch of our digest Raconteur. (That’s the name I had suggested. So any qualms on how to pronounce it should be addressed to me.)

Our launch took place at IKXIA Lounge, Chowpatty, on April 4, two days after India had won the Cricket World Cup. Ayaz Memon and Rajeev Masand, a cricket observer and film critic respectively, and both former XIC students were the guests of honour. Our function went smooth and the digest was smoother.
Masand and Memon try very hard to cut the ribbon.

I’ll let Raconteur speak for itself. My baby!

Oh! There's my story on the cover: TwiFi Awards!
We had two convocation ceremonies. One fake ceremony where they put robes on us and photographed us with a fake certificate.
Pic Courtesy: Anwar Khan
And the second ceremony which really marked the true end of the course.

At the end of this course, I am going to miss XIC. No doubt about that. More so because of the time we spent doing (sometimes) absolutely nothing.
Bhajan Time!
Sleeping Time!
Coffee Time!
Guitar and Sari Time!
Newspaper Time (which never happened much!)
Playing with Kitty Time!
This time, I know I have completed my story nicely enough. But my college life would have been incomplete without a few photos of the places we frequented during the year.
Candies: No. I didn't eat all that!
Marine Drive
Also, photos and portraits of a few teachers banta toh hain!
Jane Swamy
Saroj Merani
Shefali's sketch of Jehangir Patel
Shefali's sketch of Yogesh Kamdar
The JR Heads: Asha Sandilya and Jane Swamy
A group of students posing with Joe Campana
And how could I forget the friends I have made here. Without them, life at XIC would be incomplete. They say in Journalism, it is important to make contacts. I’m glad that the friends I made here will always be friends and not contacts.
The Class
With Disha S, Manasi, Anwar, Ishani, Shefali, Sanjeevani and Shilpa S.
With Nupur
And these people are the ones without whom my entire year would have been a wasted one. Thanks to all you guys: Sylvia, Shefali, Nishtha and Shubhra. Love you.
With Shefali, Sylvia and Nishtha
With Shubhra
P.S.: How could I forget our sacred and holy Google Group!

Click on the photo for a larger view.
Finally, fellow journos XIC 2010-2011.


  1. This is really sweet.. Had the time of my life :D

  2. Awwww!!
    The good times... A treasure. :)

  3. this is by far the best college memories write up i have ever read in my life!!! awesome stuff runcil!! im proud to have you guys as my batchmates!!

    p.s: i didn't know i was one of the top posters on google group!

  4. HAHAHAHAHAH this was awesome. love you too ranya!

  5. " mentally retarded Shefali was at the end of the trip. ..."

    I (aka as Suranga Date, but blogging as above), feel strongly about something here and so must comment, although I am not your classmate/generation etc, but just a FB erstwhile poet friend/acquaintance.

    I vehemently object to using "mentally retarded" as a description of the state of someone. Folks who are mentally retarded, are unknowingly so, for no fault of their own. It's a disability, and we never say "so-and-so looked disabled". It is unfair and NOT A LOOK.

    We need to be sensitive in our choice of words. More so when we plan to work in written media.

    Other than this, I enjoyed reading your recollections of your wonderful course !

  6. Dear Suranga Date,

    While I completely empathize with the fact that you felt strongly about Runcil's choice of words, I would like to share a little incident with you.

    One of my closest friends cannot see. This obviously was never a hurdle in our friendship. Very recently, I was writing a piece about an incident that he was a part of. When it came to describing the simple fact that he could not see, I was stumped about what the 'correct' term to talk about his condition would be. I did not ask him since the post was supposed to be a surprise for him. I read about it online.

    I saw a few posts by people who could not see. Some said that 'visually challenged,' 'visually handicapped' was a politically correct term to be used. I also saw a couple of posts that said that they did not need political correctness and were ok with being referred to as 'blind'. I was taken aback and in the post referred to my friend as visually challenged, albeit in inverted comas. I did not repeat the term at all.

    We cannot be sure as to what 'mentally retarded' people feel about this issue and by not being politically correct we are only offending people of the civil society not the people themselves. I know this comes across as rather curt and obtuse but the fact is that political correctness and terms that are correct are different for different people. My brother has learning disability and he'd rather be called dyslexic than 'special' and hates it when people act special towards him. But he'd rather not pretend that he does not have a disability either.

    With 'mentally retarded' (notice the inverted commas) especially, calling them something else more appropriate for the civil society is not going to make a difference to them. Showering them with some love and being there for them will probably make a difference. They cannot say this for themselves. I know you or maybe other people will probably not agree to what I say or might even send me hate mails for this. But this is the exact difference between people's definition of 'correctness' that I've just written about.

    Lastly, I don't think Runcil meant to offend anyone just like we don't mean to offend 'idiots' by calling people who bungle up, that.


  7. Ulka Gokhale22/4/11 11:33

    Thumbs Up Runce ! :)

  8. Thank you for the response.

    Its not about what words we use ,to refer to differently abled folks of various magnitudes. I have worked with such people in academics as well as sports/swimming, have had to deal with LD within my immediate family, and am friends with a few such folks too.

    What I object to, is describing a normal person's "look" as "retarded".

    Not because I worry about what the normal person will think, but because I think it insults the other differently abled person. Whether he/she is present there or no.

    Retarded folks may have confused brains but their minds are intact.

    I see frequent usage of the word "retarded" by young people, to describe people's looks. Its not a LOOK, its a condition. I think we should honor and help with the condition whichever way we can, and not make fun of the look.

  9. REBELLO...lovely lovely lovely post :) lovely pics, lovely write up.

  10. Runcil...funnily, though I was not a part of your activities per se, our constant correspondence (and your bitching, at times) make me feel like a not-so-distant-viewer.
    As for the blog post, I felt the pictures and the text were married...I could scroll through it and know all that you're talking about..!
    I can't say what my future decision on journalism is/would be...but I hope to have experiences as memorable as yours..!
    And, though you're not in Xavier's anymore...heck! like that'd ever stop us Narcis!

  11. Thanks RUNNY :))))))

  12. well written ;) ... thank you!!!

  13. wow, great stuff up there! Made for some fun reading, mister! :D

  14. Yes, Narci! It's a well written post.a A good mix of photos and words. Quite like you, Music & lyrics, cartoons and gimmicks, bitches and kitties. Anyway, thank you for the post, I wonder if we will have such a time again, the time of our lives.

  15. :* n a big hug. i think this is enough to describe wat i feel...
    love u a lot runcilya..

  16. Saale main mentally retarded!!!
    Main tere ko do laafe laga ke doongi tab pata chalega ki main kaun hoon...

    P.S. Nice stuff.

  17. NIce and Personal !!well written!

  18. Hi,
    I am about to take admission in XIC, in Journalism. I had some questions. I would appreciate if you could help me with that. It would be great if you could give me your email Id.

  19. You look *very* cute in *that* picture with Nupur!

  20. Heyyyyyyyyy! this is an awesome, awesome post. And good to see that XIC hasn't changed much since we graduated in 2009. Great to refresh all those memories!
    And THANKSSSS a lot for pictures of Saroj Merani and Joe Campana. Sketches of Jehangir Patel and Yogesh Kamdar are great too! It was finding a great treasure, seriously.
    If only you knew how much we LOVED Joe! did you do his classes of creative Non fiction?

    Shivangi Narayan, XIC, 2008-2009

  21. @Sunshine (Shivangi): Thanks a lot. Glad to know that this post has helped in refreshing your memories.

    I had a great time at XIC too, and it'll always be one of the most cherished memories of my life.

    And Joe Campana. What can I say? I think he's the favourite in every batch. I enjoyed his feature writing classes, and wished we had more of him. I was in elective one, so I couldn't take Creative non-fiction (although I so wished to), but I do know what all he did due to my friends in that elective. Sadly this was his last year at XIC, as he has gone back to the US, in all probability, forever.

    Runcil Rebello (MrNarci)

  22. GONE BACK!



    This is the saddest news :( We'll always miss him, n you guys are lucky he taught you feature writing, we had some woman who screwed up badly with our feature writing course. We really wanted to kill her, seriously! :P

  23. Oh, some woman? Wonder if she's the same one who's taking the current year's Feature Writing now that Joe is gone. Yes, it is sad, indeed.

  24. I came across this blog while searching for something. Trust me, my hair stood at end while reading this.
    I am a student of the journalism course at XIC right now :) Kept thinking that probably next year, even I will be writing a similar post on my blog.
    I can relate to each and everything written in this post, except for the Shakti Yogashrama trip.